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nikonl
11-19-2001, 01:34 AM
Hi, I've been wondering about this question. "How should we aikidokas handle Verbal Attacks/Abuse (think of the most serious ones)??" or what should be the aiki way to this?

Hope to receive good replies from the senior ones... :)


Thanx!
Leslie , Ueshiba Aikido, Singapore

Thalib
11-19-2001, 04:15 AM
It is a dilemma isn't it.

But the answer to that is mostly common sense.

Of course I've had many occurences that I want to bash the guys head right in, but that would be wrong... TERRIBLY WRONG.

They are still words, no matter how bad they are. Yes, it does hurt, I'll admit that, but that is no excuse to make physical contact.

When somebody spits out some hurtful words towards you, and then you react physically, that is a sign of weakness. You are easily intimidated/affected by the outside. Sometimes, it's the type of reaction that the instigator is looking for within you.

Just ignore it, walk away. Look within you, you are at a higher level than those instigators. They are weak, they resort to badmouthing someone else in order to make themselves look good. Be patient and be calm, those type of people are definitely not worth it. If you resort to physical contact, you are as low as they are.

But if they are the ones that resort to physical contact, you are ethically permitted to react in a physical manner (i.e.: using a technique). But until then, just walk away.

Well, this next one, is a non-Aikido way of doing it: if you are good at snappy comebacks, you could use this to counter their badmouthing. If they get frustrated and started resorting to physical contact, then you are allowed to return the favor. Words against words, if you have this ability, other than that just walk away.

If you're not good at snappy comebacks, don't even try it. It will make things worse.

It's all about self control, discipline, calmness, and eventually good spirit (ki).

I know, I know... easier said then done. But if you keep saying that without even doing it, when will you learn.

We learn by experience, our own or somebody else's, no matter how painful it is sometimes.

tedehara
11-19-2001, 05:12 AM
Sometimes an argument is the beginning of a fight. To make sure you don't lose your temper and have someone take advantage of your own emotions, you can try the following:
[list=1]
Imagine you have an invisible friend standing next to you.
Imagine the other person is cursing and swearing at your invisible friend, not you!
Relax
Maintain a proper distance (ma-ai) so the other person cannot immediately strike you.
Remember the first rule of Aikido - Get out of the Way!!! If they try to move in on you, get out of the way.
You can do a technique or simply walk away from it all. Just do something.
[/list=1]
:cool:

nikonl
11-19-2001, 11:40 PM
ok, that's what i though too, just getting a confirmation. thanx for the replies!

Abasan
11-19-2001, 11:55 PM
Terry Dobson and Glen Miller's : Aikido in Everyday Life (or something like that) is an excellent book that covers a wide range of situations like this. Apparently you can use all the principles of aikido to counter verbal attacks and such. Give it a read.

ranZ
11-20-2001, 10:32 AM
if the verbal attacker was your parents or family or boss, snapping back won't be a good thing to do.

i had experiences with my mother, who likes to make arguments just for the sake of having one per day. Usually i would snap back, and she would respond even worst and we'd end up not talking to each other for days. So one day i try to practice calmness & relax (Ted's step 3), don't snap, just respond casually with a soft tone. Well what do you know... works like a charm.

ranZ
11-20-2001, 10:35 AM
hey, what do you know.. Singaporean, Malaysian, Indonesian. feels like home already :) sorry OOT :triangle: :circle: :square:

Brian H
11-20-2001, 02:49 PM
The movie "Road house" is utterly forgetable other than one line: "be nice until it is time not to be nice." Being a good aikidoka does not me you have to walk away from every idiot who wants to argue with you, after all the idiot might be right and have something to teach you. Face your tormenter and confront him, if only to say "leave me alone"

ian
11-21-2001, 07:01 AM
Absolutely Brian!

