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The Internationality of Aikido

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by Stanley Pranin

Aiki News #2 (May 1974)

The following article was prepared with the kind assistance of Daniel Neves of Argentina.

This is indeed an exciting time for students of aikido in America. Visits by high-ranking instructors from Japan are becoming more and more frequent as witnessed by Doshu’s recent tour and the forthcoming visits by Hikitsuchi Sensei (10th Dan) in May, and Saito Sensei (8th Dan) in October. Also, American aikidoists, beginners and advanced alike, are traveling to Japan in ever-increasing numbers to study under the many fine teachers who were personally trained by O-Sensei. As channels of communication are opened, mutual respect and understanding follow as a natural consequence.

It is becoming more apparent that Aikido is truly a discipline for all countries and all peoples as envisioned the Founder. Each culture brings to aikido its own unique qualities which enrich the evolutionary process of the art. Indeed, O-Sensei stressed that he himself was only a student and that aikido would continue to grow with the progress of each individual student. Sincere, creative men everywhere are building a beautiful edifice on the firm foundation laid by Morihei Ueshiba.

The essence of O-Sensei’s genius was his ability to “tune-in” to the intent of the attacker at extraordinarily subtle levels. This hyperawareness enabled him to gather “advance information” regarding the nature and timing of the attack. The foreknowledge gained made execution of the physical technique simple matter. With such an understanding an inherently harmonious climate can be created, the use of force becomes unnecessary, and injury to either party is avoided. The implications of the Aikido Way when extended to non-physical contexts are enormous. In fact, human interaction in which individuals so “in tune” are able to interact with one another on multiple levels simultaneously may prove to be a survival skill in an increasingly hostile world.