Soulfood

On 01/05/04, 09:00, Dennis Hooker Sensei wrote on the Aikido-L,
as a reply to my question "Aikido just for fun?":

Why do you study Aikido? Have you really thought about it and if so have you come to a definable answer?

Will you ever be good enough to overpower a bigger stronger person? I hope not, because it is not about power! Will you ever be an effective fighter beating other fighters? I hope not because it is not about fighting! Will you ever be an intimidating aggressor? I hope not because it is not about aggression! If you seek these things in your training then I believe you are not training in Aikido.

Will you ever be good enough to take over the power of a bigger and stronger person? I hope so because that is what this is about! Will you ever be effective against the aggression of a fighter? I hope so because that is what this is about! Will you ever be intimidating an aggressor? I hope so because attacking aggression is what this is all about! If you seek these things in your training then I believe you are training Aikido.

These things will come about through a natural process in the evolution of your budo self. That is, if you seek to train yourself for the benefit of yourself and not the damage of others.

Let others talk of defense and offense, of fighting and overpowering and becoming the toughest or most feared fighters. When I see these people in Aikido I think they are lost or they seek the relative safety of Aikido where they can pretend the kill or the win. Look for these people and you will see them. They sometimes hurt other students and then get upset when they themselves are hurt through their own aggression.

Seek only to improve yourself as a human being early on and you will be ahead of the pack. Study Aikido for the symmetry of it, for the beauty of it and let it help you understand and define the season of your life and the season of your budo self. They are hardly ever the same. Aikido helps you understand where you are in the spring, summer, fall and winter of your physical life and unlike most other physical arts lets you develop the spring, summer, fall and winter of your budo life no matter what your age or condition. From the new green shoot to the strong stock to the beautiful flowering and to weathering seed Aikido is wonderful medium for this because it lets people continue on its path for their entire life. Aikido is personal therapy and it is group therapy. It is conflict resolution in action.

Dennis Hooker Sensei -- www.shindai.com