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jennifer paige smith
07-19-2008, 03:10 PM
I started this thread so that we could continue the very interesting and cogent conversation that was stimulated in the "Abe Sensei........" thread. I look forward to hearing more from everybody.
Thanks so much,
Jen

jennifer paige smith
07-19-2008, 03:17 PM
Just for reference. It kinda started here with Ellis' following post:


I wasn't at Iwama. In fact, I never went. Because when I trained aikido, it was a guarantee that someone like Inagaki would try to cripple you - NOT in a fair fight, but, say, in the middle of a technique and you gave up the pin, and were waiting to tap out, and he would ignore the tap and rip out your shoulder. I'd already had the attempt made at another Iwama affiliate dojo.
This is not combat - nor a fair fight. It's obscene cowardice. And lest someone is offended that I mentioned Inagaki's name, I truly don't care. Saito sensei was quite fine with this, himself. Because it happened over and over again. Right in front of him. A friend of mine, a white belt who happened to be big, went Iwama all starry-eyed, and was crippled for life - he could no longer functionally bend his right arm. That was in Saito Morihiro's class.
My friend, Terry Dobson, worked out with Inagaki during one of Saito Morihiro's trips to Tokyo. Terry told him he had a separated shoulder, so "let's go easy," and Inagaki waited for nikkyo pin, which Terry gave him and Inagaki ripped the pins out of the bone.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the Iwama big-guys tried, in very studied fashion, to tear out my shoulder on shihonage, saying that he just wanted to show me something, moving very slowly, saying, "no need to take a break fall," and then suddenly tried to bridge my arm and tear it up. I was ready - forewarned by Terry - and took the fall, and then we had some - - - discussion.
More recently, Isat at a table at the aiki-expo listening to Saito Hitohiro bragging to others how they used to beat up guys from Honbu when they came to Iwama to train, but, and this is a direct quote, "It was done out of love, to give them a sense of how things should really be done."
You know, everyone made a big deal about the Ueshiba family taking back Iwama after Saito Morihiro's death. "Oh, it's politics." OR, "The Ueshiba family always resented Osensei's special relationship." Well, payback's a bitch, isn't it. This is the place Tokyo guys went to get injured. At the shrine. Yeah, if you were in-house, like some of my friends, things were fine. But, the place was a cesspool of cheap-shot violence.
Aikido is love? Or it's not. Fine. Nice debate. But Janne, who was a force of nature, did not deliberately set out to hurt people. I worked out with him a fair amount. But he would not accept cheap gratuitous attempts to injure or shame him.
I apologize for the rant. But one thing that has always offended me about aikido is that, often, what is used as "evidence" of aikido's real power is not one-on-one face-to-face, fighting, for whatever that's worth, but at least it's clean - but going backall the way back to Osensei and Yukawa in front of the emperor, it is cheap, nasty sucker punching and locking of people who trust you. Aikido is love? I guess, sometimes, it's also domestic violence - and far too many people call that love too.



and then moved on to some other really thoughtful posts.

Best,
jen

ChrisMoses
07-19-2008, 03:33 PM
I think that there's a lot of rhetoric in Aikido that helps make this kind of thing possible.

As an example, how many times have you heard, "In Aikido, the attacker throws themselves!"

Well if you're taking the ukemi, and you're throwing yourself, and you get hurt, it's not *my* fault (as the nage). Why did you hurt yourself? That's just one example of how a lot of what people *think* Aikido is about, can lead to or at least enable abuse in the dojo.

mathewjgano
07-19-2008, 03:46 PM
I started this thread so that we could continue the very interesting and cogent conversation that was stimulated in the "Abe Sensei........" thread. I look forward to hearing more from everybody.
Thanks so much,
Jen

Thanks Jen, I was thinking of doing the same. The thread has definately changed topics and I think this topic deserves it's own space. It's an important thing to consider I think.
I think that in taking the literal sense of this topic, most of us would say it's bad and people shouldn't do it. I have some deep-seeded issues with the cheap shot approach to addressing any situation. Most fights I've seen were predicated in this way and yet somehow those folks seemed to think it proved their "natural" superiority. My ire is rising just thinking about it...it represents more to me than would be appropriate for this forum, let alone this thread. Anyhoo...
I think the idea of tough love in the "Martial Arts" is crucial for the serious student. I think where the line is drawn must be case by case, particularly in an art like Aikido which has such an emphasis on peace and harmony (and how that often gets interpreted), but I think past a certain point the serious student must adopt some degree of severity. This doesn't mean injury. As has been pointed out, injuries weaken the structure's ability to receive and respond to input, and that is a disservice. I think this might be one of the key distinctions between "old-school" aiki and Aikido as most of us understand it. The homonym ai/love to me implies the uttmost concern for our partners, especially those we may personally dislike.
Unfortunately, ego abounds. I've seen it in myself when I've been frustrated with a training partner. When an uke tries to show me how "wrong" I'm moving by countering me every time we touch, eventually I've sought to counter the counter. The tension always seems to increase every time kaeshi occures and I think this is where many of the injuries are likely to occur. I've yet to get injured to to injure anyone, but i can see how easy it would be if one of us didn't simply yield for the sake of moving on.

mathewjgano
07-19-2008, 03:53 PM
I think that there's a lot of rhetoric in Aikido that helps make this kind of thing possible.

As an example, how many times have you heard, "In Aikido, the attacker throws themselves!"

Well if you're taking the ukemi, and you're throwing yourself, and you get hurt, it's not *my* fault (as the nage). Why did you hurt yourself? That's just one example of how a lot of what people *think* Aikido is about, can lead to or at least enable abuse in the dojo.

That's unfortunate...and the exact opposite of what I've been taught...though I've always been at the lower levels of training where I'm not expected to be very good. I've been learning that it is the defender's obligation to protect the attacker as much as possible. So much so that even when training with higher ranked people I'm not familiar with, i get the sense I should work my way up to whatever they can handle (rank being highly subjective).

Aristeia
07-19-2008, 04:13 PM
I fear this kind of thing is more common than it should be. I used to train with someone who was known for, while demonstrating pins, ignore the tap under the guise of "giving uke a good stretch"
The tap should be absolutely sacrosanct. I know much more about how my body is responding to a pin than you, so when I tap you stop, no question. And as is often the case with these types, it was always so much worse when any kind of audience was watching.

It's weird, on my (and pretty much any) BJJ mat, if there was someone who did not respect the tap it simply wouldn't be tolerated. But I saw it in Aikido enough to disturb me. I wonder what's behind it...

mathewjgano
07-19-2008, 04:19 PM
I fear this kind of thing is more common than it should be. I used to train with someone who was known for, while demonstrating pins, ignore the tap under the guise of "giving uke a good stretch"
The tap should be absolutely sacrosanct. I know much more about how my body is responding to a pin than you, so when I tap you stop, no question. And as is often the case with these types, it was always so much worse when any kind of audience was watching.

It's weird, on my (and pretty much any) BJJ mat, if there was someone who did not respect the tap it simply wouldn't be tolerated. But I saw it in Aikido enough to disturb me. I wonder what's behind it...

I wonder if the tap is more of a goal in BJJ than in Aikido. "Tap or snap" is one of the cliches I've seen on more than a few shirts and bumperstickers. Personally I love osaewaza for those stretches. I've almost felt obscene with how good they can feel and with that in mind I think it's a shame that some (many or most?) have a different sense of them.

senshincenter
07-19-2008, 05:12 PM
I wonder what's behind it...

Pride. And then, behind that: Fear (the opposite of Love, mind you). All Ego-attachment: the opposite of becoming One with the Universe.

Loved the post by Ellis - thanks for spreading the word. The other thing about it being a form of domestic violence is that like DV, the disorder is spread down, from generation to generation - from victim to victim. Can't be a warrior and a victim at the same time - my opinion. Hence, these are not warrior traditions - my conclusion.

d

Aikibu
07-19-2008, 06:50 PM
I fear this kind of thing is more common than it should be. I used to train with someone who was known for, while demonstrating pins, ignore the tap under the guise of "giving uke a good stretch"
The tap should be absolutely sacrosanct. I know much more about how my body is responding to a pin than you, so when I tap you stop, no question. And as is often the case with these types, it was always so much worse when any kind of audience was watching.

It's weird, on my (and pretty much any) BJJ mat, if there was someone who did not respect the tap it simply wouldn't be tolerated. But I saw it in Aikido enough to disturb me. I wonder what's behind it...

I have sure seen allot of this kind of BS over the years what is behind it is simple... Giant Bloated EGO's in whose "expertise in badassery" would never survive a beat down outside of the Dojo.

When I encounter someone like this my technique to bring it to thier attention is simple... Endure being their Uke and pray they are stupid enough to think they have gotten away with it. I had a senior Yudansha pull that crap on me once because I am a big guy and he thought with my background he could be a little rough with me so he did Kotegashi will all his might and put me on my head and then proceeded to pin me hard to the mat. Since he was a smaller guy and his "mad skillz" did not jell with my Irish Temper; it was hard for him to control the pin. I simply took the opening he gave me :D and lifted him up, rolled into, and side mounted him. He looked like a deer caught in the headlights. I left the seminar... and a few years later he moved to another country. I heard he was much nicer to his students. :)

There is no such thing in Aikido as violence under the pretext of love That is the illusion of a few folks sick with Blackbelt disease.

Makes me "angry" to think that There are some A-holes out there abusing folks behind that pseudo-pretext.

William Hazen

On a side note Ellis is a Very Tall guy and I have found that big or tall guys suffer from the illusions of others that because they are big they can take allot more physical abuse because if it works on them it will work on anybody. Sadly for them we both get to take turns and 99% of the time they take my gentle suggestion that I too can suffer pain. :)

Aristeia
07-19-2008, 06:51 PM
Personally I love osaewaza for those stretches. I've almost felt obscene with how good they can feel and with that in mind I think it's a shame that some (many or most?) have a different sense of them.nothing wrong with that - you're right they can be a good stretch - but you are the one that should be choosing that, not guy that's decided he knows better than you how your body is coping.

It's all about consent. To me there is nothing more despicable than willingly offering up your body to someone so they can train and to have them abuse that trust.

Aikibu
07-19-2008, 07:01 PM
nothing wrong with that - you're right they can be a good stretch - but you are the one that should be choosing that, not guy that's decided he knows better than you how your body is coping.

