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September 23, 2005

Alumnae Hall, HCC, CSB

Aikido: A Philosopher’s Martial Art

The phrase “martial art” is typically associated with the flashy film violence of actors like Jean Claude Van Damme, Bruce Lee, or Jackie Chan. To most people “martial art” simply means especially lethal physical power, an apotheosis of competitive violence. Aikido is a little different. At its heart is the ethical imperative to protect all life, because all life is interconnected. The founder of Aikido wrote: “To injure your opponent is to injure yourself. To control aggression without inflicting injury is Aikido.” Aikido techniques, when applied with proper spirit, allow a person not just to protect herself from aggression, but also to protect the attacker from serious harm as well. The “spirit of Aikido” is one of compassion and non-aggression, and the practice of Aikido is directed toward developing this spirit – otherwise, techniques cannot be properly utilized (someone will get hurt unnecessarily). Chuck Wright, who has been practicing Aikido for nearly 20 years, will give a lecture/demonstration in which he explains basic principles of movement and engagement that arise from the ethical imperative of Aikido, and show how these principles are embedded in some of the techniques of the art.