Every six months or so our Aikido dojo holds a beginners day. We open up the dojo for our sensei’s energy class, Yang style Tai Chi and Aikido to the public. This gives opportunity for our Sensei to talk about not just the fundamentals of Aikido, but one of the fundamental essences of the art; dealing with conflict.
We normally deal with conflict by either fight or flight. We fight back directly with the thought that if we meet force with enough force, we can overcome. We sometimes take flight thinking that if we can avoid conflict or close our eyes real tight, the conflict will eventually go away. Sometimes these techniques work. Sometimes we can meet conflict with conflict and overcome. Sometimes we can in fact avoid conflict by closing our eyes or stepping around it.
Our sensei talks about the third option. This option trains us to still maintain our integrity, be present in the face of conflict, but rather than meet conflict with force, we move off the line and allow it to go by us. We keep focus of what’s behind the conflct and try to resolve the bigger picture, not the initial strike or blow. We deal with conflict in an honest and loving manner.
I have a long way to go in my training. I am better at dealing with conflict. I can always improve though. Sometimes I rise up still and meet conflict head on. Sometimes I close my eyes and hope that conflict will simply go away. But I find that I can take the principles of Aikido off the mat and into my daily life. We measure our lives through progress, not perfection. I am appreciative and grateful that Aikido can give me tools to find progress and growth in my life.