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Jeff Tibbetts 10-25-2002 02:10 AM

question that stumped me©©©
 
Hello everyone© I'm very new to practiced Aikido, but I've been reading about it for a very long time© I think I know a little about it, but I've been asked a question that kind of bothered me so I thought I would see what you all thought© I was telling my father ¥a middle aged conservative typical father¤ about how I had started Aikido practice, and I was trying to explain the philosophy behind it and how it's actually done© One of the first things he said was something along the lines of "isn't that like karate?"©©© This was expected and I was telling him all about the history and the idea that you should be able to help others when they try to do something they shouldn't, like attack you© It was all going fine untill he said "isn't that irresponsible? I think you have a moral obligation to stop them from going down the street and attacking someone else who doesn't know Aikido"© At first I just kind of laughed but I have to admit that from HIS viewpoint it is rather selfish© What if that person goes on to really hurt someone and I could have done more to stop them© At no point have I ever read or heard anything about this in particular, so I didn't know what to say to him© Please think about this one and help me come up with a good explanation in case anyone else asks something like this© I know it seems a simple enough question but I have a bit of a philosophical twist with it© Oh, and sorry if this has actually come up before, I haven't had a chance to read the whole board yet© Thanks in advance for your help©

Jeff

Genex 10-25-2002 02:31 AM

Hmmm, fathers have a way of making you look at things differently. for instance my father is a coppa' and generealy enjoys all the law he can cram down his throat, and my sisters for that matter who's studying to be a solicitor (there's always a black sheep) anyhoo he's done aikido as part of his training and thinks its very effective in stopping ppl especialy if he runs out of CS gas to blast em with.

My point as ever which is buried under bad grammer and a ballistic approach to punctuation is that aikido is not just about stopping yourself from getting hurt, it is a way to disarm or render your assailent harmless they'll willingly give up instead of beating them unconcious. for instance, do you know many people that will get up after a good yonkyo? is he really going to do anything else then scream and eventualy beg?

dont forget that alot of aikido moves can easily break limbs without thought, its just that were tought to think about it and so use it against them put a bit of pressure on but not snap their arms off etc...

i feel confident that if someone is raving around the street going for ppl and they happen to come upon me i'll snap their arm like a twig, not because i can but because that is the best way of stopping HIM getting hurt.

think about that, him not anyone else, sure they'll be others who might get a bashin of him but its most likely that a big gang of lads are gonna take offence and prolly knife him. so your kinda helpin everyone.

anyhoo thats how i rationalise it.

any other thought peeps?

pete

Jeff Tibbetts 10-25-2002 02:44 AM

I see what you're saying, maybe I should be more clear© I am a pacifist when it comes to personal matters© Despite what flame that might bring from some people, that's what attracts me to Aikido© If someone came at me today, or next year, chances are I would hit them untill they stopped moving© This is not a desired outcome, so I want to break that idea out of my head and replace it with another one© I've never been in a real fight and I'm proud of that, I can almost always talk people down© That's good Aikido, but there are some cases where that is not an option, and I wouldn't want to hurt or kill someone to defend myself© I know well that many of these techniques can be used to incapacitate or break bones or joints, but that's like telling me that if you punch someone in the nose they'll bleed and go away© That's a different kind of training© What I'm saying is, if done properly you shouldn't have to hurt someone too badly© But should you? You can hold someone in a pin all day long with relative ease, or you can project them somewhere else, but how do you really stop someone who wants to hurt you in a way that makes sense for everyone© I see what you're getting at in that last bit about how it's for their own good, but do you really think that's true? It's a good point and I'll think about that, but this is America ¥for me anyway¤ and we are taught to get angry or blame anyone but ourselves for our actions© I sincerely doubt that someone with the moral looseness to attack another person in the first place is going to reconsider their life goals because they can't land a blow in your face without getting tossed or pinned© They'll more than likely actually take that agression out on someone else, which is even worse morally©©© this is why this is such a tough question for me, I keep getting deeper into it©

thanks again, Jeff

Jucas 10-25-2002 03:27 AM

Hmmm… I am not sure what you're asking. I would like to understand better exactly what we could clarify for you. Does your question relate more to aikido philosophy? Moral obligation? Or, to personal values?

On a general level, Aikido philosophy is shaped by unique principles defined by each individual. It is much, much more than pigeonholing this concept into one block sum; "Trying to help other when they try to do something they shouldn't".