People have the right ot some feedom of speech, but not to be competely rude. Remember we are all animals. Many people 'get off' on insulting and intimidating others. Try to understand why someone is reacting in this way. Then you can reason with them such that both of you can have a win-win situation. If this isn't possible (i.e. they are trying to intimidate you), think about the consequences, warn them that you will strike them if they don't go away, then strike them. (This allows them to associate their negative behaviour with a response, but if their negative behaviour is the result of their own personal stress etc, you should be able to deal amicable with it). At the end of the day some people are just socially inept, and don't care about it.

Ian

ian
11-21-2001, 07:05 AM
P.S. I used to believe that you should never be the first person to resort to violence, partly because it is forcing your views on others. However persecution can be verbal and social. There are nbow times I regret not being more violent. If you are going to live in a society, violence is necessary; however understanding others can reduce the need for it.

Ian

Abasan
11-21-2001, 10:00 AM
Actually, I have to disagree with Ian. I don't believe you can justify violence to someone who is only abusing you with words. Words do not equate to tangible abuse. It only is abusive if you let it affect you (unlike physical abuse where you get tangibly hurt if your ignore it - I hope the spelling is right there), thus you can ignore abusive words without getting hurt.

If we continue thinking that everything is resolved through violence, then only the violent will dominate. Docile and weak ppl will forever be intimidated. Aikido teaches techniques that can be applied in handling this non physical abuse as well. The spirit of aiki or blending with the abuse can allow you to deflect, parry, avoid, attack, deceive and etc the words. But we do that solely to restore harmony and at all times, we must keep our emotions under control i.e. keeping center.

Of course this is just my opinion, you may feel otherwise. But then again, differences in opinion is a precursor to a meaningful discussion.:p

ranZ
11-21-2001, 10:35 AM
i agree with Abasan on this one.
i like aikido because of the "no violence" essence. there is no need to be violent to ppl, i believe if u're nice to ppl they've got no reason at all to be violent to u. (*sound so utopian huh? *)

Mike Collins
11-21-2001, 03:40 PM
Brian H,

You couldn't possibly be more wrong.....


THE LINE from Roadhouse is Sam Elliot saying "I'm sick of working in a place where they have to hang a sign over the urinal that says "Don't eat the big mint""

That is a classic tough guy movie line.

unsound000
11-22-2001, 05:40 AM
Originally posted by ian
P.S. I used to believe that you should never be the first person to resort to violence, partly because it is forcing your views on others. However persecution can be verbal and social. There are nbow times I regret not being more violent. If you are going to live in a society, violence is necessary; however understanding others can reduce the need for it.

Ian

I agree with Ian somewhat. If a person yells fire in a crowded movie theater then wouldn't it be ok to clamp your hand over his mouth? And if a terrorist had a bomb somewhere then wouldn't it be ok to use violence on him to find out where it is and save all of those people? If someone is trying to move people to violence with words then isn't that self defense too if we should try to subdue them? Police arrest people all of the time for causing verbal disturbances. I think this is ok because they are preventing violence by stopping it before it happens. Sometimes, words are more dangerous then actions. We can't defend against violent actions without using our minds and we can't defend against violent words without sometimes using our bodies.

Thalib
11-22-2001, 07:19 AM
I believe the term you're looking for, Smith-san, is, "To stop, or to end violence". This does not mean one uses violence.

Using violence does not stop or end violence. By violence, one is subjected towards destruction, where in the end will destroy oneself.

Police do arrest people for verbal disturbances, but the police don't use physical means directly to subdue the suspect, that would be against procedure. Physical means become necessary when the suspect starts endangering others (even him/her-self), resisting arrest, or insisting to continue the disturbance.

As a martial artist, I do feel the obligation to protect the ones I love and care for. But I'm not going to sell my soul for it, cause that would also do injustice for the people I protect.

Prevention, protection, this I will do, but revenge, driven by rage, will destroy my soul, my spirit - an endless circle of death and destruction - darkness.

I want to end violence, put out the destructive fire, not add fuel to the fire.

ian
11-22-2001, 07:36 AM
I don't know if you lot are aware of a pschological study which a young woman had done on her flat mate. Without him being aware of it she would go home every evening and tell him how useless he was. After about a year he had lost his job and girlfriend and was near suicidal. Unfrotunetly he attacked her just prior to her ending the study.

