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Old 01-29-2010, 07:00 AM   #44
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,183
Re: The Martial Art of Difficult Conversations

Bernard Kwan wrote: View Post
It seems to me that in North America especially that Aikido is viewed as a "spiritual" martial art without any clear definition or understanding of what "spiritual" means. If an outsider read all the literature it would seem that Aikido can be applicable everywhere - from physical conflict, to disputes over parking spaces, and even to raising horses (?!- a recent newspaper article).

The risk this runs is that the term "Aikido principles" (usually irimi, tenkan, blending, etc) are diluted to the point where I don't believe they are useful anymore. The term "Aikido" then becomes something meaningless like "the art of peace" which can be an umbrella term for everything nice...
What you said.

Bernard Kwan wrote: View Post
For instance - someone comes up and slaps me, I turn the other cheek and walk away. There is no further conflict. Is this "aikido"? Reading a lot of the literature this seems that the common denominator it boils down to is avoidance of conflict and being calm.

Now I do believe there are distinct fields where good research and practical work is being done such as "crisis management", "negotiation", "international relations and diplomacy" and "body movement" and "alternative medicine". But we should take care not muddy the waters and label them all as part of Aikido practice or embodying Aikido principles, because we risk devaluing aikido or applying it where it has no business being applied.
Not only that, but these fields deserve recognition in their own right. It's arrogant to appropriate thousands of years of development in various fields and call it "aikido". If you want to, say that your aikido practice helps you to understand these things better...but don't go appropriating all that is good in the world under the banner of aikido.
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