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Old 08-21-2016, 02:14 PM   #28
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 809
Re: Reconcile the world

Mary Malmros wrote:
...there is no "we". "We" are not a unified body; we don't share a consensus.
I want to preface my attempts at answering your questions with that quote from Mary M. I agree with that view and further assert that since O Sensei's writings are full of imagery, metaphor and outright contradictions, when I speak of Aikido ethical and philosophical traditions I'm using my own interpretations gleaned from the years I've spent studying and training. Other teachers and students are free to form their own opinions of what he meant.

John Hillson wrote: View Post
How is this ethical and philosophical tradition represented in your dojo and your own practice? How does this manifest outside of the dojo, or does it? How is this passed on to students, how is it taught?
Regarding ethical tradition in Aikido I can sum it up by saying you don't swat a fly with a nuclear weapon. Ueshiba addresses the negative consequences to one's self of inflicting unnecessary damage to an opponent repeatedly. Enough is enough and any more is just adding insult to injury. Our training reflects this idea in that we treat each other with respect and dish out no more than our partners can comfortably handle, from both sides of the interaction.

Philosophically speaking we are an egalitarian dojo. While we do have a traditional ranking system, rank doesn't equate to position in any pecking order. There's no "step 'n fetch it" activity here. The main reason that Mary E. and I frown on the hierarchical nature of many dojos is that we want our students to grow strong and keep growing stronger as they train. So we absolutely reject any behavior that permits students to give away their power to their more advanced partners and visa versa.

Our dojo traditions are passed onto students by example. Students who have trouble conforming to our standards inevitably leave and there have been more than a few over the years.

As far as "reconciling the world", I think the study of Aikido can lead one to a more peaceful existence, it certainly has for me. But I don't see Aikido as a system that will ever operate on anything greater than say a dojo wide level. As Mary M. said above, there is no WE in the collective sense; there's only us as individuals and we must decide for ourselves the path that's right for us.


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