Aikido

Aikido makes the most explicit claim to being an art of peace. Its founder, Ueshiba Morihei (1883-1969), had a vision of the “Great Spirit of Peace”, which could lead to the elimination of all strife and the reconciliation of humankind. He said, “The Way of the warrior has been misunderstood as a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek competition are making a grave mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst sin a human being can commit. The real Way of the warrior is to prevent slaughter – it is the Art of Peace, the power of love.”

Unlike the authors of old-time warrior classics such as The Art of War and The Book of Five Rings, which accept the inevitability of war and emphasize cunning strategy as a means to victory, Ueshiba understood that prolonged fighting – with others, with ourselves, and with the environment – would lead to ruin.

“The world will continue to change dramatically, but fighting and war can destroy us utterly. What we need now are techniques of harmony, not those of contention. The art of Peace is required, not the art of War.”

He thus taught the “art of Peace” as a creative mind-body discipline, as a practical means of handling aggression, and as a way of life that fosters fearlessness, wisdom, love, and friendship. He interpreted the art of Peace in the broadest possible sense and believed that its principles of reconciliation, harmony, cooperation, and empathy could be applied to all the challenges we face in life – to personal and work relationships, interactions with society, and to interactions with nature. Everyone can be a warrior for peace.

“Foster peace in your own life and then apply the art to all that you encounter. A warrior is always engaged in a life-and-death struggle for peace”, he said.