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Old 03-03-2009, 06:55 PM   #17
graham's Avatar
Dojo: Northampton Ki Aikido Club
Location: Northampton
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 134
United Kingdom
Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Hi Kevin,

Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
How do you actually use a martial art to teach someone how NOT to fight?
I must be being a bit slow today. I don't really see what you're questionning? Are you arguing that Aikido doesn't teach one how not to fight? Or questioning my personal experience that it has done that? Or, perhaps, suggesting that when it does that it's no longer aikido?

All I know is that I work in enough inter-personal conflict situations (domestic violence, child welfare, etc.) and have studies martial arts long enough that I'm convinced that a decent contemporary martial art should contain elements of conflict resolution. (If it doesn't, it's just fighting.) It can do this explicitly or implicitly. If the latter, perhaps it's just in the way that the art transforms us as people when we study it.

Personally, my experience with aikido (and I'm an 'aiki-fairy' who is honoured to study ki aikido in the tradition of Sensei Ken Williams) says that it is both explicit and implicit.

Some words from Terry Dobson, which I hope I'm not misquoting, spring to mind:
'It is your responsibility to protect the person who is attacking you. This is extremely sophisticated, because it is difficult for your enemy to attack you when you are in a compassionate mode.'
'Fighting my brother is fighting myself; I am not going to punch myself. So, make a brother of your enemy.'
And, one of my favourites:
'Just because someone wants to have a conflict doesn't mean you have to agree to enter into it. Put the phone down and walk away. Get your centre. Come back and say, "Sorry to have kept you waiting." This drives people nuts, but it's legal.'
From what I can tell Dobson Sensei would not have considered such things to be simply a side-effect of studying Aikido. I believe he would have considered it aikido in practice.

As O Sensei put it:
''Aiki is not a technique to fight with or defeat the enemy. It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family."

"A true warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing." (O Sensei)
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