It's all about consent. To me there is nothing more despicable than willingly offering up your body to someone so they can train and to have them abuse that trust.

You said it perfectly...Amen

William Hazen

lifeafter2am
07-19-2008, 07:13 PM
nothing wrong with that - you're right they can be a good stretch - but you are the one that should be choosing that, not guy that's decided he knows better than you how your body is coping.

It's all about consent. To me there is nothing more despicable than willingly offering up your body to someone so they can train and to have them abuse that trust.

Well stated! I agree 100%!

Mark Uttech
07-19-2008, 07:37 PM
Onegaishimasu. Physical abuse is physical abuse. It is where the students and teacher wannabes are separated from the actual guides/teachers. Physical abuse is the reason many come to the dojo. The dojo itself should be a refuge, a place where people can learn and work with another way, the way around the problem.

In gassho,

Mark

Aristeia
07-19-2008, 10:12 PM
Onegaishimasu. Physical abuse is physical abuse. It is where the students and teacher wannabes are separated from the actual guides/teachers. Physical abuse is the reason many come to the dojo. The dojo itself should be a refuge, a place where people can learn and work with another way, the way around the problem.

In gassho,

Mark
This is an excellent point! We should always bear in mind there is a good chance the person we are training with started training because they have in some way been bullied in their lives. The last thinkg they want to run into is another bully...

Buck
07-19-2008, 11:29 PM
I was told this story once in front a little cafe by a tender old Chinese man sitting sipping tea, he was a regular and I worked there- gee twenty some years ago. After good old fashion chit chat for a few minutes on my brake he was nice enough to tell me this story about three son's. I will keep it short.

A father who he trained his son's in martial arts tested them, he sent each of the three son's on errands into town. Each son left the house obediently into town. Not known by each son when they arrived the father would hide waiting behind the door with large stick for each son to arrive home.

The youngest arrived first, eager to have fulfilled the errands and full of energy past the gate and robustly he entered the house and was hit unsuspectingly on the head by the father with the stick from behind the door.

The middle son arrived home he past the gate and came to the door he paused vaguely sensing something was wrong opened the door slowly and careful crossed the threshold and blocked the fathers strick from striking him on the head.

Then finally the oldest son arrived home. He approached the gate but didn't pass through it, instead he walked around to the back door of the house and entered through it. The father was surprised at the son's cleverness as he still stood behind the front door with the stick over his head.

This story for me has a tremendous amount of meanings and applications. But here applying to this thread says allot about experience. We all run into bullies, and egomanics whose insecurities are proportional and feel the need to conquer others physically. If you have experienced bullies enough in your life like me you can read them a mild away and avoid them. But not everyone has that skill.

Another meaning it has is that bully dojos are very close to a level of real fighting in this day and age. Lots of people speak of MMA as the true test, but that isn't really so. MMA is one level and type of conflict, and it has rules, and refers, and judges, your matched with similar fighting styles and weight, and you have a short shelf life to compete. It is a contest, it is entertainment. But it is still rough in there. If you can stop bullies in your art and prevent injury you understand your art. If you feel it necessary to take the art that far. I don't. I am fine with practicing it for the beauty of it, as a hobby. Cause you know in this day and age under those circumstances if we are entrapped by bullies hiding behind Aikido and find ourselves purposely injured, we can sue. No love loss on that, or love required. The pen is mightier then the sword, or sucker Aikido.

Buck
07-20-2008, 12:31 AM
What does it really make a person if they sucker punch, blind side, or take advantage of someone from another dojo? When such things happen in Aikido we wonder about O'Senesi talking about love. Ambiguous and vague, the idea of love in Aikido, first of all is in the Japanese language and an idea in O'Sensei's head. It is not well explained. We are to guess is love used globally, remotely, generally and what is love? Is love as O'Senesi thinking a love for mankind, for one another if so how? On the other hand is love intended to be used on a micro scale infused to Budo? Are we fated to experience the idea of love as another typical Japanese paradox to wrestle? Honestly when I read O'Sensei it is difficult to comprehend what he is saying without referencing it in a familiar context. The context of my own society and language and philosophy.

Another thing, a friend of mine who did Judo talked about the Judo idea of mutual benefit between Judoka when training. Mutual benefit is clearly defined and laid out. Plus, Judo having competition to test a person's abilities helps promote that idea of mutual benefit in the dojo and across to other dojos. In contrast, Aikido having the idea of love that isn't really clear on how it is to be applied like Judo's idea o of mutual benefit and Aikido not having competition, ends up forcing Aikidoka to act so malicious toward others. Let's not forget

Or is this what is meant by love, a process of brutality that was justified by those doling it out as love- brutal hazing and rentlessly upon other for the sake of improving them? In order to prepare them for a real fight, on any level, they may face? A segregate proving ground for mental toughness and perfection needed in a real fight? Or is it really more about disipline being love. Ugggggg, what a headache for me, that ugly paradox raises it's ugly head.

In other martial arts, if people want to prove something they can settle it in a competition. Besides competition is in the raw nature of humans and promoted by humans. It would go to reason then a martial art should have a competition outlet in times of peace as an outlet for that fighting competition which would otherwise end up with students hurting each other in the dojo to prove something. Usually whose gi stinks worse then the others in the dojo.

I am not sure about O'Sensei's idea of love, I don't think it applies to Budo, I would hope not, if so then we all should have many broken bones and injuries. I think it applies globally to the world and it's wars, for example. I think the issue really isn't about understanding love, but understanding budo.

dalen7
07-20-2008, 12:38 AM
Not much to say except what that story described is just wrong in my opinion...period. It shows a level of inhumanity as well as lack of any type of evolvement - I would think even apes treat each other better.

Its one thing to have 'rough' training, but its another to trick someone and then try to maim them.

Yes, to each their own...and they can keep this 'own' to themselves. ;)

Peace

dAlen

Charles Hill
07-20-2008, 01:29 AM
There is a fundamental tenet is Japanese society that suffering leads to self development. This often comes out that those in teaching positions set up difficult situations for their students. In many situations this becomes abuse. Survive it, and the individual becomes proud of the experience. One can either call it abuse and admit that they were victims, or one can deny this and then must "pass it down" to those beneath them.

Charles

Joe McParland
07-20-2008, 03:17 AM
Just a few quick and scattered comments. My apologies if the points have been covered.

I think I can only speak of my own errors with any authority, so, here are some:

If I am demonstrating a technique and either (a) I am not fully "present" and sensitive to what I'm doing or (b) I am so focused on my own role as nage that I lose uke for a bit, my body will go on autopilot and will not stop until it's completed the technique in some final pin position. Uke may start tapping before that point though, but I can be so completely engaged that I do not hear it. It is not malicious, but it is an error. It's a good opportunity for practice in awareness and connection.

I have a teenaged student whose ukemi is advancing very well. Naturally, when there's a somewhat complex technique to be shown, the instructor will gravitate toward the skilled ukes so as to provide a model demonstration. One time moving through several throws in succession, the student was on the edge of tears. I stopped immediately and asked if he was alright. He was, but he said it was a bit too much too fast. He endured to please me or not to look weak---who knows. I sat everyone down for an on-the-spot lecture about how I was wrong for pushing too hard, and about how everyone is responsible for his/her own body; do not do anything that hurts, and do not allow anyone to hurt you, whether it is a fellow student or the instructor himself. It was valuable for everyone, including me.

Particularly with a newer student, tapping may seem to start prematurely. An advanced person applying the pin knows that uke is in pain, and may also know why: In a bit of panic, uke tenses up and begins to resist. If instructing, I might have whispered to uke careful instructions about how to relax and to allow the pin to continue to a good finish---sometimes a "good stretch." If the whispering wasn't heard, there could easily have been a misunderstanding that I was ignoring the tap. I'm now much more clear, making sure that everyone hears the instruction.

Regarding the different styles, at different seminars I have heard different styles teachers' mocking other styles. Fortunately, I've not seen anyone trying to make an example of anyone else from a different style... What's sad from my view is that each of these instructors at best could teach his own style's variations of techniques, but not aikido itself. Worse, if they weren't careful, their students would carry their attitudes forward.

Oh well---lessons learned!

Stefan Stenudd
07-20-2008, 04:57 AM
Ellis Amdur wrote:
But Janne, who was a force of nature, did not deliberately set out to hurt people. I worked out with him a fair amount. But he would not accept cheap gratuitous attempts to injure or shame him.

Janne Hermansson is an old friend of mine, and we have trained together many times. It is always a treat, because he is a fountain of aikido knowledge, and a very fine man.
He is quite the opposite of the pennalism and sadism sadly going on here and there in aikido.

I think that many of the brutal ones have competing minds, as suggested by Buck in a post above. There is no competition in aikido, but some aikido students and instructors certainly compete, nonetheless.
In competing martial arts you don't see this as much, since everybody gets a chance to do that stuff on regular competition.
We should really stand above competing, but that's easy to say. I am sure that those who have the least self-confidence do it the most. Janne never does.

Buck
07-20-2008, 11:25 AM
Stefan said it well by saying, "pennalism and sadism sadly going on here and there in aikido." That is what I see happening too in Aikido. And Ellis story points it out. Therefore, then, "Violence Under the Pretext of Love." Is misleading, and of course not on purpose. But the word love points out something, a perspective that people naturally, keying us into a non-conflict feeling or state of mind when we hear the word love.

Love is a broad term, and in many languages has one or more meanings and has many different uses and context. Generally, in basic terms, love represents a human act or emotion toward others that does no harm, and is the opposite of violence. It represents as well a bonding between people that rises from being peaceful or helpful toward one another.

Aikido is love, not to have a budo mentality of competition or fighting, to have a spirit of protection of all being in the universe and we are to make this great love the universe of our heart, as we are told. Like I said before, vague and ambiguous difficult to define, and seems be about Budo, then love its self. Here we have an idea of love in Aikido that is difficult to understand and how it applies.

Budo is violence, and Aikido is budo; O'sensei's style of budo, what it should be and how it should be practiced. O'sensei's Doka talks about violence and competition-winning over an ambiguous or an opponent. Possibly the opponent is a person's self, and embedded code to doing technique. But yet, O'Sensei tells us we should not be competitive, I think it has to do with diluting his style of Budo; lessons not to be learned best that way.

Love (not clearly defined or how it is to be applied) fused in with the contradicting philosophy of Budo, which I think O'Sensei was trying to marry together in a working relationship. Which is a big loop hole for personal interpretation or an opportunity for chucking the whole thing out the window, and using the waza as they please? Resulting in an opportunity for “pennalism” and sadism to ripen.

