David Birt serves as chief instructor,
or Sensei, of the Davis Aikikai. Sensei Birt began his martial arts career in
1954 at age 8, practicing Judo as a child in Japan. Mr. Birt also has a black
belt in Iaido, the art of drawing the sword.
Thoughts on Aikido
Most martial arts seek to resolve violence by training people to be more professional and efficient at hitting, blocking, grappling, and kicking than the average attacker. This attempt to solve the problem of violence through violence can succeed but it rarely does. Rather violence begets violence, both on a personal and political level. Aikido resolves the problem of violence through the application of an effective but non-violent methodology that neutralizes the energy of any attack without injury or destruction.
Aikido sees the universe in all its dazzling contradictions as differentiated manifestations of an underlying energy called Ki. Aikido is the Way (DO) of being in Harmony (AI) with that Energy (KI), hence the name Ai-ki-do. Aikido manifests the Way of Harmony through flexible circular movements that allow conflicting energies to merge into one unity. In this manner Aikido breaks down the subject-object dichotomy common to most martial arts. There is no subject to be protected by beating, killing or otherwise dominating an objectified attacker.
Fighting and all sports which emphasize beating or being beaten remain locked in a game of domination whereby the bigger, stronger, and faster tend to triumph over the smaller, weaker, and slower. For this reason, Judo, boxing, and wrestling divide themselves into weight classes. For this reason Sumo-Do considers itself the pinnacle of the martial arts. And for this reason, there is no competition in Aikido.
Competition runs contrary to the spirit of Aikido. In Aikido, men and women of all ages cooperate in daily repetitive practice designed to harmonize their movements with the rhythms of Nature. Through such practice Aikidoists seek to solve the problem of violence at its core - person against person - and thus serve an important building block in a larger process that leads to the realization of humankind's ultimate dream: world peace.