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The first of May is a national holiday both in Norway and in Sweden, where everybody goes to demonstrations for what they believe in. What I have always believed in is the total annihilation of man kind. I honestly believe that our world would be better off without us. I will not kill anybody, but I will for sure not have any children, and you can consider it my contribution to end the human race. Humans are bad, and that is all there is to it. There never was any demonstration on first of May for my cause, and if there was, I probably would not agree with those marching in it, because it would for sure involve a great number of the reasons why I don’t believe in the human race in the first place.

Where I work we close at 17 on Saturdays. 1645 somebody called. My mental defences were down and I were trying to help, so he got inside. Inside of me his verbal weapons exploded, destroying any hopes for a peaceful weekend. When you are in a service profession and this thing happens, your hands are tied. You are supposed to act professionally, even if the person you are talking to are attacking you, degrading you, and using physiological tricks to manipulate you. You do the things you have to do to help the person, and keeps everything inside. However, when the call ends, you always end up continuing to argue with him/her, and when you realise what has happened you get angry, and keep doing violent acts to him/her in your mind. It is impossible to avoid if the person already got to you.

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Photo by Bianca Ågren

This is where the magic of aikido comes in. In about 24 hours, and two sessions of aikido I have been going from ripping his head off with my bare hands, and shitting down his neck, to merely choking him out and stuffing him head first into a garbage dumpster. I need a few more sessions of aikido to totally fix my head, but it is a tremendous step towards peace.

The Founder of aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, called his art “The Art of Peace”. And it is exactly how it works. You have no idea how many action movies it has ruined for me, because I am supposed to hate the bad guy at the end when the horrible death comes to him. However, I do not hate the bad guy any more. I pity him/her. Aikido makes me hate less, love more, and understand more and more people. In fact, I actually are at the limit of actually having some hope for human kind. Maybe not a big one, but a small one at least.

Certainly there are a lot of people doing martial arts for self defence. A very usual point of view is that the only reason for doing martial arts are for the purpose of self defence. In my mind aikido is something much deeper. On the contrary it is actually the opposite of self defence, in my mind. You can look at self defence as the art of war, but aikido is the art of peace.

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Fun in Stavanger with Maren and Marius in August 2016. Photo by Jacqueline Von Arb.

Night vision goggles gives you the possibility to shoot and kill somebody at 20 times the distance they can shoot and kill you. It will increase the rate of survival quite a bit in a situation where you need to kill the enemy before he/she kills you. However, where the function lies, so does the problem. It gives you a tactical advantage over your enemy, yes, but why do you have an enemy? How do you know that you are the good guy and the other is the bad guy? Why is it not the other way around? Oh yes, because you are the one to decide, and the enemy does not have a say so in the matter.

Aikido is not a weapon. It is an anti weapon. The enemy is not the other, but the conflict in itself. Our goal is to unite with our partner. To find peace where there is war. It is a balancing factor in the world we live in, which is so much dominated by a search for more and more power.

It is how everything works. International politics, business meetings, even social gathering, and friends hanging out. The more powerful ones are the ones to dominate the others. Nobody really wants it this way, because it is bad for everybody in the end, but nobody dares to change it. It is not about what is right and what is wrong, but it is rather what you can get away with and what you can’t get away with. You do because you can. “The food first, morality later”, as it says in red writing outside the dojo I practice almost every day.

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Tai no tenkan with Per-Edvin at Svartsjö Castle in April 2017. Photo by Per Erik Stendahl.

I don’t have any 1st of May parade to attend, but my cause in this world is aikido. But it is not something we should go in demonstrations to promote. We just have to practise it. First in the dojo, and then outside the dojo. When the aggression comes, it is not met with counter aggression, but with stillness. There is nowhere for the aggression to enter, so we are at peace.

O Sensei called tai no tenkan the biggest secret of aikido. I get part of that, I think, because it is a very deep exercise in making peace with the partner. There is no real way to get the upper hand and dominate the partner in a way that is not possible to easily reverse. What one can do, so can the other, so any attempt to use weapons or acts of war is futile. The partner is holding and that is all there is.

One of the reasons for practising is this strong belief that there is a better way, than how the world is working right now, or rather how it is not working… The other reason is the consequence of this idea, but in the emotional dimension. The intellectual idea of aikido is something I can explain in this way, but the emotional effect I can’t really say much about, except that it is a consequence of the intellectual idea. It is a bit like explaining why sunsets are beautiful.

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Hanging out after practice in Tekisuikan Aikido Club in Trondheim in October 2011.

Enjoy your keiko! Aikido makes people happy!