Where is the line then for practicing technique drawn, how far is far enough, and when is it not enough? How do you practice with love, how much is too much love where the technique is simply a waltz to when is a technique too much old school budo- a competition of who bleeds first is defeated. I think that was an issue that O'Sensei was trying to balance out and the scale. Like a chemist he was trying to weighing out equally love, harmony etc. with Budo. And a very difficult task to blend these elements in the right proportions. Even more difficult task for those to follow his chemistry.

I think these elements he tried to combine equally are volatile, difficult to manage. Because of the nature of what O’Sensei was trying to do with love and Budo it was like sticking your fingers into holes in a dam and running out of fingers in relation to the holes.

I don’t think love and violence here as presented in the topic is accurate in the realm of Aikido. Aikido is violent, it is Budo. I don’t think O’Sensei eliminated violence. Rather he was trying like a wild horse to tame it. To domesticate it for utilization that was best or fit modern society. I think he want people to control their violent side and tempers and use constraint and control, instead of it erupting like a volcano or manipulated for sadistic purposes.

So you have two kinds of people in Aikido, those who get it and those who don’t. Like all religions there is no guarantee people will follow it earnestly regardless of appearances. This in my book is the real issue here. We can criticize those who we feel don’t follow the ideals of Aikido and say they don’t get. But we have to understand Aikido is violent but it is the degree of controlled violence without injuring each other, and having even tempers, friendship and goodwill during and after practice no matter what Aikido dojo you are from. But when this doesn’t happen, and saddism, brutality, cruelity, happens falling back to old school Japanese militarism then it is not Aikido regardless of what people are calling themselves or the sign they hang on the dojo indicating Aikido.

I feel it is helpful if we visit other dojos to investigate it. And if it is a bully dojo then it isn't a real Aikido dojo. They are not doing Aikido, but sadism under the guise of Aikido.

Chris Parkerson
07-20-2008, 11:50 AM
with all do respect,

I simply do not understand, if aikidoka are faced belly down in a prone position while nage places a finishing lock on tbeir elbow, wrist or shoulder, why they would not hike a leg.

Give Mage your arm but hike your leg. Comiant yet pote tially in a position to reclaim what you have offered in practice.

Love means truly respecting both yourself and nage.

John Matsushima
07-20-2008, 12:15 PM
I think that there's a lot of rhetoric in Aikido that helps make this kind of thing possible.

As an example, how many times have you heard, "In Aikido, the attacker throws themselves!"

Well if you're taking the ukemi, and you're throwing yourself, and you get hurt, it's not *my* fault (as the nage). Why did you hurt yourself? That's just one example of how a lot of what people *think* Aikido is about, can lead to or at least enable abuse in the dojo.

I agree that is one way that people justify themselves in allowing uke to be hurt, nonetheless, I also agree with that little bit of rhetoric.

Take a sankyo pin for example. In my experience, once I get the pin in place, when uke resists and tries to rise up, he applies pain to himself. The problem comes with some people who don't like to be pinned, or think that there is someway to get out of it and continue to resist to the point that I know if I just sit here and hold them in the lock, they will break their own arm. I think this is where love and compassion comes into play. I know that I have to either let him go or readjust to prevent the uke from injuring himself. I think that in many techniques, the opportunity for pain and injury is created by the uke himself (not always, especially in the story told in this thread); HOWEVER, it is my responsibility to protect the uke from hurting himself.

I wonder, has any of the jerks that we speak of suffered any consequences from their actions?

bkedelen
07-20-2008, 01:21 PM
Exactly what consequences? How does one deal with such bullies, especially when you know others are bullied but you yourself are not. There is a guy around here who popped one of the gentlest people I know in the face and gave her a huge black eye. I'm sure he thinks he was showing her that she was open, but the accumulation of similar events surrounding this guy proves that in fact he is just a bully. I thought for a long time about what I could do, about what I would do if it happened to me, and about what I would do if that happened in my dojo. A lot of thought has been put into this, but I have never come up with any good answers.

mathewjgano
07-20-2008, 01:24 PM
nothing wrong with that - you're right they can be a good stretch - but you are the one that should be choosing that, not guy that's decided he knows better than you how your body is coping.

It's all about consent. To me there is nothing more despicable than willingly offering up your body to someone so they can train and to have them abuse that trust.

Absolutely. I've had students in the children's class I used to teach who would tap well before I knew they "should," but I would still let up and ask them to make sure they tap when they feel they couldn't get up. I think it's important to address the psychology of our students as much as the physiology and to me that means respecting the individual's boundaries of comfort.

Aikibu
07-20-2008, 02:00 PM
with all do respect,

I simply do not understand, if aikidoka are faced belly down in a prone position while nage places a finishing lock on tbeir elbow, wrist or shoulder, why they would not hike a leg.

Give Mage your arm but hike your leg. Comiant yet pote tially in a position to reclaim what you have offered in practice.

Love means truly respecting both yourself and nage.

Some practices do this Chris... Some don't.

William Hazen

mathewjgano
07-20-2008, 02:30 PM
There is a fundamental tenet is Japanese society that suffering leads to self development. This often comes out that those in teaching positions set up difficult situations for their students. In many situations this becomes abuse. Survive it, and the individual becomes proud of the experience. One can either call it abuse and admit that they were victims, or one can deny this and then must "pass it down" to those beneath them.

Charles

This idea is fundemental to all societies I know of, but I think this illustrates something central to the issue here. It is up to us as individuals to take and apply what we've experienced in new and creative ways. Specific to the topic at hand, we need to take those harsh moments we've endured and translate them into something better for those we seek to teach. It's as if when perpetuating some of these destructive habits the mind says "it was good enough for me, it should be good enough for you too." Good "enough" should never be the goal of anyone. I've seen grotesque violence, the description of which should shock all save for those who have been in war zones. Things like this have been very beneficial to me in a variety of ways too numerous to list, but I also hold that no one should ever have to experience them. As a teacher, how shall I take those terribly harsh and useful events and translate them into something more useful than harsh for my students? As was pointed out earlier, the idea is to evolve, to grow. Perpetuating severity for its own sake demonstrates only what one has left to learn about teaching.

L. Camejo
07-20-2008, 03:50 PM
Cause you know in this day and age under those circumstances if we are entrapped by bullies hiding behind Aikido and find ourselves purposely injured, we can sue. No love loss on that, or love required. The pen is mightier then the sword, or sucker Aikido.This point sort of stood out to me. Suing is an option in many cases but sometimes no amount of money or other "damages" awarded in court is enough to repair permanent physical and psychological damage that can be the result of the behaviour stated at the beginning of this thread.

A person who is cooperating in Aikido practice is freely offering another their body to practice or to demonstrate with. This is done out of a certain level of trust. In a distrusting or combative situation one would not offer ones body totally and willingly to someone who could permanently damage that body. Folks who decide to willingly injure their partner in the midst of cooperative practice are succumbing to an ego and fear-driven need to show "superiority" by beating up on someone else. This is a typical bully mindset and is akin to cutting off the hand of someone who offers it to you in friendship imho. The reverse also applies when someone claims that they could "defeat" X Sensei because they could stop their technique in the midst of a demonstration.

Interestingly enough, I train in an Aikido method that encourages live testing and competition for self improvement. Bullying is a problem we almost never see since the reality of ones actual skill is revealed regularly during free practice. Similar to the Judo premise of mutual benefit we are also taught from the first session to take care of our partner and respect his/her body and understand the difference between cooperative practice/kata and free practice/randori where cooperation is progressively removed at different levels. All members are aware of the vast gulf that exists between what one can achieve in cooperative practice as against what can be achieved when ones partner is not cooperating. There are no delusions in this regard and any ability to throw or pin someone in randori is a hard won skill that may only work that one time on that person. These folks have no need to try and show off by hurting someone during cooperative practice - they know the truth of their own ability and so does their partner.

I've attended dojo and seminars by Aikido sensei from "non-competitive" Aikido methods who tend to act as if waza executed to cause severe pain with a cooperative Uke in some way shows applied martial prowess. To me it is very sad to see sensei who do not see the reality that this can only be done if your partner allows you to do it, meaning that it in fact shows their lack of applied martial prowess and understanding of conflict resolution.

I really hope these "Instructors" are able to transcend this sort of behaviour else it propagates a dangerous culture of bullying ones partner in the false belief that this is "real, hard-core, old-school Aikido". Then their students start doing it. Very sad indeed.:yuck:

LC

Aikibu
07-20-2008, 04:31 PM
I've attended dojo and seminars by Aikido sensei from "non-competitive" Aikido methods who tend to act as if waza executed to cause severe pain with a cooperative Uke in some way shows applied martial prowess. To me it is very sad to see sensei who do not see the reality that this can only be done if your partner allows you to do it, meaning that it in fact shows their lack of applied martial prowess and understanding of conflict resolution.

I really hope these "Instructors" are able to transcend this sort of behaviour else it propagates a dangerous culture of bullying ones partner in the false belief that this is "real, hard-core, old-school Aikido". Then their students start doing it. Very sad indeed.:yuck:

LC

This to me is the essence of Blackbelt Disease in Aikido. Too many times I see one or more folks applying the "Real Men of Genius" credo at a seminar; and while thier bad behaviour only lasts a moment... The effects on thier Uke/victims can linger for years.

William Hazen

Buck
07-20-2008, 04:51 PM
I think Aikido is finding a balance between the violence of Budo -Aikido's wazas and training,and the discipline -mentally and physically- it takes to control that violence. That isn't talked about or valued very much over the skill of executing a waza. Larry points out some good things about competition, how it is a valve for check and balances. And he talked about how completely non-competition dojo bottle up competitive drives that turn out to be unhealthy.

If a non-competitive dojo stifles competition instead of finding the balance then they are missing a big chunk of O'Sensei. The key is that there should not be the results described by Larry for non-competitive dojo.

I see O'Sensei idea of love and his style of Budo to be a balancing act. A very difficult one because the drive for competition in ourselves is so great. If you don't feed the beast of competition, and go against it, it bites you. If you give into it, you risk going over board with it, ripping everyone apart. What you have over time is feudal conflicts.

I think the disipline of non-competition and competition ( in the context of the thread) is a balancing act that is very hard to maintain and is the most difficult waza in Aikido.

