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I used to believe that there is inherent good in everyone.
I used to believe that my tears could heal the wounds of the world around me.
I used to believe that there is only right and wrong.
I used to believe in hero's and happy endings.
I used to believe in third and forth chances.
I used to believe that I was what other people said I was.
I used to believe that when forced to react there is no choice, this no fault.
I used to believe that if I tried hard enough I could get things right.
I used to believe that the past dictates the future.
I used to believe that my dreams would come true.
That was once upon a time, when there was that simple line between right and wrong. Stealing was wrong. Telling the truth was right and good. Hurting others was wrong. Helping others was very good.
Now, many years , tears and scars later, things are not so simple. No longer does stealing to feed your two children seem wrong, nor does helping others bring you compliments and comfort. Murder is only murder if proven beyond a doubt, prison and "correctional training" are nice and peachy. The disappearance of a child is but a whisper on the bottom of the news paper. Doing the right thing doesn't always guarantee reward or respect.
So many shades of gray, so very slippery.
We practice the "art of peace", do we not? Yet there is that trembling line that separates victim from aggressor. Things become blurred, the lines fading and obscuring, roles reversing and the old questions rising. Who is right? Am I within my rights when I am faced by a pissed off individual and I happen to assert my fist into his nose? Does he become a victim and I the attacker? Sometimes during class I'll just sit off in the corner of the mat brooding, watching as my fellow classmates work through strikes and throws and ponder things like this. Some people interpret it as being lazy, not wanting to participate. How I wish I could express the conflict. I really do…
Ah the path of least resistance? How much resistance is the least? A touch, a push, a full on throw into a break fall? I watch as those more experienced then I work through Koshi's , arms and bodies slapping against the mat. I am reminded suddenly of a quote someone had attached to their tag. It reads something like: "Aikido techniques are perfectly safe; unless your partner does not know how to break fall, in which case s/he breaks every bone in their body." Every Koshi technique screams of the violence which was being debated over the Aikido-L list. Supposing someone takes a swing at your stomach, then is it proper "least resistance" technique to turn them into a human hacky sack? I have only gotten to the point to which I will balance someone on my back, let alone have someone drop me.
How very very slippery…
We blend… meet with Uke's energy, then BAM turn it against them? Slightly Karmic? Maybe? Slightly Criptic? Maybe. I think back to all these weird situations where people make a hypothetical.. Like:
Pop Quiz: Big pissed off line backer with a knife, no way to get past him? What do you do? What do YOU do???
I have no faith in the intimidation factor from people bigger then me. I've had the shit kicked out of my by people smaller then me. So then does it boil down to intent? How am I to judge intent, to decide the proper reaction to it? Our little "Randori Session" has had me thinking about that. I was faced with a real situation of three people attacking me , and given six techniques to use. Yet I could not run, I could not even back away a few steps without losing! What a fickle line of distinction. My solution? Duck. Duck. Shihonage. Duck duck, Evade. Duck Duck, got BAM I'm dead.
I'm probably rambling but somehow it seems to work this little knot out.
It seems that I've come to that proverbial point of no return. I'm presented with what patch my journey into Aikido will take. What is it to be to me?
I feel like I'm being tested, pushed to go back into my thoughts on Satsujinken and Katsujinken. I am finally seeing the delicate lines I did not before, lines that tug at my morals and the sheltered raw human gift of destruction or preservation. I think back to something I believe Michael Hacker posted in response to a statement I made. Something like : "Why is it that Aikidoka seem to think they can skip satsu , hit GO and collect their 200?"
Is it possible that we are all hypocrites? Cynical? Or just tipsy on our definitions or moral imperatives and the two options that lay dormant until we are faced with that old fight or flight instinct?
I once believed that I could not cause physical harm, nor take the life of one who tried to harm me… even if my life was forfeit in doing so. A question was posed to me as to what exactly was my value of my own life as a pose to others.
Does my life become less important if I attack another person?
Major loss of Karma, brownie, points towards whatever galactic "tallying" system of Mortal value?
Sensei sad something that kinda rings in my head right now.. Debating with listka I got the sense of what I dub the "Samurai" Mentality.
"When two samurai fought, someone was going to die." Sensei said. Delusions, or misinterpretations? We try to adhere to a code, which in my opinion was flexible. However the value of life did not become a virtue.
The samurais of ages past did not critically weight the value of life.
So then, where is it my place to try and weigh between my life and that of he or she who threatens me? it's a philosophical time bomb. You cannot wield half a blade. Satsu and Katsu. Life and death. Can you preserve life, without accepting that sometimes to preserve life, you must extinguish a life?
Thus in Aikido, must we accept that in the heat of the moment, when we are faced with a live blade and malicious intent, that it may come to taking a life in order to preserve that of our own or our loved ones hiding behind us? Or maybe, just maybe that in the heat of the moment, the synchronized movement we practice is thrown off by a street step, our seemingly gentle technique is now suddenly the proverbially loaded gun?
So very very very slippery.
In the end….
Evolution embraces me.
God help me… my thinking is starting to change.
I was once a victim.
I was once huddled while bullies beat me, cut me, spat at me.
I thought I was right. Doing no harm despite the grave cost I incurred.
I now know that these is no such thing as submissive pacifism.. For that is a prison within its self.
I now accept that when faced with no chance of easy evasion I may have to cause physical harm to protect my self.
I know that I must decide how to face my own sub crisis of life and death, for the art I so clumsily practice.
I have to make a choice and accept that consequences.
However, the focus of my training will and has always been that of life.
I've ranted and raved.. But oddly enough things make sense now. Like pieces of giant puzzle, things are slowly falling in place. I don't expect to suddenly understand everything… but a few things would be a start right?