O Sensei believed that we could use the lessons we learn in aikido to create a more peaceful and harmonious world. Those lessons, as I see them, are to be relaxed and flexible and to move in harmony with the world around us rather than statically resist it. These are things I think we can apply to our daily lives.
More broadly, any martial art with do in its name fancies itself more than a method of combat. A do is a way, a path, not just an art or method. My students at school who learn taekwondo are learning respect for authority and others, perseverence, confidence, integrity, and leadership. If taekwondo were just a method of punching and kicking, it would be catastrophic to teach it to our students, many of whom have gang connections and/or violent personality disorders.
While I think the martial arts analogy can be (and often is) taken too far, I believe that the martial arts can and should teach us things that we can apply to the non-martial aspects of our lives.
Hi Matthew -
Thanks for making this point, and I do note you also raise the example of TKD and other martial arts.
However let's say I practice a form of meditation, and the practice leads me to me more calm, centered, less prone to aggression and more present in the moment. If an argument/ non physical conflict arose and I resolved it in a skillful and peaceful manner, people don't usually say "that's good Meditation, or that's a good application of of meditation principles!"
I would say that skips a step and gives too much credit to the meditation itself. IMO, meditation causes me to be a better human being and by being a better human being I am able to conduct myself better in the world. However the toolset that I am using to resolve the conflict may have nothing to do with meditation or aikido, but the kind of person that I have become as a result of these meditation practices helps me to use the toolset more effectively.
Another analogy may be yoga improves my flexibility which helps with my golf, which may lead me to a getting a hole in one. Is my hitting the hole in one good "yoga"? I don't think anyone would say so.
One can still credit yoga or aikido as part of an overall training regime but making the distinction is very important.
Would like to hear your thoughts.