Re: How aiki are we?
Well being "aiki" is about being assertive neither passive nor aggressive. Oftentimes, in order to keep from being pushed over you have to take your ground and stand up. Which will surprise people especially if you are generally a soft person. And, when you do that they criticize you for standing your ground usually with a "how dare you" type attitude. When in fact, that are just trying to manipulate you into a position of submission. There are times whether on the mat or on these boards I find it's necessary to take a strong stand. If I think someone is full of it, I will say so even if it means that a majority of posters will disagree with me. But I'm also with Mary here that you need to choose your battles. You pick the ones that matter most and stand up. And you don't back down. That to me is the irimi in aikido. There are times when its just necessary to let something go by like the endless debates on the effectiveness of aikido. That to me is a tenkan.
At work today is a good example of irimi and redirect. One of my co-workers made some really rude comments about all "those people" (implying Muslims, Arabs etc.) and immigration policies.(In context this was referencing the new terror alert.) I just spoke up and said, "I'm sorry, but I disagree, but I'm not going to debate a political issue like this at work." She responded, "But those people...." I entered again and stated, "I strongly disagree with you and I do not want to debate this kind of political issue at work." And left it at that. I didn't just ignore her or just give a tokken ditto response to appease her opinion, but I didn't engage in the debate either but I did let it be known I disagreed. I took control and ended it there. No one got upset and others in the room were probably relieved as over half our office are immigrants or 1st generation children of immigrants. That, to me is not only aiki but aikido.
But yeah, I really don't think it should be used as a pacifier to avoid a debate or an argument. "Aiki" is assertion. It's not running away from a problem and it's not going in aggressively fighting any sort of conflict either. It's asserting yourself and maintaining your dignity while at the same time bringing a conclusion to the situation. "Aiki" is about entering a conflict with a calm mind despite how heated it might get.