David Skaggs wrote:
From "The Aikido FAQ"
"Whenever I move, that's Aikido."
O Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba
Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (often referred to by his title 'O Sensei' or 'Great Teacher'). On a purely physical level it is an art involving some throws and joint locks that are derived from Jujitsu and some throws and other techniques derived from Kenjutsu. Aikido focuses not on punching or kicking opponents, but rather on using their own energy to gain control of them or to throw them away from you. It is not a static art, but places great emphasis on motion and the dynamics of movement.
Upon closer examination, practitioners will find from Aikido what they are looking for, whether it is applicable self-defense technique, spiritual enlightenment, physical health or peace of mind. O Sensei emphasized the moral and spiritual aspects of this art, placing great weight on the development of harmony and peace. "The Way of Harmony of the Spirit" is one way that "Aikido" may be translated into English. This is still true of Aikido today, although different styles emphasize the more spiritual aspects to greater or lesser degrees. Although the idea of a martial discipline striving for peace and harmony may seem paradoxical, it is the most basic tenet of the art.
I did, why were you vague?
Mike Sigman wrote:
Are these men practicing Aikido?
Is there another martial art that emphasizes harmony?
What one usually means when asking for a definition is a set of necessary
conditions. It may
be necessary that the art be Japanese and have been founded by one Morihei Ueshiba. It may
be necessary that such an art have been derived from Kenjutsu and jujitsu, but I do not think that it is sufficient or necessary to say that it
emphasis es harmony. This is epically due to the fact that so many disagree about what this truly means. Maybe some or most practitioners of the art do, but given that some do not, it cannot be a sufficient condition. And what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for a word like harmony? The problem here is that agreement on what aikido is is dependent on what our idea of what harmony is. Remember that words are merely conventions, they do not say anything about the nature of a thing.
And about other martial arts emphasizing harmony, again that is going to depend on how we define harmony. If someone is trying to shoot me or somebody else, I would say that it would be harmonious (given that this person is threatening the lives of myself or others) for me to draw my .357 on his dome and spatter cherry pie against the wall, due to the fact that he has disrupted the social order and has to be corrected. Others would not.
Are there men who are practicing aikido who are not concerned with others (by others I mean their instructors and fellow students) idea about the philosophical implications of aikido and how that squares with "harmony"? Surely there are. I don't really care about the philosophical ideas behind the art. I got a degree in philosophy, and I for one am tired of normative ethics. If we do have to make it square with some idea of harmony, I say we put the harm
back into harmony.