Special to the Nugget
One of the interesting things about Aikido training is that it emphasizes conflict resolution. Yes, we are a martial art that can use physical force to end a conflict, but our preferred method is to first use our interpersonal skills as a means of defusing a heated or hostile situation. Obviously, an unexpected aggressive action that requires immediate attention will leave little time for negotiation, but most often, the encounter time frame can offer a possible opportunity for calmer heads to prevail. It seems to me that developing good communication skills is essential for anyone wishing to improve their ability to defend themselves.
Over the years, I have noticed that students of all ages seem to have increasing difficulty working with and being engaged comfortably, with others. This relates to an inability to understand the true scope of what any communication with another person should entail.
Depending on the reference book used, basic (one on one) communication has three components – Body Language is 60 percent, Tone of Voice is 30 percent, and the Actual Words represent 10 percent of this interaction. If we examine the modern methods used to “speak” to each other, what, exactly, are we communicating? Spontaneity and recognition of non-verbal communication is lost.
Couple this lack of awareness with short attention span, poor focus skills, shallow or lazy thinking, personal sensitivity issues, heightened egocentricity, expectations of privileged treatment, thin skinned victimhood, the inability to cope with any type of conflict or eccentricity, and is it any wonder why so many people have difficulty dealing with others who exhibit similar traits? Is it really a surprise when some people seem unable to compromise; respect the opinion of others; cannot forgive minor transgressions; lack patience or perseverance, and often fail to see the same “faults” in themselves that they see in others?
We try to control our emotions, but accept the fact that conflict is emotional. A raised voice or expression of anger does not keep us from remaining calm, deliberate and prepared to act if necessary. That is our best self-defense.
Mr. Weber is the chief instructor at the Aikido Academy of Self-Defense located at 16134 N. Oracle Rd., in Catalina. He has more than 45 years of experience in the Martial Arts and has achieved skills in a variety of disciplines. He also teaches Tai-Chi on Saturday from 9 to 10 a.m.
Please call (520) 825-8500 for information regarding these and other programs. If you wish, check out the website at www.AikidoAcademyOfArizona.com.