In the Indian tradition of Anekantavada, the doctrine of non-absolutism, there are three ways to have a dialogue : ‘vaad’ or a discussion, which seeks to understand the opponent’s point of view and explain one’s own in order to reach the truth; ‘vivaad’ or an argument, which seeks to impose one’s own point of view over that of the other; and the third, ‘vitandavaad’, which merely seeks to bulldoze the other person’s views, without really offering any alternative thought.
Truth is universal if not absolute. Aikido is a martial art founded in the early 1900’s by a Japanese man, Morihei Ueshiba, who wanted to teach a way for people to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury. To control the aggression of an attacker with caring and without inflicting harm.
I am reminded that about 30 years ago, at a mind/body conference, I took part in an Aikido workshop led by George Leonard (for further study read “Education and Ecstasy, The Ultimate Athlete (which deals at length with aikido) and The Silent Pulse.) A 3rd dan Aikikai practitioner, Leonard was a particularly charismatic practitioner and my experience with him would have a profound effect on me for the rest of my life.
Wikipedia: <em>The word “aikido” is formed of three kanji:
* 合 – ai – joining, unifying, harmonizing
* 気 – ki – spirit, life energy
* 道 – dō – way, path
Aikido is often translated as “the Way of unifying (with) life energy” or as “the Way of harmonious spirit.”
Aikido is performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on. This requires very little physical energy, as the aikidōka (aikido practitioner) “leads” the attacker’s momentum using entering and turning movements.</em>
<em>One applies aiki by understanding the rhythm and intent of the attacker to find the optimal position and timing to apply a counter-technique. Historically, aiki was mastered for the purpose of killing; however in aikido one seeks to control an aggressor without causing harm. The founder of aikido declared: “To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace.” A number of aikido practitioners interpret aikido metaphorically, seeing parallels between aikido techniques and other methods for conflict resolution.</em>
Now I don’t propose we all become control freaks and walk around in a defensive posture (which sometimes invites attack) but there was something particularly powerful in being taught this “attitude” using both a mind and body analogy.
Tags: Aikido, Anekantavada, dialogue, George Leonard, Reflections