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I don't want to go into too much detail here, but last night I found out that somebody I respect and consider a friend used his aikido skill in a largely inappropriate manner.
All in all, it sounds like it was a pretty minor confrontation, but it still shouldn't have happened. My friend and I talked about it for a bit and I think things will work out okay.
More to the point, I hesitate to judge too harshly, and I'm glad we could talk frankly about it.
I would make this a private entry, but I'm sure at least some people read my journal, and I think the questions raised by this experience are interesting.
The big question is how much responsibility do we have for each other in the dojo? I tend to be a bit of a loner, so my initial response was that what other people do on their own time is their own business, not mine.
But, I was a bit angry when I found out what happened. There is a link between me and the other members of the dojo. This is not my only social group, nor even my primary social group, but I entrust the people with whom I train with my body several hundred times a training session; they do the same for me. Additionally, we are all working toward the same goal (broadly speaking, anyway) and helping each other toward that goal.
So after a time, I've come to feel a kinship with my dojo-mates. The relationship is kinda like with a family, but not one's close, immediate family; cousins, maybe. And the bottom line is that I do care what happens with them. They seem to care what happens with me.
I don't want to overstate the relationship, for it is loose, but it is also real.
The challenge for me is to show compassion and not disapproval, and to maintain some detachment. I wasn't there, and I'm not sure how I would have handled things, so I shouldn't judge too harshly.
There is a paradox in the relationship between me and those I train with. Ultimately, I can only be responsible for myself, my actions, and my choices. But I also have a responsibility to my training partners as uke and nage, kohei and sempai.
There is a connection, the question is how much I should care beyond what happens on the mat. I think I know my answer and I'm happy with it.