A way to change the world for the better.
Does aikido mean more to you than just what you do on the mat.? Do you believe that aikido is a tool that can be used in virtually all aspects of life to create a better world?
If so, then you will be delighted to learn that you are not alone and that there is a growing number of people who believe the same as you and who are looking for a way to make a difference.
A movement began in the USA called Aiki Extensions. It was established in September, 1998 to support and enhance communication among those who took their practice off the mat and applied the principles in their daily life. Its basic aims are as follows:
- To help the aikido community to make a difference by constructing networks, enhancing communications and providing resources.
- To extend aiki principles and practices by supporting existing dojos or creating new dojos in problem areas around the world, so that people, who would not otherwise have a chance, are able to see another way of dealing with the terrible problems they face.
- To deepen the understanding that aikido is a practice embodying power and love, which when used properly can have a powerful impact both on and off the mat.
The movement has grown over the years and the group is established as the equivalent of a registered charity in the USA. Significant names in the aikido world over there and indeed over here have given valuable support and this has allowed the group to support some fantastic projects and to grow internationally. Details can be found on the following websites:
As yet, the movement in the UK is at a fledgling stage and we now need to make things really happen. The last few years have been very much about learning lessons about how to create a dynamic that ensures that rather than AE working on a hand to mouth basis, it is able to stand on its own two feet and use the resources at its disposal to make a real difference in the world. We are potentially on the cusp of creating a movement can change the aikido world as we know it. As such your support is desperately needed We do need the money to support the important project work going on in hotspots around the world, but we also need the moral support of the aikido community generally.
As a movement, AE dovetails into the work done by the BAB as it offers the opportunity to build a network amongst UK aikdoka that breaks down the barriers across associations and help cut through the politics and ego that historically has been all to prevalent.
We also get the chance to explore how aikido can be made more mainstream and by this I mean not only on the mat but beyond. AE has people working hard to bring aikido into mainstream education, using their aikido skills in business management and consultancy and, in America particularly, using it as a powerful tool in therapy for the abused and marginalised.
Here is a chance for us all to work in harmony and to really make a difference. The beauty is that through helping others you will help yourself as you will be part of a growing network that work together on and off the mat to further your understanding of aikido and how it can enhance every aspect of your life.
If that sounds a bit far-fetched then here’s a reminder of what the founder Sensei Morihei Ueshiba believed. He saw aikido as a way to reconcile the world and said:
"I want to build bridges everywhere and connect all peoples through harmony and love. This I believe to be the task of aikido."
You will also have a chance to attend some fantastic courses. Those organised in the UK over the last few years have been some of the most innovative and best learning experiences that I have ever attended. They provided the opportunity to learn from some great teachers and meet some wonderful people. In short they truly embody the spirit of aikido.
In either case, you will be providing hard cash to ensure that AE can support the projects that it adopts, ( no reason why we can not find projects over here or elsewhere that we want to bring to the worlds attention as part of AE).
To join as an individual costs only $50 a year, which is about £29. Better still sign up as a dojo ($100/£58). Ideally it would be both, but a compromise would be to sign up the dojo and get everyone from the club just to contribute a bit. . Frankly, if you can not afford what is requested, any donation at all would be appreciated. Indeed if you can not donate money then donate your time and effort to help us grow.
If you sign up your dojo then AE asks that you to agree to run one fund raising course a year for AE. (Why not get together with all your local clubs to run a course?)
After that, the amount to which you get involved is up to you, but if this is truly going to work then members need to:
- Use their influence to persuade others to join
- Use their influence to persuade other dojos (which do not have to practice aikido) join.
- To offer your ideas and energy as to how we spread the word and where AE needs to go in the future.
For further details contact Quentin Cooke
01638 741678 (home)