I'm just going to give you my maybe unique but I would hope not view on the concept of masagatsu agatsu. True victory over self.
It's based on illusion. The illusion of an enemy, the illusion of an opponent etc. We hold these beliefs and thus destroy ourselves and are thus caught up in the illusion.
I have said before that there is no against in Aikido.
When a person understands the depth of that comment then I believe they will understand masakatsu agatsu, theirself and aikido.
Thanks for the reply!
I'm a fan of the idea that the processes of perception are illusory. So when we perceive the world around us it is almost, if not entirely so, necessarily an illusion. The question I have then has to do with the things those illusions cause. When we view victory in terms of control/dominance over another, we lose focus on the quality of our own operations. When I focus on self-improvement/"victory," I focus more on the quality of how I'm operating; what's happening to me and how I adjust accordingly (learn/adapt)...which seems
to work better, at any rate.
I first encountered this kind of thinking in sports. When I was more concerned with stopping the other guy in soccer, for example, I found myself more likely to trip them or pull on them. When I was more concerned with playing my best, I actually played better because after a period of time I was conditioned better and tended to not need cheap tricks to "compete" so much.
So I wonder if it would be perhaps correct to say that understanding Masakatsu Agatsu doesn't so much teach us how to understand Aikido so much as how to understand the proper mindset needed to learn Aikido...perhaps the slogan can be said to encapsulate the mind
aspect of the Body-Mind dichotomy...or perhaps of the Mind-Body-Spirit...er...trichotomy...?
I don't know...and ignorance is bliss.