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Erick Mead
09-12-2008, 06:34 PM
Lately there has been much discussion of severing the ethic of aikido from practice in the matter of aiki -- seeking aiki as a matter of achieving power, and then in a good relativist utilitarian manner simply applying that power in whatever way seems best to you.

I recoil at this in ways too complex to describe adequately -- which is why I give a root experience of mine in the practice of violence to provide some a glimpse into it the nature of my reaction as a premise to the thread.

Personal aside: the reason I went into aikido is not because I feared what others might do to me. I was picked on as the typical geeky bookish kid of only middling athletic ability in middle school. I was tolerably bright and able academically and a sci fi nut who, needless to say, operated on the fringes of the in-crowd.

One guy, a top-dog jock of middling intelligence, had picked on me as his preferred gamma-dog to abuse, and I, not being the confrontational sort at the time, put up with the typical school age crap for a significant period of time. Then, one day as I was hurrying to a test that worried me very greatly, he accosted me after gym. When I did not make the usual obligatory gestures of homage and submission -- because I was single-minded and in a hurry -- he decided to get my attention by simultaneously grabbing my arm and tripping me -- tossing all my books and papers flying across the ground. Clearly, cooly, I thought "I will be late."

But then I stopped thinking, and the next thing I know I sail into this guy taking him off his feet , knocking his head on the pavement and end up straddled on his chest pounding him with my flailing (frankly pretty ineffectual for anything other than getting a really good bloody nose going). Some coach pulls me off and that's about it, really. They suspend him two days more than me and that's that.

Except it isn't. OK you say, kid gets picked on up wants power to protect himself -- old story -- now he holds his head a high, is perceived as having greater power and gains new respect among his peer -- roll credits --- Right? Wrong. I became far more withdrawn and even less sociable. Two things occurred to me -- One -- the pathetic arrogant bastard never even saw it coming, which surprised me in his lack of ability to respond to sudden real aggression that was not for show; Two, I did not know that I could do that and it scared the living crap out of me that I could so trivially do that to another human being.

It was too easy -- precisely because I did not care about anything except getting him and hitting him until I got tired of it and not stopping to care what anyone thought about it, pretty much. Berserker mode -- and a loss of control. And -- what really scared me:: I LIKED it. Far too much. And that's why aikido -- I did not like liking it.

So. College rolls around, some dabbling in karate and then -- Aikido. A means of control for a dark joy/anger I had not, until that event, even recognized was within me. Control and grace was the point of aiki and aikido -- not the achievement of greater power.

In The Emptied Soul, Dr. Adolf Guggenbuhl (a student of Carl Jung, I swear to God that is his name) described the psychopathic tendency as more widespread in a spectrum of personality traits toward near-normal than the merely extreme clinically disordered variety. As such, he saw the nature of violence contained in the archetypal psychopathic personality traits as a crippled Eros or ability to love. "Those who cannot love want power," he wrote.

Of course violence and love strike a chord with the aikido -- so here is the question from all of the prelude:

As perhaps some further points of discussion Guggenbuhl described the symptoms of these tendencies in general terms: Primary Symptoms
Inability to love
Missing or absent sense of morality
Absence of psychic development (their souls seem "static")
Background depression (nihilistic, rather than romantic or "poetic" depression)
Chronic background fear (suspicious of everybody)

Secondary Symptoms
Absence of guilt feelings
Absence of any real understanding or insight (often high intelligence, but still little understanding of emotional insight)
Ability to evoke pity (women are often drawn to psychopaths and attempt to "save" them)
Charm (they succeed in bewitching those around them)
Asocial/criminal behaviour
Boredom
Social Climbing (compensates with social success; those who cannot relate through love can only relate through power) 1

So the question:

Does desire for power help or impair the learning or operation of Aiki as O Sensei understood it?

gdandscompserv
09-12-2008, 06:55 PM
Does desire for power help or impair the learning or operation of Aiki as O Sensei understood it?
Moralisticly, desiring power over others is wrong and desiring power over one's self is right.:D
Whether that translates into a shorter/better learning curve I have no idea.

Janet Rosen
09-13-2008, 12:47 PM
Moralisticly, desiring power over others is wrong and desiring power over one's self is right.:D

I think I know what you mean, but if so would express it differently - unless we really are meaning something different? - that is, power over myself implies an imposition that, like "fighting pain," puts a person on the wrong track. Kind of like aikido, having to fully accept the (reality of the) attack, in my experience the first step towards self-control, dealing with pain or hardship, etc, is accepting it. Again, maybe its just semantics, but I think "power over oneself" sets up the desirer and the self as separate entities in a struggle, and when its viewed that way, the integration that makes it easier to do is set up as an impossibility.

Having said that...to return to the original question: I find on the mat being attached to a specific outcome instead of focussing on process and structure is pretty much a guarantee I'm going to mess up. And it seems to me that seeking power or any other intangible falls under the heading of being attached to a specific outcome, so I'd say, yeah, it would impede learning.

Kevin Leavitt
09-13-2008, 02:39 PM
Good and timely topic Erick.

I have thought about this lately as well.

I think it is a double edge sword.

Is the quest for understanding or knowledge wrong?

What about a intense and obsessive desire to remove ignorance?

I don't think it is the quest for it that is necessarily wrong. It is when we go about it in the wrong ways or with the wrong attitudes that make make it wrong. (Not sure if that make sense)

Power for the sake of power is wrong. seeking it to control and dominate others is wrong. Pushing or cutting people down in the process is wrong. Seeking it at the expense of others and when you lose compassion is wrong.

Why do I want "power". I want it not so much to control others, but to better understand myself and how I can better interact with the world.

Moderation as in anything is important. Remaining compassionate is a requirement as it is in everything we do.

SeiserL
09-13-2008, 03:41 PM
Does desire for power help or impair the learning or operation of Aiki as O Sensei understood it?
Since I have not idea how O'Sensei understood it, I haven't a clue.

But, IMHO, from how I understand it, it would depend on the definition and intention of both "desire" and "power".

If "desire" is an egotistical attachment, then yes. If "desire" is a direction and a discipline, then perhaps no.

If "power" is over others, then yes. If "power" is over self, then perhaps no.

phitruong
09-13-2008, 06:30 PM
isn't desire a form of power? a couple of thoughts (I can't count). "power tends to corrupt,...." is it power that corrupt or is it the human that wields power corrupt? is gun kill or the person who pulls the trigger kill? gun represents power, is the person who hold the gun has more power than the gun or less? which leads to some other thoughts, to control a power required a great power, to control a greater power, required a greater still power, and on and on. can power be control with less power? or is power an illusion?

another random thought, agatsu means (I hope) self victory. victory implies battle or fight. victory implies a winner and a loser. self victory implies a battle or a fight with yourself. so who is the loser in self victory? how many look into the mirror and like the person that look back, including all those dark, hidden corners of that person soul?

if my knowledge is correct, O Sensei was a power hungry, arrogant, vicious, and a nasty bugger in his younger years. he searched for power and got power. yet he changed in his later years. what changed a man? can a man be changed? can the core of a man be changed? to change a thing requires a power from a thing. didn't O Sensei said "I am the universe"? the universe has lots of power. or it could be that he was just an delusional old man who found a way to change his universe?

just rambling and musing on power and aiki. mind you, I only know power, and not much on aiki. :D

Demetrio Cereijo
09-14-2008, 01:31 PM
With great power comes great responsibility.

Erick Mead
09-14-2008, 08:39 PM
Good and timely topic Erick.

I have thought about this lately as well.

I think it is a double edge sword.

Is the quest for understanding or knowledge wrong?

What about a intense and obsessive desire to remove ignorance?

I don't think it is the quest for it that is necessarily wrong. It is when we go about it in the wrong ways or with the wrong attitudes that make make it wrong. (Not sure if that make sense)

Power for the sake of power is wrong. seeking it to control and dominate others is wrong. Pushing or cutting people down in the process is wrong. Seeking it at the expense of others and when you lose compassion is wrong.

Why do I want "power". I want it not so much to control others, but to better understand myself and how I can better interact with the world.

Moderation as in anything is important. Remaining compassionate is a requirement as it is in everything we do.I have been thinking a great deal lately about powers and desire. Contemplating how to advise teenagers in ways they are prepared to hear will do that.

On the topic of desire -- desire is a product of our nature. We are told and enticed to find "what we want" -- but experience and many traditions teach that desire leads astray. The solution is therefore to understand the nature that in a given situation leads to a particular desire -- and thus to be able to see if the desire, like light necessary for the nature of vision, becomes like glare interfering with that vision -- an excess that desire per se cannot deal with unless the nature that it proceeds from is first grasped. So, rather than seeking to find out "what I want" I am better advised to discover "who and what I am" that gives rise to such a desire.

But while I premised the issue as "desire for power," I have the intuition that power is like desire in this way also, but in a way that I have not yet put my mind on as firmly. The question of desire is "what do I want.;" The parallel question of power is "what can I do."

So what is the aspect of our nature from which that inquiry springs?

Ketsan
09-14-2008, 09:24 PM
Worryingly that list of symptoms remind me of me, especially in my teenage years. :D

I too found out that I could beat people up and that I liked it, but it never really bothered me. For years I studied martial arts purely as systems for more efficiently beating people up.
The only real saving grace I had was that I was too anti-social to start fights, I didn't understand other people, I didn't like or trust them and pretty much everyone picked on me, so I kept myself to myself.
The thing that changed all that, or rather is changing all that, is the desire for power. What started as purely a desire for power over others has given way to a desire for self mastery.
I think whether or not the desire for power impares Aiki depends on an individuals defintion of power. I had reached a point where physically I had all the power I needed but I still felt fear around people, I still felt weak. Being able to beat up just about anyone wasn't enough for me, I needed more strength, more power. Being and becoming ever more destructive wasn't getting me what I wanted and so I began to feel powerless.

