Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Fighting With No One: Reflections on Education, Aikido, and Peace

Background. This paper is a reflection on aikido as a tool for teaching about elicitive conflict transformation and the larger field of peace and conflict studies.
Problem and aim. One of the central difficulties of teaching elicitive conflict transformation is that, as an adaptive and emergent method, it is non-prescriptive and therefore conventional didactics are inappropriate. The aim is to add to the existing corpus of literature on aikido and elicitve conflict transformation by combining the philosophical perspectives presented in this paper.
Method. The reflection builds on a comparison of Canadian First Nation’s philosophy, the Japanese martial art aikido, and the Heideggerian term Verwindung as complementary philosophical approaches that can potentially deepen the understanding of elicitive conflict transformation. From the starting point of the Indigenous Canadian perspective from the Hesquiaht Nation, the term wiwikink’api’ is introduced, which means ‘fighting with no one.’ From there, aikido is presented as both a physical and spiritual practice that teaches non-aggression and balancing forces and it is compared to Verwindung.
Results. The three philosophical approaches have notable similarities that emphasize the core principles of elicitive conflict transformation: non-dualistic perception, self-awareness, and perpetual twisting.
Conclusions. The final remarks draw parallels between these reflections and the state of the art of elicitive conflict transformation.