Youth Black Belt Essay by Sebastien Tallet
Outside of the dojo, I bring the Art of Peace with me as knowledge. I have never found myself in a situation that aikido was necessary but I do believe that it has helped in other ways. What I had learned mentally from aikido is what the most important lesson and what can be brought to everyday life would be what Aikido and the Art of Peace teaches your mind.
Aikido is about connection to oneself and those nearby. It focused and integrated into training all the time. You learn how to build a stronger connection with your partner by viewing them as an equal. This is the most important lesson one can have. Outside the dojo you must build connections with others and continuously support it with your partner by making necessary adjustments to best suit both of you. For example, nowadays we have the internet and text messages to communicate with anyone at any given moment. You could have two different conversations with different friends and would need to always be able to change to fit the situation due to the difference. In one I could be making all the bad puns in the world but in the other I would be talking about my latest project in school. I’m adjust the way I communicate to each of them to best suit them. In Aikido, this situation would be with who my partner is and how do I make myself the best for them. Are they short or are they tall and how do I make myself as light and useful to them? Aikido helps you learn how to do this by putting you in a situation wherein you must be able to constantly be able to change and adapt to the environment you are placed in or else you risk failing to keep a smooth flow.
The Art of Peace as described by O-Sensei is “to control aggression without inflicting injury” and this is critical to life. Aggression is not just physical but can be mental and emotional based. We always will lose control of ourselves sometimes and hurt someone as it is human nature. Aikido gives ways to prevent harm and remain in a calm mind state. This can be accomplished by aikido due to the everpresent fact that aikido is not about injuring but rather of protecting. When done properly, you’d never harm another to defend yourself but rather you extend your energy or sphere of influence to the other to remove them from your immediate vicinity without causing harm. This can only attainable if one is capable of remaining calm and this can be brought to real life situations. For example one could be applied to when you are in an argument. What is the best way to get out of an argument or keep it from escalating? Most would say to collect yourself and to extend this to the other. This would cause the other person to slowly calm down and both of you would have avoided hurting the other in any form. That is the most common way of taking the Art of Peace to the outside world as speaking is essentially something anyone can always expect on a daily basis.
In Aikido Shugyo, the writer says “Aikido is not just doing techniques with each other in the dojo” which would appeal to the definition of the Art of Peace. He continues in the chapter with how this applies. Some examples include walking ,getting up or working. I agree with this statement because I think that as I previously stated that Aikido is more of a mental training than physical training. We cannot just go to class do whatever we are there to do and basically deflate like a balloon at the end. Only to repeat it later thus starting the cycle over. This applies to school and almost every student (including me) will forget some of the concepts they learned in class over break or summer and then start to learn and forget in a non helpful way. Aikido can be practiced outside of the dojo by just trying to have a better posture. For example, I tend to look down a lot when I go about my day but I try to remedy this by looking forward more so I can take this back to the dojo when it is time and see how much that helps. I also do this with my slouching problem and progress is slow. But this is how you practice Aikido outside in a more subtle form and you do this in life away from aikido by just thinking or doing homework. In school you will improve through homework or studying or do something as simple as thinking back and going “Wait how the heck does that work?” or at work by just thinking about ways to improve what you’re working on.
Aikido and the Art of Peace are connected to life and always will be intertwined with each other. This connection is created because of how natural the feeling of Aikido is. Aikido helps you with how to improve yourself physically but subtly. As you continue to learn, it guides you to having a more balanced and improved mentality towards life. This will allow you to be able to stay more grounded in your thinking Together these help you better yourself as a person and create a positive environment to those around you. Aikido and the Art of Peace have never been the extravagant thing due to how humans normally try to perceive things physically but rather they subtly influence your life and how you go about it. That is how we bring the Art of Peace outside of the Dojo.
The Art of Peace Book
Aikido Shugyo by Gozo Shioda
Ueshiba Morihei and Aikido wikipedia