In Aikido's most blatant form violence begets violence. Simply, one violent act reflects and is returned, or the "natural tendency of resistance or fighting back". Perhaps, this is a reflection of society's culture or our culture as humans is fascinating, but a whole other conversation.

The notion violence begets violence, is reproduced in many of the world religions and cultures; martial arts being only one of them. Specifically in Aikido, this concept is reflected on set of values in everyday training: teaching the body to unwind, not to resist when confronted, and to blend or "absorb" (for lack of a better word) conflicts, on and off the mat. Refining the concepts even more, the simplest Aikido roots are based on the aforementioned underlying philosophies. Ex: The circular movements that connect the universe with ourselves, the principles of ma-ai (the relationship between the attacker and the defender), etc.

Trying to answer your father's question more openly; "Isn't that irresponsible? I think you have a moral obligation..."

The question posed can only be answered based on a personal level, probing one's central values, the values that define who you are as an individual. These principles, turn into moral/ethical questions when spliced into a situation, ex; "What's more important his life or mine?" These questions can be influenced/developed by outside sources, such as aikido. So, on that note, the original inquiry offered asks you to paint your own moral canvas, including the teachings grasped by your personal journey, "way", which includes Aikido.

Maybe I am misunderstanding the context in which the viewpoint is presented, but I do not understand how the original question posed, conflicts with any of the teaching in Aikido, in fact quite the opposite. Speaking from my mind, one should take into context each moment/situation a human being is presented with. Personally however, I strive to feel mutual compassion for every human being. This quality, nurtured by my interests in eastern culture specifically Buddhism, reflects and strengthens who I am through Aikido. Aikido is merely a facet for the expression of my inner person, as corny as that sounds. To often, especially in religion, a prepared belief structure often defines who a person is, not the other way around.

Presented with, the situation where an innocent victim was being attacked I would forgo my present obligations and do everything in my power to help that individual. That is not to say I would run blindly into battle, or try and maim every thug on the street. It is to say I wish no harm to anyone; attacker, attacked, human being.

Wow… that took along time to write, I hope someone reads it... LOL. More importantly I hope it makes sense.

:p

Cheers mates,

-J

erikmenzel 10-25-2002 03:51 AM

One of the things that often strikes me about questions about responsibility is that people who are not taking any responsibility at all tend to claim that they think that an aikidoka isnt taking enough reponsibility. Of course it is easier to attack or doubt someone elses responsibility instead of taking some responsibility yourself.

As for the responsibility of the aikidoka, well, we are not the guardians of the world, we are not police, judge and executioner in one. We are only human and can do nothing more than that. And every theoretical situation has a lot of theoretical drawbacks. Fortunately we only have to deal with reality and often do so without being aware of it anyway.

Ta Kung 10-25-2002 03:51 AM

Quote:

"isn't that irresponsible? I think you have a moral obligation to stop them from going down the street and attacking someone else who doesn't know Aikido"
I think you also have an obligation not to use more foce than you really have to.

You can't be held responsible for that persons actions. What if he does something the day after? Is it your fault then? If not, at what time does you obligation cease? 2 pm?

Are you moraly obligated to render him unconscious? I think not. To break his arm? Nope. Should you stop him from attacking you? Yes.

The thing is, you can't be sure he'll start a fight with someone else. You can't just knock him out because you think there's a chance he MIGHT.

Also, the police are the ones responsible for peoples safety. Not the local Aikidoka.

Just some thoughts...

/Patrik

Greg Jennings 10-25-2002 05:25 AM

I think anyone that limits their aikido to being reactive is missing the distinction between initiative and aggression.

E.g., suppose someone breaks into a house and is attacking the children living there. Does one's aikido philosophy prevents one from initiating techniques on the attacker in order to stop his aggression?

If so, I think their aikido philosophy is quite in need of revision.

YMMV,

MattRice 10-25-2002 07:10 AM

I definitely don't have the answer to this one, but my karate teacher used to say the same thing almost exactly. He said it IS your responsibility to try and 'discourage' the attacker from ever assaulting someone again. Or at least think twice.

In practice I don't think that this is a plausible theory. In my opinion, a thug is a thug and a beatin' is just going to piss him off more, unless you cripple him, or kill him....not very aiki

MattRice 10-25-2002 07:12 AM

Quote:

Greg Jennings wrote:
suppose someone breaks into a house and is attacking the children living there. Does one's aikido philosophy prevents one from initiating techniques on the attacker in order to stop his aggression?

good point, all bets are off at that point: wack the thug!

ian 10-25-2002 07:59 AM

I don't think anyone really has a moral responsibility other than to themselves, although they have a moral 'contract' with society. Saying this I'm not suggesting that we should all be selfish - it is my conviction that we are actually happier people when we are less egotistical and self-serving.