Although you can blank out words, words are important and they have an enormous effect on people - often more than physical abuse.

Also, there are many people who do not respect anything except violence. Unfortunately it is the bargaining chip of the natural world. The most obvious difference between human and animal violent behaviour is that we regularly try to seriously maim or kill each other. In the animal world violence is all about being prepared to expend energy in order to get what you want. If one party is not prepared to take the risk/energy expenditure of further compeition they back down. We don't tend to do it that way, and instead have a possibly missplaced sense of 'honour'.

Ian

ian
11-22-2001, 07:44 AM
P.S. I do agree Ahmad, that it is a 'weakness' to be intimidated by words. However, to get rid of this weakness would result in either withdrawing from society or becoming inhuman, where everyone elses opinions do not matter to you.

I think a big difficulty is that the impact of words depends on an unsaid understanding between two people. If a friend of me calls me a fool, I've got a good idea he is only joking. If my boss says the same thing to me I am rather more offended.

Ian

ian
11-22-2001, 07:49 AM
P.P.S (apologies!)

I think a difficulty is that every situation is unique and our response often depends on what we have tried in the past. I would say, violence should generally by used as a last resort, however I don't think there is any justification for ruling it out. If it wasn't for an enormous amount of violence I would now be living in a branch of Nazi Germany.

Ian

akiy
11-22-2001, 10:49 AM
Originally posted by ian
Although you can blank out words, words are important and they have an enormous effect on people - often more than physical abuse.
I remember George Leonard sensei asking people at a seminar of his, "How many of you can actually still feel the pain from an injury that occured five years ago?" A few people raised their hands. Then he asked, "How many of you can still feel the pain from something someone said to you five years ago?" Most of us raised our hands.

-- Jun

Abasan
11-22-2001, 10:56 AM
I agree with Ian that each situation is unique. Osensei remarked before that each technique he does is completely different from each other, even if he did 10 iriminages in a row, it'll still be 10 different techniques depending on uke, timing, maai, strength, speed, etc. Aikido is I suppose based on principles not rigid structures.

Of course Thalib has put it succinctly that the intention here is to stop violence. There are of course many routes to that end, and here lets just agree not to debate whether reversal violence can do just that or not.

I also don't really believe that if you act nice all the time or 'switch off' your emotional receptors, abusive idiots will forswear their verbal attacks and you get a happy ending. They'll go on until they get feedback from you. And essentially, that feedback is within your control. If you do resort to violence it may be because you feel that the situation merits it. But of course, that would only be the case if you have preserved your rationale. Most of the time, we usually use violence when we lose control, and unfortunately thats a good way to start a fight. In a fight, people will get hurt.

So what other feedbacks are there besides punching the sob in his big mouth? Looking at things from his perspective for one, persuasion, etc. Most of the time, these conflicts are as a result of an ego contest. We feel we have to win the argument, that we can do one better on him.

I like the story of Terry Dobson and this drunk on a train. Abusive drunk scaring people in the train. Big hulk aikido guy out to defend the world. It probably would have been a good way to test out his aikido moves. But then the purpose was to end the conflict and restore harmony. Inevitably, it ended because a kindly old man symphatised with the drunk and talked to him. It didn't require violence although the drunk started out really violent.

Abasan
11-22-2001, 11:02 AM
Sorry... just to add something as an afterthought. Especially after Jun's comments. I totally agree our emotions are as vulnerable as our physical bodies or perhaps even more, like that study Ian mentioned about (interesting, what happened to the girl?).

And just like the good ukes that we are, we have to learn how to protect our bodies as well as our emotions from being hurt. That was never in question. However, we learned aikido so that we do not have to use violent means to defend our physical bodies. So why must we resort to violence in order to defend our emotions? Apply the principles that you have learned. :)

Erik
11-28-2001, 12:11 AM
Jun's George Leonard story reminded me of this quote:

"The person we most need self-defense from is ourself."