DonMagee
07-20-2008, 05:49 PM
I think this kind of thing happens simply because there is no sparing. People do not respect the kind of power they hold over another person in complaint practice because they have never truly been dominated in non-compliant practice. They use their rank as a shield to protect them from breaking the rules. Anyone who steps out of line and defends themselves is the bad egg so to speak.

This does not happen as much in sparing arts because everyone really understand the damage that can happen. You understand when to stop and what your goals clearly are. You learn that showing how awesome you are is not in the dominating of your partner, but in showing compassion and letting him work and keeping him just on the edge of defeat, causing him to grow as a martial artist. This simply rarely happens outside of sparing.

I have a few personal examples of this. I know a judo player who does not compete. I'm not sure he ever has. He ducks randori a lot as well. When i have worked out with him, he will throw you during uchi komi and then go full out resisting you in your turn of uchi komi to 'teach' you how you are wrong. He has hurt guys with his antics, and I choose to no longer frequent that dojo. (Although I've heard he has sense quit after getting his ankle broke).

Another example came from a jujutsu/aikido club I visited. I was working with a black belt on a technique similar to ikkyo with a pin at the end. I allowed him to take me down on my belly and apply a pin. I tapped he kept cranking. I have had a few sessions of therapy on my shoulders and they injure easily. The pain was growing I had to make a choice, so I spun out of his pin and kicked him in the knee while standing up. (Bjj/mma technical standup). I was chastised by him for being disrespectful. I informed him he was lucky I didn't want hurt him, walked off the mat, changed, and went home.

It was then I decided I simply will not train in a art where defending myself is not allowed.

Mark Uttech
07-20-2008, 06:11 PM
Onegaishimasu. I once brought it up at a conference that because of the existence of bullies, things like nikyo should only be taught alongside their counters. See, "bullies" is not a possibility, "bullies" is a sad reality.

In gassho,

Mark

Dan Rubin
07-20-2008, 06:33 PM
Physical abuse is the reason many come to the dojo.

When I first read your post I took it to refer, not to students fleeing abuse, but to students seeking to abuse others or to be abused.

mathewjgano
07-20-2008, 06:36 PM
I think this kind of thing happens simply because there is no sparing. People do not respect the kind of power they hold over another person in complaint practice because they have never truly been dominated in non-compliant practice.

I don't think it's as simple as that. Sparring doesn't preclude selfish behavior and that's what I think is at the heart of this issue. When you are truly other-regarding (ie-you truly care about them) you seek to not harm them. It's as simple as that, in my opinion. When you are self-centered, you care about feeling good, which in this context means generally feeling more powerful. I have a huge respect for the kind of power I hold over another person in my very compliant method of training. I can remember very vividly one of those moments of realization in fact when I was practicing shiho nage. This is not a matter of sparring itself, though i agree that for some people who have a very competitive attitude a lack of sparring might bottle things up. But that's a personal issue, not a pedagogical issue.
Technically speaking, competition itself is present in all forms of Aikido vis a vis "masakatsu agatsu." The question is whether or not the individual is practicing an other-regarding form of it. Whether or not I train to compete with someone at a test of skill has little to do with it in my opinion.

lifeafter2am
07-20-2008, 08:12 PM
I don't think it's as simple as that. Sparring doesn't preclude selfish behavior and that's what I think is at the heart of this issue. When you are truly other-regarding (ie-you truly care about them) you seek to not harm them. It's as simple as that, in my opinion. When you are self-centered, you care about feeling good, which in this context means generally feeling more powerful. I have a huge respect for the kind of power I hold over another person in my very compliant method of training. I can remember very vividly one of those moments of realization in fact when I was practicing shiho nage. This is not a matter of sparring itself, though i agree that for some people who have a very competitive attitude a lack of sparring might bottle things up. But that's a personal issue, not a pedagogical issue.
Technically speaking, competition itself is present in all forms of Aikido vis a vis "masakatsu agatsu." The question is whether or not the individual is practicing an other-regarding form of it. Whether or not I train to compete with someone at a test of skill has little to do with it in my opinion.

I agree with this. Bullying at the dojo does not happen because there is no sparing. It is not that simple. People are people, and if they have huge ego's to begin with then that is going to transfer to the mat.

One cannot make the argument that because there is no sparing abuse occurs, this is an illusory correlation. Plus, one of the first things you learn in psychological research, correlation is not causation.

:)

Aristeia
07-20-2008, 08:47 PM
and yet when you talk to people that have trained in both Aikido and live arts they will pretty much to a man (or woman) tell you this type of thing is much more prevelant in Aikido than it is in live arts.

Correlation may not always be the same as causation, but it is usually a sign to start looking more carefully.

Otherwise we're saying what? Aikido attracts more bullies that are more interested in self than other? That seems - unlikely?

lifeafter2am
07-20-2008, 09:01 PM
and yet when you talk to people that have trained in both Aikido and live arts they will pretty much to a man (or woman) tell you this type of thing is much more prevelant in Aikido than it is in live arts.

Correlation may not always be the same as causation, but it is usually a sign to start looking more carefully.

Otherwise we're saying what? Aikido attracts more bullies that are more interested in self than other? That seems - unlikely?

Well if you want to start really talking about psychology I can bring up multiple biases such as availability heuristic, which basically states that people recall information that more easily comes to mind, especially when being primed by others asking specific questions. Basically I am stating that without looking at this objectively, you basically can't go based on simply what people say. This is called anecdotal evidence and is one of the classic signs of pseudoscience.

Yes, correlation can be a reason to look at something more carefully, but that still doesn't mean causation. For instance there is a correlation between the number of churches and the instances of violence. Does that mean that churches cause violence? No, there are just more of both cases in cities, which causes the correlation.

No, what I am saying is that Aikido not having competition does not CAUSE bullying behavior, but it can make it worse. Its like having a latent psychological disorder, unless something brings it out, it is just that, latent.


*Totally not trying to be a dick, just in case that is how I am coming off. I just don't trust subjective "measurement", as there are too many cognitive problems with this. Our brains are lazy and use heuristics and schemas and such to keep the cognitive load at a minimum.

:)

Janet Rosen
07-20-2008, 09:32 PM
Hard to believe its been three years...a couple of us writing in The Mirror column explored some of the reasons this happens in aikido:
http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2005_05.html

mathewjgano
07-20-2008, 09:37 PM
Correlation may not always be the same as causation, but it is usually a sign to start looking more carefully.

I agree completely. Hearing so many people describe this as an "Aikido" problem is very compelling to me. It flies in the face of what I understand Ueshiba Aikido to be about.
Otherwise we're saying what? Aikido attracts more bullies that are more interested in self than other? That seems - unlikely?
Isn't that what's being said though? ...That Aikido attracts more bullies than, say, MMA...or whatever other arts you might define as alive? And that competition somehow removes bullying more effectively?

lifeafter2am
07-20-2008, 09:48 PM
I agree completely. Hearing so many people describe this as an "Aikido" problem is very compelling to me. It flies in the face of what I understand Ueshiba Aikido to be about.

Isn't that what's being said though? ...That Aikido attracts more bullies than, say, MMA...or whatever other arts you might define as alive? And that competition somehow removes bullying more effectively?

Would you not call MMA or other arts being part of a group that is "tougher" than Aikido? That is the essential question here. If people see Aikido as tougher than according to psychological research on bullying, then yes, we should have more bullies. Besides trying to hold power over others, one of the common attributes of bullying that is found consistently among research is being part of a "tough" group.

The problem with competition removing bullying is that it is counter to research on aggression. There are no safe forms of aggression. For instance, I think everyone has seen the classic, or heard, about beating a pillow instead of a person. This has been statistically shown to INCREASE aggression though, and in turn increases aggression against people as well. Because it enforces aggressive behavior .... there is no such thing as "getting out of your system" ..... at least not with aggression.

This is actually what my research focuses on, social psychology, which studies aggression among other things.

My point is that there is no such thing as a simple answer.

mathewjgano
07-20-2008, 10:06 PM
Hard to believe its been three years...a couple of us writing in The Mirror column explored some of the reasons this happens in aikido:
http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2005_05.html

Great article, Janet, thank you for posting it!
Do you think competition-oriented arts are less prone to bullying, be it passive-agressive or active-agressive in form?

mathewjgano
07-20-2008, 10:28 PM
Would you not call MMA or other arts being part of a group that is "tougher" than Aikido? That is the essential question here. If people see Aikido as tougher than according to psychological research on bullying, then yes, we should have more bullies. Besides trying to hold power over others, one of the common attributes of bullying that is found consistently among research is being part of a "tough" group.
My take on Aikido is that it is not what most people would call tough. That's a slippery concept though in that I feel like Aikido is tough. The ability to remove the ego and let things slide (as opposed to forcing some "lesson" by injuring someone, for example) is far tougher than reacting violently...even when that violence is in the guise of cold calculating sadism. Self control is the toughest thing a human can practice, in my opinion, but all too often dominance is seen as equal to toughness.

The problem with competition removing bullying is that it is counter to research on aggression. There are no safe forms of aggression. For instance, I think everyone has seen the classic, or heard, about beating a pillow instead of a person. This has been statistically shown to INCREASE aggression though, and in turn increases aggression against people as well. Because it enforces aggressive behavior .... there is no such thing as "getting out of your system" ..... at least not with aggression.
That makes sense to me. I would view the pillow beating option as a band-aid option, temporary at best. It makes sense that acting on those feelings of aggression would actually strengthen the neurological connections which propogate them.

My point is that there is no such thing as a simple answer.

Amen to that! You and I are of like minds on this as far as I can tell. My observations in everyday life fit perfectly with what you're describing here about agression and competition.

jennifer paige smith
07-20-2008, 10:41 PM
[QUOTE

I wonder, has any of the jerks that we speak of suffered any consequences from their actions?[/QUOTE]

In general, they suffer all of the consequences of generating mistrust in their lives everyday. You don't trust them or share openly with them and others don't either. In specific, it is certain that they will play that game on the wrong person, maybe you, on the wrong day. They are training to receive injury and they most certaily will. Not just kharmically, but in 'real time'.
My question, for the saavy or semi-enlightened would be, If you could prevent them from bringing this certain injury upon themself, how could you do it?
jen

mathewjgano
07-20-2008, 10:42 PM
There are no safe forms of aggression.