Thus to talk of defending or not defending as being right or wrong is missing the point - (in my opinion) we should act from the belief that the universe is compeletly interconnected and is actually one whole.

Personally, I would (and have) stopped someone attacking someone else, as well as attacking me. I would try to refrain from injuring an attacker, since I don't believe this would encourage them to desist in their behaviour (similarly, in christianity, it is better to change people by example rather than through violence - people usually just resent violence).

Ian

ian 10-25-2002 08:03 AM

...as a quick example, in a night club a large man was pushing people, hoping to get a response. Many people did not respond, and just walked off. However one person turned round to repreimand the bloke; as the bloke was about to respond with a punch, I couldn't help myself and just slipped in, with an irimi-nage.

At the end of the day you just do what you do in these types of situations - I didn' think, I just acted. The fact is, I'd spent years training to respond when someone throws a punch. Whatever we 'say' we will do, if we are practising aikido safely, we are actually practising to be able to deal with people in quite a non-aggressive manner. Although I have leant how to kill people, I do not practise that, and therefore I would need to bring my concious mind on-line if I was to kill - better this than the other way around.

Ian

Genex 10-25-2002 08:58 AM

Guy in the clubs sounds like a smeg head. anyhoo i think i know what your getting at jeff, i mean yeah in the states everything is someone elses fault which is a damn fool idea of philosophy and dangerous to boot. its like that guy here in england who became a peodophile because he had a brain tumor? i mean WTF!

anyhoo yeah i see that the more aggressive a person comes at you obviously the more aggressive the response, in aikido of course were taught to be calm and slow but if someone was intent on killing you to be honest you'd have a job stopping them alive, sometimes you cant stop people until you've gone to extremes (especialy if they're high or drunk) a sober person who comes at you if he gets flipped then he's gonna think twice about coming at you again and when you throw him again he's gonna say 'sod it' and bugger off, unless your really unlucky and its a nutter who's out for blood in which the best defence is a bloody good offence.

i mean yeah if someone is really after a fight at the end of the day they're gonna find it its just chance that it could be you, and if your the person inclined to think well i should be out there stopping them i have some spare tights, undies and a cape from all hallows eve last year...or you could join the police force.

pete

Kat.C 10-25-2002 10:27 AM

If someone attacks you and you successfully defend yourself, good. Now call the police. That is your responsibility, not thrash the guy until he sees the error of his ways, (even if that is what you want to do).

johnkeya 10-25-2002 12:11 PM

I do not think that aikido comes with any "moral obligations" attached to it. It is being a man that comes with "moral obligations" and I believe that these are the same for aikidoka and non-aikidoka alike. I do not think that one should look to aikido for a moral code. For me, aikido is simply a method of effectively dealing with conflict, not a philosophy of how to live my life. I do not feel that my responsibility to society has changed since starting aikido.

I expect aikido to improve my ability to handle conflict, not only physical conflict but also verbal conflict, personal conflict, etc., but that's pretty much as far as it goes for me...

SeiserL 10-25-2002 12:18 PM

IMHO, my moral obligations and responsibility to society is a personal question, not an Aikido one. We each have to decide where that line is and how we want to respond to it so we can live with ourselves. If I really beleived that someone will escalate and do more harm, and if I believed I really have the ability to respond, and if I don't have time to call the police, then I would have to live with knowing I tacitly let it go by. I would probably enter and attempt to take their balance and center and redirect them. First of course with good manners and a sense of humor. Only as a last resort, physical waza.

Until again,

Lynn

G DiPierro 10-25-2002 01:00 PM

Quote:

Jeff Tibbetts wrote:
What I'm saying is, if done properly you shouldn't have to hurt someone too badly© But should you?

...

I sincerely doubt that someone with the moral looseness to attack another person in the first place is going to reconsider their life goals because they can't land a blow in your face without getting tossed or pinned© They'll more than likely actually take that agression out on someone else, which is even worse morally©©© this is why this is such a tough question for me, I keep getting deeper into it©

Jeff, you said in your first post
Quote:

Hello everyone© I'm very new to practiced Aikido, but I've been reading about it for a very long time©.
Therein lies your problem. You will never find the answers to the questions you pose above by reading. Aikido is not a written philosophy, it is a martial art. The only way to learn its philosophy is to practice it. Your questions are good ones, but neither I nor anyone else can give you the answers here. Some have tried, but it is impossible to explain these concepts verbally. That's why we practice budo. Keep asking your questions, but realize that the forum in which you will find your answers is not on the Internet but on the mat.

