Our dojo in the French countryside sits on the northern slope of the Dordogne Valley. Its many hills create whisks of air climbing suddenly from the moist undergrowth as the sun shines through scarce clouds. Each evening, we look up at the sky and wonder at its beauty. Here the sun sets in a vast fiery of curling colours.
I have always practised with surrounding beauty, being inspired by it, supported by it. Strength is also to be found in beauty. And beauty is the limit to strength as it should not brutalize it nor damage it. As a child I happened to witness dead bodies as our car drove by, it was war in Vietnam. Since then, I have learnt that beauty is a limit to strength. Strength has to halt before beauty.
A dojo surrounded by beauty is a blessing as it is a reminder of the limit of our power on ourselves and on others. In Ringenkai Aikido, rin stands for wheel in Japanese. The wheel is efficient so long as its radius is limited. Should its radius tend to infinity, it would loose its applicability.
In force lies the necessity of self restraint.
In beauty lies a reminder of its limit.