In forty-five years of Aikido training I have only had to break up one fight. Never has a furious ninja slashed his sword in my direction while uttering a blood-chilling cry. (Well, except in my samurai fantasy moments, perhaps.) Whatever skill I have developed in self-defence techniques has never been tested outside of the dojo. I am grateful to live in a society where daily violence is not the norm for the vast majority of citizens.

Our Budo is not for tournaments or for initiating conflict. It is, rather, for helping individuals become powerful but controlled, strong but compassionate. Coming out of the horrors of World War II, such was O-Sensei’s vision.

During this pandemic, the serious health threat to everyone (especially the front-line workers) is, of course, our greatest concern. Furthermore, people are facing job losses, business failures, and social isolation. It is at times like these that we are expected to demonstrate the self-discipline and indomitable spirit that Aikido training is designed to instill.

Let us model good anti-transmission protocols, help anyone we can, and prepare for the recovery that will be required over the coming months.

George Hewson

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