JW 10-25-2002 03:53 PM

What's all this talk about obligation? Of course there's no obligation, and I mean that in terms of an aikidoist's obligation OR a human's obligation.

The real question is whether or not you are interested in helping the world out of desire for others to be happy--that's not obligation, that's honestly wanting others to not get hurt, and wanting to do something about it.

In other words, yes I think that as a person who tries to follow the way of aikido, to escape an attack and leave the guy loose to attack another is not the way to go.

(Then again we have a system to work with and instead of brutally going against it by hurting the attacker to discourage him, Kat is right that the police are the ones who are supposed to discourage him.)

I think Jeff's father is right and my answer to his question would be "just because I desire to dissapate the conflict without harming the agressor doesn't mean I'll let him loose afterwards.."

--JW

--JW

Jeff Tibbetts 10-25-2002 06:27 PM

Wow. Thanks everyone for so much response. Instead of replying to each and every post I think I'll go with the more general points that some of you made. First and foremost, I think some people interpreted this as being sort of a "shouldn't I want to hurt him or kill him" kind of thing, which it isn't. The fact is I don't want to hurt someone, but the suggestion remains that that person should be stopped, IMO. Calling the police honestly didn't occur to me at the time, again because oftentimes in American society the punishment that the attacker would receive is not likely to really discourage them, but may serve to make them "bitter at the system" and most likely encourage deviant behavior. Another thing I want to make clear is that I never meant to have you people simply enlighten me with Aikido's secret teaching on this matter, all I want is to create a discussion on the matter, and you bring what you have to the table. The fact this it isn't in books is obvious, and I'm finding more and more that mat practice is far superior knowledge than the reading. Most of what I've read so far has been more in line with what the history of Aikido is, not practice, and of course the teachings of O Sensei. I really wanted opinions, and I got them, thanks to all of you for that. Also, it's not as if I was asking you people to just answer the question for me, if there was an answer that simple I don't think the question would have bothered me. I do, however, feel that Aikido is meant to be far more than just a means of defense, if you choose to let it be. My goals may be different from many of yours, and that's fine, but one thing I like about Aikido is that at a certain level, it's a means to live a peaceful life, expressing love for all things. I think if your intentions are to be the most effective fighter and that's it than you may be better off in another art. That's fine, too. I researched many martial arts and found this one to be very different, even if it's hard to tell WHY. Anyway this post is getting long, I digress for now. Please, let's keep this discussion going.

Jeff

johnkeya 10-27-2002 11:54 AM

I think that I do have a "moral obligation" as a human being. As a human being I have an obligation to be a productive person. My motivator is my own happiness. I do not believe that anyone else can lay claim to my life. My obligation to be productive stems from what it means to be a human being, not from any duty to others. I study aikido in order to better be able to protect my right to pursue my own happiness. If I thought that my study of aikido made me responsible for the actions of every thug on the street, or for the safety of others, then I would quit today.

May I ask what it is about being an aikidoka that makes one morally responsible for the safety of others?

Jeff Tibbetts 10-28-2002 01:26 AM

John. It's not that I think you should be responsible for others, it's that I think I should be responsible for others. If you look back on my first post and put yourself in the conversation I was having with my father, when he asked if "that's socially irresponsible" some poeple might say "yeah, but so what". That's fine if you want to be that way, but at least ask yourself if you really believe that. I agree that many of us began and continue to practice Aikido to make ourselves more complete or better, but the question is aside from that. I want to know more about what you think that training means for the rest of society. If everyone knew Aikido it wouldn't be an issue, but the point is that it's somewhat selfish to train to defend yourself and nothing else at all. At least, that's what my father would say. The fact of the matter is that at it's core Aikido is a peaceful art, where one strives to NOT hurt the attacker in this case, as the highest goal. Karate or some other martial art would stop at the point where you stop the other person, but Aikido goes one further and says you should help them. What I'm trying to get at is does this make it a "selfish" art in the sense that sometimes it may be better for society to do something other than help the aggressor, or is there some other thing that I'm missing entirely?