Of course the only path to the power I now seek is internal. I became concious of the fact that becoming more powerful internally meant changing who I was and so I was forced into asking just what power was and what this new Alex would be like.
To me it seemed logical that fear, or maybe the lack of control of fear, was the basis of weakness and that all actions and thoughts based in fear were essentially weak.
The opposite of that, as I see it, is love. Love is the bravest thing you can do because it almost invariably involves leaving yourself open.
So seeking to become brave and fearless I started working on becoming more sociable and compassionate. In so doing I'm loosing my desire to control others, I have no fear of people and so I do not need to control them to control my fear.

So actually I think the desire for power is probably essential to developing Aiki because Aiki is power. That said I think that what is also essential, and I do not claim to have it, (but then I don't deny I do either) is wisdom.
With wisdom you can seperate healthy desires from destructive ones, it's wisdom that keeps you on the path that leads to power and desire that pushes you along it.

Ketsan
09-14-2008, 09:36 PM
I have been thinking a great deal lately about powers and desire. Contemplating how to advise teenagers in ways they are prepared to hear will do that.

On the topic of desire -- desire is a product of our nature. We are told and enticed to find "what we want" -- but experience and many traditions teach that desire leads astray. The solution is therefore to understand the nature that in a given situation leads to a particular desire -- and thus to be able to see if the desire, like light necessary for the nature of vision, becomes like glare interfering with that vision -- an excess that desire per se cannot deal with unless the nature that it proceeds from is first grasped. So, rather than seeking to find out "what I want" I am better advised to discover "who and what I am" that gives rise to such a desire.

But while I premised the issue as "desire for power," I have the intuition that power is like desire in this way also, but in a way that I have not yet put my mind on as firmly. The question of desire is "what do I want.;" The parallel question of power is "what can I do."

So what is the aspect of our nature from which that inquiry springs?

Desire (IMO) is the natural human tendancy to move away from fear and towards security, so the question that really needs to be asked is "What am I afraid of?" If that can be answered and resolved then desire will cease.
Fear itself is natural and inbuilt, we fear things in order to motivate us to survive. Some fears are healthy, some aren't, likewise some fears are rational and some aren't. Either way IMO the root cause of all desire is fear of some kind.

John Matsushima
09-14-2008, 10:38 PM
I think absolutely that not only does desiring power impair Aiki, but reliance, possession, and use of power is an obstacle to aiki. Of course, there is a minimal level of power needed, but only the amount needed to do the action; anything more is wasted. The phrase "To do Aikido, all you need is the power to raise your arm" comes to mind. Efficiency is the key word.

Why does power impair Aiki? Well, I look at it this way, the stronger one's muscles are, the less effective one's technique has to be. One could have terrible form, sloppy technique, bad posture, bad timing, but consider themselves good in aikido if they are still able to slam a few people to the mat with their power (and I've seen it) But there are all kinds of power; muscle, internal, speed, mental (strategy), and my point is that the more focused one is on power, the less that one is on discovering, using, and developing higher levels in aikido.

By letting go of whatever it is that gives us power, only then we can truly grow.

力を抜く

Ron Tisdale
09-15-2008, 12:47 PM
Like someone else said, I really (even after many years of reading translations and listening to people like Peter Goldsbury) have only a little idea of what Ueshiba Sensei would say about this topic. I let that little idea influence some of my own perspectives...but hey, he wasn't god, I don't worship him, and I have to find my own way, any how. I have had experiences like Erick's, though, and have also struggled with the "beast within". I guess for me, there are a few issues here as well...

Desire...Power...Aiki.

Desire...I often see as the "I want" voice in my head. I want a new car, I want to make more money, I want a beautiful, sexy girlfriend who does all the things that turn me on. I think it occured to me several years ago that the "I want" voice needs to be strictly controlled, and that the desires it goes after are not always the best things for me. Some of that figuring out came through aikido, a lot of it did not.

Power...comes in many forms, shapes sizes. Words can have power, ideas can have power, objects can have power, people can have power. On top of that, there are different types of power. Physical power, spiritual power, etc. Sometimes power is used negatively, sometimes positively. Too many variations for me to be concerned with all of them.

For me, if there is are kinds of power that I seek, some would be the power to influence others without being physical (words, sounds, actions that do not encroach on physical bounderies). Or the power to sustain an assualt, absorb the power directed toward me, and then transmit that power back into a person. Or even to establish my own physical power in a situation that demands it.

So I don't see a neccesarily negative or positive connotation for the word power. If I am doing judo, a nice powerfull sweep is just fine. If I am trying to isolate the power behind a particular aikido throw, I may want to look at power a little differently. It really becomes an "it depends" situation...and those "it depends" situations require constant vigilence.

Aiki...I tend to think of more and more as a set of physical skills which may, or may not, lead someone to what may also be something more than the physical skills. YMMV.

So I tend to be carefull about the "I Want" where power is concerned...just because of the nature of the "I Want" and the nature of power. And if I apply those things to Aiki, again, I think being vigilent about your own integrity is paramount. If you lose that integrity, even for a moment, there may be a very high price to pay.

But then, very few things worth doing are easy, right? ;)

Best,
Ron

mathewjgano
09-15-2008, 04:57 PM
Good and timely topic Erick.

I have thought about this lately as well.

I think it is a double edge sword.

Is the quest for understanding or knowledge wrong?

What about a intense and obsessive desire to remove ignorance?

I don't think it is the quest for it that is necessarily wrong. It is when we go about it in the wrong ways or with the wrong attitudes that make make it wrong. (Not sure if that make sense)

Power for the sake of power is wrong. seeking it to control and dominate others is wrong. Pushing or cutting people down in the process is wrong. Seeking it at the expense of others and when you lose compassion is wrong.

Why do I want "power". I want it not so much to control others, but to better understand myself and how I can better interact with the world.

Moderation as in anything is important. Remaining compassionate is a requirement as it is in everything we do.

Nicely put! I think the knowledge as power relate puts this question in a great light.
As a smaller guy with relatively few monitary resources, I often desire greater power. I want to be able to do things for the people around me (and afar) who need help and deserve more than they have. In this sense I think desire for power is crucial for aiki...and the ai of love for that matter. The world is full of mountains to be dealt with and it takes power, either to move those mountains or to simply move around them.
My understanding of desire is that it is something which stems from instinct and as such is tied deeply to the pleasure principle. Junkies can tell you a lot about the nature of desire...or at least a lot of the behavioral manifestations. Similarly,like Erick, I've experienced moments where I didn't like what I liked...many of them actually. The trick with desire, in my view, has everything to do with balancing them with each other (e.g. my desire to be lazy is balanced by my desire to keep my wife happy:D). How we mentally feed in to our desires shapes their relative strength so like most things that's a matter of practice.

brUNO
06-02-2009, 11:20 AM
With great power comes great responsibility.

Is that an original thought? Maybe you should use quotation marks?
:rolleyes:

I think it was ...uh, Stan Lee? Either him or Spiderman.

__________________

I think we need to define "Power". That, in itself, is another thread.

I do know that adding power to techniques is detrimental in Aikido. The "blending" comes from matching the "power" of uke and using that to make a connection so we can fit without giving too much information back into the feedback loop. If we do add "power" to this loop, that "information" can be used by uke for kaeshi waza (countering techniques) and then we become uke. Now you have "randori".:D

Simple answer: Yes, the desire for power impairs Aiki.

dps
06-02-2009, 12:37 PM
So the question:

Does desire for power help or impair the learning or operation of Aiki as O Sensei understood it?

" as O Sensei understood it".:confused:

On a physical level ( body ), yes because powering a technique uses the muscles and tendons differently in a functional way then using aiki does.

On a mental (mind ) level, Maybe yes maybe no, depending on whether you are trying to help or hinder.

On a spiritual level, as goes the body and mind so goes the spirit.

David

Mark Peckett
06-02-2009, 01:10 PM
In "The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" the author Douglas Adams says (althought he was talking about political power, but nevertheless it's an aposite aphorism):

Those who seek power are inherently unsuited to wield it

A wise saying from a funny book.

thisisnotreal
06-02-2009, 03:56 PM
Thanks for that, Ron.
Josh

jss
06-03-2009, 05:13 AM
Does desire for power help or impair the learning or operation of Aiki as O Sensei understood it?
I'd say it helps, but (as has been mentioned in other people's posts) it greatly depends on the definitions used. So I'm just going to reply to some of the stuff said in this thread.

[Added later:] The most important point I want to make with regards to this discussion is that imo most of it stems from a naive philosphy of mind. Our intelligence (higher mental faculties) has in reality far less influence on our desires, motivations and emotions than we are comfortable with. As Janet says:
"Again, maybe its just semantics, but I think "power over oneself" sets up the desirer and the self as separate entities in a struggle, and when its viewed that way, the integration that makes it easier to do is set up as an impossibility."
Trying to control the source of the dark joy/anger is dangerous, because that's a form of denial that this joy/anger is part of who you are. Incorporating it into your indentity (in a non-repessive way) is the best road to take.

Lately there has been much discussion of severing the ethic of aikido from practice in the matter of aiki -- seeking aiki as a matter of achieving power, and then in a good relativist utilitarian manner simply applying that power in whatever way seems best to you.
How can utilitarianism be relativistic? Unless you are claiming that man should not make his own ethical decisions (by estimating the utility of the options, in case of utilitarianism), but should just do as prescribed by some higher authority (God, objective moral qualities, ...)? If so, where does the ethic of aikido come from? From the kami with O-sensei as their prophet?

One -- the pathetic arrogant bastard never even saw it coming, which surprised me in his lack of ability to respond to sudden real aggression that was not for show; Two, I did not know that I could do that and it scared the living crap out of me that I could so trivially do that to another human being.
That's 'civilisation'. We are used to all kinds of intimidation and violence, as long as it is not physical. As soon as it does get physical, both sides are freaked out by what happens. And ironically, nothing much happened: lots of flailing and pounding and a bloody nose. Sure, that's violence, but 'controlled'* violence resulting from a dominance issue within a group. Humans are animals, this kind of behaviour is normal. It's actually quite funny that most people who are appalled by 'controlled' physical violence have much less problems with non-physical forms of 'controlled' violence (giving then finger, insulting, ignoring, etc.).

