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Old 04-13-2005, 10:48 AM   #62
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 799
Re: causing no (serious) harm

Joep Schuurkes wrote:
What does this imply for the practical application of aikido in self-defence?
Is it ok to injure an attacker in a non-violent, non-agressive mindset? (Or is this a logical contradiction?)
Or is the applicaton of aikido techniques in self-defence an 'incorrect' application? Is aikido only meant to hone body/mind and not meant for practical application? Implying that although it is hard to think of defending yourself as wrong, it means you failed as an aikidoka at that particular time?

I believe first and foremost, not only do you have a right to self-defense, you have a responsibility to defend yourself and your loved ones in the event of an attack. The means at your disposal to fulfill that responsibility are boundless. The method you choose from the means at your disposal is the key. As Aikido practitioners part of our training entails gaging an attack situation and selecting an appropriate response to resolve the conflict. Least possible harm doesn't mean no harm and if the situation calls for a lethal response then you are perfectly justified in applying lethal force. Aikido training provides guidelines for behavior in such situations. Self-defense is the practical application of technique based on those guidelines.

Part of the problem here is the intermingling of self-defense with Aikido. Self-defense is an art in its own right although it isn't often viewed as such. More often self-defense is viewed as a by-product of martial arts training. My wife, Mary, has been teaching self-defense for over 15 years. She bases her system on Aikido principles, easy to learn and execute techniques (not necessarily aiki) and common sense decision making. As a result of her research we have come to the conclusion that practical self-defense transcends specific martial arts. You can think of self-defense as a superset with the various martial arts styles as subsets of it.

Regarding your last question; I'd much rather walk away from an assault and ponder whether or not I've failed as an Aikidoka than be left lying bleeding and broken in the gutter.
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