Essence above rank II-No Admiral

They did not see in time the black flag with the dead-head approaching, and when they finally did, it was already too late. The pirate ship hooked them up and armed to the teeth men went on board … leaving nothing.
After the furious attack they did set the ship on fire, which sunk in no time. He found himself alone among the breakage, as his captain and comrades fled with every possible means early on, he was helplessly left to die in the open sea…
Looking for more loot, which would float among the debris, the pirate ship collected him from the sea.
The crew dragged him on the deck, binding him on the main mast with thick rope, while pushing, kicking and yelling at him. This seemed to last forever, but suddenly silence fell as the pirates quieted down and all of them looked into the direction, which was beyond his stare. Tight up as he was on the mast, he could only see the scare in the men’s eyes, hearing the approach of  that terrible sound that a wooden leg does, when pounding against the deck. And then he appeared before him, the captain of this vessel. Mean, ugly, one-eyed with a hook for a hand and a wicked smile. He wore a black bandana that would match his eye-cover, a worn-out Spaniards silk shirt, and above it an English long coat, which once belonged to an Admiral, now stained with blood…
This looked even worse than a nightmare that one sees after a gone-bad bedtime story. But it was all for real. With a grunt the captain pirate drew his Damascus sword, probably one of his spoils, and placed it on his throat with such pressure that he could feel the skin going apart already. Then the pirate leaned his white bearded face towards him, and slowly whispered “Well, well, what have we here? A stowaway! What are you doing in my seas? Speak up, or I’ll run you through”. Wet, cold, beaten, and with that blade as close as it could get, shaking with fear, he opened his mouth in order to plead for his life “Please Admiral…”  
The roar of laughter from the crew was pure hell, but it did not go above the captain’s loud as thunder voice “Admiral?! Ha ha ha… I like this one! We will not hang him…” he then turned to address his crew “let him walk the board instead, and feed the sharks”…

Admiral! From all the things in the world you came up with this? How the hell could you call a captain of a pirate ship… Admiral? He thought to himself…

“…of course, we are one big happy fleet”- Khan Noonien Singh
A captain of a ship has always the option of becoming a pirate if he wants to, even if he holds a rank as high as an Admiral. Now that I remember, an Admiral would be more easily tempted to do so (and history stands as proof that they do) because he knows that he will be followed… In time, and through negotiations, the rebel Admiral often became “recognized” (again) and thus retained the same status among legal fleets.

The sea of Aikido was always great, but there where not so many ships on it, as it started to spread outside Japan at the end of the 60s and early 70s. In the beginning the entire “fleet” belonged to a single command.
But very soon, like almost from the start, the fleet broke down and was divided into different “organizations” “associations” and so on and so forth. As time moved on, many of those “rebel forces” moved back under the rule of the “original” fleet…
Aikido continues to grow stronger and bigger, even to this day and the separations, divisions and… happy reunions, continue along with it… For some reason, many reunions look to me even worse than the most hostile of separations…
So, flags on ships are changing all the time… It became easy, you put down your old one and you raise another, it is a piece of cloth isn’t it?
From all this back and forth, there are a number of “independent” ships gathering, that grew tired of this… Are they true “pirates” or is their situation just a result of circumstance?  (By the way I should have claimed the term “independent” as a copyright, back in 1989 when I sailed my own boat. It seems that now too many are using the term and I want to distant myself once more…)  

All this was/is supposed to be no problem or concern for an Aikido student, since techniques are timeless and, as “Admirals” have it: “There is only one Aikido”.
But… a new student joining innocently an Aikido dojo, is unable to detect, notice or recognize the differences in the flag that is flattering above him.
And much later on, he will “feel” that difference, when for any reason he would like to move on to another ship, and even more if he will come to sail his own, because he will carry the name of the flag he was under, like a tattoo mark on his skin.

The instinct to leadership and command, or the need to follow command, lies strong within us. Just as strong lies the instinct to question and rebel against authority and rules…

A pirate that started out being one right from the beginning (for any reason) could never become an “Admiral” of any kind.
Why should he trade his freedom for obedience to a chain of command that will only care to bind him?
Why should he share his “loots” and findings, outside his own crew?
Why should he be “faithful” to those who can’t even be true to themselves?
Why should he tolerate the colors and signs of a flag that bears nothing from his own sketch?

The title and authority of an “Admiral” is tempting and much desired… If one claims that he’s not after it, if one claims that he doesn’t want it, then according to most he must be a lunatic of some sort, or he must be a hypocrite and a liar in his statement.     
But still so, some few men will never feel comfortable in an Admiral’s clothing… They would be… too scratchy for them.

Well… maybe with the exception of those stained with blood...

Equal shares for all men
The lonely “stowaway” crewman was finally walking the board, which the pirates did set up for him with the greatest enthusiasm. “Encouraged” by a sword, that was piercing his back, they drove him to his fall into the deep waters. The crew, a mob of screamers, seemed to have a lot of fun that afternoon, especially with the sight of… dolphins in the area, which the pure crewman mistook for sharks and almost lost his mind from fear, begging to be picked out of the water…
Care to know about his fate?
The deal was, that in order to fish him back, he would have to be sworn into… piracy and as far as I know of, he is still to this day washing  dishes and cleans up the mess for the rest of them.
Oh... I almost forgot! They nicknamed him… Admiral!  

November 14, 2008