* Controlled may not be the best term here. Fact is that dominance fights within a group rarely lead to death or serious injury.

So. College rolls around, some dabbling in karate and then -- Aikido. A means of control for a dark joy/anger I had not, until that event, even recognized was within me.
If you want to learn to control for a dark joy/anger, I'd say something with full-contact sparring might have been a better choice. Before you can control this joy/anger, you need to get to know it before you can learn how to control and channel it. IME, Aikido provides very little opportunity for that. Of course, the danger of the full-contact approach is that you learn to control it just enough so you can have great fun taking people apart. :-)

Control and grace was the point of aiki and aikido -- not the achievement of greater power.
How is control not a form of power?
Do you believe aikido can be as graceful 'on the streets' as in the dojo? Or do you see the physical grace in the dojo as something to be applied in a non-physical way 'in real life'?

Abasan
06-03-2009, 09:17 AM
Desire for power is probably intrinsic in the human psyche. The ability to use power wisely comes from Knowledge, experience, principles and morals. These latter 4 are what you train or study for.
Because at the end of it, we can either choose to be good or bad.

Choosing to be good is probably the first step of achieving aiki. The power to influence something without the use of force. But to have aiki you need power. Remember, even without power man can be evil, lack love and hate. That's why things like guns are so devastating. It takes very little for anyone to achieve destructive force by having a gun. In contrast, mastering martial arts require intense training, time and energy. It is hope that in tempering our skills, we gain wisdom and compassion. The end result being, power with some moral compass.

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I don't know how relevant that is, but I love quoting it :P

Erick Mead
06-03-2009, 10:21 AM
I'd say it helps, but (as has been mentioned in other people's posts) it greatly depends on the definitions used. --- Erick Mead wrote:
Control and grace was the point of aiki and aikido -- not the achievement of greater power. ... How is control not a form of power?
Do you believe aikido can be as graceful 'on the streets' as in the dojo? Or do you see the physical grace in the dojo as something to be applied in a non-physical way 'in real life'? As I mean desire for power -- it is the sense of overcoming great resistance by calculated effort. That definition applies in many, many settings -- well outside of budo.

Not to prejudice the discussion -- but my sense of aiki when I work it right is effortlessness unimpeded by any resistance to speak of. Desire for power, in my way of thinking, seeks the struggle, preciselyt to gain the sense of overcoming -- as opposed to the irrelevance of anything necessary to overcome

... in a good relativist utilitarian manner simply applying that power in whatever way seems best to you.
How can utilitarianism be relativistic? Unless you are claiming that man should not make his own ethical decisions (by estimating the utility of the options, in case of utilitarianism), but should just do as prescribed by some higher authority (God, objective moral qualities, ...)? Utilitarianism is the ethic that the maximum happiness of all concerned is the highest good. Leave aside whether happiness has any additive, commutative or transitive properties -- Fine, but who judges that maximum ? Each of us. Which involves conflicts of individual goods, or relativism. It ends up being both demeaning and self-aggrandizing. "Don't you realize that what I want is actually the best you could possibly hope for?"

If so, where does the ethic of aikido come from? From the kami with O-sensei as their prophet?Actually, precisely so - according to him. I don't have to apply his religious sensibility to understand that and to agree with it -- in my own terms.

I did not know that I could do that and it scared the living crap out of me that I could so trivially do that to another human being.Trying to control the source of the dark joy/anger is dangerous, because that's a form of denial that this joy/anger is part of who you are. Incorporating it into your indentity (in a non-repessive way) is the best road to take. ... * Controlled may not be the best term here. Fact is that dominance fights within a group rarely lead to death or serious injury. ...

If you want to learn to control for a dark joy/anger, I'd say something with full-contact sparring might have been a better choice. Before you can control this joy/anger, you need to get to know it before you can learn how to control and channel it. IME, Aikido provides very little opportunity for that. Of course, the danger of the full-contact approach is that you learn to control it just enough so you can have great fun taking people apart. :-)You don't get it. I LIKED IT. I would not have willingly stopped at the time. I looked in the mirror and saw the eyes of the killer I now realize we all are, in one way or another. A hot tub is not the cure for the fever. I now realize that we (all of us, no matter how "weak") cannot BE any other way -- but we can BECOME something more FROM that as a foundation. On that O Sensei is a prophet of sorts.

How is control not a form of power?
Do you believe aikido can be as graceful 'on the streets' as in the dojo? Or do you see the physical grace in the dojo as something to be applied in a non-physical way 'in real life'?"Desire for power." That is the question. True power admits no resistance whatsoever. Desired power wishes the thrill of the opposed conquest. They are different things -- as I see it -- hence the question raised for discussion.

Ron Tisdale
06-03-2009, 10:45 AM
Hi Erik,

You and I define and look at power quite differently.

Best,
Ron

Mark Peckett
06-03-2009, 10:49 AM
I've just realised - and someone's probably already pointed it out, but if they have I'll re-state it:

There's a world of difference between power and power over someone else.

jss
06-03-2009, 11:21 AM
Desire for power, in my way of thinking, seeks the struggle, precisely to gain the sense of overcoming -- as opposed to the irrelevance of anything necessary to overcome.
Very Nietzsche. :)
And yes, there's a lot of fun to be had in skillfully crushing resistance. But if that is all that motivates you or if it prevents you from displaying sportsmanship, then well ... shame on you.

Utilitarianism is the ethic that the maximum happiness of all concerned is the highest good. Leave aside whether happiness has any additive, commutative or transitive properties -- Fine, but who judges that maximum ? Each of us. Which involves conflicts of individual goods, or relativism. It ends up being both demeaning and self-aggrandizing. "Don't you realize that what I want is actually the best you could possibly hope for?"
I'm not in favor of utilitarianism for the exact same reason you stated. I am a relativist, though. But I don't think we need to solve this problem of meta-ethics to discuss desire for power and aiki.

I looked in the mirror and saw the eyes of the killer I now realize we all are, in one way or another. A hot tub is not the cure for the fever.I now realize that we (all of us, no matter how "weak") cannot BE any other way -- but we can BECOME something more FROM that as a foundation. On that O Sensei is a prophet of sorts.
Could you explain how this works exactly? How aikido can help us to be more than this killer?
Because the only way I think one can learn to deal with one's violent side is to get to know it (under controlled circumstances). The alternative (taken to the extreme) is what they did to Alex in a Clockwork Orange. Instead of physically constraining him, they constrain him mentally, but nothing is really solved. Hence my question about how according to you aikido works in this respect. Because you sure don't seem to be in denial about the violent side of man.

True power admits no resistance whatsoever. Desired power wishes the thrill of the opposed conquest. They are different things -- as I see it -- hence the question raised for discussion.
Don't you desire true power?
And at my most cynical, I'd argue that the only difference between desired power and true power is the eloquence of the person pursuing it. evileyes

Erick Mead
06-03-2009, 11:39 AM
Hi Erik,

You and I define and look at power quite differently.

Best,
RonThat is your sense of it -- but how can we know that unless you give us your definition? :)

Erick Mead
06-03-2009, 11:59 AM
Very Nietzsche. :) Oh, I hope not -- the abyss stared him down ...

And yes, there's a lot of fun to be had in skillfully crushing resistance. But if that is all that motivates you or if it prevents you from displaying sportsmanship, then well ... shame on you. It isn't. But it could have. Easily. Sportsmanship, though -- what is that -- in budo terms?

Could you explain how this works exactly? How aikido can help us to be more than this killer?
Because the only way I think one can learn to deal with one's violent side is to get to know it (under controlled circumstances). We agree -- and my sense of O Sensei is that he would be nodding affirmatively. Having said that, there is a very different approach in the competitive (even sportsman-like) contest and O Sensei's non-competitive, nonresistant budo training in aiki. It is in my opinion a difference that goes right down to a fundamental difference of the affective hormonal systems dominating one's biology in the moment of conflict.

Where adrenal-modulated effort is paramount in competitive or threat scenarios, another hormone dominance is promoted by Aikido training. Oxytocin. "True Budo is Love." It is in ways more powerful, and longer-lasting, with positive feedback in its expression that allows supreme effort in terms of hours vice mintues under adrenal surge and it can control and modulate the adrenal pathways.
Desire matters deeply, but not the desire for power for its own sake -- the desire to protect -- which is motivated only by love. The Cross of Aiki -- which one may understand in terms equally Christian, Shinto or behavioral neuropsychology. A floating bridge, we might say.
Don't you desire true power?
And at my most cynical, I'd argue that the only difference between desired power and true power is the eloquence of the person pursuing it. evileyesAh, the paradox -- which are really the only sort of topics worth discussing at any length ...

jss
06-03-2009, 01:16 PM
Sportsmanship, though -- what is that -- in budo terms?
I wasn't talking about budo specifically.
Sportsmanship in budo training would mostly be about respect for your training partner. The Dog Brothers may be a good example: they beat the sh*t out of each other, but they also say afterwards you should still be friends. Sportsmanship in budo itself, I don't know. Sportsmanship implies playing a game and budo is not about playing games.

Ron Tisdale
06-03-2009, 02:51 PM
That is your sense of it -- but how can we know that unless you give us your definition? :)

See my original post in this thread.

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
06-03-2009, 02:54 PM
I wasn't talking about budo specifically.
Sportsmanship in budo training would mostly be about respect for your training partner. The Dog Brothers may be a good example: they beat the sh*t out of each other, but they also say afterwards you should still be friends. Sportsmanship in budo itself, I don't know. Sportsmanship implies playing a game and budo is not about playing games.We agree -- on all points. The idea of "sport" as such, is itself a peculiar and modern one -- budo, whatever else may be said, is decidedly "pre-modern." Most sports either were originally a peacetime practice for war or a form of penitential or substitute for conflict.

