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Harmony or Strength

Kawaraban No. 82


by The Head of Tendokan, Kenji Shimizu

A certain newspaper published the following words of Motonari Mouri (1497 – 1571, a general in the Sengoku period): „Peace within the clan is the begin of disorder.”

Leaders should not only value harmony to ensure that everything runs smoothly. If they emphasize only harmony they will continually loose the ability to punish evil. Regarding the preparedness of top leaders “we should not give important positions to persons, who only emphasize harmony.” The reason is that persons, who emphasize harmony, generally have a good reputation at their place of work. Therefore people will emphasize harmonious behavior, but on the other hand they will loose the ability to punish evil and to reward good behavior. Before long splits will show, because people only care about how to keep the safety of an organization. When the splits become larger, the quarrels inside the company will become violently, and the organization will collapse. If we apply this to the present society it means “regarding persons in top positions we should not only emphasize harmony to ensure that everything runs smoothly”.

Also people like company bosses tell us in their speeches  “they value harmony more than everything else”, and when retiring they emphasize in their farewell speech results of valuing harmony with the words: “luckily we were able to go through period of safety without making gross mistakes.” But if today somebody in crisis-ridden times only pleads that he retained harmony and that he passed through a period without serious errors, so is that a synonym for doing nothing at all. The author Doumon Fuyuji (1927 -  ) said: “If you have to settle a crisis, certainly you will antagonize somebody. Crisis settlement is some kind of selection.”

Especially in the present society I can feel this directly. That means in case of mistakes people are quite weak in their ability to blame such mistakes and to keep the truth. Today we have the tendency to close our eyes during a crisis as if it is not related to us. The present Japanese have lost their strength before long. During my childhood I was told to be careful and was scolded even by adults, who had no influence on me, when I behaved badly. Today there are no such persons anymore, who tell us to be careful. If we watch the behavior of children, who nowadays are not admonished by anybody and who grew up without the ability to differentiate between good and evil, then I am somehow frightened about Japan’s future.

For example, if I punish a little bit an egoistic and selfish child, who has joined the children’s class, immediately there is a protector, who protests. Is such a behavior not evidence that the will power of parents to bring their children up is declining? Possibly there are only a few of such parents, but formerly you could not find such parents at all. Instead in the past parents admonished their children, but today it is completely different. If that is the case, we have to care for an education of our children to polite behavior in today’s Japan.

In the beginning I mentioned strength, and it is the objective of Tendoryu Aikido to acquire human strength (ki power through the flexibility of body and mind, inner strength) by the repetition of forms and techniques. Budo is not the same as sports, and the aim should be to arrive at a road of humanity through Bu.

© translated by Ichiro Murata and Peter Nawrot 11/2010