Friday, February 21, 2014

Merritt Stevens Aikido

Once upon a time (about 30 years ago) in a land far, far away (Ohio) there was an aikido teacher named Merritt Stevens.  Stevens sensei had a major influence on the development and spread of aikido in the Midwest.  Merritt's son, Moe still teaches in Ohio - look him up.
Merritt's work appears to have dealt largely with self-defense and perhaps tactical police application of aikido.  One piece of Stevens' work that is still referenced fairly often in the Texas and Oklahoma aikido crowd is what they call "The Merritt Stevens System," which was intended to be a rapidly teachable (hours-not-months) and applicable condensation of Tomiki's work.  The Merritt Stevens system is remarkably elegant while being technically minimal (only 10 techniques vs. 3 attack forms) and based on gross motor skills (like sidestep, raise your hands, and push forward).  It also answers the 2-3 most common Habitual Acts of Physical Violence.
The Merritt Stevens System (as I've seen it) includes -

Defenses against an overhand right punch to the head (most common street attack) -
  • tenkai oshitaoshi
  • kotegaeshi 
  • gyakugamae ate
  • aigamaeate
  • tenkai kotehineri
  • wakigatame
Defenses against a left jab or overhand punch (in case you sidestep wrong or they throw a left punch) -
  • shomenate
  • shihonage
  • kubiguruma
Defense against a shoulder/chest/lapel push/grab (#2 most common street attack) -
  • kotemawashi udegatame

Good 3-part instructional on Merritt Stevens System -

3-part video of Stevens teaching Tomiki's Junana -

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Patrick Parker


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I really miss Merritt. I studied under him in the 1980s.


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