“All things, material and spiritual, originate from one source and are related as if they were one family. The past, present, and future are all contained in the life force. The universe emerged and developed from one source, and we evolved through the optimal process of unification and harmonization.” (by Ueshiba Morihei, aka “O-Sensei”; translated by John Stevens).
This paragraph, written by the founder of Aikido Master Ueshiba Morihei (“O-Sensei”) summaries the very spiritual essence of Aikido practice. Aikido is a way of uniting, harmonizing and bonding with a possible hostile challenge in a form of a controlled attack by one or more attackers. According to Aikido philosophy, the attacker is merely someone who wishes for a connection in a certain hostile way. If we answer in a confronting manner than we have a conflict of interests, leading into struggle, violence, and a harmful lack of control. No one really wins that way, because neither the “winner” or the “looser” will have peace of mine knowing the situation has truly resolved. Hostility will still remain until the next opportunity for struggle.
We live in world full of hostility and aggression these days. Our society is highly competitive and material, focusing on selfish possession of matter (assets, sales etc.) and power. We see it everywhere, as in politics, economy and free market, but also in everyday life, when we are constantly encouraged to posses more, grow our own businesses and assets bigger and sell more, having to “stand out” in anyway possible, even if it involves deceiving, lying etc. We are constantly forced to ignore our modesty, showing off in every moment, loosing empathy and sensitivity towards the world around us, and often hurting anyone and anything that comes along the way. Most people can sense that we are mostly not so happy or in peace these days, unless it is conditioned with self gain we experience (obsession). But the more we gain, the more we have to fear from loosing, and we lose more trust in other potential “enemies”.
The more we understand that we are ALL just humans trying to prosper as part of the great universe, beyond our superficial differences, the more we may cooperate and team up to help each other and gain universal happiness. This realization is the first and most crucial step in our journey to build a prosperous society in a divine world.
Aikido is a way to train according to this divine principle of unity. During practice we are encouraged to become aware of our center of balance and confidence, and interact with our practice partner through empathy and sensitivity, alongside with practical techniques. As we grow better we can better control our body, and truly unite with any challenge, as we take control of a situation and resolve it peacefully, forcing our partner’s body to relax and lose aggression.
This is a highly spiritual form of practice that requires a lot of self growth. It is highly beneficial for any peaceful society.