Asia’s 2nd degree black belt (nidan) test paper begins:
Aikido, the art of peace, is a path of compassion. It is a narrow path, winding with many turns and twists, always changing and ever challenging our concepts of self and the world around us. Not always easy to follow, it is compelling in its unfoldment of compassion for our own selves and others.
Compassion exists as a dynamic balance between the two extremes of mercy and severity. Being not fully one or the other but a blending of both. Although it may lean at times towards one or the other, it always includes both aspects. This balance is a fine line to walk. We weave and stumble our way along, sometimes forgetting about it altogether, but always returning to it. This is the work, the training, to walk this path. In this way we learn to be centered, grounded, connected, have expanded awareness with an open and loving heart, and all with a sense of trust and gratitude.