Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Martial Paradox

The martial paradox - the study the arts of war to find peace

Recently I was called a hypocrite on another forum for having the audacity to speak about my desire for peace while being an active martial arts proponent.

I have my own martial school. Fact is I spend 6-9 hours a week on the mat working on martial problems and exercises. I teach 6 hours, and try to attend Judo and Aikido classes from other teachers at least once a week. I spent on average another 4 hours a week writing and having long conversations with other teachers around the country.

When I was living in Japan I also walked the Zen path. In zazen, the seated meditation of the Zen/Chan tradition, I found peace was easy to attain. It is a deep practice but one that I did not find as challenging. Peace is easy when you are sitting in a quiet temple.

My art of choice is Aiki and Ju. I search for ways to harmonize with energy and channel it softly in safe directions. I do not study pain. I study healing. I do not study how to hurt, instead we are always searching for safer ways. I do not study how to strike. I do not study how to break. I study how to diffuse situations and to restore order.

Like I said finding a peaceful mind is easy in a temple. It becomes more challenging when you are getting attacked by four people.

You see the trick is with my art, it only works if I am relaxed and calm. In that way it becomes an amazing biofeedback system. I can tell when I am frustrated because my art ceases to work. Returning to calm I regain my power.

It has been written that aiki is the art of bringing order to the chaos of conflict. I see it as a meditation in a hurricane of chaotic energy. Truth is, aiki is a problem solving system. It is a biofeedback system. It is the physical embodiment of a 'peace through non violent ACTION' philosophy.

So is peace through the study of budo really a paradox after all? No of course not. It is a logical and repeatable science of retooling our mind to live in harmony with the energies that flow around us.

That's the idea anyhow.

Walk In Peace


  1. How can you understand violence unless you study it?

  2. Recently I was called a hypocrite on another forum for having the audacity to speak about my desire for peace while being an active martial arts proponent.

    Such people always amaze me. They could not possibly make it clearer that they are paying no attention to human history. Conflict and strife go back to the earliest pages of recorded human activity.

    I wish they would read Herodotus sometime. The things recorded in that book would truly curl their hair.

    In all of recorded history, I believe there have been less than fifty years where there was not some war or armed conflict going on somewhere on the planet.

    And the thing is this: in all that time, the nations that experienced peace (and by extension, I think, the people that experienced peace) have, more often than not, been the nations/people that were widely recognized as being foolish to mess with.

    Do people not remember Vegetius (I think that was the name)? His famous maxim that he who would have peace must train for war? Have they never looked at how Switzerland had so long a period of peace, or how they managed to stay out of World War II?

    Have they never experienced the utter horror of witnessing a violent attack--and worse, being utterly unable to do a thing about it? At that moment, just how much is their "desire for peace" worth to the poor person being hurt?

    Have they never been the victims of an unprovoked attack themselves?

    The reality of human nature, as clearly recorded in personal experience and thousands of years of history, is that without being able to defend yourself and those whom you love, the only "peace" a person or nation will experience is the "peace" of death, slavery, or some variety of dhimmitude.

    I'm sorry. Studying the martial arts is one of the strongest possible indications that someone would like to live in peace.

    Feh! I've gone on too long already...