Thursday, April 18, 2019

Aikido in international affairs

Photo by Giorgos Sardelis
by Giorgos Sardelis, Aikicosmos editor
I guess that one of the major wishes of those who really love aikido is to see the martial art created by O-Sensei UESHIBA Morihei and preserved and promoted by the current Doshu UESHIBA Moriteru, spread all over the world. In order that to be achieved, Aikido should participate through its international body, that is International Aikido Federation (IAF), in international sports governing bodies. And that has been achieved since 1984 and continues today as a result of the continues work of aikido officers under the direction of Doshu. 

Yet it must be understood that for a martial art that has no competitions in a world environment which is always changing, this is not an easy task. The world map is changing, new countries are formed and as a result new national aikido bodies are created. Aikido is here to demonstrate, through its practice, its values of no discrimination between individuals, nationalities, races or religious beliefs. Aikido is here to promote peace and harmony between people and nations. 

Countries and nations may have issues to resolve between them, yet aikido should promote its position as a bridge of communication and mutual understanding through its practice. It would be thoughtlessness for aikido and people, who represent it, to become a part of such issues or disputes, even by mistake. 

Getting deeper into this, it is beyond the scope of this article and by the way it not something that should bother aikido. Wisely IAF, according to its statutes (Article 4.2.a), interprets the term of a country as a geographical region regarded as a nation in several prominent international fields of world relations, such as the United Nations and the General Assembly of International Sports Federation.The spirit of this policy is very successful, since aikido should wait the suitable international bodies and organs along with the countries to resolve such issues and problems. What is needed is to keep a close eye on the developments and updates and have a good understanding of some basic legal terms, in order to act accordingly. 

There are several examples in the past, especially in the field of world events, such as sports, when a country blocked the organization or the participation of some other country due to unresolved international issues or impeached the organization of the event and withdraw its team and participation. In the very rare cases that a national organization had no quick reflections to react in a such way publicly; homogenous individuals, association-members and other national organizations publicly impeached its failure to perform a fundamental part of its duties such as representing the country, or even as an act against the national interests. Such situations, in the world of aikido, where the formation of umbrella-national bodies to represent each country is still an ongoing process, may bring unrest, doubts and second thoughts in the process of unifying different aikido groups within a country. It might also give the opportunity to competitive national bodies, which use the name of aikido to bring charges to their advantage.  

Aikido and its international bodies, such as the Aikikai Foundation as the Aikido World Headquarters and International Aikido Federation as the only international aikido body that represents aikido worldwide, by nature, develop an environment of calmness and harmony, between people and nations, where aikido is practiced and flourish. Yet in a new world and in a new environment, new duties and challenges appear which demand to be acknowledged by all sides.