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Knowing what is right and not doing it ...

Kawaraban No. 44


by Kenji Shimizu

Once I overheard from the mouth of a child following: ‘My father isn’t strict at all’. Sure during the recent years there has been a change in educational methods and relationship between parents and children. In the past strict conduct of parents was quite natural, but nowadays they want to be seen as friends. During childhood, i.e. until the age of 10 or 11 years, children do need strictness. But if it is not understood that strictness results from love it is useless.

From childhood I have been practicing budo, and I can remember having adapted naturally various manners during practice in the dojo. I think they found a way deep into my body and into my heart by formal practice. There is a saying: ‘Martial arts starts with a bow and ends with a bow’. In the beginning I followed the instructions of the teacher or the elder students without understanding anything, but later I learnt that to bow stands for preparation. Loosing the spirit of the bow will prevent you from growing physically and mentally.

The method of training in Aikido is to develop courage by intensive training (Knowing what is right and not doing it …), to go to the bottom of something without doing it for one`s own sake and engaging yourself for humanity, and additionally to cultivate functionality of body and mind. Ocassionally students will ask technical questions: ‘Even if you advanced in Aikido, how can you apply a technique without difficulties when really being attacked by a brawler? What will happen, if for example the attacker will be hurt, i.e. in case of excessive selfdefense? Wouldn’t that be an offense?’ In such cases I will just ask back: ‘How would you react in case somebody is endangered openly in front of you? You have to be brave to help other people. By no means I mean fighting, but surely there are various methods if you have courage and confidence.

’I think it is high time to think seriously about what is important for today`s Japan. For that purpose every individuum has to become stronger. This is about sympathy for other people, mildness and attentiveness. I am not talking only about good words, but one’s own self has to send out these qualities naturally and convincingly, otherwise it will not be true. Therefore it is necessary to practice body and mind also with increasing age. Shouldn’t we impart this to our children as well?

© translated by Birgit Lauenstein 09/2002