Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Aikido Dichotomies: Water - Fire, Kon - Haku

There are quite some dichotomies to be discovered in aikido. Here are two of them that stared interesting me. The left and the right how they symbolize the male and female side, but at the same time a lot more dualities can be listed under this one. I was really glad to discover this table in The Essence of Aikido by Morihei Ueshiba, John Stevens and decided to share it with you:

The Essence of Aikido (1993) p. 26
It is easy to relate to this one, as a westerner also, because the water - fire duality is an archetype that we are also familiar with. Seeing this table, makes me think of myself in terms of these oppositions. The practice itself is also done in the symmetry of the two sides, each technique having not only a left and a right but also an omote and an ura application. 

Another set of opposite terms that rose my interest was the Kon vs. Haku, conscious soul vs. corporeal soul. Kon is all that is noble in human nature like inteligence, sensitivity and intuition that is not common to each and every individual. Haku is the more immediate, disruptive and sometimes even aggressive set of human characteristics that can be found in anyone: fear, love, hate, desire. In my understanding there is no Kon without Haku, unless we are able to banish Haku, but there can be Haku without Kon. Furthermore, O'Sensei considered Aikido to be a martial art based on the Kon, while other martial arts are based on Haku.

I started really liking the Kon and Haku opposition, because just now as I write, I realize that it stays at the very basis of the concept of this blog I am writing.

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