How to Win Without Fighting

O Sensei tells us Masagatsu Agatsu (正勝吾勝,) “True victory is victory over oneself.” This principle has helped me to understand my internal struggles – the way I scold myself when I have difficulty with a technique, the anxiety that leads to unnecessary strain and poor positioning, the productive procrastination of making a huge list of tasks knowing I cannot complete them all…

I’ve taken for granted that there will always be a struggle – that self-victory as described by Ueshiba would require heroic effort. Effort I may not be ready to undertake.

Aikido Has No Opponent

Aikido techniques performed correctly do not require strain and effort – they are joyful. Why would self-victory require a battle, and vanquishing of oneself as if destroying a foe?

I am reminded of a quote from Dune – when the hero allows his fear to pass over and through him, he finds the fear is gone. There is no struggle left, only he remains.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune

Can you find self-victory without the struggle? What does Masagatsu Agatsu look like, when there is no enemy to defeat?

Relaxed under pressure

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