what Aikido is to me

I just realised a realisation today. ‘O’ sensei has never mentioned Aikido as a form of self-defense. Jigoro Kano, the father of modern Judo has never mentioned that the art was self-defense. Gichin Funakoshi has never said Shotokan Karate is self-defense. So how did these art forms evolved to become categorised as ‘self-defense’ for the public?

Aikido is the manifestation of love through physical movement between sentient beings. the reason why Aikidokas can move so freely and flowingly is because there is an understanding of the movement. Karate can been seen as violent, with ‘devastating’ kicks and punches. All the dramatic movements in martial arts has been altered to fit man’s limited perception but insatiable insecurity. All of those martial arts move happens because there is an allowance. for Aikido, the Uke attacks the Nage because the Nage allows the Uke to attack. the Nage is able to defend against such an attack, because the Uke allows the defense to materialise. So the critical opinion is, ‘Everything fake one lah?’ to have to ask that will expose the question’s lack of depth and understanding. Allowances is not the same as faking it. There is a high level of trust and alertness in allowing. Faking can never happen for real because in life, nothing can be faked. only the mind lulled itself into thinking between the realm of ‘real’ and ‘fake’. in life, even the fake is real.

What can be hidden is a hidden agenda, to have that happen in martial arts is very dangerous, as it is the root cause of accidents and injuries. when there is an attack, attack wholeheartedly. in defense, defend as if your butt is on fire. in this attitude between the attacker and defender, the movement is spontaneous and tight, with no room for complacency to breed, leaving literally, no room for mistake. however, if you attack with a hidden agenda, your mind will be preoccupied with the execution of the hidden agenda, attention will be diverted from the actual reality, so when you don;t pay attention to reality, that is where people always says ‘I never see it coming.’ It was never seen coming, because there was never enough attention paid to the coming of things, the mind becomes too distracted.

There are many a times I never see what is coming for me when i was Harry sensei’s Uke. I can be fast, but he neutralise my speed, the faster i go at him, the harder i fall. instead, be alert. many times he caught me faster than i can catch myself, because he is more free to catch me, and me, being preoccupied in my mind with ‘hidden’ agenda. At times when I didn’t attack whole heartedly the ending is usually disastrous for me, as i cannot properly protect myself with ukemi. it will be very easy for me to sustain injury. Being alert also helps because sometime, although not often, Harry sensei do get distracted and being alert will help me protect him from injury, very much the same way he protects me by being alert when i attack him. So it is two very alert individuals going at each other, how can that be faked?

So how can martial arts be self-defense? your training partner is taking care of you all the way even in an attack. My partner attack fast and hard because there is no need to pretend to be nice, or act tough. No agenda. However in the act of self-defense, it is attritional, nothing mutual about that. i want something in which you must lose, for me to have it. how can that be mutual? in self-defense, anything and everything is the rule, you don’t have to know martial arts to know self-defense. you simply fight like hell to survive and make sure that the last man standing is you and not him. Sure martial arts teaches a few punch and kicks here and there, but there is no guarantee of a bullseye. a fiesty novice with a lucky shot can knock out a seasoned martial arts exponent. Self defense in a violence situation is chance and opportunity, changing unpredictably. Martial arts are just a small transferable part in that dimension. sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t.

These great teachers know their art to be something bigger than the function of self-defense. by hard training, our senses gets sharpened, physically condition. these aspect helps us meet life with more zest. a good posture is a byproduct of intense martial arts training and having that contributes to being alert. by being alert, criminals will have to let you go and choose a less alert victim. hence, self-defense situation avoided. if they are foolish enough to choose you when you are alert, you wil be ready to despatch the situation without much harm to yourself.

Most martial artist I know is non violent. the paradox is that we train so hard to not fight. The acts of ‘violence’ we do in the dojo, helps us understands know how damaging it can be, so that we do not have to inflict this on anyone else less trained than us. Personally, hard training makes me want to harm less, because I know first hand what harm i can inflict on joints and other body parts, ultimately, I hope to train to a level of becoming ‘harmless’. When I become harmless and I cannot harm myself, other cannot harm me, because in harming me, they are inflicting greater harm to themselves. So the ulitmate aim in martial arts is not self defense, but the defense against self.



About Who is Randy Lim

This blog is about the journey and experiences in my life as an Aikidoka. With close to 20 years in the arts, I'll make comments and judgements based on 2 principles, E&E. Experimentation and Experiential reflection. please enjoy, and comment freely.
This entry was posted in the grey matter, What happens in Class and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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