I agree with everything in it. As a matter of fact I am trying to set up a trip to Seattle in the near future to train with Ledyard sensei. I may even bring along a couple of friends.
There is definitely a group that starts training with the idea that they are going to keep themselves safe from anything that the world can dish out, by learning a marshal art. For me, no matter what the art, this fails the logic test. (I know O Sensei could dodge bullets cause he could see them coming.... I am not, nor have I met anyone in my reality that could do that).
Yeah occasionally marshal art X helps in a physical confrontation. One of my sempies used it to control his 80+ year old father in law that was suffering from dementia, and tried to punch him in the head. He did it gently, without anger, and without even bruising pops. All in an instant! Was that a marshal situation? (pops was no lightweight).
Every day though I hope that Aikido keeps me from hurting the world. If we all did this, where would the conflict be. Like Ledyard sensei says, when outside of TV land have you heard of two trained marshal artists going at it?
Part of keeping the world safe from me is my getting rid of my violent fantasies. You know the ones, I can take on the whole street full of ninjas that attack when my car breaks down in the bad part of china town kind of thing.
Training is for ME, not for THEM, for NOW not WHEN or IF. I don't train in dark alleys while I am in the dojo. (I don't think that I have ever actually been in a dark alley thinking about it.....) I know some of my training partners that do, it is one of the situations that I allow myself to speak to my partner while on the mat, without them asking me a question. "Hi Frank, I am Guy, we are here in the Dojo. I will do my best not to hurt you, are you ok with the level of our training, or do we need to slow down?"
Maybe this is wrong. Maybe I should work on trying to kick everyone's butt in the world..... Wait, I did that once, it was highly frustrating and isolating... Nah..... Oh look time to go to the seminar..... Mary McLain sensei today. I love her posture!!! :-)
I am glad to hear you say this (all of it). I personally started Aikido to save my own life from the most destructive person to me; me. There is so much profile assumption about who and why people train in aikido.
I personally kicked 5 kinds of ass when I started. I was also a very spiritual person. The two coexist. Because I am from CA and because I know the harmony of nature I'm frequently thrown in online with New Agers (another character assasination branding). I support physical inquiry, so I'm not a 'purist'. Many of the 'effectiveness' conversations are so purely 'male agrressor' that I can't even relate to what they have to do with me except I know I'm done with coddling fantasies about what they would do in a fight . Bah! If you haven't had to do it yet......find a good reason to train. Train the violence out of yourself.
I was so appalled at the recent lack of honor among men on this site (' no, you didn't ask if you could come to my dojo.'' No, you can't call me C_ark, I didn't give you permission.'). Embarrassing to say the least. I personally would not trust someone with those current attitudes to protect or represent my being. And the gang up online of any person is a demonstration of fighting mind and points to the deficiencies in training of everyone involved.
I heard someone say in that forum they don't want to be treated like a child. Really?
When we're in our training we don't come up with this kind of s#*+. We turn it over to our practice and we get to be innocent children who respect their parents (aikido). We get the relief of having something greater than ourselves guide our actions and our speech (online or off).
So, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I should just go back to 2x4's and to curb jobs so I have an 'event' to point to that confirms my 'effectiveness' in life. But maybe I can learn to be a beautiful parent to my children through the model of Aiki therefore potentially saving them from harm or harming in the future. Maybe, maybe, maybe. But that's my fantasy. For now:
Let's walk with purifying intention (misogi) toward the source (musu) in friendship (aiki).
This beautiful appearance
Of Heaven and Earth
Everything is One Family
Created by the Lord
All blessings of this Great Universe are manifested, without exception, in all deities and buddhas, all nature, animals, birds, fish, and even in insects. Aikido means receiving all blessings into ourselves and performing our duties as human beings. On the subject of religions, I think that each religion should become an ubuya (house of childbearing~ see Takemusu Aiki in AJ116) to impart this same teaching. Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei