Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
I have the feeling that you guys believe that there is a built-in ethical component to aikido that prevents aikido from being used in any context except that of peace and harmony, as a westerner would understand this. I disagree completely.
I think that this is the area in which there is the greatest gap in understanding between the way in which O-Sensei understood the values of what Aikido represents, how the Japanese practitioners in general understand what they do, and what the folks around the world have understood it to be.
Saotome Sensei used to do demos around the country back in the seventies... one time he had just finshed a very martial demo with Ikeda Sensei as uke and a woman came up to him and informed him that he hadn't understood O-Sensei's message at all... He was, of course, stunned to find that there were people all over the place who, after reading the very minimal amount translated into English that were authored by the Founder, felt that they understood him better than someone who had trained directly with him for fifteen years. The fact that Sensei had been a deshi, was a native speaker of the language, had a common cultural connection with the Founder made no difference. I have been present when various senior Americans stated that the deshi of the Founder hadn't understood his teachings... While I am not in total disagreement with that statement, the assumption that we as Western practitioners do
"get it" is groundless. There simply isn't enough information to make that assumption. There is certainly enough information available to know that many Westerner's ideas of what O-sensei believed is simply wishful thinking, reflecting their own ideas of what they think Aikido "should" be.