How can fighting arts used to disembowel and behead then become meditative, yoga like “spiritual paths” with cultish followings and then be considered the same thing?
What phenomenon is this?
We all know that a “throw” achieves little or nothing in a real combat scenario. The opponent simply blocks it at inception, or else gets up again with redoubled attacking power and then makes sure to get the job done. “Throws” tend to annoy real opponents.
And yet there are people on the planet who would like to imagine that a “throw” alone will really achieve something in a combat scenario.
Kuzushi has a more serious purpose.
Ever used a kansetsu waza to survive? Likely not. Mostly kansetsu waza don’t work unless used in conjunction with deadly backup. Well, they may work on little old ladies or harmless distressed mum’s at swimming pools having psychiatric episodes where paper tigers and pen pushers can feel like heroes, but when a strong male is involved, let alone a trained combatant, kansetsu and atemi are mosquito bites.
All the fancy-dancey stuff of the co-operative methods that promote themselves as this or that, might work when the victim is outnumbered simply because he is too intimidated than to do other than comply. Or in the cooperation of the social club the dojos of today have mostly become.
But you do not need specialized skills when outnumbering a single opponent. Police academies know this and that’s why nothing much about close quarters handling of violent perpetrators is taught. Lone cops walking home alone when outnumbered then become victims.
Why are there no dojos with compulsory training drills at police stations? Despite academic theories by accountants about “costs,” all it takes is one single room temporarily used for 25 minutes a day instead of watching TV and drinking overly sweetened coffee. In the field, less injustices would then occur because of fear. A frightened person in uniform, with head full of unclear concepts and theories will often make errors of judgment.
In ancient times warriors did not train to gain mere fame or to develop cults. They trained to die. They expected to die and they lived to die. Soldiers today like to imagine otherwise, but count the body bags, if they’ve not been hidden from scrutiny in lands where “freedom” is supposed to prevail.
Soldiers still exist to die so that you and I can safely and conveniently “hunt and gather” at the supermarket whilst dreaming.
Reality is decidedly different.
In all things, a mind which sees not clearly tends to place itself in a position of high risk whilst imagining itself to be safe.
Why? Why is this predisposition to delusion so prominent?
I have no idea.
This much is clear. When you think you are safe, you are usually not. When you face death, or its possibility with unmitigated clarity, depending on your personality type and training, you may or may not survive, but you are safest when closest to the opponent. The sooner you get there the better.
There exists in everyone untrained, a warped instinct which causes you to step back into a place I like to call “silly maai” because it is not safe to be there. Or to wait and hope, wish and fantasize things could be other than as they are. And then you get pounded and the barrage that follows overwhelms you. This blind complacency happens at every level, whether interpersonal, on the battlefield or international stoushes.
While you sleep, the enemy penetrates “like a thief in the night.”
There is an old saying, “Never fight a person who has nothing to lose.” Such individuals are immensely dangerous.
Ancient warriors had no illusions about life and death. Particularly in Japan, battle was akin to that of an ant’s nest. Whether anyone liked it or agreed, or not, the overall plan and outcome was more important than the rights of the individual soldier. They understood well that a soldier in the field has indeed no rights, simply duty and nothing else. Such a mindset is beyond the weaklings of today including well fed gladiators, all who want to live to hold up a trophy in the illusion of “glory.” The inexperienced have no idea.
Notwithstanding fine rhetoric, in battle, pawns are expendable. That some may survive is happenstance.
On this basis the ancients did not do battle safely. They did not hold back in battle. Kime and irimi was everything and all training revolved around it.
An interesting thing happens. After entering, the next step becomes obvious to those not paralyzed with fear. The fearful simply die.
The survivors have many things to contemplate if they continue to live on long enough to retire and manage to save their minds as well. Killing takes a toll on the psyche. The universal balance being as it is, the hungry ghosts of your victims attach and follow you, either eating your brains or seeking to be reborn as your own children. Or both. The inexorable fate of the returned soldier. Or anyone who has killed.
Those that fight with integrity and kill with compassion as may be inevitable in authentic battle, may recover sanity. In which case many unanswered questions will arise in the ensuing years. They will be long years.
Many will still fall to the ghosts that follow them, and some seek to pay their debt by adding value to society in the belated realization that violence solves less problems than it creates. In order to do so they come to understand that they must first clarify their own mind. The much maligned rhetoric using the word “enlightenment” displays the contrary condition of its users. Notwithstanding, and call it what you will, clarity is essential both in battle and in the battle that is daily life. Without clarity, the consequences of incorrect actions will exact a price.
We should all find ways to attain increased clarity.
A form of sublimation, fake battle in the form of the Budo arts emerged following the serious and harsh feudal years. A quasi therapeutic method of re-enactment that young bucks who had never faced the prospect of death immediately misunderstood; and with the frenzy that comes with testosterone overload, promptly degenerated into gladiatorial, “safe” sports where ligament damage and brain damage was substituted for the more noble full death in battle.
Some Budo did survive in its pure form and continues. It is not sport and can be easily misunderstood by an ignorant onlooker. Different people will see different things as reflected by their own internal impurities.
Only practice reveals and, may clarify the mind. And this over time as every step must be earned. In the Universe everything has its price.
And there are attendant benefits even non-warriors can access such as the yoga like health gains, physical and mental clarity and coordination, the meditative advantages of focusing, fully mindful and present in the moment, and so on.
But, there also exist risks of being ensnared by pseudo-budo. In some such cases, the risk of injury following misplaced trust in those with sociopathic tendencies hiding behind the dojo facade, who will physically abuse the sacred trust of a dojo environment by meting out deliberate injuries using novices as crash test dummies. Or the perniciously dangerous cult-mongering of the middlemen who seek some form of exploitative pecuniary or other perceived gain. Such things derail the arts and kill any benefit.
The primary weapon of both warrior and Bodhisattva is DISCERNMENT. So also the would-be budo-novice
Nobody can exercise discernment for you. You have to develop and exercise your own.
Before taking the first step, you must evaluate well the track record of your prospective instructor. As with your lawyer, doctor, accountant, priest and any other professional you would relegate your trust, make it your job to uncover and study the trail and track record he has left behind.
A teacher of any budo will have produced either masters of the art, or injured bodies and minds. You should make it your business to know this before you start.
Correct use of discernment is the entry fee the Universe extracts if you are to survive, persist and continue to gain, give and share lasting benefits in a Budo career.
Training with sensible, rational and safe people then enables this research to evolve into the Aiki possibilities that will lead on to attunement with the Great Harmony of the Universe. From that point it is no longer about words, but experience of dimensions not otherwise readily available.
There is more to Budo than merely fighting, rather the inoculating of an attitude whose increase will generate confluences that will make the use of violent means, and the inordinate and protracted global suffering violent means produce, less possible.
The actions of Aikido and other Budo training may appear somewhat similar to those remotely resembling real combat, but the result sought will be entirely different. When the motives of the practitioners is creative rather than destructive, instead of being followed by hungry ghosts; because such training reciprocally gives life and the respect due to life, instead of death; it will magnify life instead of death.
And thereby all those benefits which come with life and all that life implies, including health, coordination and increasing both physical and mental dexterity, social ability, enhancement of other valid skills, as well as many other things not available to those who do not actively and consistently train.
But in the long term Budo, the stopping of violence, needs be, has to discover and find the AiKi that is the Core Nature of the Universe Itself, if it is to be a functional Budo worth mentioning.
Repeatedly and consistently, violence has proven to be an ineffectual method for solving the problem of violence.
On this basis Budo training cannot be merely a casual pastime. Nor even a way of life, but needs be conducted as a Way of Life.