Thread: Fatal Injuries
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Old 12-04-2001, 08:14 PM   #19
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
Location: Maplewood, Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 137
"Death on the mat"

Originally posted by Ghost Fox
...Aikido is oftentime preached as being the martial art that everyone can perform. I think this encourages a lot of people who probably should not train in budo to join an aikido dojo. Budo is hardwork; it is a method for spiritual warriors to forge their body, mind and spirt. It is not for everyone.

There are various paths a person can follow to The Way (e.g. yoga, shodo), but budo is the only path where we learn to kill as we undertake our spiritual journey. Death on the mat is a real possibility. Everytime I walk onto the mat I acknowledge that, as should everyone and pray that my uke and I walkaway unharmed. By living under the blade we learn that life is truly delicate and precious. Every moment is a gift from the Divine.
Aikido is an art that anyone can learn and perform. What we are discussing is at what level particular people want to train. Obviously you take your training very seriously as evidenced by the "death on the mat" statement.

So be it.

However, the martial attitude is no excuse for dangerous and malicious behavior towards others, in fact it is a complete misunderstanding of "budo" to pretend otherwise.

"The way of the samurai is the way of death" is a statement often quoted from the Hagakure. The kicker to this statement is that it is your own death that one is confronting, not the inflicting on someone else death.

O' Sensei made many statements about Aikido giving life and being in tune with life. He also encouraged us to "practice in a vibrant and joyful spirit". Those persons who inflict injury on others in training are not practicing "budo" if we are to follow O' Sensei on this.

True there are many other paths to follow and all who desire to walk a path should be allowed to discover which for themselves. Those who choose Aikido should be encouraged whenever possible, not injured by some overly "serious" student who fails in their responsiblity to take care of their partner.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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