Stories & Reflections
Aikido, one of the few martial arts I have ever practiced. Created by the Japanese master Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), the word means "The art (or way) of peace." I remember spending endless nights with my companions, learning to fight in such a way that the adversary’s negative energy is directed against himself.
Ueshiba, who is known by those who practice Aikido as "The Grand Master", left behind a series of philosophical practices, during his conferences, in his poetry and conversations with disciples. Here are a few of his main teachings.
Where to begin the art of peace
The art of peace begins inside you; work to manage to keep it at your side. Everyone has a spirit which can be perfected, a body which can be trained, and a path to follow.
You are here to fulfill these three tasks, and to do so two things will be necessary: maintain calm, and practice the Art in everything you do. None of us needs money, power or status in order to practice the Art; at this precise moment you are one step away from Paradise, and should train now.
The universe and us
The whole universe comes from the same source. This source, which we call life, contains our past, the present, and the future. As man moves forward, he can either dissolve or harmonize his vital energy. Evil is born the moment we start to believe that that which belongs to all, belongs only to ourselves; this causes pride, useless desires, and anger. But anyone not possessed by things, eventually becomes lord of all.
The eight forces
In order to practice the Art of Peace, one must at some point delve alternately into the eight opposing forces which make up the Universe:
Movement and inertia
Solidity and adaptation,
Contraction and distention,
Unification and division.
These are present in everything, from the vast space to the smallest plants; each thing carries a gigantic reserve of universal energy, which can be used for the benefit of all.