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Home > General > Life, Not Death
by Dennis Hooker <Send E-mail to Author> - 10. Jan, 1996

Over the years I have been involved with the "martial arts" in one manner or another. I have found Aikido to be a singularly unique experience for me. That is why for the past three decades, I have concentrated my efforts on understanding its application to my life.

From near death (Myasthenia Gravis) to spiritual happiness, Aikido has always been an integral part of my life. Through thirty years of marriage, two children, two grandchildren, and three dogs, Aikido has always been a part of what I am to those I love. I could not say I "do" Aikido, for that would be separating part of me from myself. Aikido is as much what I am as is my heart.

When we are interacting with others on the mat, we are not doing something other than what we intend to be doing. That is, each technique is full and 100% that which we intend to do. We are not involved with little "life and death scenarios" played out by some arts, nor are we involved with the psychodynamics of the "victor" and the "vanquished." In Aikido I do not pretend to kill or injure you and you do not pretend to kill and injure me. We are involved with Aikido -- not pretend war.

From my own experience if you practice a combat art and are not injured to the point of needing medical attention at least once a year, then you're playing a game. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you know it's a game and don't think it's something more. When I was involved in war or preparing for war, I studied war arts. When I lived in places where the streets were mean enough to cause concern for my life and well being, I practiced such arts. Thank God I no longer have a need for that and I have found an art with the principle tenet being life not death.

Dennis Hooker
Shindai Aikikai
Orlando Fl.

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