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StefanHultberg
08-30-2017, 04:49 AM
The situation around North Korea is very serious and I can only imagine the fear the people of South Korea and Japan must feel. They are not alone, the world is extremely worried – and it should be. The fact that North Korea recently sent a missile over Hokkaido – sent a missile into Japan – is an extreme escalation. It made me think.

I realized there is one military strategy that I, as an aikidoka and a pacifist, can support. The truly peaceful, defensive war-machine, the aikido-branch of the military.

O-Sensei saw aikido as a tool of love, a tool of true peace. We learn to try to avoid conflict. If this is not possible then we should do our very best to minimize the damage. If we harm another being we harm ourselves. This is aikido.

Killing people I simply cannot condone. I do realize that life is complicated - I don’t know what would have happened if Hitler’s armies had been met with peaceful resistance. Was Gandhi a true peacemaker? I have weighed all the arguments I know and I still cannot condone the killing of human beings. That’s me; I respect others who may feel differently. In the end I wonder – what is worst – being killed or being a killer?

What I can condone is the complete annihilation of any military piece of equipment – such as a missile. I suggest the armies of the world explore the aikido-strategy i.e. defending oneself without harming the enemy. Do anything to develop and invest in things that kill missiles, crush bullets, ruin tanks, sink ships while they’re lying in harbor, burn bombers while they’re still on the ground, protect computers from viruses, stop biological aggressions too, neutralize poisonous gasses, makes napalm inflammable etc. Would I accept one person killed in this process in order to save millions? Probably. Would I accept a thousand? I truly don’t know.

A truly defensive, a truly peaceful military strategy would, in any case, maximize destruction of the military equipment of an aggressor (uke) while minimizing injuries and loss of life. I think this may also reduce injuries and loss of life in relation to the defender (nage/tori).

My dream of a military aikido-strategy 😊

sorokod
08-30-2017, 12:49 PM
In the end I wonder -- what is worst -- being killed or being a killer?

For your sake, if it ever comes to that, I hope you have had formulated an opinion.

ninjedi
08-30-2017, 02:37 PM
I read an interesting piece once that made a claim that many allied soldiers found dead on the battlefields of WWI were discovered to have never even fired one shot from their rifles. These men were drafted into the war and forced against their will to go into combat. Turns out, many of them would have rather died than be faced with the prospect of taking someone else's life. Makes you think.

akiy
08-30-2017, 03:59 PM
Hi folks,

As this thread is in the "General" aikido forum, please make sure to include the topic of aikido in your replies. If this thread diverges away from aikido, although you'd still be welcome to continue the topic, I will move it to the "Open Discussions" forum.

Thanks,

-- Jun

nikyu62
08-30-2017, 11:31 PM
O Sensei taught his art to the military during the Pacific War....after the war, he changed how he did certain arts and how he explained the purpose of what became called Aikido. His art was constantly changing and his task was unfulfilled as to how Aikido could create peace between all peoples of the world. We still have a lot of work to do; it is not enough to be peaceful to others, when they are not being peaceful to us.

Rupert Atkinson
08-31-2017, 03:24 AM
I read an interesting piece once that made a claim that many allied soldiers found dead on the battlefields of WWI were discovered to have never even fired one shot from their rifles. These men were drafted into the war and forced against their will to go into combat. Turns out, many of them would have rather died than be faced with the prospect of taking someone else's life. Makes you think.

And I read somewhere that this may have been the beginning of the military's interest in video games - to desensitise the population to do their bidding. Sounds a bit far-fetched, but it wouldn't surprise me at all. Maybe actually practicing Aikido and other arts prepares us for it too ...

StefanHultberg
08-31-2017, 05:32 AM
Surely aikido principles apply equally on the individual and the collective level. There are many Sun Tzu statements that appear to lie very closely to some of the stated principles of aikido, but these strategies do not seems to be that prolific in modern warfare.

I do realize that O-Sensei's aikido changed through the years, and my original post, I suspect, mostly reflect his later views, i.e. the Iwama period. The fact that I practise what today is termed Takemusu Aikido may have something to do with it.

It is funny that in so many years practicing aikido I have never inflicted any harm or pain on an aggressor, but I have inflicted a lot of pain (aaaaah, the nikkyo's, sankyo's, yonkyo's, not to mention the rukkyo's......) , without remorse, on my friends in the dojo. So it seems to be something in the line of - take your aggressions out on your mates so you can protect everyone else from yourself !!

Anyway, what if strong peaceful defence - aikido - became the military preferred strategy?

If noone can harm us we don't have to harm anyone either so to speak....

sorokod
08-31-2017, 08:35 AM
...but I have inflicted a lot of pain (aaaaah, the nikkyo's, sankyo's, yonkyo's, not to mention the rukkyo's......)


