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Home > Spiritual > We Don't Fight
by George Simcox - August, 1997

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While driving a group of students on one of my trips this summer the subject of fighting came up and I commented that "Aikidoists don't fight." Some of you may now be asking, "If this won't help me in fighting, why am I studying it?" That is a fair question. Let's explore the answer.

While Aikido is indeed a martial art, that does not automatically make it a fighting art. We are an art of peace, not fighting. Our object is not to fight, but rather to restore peace where it is absent. This is not done by reducing your antagonist to a bloody hulk. Our techniques are developed to a place of calm rather than one of agitated tension. We work on harmonious relationships rather than contentious ones. We espouse relaxation in the face of tension. None of our behaviors support the concept of fighting.

Now, what is fighting? Fighting is "To struggle against in battle or physical combat." (Britannica World Language Dictionary). In my view it takes two or more to have a fight. An antagonist may try to fight us but his efforts are ineffective because his perspective is flawed. While he is fighting or struggling against us, we are simply trying to find a resolving action to bring the individual into harmony with us and the nature around us. If we elect to fight we have changed our mind set to one which is not consistent with Aikido philosophy and so have departed from the practice of aikido.

This "attitude adjustment" is what takes so long for most of us who study aikido. The techniques can be learned in a relatively short period of time but it can be years before they become as effective as they can be because of the time it takes to learn and internalize the spirit of aikido. Until that time, most of us are simply using aikido techniques to fight more effectively but we are not truly practicing aikido as the founder, O Sensei, and Master Tohei envision it.

Eto Sensei, during his seminars in Virginia and Maryland, stressed the absence of "fighting mind." When he learned to throw away fighting mind, he was able to truly find the power of aikido. Should we do any less in our lives?

When you study aikido to become a better fighter, you will learn some good techniques to help you in your quest but you will never find the path to true aikido. Only by setting aside the goal of becoming a better fighter and adopting the goal of developing a non-fighting mind will you find the true path to aikido and its message for the world.

During daily training you will find this path by seeking the flow associated with a technique: Where is the power of the opponent and how can it help me in creating harmony of movement? How can I lead this power during a technique? If I have mis-read the power or it has changed, how can I find the path to achieve a state of harmony? These are the real questions, not how quickly can I throw or trash an opponent. These latter questions are those of fighting while the more complex questions asked earlier are those of the questor for aikido truth.

George Simcox
Reprinted with permission from Virginia Ki Society's "Ki Notes" Newsletter.

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