Today, please take a moment to remember the people who lost their lives in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

In Chinese medicine we are taught that there is only one ki (氣) with of course many different gradations.  In Aikido, I believe that the first step in any encounter is harmony or wa (和) - harmony within one's self and harmony with one's partner.  But, what are we harmonizing?  We are harmonizing our ki.  Simply put, since there is only one ki then we are trying to bring the ki of our minds into harmony with the ki of our bodies.  Once this happens, we automatically become one with the universe.  When we become one with the universe then we become one with all of humanity.

The kanji for ai in Aikido is 合 which means to for more than one thing to join or meet.  This brings us to the philosophy of Aikido.  Because there is only one ki then another person's suffering is also our suffering.  This is why the Aikido techniques are designed the way they are.

The impact of the natural disaster was made worse when the nuclear reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi failed.  Nature's wrath could not have been prevented, but the nuclear meltdown could have.  In author Haruki Murakami's article Speaking as an Unrealistic Dreamer, he wrote an excellent piece about Japan's use of nuclear power.  In that article he wrote:

We Japanese should have continued to shout “no” to the atom. That is my personal opinion. We should have combined all our technological expertise, massed all our wisdom and know-how, and invested all our social capital to develop effective energy sources to replace nuclear power, pursuing that effort at the national level. Even if the international community had mocked us, saying, “There is no energy source as efficient as nuclear power. These Japanese who do not use it are idiots,” we should have maintained, without compromise, our aversion for things nuclear that was planted in us by the experience of nuclear war. The development of non-nuclear energy sources should have been the primary direction for Japan in the post-war period.

Such a response should have been our way of taking collective responsibility for the many victims who perished at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We needed a substantial moral foundation of just that kind, just such an ethical standard, precisely that sort of a social message. That could have been a tremendous opportunity for us truly to contribute, as Japanese, to the world. But as we rushed down the path of economic development, we were swayed by that simple standard of “efficiency.” We lost sight of that important alternative course that lay before us.

In that article while speaking about nuclear technology and its use, he referred to it as kaku (核) instead of genpatsu (原発) which is another way to say nuclear but the use of kaku was really meant to mean nuclear weapons and their impact on peace. O Sensei advocated non-violence because he understood its impact on society at large.

Today as we remember the 2011 Tohoku disaster we must look deeply into ourselves and understand that we are all one and embrace O Sensei's concept of non-violence.  More than likely, 20,000 people lost their lives in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami so their suffering is our suffering too.

Please take a moment to remember.