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Tuesday
May102011

Aikido and Permaculture

Aikido or the "Way of Harmony with Universal Energy" has many lessons for permaculturists. It is an oriental martial art which uses circular, blending movements to tame the energies of an attacker.  Informed by Zen, Shinto and the battlefield arts (jutsu) of the samurai of ancient Japan, Aikido has inspired generations of westerners and Japanese alike with its vision of cooperation and non-passive pacifism.

Both Aikido and Permaculture are systems of ethics as well as practical guides to life. Both stress the importance of observation or "listening" to the universe as an intuitive tool for solving problems and resolving conflict.  Both provide real strategies and techniques for living simply and in harmony with other beings.

Bill Mollison has compared permaculture to Aikido, and Geoff Lawton has attributed his success in establishing food forests in some of the world's most challenging landscapes to "harmonising with the landscape" (see this interview about Permaculture in Haiti)

Masanobu Fukuoka, in his agri-philosophical classic "The One Straw Revolution", much cited by Permaculturists, explores themes which are probably familiar to students of Aikido too: compassion, humility and economy of action are the key lessons for us in the modern world where hatred, arrogance, and pointless busy-work has the potential to bring our entire planet to ruin.

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