“Expanding and Refining the Notion of Self-defense” by Stanley Pranin

The article below has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe that an informed readership with knowledge of the history, techniques and philosophy of aikido is essential to the growth of the art and its adherence to the principles espoused by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

Self-defense can be defined as the protection of one’s life and/or property against an attack. In cases where people take active steps to safeguard themselves and their possessions, fear is often the strongest motivating factor. Take the example of a young man who decides to join a martial arts school or self-defense course. Most likely he is driven by apprehension due to some perceived vulnerability such as small physical size or weakness. Perhaps he has recently been the victim of an attack at the hands of a bully that has left him injured and humiliated in the eyes of his friends. As a teenager, I personally witnessed one such violent incident. Even though I was not the victim, the fear I felt at seeing the perpetration of violence at close hand proved to be the deciding factor in getting me to join an aikido dojo.

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