Shrovetide football and Mayan ball court games were good examples of half stages in the evolution. Sports at that stage were as much relief valve as preparatory exercise. One can see the advent of competitive martial arts in this mode, with some important qualifications -- Certainly some do qualify outright -- Muay Thai and Sumo being good examples of arts at the Shrovetide ball game stage -- where the religious element remains formally integrated to the practice.

Aikido strikes me as a different animal, even among the modern martial arts evolution -- on a number of grounds.

1) it eschews competition (Tomiki excepted), and in this sense is aligned with the koryu, which do likewise;
2) while it was originally envisioned as religiously integrated in a formal sense, that sensibility did not survive even the first generation of students, although in some respects the sublimation of the religious aspects then infused the sensiblity of the art as a whole instead of becoming a mere frame for the practice or competition, as in Sumo
3) Notwithstanding which, the art strives, as its primary purpose, not to sublimate or provide a less deadly substitute for release of the warlike urges but to transform them at a more basic level -- and
4) That goal state (it claims, whether you agree or not) is in fact closer to the roots of the warlike spirit itself.

This fits into my thought about the "desire for overcoming" as an aspect of power to be avoided (OK, I suppose this is now an "Are you good witch, or a bad witch?" type of question. Not that competition makes you a bad witch ... It would just be so much simpler if we could use a convenient bucket of water. (parenthetical to the parenthetical: Wizard of Oz film reference for the non-U.S. reader.) )

While Aikido is viewed by many as somewhat unique in its project in non-specific terms --- on these points considered together it is distinguished from all others, even its sister arts, whether more sporting and non-religious, like judo or modern jujutsu, or more traditional as well as more practically-minded, like DTR (which also eschews competition along with most koryu).

Erick Mead
06-03-2009, 03:10 PM
See my original post in this thread.

Best,
RonI had read that, but then, I thought you AGREED with my definition of the desire for power as the sensation of overcoming: ... if there is are kinds of power that I seek, some would be the power to influence others without being physical (words, sounds, actions that do not encroach on physical bounderies). Or the power to sustain an assualt, absorb the power directed toward me, and then transmit that power back into a person. Or even to establish my own physical power in a situation that demands it.

So I don't see a neccesarily negative or positive connotation for the word power. Granting that your desire is more subtle and sedate in its limits, it still remains a wish to make others do things that they might not actually do but for the exercise of aquired power. So as I said, my focus was whether there is a differnce in the nature of power that comes with a desire for it, and the nature of power that comes without that desire.

Put it this way, a growing plant does not exercise "power" over the opposing force of gravity, but it does what plants do in the context of experiencing gravity. Gravity does what it does. The plant grows as it grows, sways as it sways. We can call that a sort of "power overcoming gravity," but that is not the kind of power most people would state a desire for. It is just what a plant does. It is however the type of power (though a more dynamic sense) that I see premised as the goal of Aikido in relation to the attack of an opponent. Whether achieved in the specific case or more generally -- it seems to be the nature of the goal of the art as a whole.

Ron Tisdale
06-03-2009, 03:42 PM
but that is not the kind of power most people would state a desire for.

I don't know...maybe I'm just not most people???

Best,
Ron (sorry, really hard day convincing clients to fix their d@mn networks...)

Erick Mead
06-03-2009, 03:49 PM
Ron (sorry, really hard day convincing clients to fix their d@mn networks...) "Use the Power, Ron .. use the Power. ..."

--- or failing that -- pull a Scarlett.

Hope there's a better tomorrow.:)

Ron Tisdale
06-03-2009, 03:50 PM
LOL :D Thanks, I needed a good laugh!
Best,
Ron

franklaubach
06-04-2009, 07:55 AM
Does desire for power help or impair the learning or operation of Aiki as O Sensei understood it?

yes it helps.

Erick Mead
06-04-2009, 09:45 AM
yes it helps.Fair enough. What do you make of this ?
(from Peter Goldsbury's translation of the 1940 vision account, here (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14610)):
"My body was full of power, versatile, free of any obstacles and innumerable waza arose as if naturally. If we were to count them, they would be in the tens of thousands. If I had a sword, I could also freely teach people this way of the sword. Why so many and so powerful waza arose was, I supposed, a mystery. However, I also had the feeling that continuing in this fashion was not right."

C. David Henderson
06-09-2009, 10:32 AM
Hi Erick,

What do you make of the quote? Sorry if you already have addressed this.

Erick Mead
06-09-2009, 10:29 PM
Hi Erick,

What do you make of the quote? Sorry if you already have addressed this.Before the event he wanted power -- there seems little doubt. There are events that suggest other external factors prompting the realization to me, but those are speculative. After -- he seemed genuinely surprised and shocked at his ultimate realization. It is a chastening account -- calling for purification in place of desire for power, perhaps suggesting (without saying directly) that the desire for it may have kept him longer and further from it -- as well as further from its proper purpose. .

C. David Henderson
06-10-2009, 10:47 AM
Erick,

Thanks for your thoughtful response. Thinking about it, I felt it would be useful to know, given the statement that "continuing in this fashion was not right," what he then did instead.

Also, I'm not certain why, from the statement, Ueshiba felt it was "not right' to continue with this period of unbridled creativity and expression of "powerful waza," even though he also felt he could teach the results of what he was experiencing to others.

Knowing such facts would help me, I think, see how the quote relates to this thread. To what end did he sublimate the sublime?

Regards,

cdh

Erick Mead
06-10-2009, 12:42 PM
Erick,

Thanks for your thoughtful response. Thinking about it, I felt it would be useful to know, given the statement that "continuing in this fashion was not right," what he then did instead.

Also, I'm not certain why, from the statement, Ueshiba felt it was "not right' to continue with this period of unbridled creativity and expression of "powerful waza," even though he also felt he could teach the results of what he was experiencing to others. In context, it is not easy to say exactly what he thought "continuing in this fashion" represented:

1) this new sword training he perceived he could give to his (then mainly military) students in addition to his other teaching, or
2) the training efforts he had heretofore employed (vice this "divine technique" training and his latter emphasis on chinkon kishin and kotodama), or
3) his larger participation with a war effort that he seemed increasingly disillusioned by (which seems a significant thrust of that edition of Peter Goldsbury's ongoing critical exegesis).

Prof. Goldsbury did not unpack that aspect of the statement in a way to reveal which one was meant (if indeed the ambiguity was even intended to be resolved in the original), though perhaps he could do so from the original.

My speculations have to do with his seeming sudden conversion from avowed nationalist fervor to a critic ( --not only of the war, but in mythological terms a critic also of the preeminence of the Emperor himself) This change is associated, either coincidentally (or at least not provably, according to the good professor) or suggestively (in my view) with several trips to Manchuria at times and places where he was influential enough to have heard reliable reports of or witnessed aspects of atrocities then going on there ( -- notably, possibly those of Unit 731.) Whatever it was, his attitude toward the nature and purpose of budo seems to have altered significantly and over a period of a few short years even before the War was clearly lost.

Suru
06-10-2009, 04:44 PM
First I learned in HS AP psychology about Maslow's hierarchy of needs, of which power per se is not a rung. I may fit into the *self-esteem* rung, more for some than others. Then in a college management class, I learned of a different theory in which "need for power" is an utmost need. But, going back to everyone's intelligent comments about how power might have different meanings, to the point of opposing definitions for each individual, I have a true story to share about feeling weak (powerless) then conquering abusive power.

I went to a few summer camps at the Miami Museum of Science as a kid. I took a school bus there in the morning, and one back home in the afternoon. This bigger kid decided to begin slapping other kids at random in the face on the way home one day. He didn't hit me, so I just sat there feeling horrible for the victims. The next day on the way home, he slapped a kid and then me. I pulled him onto the floor, pinned him with my lower body, and twisted my fist into his sternum. My older brother and I, during hardcore play fighting had called this excruciating but otherwise innocuous technique "puncturing the heart." So, I had felt it before from my brother many times, and I knew this bully's agony. I continued driving my fist in as he screamed, cried, and begged. I believe knowing his pain made me shed several tears myself.

I got onto the bus the next morning, and the driver was clapping. Other kids were cheering me on like I was some kind of hero. On some level, I suppose I was. The bigger kid didn't get on the bus nor go to camp again that session, or - for all I know - ever again. The bus driver was so glad she didn't have to put up with that kid anymore, that she praised me in front of the other kids as we set off for science camp.

Drew

I am including a song/video that really chills me out; hopefully some of you will click the link and like it. This song has such a beautiful humility to it, perhaps the opposite of some of the sheer power-tripping found in some other music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Bnklb3WDTY

Peter Goldsbury
06-10-2009, 05:22 PM
If it helps, here is the translation of the same passage from the English version of Kisshomaru Ueshiba's biography:

"I could not understand where this power and creative energy were coming from, but I know that I could not simply stop there."

Sumasu has the sense of settle, make do, manage (in the sense of continue in a particular situation).

Immediately after this passage, Ueshiba had the vision recounted.

PAG

Peter Goldsbury
06-10-2009, 06:12 PM
Considering Erick's Post #38:

The Japanese text of the sentence is:

「しかしこのままで済ましてはいけないという気分になったのです。」

Shikashi konomama de sumashite wa ikenai to iu kibun ni natta no desu.

The interpretation of the sentence will depend on the force given to the verb '済ます' (sumasu), which has a wide variety of meanings, mainly with the sense of finishing, settling, leaving something as it is, managing, making do with.

It does not mean 'stop', in the sense of not continuing with one's present activity.

So, for example, after marking a batch of examination papers, each examiner would write 済 (sumi) on the cover page, in indicate that marking was completed.

So O Sensei is negating the force of sumasu in the above quote. "I knew I could not simply stop there" (to me) has the force of remaining, cruising along, in a certain condition. The vision then comes as a justification of this feeling (kibun).

