“Aikido is a method of healing the tendencies of contention and augmenting those of harmonious interaction without losing the practicality of survivability.” – “In practical terms, applied Aikido accelerates the rendering of aggression to impotence sooner than it would do so by itself if left unaddressed.”
When you want to fight an opponent who wants to fight you, you have both already lost. No matter the outcome, all contenders will sustain some measure of injury. Some more than others.
This is the “fighting” paradigm, also that of “sporty-fighting.” Contention feeding false ego.
A battlefield warrior, unlike the movies, whilst trained to do business, unless psychologically unwell, tends to prefer no battle will arise. He knows he is a sacrificial drone for other interests and his chances of survival are about even, if that.
Whilst some of the very best strategic lessons are learnt in the battlefield, only a few make it to debrief. Dead men impart nothing. Valuable wisdom is thus lost. If observed by an experienced warrior, mistakes may be able to be harvested to augment strategic capabilities by learning from them.
Some individuals never make mistakes. They “don’t need to train because they already know it all.” These are the living dead but they don’t realize it yet.
The best way to learn is from your own mistakes. The second best from the errors of others.
To learn from your mistakes, you must first place yourself in a position where you can make them, and survive, in order to correct them and move on to clarity of practical understanding. Skill in action. Training is an ongoing pursuit without any end, only incremental progressions.
The dojo is the place to get your mistakes out of the way safely and then learn from them as fast as possible.
The best warriors I have known, made wise by hard experience, considered the prefered victories to be when no truculent activity occurred. They had endless strategies for achieving change without violence. Morihei Ueshiba also had this as his preferred methodology. “Avoid fights at all costs..”
Such people understand consequences.
Consequences don’t end when someone rides off into the sunset. That’s when they begin! And they will hunt you down until every jot and tittle, atom and string is paid back with interest. Make no mistake of that.
When we allow ourselves to fall into a state of contention, we have lost rational sequential context. Fallen from the paradigm of creative integrity, the balanced human part of us concurrent with the direction of universal flow (Kannagarra no michi), as it were. We become as chimps again wanting to wrestle for temporary supremacy in jungle darkness. We go back to doing things the hard way, against the flow of light (hikari) the natural expansion of the universe. The alternative is yielding to factuality which like gravity, is an incontrovertible witness to natural law. If not apprehended, the integrity of natural wisdom waits again to be rediscovered through trial and error, experience and insight over time.
Learning from mistakes and reclaiming our centre is a daily discipline.
Ueshiba was not speaking lightly but advisedly when he forwarded Masagatsu Agatsu as a basis for integrated and balanced human life.
When you don’t want to fight, or prefer not to, but are well and properly trained, (and that is the caveat, “Si vis pace para bellum..” From the Latin: If you want peace stay prepared for war), your chances of success in maintaining a just balance will increase exponentially.
Recently when comparing notes with another old wrangler, he said, “Well, some people’s lives are like Errol Flynn.”
I don’t know why the universe places some individuals in positions of high risk with greater frequency than others. Perhaps it forms part of their training. But this much I can state with clarity: If you choose to be a peacemaker instead of a “fighter” not only will you be more dangerous, not only will the universe “be with you,” but also you will be living and dwelling in a different paradigm, one that devours violence leaving only true peace behind. A guardian of boundaries not often noticed but at times somewhat uncomfortable for miscreants.
Violence is not only found in stereotypical physical brawling, but in attitudes of living that spill out in all our behaviors, be they verbal, written, circumstantial, relational and any of the social day to day dealings.
So can harmony be.
If you want to learn to fight better, Aikido is not for you. There is no contention in Aikido. Unless you are missing the point, this does not make Aikido merely non-functional shapes either. Aikido’s secret is that of unfighting. In practical terms, applied Aikido accelerates the rendering of aggression to impotence sooner than it would do so by itself if left unaddressed.
If you want Aikido’s mysteries to reveal themselves then the attitude of, “Avoid fights at all costs,” is a precondition.
After that, if engagement becomes inevitable, don’t be a coward, be unequivocal and “Let the Universe do what it has to do.”
Aikido is a method of healing the tendencies of contention and augmenting those of harmonious interaction without losing the practicality of survivability.
Whilst the bulk of it is creative maintenance, restoring harmony more intensely when no other alternative exists also forms part of The Way of The Universe. Valid, life giving infrastructures must be maintained.
There is no contest. Simply the Universe doing the business of maintaining all of Creation and whilst the paradigm of caring, protecting and maintenance of all life is paramount, it may not always be all fluffy and nice.
The innate protective power of Great Nature fulfills the requirements for restoring harmony practically, not merely rhetorically, whatever getting the job done may take. Whatever the circumstance might be. This is an ongoing flow. There can be no static stopping of life giving flow.
Each life is a creation! Protecting life is a universal mandate.
Initiating aggression is the way of the malfeasant who fail to understand that their very first victim is themselves. This is revealed when their course plays out.
Attitudes determine trajectories and eventual outcomes. The attitude of contest is a form of arrogance where participants not only underestimate opponents or intended victims, but the Universe Itself and the immutability of Its reparative processes.
Best it is to cultivate finer attitudes that produce elevated outcomes for all concerned.
False ego is denoted in attitudes which are parasitical, vexatious, duplicitous, contentious, indolent and destructive. These find that their reckoning is with Time and the Universe.
Service is denoted in skillful means of the warrior which exist to protect one’s creative mission in life and those of others. Nothing else. With the spirit of service at the helm, life navigation becomes an art that can be constantly enhanced.
Once harmony is established, it becomes easier to maintain.
The underlying Law of the Universe can be as severe as it can be merciful. It all depends which side of it we place ourselves by our actions. Harmony or discord.
Reclaiming one’s centre is the never ending, living quest of Aiki Budo training and it is a Way which when properly followed, influences outcomes towards the increase of harmony.