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Old 03-05-2009, 08:03 AM   #54
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Isn't this why so many of us are drawn to aikido in the first place. We on some level recognise our own inate fear and look to a martial art / aikido to help overcome that fear. If we practice the principles of aikido diligently both on the mat and off, we may after many years, learn to be non contentious, to accept and blend with life and act with more confidence and courage to do the right thing at the right time, thereby living life with less fear?
You don't need a martial art to overcome fear -- uninhibited anger works just fine -- ask any belligerent drunk. For most people the balance on the pole from anger to fear tips decidedly one way or the other. For the great majority it is weighted wholly toward fear, and they have difficulty responding to attack, apart from flight. For a select few it is weighted strongly toward anger, and they will attack with little or no obvious provocation. For most people, peace means the peace of the valleys. The peace of the valley of fear is still fear, but near zero. The peace of the valley of anger is still anger, but anger near zero. The peace of the martial Way is a very different affair. For a very, very few there is a precarious ridge lying between the slopes toward the valleys of anger or fear.

There aikido (and any humane martial art) strives to find its balance -- where martial love lives -- fear for another combined with anger toward an unjust danger, creates a very active form of personal peace. It is immensely more powerful in commitment than either self-directed anger or fear alone, and yet it is supported by both. It is very delicately poised on edge and difficult to find a place to stand firmly on without sliding back down, one way or the other.

The secret is not to try to find any place to stand but to keep moving. The ridge between them, though exceedingly narrow, is very, very long. The ridge can also climb or drop -- so some aspects of fear and anger are not lost, but they are quite differently oriented. The shape of those emotions on the ridge is more varied and not dictated by the inexorable downward pull of the fear or anger to either side. From either perspective, of fear or of anger, its shape can barely be seen. It is hard to see until you reach the point that you see it along the length, when its shape becomes much clearer. And there lies the narrow way. It is lonely and misunderstood for few will make the climb into the higher reaches of fear -- or anger.


Erick Mead
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