Re: Article: Get With It by Ross Robertson
Ross Robertson's article "Get With It" points out some very insightful nuances of both human communication and aikido. I am responding specifically to the asterisked comment at the end, in which Robertson ponders the viability of applying the article's thesis to situations in which it seems wrong to work "with" systems or processes that are clearly not socially acceptable or are morally repugnant.
What this question points out, in my mind, is that the idea of blending and harmonizing is not a universal concept that can be applied everywhere at all times. Just as we are admonished by our elders to exercise "moderation in all things," there are times when a soft approach can be counter to our interests and should therefore be abandoned for another approach. This is the moral justification for war, a counterintuitive activity for a people that otherwise espouses peace, love, and harmony. Even for peace-loving people, there comes a time when we must counter tyranny and oppression with armed conflict. Certainly such actions must be a last resort, but occasionally--due primarily to the fact that there are people that do not subscribe to our philosophies--force must be countered with force.
This is the lesson contained in our aikido training; indeed, in any martial art. We train to counter force and avoid injury, but don't confuse blending with subservience. In every technique, uke winds up suffering the consequences of his attack with a kinetic response: a throw, a joint lock, a pin, or a strike. Blending, as Robertson points out, is more effective than doing a technique "to" or "at" your partner. This is the subtlety of aikido, as opposed to the harder styles. But the end result is, of course, a person at advantage and a person at disadvantage. You can look upon these two as a "winner" and a "loser," you can look at them as a "system" in which there is yin and yang, or whatever. The point is, as Robertson's question considers, there are times to apply harmony and times to apply force. The key is to determine...correctly...when to do each.