After thinking about this a bit more I think I might take exception with this idea. Sports, for example, are something I've personally loved for a long time and even as non-competitive as I've been (before Aikido came along in my life), I've loved the aggression of game. In chess, in soccer, in playing the guitar, etc. I've always loved the feeling of opening the throttle wide and letting my energy blast into whatever I'm doing. Is this the same kind of aggression you're refering to? Or do you mean the assertion of dominance over someone? Or maybe a better question is, what is the difference?

mathewjgano
07-20-2008, 10:51 PM
"I wonder, has any of the jerks that we speak of suffered any consequences from their actions?"


My question, for the saavy or semi-enlightened would be, If you could prevent them from bringing this certain injury upon themself, how could you do it?
jen

I'm not saying I'm saavy here, but my best attempt at answering this question involves an attempt at making a connection with the person and beginning a sort of dialogue...not always with words. Teaching things which are already held in contempt or presumed to be already understood is an art in which success seems more accidental than by design. Like a horse to water...
Here's an interesting question: how many who have experienced this sort of thing have made any effort to teach the offending party?

jennifer paige smith
07-20-2008, 10:52 PM
Safety isn't really the be all end all. Creative or constructive might be more reflexive verbage when discussing positive aggression ( I would recommend reading the chapter in Saotomes Sensei's book Aikido and the Harmony of Nature entitled Agression, er something close to it). Aggression is necessary for creation in many forms,breaking through surfaces and penetrating depths requires degrees of agression, let's say pro-creation and the drama of the sperm and the egg. the most aggressive, well you get it. But the end and the purpose are in harmony and consistent with natural drive to positive means. Not violence, like rape, which occurs on many sexual and non-sexual levels. But the natural aggression to move forward.
That isn't abuse, it is consensual and instinctual; an agreement of purpose mutually entered into.

lifeafter2am
07-20-2008, 10:53 PM
After thinking about this a bit more I think I might take exception with this idea. Sports, for example, are something I've personally loved for a long time and even as non-competitive as I've been (before Aikido came along in my life), I've loved the aggression of game. In chess, in soccer, in playing the guitar, etc. I've always loved the feeling of opening the throttle wide and letting my energy blast into whatever I'm doing. Is this the same kind of aggression you're refering to? Or do you mean the assertion of dominance over someone? Or maybe a better question is, what is the difference?

Look at the incidences of domestic violence among football players, or hockey players, typically "aggressive" sports. I definitely would not lump chess in there my friend, but typically aggressive sports have higher incidences of aggression outside of those sports arenas.

You have to remember too, that there are certain personalities that gravitate towards those types of sports, so there are extraneous variables that are difficult to control for. But, aggression on the field does, as you put it, enforce the neuropsychological link for aggression.

It sounds like you are describing healthy competition, not aggression. There doesn't necessarily have to be overt aggression with competition.

lifeafter2am
07-20-2008, 10:57 PM
Safety isn't really the be all end all. Creative or constructive might be more reflexive verbage when discussing positive aggression ( I would recommend reading the chapter in Saotomes Sensei's book Aikido and the Harmony of Nature entitled Agression, er something close to it). Aggression is necessary for creation in many forms,breaking through surfaces and penetrating depths requires degrees of agression, let's say pro-creation and the drama of the sperm and the egg. the most aggressive, well you get it. But the end and the purpose are in harmony and consistent with natural drive to positive means. Not violence, like rape, which occurs on many sexual and non-sexual levels. But the natural aggression to move forward.
That isn't abuse, it is consensual and instinctual; an agreement of purpose mutually entered into.

This is not the psychological definition of aggression.

Aggression - Behavior directed toward the goal of harming another living being, who is motivated to avoid such treatment.

This is the definition I am working from.

Aikibu
07-20-2008, 11:00 PM
and yet when you talk to people that have trained in both Aikido and live arts they will pretty much to a man (or woman) tell you this type of thing is much more prevelant in Aikido than it is in live arts.

Hmmm...I would be wary of using "talking to people" as a statistical baseline...and I respectfully disagree. I have years of experiance and I don't think Aikido has a corner on bullies. Some of the harshest teachers and students I've experianced were in Karate and Tai Kwon Do... where physical abuse are "signposts" for austure practice supposedly.

Correlation may not always be the same as causation, but it is usually a sign to start looking more carefully. Perhaps but then you run into some very obvious fallacies.

If a Police Officer in New York shoots an unarmed man does that mean That Police Officers in New York have a reputation for shooting unarmed men? What about if three cops do it??? Or ten? Does the statement still hold water?

I don't think so

Otherwise we're saying what? Aikido attracts more bullies that are more interested in self than other? That seems - unlikely?

Nope I don't think thats true at all. bullies in Aikido are dealt with as swiftly as in any other Martial Art and I have found that Yudansha who have a rep as being jerks run out of students very quickly.

William Hazen

lifeafter2am
07-20-2008, 11:06 PM
Excellent points William!
:)

mathewjgano
07-20-2008, 11:10 PM
...even when that violence is in the guise of cold calculating sadism.
This might be a bit pedantic and a little OCD and sorry for that, but I realize I mispoke here: I meant even when the violence is in the guise of calm cool and collected "altruism."

John Matsushima
07-21-2008, 12:24 AM
Onegaishimasu. I once brought it up at a conference that because of the existence of bullies, things like nikyo should only be taught alongside their counters. See, "bullies" is not a possibility, "bullies" is a sad reality.

In gassho,

Mark

I think this is an excellent point. One way is to look at this problem as an opportunity. If I am uke, and now nage is purposely trying to hurt me, then I think he just reversed our roles. Here we have a real attack with real intention behind it. Isn't this the perfect situation to practice Aikido? In my experience, kaeshi waza have been an excellent response, and sometimes just escaping the technique. The less experienced jerk usually unconsciously gives some telltale sign, such as a windup, that he is about to attempt to put the hurt on me. With the more experienced jerk, the opposite is true, where he will suddenly attempt to slow everything down, almost stopping right at the point of kuzushi, attempting to get me to relax so that he can blindside me with his "superior" technique. So, in someways, someone who is trying to hurt me with a shihonage is no different than him standing in front of me attacking me with a yokomen uchi. Of course, easier said than done, but that's why I go to practice.

I wouldn't recommend this approach for beginner, it would be better to avoid these people in the first place.

In regards to the balance between budo and love, I think if one looks at many of Ueshiba's writings and poems, it seems that he redefined budo to be more compassionate. So, when he said that "Aikido is budo", I don't think it was a contradiction.

Michael Hackett
07-21-2008, 01:15 AM
A line I've heard several times goes something like this, "I won't get even with you, but I will get my turn."

lifeafter2am
07-21-2008, 05:44 AM
A line I've heard several times goes something like this, "I won't get even with you, but I will get my turn."

LOL!

DonMagee
07-21-2008, 07:08 AM
and yet when you talk to people that have trained in both Aikido and live arts they will pretty much to a man (or woman) tell you this type of thing is much more prevelant in Aikido than it is in live arts.

Correlation may not always be the same as causation, but it is usually a sign to start looking more carefully.

Otherwise we're saying what? Aikido attracts more bullies that are more interested in self than other? That seems - unlikely?

Actually, this has suddenly made sense to me. When I think about it. Combat sports are sports. They don't talk about killing people, warfare, being a battle system, and they especially do not claim to be not for the ring, but for the street! If you were a bully, you would not want to train a wimpy sport, you want something with two core components:

1) Your ego can not be challenged (you need to always win).
2) You need to be as deadly as possible.

If you went to my bjj gym, you would be told that while what you are learning will help you in self defense, it is not a self defense art and we focus on sport bjj and mma. If you go to the japanese jujutsu guy in the same building, he will tell you that they are about killing people. This is not a sport and if you tried that crap on the street they would rip your throat out and shatter your spine (well a slight exaggeration). My aikido instructor would tell you the same thing, that what they are learning is about life and death and what they are learning will kill people and is not a sport.

Now which one do you want to train in?

Now lets look at the training paradim in my experience in jujutsu,aikido and bjj/judo/mma. In my aikido class there are no winners or losers, there is uke/tori. You are taught uke teaches nage, but nage is in control at all times. He is allowed to dictate what is going on and can change at a whim. It is ukes job to just accept it (I may be wrong, but this is how I feel it is where I have trained). So no ego can be bruised here. Now on top of this, you see people smiling and enjoying, almost glorifying the type of pain a new student goes though. This develops a 'rite of passage' that that student will want to hand down. If he is a bully, it is going to be even worse. Combine that will the ego buffing that goes on in some schools (We are invincible type stuff) and you can see how this quickly gets out of hand.

In the jujutsu I've practiced, this was even worse. They are encouraged to strike uke and he is not allowed to defend. He throws an attack, gets punched, thrown, locked and can do nothing about it. This is said to improve their ability to use ki to take a punch, but it seems it makes the uke more prone to beat up those weaker then him because he is afraid to beat up those in higher rank as they may hurt him more. Now you have the system basically officially condoning bullying.

Let's contrast that with what I have experienced in bjj/judo/mma. The first day you walk in, you are going to lose. You are going to lose every single day you walk in. You are going to fight your hardest against everyone in that gym and you are going to lose. You eventually become faced with a choice:
1) Quit.
2) Stop trying to win and learn.

Those who pick number two have already had most of the bully beaten out of them. When they seen new people they are not targets, but more like children they want to bring into adulthood. To the guys I've spoken with, it is meaning less to beat someone with less skill then you. It is much more to finally last that round with that purple belt, or catch that slick submission on your buddy who is the same skill level as you are. So you are driven to try to raise up those newcomers, you work with them at your level, you push them to their limits. You do this by dominating them totally, showing an absolute level of control, while never hurting them, and allowing them to put up the best defend they can. Sure you could just submit them over and over again, but it is better to let them work, let them figure out how it goes together, and coach their progress afterward.

And yes, it is not all roses. I have used some white belts as test dummys for new techniques. I'm not really letting them work, I'm just trying to better myself. I realize that doing that is wrong and I try to catch myself and at least half of the sparing round I will try to help them more then learn some cool move I saw on youtube. And I have seen bullys who wore blue belts. But even those bullys were restrained, because they knew that across the mat was a purple belt, and if he really wants to get better he is going to need that purple belt to be willing to work with him during sparing, and not spend the 5 minutes perfecting his gogoplatta.

