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Old 08-19-2002, 08:35 AM   #16
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Baltimore
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 586
I also wanted to go to dojos in Jerusalem (the dojo web search lists 6 of them) and ask the members there how they felt about the violence perpetrated in their name...what was their approach to lessening the violence, when they had to deal with it on a daily basis (not to mention the constant fear of being blown to bits)? How does Aikido change the way they think about the conflict, and their role in it?
I practiced in Jerusalem for many years. In one of the dojos I was in, we had a minority of Arab students who were an integral and healthy part of our dojo. I left before the most recent uprising, and I'm not sure if Arabs continue to practice in the dojo in the current atmosphere of tension, although I'm certain they would still be welcomed. In the other dojos, there were no Arab students. Ironically, the dojo that did have Arab students (which was the university dojo, and the Arabs were often but not always university students) was largely run by a sensai who leaned quite far to the right. He was, to a large extent, stepping in for the main Sensai who was busy being a succesful director and leaned quite far to the left. The succesful director had just made a long movie about his family that has been in Jerusalem for many generations.

In all of the dojos where I practiced we rarely talked about politics (a rare choice in Israeli society). I think our understanding was that to have a healthy influence on our surroundings, we needed to begin by creating peace within the dojo, and this meant finding better and more important things to do than bickering about the settlements. Everyone I know has plenty of experience with this bickering in the rest of their lives. I believe (and I hope) that this didn't stop people from either side from working hard for the things they believed in when they stepped out of the dojo.

I'm not sure that it makes sense to derail this thread with my own particular feelings about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and its relation to AiKiDo. Perhaps if Neil wants to discuss it with me, he can e-mail me.


Last edited by opherdonchin : 08-19-2002 at 08:39 AM.

Yours in Aiki
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