An observation - you don't mention nage-waza. Given that a strong shihonage, performed on a concrete floor may result in um.... life changing injuries, is it the case that you don't practice nagewaza at all, or perhaps you have a variation that makes shihonage , iriminage, etc safe... outside of the dojo ?

Joe Bowen
08-31-2017, 10:20 AM
And I read somewhere that this may have been the beginning of the military's interest in video games - to desensitise the population to do their bidding. Sounds a bit far-fetched, but it wouldn't surprise me at all. Maybe actually practicing Aikido and other arts prepares us for it too ...

This study done after WWII by the US Army General S.L.A Marshal drove many changes in how the US military trained and drilled marksmanship. The most notable, immediate change was to the type of target. Prior to WWII, soldiers trained to fire their weapons at circular bullseye targets at a static range. The results of the survey changed the targets to human shaped silhouettes, and varied the distances. This resulted in a higher rate of weapons discharges and improved accuracy in subsequent engagements.
The video games came much later.

Joe Bowen
08-31-2017, 10:28 AM
Surely aikido principles apply equally on the individual and the collective level. There are many Sun Tzu statements that appear to lie very closely to some of the stated principles of aikido, but these strategies do not seems to be that prolific in modern warfare.

I do realize that O-Sensei's aikido changed through the years, and my original post, I suspect, mostly reflect his later views, i.e. the Iwama period. The fact that I practise what today is termed Takemusu Aikido may have something to do with it.

It is funny that in so many years practicing aikido I have never inflicted any harm or pain on an aggressor, but I have inflicted a lot of pain (aaaaah, the nikkyo's, sankyo's, yonkyo's, not to mention the rukkyo's......) , without remorse, on my friends in the dojo. So it seems to be something in the line of - take your aggressions out on your mates so you can protect everyone else from yourself !!

Anyway, what if strong peaceful defence - aikido - became the military preferred strategy?

If noone can harm us we don't have to harm anyone either so to speak....

Stefan, Nice dreams, no doubt, but how do you define a "strong peaceful defence" for a nation?
What would be the equivalent aikido response, say, for the Ukraine to Russia taking the Crimean peninsula? Or to the fighting in Syria?
Unfortunately, dreams do not always translate well in the light of reality. Especially, when taking into account the unsympathetic, selfish others in the world.

Mary Eastland
08-31-2017, 10:29 AM
I love the first post. When I become discouraged about the state of the world and feel like crying because of how people think they need more, more, more...I remember that I believe that every time I am peaceful in conflict, let a barb slip by unattended, listen without an agenda, train at the dojo and in life I am changing the one thing I can...me.
I do believe it matters and will continue to do it.

jonreading
08-31-2017, 12:03 PM
I don't normally weigh in on these topics, but...

I don't think there are killology studies conducted on the old wars, including WWI at this point. I think most of those comments are limited to documented notes from historians after the fact. There are studies starting in WWII, but even many of them had trouble beyond "conventional wisdom" and observation conclusions. There was a US General who conducted a study similar to what was described here, but I think it had some issues with the methodology of gathering information. I would want to see any study before I made a comment. To that extent, I have read a couple of studies that qualify the "not-fired-a-shot" soldier. I think there is generally a consensus that a number of factors play a role in that phenomenon, including: training, stress, technology, and fear.

I think we need to keep in mind the consequences of war and the price that we pay when a decision is made on behalf of a country. "Defense" is a justification for action - it's something we reason to justify the action after the action happened. It's also a subjective word - defense to me may be offense to you.

ninjedi
09-05-2017, 01:41 PM
And I read somewhere that this may have been the beginning of the military's interest in video games - to desensitise the population to do their bidding. Sounds a bit far-fetched, but it wouldn't surprise me at all. Maybe actually practicing Aikido and other arts prepares us for it too ...

Far fetched indeed, since WWI ended in 1918 and the very first computer wasn't even invented until 1946 (the first 'video game' was not documented until 1958).

jamesf
09-07-2017, 12:53 PM
As a former soldier, I have a bit of a different take on this. The unfortunate truth is that war is about breaking the will of the enemy. Breaking the enemy's equipment will reduce his ability to fight, but it will not break his will to fight; equipment can be replaced, lives cannot. Eliminating leadership can also break an enemy's will to fight, but it is less effective against a military that attempts to train all their troops to be leaders.

Lighting warfare (flanking or surrounding an enemy more quickly than they can react) can also break an enemies will to fight. This would be the closest I can conceive to general warfare being "aiki", or possibly the Russian tactic of temporarily trading territory (when being attacked) for time to develop a counterattack (when otherwise unprepared). The other Russian tactic of "human waves" is definitely not aiki.

