Chapter 1 talks about what Akido is. Aikido , in essence is " Discipline of Coordination, a way of strengthening the mind and body, of fusing the individual's physical and mental powers so that he or she will emerge as a more fully integrated human being. " It is a purely defensive style martial art created for self defense and the preservation of life.
It talks about the importance of fusing ones mind and body into a whole being. A person who has practiced Akido enough can react instinctively to an attack in such a manner as to defend themselves and disable their attacker with hurting them greatly. The author puts forth the ideal that the Aikidoi is a higher form of martial art, in that it stresses being so in control of yourself and your environment that you can dictate how an attack will end without resulting to brute force.
This of course is brought forth by a lot of repetition, which I can tell you already, Aikido is anything, a lot of practice and a lot of repetition to develop a strong mind-body connection to allow you to react quickly to an assault without lashing out in a blind panic.
Chapter 1 talks about Ki or as the Chinese refer to it as Chi. It is literally the whole, mind-connection. I have seen it in effect so I am a believer but one of things I have not seen yet at the dojo is the "Unbendable arm". Any martial arts which incorporates Ki/Chi discipline in it will cover this exercise (Tai Chi, Kung Fu, but not Krav Maga or MMA).
The author writes the key is being totally relaxed. If you are doing it right, you should be asserting no actual physical force. I will have to speak with my sensi about this and see if he can show me it, maybe cover it in class some day.
Chapter 2- The Foundation of Aikido. Aikido was founded by Master Morihei Uyeshiba in the 1950's. Master Uyeshiba desired to blend the highest ethics of mankind with the practice of the martial arts. In this chapter the author talks about the " Ethics" of Defense.
To illustrate his point, he gave an illustrated series of examples. In example A, a man without provocation attacks another man and kills him. This ranks the lowest on the order of ethics in martial arts.
Example B, the man does not directly attack the other man, but he provokes him with words or bodily language into attacking him and in kills him. The author writes " there is only a shade of difference ethically..." between A and B.
Example C, we see the man neither attacks or provokes but when attacked defends himself in a manner which protects him but ends up killing his assailant. Ethically speaking this is a more defensible action. Still his defensive tactics , while keeping him safe, resulted in the death of another.
Example D, We see the man attacked but using his attackers own energy against him, he is able to disarm his opponent and walk away. This is considered the highest of ethical self defense.
High ethical standards and self defense. Something I have never really given much thought too before reading this. In a fight, the idea is to win. That's what I have been taught for years and something that was stressed to me in all my self defense training at academy and in remedial training at work. The goal is to win, not just to survive. You can survive in a wheel chair, pooping in a bag but I would not consider that winning.
So how do I reconcile that with the ethics of Aikido? I would have to say that is the ideal situation, period. Ideally , you want to end the fight/ aggression as quickly and as peacefully as possible. However, I know I must be willing and mentally prepared to perhaps cripple or kill someone to be able to go home at the end of the night. That is not the ideal situation to be certain. Perhaps with years of training the need to go to a more aggressive method will not be there, as I will react instinctively in a effective, highly ethical manner.
Something to think about for certain.
More to come.