March 6, 2016

Towards Pedagogical Warriorship: Aikido As Contemplative Education Through Relational Praxis

Written by Michael A. Gordon, PhD student, Simon Fraser University, Faculty Of Education

As a practice that focuses on cultivation of self towards enlightenment, the Japanese martial art of Aikido approaches conflict resolution as an Art rather than combative training. In service to the cultivation of higher aims, path or Do in Eastern practice is ultimately about spiritual realization through cultivation of self, where one is ultimately guided towards harmonized relations between self and the entire life sphere and ecology of living. From the classical Western tradition, Aristotelian praxis, while grounded in similar ethical values towards developing ‘practical wisdom,’ has become overshadowed in Western epistemology by rationalism and empiricism, to the extent that the overemphasis on theoretical concerns represent a drift away from practical approaches to relationality and intersubjectivity. This paper suggests the praxis of Aikido, reflecting the Buddhist principle of interdependence, offers practical and philosophical insights into how pedagogy can become more humanized, open-hearted, relational and co-participatory, reflecting Levinas’ ‘primacy of Other.’

Read paper.