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Old 04-12-2006, 11:16 AM   #9
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Mark Freeman wrote:
For me Aikido is 'more than' a 'martial' art. ... My own teacher says he is not teaching a 'martial' art he is teaching aikido which is something else. ... 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.
Finding breathing space for relevant attention in the whirlwind of modern life (itself a cause of manifold problems) is not a small task. My sense of the art calls me to be prepared to relent only when my partner is at the point of my sword -- not before, else my mercy and love are mere theoretical, abstract exercises, that easily become ego-saving covers for fear and a timid heart.

As Kevin said:
I think we must explore the "darkside" of things somewhat to understand the totality of peace.
I think this is a strong intuition as to where O-Sensei's mind was, and what he intended for his art and those who practice it to dwell upon. Creating a desire, indeed, almost a joy, (after one is comfortable with the flow of strong attack) to enter aggressively into conflict without first provoking the killing rage to drive it -- that is the art, harnessing the force behind such rage, instead of loosing it unheeded or simply stopping it up in fear. It seems to me that it is the joy of love, not of play, nor in idle exercise, but of abandonment of self for Other, wedded to the same dangerous power that rage can also channel, which allows us to what we do in the best of our art.

Perry said:
I believe that even the nastiest of men, the ones who would destroy lives with out blinking an eye would baulk at committing such atrocities if their families were in their path, why? Because of the love they have for them.
Would that it were so, Perry, and perhaps it often is, but a great deal of very sad history, and much domestic violence does not support your premise as a uniform case of retraint. Too often the easiest targets for venting of rage from other sources flows into the nearest and weakest channels as an outlet. More to the point, this is an argument of prior restraint. Despite appearances and conventional assumptions, I do not understand O-Sensei to have taught restraint, but rather harmony. Harmony with a attack, large or small calls for an unrestrained acceptance of the attack. If we hold some part back from our acceptance of the attack AS IT IS, we commit the first error of every bad technique.

Ian said:
Without a moral code I think there is a tendency to live selfishly and animalistically which, for some reason, we tend to find detestable. However finding a code which itself cannot be corrupted is difficult and therefore I think we are always left having to work out life for ourselves.
Codes are dead pages and are not immune to being made tools of "selfish, animalistic desires" (speaking as a lawyer). I do not think we can rest comfortably in the rigidity of codes. I know I don't, and I know them all too well. There are human energies (internal and external) constantly at work to darken and undermine the noblest codes, as Thalib's note about western chivalry as a cognate to budo indicates.

As I read these posts and my initial trope of water power unleashed, I am struck by its applicability in light of the responses: hidden potentiality, continuous, building and unrelenting pressure as it is allowed to deepen, its need for outlet, and its inherent desire (nature) to flow downward (undermining its restraints unseen in the dark, deep places), and its irresistible flow if not channeled, coninutously used and kept to a manageable level. Lao-tzu is out there whispering somewhere stilll, I suppose.

Just some further thoughts.

Erick Mead
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