Last night I was teaching our Aikido class because our sensei was away, and one of the students was talking about what he perceived as some others’ faulty views. Then he reworded what he’d said, reframing his point by saying that these others may simply have different views from his own.
The first technique we practiced had us moving in such a way that when someone tried to punch us we wound up facing the same direction. Safe from harm, we stood right next to our “opponent,” gazing toward the same wall. We could see the world from his perspective. I pointed out that this technique actually served as a metaphor for this student’s comment. Can we see the world from another’s perspective – one that is different, perhaps sometimes faulty?
If instead of responding to an attack with a block and counter-attack, we deflect, move out of the way, and face the same direction by blending, we have a multitude of opportunities for response. We can figuratively and literally see the world from another’s eyes. We are safe but close, neither fleeing from the conflict nor resorting to violence. Our eyes are open to a new angle. This requires flexibility, responsiveness, and the melding of a variety of techniques to be able to adjust depending upon the situation.
Whether faulty or different, we all have views we hold dear and we all find ourselves critical of other views. But if we can react by blending and facing the same direction as others, instead of immediately casting blame, we have the opportunity to find peaceful resolutions to conflicts and develop greater understanding.
It won’t always be the case that conflicts end with acceptance and understanding, but the Aikidoist still attempts to stop the conflict without causing harm. This “most good, least harm” (MOGO) approach in a martial art serves as a reminder that we must continually seek to understand others’ views in order to find the most peaceful resolution to conflicts.
Author of Most Good, Least Harm
Image courtesy of Darij & Anna via Creative Commons.
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