It is important to differentiate force, even destructive force, from violence. We can define violence as behavior motivated by fear, anger, and the desire to hurt and demean. That would mean that it is possible to fight to protect yourself or another, using force, in a non-violent way. That is the first aim of Aikido practice.
If you fight with fear and hatred in your body, you establish a mind/body habit which weakens you. Fighting with love and respect for your enemy, because there is no other option than fighting, is altogether different. At this time in the history of our world, it is important to move beyond habits of violence. We will destroy ourselves and the whole world if we use violent force. But in learning to be capable of using non-violent force to protect ourselves, we become capable of finding non-violent non-force ways of handling challenges.
It is human to react to a threat by lashing out violently to destroy what is threatening us. In being touched by an "enemy" in Aikido class, we have the opportunity to either react in the spirit of hurtfulness or root out the desire to hurt. Without the attack/defense interaction as a practice format, the seeds of hurtfulness would lie dormant within us, only to sprout when we are really attacked. In class practice, we find these seeds, sprout them, uproot them, and deliberately construct the mindbody state of power and love. And hopefully we will react more humanely when it's for real.
The ultimate aim of Aikido practice is the ability to find loving, constructive ways of overcoming threats without having to fight at all.
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