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As my practice of Aikido goes along, I have noticed that my perception of the world has changed. Often times, randomly, I will see something, and a thought pops into my head of how Aiki principles are demostrated, or how they are missing. Whether its politics, the recent news headlines, a tv show, or some mundane thing in my life, I usually annoy my wife with these ideas, but from now on, I will place this burden on the world that is my dojo. Onegaishimaaaaasu.
Recently in Japan, now is the time for the mating of the Tsubame, or Swallow. I like these birds because of their amazing manueverability and their song is nice too. They like to build thier nests anywhere under an overhang, so they ARE just about everywhere; right outside of the door to the convenience store, right above the platform at the train station; especially at the train stations. You always have to watch where you are standing, so you don't have any surprises from above. I was surprised by the way that Japanese people seem to live in harmony with them. Depsite being obstructions at places of businesses, instead of knocking them down, people just put up little signs scribbled in Japanese that say "Watch out for bird poop." So, I thought this was a very Aiki way of living in harmony with nature; after all, the baby birds are so cute, and it is fun to watch the mother fly back and forth to feed them. So what if everyone has to change their walking path, and park their bicycles in different spots, or stand in different areas on the train platform!
Now, the other day, my wife found a small nest on our balcony, the mother was constantly guarding it and its babies would soon be coming out. However, my wife asked me to do something about it. Not because of the bird poop, but because it was a hornet's nest. My first thought was how can i kill it, how can i destroy it, how can i get rid of it. Why did i think this way? Why not just let it "bee" and put up a sign that says "watch out for hornet poop"? The idea that i came up with was because it was dangerous! It could sting me! It probably would sting me! So kill it!
What I see in this is how fear caused me to become violent; how just having a weapon (even though the hornet did not choose to be born that way) made me want to destroy it. In Aikido i enjoy practicing with weapons, and I do see its benefits, but I also understand and agree with those who say that practicing with weapons is not the Aiki way. The very possesion of power, of a weapon seems to cause fear and incite violence in others. Take Iraq, for instance, and the whole "Saddam Hussein might have weapons of mass destruction" thing. Now, Saddam is gone, and war rages on. (I know the issue is much more complicated than that, but I'm just trying to make a point.) Anyway, my wife didn't like the idea of killing the hornet (she's much more compassionate that I), and my homemade trap didn't work, so I ended up waiting for the mother hornet to leave the nest in search of food, then I quickly swept it off and ran inside and locked the door.
So, the moral of the story is ...its better to be pooped on by a bird, than to be stung by a bee.