And maybe there is even more to that. When I trained traditional arts, the people I trained with were my friends and training partners. In combat sports, they are closer to brothers. We are all pushing each other, teaching each other, encouraging each other. We are bleeding together. When you are pushing like that and training like that there is a different bond made, even the coach trains us not as a school, but as a team. You go to competitions and you watch them compete you cheer and coach them, your heart is out on the mat with them and if they lose, you lose. You have a vested interest in their success.

So yes, I guess it is not a simple as sparing vs not-sparing. But it seems to be a good first step in a process that changes lives.

Michael Hackett
07-21-2008, 09:24 AM
Ellis Amdur covered all this ground wonderfully in Chapter Seven of his book "Dueling with O Sensei". In addition to talking about dojo bullies and the physical aspects, he also discusses intimate relationships in the dojo. Well worth reading.

jennifer paige smith
07-21-2008, 10:06 AM
This is not the psychological definition of aggression.

This is the definition I am working from.

Yes, thanks. I understand.

If one takes a look down the wikipedia page where that definition came from,a person will find further definitions of aggression that deal with animal survival, evolution and its' relationship to altruism, as well as the psychological definition offered.

Thanks,
Jen

Oh Yeah.....My previous reference to Saotome Sensei's chapter in Aikido and the Harmony of Nature is called, Aggression and the
Evolution of Bujitsu.

Janet Rosen
07-21-2008, 10:35 AM
Great article, Janet, thank you for posting it!
Do you think competition-oriented arts are less prone to bullying, be it passive-agressive or active-agressive in form?

I honestly don't know, because I've never spent time in any of those arts, nor in any competitive sports.

I do think that it is very important to clarify that "big ego" and "bullying" are two very different things.

Bullies tend to be enormously insecure and engage in bullying as a way to exert control in a world in which they believe themselves to be powerless or potential victims. This is why they target people they perceive as vulnerable. Self-contained, secure humans are rarely troubled by bullies.

The problem with "teaching them a lesson" by punishment is it only reinforces their world view. Not acting the victim and giving them an opening (which on the mat, if you feel endangered by their practice, could include refusing to train with them and quietly firmly letting them know why) seems better to me.

"Big ego" to me means self-centered practice, which may include grandstanding, being unsafe, ignoring the instructor or disregard of the training partners needs, limits, interests. It could derive from any number of emotional/psychological places.

lifeafter2am
07-21-2008, 12:15 PM
The problem with "teaching them a lesson" by punishment is it only reinforces their world view. Not acting the victim and giving them an opening (which on the mat, if you feel endangered by their practice, could include refusing to train with them and quietly firmly letting them know why) seems better to me.

I think this is a good point that should be emphasized. Bullying is almost never one-sided, and current research shows that the relationship changes quite frequently. While there are example of "pure-bullies" and "pure-victims" these are the exceptions to the rule, as most people will often switch back and forth in the roles of bully and victim.

Aikibu
07-21-2008, 12:42 PM
I honestly don't know, because I've never spent time in any of those arts, nor in any competitive sports.
]I do think that it is very important to clarify that "big ego" and "bullying" are two very different things.

Not really so all the time. My interpretation of what I have seen in Aikido is Big Ego is a mindset... Bullying is an action of that mindset but you can parse them into two different categories. I have just never seen a real bully last in an Aikido Dojo for more than a class or two. They are too intimidated by their inability to control their environment

Bullies tend to be enormously insecure and engage in bullying as a way to exert control in a world in which they believe themselves to be powerless or potential victims. This is why they target people they perceive as vulnerable. Self-contained, secure humans are rarely troubled by bullies. That is a good Psyche 101 Definition for sure.... In the context of Aikido how does one make a connection with a bully?

The problem with "teaching them a lesson" by punishment is it only reinforces their world view. Not acting the victim and giving them an opening (which on the mat, if you feel endangered by their practice, could include refusing to train with them and quietly firmly letting them know why) seems better to me.

Perhaps but not training with does not resolve the issue of conflict in the context of Aikido either. The correct method which seems to work 95% of the time Is to give them some of their own medicine courtesy of a Sempai or the Sensei who then asks the "bully" off the mat to discuss their attitude. At least that method has worked for me for many years and after all I practice Aikido don't I LOL :)

"Big ego" to me means self-centered practice, which may include grandstanding, being unsafe, ignoring the instructor or disregard of the training partners needs, limits, interests. It could derive from any number of emotional/psychological places.

In the context of Aikido it seems to be a natural part of the growth process (for most men anyway, I have not run across too many woman in Aikido who suffer from these issues) At one time or another most suffer from Blackbelt Disease to a certain degree although most do not get to the place where they express it on the mat. If they do; usually a loving Sempai or the Sensei "assists" them in getting past it, and understanding the folly of behind that kind of thinking and action. :)

Thanks for your insight Sempai :)

William Hazen

Ron Tisdale
07-21-2008, 02:53 PM
I don't know William, I've seen too many bullies that can take whatever the resident tough boys dish out...they get up smiling, and wait their turn. A lot of us have an impression of a bully who is larger or stronger, but not all that tough. I've seen some that were tough as nails. They got hammered down, but kept coming back anyway. The worst cases simply had to be asked not to return.

The really bad bullies seemed to eat up anything they got on an aikido mat. Short of actually injuring them, which in my opinion, is not a responsibility I'd want to take on. Not as a senior, and not as a teacher either.

Best,
Ron

Allen Beebe
07-21-2008, 02:54 PM
In cases such as Ellis described, ether it be in the dojo or in a seminar setting I believe the perpetrator should be summarily told to leave.

In less severe cases that occur in a seminar setting the perpetrator should be told specifically what behavior they need to change or leave, then the individual should be monitored to see that they do. In less severe cases that occur in the regular dojo setting the perpetrator should be told specifically what behavior they need to change, or leave. Or in some cases, such as insubordination, the aforementioned consequences will occur and the student may be asked to sit-out the remainder of the class or leave for the remainder of the class.

I understand that telling someone to leave may not change their behavior, but at a certain point one must put the safety of the many before the "opportunity for growth" of an individual.

In situations where one isn't in control, such as seminars, dojo visits, etc. I believe in the "bow out and don't train with the guy/gal approach." You are ultimately responsible for your own safety.

I've seen the, "You did X to me, so I'm going to do Xx2 to you!" approach many times . . . that is pretty much a game of bloody knuckles at best, and at worst evolves into an all out fight. Either way, it assumes that "might makes right." It doesn't. If one gets "put into place" in this manner (by anyone, authority or not) it only serves to reinforce the "authority of power" rather than the "supremacy of law, or morality." Unnecessary violence, regardless of the title or respect for the perpetrator, is still unnecessary violence. (BTW, don't confuse this with simply trying to protect yourself from someone physically assaulting you. Stopping an attempt at harm in a seminar or dojo is different than "payback.")

A closed pecking order that condones violence self-perpetuates as quickly as it self-justifies.

Allen Beebe
07-21-2008, 03:05 PM
I agree with Ron. If necessary tell them the leave. If they don't leave then that is a whole other issue. Again, I wouldn't threaten the individual with violence. I'd simply call the police . . . and I'm pretty sure that the police would prefer to be called rather than the alternative.

Aikibu
07-21-2008, 03:17 PM
I don't know William, I've seen too many bullies that can take whatever the resident tough boys dish out...they get up smiling, and wait their turn. A lot of us have an impression of a bully who is larger or stronger, but not all that tough. I've seen some that were tough as nails. They got hammered down, but kept coming back anyway. The worst cases simply had to be asked not to return.

The really bad bullies seemed to eat up anything they got on an aikido mat. Short of actually injuring them, which in my opinion, is not a responsibility I'd want to take on. Not as a senior, and not as a teacher either.

Best,
Ron

I understand what you're saying Ron. To clarify... I suggested doing a technique with Sempai/Sensei and the bully once then taking him off the mat for a talking to This includes asking him to leave if he continues to act like a jerk.

If the Dojo lets a bully continue without saying anything, or lets him continue; then that is a failure of leadership IMO.

When I first started Aikido I was fired several times by Fowler Sensei for "fighting" which is to say I was exactly the kind of person I am describing having come from a very rough Judo and Karate training background. Thank God he was patient with me. Every time I forgot I got put on my head and then he would call me and remind me Aikido is not about fighting and have me take some time off to reflect. :)

I just simply do with bullies what Fowler Sensei did with me.

No one acts the bully at our Seminars believe me. They are too busy trying to figure out our Aikido. LOL

What Ellis is referring to Is being abusive under the color of Authority (so to speak) and this can of worms is a completely different animal than dealing with an ignorant student.

William Hazen

mathewjgano
07-21-2008, 03:55 PM
I don't know William, I've seen too many bullies that can take whatever the resident tough boys dish out...they get up smiling, and wait their turn. A lot of us have an impression of a bully who is larger or stronger, but not all that tough. I've seen some that were tough as nails. They got hammered down, but kept coming back anyway. The worst cases simply had to be asked not to return.

The really bad bullies seemed to eat up anything they got on an aikido mat. Short of actually injuring them, which in my opinion, is not a responsibility I'd want to take on. Not as a senior, and not as a teacher either.

Best,
Ron
This fits much with my friends growing up. Bullies act that way because they've been shown it works for them. I would describe bullies as being physically tough and mentally weak. I've never met an aggressive person who was 90lbs. when soaking wet, if you follow my meaning.
Take care,
Matt

mathewjgano
07-21-2008, 04:12 PM
The problem with "teaching them a lesson" by punishment is it only reinforces their world view. Not acting the victim and giving them an opening (which on the mat, if you feel endangered by their practice, could include refusing to train with them and quietly firmly letting them know why) seems better to me.


I hope I didn't come across in my earlier post as supporting physical punishment for bullies. By teaching I mean helping to make them see the greater virtue in self control and peace than in reactionism and violence.
By best friends were bullies...and they knew I didn't support that behavior. I'd like to think that I helped to curb that behavior, even if just a little.

Janet Rosen
07-21-2008, 04:52 PM
I hope I didn't come across in my earlier post as supporting physical punishment for bullies. By teaching I mean helping to make them see the greater virtue in self control and peace than in reactionism and violence.

No Mat, I was referring to something I saw in this thread (and that I've heard instructors and sempai say at various times in various dojos) about, essentially, "payback" as a way to "teach a lesson."

John Connolly
07-21-2008, 04:56 PM
Once, when coming into town to visit family, I went to a local dojol. I waited patiently at the side, and a senior student came to talk to me. I told him that I visited from time to time, and asked if they had a schedule of workshops or seminars that may be open to outsiders. He went and got the dojo-cho (who I've since learned from others is an infamous sadist) to talk to me.

