Happy Fourth of July! I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday.

I tried to think of something to write today, but kept coming up blank.  I found something Sensei once wrote on freedom and thought that I might share it.  Enjoy!

Sensei originally posted this to the Daily Message on October 8, 2003.

Respect and Honor: What Modern Aikido Sorely Lacks!

Today, we live in a world where we can exercise our powers freely. What some people feel is that we can do and say anything we feel like. I think this is a good thing but like everything, we must look at it with the eye of goodness. Saying or doing anything I feel like and insulting or hurting another person is real freedom?

The other day on the internet, someone who knows not much about Aikido, after viewing a few videos of O'Sensei - declared that he was "clumsy" and inferred perhaps his Aikido is not very good - we must be much better today. I have been doing Aikido for 45 years and do not feel like I am even close to O'Sensei at all - I don't even know how anyone can dare think of such a thing. Aikido is not like the Olympics where we are trying to beat each other's records. Why do we call him "O'Sensei" meaning "Great Teacher?

Later someone referred to his teachings as "rambling, unintellegible overkill," and I am very insulted and hurt by this. I don't know computers as everyone knows and when my students try to explain it to me - I can only think of it as "rambling, unintellegible overkill" but I don't blame computers, it is only my inadequate brain which cannot understand it. When I was in my calculus class in high school, I thought of it as "rambling, unintellegible overkill" but this is only because I couldn't understand it at all, I do not think that calculus is a bunch of hooey! I don't blame computers and calculus for my lack of understanding, just myself for not having the brain to grasp it. Actually, I don't have that much interest in computers and calculus at all and don't wish to pursue it. Perhaps, this person doesn't really like Aikido at all and perhaps should take up wrestling or grappling which may be easier for her to understand - just hurt each other.

Just the other day, I received a letter from some Aikido friends who practiced in Viet Nam many years ago where they were not even able to bow to O'Sensei's picture before practice. They could only bow to the picture of the then president of their country. Now, in America, they can have the freedom to show their respects to O'Sensei - who would dare to demean and belittle this to exercise their own rights of freedom? Is true freedom the freedom to demean and belittle the freedom of others?????

The first lesson in Aikido is that martial arts begins and ends with respect.

This person's freedom of expression which contains not on ounce of respect for others and indeed tramples on the beliefs of others and belittles the name of a Great Teacher whom we are thankful to in giving us this wonderful art of Aikido should not be allowed the priviledge of practicing Aikido in my opinion.

I suppose this is my "freedom" to express my opinion about this person so it must be okay - I feel very bad about this, because I don't have such time to waste and there are much more important things to discuss in Aikido than this poor person's problems. It is just so frustrating that such a subject would ever be brought up among Aikido people - I am in shock and disgusted that people do not have the proper education and training in Aikido. It is unexcusable.

If this person had any sense of respect or honor, she would not have said it just to save the face of her dojo and her teacher.

Please enjoy all of the freedom you want, but if this is at the sacrifice of your self-respect, the respect of others and your personal honor. . . .I find it a very high price to pay!