Aikido Thoughts on Brute Force
I had just started studying the Aikido Arts, and I was meeting the various people in the aikido dojo. There was one fellow, a little ragged in behavior and appearance, yet I liked him. I was a little surprised, one day, when he started talking about the use of the Jo staff.
“We don’t use the Jo Staff much, he explained, but it is my weapon of choice on the streets. You can carry any stick, use it like a sword, and bash the heck out of people. It really is a good weapon if you want to end the fight quick!”
Now here was an interesting situation. I was the beginner, yet I had the feeling I was a little more advanced. I had read many books and articles, and I was firmly convinced that his advice was contrary to the teaching of Aikido Sensei Ueshiba.
“But what about all the peace and love and harmony in the spirit and that sort of thing,” I asked. Isn’t that more of what O Sensei wanted us to learn through his Aiki techniques?” His words had made me wonder about the inclusion of the Jo Staff in the training curriculum.
There is a distinct O Sensei Quote that comes to mind concerning this matter. “Aikido does not rely on weapons or brute force to succeed: instead we put ourselves in tune with the universe, maintain peace in our own realms, nurture life, and prevent death and destruction.” I wish I had known this quote at the time, O sensei’s words tend to go a long way in convincing people of their folly.
The main point is that Aikidoists don’t need weapons, and if they learn their aikido techniques well, there won’t even be a confrontation. After all, to be in tune with the universe is to be in tune with an opponent. To be in tune with an opponent is to understand him so well he can’t find conflict with us.
This secondary point, being in tune with the universe, relates directly to weapons and fighting and confrontation. To be in tune is to be in the same time and place. And, studying the techniques, we be in agreement with motion, and, as a result, in tune with the mind initiating the motion.
I am always struck by O Sensei’s genius, and how he put together such a perfect system. Oh, and that fellow who made the remark to me about the jo staff? He later confided to me that he just wanted to earn a black belt in the Aikido Arts. Funny thing is…I don’t believe he ever made it.