Recommended reading: “Improvisations: Aiki is not Always Pretty” by Ellis Amdur

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.

According to the party line in the “soft” martial arts, we lead our opponents in the direction of their intentions and desires; therefore, aikido is nonviolent because we don’t “interfere” with what they are trying to do. Somehow, though, I never quite grasped the idea that my opponent was attacking me with a plea to be wristlocked into nikyo, or flung ass-over-tea-kettle in a kokyunage throw. OK, I’m being flippant; aikido is not so intellectually vulgar. Yeah, yeah, it is instead an embodiment of principle, of the smooth and economical resolution of conflict—of doing, as the Buddhist precept requires, no unnecessary harm.

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  1. Agreed. It seems to me that when I click into aikido, the aikido finds paths that I wouldn’t in a normal state. Somebody said elsewhere that mercy implies the potential to be unmerciful. Training that doesn’t contain that potential may not work very well in a serious situation. A real attacker doesn’t know when they’re supposed to fall down.

  2. AKA….some Aikido randori.

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