mind, body, and spirit
Aikido for the mind
“To preserve that order, the respect of the sensei, the correct attitude of the sempai, and the appropriate etiquette of the sempai and kohai must be observed. The observation of these rules is the condition of the balance and survival of our human relationships, and society at large.”
The Mental aspects of aikido
We say in Japan, that alpha and omega from budo is in rei.
The combative and aggressive instincts are exacerbated if they are unleashed at the time of combat. To direct an animated troop away from their aggressive instincts, without the tendency toward disintegration, is in fact necessary. The rules of combat have proven to be necessary. The etiquette and the discipline, probably born from that need, permit the harmonious functioning of those rules. The combat without rules of etiquette arises out of the animal world and not from budo.
Buda in rei is simply expressed by the salute (the bow). However, rei
envelops the notion of politeness, courtesy, hierarchy, respect, and gratitude. Reigi (etiquette) is the expression of mutual respect within and among people. It can also be understood as a way to know one’s position relative to others. Reigi is the way to add consciousness to our position relative to others.
For each person, knowing his or her place is knowing the self. The truth of knowing yourself is knowing the mission assigned by the heavens. The mission of the heavens is to conform with the order of the universe. With this, there is no room for hesitation or opposition. That is the true peace. What humans make from this cosmic order is the model of structure of society. We make this principle live through our smallest acts. From the respect of these rules, the human race can elevate itself.
There is a natural hierarchy within the family: grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, children, grandchildren, first born, second born. Likewise, military organization requires correct functioning within a hierarchy of ranks: general, colonel, commander, etc. It is the same for places of worship, and of course, in Buda, master, disciple, sempai, kohai, higher-ranked persons, beginners, elders, and youngsters. All these relationships function concurrently. The etiquette exists to determine, case by case, a just balance. To preserve that order, the respect of the sensei, the correct attitude of the sempai, and the appropriate etiquette of the sempai and kohai must be observed. The observation of these rules is the condition of the balance and survival of our human relationships, and society at large.
And so it follows that the etiquette between one another should be
respected at all times. The difference to sensei, sempai, and kohai must not be forgotten when off the mat. Someone who helps you on the mat to progress in Aikido, physically and spiritually, helps you for the rest of your life. That benevolent relationship should not be compartmentalized to Aikido training alone. Everybody should be respected off the mat. It is not because you are a sempai that you do not have to respect the kohai. Sempai is the example of kohai, so if sempai respects kohai, then kohai respects sempai naturally.
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