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Old 07-05-2006, 01:55 PM   #14
mriehle's Avatar
Dojo: New School Aikido
Location: Stockton, CA
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 320
Re: Poll: Does aikido contain any philosophical principles not present in any other budo?

I voted "yes".

Not because there are individual philosophies in Aikido that are exclusive. There aren't, IMO.

But because there is a synergy of philosophy that occurs in Aikido that - if not exclusive - is certainly unique. My exposure to martial arts has been broad, if shallow for most arts (Karate, Judo, Aikido, Kung Fu [sort of, I'm not convinced, now, that it was more than fancy karate], boxing, wrestling). Of these, only Judo and Aikido are arts I can claim any in-depth knowledge of, but the exposure is nonetheless there. And even the arts I have not trained in, I've spent more than a few hours in philosophical discussions with practitioners of the arts, enough to have a pretty good handle on the attitudes.

One difference - especially with Karate - is that most of these schools talk peace, but don't mean it. They teach you how to beat people up, then tell you not to. More than one Karateka I've known over the years has claimed a peaceful attitude, but buys into the "beat-the-tar-out-of-the-enemy" idea in a big way. Overcoming this dichotomy is what, I think, makes Aikido unique. Or, at least, the attempt to do so.

Because - let's be honest - even for those of us who sincerely pursue overcoming this dichotomy, how many of us succeed?

Learning not to view the person attacking you as the enemy. Learning to do so without giving up your right to not be attacked. Learning to promote your own personal safety without resorting to what most of us think of as self defense. These are not easy things to do. Often, they are not possible. But I believe they are possible more often that some people think and are always worthwhile goals even when they are not possible.

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