Brian H
11-28-2001, 10:46 AM
The question is are you using violence for a good purpose? Does attacking first make you bad? Do sticks and stones break my bones, but will words will never hurt me? Very good questions. My answer: actions will always be faster than reaction. Move=>Take Balance=> Excecute Technique. Does it matter is the dynamic of attack is physical or verbal if you respond with Aikido?

And to Mike Collins, who said:
Brian H,

You couldn't possibly be more wrong.....


THE LINE from Roadhouse is Sam Elliot saying "I'm sick of working in a place where they have to hang a sign over the urinal that says "Don't eat the big mint""

That is a classic tough guy movie line.


I stand Corrected

nikonl
11-28-2001, 12:30 PM
hmmm...i've been wondering...

About the enormous violence and the Nazi thing Ian said, so is he saying that the enormous violence was 'right'? or was the 'enormous violence' avoidable/unnecessary? Was there an alternative?

Hope everyone understands what i'm saying :)

Sorry for my informal threads....i'm too used to irc...hehe :)

unsound000
12-09-2001, 02:10 AM
I think you could argue that using enormous violence against fascist's was both right and necessary. Or you could argue that violence is never really necessary i.e. pacifism in Tibet. Someone once said, "If war is the last resort of politics, then we can also see it as the first sign of political failure." (or something like that).



Originally posted by nikon
hmmm...i've been wondering...

About the enormous violence and the Nazi thing Ian said, so is he saying that the enormous violence was 'right'? or was the 'enormous violence' avoidable/unnecessary? Was there an alternative?

Hope everyone understands what i'm saying :)

Sorry for my informal threads....i'm too used to irc...hehe :)

Duarh
12-10-2001, 02:40 AM
About Tibet - they haven't achieved anything besides wordlwide recognition, have they?

About verbal abuse - what do you think about bullying in school? I know that bullies, even weak ones, can make a kid's life miserable, but I don't have any idea how a kid can solve such a problem without punching the bully in the nose (which usually works). And grownup people who use such (bully) methods are as much kids as the bully. Opinions? Experiences?

:) IF I'd only had that kotegaeshi at 11...

Edward
12-10-2001, 06:49 AM
Originally posted by ian
Absolutely Brian!

Then you can reason with them such that both of you can have a win-win situation. If this isn't possible (i.e. they are trying to intimidate you), think about the consequences, warn them that you will strike them if they don't go away, then strike them. (This allows them to associate their negative behaviour with a response, but if their negative behaviour is the result of their own personal stress etc, you should be able to deal amicable with it).
Ian

The problem sometimes in Aikido is that it makes us feel invincible. The reality might be quite different unfortunately. What about if this bully kicks your butt when you attempt to strike him? It would be very humiliating. I have no doubt about Ian's abilities, but I do have doubts about mine. I think better to avoid physical violence unless really necessary. Violence will inevitably mean nail scratches, wounds, black eyes, a few fallen teeths, torn clothes...etc. So if you're not of Steven Seagal's caliber, better not attempt it. But I would be very very interested to know if someone actually did it, and the outcome ;)

Brian H
12-10-2001, 10:14 AM
I consider myself a very moral and decent fellow. I would vastly prefer to drink my morning coffee than visit violence upon my fellow man. But I am a policeman, so when violence rears its ugly head, off I go. If I do not act and act well, people will suffer or maybe die. When my peers and I show up the "suspects" usually flee because they are cowards and only prey on the weak. However some are just plain nuts or evil (or whatever)and hold society and the police responsible for their problems (or just enjoy causing pain in others), so they stick around to make us pay. So force is needed to gain control and so my options for resolving the situation "peacefully" become limited. The only thing that is not optional is the good guys get to go home when the incident ends. If the perpetrator does not than the ukemi for being a bad guy can be a bitch.

Edward
12-10-2001, 11:58 AM
Hello Brian,

What you say is very true, but what if civilians resort to violence to settle their problems?

It is your job to keep the order, and you are allowed by the law to use violence, if necessary.

Keeping the order includes keeping civilians from committing violence to each other, right?