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Old 08-17-2002, 10:06 PM   #9
Neil Mick
Dojo: Aikido of Santa Cruz
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 225
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Re: Aikido and the politics of violence

Thank you, Ahmed Abas, for your response. I appreciate your questions and would like to comment. Questions are a good thing to ask about everything, in these times.

O'Sensei talked about Aikido and peace a lot. It seems natural to me that Aikidoists would abhor war, but this is not the case. I have heard Aikidoists joke about peace demonstrations, approve of our bombing Afghanistan (the richest country in the world, bombing the poorest, "...burning down the haystack to locate a needle they never found"), and close down rational thought with verbal flag-waving. Other Aikidoists I talked to disagreed with me on some points, but we had commmon areas of agreement on world affairs. A few agree with me, a few don't.

One Aikidoist listened to me, was silent for a long time, and came up to me, the next time we trained. He said I was right about Afghanistan.

I learned a lot from him: the way he thought about it, the silence he held. In his mind he was questioning, and this is very important. When we question, we are awake, our minds are alert to all possibilities.

The other thing that impressed me about his process was his job: he is a flight attendant.

But people are on all different levels, to get back to your question, Ahmed. Sensei's and students are all human, and no one is a "master" of Aikido (except O'Sensei). We are all students; sometimes the teachers and students switch roles (I get a real "kick" out of training with a beginner with an open mind; I sometimes learn a lot). We are working toward an unattainable goal, and this is fine if the process makes us better people (it certainly did, for me).

It's best if you don't "revere" your sensei. Respect her/his training, but accept that s/he is only human. Just as you are training to improve, so are they...its a continual process.

Regarding how government should be best run, that all depends upon the current issues facing that government. Personally, I like the idea of this democracy fine (well OK: I admit I'd rather see it all broken down into small, decentralized communities across the world, with no nations and only local economies, no NASDAQ...), but this government (via the electoral process, mass media and lobbyists) is controlled too much by money and corrution. If the forces controlling government are acting in the widest possible interest (ALL peoples, as well as the environment...I believe that the environment should be represented, rather than used), then you have a government that works, by the ppl, 4 the ppl.
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