For those of you who haven’t heard, 49 year-old UFC hall-of-famer Randy “The Natural” Couture made a joke a few months back that the only person he would come out of retirement to fight would be 60 year-old Steven “Straight to DVD” Seagal (whose protege, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, had recently knocked out Couture with a Karate Kid crane kick, supposedly taught to him by Seagal). When, Seagal, a 7th degree black belt in Aikido, heard about what Couture had said, he made it clear that he did not think it was funny, and that the only way he would ever fight Couture would be if it was for free, and if there were no witnesses. Assuming no knives or loaded weapons are involved (perhaps that’s why Seagal didn’t want witnesses?), and the fight were mano-a-mano hand to hand combat, where anything goes, who would win? Here’s my opinion. Are you kidding? Have you seen Seagal lately? Seagal wouldn’t last more than 60 seconds against Couture. Seagal thinks he knows all these deadly moves, not suitable for a sporting event, but I doubt he’s ever tried them for real against a professional fighter of Couture’s calibre. Actually, I would be surprised if he’s ever really tried to eye-gouge or groin kick (or whatever other vicious move he thinks he’s going to try) anyone in an actual self-defense scenario in his entire life! In any case, these kind of sucker moves were NEVER designed to work against fully-resisting trained professional fighters (who are equally capable of employing such sucker moves themselves)! Unless Seagal could take Couture out of commission in less than thirty seconds with one of his “dirty tricks” (highly unlikely), Seagal would more than likely be too winded to continue. Of course, the irony is that Aikido, as practiced by its founder, Ueshiba Morihei, was never intended to be a “deadly” martial art. In fact, the whole point of Aikido was supposed to be that you could use it to subdue your opponent without injuring him. You would think that a no-holds-barred cage fight would be a perfect opportunity for an Aikido specialist to showcase this aspect of Aikido (particularly in the early days of the UFC). And yet, to my knowledge, no Aikido specialist has ever used Aikido to win a fight in the UFC. Some say that’s because Aikido is not a sport. OK, fine. I defy you to find a single Youtube smartphone video of an Aikido specialist successfully using his art to defend himself in an actual street altercation (in contrast to an abundance of such videos featuring BJJ, Kung Fu, Muay Thai, Karate etc). Don’t get me wrong, I like Aikido. In fact, I studied it long enough to get a black belt. And sure, some of it can be quite effective in certain situations (e.g. some of the wrist and arm locks have been successfully used by the police when making arrests). But, in order to be effective as a fighter, you must have a realistic understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each martial art style you study. Moreover, you must have a realistic understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses. Aikido quite simply was not designed to deal with the likes of Randy Couture, who is proficient in Greco-Roman wrestling, dirty boxing, and submission wrestling. This is especially the case when it is practiced by an out-of-shape 60 year old action star with zero professional fighting experience.