Saturday, 8 September 2012

Overcoming inferiority

As a member of a popular Aikido forum the issue of inferiority came up in one post. From this person's experience there were many Aikidoka who had an 'inferiority complex' about their art and were overly defensive about the true martial effectiveness of Aikido. To this matter I spoke from my own experience of having chosen Aiki-Jujutsu precisely because of its emphasis on yielding. However, it made me reflect on those times when I have doubted the art and felt the need to 'supplement' my training. I have even written about this before, explaining my plans to take up Karate as a second art. My feelings towards the need to take up a second art have changed quite considerably in the last couple of months. Long before this topic of inferiority arose I had wrestled with this very issue and had made my peace with the art of Jujutsu. 

As I enunciated in my very first blog, Jujutsu is the art of yielding. I was drawn to the art precisely because of my experience in Judo and wishing to seek a more authentic expression of the bujutsu of the Samurai. The nature and concept of the Japanese word 'Ju' fascinated and inspired me. If Judo was the "gentle way" then Jujutsu was the "gentle art" - in other words the art of yielding. By gentle it did not mean passive, placid or weak, anyone who has done Judo competitively or has seen it in the Olympics knows there is nothing weak about Judo. Rather gentle is a synonym for yield and the idea behind Judo is a way of cultivating a certain mindset and skillset that seeks to use an opponent's energy and momentum against them in order to ultimately defeat them. The purest Judo is when a throw is performed without any strength whatsoever, just pure momentum and bodyweight. Likewise Aiki-Jujutsu and Aikido are budo - ways of war. Both arts contain an internal philosophy that seeks a specific response to conflict and violence... namely, to resolve conflict humanely, not with opposing strength with strength but rather by blending with an attacker's energy. Again to yield. 

As I reflected on my decision to start Aiki-Jujutsu, I remembered that this was not just an art or a hobby I was undertaking, but a path. There are many 'ways' to defend yourself and there are hundreds of martial arts from around the world. I had chosen Jujutsu, this was not only my personal expression as a martial artist but my way or path too. Therefore I had to accept the consequences for my decision and either be at peace with it or foresake it altoghether. I can proudly and thankfully say that I wholeheartedly embraced the art of yeilding all over again. I have made my choice and I am at peace with it. I no longer have any inferiority to other arts hard style or otherwise. I am a Jujutsuka.

To those who may struggle with this issue of inferiority I would challenge you to ask yourself, "how do you wish to resolve conflict?"  This is a very important question that requires an honest answer if you are to find the right art for you. If the answer to this question is found in the art you are practising then be at peace with it and pursue it.

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