PDA

View Full Version : "Obama's Soft Power - a primer on Aikido"


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


AikiWeb System
06-08-2009, 02:54 PM
Posted 2009-06-08 14:50:31 by Jun Akiyama
News URL: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/6/8/739986/-Obamas-Soft-Powera-primer-on-Aikido

Here's a blog posting entitled "Obama's Soft Power - a primer on Aikido" (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/6/8/739986/-Obamas-Soft-Powera-primer-on-Aikido) that details author Robert Kent's thoughts on using aikido principles in the realm of politics and conflict resolution.




___________________
~~~ To submit a news item to AikiWeb's front page, click here (http://www.aikiweb.com/news/submit.html). ~~~

akiy
06-08-2009, 02:56 PM
Hi folks,

I realize and understand that an article of a political nature of this sort can be very tempting to turn its discussion into a discussion centered on politics.

May I please ask that the discussion in this thread be explicitly pertinent to and centered around aikido and its principles underlying the art?

If you feel the need to talk about politics in general, please do so in the Open Discussions (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=14) forum.

Thank you,

-- Jun

Erick Mead
06-08-2009, 04:13 PM
With Jun's caution duly noted let's examine the proposed similarity so we can know if some aspects of aikido can be observed in the specific address in question to see if we agree or disagree with its demonstration of "all the aikido hallmarks" :) I tend to disagree -- about the assertion here of what Aikido is (not about the wisdom or ill-wisdom of the geopolitical statements addressed).

His speech in Cairo exhibited all the aikido hallmarks -

1] We must maintain our own balance while taking theirs - Obama was poised and elegant while completely undercutting the case for violence and extremism - using the Koran to do it.
... and ignoring the parts of the Koran that found and justify ( if believed) the attacks. In my understanding of aikido we enter into and then turn (irimi/tenkan) the attack itself, not some other preliminary gesture or ancillary expression of restraint. Those are nice, of course, but it is the attack that drives aikido -- and the attack creates the circumstance for truly testing the poise noted. Unless the attack itself is engaged, there is no aikido. Aikido does not so much stand against "violence and extremism" as it seeks to learn to exist peaceably and precisely in a situation OF violent extreme.

2] We must react fearlessly - 6 months ago journalists were throwing shoes at the US President, Now we've got a guy willing to talk to the Iranians, and clearly signaling that Hamas might have a role in a unity government we would work with in Palestine. He even had the courage to admit the US involvement in the 1953 overthrow of democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq One-- as I understand AIkido it is NOT reaction -- it is interaction -- an action both independent of and yet fully in connection with a present attack. The attack creates the condition FOR aikido but in no way determines the manner of its immediate or ultimate expression. A punch in the face resulting from the interaction is as perfectly good aikido as a gentle gliding pin -- if that is what happened in good connection and without conflict to the attack. Granted that I like my training partners, and therefore do not strive to punch them in the face -- aikido is certainly not limited to training with people I like.

3] We must enter into the very center of the conflict - He called additional settlement activity illegitimate, and used the word "Palestine", and did this in the capital of the largest Arab country. I do not agree with the principle stated. In aikido properly done there is no conflict, because the interaction of attack and response occur in different coordinate planes. They certainly alter one another -- but they do not conflict. I also question its offered illustration. Is Egypt really the center of the conflict or attack? Egypt is at peace with Israel the focu of the conflict that does exist. Would the center of the conflict or the attack be closer to Hamas headquarters in Gaza, or Hezbollah headquarters in the Bekaa, or perhaps ISI headquarters in Teheran? What conflict is originating from Cairo? Maybe we treat them that loosely -- but the people who live there make these fine distinctions, as between the elbow vice the knee strike, even if both are coming from the left side.

4] We must understand our opponent's intentions in order to achieve resolution - He quoted the Koran, the Talmud, and the Bible. He spoke phrases in Arabic. He did not lecture, but left himself open to an ongoing conversation. He actually LISTENS to experts instead of PNAC dogmatists - Shinseki instead of Wolfowitz, for instance. Neocons tend to impose their theories on their world view, whereas Barack doesn't carry preconceptions but actually finds out what is really going on.In my understanding of aikido, I do NOT have to understand my opponents' intentions beyond the manifestation of his attack -- even if it is very slight and I take what seems to the unlearned to be preemptive action to force or even direct the timgin or placement of his attack. I need merely connect with his manifest action and let my training take command -- there is no room -- nor any need -- for the contemplative exercise taken as preliminary or primary action suggested here. It may be contemplated-- but after the fact -- with the opponent pinned to the ground -- tapping madly to signal his complete submission. :D

