This week is International Aiki Peace Week, an event organized by Aiki Extensions, an international nonprofit dedicated to the application of Aiki principles outside the dojo. Peace Week is inspired by the International Day of Peace, or World Peace Day, sponsored by the United Nations. World Peace Day is observed annually on September 21 and is a global call for ceasefire and nonviolence. Our dojo is participating in Peace Week.
During the week, we’ve received daily messages from Aiki Extensions inspired by O-Sensei’s message of nonviolence. One in particular hit home for me, as I began my Aikido training right after 9/11. It’s from Thomas Crum of Aiki Works. In its entirety:
Shortly after September 11, 2001, I wrote about what we, as aikidoka, can bring to the world conflict resolution stage. The thoughts are as relevant now, 9 years later, as they were after that fateful day. In honor of International Aiki Peace Week, I offer these thoughts:
Only when we are centered will we be guided to the most effective actions without injuring or implicating the innocent.
We can breathe deeply and bring our awareness to center, to gain the courage and ability to let go of judgment, prejudice, and righteousness.
We can walk a new path to lead humanity to higher ground. Criminals and terrorists are grown in a soil created by revenge, fear and separation. We can plant our feet in soil based on tough love and centered connection.
We can make it our mission to listen actively to each other, to lend our prayers and our helping hands to others, and to seek and appreciate the gift of being together.
We can be centered in the possibility of ending the cycle of violence forever. In our own actions and conversations we can help others be aware that force follows force blindly, causing a never-ending cycle of suffering and revenge throughout the ages.
Our greatest contribution toward humanity lies ahead of us. May we get centered and embrace it.