Best wishes,

PAG

George S. Ledyard
06-10-2009, 10:13 PM
isn't desire a form of power? a couple of thoughts (I can't count). "power tends to corrupt,...." is it power that corrupt or is it the human that wields power corrupt? is gun kill or the person who pulls the trigger kill? gun represents power, is the person who hold the gun has more power than the gun or less? which leads to some other thoughts, to control a power required a great power, to control a greater power, required a greater still power, and on and on. can power be control with less power? or is power an illusion?

Hi Phi,
I know what you are getting at but I'd put it differently...

Desire is an emotion, it is the thought that motivates action. It isn't nor can it be power.

Power is the ability to act on a desire. When one does not have the capability of acting we call that power-less. When one can act fairly freely in accordance with ones will, we call that power-ful.

However, power can be dangerous or self defeating without control. What is interesting is that control can apply equally to both desire and capability.

Aikido should develop control. It is supposed to develop self control i.e. masakatsu agatsu commonly translated as "true victory is self victory". It also teaches how to control our power.
We train to become masters over our selves and our desires, to bring our desires into accord with the the kannagara no michi or way of the Kami.

The process of doing this gives us great power but this power contains within itself the ability to control that power.

So whether our power is creative and benign or destructive and malevolent depends in the underlying motivation. As Erick has been discussing, we all have the light and the dark within us. Do our motivations i.e. desires come from fear or do they come from love and compassion? O-Sensei said that his Budo was the Budo of Love. Clearly he meant Aikido to be a martial art of the "light" so to speak. The Budo of mere destructive capability was of the dark. Like all humans, Aikido as an art has both sides, light and dark, but as a practice it is meant to take us towards the light.

The light and the dark are meant to be in a dynamic balance. They don't exist without each other. Aikido is the study of that balance and its practice is supposed to take us, as individuals towards that balance. The goal is to bring ones desires into accord with the Will of the Kami i.e. control over ones desires while attaining mastery over principles that can give one tremendous power.

Ron Tisdale
06-11-2009, 07:57 AM
Very nice post George,
Thanks,
Ron

Buck
06-12-2009, 10:28 PM
"desire for power," So what is the aspect of our nature from which that inquiry springs?

I have thought about this in all different ways,one way is in terms of those who seek careers to have power over others, as it is the greatest aphrodisiac as I am told. To having power of other in other situations, like with the sexes, or in families. I have come up with having power must come in it's original form from humans being in a ferrel state. It must be a simple mechanism resulting or stemming from need to survive. Like in infancy, a pure mechanism to survive.

I am thinking, we desire power initially as a survival mechanism, and it plays out differently depending where we are at in life. If we become ferrel (or never leave that state of being) where our fundamental needs are not met we seek power to get those needs. Once those needs are met and things get more integrated and complex as other needs are met, our desire for power equally gets complex and takes different forms beyond the obvious at the survival level. For example, as are needs are met we may desire power over others because of something more complex like resulting in psychological harm, or an ideal. Or, we desire power for personal gain, ego, or survival at the office. And l the other stuff that comes after getting our basic needs met. Basic needs see Maslow hierarchy of needs.


The higher you go or off Maslow's model, the more perverted and complex the need for power is. We see that just in what has happened in the last nine years. Or on the other hand, there is the positive result is the complex need, like being creative in positive ways, being inventive for the greater good, competition for the improvement of society, saving other people, and that kind of stuff.

We also out of our own need for safety and species survival and preservation, I think, we want power. Power over the elements and other things we can't control. Relating to the things we can't control can morph into things like aggressively attacking others resulting in blood shed and war.

The

Over all, I think that need for power may be a ferrel survival mechanism that we don't abandon when our basic needs are not met usually or universally in our lives. That we pervert into something that results different forums of violence to wanting people to think and believe the way you want them- there are tons of other examples. When we are not self-aware of such things we tend to continue carry that ferrel need and warp it, pervert it, bringing it into other levels and areas of our lives.

Solution, rare but true, a solution kind of . And that is awareness. Being aware and understanding that as our needs are met we really don't need that ferrel power. The hard thing is, that would lead to idealized utopia that doesn't or can't exist. Because there has and always will be people who will keep that ferrel survival instinct and pervert as their needs are met and new ones created. Not being aware of this and abandoning it I would say impairs aiki, as well.

Suru
06-13-2009, 12:29 PM
It must be a simple mechanism resulting or stemming from need to survive. Like in infancy, a pure mechanism to survive.

I agree with this, since the survival instinct could well be the most fundamental instinct in the world of flora and fauna, including people. Wouldn't it be something else if we all loved and trusted each other? But no, we often sense hostility in strangers, and even in acquaintances, "just in case." This is a safety mechanism, with the next step yearning to feel powerful over them. From the translated Sanskrit in Enigma's "The Child In Us," "[The goddess who is of smiling face, bestower of all fortunes, whose hands are ready to rescue anyone from fear.]" I've met some people like that, but not nearly enough.

Drew

David Orange
06-21-2009, 02:15 PM
Does desire for power help or impair the learning or operation of Aiki as O Sensei understood it?

We should never forget that O Sensei began his martial quest when he saw his father beaten by a group of men because of his political views. O Sensei's original martial motivation was to become so strong that not even a group of men could suppress him.

Go too far from that and you can get into some pretty stinky thinking.

Of course, after he became incredibly strong, he realized that the true nature of budo is love an protection for all things.

But when I think of some of the aikido sensei I have met and envision their trying to protect anyone or anything (including themselves) by any means other than calling 911 and shrilly screaming for help, it's clear to me that the real meaning of "aiki" is often misunderstood.

When O Sensei asked the champion, Abbe, to try to break his finger, he showed that he was stronger in his little finger than Abbe, the great champion, was in his entire body. When he bested Tenryu through Tenryu's own grasp, it showed much the same thing.

The ultimate point is that, whether you "desire" power or not, unless you have power, all talk of "aiki" might as well be done over mint tea and delicate pieces of cake with sugar flower icing.

And once we establish that aiki is fundamentally about development of power, then we have to question whether that consists mainly of avoiding the opponent's power and hitting him where he's weak, or if it mainly consists of driving his power directly back into his own body so that he literally overcomes himself.

At this point, I'm pretty well convinced that it's really the latter.

David

David Orange
06-21-2009, 02:29 PM
...not only does desiring power impair Aiki, but reliance, possession, and use of power is an obstacle to aiki. Of course, there is a minimal level of power needed, but only the amount needed to do the action; anything more is wasted.

Only the amount needed to do the action?

Against whom?

Pee Wee Herman or Arnold Schwarzenegger?

You have to have the power to work against Arnold, even if you only end up facing Pee Wee. In that case, the extra power is not wasted unless you slam it into Pee Wee without cause. Ideally, you would have the power to handle Arnold, but only use enough to handle whomever you need to handle.

David

David Orange
06-21-2009, 02:46 PM
Does desire for power help or impair the learning or operation of Aiki as O Sensei understood it?

If a car has somehow landed on top of your child, won't you "desire" the "power" to get the car off your child?

Is it wrong to desire that power?

Like all budo, aikido is meant for instant victory in the time of need--whatever the need may be.

If you could have had the power to save your child but you chose to eschew it because you abstractly decided the power was "bad," and your child dies because you abstractly dithered over what to do, then after that fact, you will not have to be told that you were wrong.

David

Suru
06-21-2009, 05:54 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKWVCv8uWDI

The preceeding link is more humorous the better you know Star Wars.

I've read George Leonard Sensei's Mastery, as well as The Way of Aikido: Life Lessons from an American Sensei. I'm pretty sure it was in the latter work that he hopes for "heterarchial networks" to replace hierarchies. While philosophically I agree with him, in a Utopian sense, I just don't know how we could go from one to the other.

I've noticed that no one likes to be power-tripped on, unless he realizes he deserves it. Even then, it's unpleasant. Most people know the line. If someone crosses that line, that person needs to be placed back in-line, usually with some assertion of power, verbal more often than physical. People who express power for the sake of feeling strong instead of weak, regardless of whether another needs to be put in line, are the dangerous ones.

Drew

Erick Mead
06-21-2009, 07:15 PM
If a car has somehow landed on top of your child, won't you "desire" the "power" to get the car off your child?

Is it wrong to desire that power? That was the reason for the question. Obtaining power is one thing, desiring it is something else, or so it seems to me. I know it seems a bit of a paradox at first glance, but not necessarily. Power one obtains in desiring power as such for oneself, seems to me materially different from power obtained for reasons -- such the protection of others -- which is an other-directed, instead of self-directed, desire. The episode you rightly cite in O Sensei's initial motivation seems right on point with this inquiry.

The lift-car-off-child scenario, a favorite citation of 'supposed' urban legend -- actually does happen (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1190759/Mighty-mothers-superhuman-strength-lift-1-400kg-car-run-schoolboy.html).

It is interesting to look at the fascial tissue studies discussed occasionally in the"internal strength" discussion and to note that the myofascial contraction of structural tissues (the same ones that fix your hands in clenched position after repetitive work like raking or shovelling) are activated by oxytocin -- the "love" hormone (but, even more interestingly, NOT by adrenaline, the "self-protection" hormone). So the nature of the motivational desire in power terms seems to also matter biomechanically.

It is among the class of forbidden experiments, of course, so it is hard to imagine testing empirically, but the biomechanical mechanism seems fairly straight forward -- 1) loved one trapped, 2) oxytocin surges, 3) under muscular contraction, myofascia clench in position; 4) muscles continue contraction contract, 5) oxytocin (a positive feedback system) surges again, 6) myofascia contract, clenching a new position 6) repeat

If childbirth labor be any guage, this can go on for quite a long time, actually, gaining continual incremental lift under oxytocin inducement. Human hydraulic ratchet lift under hormonal mediation.

True budo is love...

