What I’m about to write is nothing new. Firstly, we as humans, have a moral obligation to avoid conflict and violence, but not assertive, albeit duly respectful, confrontation where it is due.
When constructive and respectful interaction fails, the ice starts getting thin fast. We have two options. We can be cowards and run, leaving others to become victims and face deadly music. Or we can enter the fray. Entering carries certain responsibilities. None less than having at least half a clue what to do when you get in there. If not you are merely presenting yourself to become a victim.
The vast majority of humans on the planet are victims. Real democracy is a long way from arriving. When people fail to realise that they are the political masters and not any external leaders, they fail in their responsibilities as participants to democratic process. This, however, does not mean anarchy, but the very opposite. There has to be a participatory meeting of minds. Ki-no-musubi is more than a fancy quote to recite at quasi aikido meetings. Much more. Until democracy becomes a democracy of souls, a community of responsive and responsible individuals with clarity enough to find the best common goal, it will not have arrived.
And that’s why we have active violence of the grossest kind on the planet. It comes from mental illness and the madness and hubris it brings is toxic in result. Perhaps one day we will get there. That will be the beginning of humanity.
Meanwhile, violence exists. All manner of violence. Much of it cannot be simplistically dealt with by use of force or techniques of jutsu. Children are hard pressed to defeat abusive parents. Beaten partners return to be beaten again. People in positions of responsibility and service imagine that they have “authority,” and abuse it daily. And so on.
Violence is not human behaviour. Its tendencies originate in the ancient brainstem, or reptilian R-complex.
There are whole areas that need addressing by more than a handful of people, rather everyone. As I said, we have a long way to go.
Violence is a reality of life. Acknowledging this fact and preparing for contingencies heals the soul. Especially of those practicing. That’s a good start.
We as species have been starting for a long time. Whether that makes us insane or persistent towards an ideal, I do not know. But it appears to be a noble endeavour. Protecting those who can’t protect themselves seems to be good work. In nature, generally these are expended, attacked, cast adrift and bullied. Some less-than-human individuals and nations still live by this law of the jungle, but they will also disappear by it as well. What we do comes around and bites. What we sow, we end up reaping, and this multiplied. History has proven this again and again despite the living-in-denial of the foolhardy and arrogant.
The primary and perhaps only immutable law of the Universe is no law other than the law that holds you to the laws you make. In the face of this law, no other laws are needed because they will all be subject to it. Hence the adage, “Do unto others as you would they do unto you.” A basis for identifiable practical harmony.
The conundrum of violence is as old as man. The existence of violence is as ancient as beast. And the fact of intense forces clashing, as eternal as the universe itself.
The two extremes are that of predator and prey. In unreasonable human humans, bully and victim, albeit at times unconscious. Humans have the ability to rise above this symbiotic codependent entrapping disease. It is easy to be a victim. Simply comply and cow tow despite the burden of conscience and pain. Just as it is facile to be a bully and find voluble, bullshit arguments to justify bad behaviour.
Sensitivity is another thing. As with true skill. These require vigilant practice, fine tuning, trial and error and honesty about real respect. It may not be easy at our current level of evolution. But it is possible.
To transcend the bully and victim disease means to consciously address the problems that exist. To effectively protect, without simply becoming a perpetrator is a finely tuned matter that is not given as a gift, but rather a skill that has to be constantly earned and the boundaries endlessly tested. It means the restoring of harmony and not only the greater good, but all good. This includes everyone. There are no “them” that are not an integral part of us, and if we play the game of violence, it ensnares us as surely as death which in the end, will remove us and reclaim the dust particles that, on loan, for the time being, give us our form. And time, the great leveller, waits for no one. Our days are numbered. How we use them will, or may, make some measure of difference.
When choosing to get involved in a confrontation, assuming there is a choice: time is of the essence. So also is clarity. When violence of any kind erupts, you have a time credit of just two seconds. After that, every millisecond that passes, becomes a debt. Not only a time debt, but an energy debt as well. (Gavin de Becker’s book, “Just Two Seconds,”) in not many words provides some immense and essential perspective on the subject. I consider it essential reading. Particularly if you are truly Budo oriented and putting your Budo into practice as an active protector and not merely an academic.
Finalization, the successful and sustainable stopping of a detrimental current of energy, is the essential attribute of restoring whatever measure of harmony may have previously been extant, no matter how poor the quality of that harmony. Indeed, it was the poor quality of harmony that led to its demise. Knowing this fact, as human beings, it places the responsibility of MAINTAINING a high standard of incorruptible harmony, entirely on our shoulders.
Kime, comes from the Japanese word kimeru, which implies “To decide in an instant.” To be able to successfully make a correct decision in a split instant. The ancient adage: “First win then fight,” carries a measure of defining the essence of kime, in that, strategy and regular practice are intertwined in a constant vigilance of spirit to unlock the secrets of true Budo, “The constructively creative Budo that is the work of the Kami and our interactive responsibility…,” and the, “Diligent, nurturing and protection of life and the family of humanity..,”
that the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, repeatedly attempted to remind those who would listen.
Ideally, the termination of intense discord has to be achieved in an instant of kime. To this end, all Budo practice, and especially Aiki Budo, must focus on disillusioning the mind to understand the difference between factual actuality and practice drills; training and reality; and the energies involved.
To become able to apply the implementation of augmented harmony, far in advance of violence erupting, so that it cannot erupt, is the truest Budo. Not by means of tyranny, which ultimately foments greater violence; rather the best Budo being that of socially responsible nipping in the bud of the causes of violence, such as poverty, ignorance, disease and inequity and so on, by works that heal.
This forward seeing preemptive awareness that enables fast and early “chess,” is a study of strategy and positioning which excludes all violence including our own.
It is little wonder that Minamoto no Yoshimitsu and his brother Yoshiee, possibly the revivers of aiki, if not the originating progenitors, were in fact battlefield strategicians, horsemen, archers, swordsmen and inspired practitioners of a jujutsu methodology that not only survived the ravages of a thousand years of wars; but was taken up and refined by inspired and socially cogent mystics, awakened minds and practical philosophers, such as Morihei Ueshiba.
Let this treasure not be lost to the world.
“It is best to win without fighting.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.
There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.
You cannot stop innovation.
For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.
What is essential in war is victory, not prolonged