Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?
As always, a well thought out and thought provoking post, thanks.
For me Aikido is 'more than' a 'martial' art. Highly effective self defence is a useful side effect of an intensely personal developement art where the only opponent is oneself. We polish ourselves through constant practice, and through the polishing and honing of mind body and spirit we come to a place where we realise the futility of combat and war. Loving protection of all things, should be the mindset of the accomplished aikidoka, to protect an assailant from harm rather than destroying them is surely one of the main reasons 'peaceful' people are drawn to the art.
My own teacher says he is not teaching a 'martial' art he is teaching aikido which is something else. And as I totally respect the 50 years of study of aikido that he has done, I agree with him.
For me aikido resides in a realm 'above' the 'destructive' martial arts, this I believe comes from O Sensei's realisations of his own enlightenments through his warrior background and subsequent practice and study. We all are involved in an art that has much to offer the modern world. We owe it to the founder as well as ourselves to spread this understanding as far and as wide as we can.
Aikido philosophy provides a model or framework for all conflict resolution, it can be applied to non dojo life just as easily as it is on the mat. We can only do what we do in our own small way. But imagine how the world would look if aikido was part of the school curriculum from day one. If it was taught in prisons or the workplace?
Just a few ramblings, inspired by the post above.