Suru
06-21-2009, 08:33 PM
Erick,

I have always heard that the strength suddenly harnessed in the cliched example of a parent lifting a car to release a child from underneath is an adrenaline rush. You believe this to be a misconception. Below is from a bodybuilding site I found on the web, and I am unaware of its accuracy. Will you post a link to the oxytocin reference?

"...a burst of epinephrine [adrenaline] at will, making the body's energy reserves kick in to high gear, this could really give you an incredible burst of strength for a maximum lift."

Drew

Erick Mead
06-21-2009, 10:35 PM
Erick,

I have always heard that the strength suddenly harnessed in the cliched example of a parent lifting a car to release a child from underneath is an adrenaline rush. You believe this to be a misconception. Below is from a bodybuilding site I found on the web, and I am unaware of its accuracy. Will you post a link to the oxytocin reference?

"...a burst of epinephrine [adrenaline] at will, making the body's energy reserves kick in to high gear, this could really give you an incredible burst of strength for a maximum lift."I didn't say adrenaline was not involved, it simply does not appear to act on those tissues -- . oxytocin does, and anti-histamine and histamine do (inflammatory response causes fascial tissue to contract around a wound). See here (http://www.fasciaresearch.com/WCLBP/Barcelona/Klingler_Contractile%20Features%20of%20Human%20Lumbar%20Fascia.pdf):
and here (http://www.fasciaresearch.com/WCLBP/Barcelona/Schleip_Fascia%20is%20able%20to%20Contract%20in%20Smooth%20Muscle-Like%20Manner.pdf). These tissues were unresponsive to epinephrine, acetylcholine, and adenosine.

And interestingly, oxytocin appears to modulate the HPA axis (http://books.google.com/books?id=yPUI2VJUbZMC&pg=PA10&lpg=PA10&dq=oxytocin+HPA+axis&source=bl&ots=ezAEUXNwcP&sig=bUJL0RLo09IEHBdZJ1wyVnzAcso&hl=en&ei=hvg-StrbJZ3cMPvAgHU&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1), diminishing expression of stress hormones such as cortisol, not the other way around -- so that it does not substitute for adrenal resources, but seems to command them, and chronic exposure to oxytocin seems to reduce HPA expression, presumably resulting in fewer of the negative cognitive aspects of adrenal surge in responding to threat, including tunnel vision, difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly and, decreased coordination.

An interesting speculation of the contractile fascia study is that the contractile force of the tissue is strong enough not only to reinforce structural joints, which I mentioned, but also possibly to regulate gamma motor neurons, that affect proprioception -- and more interestingly, for our purposes, the spinal monosynaptic stretch reflexes -- (the fast ones), and pre-potentiating them, as with the Jendrassik maneuver.

Some other research summarized (http://www.fasciaresearch.de/News.html)

And new stuff (http://www.structuralintegration.org/si_news/2009%20Fascia%20Research%20Congress.pdf) on this fascia topic is coming soon, apparently.

David Orange
06-22-2009, 11:03 AM
That was the reason for the question. Obtaining power is one thing, desiring it is something else, or so it seems to me....It is interesting to look at the fascial tissue studies discussed occasionally in the"internal strength" discussion and to note that the myofascial contraction of structural tissues (the same ones that fix your hands in clenched position after repetitive work like raking or shovelling) are activated by oxytocin -- the "love" hormone (but, even more interestingly, NOT by adrenaline, the "self-protection" hormone).....True budo is love...

In that post, I think we have gotten to the real heart of your question.

It seems it's not really about "desire" or "power" but some kind of passive-aggressive beef about the whole IS topic and people working hard to develop a kind of power that ordinary kata-based aikido training does not develop.

In these comments, you admit that "desiring" power is not wrong, but you seem still to ascribe the "wrong kind" of desire to those who are working hard to acquire internal strength.

And why all the talk about fascial contraction? What does it have to do with either "desire" or with IS? It seems you still think that the way to use the fascial layer of the body is through "contraction, as if it were another kind of muscle. But "contraction" of the fascia is only very tentatively related to internal strength development and use. Trying to contract the fascia like muscles is like trying to "hear" with your eyes. It's a different system and it works in a completely different way than the muscles. To try to use it in that way actually prevents using it as it really works. Contraction of the fascia is not relevant to IS for the most part--if anything, IS is more concerned with preventing reflexive fascial contraction through control of the emotions.

From what I've seen, maybe the biggest function of the fascia, apart from simply keeping the whole body knit together, is transmission of "intent" from the mind, to the hara and from there to the extremities. No contraction necessary. Unnecessary "clenching" of fascial tissue could prevent or distort the flow of intent and also hamper proper sequencing of muscle contraction.

Really, the topic seems to point along the lines of the aikikai's bad-mouthing of Sokaku Takeda: he wasn't "enlightened" like Morihei, so he was "bad". You seem to feel that those who are pursuing the development of demonstrable "power" are "bad" in some way--that acquiring the "power" of aiki actually diminishes the "goodness" of aiki.

But in the day when your actual ability really counts, you can't count on the "alarmed mother" syndrome to kick in and help you save your family. If you really want your "aiki" to work in an emergency, as budo is intended, you have to purposely develop deep and reliable physical power. Otherwise, training is really just wishful thinking.

FWIW

David

Rob Watson
06-22-2009, 02:43 PM
Random thought for the day ...

"transmit intention ..." along fascia and the impact of contraction.

Real loose analogy coming ... consider speed of a wave ( and attendant energy transmission) along a vibrating string. What happens to the speed as the tension goes up (as in a fascial contraction)? Speed goes up.

Maybe nothing, maybe something.

Erick Mead
06-22-2009, 02:54 PM
In that post, I think we have gotten to the real heart of your question.

It seems it's not really about "desire" or "power" but some kind of passive-aggressive beef about the whole IS topic and people working hard to develop a kind of power that ordinary kata-based aikido training does not develop. I think you read far too much into my question. You see, the point of my departure was more complex than desiring to beat someone else in the dominance game. Really, the initial realization I had recounted at the beginning of this discussion was just how trivially easy it IS to beat someone at the dominance game -- as long as you simply give the killing urge free rein at the first inclination. Really -- it worked well for Capone, and many, many others throughout history, and for quite a long while. Disquiet at that aspect of power and dominance is the issue. Not envy. Distaste.

In these comments, you admit that "desiring" power is not wrong, but you seem still to ascribe the "wrong kind" of desire to those who are working hard to acquire internal strength. It is you who have said it. I mean to entertain no such blanket generalizations merely from choice of training methodology.

The question is as to motivation and its practical effects. I would note that those most dissatisifed with what has developed in aikido training -- seem to correlate with those who are frustrated in their seeking greater personal sense of power. It is not a criticism or an identity, as one's motivations are not so trivially judged. But the correlation, at least anecdotally, seems to be real -- which could be for any number of reasons. Accepting my premise for a moment, realize that the other edge of that blade is the (very reaL) decline in martial seriousness in some veins of aikido training, which I do not trivialize. This is not a a bludgeon at any training or particular approach, without acknowledging some serious defaults on all sides.

I think there are right and wrong kinds of desire and I think my position on this point is clear. I am following facts which seem to track a truly biological and mechanically fascinating distinction in the nature and effects of motivation in engaging combat. Read the comments of surviving Medal of Honor winners. Not one of them ascribes a motivation to kill the enemy, or abstractions like patriotic fervor -- they did it to save their brothers in arms. Those who succeed in their efforts adn died in the attempts are notable for the level of physical endurance and performance that they accomplished before they gave out -- bringing the child-under-car scenario to the fore. It is not an idle question -- practically speaking.

The question is whether these two motivations are MATERIALLY different in choice of preferred training methods and effects, not merely morally so. I simply assume without arguing that the one is inherently superior to the other, morally speaking (and you are free to disagree if you are so inclined) -- I am inquiring as to the practicalities of that moral distinction in approach -- because it is a defining standard for what the founder of Aikido intended -- and most clearly distinguishes it from its predecessor technical regime in DTR.

And why all the talk about fascial contraction? Because it is real. It is interesting and it connects to aspects of my training and the ability in which I am able to make it effective.

What does it have to do with either "desire" or with IS? It seems you still think that the way to use the fascial layer of the body is through "contraction, as if it were another kind of muscle. But "contraction" of the fascia is only very tentatively related to internal strength development and use. Trying to contract the fascia like muscles is like trying to "hear" with your eyes. It's a different system and it works in a completely different way than the muscles. To try to use it in that way actually prevents using it as it really works. Contraction of the fascia is not relevant to IS for the most part--if anything, IS is more concerned with preventing reflexive fascial contraction through control of the emotions. "Trying to contract" is your words, not mine -- I said nothing about "trying" to do anything - in fact I think that is part of the error of assumption I am trying to tease out. If the fascia primarily responds in an affective manner then all the trying in the world won't make it work.

The second issue is what it "does." By your response I think you have not studied the reflex potentiation of the Jendrassik maneuver -- or considered what a milder and perhaps only slight systemic "clench" in this fascial tissue might accomplish --- biomechanically speaking. A tin can telephone does not work if the string is slack, but works surprisingly well if tightened up. I know what I feel when I touch someone else-- I feel the gross disposition of my opponent's structure, like I know the direction of a sound I cannot see. I also feel my own, through similar means. Don't get me wrong, there are people who are far, far better, but then people have better hearing than me, too -- but if I hear it, I hear it, and I know what I hear.

As far as reflex is concerned, you seem bent on dominating your own reflexes. This seems understandable -- there are tricks that are demonstrated (indeed, I have done them), that trigger extensor reflexes (more commonplace - in sankyo) or flexor reflexes (nikkyo, kotegaeshi) to destabilize someone one. But just as these can be potentiated they also can be suppressed wholly or partially. So you have a point -- up to a point...