Kevin Wilbanks 10-28-2002 02:46 AM

I think you are getting a little word-happy. "Helping" the attacker certainly doesn't mean handing him a weapon and pointing out other potential victims. I think in whatever sense you have read 'help' it probably meant more in the sense of helping them to become a person less likely to be an attacker or to do it again.

Practically speaking, if you practice Aikido for a while, you'll probably come to realize that using it to thwart someone bent on doing you serious harm in a way that's successful is probably going to involve some serious pain and injury for the defeated assailant. I imagine it would often be moreso than if you had, say, punched and kicked them a few times. If you think you'll have the luxury of gently easing a serious attacker to the ground and walking merrily on your way - much less have time to contemplate the cosmic moral implications - I think you're talking more in terms of cinematic fantasy than reality.

There is a large element of 'what comes in, goes out' in Aikido. If one comes in hard and fast, most of that energy - often plus some - comes out, and that might be in the form of hitting the ground face-first or on the shoulder, not to mention any furniture/objects that might be in the way. Torn-open joint capsules and tendon/ligament ruptures from some techniques are also a definite possibility.

Finally, if you really feel that you bear so much personal responsibility for everything that happens in the world that this is a major issue for you, I pity you. I am prone to this tendency to some extent, and I know that it can be a great and needless burden - one that is ultimately based in egotism. Just in case it might save you some time, let me assure you that you are not a god, a superhero, a savior, or a great leader of men. You are just a person - a creature on a planet full of creatures, some of which are cooperative, some competetive, and some mind their own business. You are neither responsible for, nor capable of effecting in any signifcant way, the whole human race, history, or the course of society. Saving everyone and solving every problem that enters your awareness is not your job. Relax. Take a load off.

Bruce Baker 10-28-2002 05:17 AM

opportunity, and choice
 
The question your father posed is to make you think.

The answer is Opportunity ... and Choice.

You cannot affect a situation if you do not have the opportunity, and you cannot affect a situation if you don't make a choice.

Most old timers will try to evoke a response that is designed to make the younger person become aware of his/her choices, ability to carry out actions of those choices, and see both the probable outcome verses the actual outcome of those actions.

The morality of choosing to intercede, or make the local authorities aware of a dangerous situation, or even to thrust yourself into a situation and change the outcome is knowledge acquired through experience, or learning. Don't expect to have the answer to all questions, I am sure you Dad doesn't, but this type of question is to bring your awareness to understand the complexity of interceding within the moral obligations of your society or act within your beliefs ... whether he consciously knew he was doing this or not.

Since you have never been in a knock down drag out fight with someone who is intent on killing you or doing you bodily harm, you will wonder if your training will keep you from being harmed or killed ... it will not.

Sad as it may be, you throw the dice and you take your chances ... with training, skill, and knowledge we decrease the chances of being killed or harmed, but still, that is part of being alive ... coming to grips with our mortality.

Continue your learning process, but become aware of your morality to affect your choices, verses the outcome of your actions. Take into consideration the alternative ways to affect a situation besides direct intervention ... this is usually the point most parents try to drill into their children to increase their chances of long life ... increase the chances of their survival in a limited lifetime.

Remember, Choices ... and Opportunity.

Don't forget to tell your parents that you love them for caring.

(That works the best when they are trying to teach you something even they don't understand)

johnkeya 10-28-2002 10:15 AM

"he asked if "that's socially irresponsible" some poeple might say "yeah, but so what". That's fine if you want to be that way, but at least ask yourself if you really believe that."

No I don't really believe that. I don't believe that protecting myself is "socially irresponsible" to begin with.

"...but the point is that it's somewhat selfish to train to defend yourself and nothing else at all."

There is no such thing as "yourself and nothing else at all". I do not exist in a vacuum. When I train to defend my life I train to defend everything that is dear to me. I train to defend my freedom, my family, my right to act of my own volition etc. etc., and if I so choose, to defend a stranger on the street. Yes this may be selfish. So what.

"The fact of the matter is that at it's core Aikido is a peaceful art, where one strives to NOT hurt the attacker in this case, as the highest goal. ....Aikido goes one further and says you should help them. What I'm trying to get at is does this make it a "selfish" art in the sense that sometimes it may be better for society to do something other than help the aggressor, or is there some other thing that I'm missing entirely?"

