Eric Simmons wrote:
Which literally means "not enfolded within" -- and thus -- I disagree. What distinguishes Aikido from -- say aiki-jujutsu is a matter of training in a certain type of motivation -- which is not "self" defense. Aikido is both explicitly and implictly ethical, and on both subjective motivational grounds and objective moral and practical grounds.
"The secret of aikido is to cultivate a spirit of loving protection for all things."
Aikido is fully commited action driven by karuna, agape, the unconditional spirit of loving protection -- however you prefer to describe it. Slightly built mothers lift automobiles off children from this motivation. Aikido is training in this habit of mind and soul.
It is budo and therefore should be just as aggressive as the mother is toward the car; and as fiercely tender as she toward the object of her protection. If training departs from this spirit -- in either dimension -- and lacks in either fierceness or tenderness, it is neither truly budo nor truly aikido. For the record I have seen this spirit manifest in every system of aikido I have trained in. It is there to be had.
Easy categories do not exist in budo, nor in aikido as an expresison of it.Injuries may happen in any physical pursuit, and are not the measure, standing alone, of the ethical aspects of practice, although they should be avoided in proper practice. After a couple of warnings or demonstrations of a serious problem in technique or ukemi, if uke or nage persists in a course of conduct that will get him or her injured in a serious confrontation --- it is necessary to HIT/THROW/PIN HIM -- as the only apparently effective explanation of his danger -- and for his own protection.
This is ethical, loving behavior -- it is also violent -- it is also protective. In practice, it may intend pain -- it should not intend damage.
Apart from its spiritual commendations, the spirit of loving protection is the strategic root of the disregard of one's own life that true budo should properly instill, and which is particularly distilled in and in my opinion, most distinguishes aikido from other arts.
Ethics should make sense. That is to say, it should demonstrate objectively superior advantages to unethical conduct and not merely make one "feel good" about losing.
That degree of complete and loving commitment in an encounter can overcome a host of objective advantages. Those advanatages are precisely disabled to the extent the opponent does not immediately match that degree of commitment with his own.
Aikido schools us not to calculate in our commitment to the encounter but to enter it fully (irimi). Since predatory behavior is invariably calculated behavior, even at very animalistic levels -- there are inherent flaws in the predatory strategy of attack that the ethical spirit of loving protection can reliably and routinely turn around (tenkan) even when there are vast physical advantages.
Them's my thoughts.