I am concerned with understanding and deploying them so that it matters not whether I potentiate them or an opponent does, they play equally to my advantage. They run off the same gamma motor neuron and muscle spindle system (tied to these fascia) which also provides the sensory pathway for my proprioceptive "sense" of my opponents' body through its structural resonance (furitama). It is rather a bit of "cutting out the middle man" in terms of martial efficiency.

From what I've seen, maybe the biggest function of the fascia, apart from simply keeping the whole body knit together, is transmission of "intent" from the mind, to the hara and from there to the extremities. No contraction necessary. Unnecessary "clenching" of fascial tissue could prevent or distort the flow of intent and also hamper proper sequencing of muscle contraction. Define "intent" -- biomechanically. I will respond in kind with my thoughts on exactly why I think it matters - but you go first. I did not say clenching was any part of aiki in the sense of the car lfit , or the case of heavy repetitive labor -- but I see the same system operating as I described -- but in a different way.

Really, the topic seems to point along the lines of the aikikai's bad-mouthing of Sokaku Takeda: he wasn't "enlightened" like Morihei, so he was "bad". You seem to feel that those who are pursuing the development of demonstrable "power" are "bad" in some way--that acquiring the "power" of aiki actually diminishes the "goodness" of aiki. This kind of caricature prevents a useful discussion, even if I agreed with the caricature -- and I don't ... Counter-caricature is no more helpful.

But in the day when your actual ability really counts, you can't count on the "alarmed mother" syndrome to kick in and help you save your family. If you really want your "aiki" to work in an emergency, as budo is intended, you have to purposely develop deep and reliable physical power. Otherwise, training is really just wishful thinking. I would not count out the "alarmed mother (http://www.parentdish.com/2006/11/08/hero-mom-kills-attacker-who-threatened-her-child/)" so trivially, were I you. ;)

Suru
06-22-2009, 03:36 PM
Most parents would not be concerned with specifics of neurotransmitters, biopsychology, and biology at the critical moments. They would just lift the damn car.

Drew

Erick Mead
06-22-2009, 03:55 PM
Random thought for the day ...

"transmit intention ..." along fascia and the impact of contraction.

Real loose analogy coming ... consider speed of a wave ( and attendant energy transmission) along a vibrating string. What happens to the speed as the tension goes up (as in a fascial contraction)? Speed goes up.

Maybe nothing, maybe something.Something. Max speed of nerve transmission ~ 50-60 fps. Max speed of sound in bulk flesh ~1500 fps. Max speed of sound in tendon ~ 1650 fps. The speed of sound in a medium does not change, but more importantly -- harmonic frequency does change as tension becomes higher.(tighten a guitar string after you strum it).

The tautness of the body's drumskin, modulates its harmonic or fundamental frequency -- or to reverse the perspective -- the muscle spindles or Golgi tendon organs may sense departures above or below the fundamental harmonic (or critical amplitude thresholds -- which trigger reflex arcs). So a mechanism and an organ of kinesthetic sense for this kind of structural vibration is shown for (at the least) a plus/minus gradient around the harmonic. There is no clear evidence for what (if any) degree of resolution this perceptive faculty can be capable of in terms of the amount of frequency change or amplitude or acceleration of displacement ( beyond known reflexes It is known that it can be modulated -- potentiating or suppressing those reflexes .

Even if it is no more than the degree of sense discrimination we have of hot vs. cold with reference to the harmonic as zero or neutral, it is nevertheless useful. Those changes correspond to feeling where structural discontinuities exist in the opponent's structure -- which establish the "length" of the string we are connected from the point of our contact to the discontinuity -- and length determines harmonic -- just like tightness does- like holding a guitar string on a lower fret.

Playing one sensed frequency off of another one may allow one to "create" a more discriminating sense of that "external" harmonic with reference to our own baseline "internal" fundamental harmonic. Even people who can't sing can usually hear bad or good harmonies to some degree -- and they can usually be taught to modulate the voice to match them -- i.e. -- we have identified something that is cognitively common to voice manipulation (kotodama) and to structural manipulation (furitama and kokyu tanden ho).

David Orange
06-22-2009, 04:39 PM
Random thought for the day ...

"transmit intention ..." along fascia and the impact of contraction.

Real loose analogy coming ... consider speed of a wave ( and attendant energy transmission) along a vibrating string. What happens to the speed as the tension goes up (as in a fascial contraction)? Speed goes up.

Maybe nothing, maybe something.

There's certainly something there. Ark and Mike both talk about tensioning the "suit" but it's not the same thing as "clenching" or contracting the fascial tissue as muscles contract. The fascia will contract and will absolutely "clench up", which is what's happening when people talk about their stomach being tied up in knots. And that's the kind of thing we would want to avoid happening involuntarily. One of the big effects of keeping the mind calm is that it prevents the visceral fascia from clenching up.

But, yeah, I think tensioning the fascia in a whole-body sense, as in "tuning" a guitar string, is one of the ways of working with that level of the body/mind structure.

David

Dan Richards
06-24-2009, 12:17 PM
Excellent treatise on The Dark Night of the Soul that very much relates to this topic.
http://www.themystic.org/dark-night/index.htm

It gives some insight into the ego and its role in our spiritual unfolding.
http://www.themystic.org/dark-night/ego2.htm

jonreading
06-25-2009, 11:52 AM
Does desire for power help or impair the learning or operation of Aiki as O Sensei understood it?

Sometimes we think power means different things, so let me begin with a definition; Power is a noun which qualifies the ability to act without constraint. The greater one's ability to act without constraint, the greater power one possesses.

In aikido, we train to learn how better to free ourselves of constraints and learn to control how best to use that ability. Given the above definition, I believe that we strive to gain power and learn how to control that power. Aiki [unification] allows us to use our influence effectively, but aiki is not an ethical code

I think the logical continuation of this question is what ethical constraints bind powerful powerful people from abusing their abilities?

Erick Mead
06-25-2009, 04:48 PM
Sometimes we think power means different things, so let me begin with a definition; Power is a noun which qualifies the ability to act without constraint. The greater one's ability to act without constraint, the greater power one possesses.

In aikido, we train to learn how better to free ourselves of constraints and learn to control how best to use that ability. Given the above definition, I believe that we strive to gain power and learn how to control that power. Aiki [unification] allows us to use our influence effectively, but aiki is not an ethical code

I think the logical continuation of this question is what ethical constraints bind powerful powerful people from abusing their abilities?I like your definition of power. I don't think I quite agree with its application to aikido.

I am reminded of the episode of O Sensei pinning a guy with one finger. Now, I really do not believe, from practical experience and a modicum of physical insight after due study that O Sensei's finger was, in any material way, more powerful than my own -- in the way you define power -- his finger was no less constrained in its action than mine is. Rather, it seems to me,. that the effect obtained was not to remove the constraints holding back the otherwise limitless power of O Sensei's "Mighty Finger Technique (tm)" Instead, (and I think the balance of that and other accounts bears me out in this) -- he obtained no more power than he had to begin with -- what happened is that he used his finger in a way that reduced the opponent's effective power to zero.

So from that perspective then, study of Aikido is not what we do to obtain more power as against the power of others -- but rather what do we do when we realize that we can make another person powerless, regardless of how much power we personally have managed to obtain to set against theirs. In some sense, as against the prospect of zero effective power in the opponent, the question of relative power in the abstract or even in head to head contest -- is almost irrelevant. I am not saying that aiki is perfect, nor can be applied perfectlyby everyone at every time and that having some power to apply when one suddenly finds oneself overtorquing the tame canine -- power may well be a good wholesome, and indispensable thing.

Not that any of us are in the practice of conferring the "Mystical Jellyfish Reduction Touch (tm)," but even at relatively low levels with good training students experience being able to be in a position and in a manner of being and moving that enables the opponent do precisely not one single damn thing about whatever you do next.

That is the question. Is THAT really seeking power, and does seeking power according to the definition Jon gave (and I think it is a good one), impair the goal of reaching more facility in the use of aiki -- as I am describing it (and you are free to disagree with that description.)

Suru
06-25-2009, 07:50 PM
About pinning with one finger, it's actually not such a feat. If nage throws uke so that uke winds up flat on his back, one finger into the base of the neck will render him absolutely pinned. Gentle added pressure if he tries to recover will keep him right where he is. Too much pressure here might be devastating, so during the few times I've used this pin, it has been with great caution. Try it on a friend or Aikido partner sometime. As uke tries to get up, even nage keeping his finger steady will result in added pressure to keep uke pinned.

Drew

Erick Mead
06-26-2009, 08:58 AM
About pinning with one finger, it's actually not such a feat. If nage throws uke so that uke winds up flat on his back, one finger into the base of the neck will render him absolutely pinned. Gentle added pressure if he tries to recover will keep him right where he is. Too much pressure here might be devastating, so during the few times I've used this pin, it has been with great caution. Try it on a friend or Aikido partner sometime. As uke tries to get up, even nage keeping his finger steady will result in added pressure to keep uke pinned.That may or may not have been his method in this instance -- the interview was quite unclear, but his overall point is much more general in character.

(Source is a newspaper interview included in Kisshomaru's "Aikido' [1957], pp. 198-219, [tr. -- Stanley Pranin and Katsuaki Terasawa].)
"Fine. I can pin you with my index finger alone," I answered. Then I let him push me while I was seated. This fellow capable of lifting huge weights huffed and puffed but could not push me over. After that, I redirected his power away from me and he went flying by. As he fell I pinned him with my index finger, and he remained totally immobilized. It was like an adult pinning a baby. Then I suggested that he try again and let him push against my forehead. However, he couldn't move me at all. Then I extended my legs forward, and, balancing myself, I lifted my legs off the floor and had him push me. Still he could not move me. He was surprised and began to study Aikido.

A: When you say you pin a person with one finger, do you push on a vital point?