I don't know that to "not hurt the aggressor" is the highest goal of aikido. As I understand it, the goal of aikido is to restore harmony. Whether or not the aggressor gets hurt is, in theory, up to them. And maybe I am missing something but where does it say that I must help the aggressor (other than to help them see that using force against others is wrong)?

Jeff Tibbetts 10-29-2002 12:16 AM

hmmm... some new things to think about. Kevin and Bruce, you both brought up some very good points that I will think about. Keep in mind that I'm presenting this as my father's argument, I have really come to some conclusions about it myself, but I want to hear how you would all respond to my father. John, from what I understand of what Aikido is, it's a better thing to stop an aggressor without killing them or hurting them. If they just won't stop without their death than they choose that themselves, and I would prefer not to be the one to bring it to them, but if they do it to themselves than that's what happenes. I never would say that I could predeict or even reasonably conjecture what would happen in a real fight, but from the expressed goals of the founder the best end to the situation would be the one that brought the least pain or injury to the attacker and attacked. This may be more implied than stated, but this is at the root of what makes Aikido different. If you simply want to take down or neutralize an opponent with no thought the consequences or their well-being, why do Aikido at all aside from a belief that it's more effective? I study this art to encourage a peaceful frame of mind and a balance in my life, if I wanted to be brutal, aggressive, and warlike there are MANY other martial arts out there. Another thing that I think is important in Aikido is the understanding of the order of things, and our place within that. Again, if you only care about yourself and things that directly relate to you, what is your reason for studying Aikido? That said, I think most people do not have the tendency to think of the attacker in a hostile situation, myself included, but I want to add that to myself. I'm not saying to think about why they're doing what they do and feel sorry for them to the point where you forget they're trying to hurt you, but just do what you need to to defend yourself. If it comes to a fight, of course I want to defend myself or others, and I would do what I need to do. All I'm saying is that I want to increase the odds of the conflict being resolved with little or no injury to anyone. After the fact one can get into the other stuff, what should you do to stop them hurting someone else, etc. I think that the conflict itself is really another issue and has hopefully been discussed elsewhere, what I'm addressing is that aftermath and how to deal with it. Sorry if this isn't making sense, I'm very tired... Thanks again everyone for the responses. What do you all think about the moral goals of Aikido, during and after the fight, as it were. Am I being painfully naive in thinking that it's a better thing to stop the fight with less injury than to hurt them badly? This is, as has been said, dependant on their intentions, of course.

johnkeya 10-29-2002 12:14 PM

Quote:

John, from what I understand of what Aikido is, it's a better thing to stop an aggressor without killing them or hurting them. If they just won't stop without their death than they choose that themselves, and I would prefer not to be the one to bring it to them, but if they do it to themselves than that's what happenes. I never would say that I could predeict or even reasonably conjecture what would happen in a real fight
I agree so far.
Quote:

but from the expressed goals of the founder the best end to the situation would be the one that brought the least pain or injury to the attacker and attacked. This may be more implied than stated, but this is at the root of what makes Aikido different.
This is where I start to disagree. I do not feel that the best end to the situation would be "the one that brings the least pain". This is really irrelevant. As said before, the amount of pain inflicted, in theory, is up to the aggressor. My only concern should be to restore harmony, and hopefully aikido will give me the ability to do this with surgical precision when faced with conflict. Causing more pain than is necessary is not restoring harmony, it is creating conflict and makes me the aggressor. Once harmony has been restored (any pain involved was brought about by the aggressor) then I have nothing else to do.
Quote:

I think is important in Aikido is the understanding of the order of things, and our place within that. Again, if you only care about yourself and things that directly relate to you, what is your reason for studying Aikido?
This is not only important in aikido, but in life as a whole. But how can I possibly care for something that doesn't relate to me? That is impossible. It sounds nice and lovey-dovey but really doesn't make much sense to me. When you sat down at breakfast this morning did you check with the entire planet to see if anyone else needed some food first? Do you check with the entire human race to see if anyone needs anything before paying your rent or buying some underwear? I can only act within the scope of what I know and I can only seek that which brings me happiness. This does not mean that I do not care about anyone but myself, it means that without first caring for myself I can't very well care for anyone else. In the simplest terms, I study aikido in order to be able to keep "my" universe in a state of harmony. Sounds kind of corny but that's really what it boils down to.

Of course I am a relative newbie and my understanding of aikido will most definitely continue to evolve, but this is how I feel about it at the moment.

I hope that I haven't beaten the horse too much but I enjoy these "philosophical discussions" because they help me put my own beliefs in perspective...


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