Thursday, March 13, 2008

Aikido-- Dances With Wolves

Patrick over at Mokuren Dojo has this excellent post on Dog attacks, with a link back to a similar post I wrote for Dojo Rat. In it, he has videos of Dog attacks on both trainers and on-duty cops. The Dutch Shepherd appears to have the best bite strength and knockdown power, it's an impressive demonstration. The video also relates modern guard dog strength and tactics to that of ancient wolves.
Now, it just so happens I picked up a copy of "Aikido And The New Warrior", a collection of Aikido life-experiance articles edited by Richard Strozzi Heckler. Heckler has also written a book on his experiance training Green Berets in Aikido.
In one chapter of "Aikido And The New Warrior", O. Fred Donaldson writes "On Aikido, Wolves And Other Wildlife". Donaldson comments that most of the time people compete AGAINST animals, in hunting, rodeo and other events. Here he comments:
"We can substitute the dead trophies of contest with the enlivening experiances of Aikido. Suppose that instead of hunting animals to kill, we sought them out to engage in Randori (multiple person attack)".
Donaldsons comments reflect the concept that he has used his Aikido to become closer to nature, a blending aspect that most woodsmen, sailors and mountaineers realize.
But more specificly, he talks about using Aikido to help him fit in with a Wolf pack at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Washington State. He had to become like the wolves himself, and the blending concepts of Aikido helped him fit in. Here Donaldson explains:
"As Ukes, wolves are too fast, too full of suprise for me to depend on thought to control my responses. I use gentle intuition and heart to blend with their movements. Some are gentle, some quite forceful, and one is sneaky, always seeming to go to ground and jump me from behind." -- "My introduction to play with wolves was like being in the middle of an Aikido randori exercise".
Donaldson describes how he is often surrounded by as many as seven wolves, rolling in spirals and circles in a playful but potentially dangerous randori with his attackers. All the dynamics of an Aikido school, with heirarchy, technique, and necessary harmony are played out. It's a beautiful metaphor, and a thoughtful, well-written article.
It seems appropriate to conclude with this quote from Kipling's "The Law Of The Wolves"--
"The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack".

*** Please note:
Thanks Ted, for the detailed article on dog attacks in Aikido Journal- LINK HERE


Hand2Hand said...

"Aikido and the New Warrior" is one of my favorite martial art books. The chapter on the wolves is my second-favorite, after "A Kind Word Turneth Away Wrath."

Thanks for making me think of it. Now I'll have to dig out my copy and reread those chapters again.

ted said...

A (tenuously) related post from over at Aikido Journal:

Dojo Rat said...

Thanks Ted, that was a very detailed article. I put the link on the bottom of the post.