O Sensei: I draw a circle around him. His power is contained inside that circle. No matter how strong a man he may be, he cannot extend his power outside of that circle. He becomes powerless. Thus, if you pin your opponent while you are outside of his circle, you can hold him with your index finger or your little finger. This is possible because the opponent has already become powerless.

thisisnotreal
06-26-2009, 01:40 PM
i'm guessing his finger was tremendously stronger. in every way. like this guys< (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NExoT38sjj4)
in fact; not just his finger; but everything else to which it is connected. not a weak link in the chain.

Erick Mead
06-26-2009, 01:58 PM
i'm guessing his finger was tremendously stronger. in every way. like this guys< (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NExoT38sjj4)
in fact; not just his finger; but everything else to which it is connected. not a weak link in the chain.I see. I shall stand on my head, shall I? :p

No! Wait! Pull my finger! :eek:

Besides 'at's cheatin'! -- 'E wuz leanin' onna wall!

dps
06-26-2009, 03:11 PM
I see. I shall stand on my head, shall I? :p

No! Wait! Pull my finger! :eek:

Besides 'at's cheatin'! -- 'E wuz leanin' onna wall!

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5b844_the-secret-of-the-ceiling-dance_shortfilms

David :)

Suru
06-26-2009, 04:27 PM
Josh - Show that to a master Yogi and see if he or she can pull it off! Dhalsim doesn't count lol.

David - The real Spiderman, or camera tricks? It reminds me some of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the scene with the stewardess.

Drew

Erick Mead
06-26-2009, 05:15 PM
Josh - Show that to a master Yogi and see if he or she can pull it off! Dhalsim doesn't count lol.

David - The real Spiderman, or camera tricks? It reminds me some of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the scene with the stewardess.

DrewHeh. The whole set was a box on a spindle and they rotated it with him in it.

Suru
06-26-2009, 05:29 PM
I was almost certain it was Velcro soles! Then again, that would have to be some kind of ultra-powerful Velcro that only NASA knows about. I'm headed toward Groom Lake right now...don't try to stop me! I'll be sure to make it through security with my yonkyu submission skills!

Drew

dps
06-26-2009, 10:47 PM
When I saw this video clip
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NExoT38sjj4)
I said, " Gee I thought Fred Astaire died, when did he became a chinese monk." Go figure.

David :)

jonreading
06-29-2009, 01:15 PM
I like your definition of power. I don't think I quite agree with its application to aikido.

I am reminded of the episode of O Sensei pinning a guy with one finger. Now, I really do not believe, from practical experience and a modicum of physical insight after due study that O Sensei's finger was, in any material way, more powerful than my own -- in the way you define power -- his finger was no less constrained in its action than mine is. Rather, it seems to me,. that the effect obtained was not to remove the constraints holding back the otherwise limitless power of O Sensei's "Mighty Finger Technique (tm)" Instead, (and I think the balance of that and other accounts bears me out in this) -- he obtained no more power than he had to begin with -- what happened is that he used his finger in a way that reduced the opponent's effective power to zero.

So from that perspective then, study of Aikido is not what we do to obtain more power as against the power of others -- but rather what do we do when we realize that we can make another person powerless, regardless of how much power we personally have managed to obtain to set against theirs. In some sense, as against the prospect of zero effective power in the opponent, the question of relative power in the abstract or even in head to head contest -- is almost irrelevant. I am not saying that aiki is perfect, nor can be applied perfectlyby everyone at every time and that having some power to apply when one suddenly finds oneself overtorquing the tame canine -- power may well be a good wholesome, and indispensable thing.

Not that any of us are in the practice of conferring the "Mystical Jellyfish Reduction Touch (tm)," but even at relatively low levels with good training students experience being able to be in a position and in a manner of being and moving that enables the opponent do precisely not one single damn thing about whatever you do next.

That is the question. Is THAT really seeking power, and does seeking power according to the definition Jon gave (and I think it is a good one), impair the goal of reaching more facility in the use of aiki -- as I am describing it (and you are free to disagree with that description.)

Hey Erick!

I wrestled with that conclusion for years. A couple years back I was at Shindai dojo and Saotome Sensei was teaching a seminar. During instruction he says, "Want to fight?" and makes his hand into a gun shape. "Bang. You are dead. No more fight." This example and some other things got me thinking. What I concluded was I was training to control someone else. But in a situation when I could not control someone else, my training would break down. So I rethought how I could align my training to control the one person I could control at all times...me. In other words, instead of training how to control a person, I began training to control the situation in which I was placing myself.

Rather than training to learn how to take away something from someone else, I am [trying] to learn how to exist in a situation where someone else cannot take anything away from me. In your finger pin example, one view of the pin is, "my finger prevents uke from moving;" another view might be, "uke cannot push my finger out of the way to move."View one places the burden of action on nage (to use the finger to remove power from uke to rise), view two places the burden of action on uke (to move the finger to rise).

Does that help?

Erick Mead
06-29-2009, 03:17 PM
I wrestled with that conclusion for years. A couple years back I was at Shindai dojo and Saotome Sensei was teaching a seminar. During instruction he says, "Want to fight?" and makes his hand into a gun shape. "Bang. You are dead. No more fight." This example and some other things got me thinking. What I concluded was I was training to control someone else. But in a situation when I could not control someone else, my training would break down. So I rethought how I could align my training to control the one person I could control at all times...me. In other words, instead of training how to control a person, I began training to control the situation in which I was placing myself.

Rather than training to learn how to take away something from someone else, I am [trying] to learn how to exist in a situation where someone else cannot take anything away from me. In your finger pin example, one view of the pin is, "my finger prevents uke from moving;" another view might be, "uke cannot push my finger out of the way to move."View one places the burden of action on nage (to use the finger to remove power from uke to rise), view two places the burden of action on uke (to move the finger to rise).

Does that help?I see your thought process. What you are doing in your example is illustrating the shift of the center of action, which is preceded by the move of the center of intention. The shifting center is the key, it seems to me -- as it is in all of the aiki-taiso, or kokyu undo.

In my way of thinking, it is about controlling me, and not about controlling the other person, in any programmatic way. But it is still about making him powerless, in a special way, which takes nothing from him at all -- Aikido seems only ever additive -- whatever uke adds to the problem -- he gets to keep, but with added interest... . ;) He still feels like he ought to have power, but it is all engine -- no transmission.

I like to analogize aikido to surfing. One cannot achieve any countervailing "power" in any meaningful sense in surfing -- but one can learn to achieve greater and greater art in the engagement of power that is not one's own. One learns to engage a steady progression leading to almost unimaginably disproportionate amounts of power in "opposition" to the exercise of the art, and without any harm. Surfing is not an art in "opposition" any more than Aikido is. This is more than analogy, but even so -- I actually have a set of 30-odd maxims applicable to surfing most of which seem to apply equally to aikido -- merely by substituting words.

The essential point is that I can neither control the wave, nor overpower it, nor indeed take anything away from or diminish it. I can only control a rather critical way of relating to it -- riding a cusp of action that is inherently transient, but eminently recognizable and distinct in both shape and dynamic. Upon the cusp -- there is great freedom of action -- but ahead, behind or off to the side of that cusp -- there is only chaos and getting trashed.

What we do and what the wave does -- the space of that cusp -- is a vortex (in mechanics) and the whipsaw effect we are so familiar with is a vortex shear. Of the mechanics found in nature, this is among the most destructive (tornado, hurricane, getting caught "inside"). It is also among the most subtle (vortex tube (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vortex_tube), aerodynamic lift, a mid-ocean tsunami rises inches -- moving at hundreds of miles an hour). In free rotation a vortex can tear apart rigid structures and in forced rotation it solidifies even completely fluid structures.

To me, therefore training is about seeing and riding this form of action and the shape of this cusp in as many varieties and variations as possible, and which are essentially limitless. I haven't gotten bored yet, anyway. :D

t_jordan22
02-12-2010, 03:03 PM
I think this is alot like the characters RYU and AKUMA in street fighter Akuma, RYU is constantly having his powers drawn in by RYU to use them for darkness. When RYU uses his power to his full potential for good he is even more powerful then he is at his peak on the dark side. If you are in control of your power you are even more powerful then your max when using dark "hado" (energy) there has also been research done about this with snowflakes.. wikipedia "Hado" for more information

Remember like spiderman's uncle said
" with great power comes great responsibility"

JohnDavis
02-13-2010, 12:43 AM
Yes it does. Power is an illusion and unless you let it go, as well as the other egocentric ideas we grew up with, union with Ki becomes an unfulfilled dream. The desire for power is a more mature way of saying "this is MY ki" and that is just not true. Pick up a handful of water. How long is it "yours"? Well, unless you are Aqua man or part frog, not for long.

To experience Aiki or the flow of Ki in your life, "get out of the way."

lbb
02-13-2010, 03:07 PM
Erick,

I have always heard that the strength suddenly harnessed in the cliched example of a parent lifting a car to release a child from underneath is an adrenaline rush. You believe this to be a misconception. Below is from a bodybuilding site I found on the web, and I am unaware of its accuracy. Will you post a link to the oxytocin reference?

"...a burst of epinephrine [adrenaline] at will, making the body's energy reserves kick in to high gear, this could really give you an incredible burst of strength for a maximum lift."

I may be completely misremembering, since my very cursory study of endocrinology was years ago, but AFAIK adrenaline does not "burst" and it does not "rush". Hormones, in general, are not rapid-acting, at least not by the common definition of "rapid".

Erick Mead
02-14-2010, 05:52 PM
I may be completely misremembering, since my very cursory study of endocrinology was years ago, but AFAIK adrenaline does not "burst" and it does not "rush". Hormones, in general, are not rapid-acting, at least not by the common definition of "rapid".And yet oxytocin does seem to have that facility -- directly into the literal heart of the vascular system:Studies on rats show that the "heart is a site of oxytocin (OT) synthesis and release."

http://www.pnas.org/content/95/24/14558.abstract

On wonders if the sensation (if anyone has not felt it I am very, very sad for you) of this mechanism is not the reason why the heart is identified (cross-culturally) as the seat of emotion -- particularly love -- and how topical on St. Valentine's Day.