Thread: Fear in Aikido
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Old 09-10-2006, 07:28 AM   #11
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Re: Fear in Aikido

Fear is an interesting concept. One where semantics come deeply into play. I think there are things that we tend to label as "fear" that are rational in nature. It is good to have a healthy respect for fire for instance. There is a rational base for that. Some might say that rational respect is fear. I don't think so, I kinda label it common sense (based on rationality).

What I call fear is assumptions and actions taken based on ignorance of the unknown. Many of our actions related to the terrorist attacks fall into this category. In the dojo we presumpt attacks with action when we are fearful of the presumed consequences of waiting. We may not possess the knowledge or the skill to respond more appropriately with the right action.

I think aikido/martial arts are a wonderful allegory and practice for helping us understand the basis of fear. As we practice to gain the knowledge of experience, we can be much more skillful in our actions and expand our ability to conquer the fear and see things for what they really are.

Not an easy feat. But I think if more people tried to "seek to understand, before being understood", as Steven Covey puts it, we would be well on our way to conquering fear in our society. To me, it is really as simple as that!

However, much that in our society is geared toward perpetuating fear or capitalizing on it. "buy this item or you will not be "in" or "cool". "no one likes fat people, buy our products and you will lose weight". "you too can be happy and free...just 39.99 a month!".

Even many of our religions are based on fear based. "you will go to hell, unless you repent". I suppose this is okay if your base belief is that God is something to fear, but frankly I think that practices should be based on love and moving towards God with compassion, than using fear as the base of motivation.

Anyway, interesting conversation on a core topic of what is important about aikido and martial arts.
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