The anecdote about many WWI (or any war for that matter) casualties were found without having fired a shot from their own rifles is more attributable to those casualties not having a target to shoot at before they were killed. As to WWI, specifically, the rifles were not semi-automatic yet, which makes a soldier less willing to take a shot if he doesn't have a clear target. Even with semi-automatic and automatic rifles, it is still good ammunition discipline, but large magazines do allow for the tactic of covering fire (one half of a squad shooting nearby the enemy to keep their heads down, while the other half of the squad advances).

StefanHultberg
09-09-2017, 02:55 AM
Dear Aikidoka

So many interesting point, I will adress some of them here as best I can:

In the end I wonder -- what is worst -- being killed or being a killer?

For your sake, if it ever comes to that, I hope you have had formulated an opinion.

I think it's very difficult to form a useful opinion until one is in the life-and-death situation. My feeling and my thinking, while sitting comfortably in my sofa" is that I would rather lose my physical life than face the carmic consequences of having killed someone.

I would prefer, faced with the barrel opening of a kalashnikov or a knife-blade in my face, to sit down in seiza, calmly meditate, and face whatever may come.

If I was actually in that situation I fear I may fail, go back into full-contact kickboxing mode of my younger days, and wind up a killer. I would never know peace again.

Ironically, if someone tried to harm my wife, my mids, my grandkids - I would probably do whatever needed doing and the quite happily face whatever karma might want to throw at me.

True hypocrisy and weakness I'm afraid.

StefanHultberg
09-09-2017, 03:03 AM
Stefan, Nice dreams, no doubt, but how do you define a "strong peaceful defence" for a nation?
What would be the equivalent aikido response, say, for the Ukraine to Russia taking the Crimean peninsula? Or to the fighting in Syria?
Unfortunately, dreams do not always translate well in the light of reality. Especially, when taking into account the unsympathetic, selfish others in the world.

Strong peaceful defence for a nation is something I cannot define. An example could be a missile defence system. If these were widespread and very accurate they could dramatically reduce the threat of nuclear destruction, thus making nuclear weapons practically obsolete.

I do realize this could represent a significant geopolitical reorientation and that some believe the nuclear terror balance is all that is keeping the world "peaceful"

Neither can I define an aikido-responce for the mentioned regions. Perhaps a reorientation of military resources towards peaceful defence could, in time, help to reorient the system towards peaceful conflict resolution.

This is, after all, the principle of aikido, absorb the attacking energy, redirect it and neutralize it.

If the will is there surely someone more clever and wise than I can find the mechanisms to get the.

Peace, after all, must be the best self-defence.

StefanHultberg
09-09-2017, 03:19 AM
As a former soldier, I have a bit of a different take on this. The unfortunate truth is that war is about breaking the will of the enemy. Breaking the enemy's equipment will reduce his ability to fight, but it will not break his will to fight; equipment can be replaced, lives cannot. Eliminating leadership can also break an enemy's will to fight, but it is less effective against a military that attempts to train all their troops to be leaders.

Lighting warfare (flanking or surrounding an enemy more quickly than they can react) can also break an enemies will to fight. This would be the closest I can conceive to general warfare being "aiki", or possibly the Russian tactic of temporarily trading territory (when being attacked) for time to develop a counterattack (when otherwise unprepared). The other Russian tactic of "human waves" is definitely not aiki.

The anecdote about many WWI (or any war for that matter) casualties were found without having fired a shot from their own rifles is more attributable to those casualties not having a target to shoot at before they were killed. As to WWI, specifically, the rifles were not semi-automatic yet, which makes a soldier less willing to take a shot if he doesn't have a clear target. Even with semi-automatic and automatic rifles, it is still good ammunition discipline, but large magazines do allow for the tactic of covering fire (one half of a squad shooting nearby the enemy to keep their heads down, while the other half of the squad advances).

Mmmmm, I respect your view and find your aikido examples of Russia and the idea of flanking - which I suppose is close to the side-stepping and cut of ken awaze.

I suppose I try to see the aikido-army as the buki-dori of aikido. A deadly enemy comes to kill me armed with a sword, rifle, or a nuclear missile. The shomen uchi strike of the sword is then countered with a 90 degree turn to the side of uchi tachi and a kotegaeshi finish, leaving uke tachi with the sword and both combatants unharmed. I hope everyone realizes this is an idealized situation, my own skills in tachi dori would lead me to run like a rabbit at first sight of an aggressor with a real sword!

What the equivalent would be in the military aikido - perhaps a fighter plane firing and destroying a missile. Perhaps that would be the f-16 irimi......

In terms of peaceful war I listen to the words of some of the sages of old. My dream may be just a dream - even if dreams are the base of all reality, but there are other dreamer's more qualified:

"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" (Sun Tzu)

"To injure an opponent is to injure yourself. To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace" (O Sensei)

Surely these two masters have a point. I just think it would be wise to try to apply some of their wisdom to the military forces. I only some of it can be used, if only one little battle could be avoided, if a hundred innocent children could be spared......