In Sunday morning Aikido class, I practiced letting the attack come to me: Receive the attack and let it pass me. We practiced from the strike with both the hand and the jo (wooden staff). Sensei Pili said, “Don’t look at your opponent.” Instead focus my gaze on the periphery, the surrounding, not the attacker. Forget the opponent. Wait it out. Draw the attack to me. Move into the attack.
I let the attack to come to me. I waited out the attack until the last moment. I was mindful of my body moving in throwing the attacker either forward or behind to the mat. I matched up with whatever force existed. The attack itself doesn’t matter. Rather, it is of little consequence. It was over in one count, one breath. It’s like there’s no opponent.
I got it. The opponent doesn’t matter; it’s really me against myself. The external opponent is just circumstance. That’s why we train. Regardless, of who’s attacking my greatest opponent will be me. I believe that’s practicing my Art of Peace as O-Sensei intended.
In combat, in physical conflict: I could win; I could lose; I could live; I could die. That’s the purpose of the training. I train in Aikido, I train in budo (The Martial Way) surrendering in the moment of either winning or losing. I surrender to the outcome: the consequence of my actions. Peace recognizes that someone harmed makes no sense. The epiphany: Overcome thine own self. As Werner Erhard said: I choose who I’m going to be in any moment.
The greater than choice is peace. The greater than choice is not to fight. The greater than choice is no war. True victory comes from making peace within me. You don’t look at the external enemy. Our greatest enemy often times is within us. That’s where we make our peace within. That requires practice.
So I train on-going. I meditate daily. I train Aikido. I work with my therapist Lance. I write about what inspires me. I practice my own Art of Peace. I work to overcome me.
What is your Art of Peace? What’s your practice to overcome you? I believe the possibility of peace in the world starts with us defining our Art of Peace, and practicing it. That makes all the difference.
Discovering my Art of Peace becomes very personal. My Art of Peace reveals my lightness and darkness; my strengths and frailties; my humanity. My Art of Peace is sacred, much like yours.
The possibility of Peace for humankind exists when we all discover and practice our Art of Peace. As a Sensei I have the profound opportunity to guide others in discovering their own Art of Peace. That discovery becomes all of our greater than we know ourselves to be journey.
I believe it’s what Sensei Dan would have wanted me to do. After all, Sensei inspired and guided me in discovering my own Peace. I’m just giving back. I’m part of his legacy. This is the legacy I hope to give forward to others.
Perhaps, World Peace really occurs in baby steps, like with most things. We all must discover our own Art of Peace, the one that uniquely speaks to you. That discovery might not happen within a lifetime, yet it’s vital enough to endure and persevere. After all, Peace is our blessing for now and the future in the generations to come.
O-Sensei said: Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.
So we continue to train. So we continue to practice our Art of Peace. Perhaps, someday Heaven will be right where we all stand together. That’s worth living for.
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