Ricky is one of our keen youngsters who had a session in class where they learnt to write the Kanji characters for a famous saying “Ten Ka Mu Teki”, which means: “Under Heaven No Enemies.”
Ricky liked it so much that he spent a long time working on a 3D painting with these characters, as well as the character for “Ki.”
His artwork will go up on the wall in Inaka dojo.
Even though the children are still very young, we talked about what this might mean.
At first, it might bring up images of a great epic hero who is invincible on the battlefield, that there is no foe on earth who can beat them. There is this interpretation, but how realistic is this? Even great warlords with nuclear arsenals to command have enemies – in fact, it’s usually the case that the more arrogant the attitude, the more others feel threatened and plot to overthrow or defeat such people.
No, the proper meaning is to view others with the Universal Mind – that we all are part of the unity of creation…Not an easy task, sometimes, right?
If we have a very deep awareness of the interconnectedness and ONENESS of everything, there cannot be true enemies.
Of course, most people are not aware of this and see everyone as separate in some way – race, nationality, political persuasion, orientation etc and so their lives are full of conflict, judgement and in the worst cases, violence and suffering.
Aikido practice fosters this awareness and realise that we are much more effective at relating to others when we see our connection.
These are not just warm concepts; in this state of mind it is much easier to keep your balance and composure and lead attacks to the floor without aggression. Just because we reframe our view of an attacker, does not mean that they will not attack us. The attack is the issue – it breaks harmony, but just because the attacker is deluded and thinks they can injure others, does not mean they are our enemy.
Conflict results from fear and a limited view of separateness.
The spirit of love and protection naturally arises when we are deeply aware of our oneness with all.
What a great lesson to learn at such a young age!