Aikido is Medicine for a Sick World

We have a seminar coming up at our dojo a week from Sunday, with the teaching inspired by the O Sensei quote “Aikido is medicine for a sick world.” A couple of weeks ago when it was announced it seemed very appropriate in light of the fighting between Israel and Palestine. Right now Ferguson, MO (and many other places in the US) seems to need the same healing and reconnecting.

We cannot have police forces that see people as the enemy, who aim weapons at peaceful protesters. We have to get back in touch with our shared humanity. There is no “us” versus “them.”

I found this quote from a news article telling, and chilling:

“We’ve done everything we can to demonstrate a remarkable amount of restraint,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said in an interview outside the command post.

Restraint? Restraint from doing what? It implies they would like to be more violent, more forceful, but are trying to hold themselves back. It comes across to me as if a large, angry, powerful man had just backhanded a child, and then expects to be congratulated for showing restraint for not beating the kid further. 

Police must not act out of anger. They are supposed to care for and protect their community. They should act appropriately, and with the least amount of force possible under the circumstances. If they need to “restrain themselves” something has gone very wrong in the underlying thinking. 

It sounds like “Don’t make me have to hit you again!”

We have lost our collective minds – or maybe our hearts – when somehow two young friends walking down the street at night, bothering no one, escalates within seconds to one of them being shot dead by a man who was supposed to be protecting them. 

There’s a lot that’s right in the world, but this sickness needs to be cured, and “we” have cure it. We.