Every Miss America pageant has mentioned it. It has been the theme of many hit songs and collective dreams. Peace. Yet despite all the attention to peace, we live in a world of conflict both on a global scale and a personal one.
Even if you are a peaceful person, how can you deal with conflict that comes against you?
One of the benefits of aikido is the practice of turning conflict into peace.
Mary Heiny Sensei who studied under Hikitsuchi Sensei writes that there are 5 areas of life in which aikido nurtures a person. One of those ways is creating social sensibilities.
How does aikido create social sensibilities?
When aikido is practiced, there is an emphasis on the relationship with another person, the one with whom you are practicing.
Part of the practice of aikido is not to overpower your opponent in the traditional sense, but to move with your partner creating harmony rather than conflict. Observing your partner react with cooperation rather than frustration teaches you how to guide your opponent’s energy in a new direction.
When you practice this technique in the physical realm of aikido, we build confidence to deal with everyday conflict in a similar manner.
When a person at work or in your family comes against you, move with them. In other words, how does it feel to walk in their shoes? What is their perspective from their point of view? What is their underlying objective in producing conflict with you? When you “move with your opponent” in this way, it may be clear to you how to channel your aggressor’s energy into a new direction. How can you guide their anger or frustration into solving their problem without defeating you in the process?
Moving with our life’s opponents can turn conflict into peace.
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