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Aikido is a wonderful art. I think it is often misunderstood. We seem to be a contradiction and as a result misunderstood. We run around throwing people in the air, pinning them to the ground, and talk peace and love.
I had a conversation once with a friend after class, who visited the class, and heard the Sensei instruct to the class, while in the mist of pinning a student, "We pin with love, this is a loving stretch." All the while, the student was wincing in pain.
It was hard for my friend to make sense of that. He felt that this was odd, a contradiction. He felt that if you pinned someone you should say things that matched you behavior, like lines from "Fight Club" or something. I disagreed. I told him it was all about attitude, not having a violent attitude.
The correct attitude is the result of more positive thoughts, like pinning with love. Your mental attitude isn't overtly aggressive or mean when doing a technique. It is just the opposite. That doesn't mean to lighten up on the intensity of your skill. It means being in control of your attitude. I told him an aggressive attitude does work to a point, but beyond that you are red-lining. I preached that an uncontrolled or unrefined attitude interferes with being in control of the situation. Therefore, you want to stay calm, relaxed, focused, and not waste your energy when doing Aikido. That way you stay concentrated and intense not allowing distractions to take play. If you do, you might regret it as your opponent will take full advantage of that opportunity of being distracted to turn the tables on you. When in control, your reflexes work better, your body works better and all that stuff. I told him the mind is the King, and the body is the follower. Where the mind goes, so does the body.
"See there isn't a contradiction in Aikido." I said. "We can perform a martial art with peace and love, without having a brutal combative mentality. We are not out to kill, or hurt." I told him. "Rather we are out to control the situation." I gave the example, we do things like a police officer does, rather then say a professional fighter. We seek to control in a less agressive way. I said, "it can't be done with hectic and noisy mind. See, we are not a contradiction just misunderstood."