That is how we practice aikido.

Fred Little
06-08-2009, 04:42 PM
Is Egypt really the center of the conflict or attack? .

While a good question, the scope of the subsequent discussion is astonishingly constrained.

Deeper thinkers who have paid attention to domestic history concur that the attack is centered in Florida and Texas and we should turn them over to Cuba and Mexico forthwith. Not only would the losses be minimal, but the ensuing uptick in international travel for purposes of tourism would be a broadening experience that would do many Americans a world of good. :cool:

Michael Hackett
06-08-2009, 05:39 PM
Just can't buy it, Fred. I'd have to get my passport out in order to enjoy good barbeque. Nothing like good brisket to make you appreciate being on top of the food chain.

Fred Little
06-08-2009, 06:07 PM
Just can't buy it, Fred. I'd have to get my passport out in order to enjoy good barbeque. Nothing like good brisket to make you appreciate being on top of the food chain.

Michael,

No problem. Once we're all micro-chipped, nobody will ever need a passport. In the meantime, there are some folks in Kansas City and Memphis who say that they're tired of this sort of hate-speech against their barbeque and they're looking for legislation to stop it.

I wish to assure you that as a First Amendment purist, I stand by your right to make these sorts of outrageous and loathsome claiims, no matter how odious they may be. If fighting this kind of legislative overreach iss the price I have to pay to live in this great nation, I'll suffer it.

Besides, great barbeque is pork, preferably shoulder, not that I'm averse to judging competing products when given the opportunity.

Best,

FL

Tim Fong
06-08-2009, 10:19 PM
I saw that article on Daily Kos when it first appeared. No mention of solo training = FAIL.

=)

Suru
06-11-2009, 12:55 PM
... and ignoring the parts of the Koran that found and justify ( if believed) the attacks. In my understanding of aikido we enter into and then turn (irimi/tenkan) the attack itself, not some other preliminary gesture or ancillary expression of restraint. Those are nice, of course, but it is the attack that drives aikido -- and the attack creates the circumstance for truly testing the poise noted. Unless the attack itself is engaged, there is no aikido. Aikido does not so much stand against "violence and extremism" as it seeks to learn to exist peaceably and precisely in a situation OF violent extreme.


Erick, I appreciate your thoughtfulness here. I have read the Koran twice, the Sikh gurus, enough of the Bible, and even pieces of the sutras and the Bhagavad Gita. Specifically talking about the Koran, My best guess is it was quite helpful to the people in ~500 AD. 1500 years later, "slay the infidel" does not have the same meaning. I would tell Bin Laden this, but I have a feeling I'd get a few 7.62mm holes in me before I could say a word. The New KJV Bible, the Protestant book of reference for most religious Americans, clearly states in the Second Epistle of John that nobody has God without Jesus, and if you discover a person who doesn't believe in Jesus, do not let him into your home or even greet him, for he is a deceiver and an antichrist. Nightmare.

Anyway, I have been on team Obama since many months before he was elected because I sense high intelligence, service before self, and sincerity in him. I really like him, and it's my best guess that he will help better the world. Will he cause an end to all war? That's dubious. Some negative people have such hard heads, and changing another's outlook on life is as difficult as he or she can change mine.

Drew

Erick Mead
06-12-2009, 10:49 AM
Anyway, I have been on team Obama since many months before he was elected because I sense high intelligence, service before self, and sincerity in him. I really like him, and it's my best guess that he will help better the world. Will he cause an end to all war? That's dubious. Some negative people have such hard heads, and changing another's outlook on life is as difficult as he or she can change mine. Drew Let me put it this way: Aikido works because we train to DO it. While I value theory and understanding the conceptual workings of things, including aikido, the conceptual workings are not in fact what makes it work. Doing it is the way it is made to work, and that involves much trial and error. Having done it is the best assurance that it can be done when it really matters.

Governing is an art of prudence; prudence is the fruit of wisdom; and wisdom is the fruit of experience -- not of intelligence. Intelligence is only really useful when reflecting upon experience -- but cannot be a substitute for it. Without wisdom, governing -- which, like aikido, is the trained exercise of force -- goes easily astray. One could wish for alot more thoughtful recourse to actual experience instead of often mistargeted intellectual projections, especially when these are compared in the actual practice of such arts.