I asked again about a schedule of workshops or seminars that may be open to outsiders, explaining that I did Hapkido in Chicago, but often came through town to visit family. I was very pleasant, and did not act haughtily or aggressively. He insisted that I must become a student of Aikido, giving me the hard-sell, telling me that Hapkido and all Korean arts were "too violent and all about destruction". I reminded him that I was just visiting and wanted an opportunity to train from time to time. He seemed to want me to join his dojo super badly, and ignored my very direct and calm language. "Here, punch me in the face", he said. Umm, ok, so I did a straight vertical fist Wing Chun punch which stopped millimeters from his nose. "No no no. You have to punch with everything you've got. That Hapkido punch was not strong enough." I know he intended for me to perform a one step lunge punch so he could take my balance and perform some technique. I was not into this macho crap. I was tired of his weird posturing and attempts to get me to abandon my inferior style in favor of his uber-style (Dude, I don't live here, OK???).

His last plea was for me to grab is wrist. I knew what was coming, and although I though he was a complete ass, I volunteered my hand (because I was hoping that complying would lead to the off chance of attending a seminar or 2 w/ visiting sensei -not this jerk- when I was in town). Fine, here's my hand. Nikkyo! He had a pretty good nikkyo, and I dropped to one knee to mitigate the pain. "See how Aikido is great. All the pain you're feeling, you're doing it to yourself. You're doing it to yourself. In Hapkido, you would try to break the wrist, but Aikido is about harmony with the attacker. The Attacker does it to themselves" I replied,"Yes, in that I foolishly volunteered my hand for you to apply a joint-lock, I am doing it to myself. However, YOU are applying pressure against my wrist. YOU are the attacker here. I just wanted to know if there was a chance to train from time to time when I visit my family." and with that I stood up, pushing up and into him against the nikkyo, releasing it. I shook my hand out at the wrist, red-faced, and looked him up and down. His "love" almost caused some real violence that day. I walked out disgusted, angry, and disappointed.

Lesson learned: don't trust people with your limbs unless you are sure of their morals and lack of ego problems.

ChrisMoses
07-21-2008, 05:01 PM
He was only trying to help you John... If only you could see that... :p

John Connolly
07-21-2008, 05:04 PM
Heh heh. Yes. I do need help!

Janet Rosen
07-21-2008, 07:25 PM
John, that is a GREAT story.

rob_liberti
07-21-2008, 09:20 PM
I have now heard of 2 separate cases in recent times where a very senior instructor punches someone in the intermediate ranks (4-6th dan) off the mat to teach some lesson. In both cases the junior was not out of line - just walloped. WTF?! I don't get it. 2 different sets of people. Are we starting to see a pattern of very high level to middle level abuse? I'm not liking it!!! I want the seniors to be the most responsible.

All I can think of is that once someone shows you who they are, listen to them the first time.

Rob

Buck
07-21-2008, 10:59 PM
With all the talk about boundaries of physical contact that is acceptable including mine, how are these jerk Aikidoka (sensei or sempai) being any different then say those hard-nose butt busting (highly regarded sadistic totalitarian) coaches. Whose team weeds out the weak by hard contact, and performance levels are of the highest caliber. You walk into their world, their field and either you make it or you don't. If you get hurt, you just can't hack it, your not good enough. Survival of the best?

Aikibu
07-22-2008, 12:42 AM
With all the talk about boundaries of physical contact that is acceptable including mine, how are these jerk Aikidoka (sensei or sempai) being any different then say those hard-nose butt busting (highly regarded sadistic totalitarian) coaches. Whose team weeds out the weak by hard contact, and performance levels are of the highest caliber. You walk into their world, their field and either you make it or you don't. If you get hurt, you just can't hack it, your not good enough. Survival of the best?

Been there done that in spades...In High School The Army and some Martial Arts...

Aikido for me goes beyond that training paradigm....It's not about fighting your way to the top or prevailing or beating the other guy...

It's surrendering to win... Ponder that for a bit. :)

William Hazen

Charles Hill
07-22-2008, 12:57 AM
Once, when coming into town to visit family, I went to a local dojo. I waited patiently at the side, and a senior student came to talk to me. I told him that I visited from time to time, and asked if they had a schedule of workshops or seminars that may be open to outsiders. He went and got the dojo-cho (who I've since learned from others is an infamous sadist) to talk to me.

Hi John,

I believe you are talking about Eliot Freeman, no? I attended a two day seminar of his in Chicago severl years ago. I certainly don't know him well but he taught an excellent seminar. He worked very hard to make sure each participant understood and then was able to do what he was teaching. I was especially impressed with how much the beginners developed in only 2 days. He did very much have a kind of "amway" feeling to his personality which was not attractive to me. He also had some "Seagal" type characteristics which I thought are not effective nor helpful. However, I have never before nor after attended an Aikido seminar in that was so helpful to some many people in a specific manner.

If your post was not about Eliot, please disregard the above :)

Charles

Aristeia
07-22-2008, 02:36 AM
good post by don.

I would maybe add this. In my BJJ school our lessons are 2 hours- 1 hour technique, 1 hour sparring. It is very clear when it is time to drill and when it is time to resist/spar/go harder if that's what you want.

I wonder if not having that distinction can sometimes cause problems?

DonMagee
07-22-2008, 06:36 AM
True, we have the same split, but sometimes beginners still have to be taught that when to do what and where.

John Connolly
07-22-2008, 05:15 PM
Hi Charles,

Per Jun's concept of this board, I did not post the name of the individual whom I thought was a macho dillweed.

;)

I'm glad you had a nice experience. Maybe my anonymous aggressor has matured in the last decade.

Charles Hill
07-22-2008, 05:30 PM
Sure John but you gave enough identifying information that it is obvious who you wrote about, not very anonymous I think. There are not many Seagal affliated dojo and only one in St. Louis. And it is possible for readers to forget that they were not there and you were. It is also possible to forget that we also only have your side of the story. That is why I felt I should give an alternative story of the man.

Regards
Charles

John Connolly
07-22-2008, 05:52 PM
I like your story better than mine.

I wish I had a wonderful experience of community and harmony. It's what I went in hoping for. Frankly, I felt bitter at being confronted in such a nasty way when attempting to become a paying seminar participant. If I had a chance to live it again, I would choose not to go in.

Like I said, I'm glad you had a lovely time. I'm sorry that I left so many clues for you to follow. But I never mentioned any names.

Off to train now.

John Connolly
07-22-2008, 06:13 PM
Jun,

Please remove the reference to Seagal affiliation in my previous post. I believe the rest is germane to the thread and non-identifying. It's not my intention to muck up your board with trash talkin', even if I am unhappy about an experience.

Thank you.

Michael Hackett
07-22-2008, 07:17 PM
Yup, that will unring the bell.

jennifer paige smith
07-22-2008, 08:27 PM
There's a whole lot of aiko(loving protection) in this thread.

I really enjoyed the exchange above. Good stuff. Good people.
Thanks
Jen

Charles Hill
07-23-2008, 12:17 AM
I say add the name of the sensei. John's post IS germane and helpful to the topic. His opinion is important and may be helpful to someone reading this thread. That was his experience and what I wrote was mine. I also believe they don't necessarily contradict and both give info that may be helpful to some one who might have a chance to train with the individual mentioned.

Charles

mathewjgano
07-23-2008, 06:37 AM
I say add the name of the sensei. John's post IS germane and helpful to the topic. His opinion is important and may be helpful to someone reading this thread. That was his experience and what I wrote was mine. I also believe they don't necessarily contradict and both give info that may be helpful to some one who might have a chance to train with the individual mentioned.

Charles

I was thinking about this last night and I have to agree with you. Personally, as long as a person is offering sincere impressions, I don't care what people have to say. Being able to see yourself through the eyes of another is one of the most useful things I've been able to encounter. It's also useful for others to hear first-hand accounts. My bet is that the sensei is actually a caring person and that it just came out wrong (for lack of a deeper explanation). My take on 99% of issues like this is that they are essentially lost in translation issues. I don't know one way or the other, but I've seen it enough among my own diverse group of friends and the only way the "bad vibes" were ever reconciled was through open discourse.
Anyway...that's my two bits offered at 4 am, so hopefully now I'm not miscommunicating.
Cheers all.
Matt

DonMagee
07-23-2008, 06:42 AM
I would never hide the name of someone I was personally critiquing if I felt it added value to the discussion. I feel it would be wrong to say "X is a jerk because I heard he does this." However I see nothing wrong with "X is a jerk because when I trained with him, he did this."

Demetrio Cereijo
07-23-2008, 08:22 AM
I also have my share of stories about violent behaviour in martial arts training, both in kata based styles and in hard sparring ones, from simple bullying to attitude adjustments and everyting in the middle. From my personal experience, I wouldn't say that "alive" arts are less atractive to bullies but bullying in a, let's say, kickboxing gym requires more physical skill than in an aikido dojo.

In any case I'd like to point to some examples of what I consider unnecesary violence in MA training:

Shorinji Kempo (http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=k3ivTjNwUSk). Starting at 4:15 mark.

Sumo (http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=8VsYm-IG2JQ). Starting at 2:12 mark.

For some people, the ends justify the means.

PS. And of course, remember this Shishida Fumiaki article (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=8) at AJ.

MM
07-23-2008, 08:37 AM
In any case I'd like to point to some examples of what I consider unnecesary violence in MA training:

Shorinji Kempo (http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=k3ivTjNwUSk). Starting at 4:15 mark.



I didn't really see anything amiss in the vid above. Can you point to exact areas where you consider unnecessary?

Thanks,
Mark

Demetrio Cereijo
07-23-2008, 09:58 AM
I think it's a bit of excess choking out a student (4:17) and the neck (5:10) and throat (5:44) forceful striking to demonstrate first aid techniques.

I've worked as occupational safety & health instructor for about 5 years and never found the need to choke a student to demonstrate Heinlich maneuver or CPR nor stabbing a student to teach him how emergency bleeding control is done. Never been done to me too, and I've been in the need of aplying first aid for real in "the street" so, imo, the SK instructor is being abusive.

MM
07-23-2008, 10:44 AM
I think it's a bit of excess choking out a student (4:17) and the neck (5:10) and throat (5:44) forceful striking to demonstrate first aid techniques.

