Throughout the world Aikido is best known as the Martial Art of Peace. This title sounds highly controversial, in terms of how can one have a Martial Art of Peace in the first place, but this only happens to those unfamiliar with the Art.
When introduced to Aikido one is to find out that there are no contests, no fights, or even any sort of games, where you can put one person against the other… There are no trophies to be granted, no medals to be won, or rewards to strive for, no winners and losers.
Thus, nobody feels diminished or lessened by anybody else. Nobody thrives at the expense of another, as we usually see…
So, logical question is: if Aikido is THAT ideal is it “for real”?!
From a great variety of answers I will only say that Japan’s Riot Police trains its personnel in Aikido, for two reasons. Aikido is effective against brutal attackers, but does so with minimum or none damage to the attacker…
When we teach Aikido it is on a practical level, here you have no theories, discussions and long talks. We actually practice peaceful neutralization techniques, while we have practitioners coming at you with everything they got. And in that same routine of exercise, you gradually learn to control your emotions, your feelings for retaliation and your instinct of aggression…
Aikido literally means “The Way of Harmony” and it has been bringing people of all cultures, races, economical and educational levels together, into one practice. For decades now (since the 60’s) there have been seminars of our Art, where hundreds of people participate and interact, many of them having traveled from across the globe in order to join the practice.
In those seminars you can see people who have so many cultural differences, that you start to wonder, what do they have in common after all?! And still, for all these decades, for a number of seminars and meetings which are by now impossible to count, there has never been any kind of problem or incident occurring from those differences.
I do train people from all walks of life and in my experience, when people are given a peaceful goal, they keep at it…
Aikido does not make people leave their differences aside in order to practice. I sincerely state that they even bring their differences along, but in a positive manner. They are willing to share them, try to merge them, compare them with differences of other cultures, in order to find out what else there can be. They will find out eventually that there is more in common between us than what actually divides us and there is unity in diversity.
A common future for all, perhaps!
This is what prompted me to write about Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, The High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, and whom I have read about his endeavors for a diverse and yet harmonious world. He introduced Sports, music and arts into his agenda. I see this as a unique opportunity and as a platform, that could extend his vision into a reality that has never been seen before… If we can only act upon it!
Mario-Gunter Frastas was born in Germany by an Italian father and a German mother. He was first involved in the Arts of Aikido, Yoga and Meditation in 1976. Now, he teaches at his own private Dojo (training hall) that was founded in 1989.
In 2004 he published “Aikido-The Book In Between” and continues to write through his personal Site http://www.marioaikibook.com