Fight or Fight
In the world, there are over 8 billion people, and everyone is an amazing and a special person. We are all different with our own flavors and the things we are attracted to are also different.
I spend a lot of time at the park training and once in a while someone stops by to ask some questions after class.
Recently, a prospect student wanted to join our group to learn how to fight. I was puzzled by his comment, so I asked him if he wanted to learn how to fight to hurt people or to protect himself and others. His answer was that he just wanted to learn how to fight. He was very honest and polite.
People's choices are personal, and I respect that enormously however aikido is not about kicking and hurting people. It is about learning and making the right choices at the right time. In the prospect student's case, I didn't believe that aikido was the right fit for this person so I suggested to contact places that might have what he wants.
In the old days, it was very rare for a student to be accepted in a dojo just by just walking in. Prospect students had to bring two or three recommendations letters and sometimes they had to demonstrate ethics and integrity before starting the actual training. Today, it has become more relax but some dojos are still requiring a recommendation letter in Japan.
The reason to require those letters is to protect the dojo, the instructor, and the students.
It is the responsibility of the instructor to provide a safe environment for his or her students.
Aikido is a martial art that teaches us self-defense, control and at a deeper level compassion.
Aikido teaches us how to negotiate a confrontation of any kind. In 99.9% of cases, we can negotiate without fighting but in that 0.1% of cases it might be difficult to negotiate without physical interaction.
It is important to understand that fighting, in most cases, is not the solution and we have to understand that all actions have consequences.
Abraham Lincoln and others have said that the best way to destroy your enemies is to make them your friends. This is much harder than fighting and I believe that it takes a lot of courage.
The training helps us to strengthen our body physically and mentally, and it gives us the opportunity to negotiate challenges and walk our path. It is important to note than we can only negotiate from a position of strength and never from a position of weakness.
And we can only exercise compassion in a position of strength.
The point is to show strength in any situation, and it gives us the power to make the right decision. The martial artist must remain humble and modest at all times.
A beginner student might be able to hear the principles of Aikido, but it takes time and personal growth to understand them. Learning techniques takes time and it is only with constant practice that it is possible to develop some skills. Training and life are the same, they are a negotiation and that is why the principles of Aikido can be used as tools in our daily lives.
For an individual who just wants to learn how to fight, there are many disciplines that can quench that thirst but it is unfortunate because it only leads to a cul-de-sac.