I've worked as occupational safety & health instructor for about 5 years and never found the need to choke a student to demonstrate Heinlich maneuver or CPR nor stabbing a student to teach him how emergency bleeding control is done. Never been done to me too, and I've been in the need of aplying first aid for real in "the street" so, imo, the SK instructor is being abusive.

Ah, I see. I think you mistook the meaning of the video. I don't think they were demonstrating first aid techniques at all. They were demonstrating a martial aspect of strikes to vital points on the body. They were then stating that the instructor knew and used revival techniques because it was a dangerous type of training. At one point, it was noted that the instructor does not let his students practice this -- it was very advanced, I guess.

IMO, there was no abuse in the vid. If anything, I think the instructor was well trained for what he was teaching.

Mark

Keith Larman
07-23-2008, 12:17 PM
So last night I'm up late trying to get caught up with my work. I have a directv connection in my workshop and had it on IFC (I think) in the background with the volume off. Anyway, I'm polishing away kinda thinking about this thread when the 70's documentary "Budo -- the Art of Killing" came on. I turned the volume up and watched the initial segments about karate and Sumo and partway into the swordsmanship segments. I've seen it before, but I found it interesting indeed how the narrator brought up how the serious martial artists in Japan train with incredible intensity. And that at times their treatment is brutal or even cruel all as a means of forging ability and spirit...

Then I came in and watched the my new DVD of the first season of Dexter... The first episode. The guy who is a serial killer who only kills other serial killers... A guy who finds his way of feeding his psychotic needs while "helping" society...

Killing under the pretext of love? :D

And make no mistake -- the fella Dexter offs in the first episode deserved it, if anyone does.

It gave me a giggle (in a perverse fashion) how this thread, the documentary coming on, then me starting up the first season of Dexter all came together. The stars aligned last night...

Anyway, you can still get the "Budo" video here and there. I'd suggest it is a good thing to watch given this topic for some broader perspective. There is quite a strong tradition of some pretty tough training and treatment. And it would be quite easy for that tradition to get distorted especially by people who have that passive aggressive need to feel powerful by hurting others... Budo becomes quite an attractive venue for someone with those tendancies. Especially if cruelty in that context is seen to some extent as "acceptable". It would help satisfy that perverse need...

John Connolly
07-23-2008, 02:58 PM
I think the largest issue is not necessarily violence under the pretext of love, but rather cruelty under the pretext of training.

As was pointed out earlier, there is a paradigm within full contact grappling such as BJJ and Judo that allows tit-for-tat violence, so one often finds people working fast and hard for position but then digging their locks in slower (give as good as you get, so give nicely). That's the general code of conduct that I've seen/experienced. However, in kata oriented martial arts, such as Aikido, and what I've experienced in Hapkido and Kuk Sool, one person is the designated receiver of the technique (Uke), and in a case where hierarchy matters and there may be personality issues, this can lead to disastrous abuse. This is especially true given that there is an ideal of the Uke (imaginary attacker) using an attack that ends up putting him/herself in jeopardy... the construct that the technique is driven by Uke's aggressiveness. It allows for a justified "payback", and I think that some folks may have enough emotional damage to take advantage of that construct. And those "below" them in rank will have to take it to hold onto their dojo community and their otherwise enjoyable practice (at least that has been my motivation for allowing inter-dojo -or dojang- violence against myself in the past, but not for many years).

Just some ramblin' thoughts in the ether...

John Connolly
07-23-2008, 03:20 PM
Holy smokes. Just watched the Shorinji Kempo vid. That knock-out blow to the neck/base of the skull was hideous. I would be mad at myself for standing there trustingly and letting someone concuss me like that... and furious at the teacher for doing it. How many times does one Uke for THAT before developing serious motor skills impairment?

Jeremy Hulley
07-23-2008, 03:54 PM
There's a range of kappo that are taught as part of Shorinji Kenpo. I don't know taht much about it but it looks like he is teaching kappo as part of the class. That's about he extent of my shornji kenpo knowlege...
fwiw

Allen Beebe
07-23-2008, 04:14 PM
Holy smokes. Just watched the Shorinji Kempo vid. That knock-out blow to the neck/base of the skull was hideous. I would be mad at myself for standing there trustingly and letting someone concuss me like that... and furious at the teacher for doing it. How many times does one Uke for THAT before developing serious motor skills impairment?

Ah that's nuttin John. My hit master me in the head that for y like ears and it never come doin no harm! It made me man Iam today and I do for my deshi just like same done for me and thay d*7m well better lovin it to o. :freaky:

Now that Yamamoto ha fluffy bunny stuff, now that there is DANGEROUS killin art . . . makes your hair grow out funny, your toe-nails change colors and leads one to use Biblical last names and drink single malts! Bllllaaaa gives me the creeps just thinkin 'bout it! :eek:

jennifer paige smith
07-23-2008, 05:20 PM
Holy smokes. Just watched the Shorinji Kempo vid. That knock-out blow to the neck/base of the skull was hideous. I would be mad at myself for standing there trustingly and letting someone concuss me like that... and furious at the teacher for doing it. How many times does one Uke for THAT before developing serious motor skills impairment?

I'm sorry, I didn't hear you. I'm sorry I didn't hear you. I'm sorry I didn't hear you. I'm sorry I didn't hear you.

Ha-ha,
jen

John Connolly
07-23-2008, 07:10 PM
Too many atemi to the ears... :freaky:

Allen, yer write! Us'ns at the ol' Yammermotorpool is da beastie types and full o vinegar an' some other liquid usually.

Jer, I dig the construct of the kappo lesson in the SK vid. But that is a concussive blow with out a doubt. Repetition of that does lead to impairment. I think it's a bit cruel to show it off on a live subject. A dummy would work fine. I suppose the exception is if the uke was so disbelieving and wanted, directly asked for, a demo on himself (and understood the physiological implications). Then, I guess it's between consenting adults, so whatever. Dif'rent strokes and all that.

Mark Mueller
07-23-2008, 07:17 PM
Is that a concussive blow or is that a blow to the brachial nerve complex in the neck......I don't have enough medical knowledge to ascertain the different effects.

MM
07-23-2008, 08:41 PM
My take was that it was a blow to the brachial nerve plexus and his hand sort of wrapped to the back of the neck. If you catch the vid right, you can see where the hit really takes place. If done right, it's not a blow to the back of the head/neck nor is it concussive. What I've been told/shown anyway. YMMV, I guess.

eyrie
07-23-2008, 08:54 PM
Vagus sinus reflex... and it didn't need to be that "hard"... even though it was a relaxed strike.... I've seen and felt better ones which were far more impressive considering it was done without a wind up.

Gernot Hassenpflug
07-23-2008, 08:55 PM
I've just finished reading a biography of Ramanujan, and it struck me (to stay on-topic for this thread!) how Japan (and probably several other nations) seems stuck in a time-warp, equal to England (and many European nations I presume) in the Victorian and Edwardian age. Tough examinations with a purpose of their own twistedly evolved away from their original purpose ('examinations should have a level so low that they are harmless' is one famous remark on the Tripos by the mathematician G.H. Hardy), horrendous lording it over the juniors by the seniors, and the status of women rather lower than even current standards in Japan. All very interesting to see how the culture of the past binds us to this day---and remembering how much the culture of Prussia and England influences Japan (and its two militaries). I'm sure one could write many books on this subject---or at least a person such as Peter Goldsbury could :-)

Aristeia
07-23-2008, 09:04 PM
Re the shornji vid - first of all I wouldn't get to worked up about the choke out - it's not that big a deal.

As for the pressure point knockouts.....I'm I the only one that noticed the supposedly KO'd students were actually ukemi-ing out of the strike?

Jeremy Hulley
07-23-2008, 09:07 PM
Too many atemi to the ears... :freaky:

Allen, yer write! Us'ns at the ol' Yammermotorpool is da beastie types and full o vinegar an' some other liquid usually.

Jer, I dig the construct of the kappo lesson in the SK vid. But that is a concussive blow with out a doubt. Repetition of that does lead to impairment. I think it's a bit cruel to show it off on a live subject. A dummy would work fine. I suppose the exception is if the uke was so disbelieving and wanted, directly asked for, a demo on himself (and understood the physiological implications). Then, I guess it's between consenting adults, so whatever. Dif'rent strokes and all that.

Sorry did not come across that even so I am in agreement with you...

DonMagee
07-24-2008, 10:39 AM
Re the shornji vid - first of all I wouldn't get to worked up about the choke out - it's not that big a deal.

As for the pressure point knockouts.....I'm I the only one that noticed the supposedly KO'd students were actually ukemi-ing out of the strike?

That's how it works with a lot of those knock outs. The students are conditioned to get knocked out when X happens. That's how some less then reputable guys can knock out their students (and only their students) across the room just a glance.

The difference is I'm sure that a punch to the throat can knock you out, but it did look like they were hamming it up for effect.

John Connolly
07-24-2008, 02:45 PM
OK, so it's not a concussive blow. I don't know about you, but I always feel a bit of brain-rattle (Maybe it's because of my cavernous skull?) when I get a bum at the base of the neck. Still seems horribly unnecessary and cruel.

I'm sure you can all relate: We get so many injuries, some even chronic, from friendly practice, I just can't buy into guinea-pigging for a beating.

Jer, I figured I could count you into my bleeding heart campaign... :D
New T-Shirt slogan: "Save the Ukes" on back side: "Umm, no, I didn't mean ukuleles"

ChrisMoses
07-24-2008, 03:13 PM
I think that was excessive, I've seen someone knocked out by that shot with MUCH less impact. But then I've seen people choked out in a lot less time than it took that guy too. Not my thing either way. But I'm all like peace n love n stuff... :D

edit: I also think it was dangerous to do that to a guy standing on a hard floor. If you're trying to show the effects or resuscitation techniques, have the dude sitting down before you bring the thunder.

Christopher Creutzig
07-24-2008, 03:52 PM
I have now heard of 2 separate cases in recent times where a very senior instructor punches someone in the intermediate ranks (4-6th dan) off the mat to teach some lesson.

I've recently heard of a Shihan who punished one of “his” 4th dan for different opinions on Aikido-political matters (at least that was the general impression some people who were there got) by completely ignoring his suggestions for graduating others to 2nd or 3rd dan at a seminar explicitly marketed as a graduation visit. People suggested by other 4th or 5th dan were graduated. Different level of confrontation, but the problem remains basically the same, I think.