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Old 02-09-2009, 11:57 AM   #11
Alister Gillies
Location: Taunton
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 33
United Kingdom
Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Stefan paints an accurate picture of the Aikido world - ‘Divine techniques’ practiced by human beings!

The difficulty here is no different from the dilemma presented at all levels in human society and at all times in our cultural history: how are we to live in harmony with each other?

Is Aikido just another attempt at resolving our all too human condition, yet another sect that claims to resolve all our difficulties? For some it undoubtedly is, and all of the characteristics we commonly associate with cultism are often painfully evident. But we should not despair at this.

This is the human condition: the conflict ridden, the narcissitic, and the confused populate our dojos. The dojo is after all a microcosm of society at large. How can it be different? Aikido does not give you a free pass, and does not, if you are awake, locate you on some exalted level of consciousness. We should not be surprised by what we find in the dojo, but we should be careful about what we bring to it and what we take away.

In Aikido the subjective and the objective collide - often with illuminating results. Techniques, regardless of stylistic considerations, function like koans (public cases). Kata (objective)is designed to elicit understanding (subjective). Attributing absolute status to our undersatnding gives rise to rigidity and fosters egotism.

How we recognise this, break the cycle, and move on is a matter of practice. If your practice is unreflective, dogmatic and the ‘only’, ‘true’ way, then your practice will reinforce this attitude.

You are what you practice. Whatever is in your heart/mind will have an objective manifestation. If competition is at the heart of your practice, then you must be prepared to accept the consequences and experience what Shakespeare describes as “nature preying upon itself”.

Aikido offers us the opportunity of living in harmony with each other; contesting with disharmony seems counter productive. What are we to do?

The founder of Aikido often said “I look behind me and I don’t see anyone practicing Ueshiba’s Aikido”. Perhaps we should ask ourselves: what am I practicing?

Last edited by Alister Gillies : 02-09-2009 at 12:01 PM.
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