Introduction to Aikitaiji

Why would anyone, repelled by the mere idea of violence, study martial art as a path to health and spiritual peace? Because the more profound your martial chi, the more powerfully you may love and heal. Symmetrically, the more ethical or loving the martial power, the more irresistible its domination.

Martial chi isn't merely a destructive power. It's even more vitally a healing agent, enhancing and motivating your immune system, emanating from you to heal the energy states of your environment and its inhabitants.

The most malignant enemy to your general health as well as your most vital ally resides inside you, and the dark wins by default when you don't train and empower the inner warrior. As an example, a patient who visualizes ferocious or martial images overpowering and routing malignant cells is more successful in managing his illness. The more powerful and hawkish the metaphoric imagery, the better the immune system responds.

A martial artist doesn't conquer outer space as much as he integrates it with the world he discovers inside himself, growing more virtuous as he becomes less fearful. Virtue, exemplified by the golden rule (do unto others because there is no other, there's only unity) is a prerequisite to mastery. Virtue leads to the holographic realization that you are a synergistic multitude of one. A proper martial artist discovers the highest spiritual point of his inner world, identifies with that, and extends it outward as a force that may be identified as healthy love.

Love and martial art seem incompatible, but what are really incompatible are love and fear, because you cannot love someone at the same time that you fear him. Other empathetic emotions may be possible toward one that you fear, but not love. A martial "artist" engages and subdues his fear, and by reducing fear, increases the capacity to love. Saul Krotki defined martial mastery as the ability to handle an opponent in the affectionate manner one would assume towards one's child. This definition of mastery seems to be very similar to the call to love your enemy (opponent) in a manner comparable to the way you love yourself.

A martial artist may have enemies, as most people do, but a high level martial artist probably doesn't fear them because he's confident that he can defend himself against them and he sees how flimsy the border separating him from others is. Logically, therefore (and maybe ironically), a martial artist who doesn't fear his enemy may be in a better position to follow the powerful edict to "love your enemy" than a mere pacifist is.

Copyright 2004 by Jack Livingston