http://michaelscomments.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/stimulus-vs-unemployment-may-corrected.gif

Suru
06-26-2009, 03:37 PM
I'm really upset with Obama lately. He's perpetuating America's oppressive campaign against smokers, and he smokes. "Do what he says, not what he does." I don't think this latest legislation is going to affect me much, but I don't know all the details. I believe I heard, "reduced nicotine" but I've heard rumors of a sharp increase in cig pack prices in the near future. That's been going on already. What's it going to be? $100 a carton? So that he can use the excise ("sin") taxes for things that may have zero propulsion for my pursuit of happiness?

Drew

akiy
06-26-2009, 03:57 PM
Once again, as I asked in post #2 above:

Hi folks,

I realize and understand that an article of a political nature of this sort can be very tempting to turn its discussion into a discussion centered on politics.

May I please ask that the discussion in this thread be explicitly pertinent to and centered around aikido and its principles underlying the art?

If you feel the need to talk about politics in general, please do so in the Open Discussions (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=14) forum.

Thank you,

-- Jun

Fred Little
06-26-2009, 03:57 PM
If President Obama were really wise, and not merely intelligent, he'd use that increase in tobacco taxes to buy me a pony, because 1) I am the Universe, 2) the Universe outranks the President of the United States, 3) and even though I could make my own damn pony out of sheer nothingness, a free will choice on his part to give it to me might just provide a suitable sign of his appreciation for the grace which I will bestow on him without regard to whether he gives me a pony or not!

If I had had any clue how whiny humans would be, I would have stopped when I achieved perfection with the lemurs. Lovely creatures, lemurs. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemur) One of these aeons, I'll learn to quit while I'm ahead.

Suru
06-26-2009, 04:23 PM
Once again, as I asked in post #2 above:

Hi folks,

I realize and understand that an article of a political nature of this sort can be very tempting to turn its discussion into a discussion centered on politics.

May I please ask that the discussion in this thread be explicitly pertinent to and centered around aikido and its principles underlying the art?

If you feel the need to talk about politics in general, please do so in the Open Discussions (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=14) forum.

Thank you,

-- Jun

Yes, yes, I should have made it clear that nicotine in my bloodstream eases my pain and stress during training, stimulates a higher level of focus and general sense of well-being. It also aids during those times that I can't train, offering a mild euphoria with a calming effect, ensuring that I don't worry too much about the training time missed.

Drew

Michael Varin
06-27-2009, 02:33 AM
Sorry Jun,

I don't think it's possible to stay away from a political discussion when you post an article of a political nature.

Erick already did a very good job of showing that the author of the article had little understanding of aikido and its philosphy and was greatly stretching in its application.

I don't care how you color it, there is nothing "soft" about Obama's power.

All I can hope for is that as many liberals learn a lesson from their vote for Obama as conservatives did from their vote for Bush jr. Maybe then we can really make a difference.

Erick Mead
06-27-2009, 07:03 AM
If President Obama were really wise, and not merely intelligent, he'd use that increase in tobacco taxes to buy me a pony, because 1) I am the Universe, 2) the Universe outranks the President of the United States, 3) and even though I could make my own damn pony out of sheer nothingness, a free will choice on his part to give it to me might just provide a suitable sign of his appreciation for the grace which I will bestow on him without regard to whether he gives me a pony or not!

If I had had any clue how whiny humans would be, I would have stopped when I achieved perfection with the lemurs. Lovely creatures, lemurs. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemur) One of these aeons, I'll learn to quit while I'm ahead.Oh, Fred. You know can't have a pony.

You couldn't keep the Liopleurodon we gave you from chewing everything in sight -- and then you let it go extinct. And the mammoth. What were you thinking?

When you can manage, say a minor class of non-venomous invertebrate without an ecological disaster -- then we'll talk.

dps
06-27-2009, 11:18 AM
I don't agree with the comparison of Obama's underlying principles and Aikido's. I don't want to be a member of his dojo, his dojo fees are way too high.

David

P.S. If Fred gets a pony I want a pony too. A brown one. With white hooves.

Fred Little
06-27-2009, 12:02 PM
Oh, Fred. You know can't have a pony.

You couldn't keep the Liopleurodon we gave you from chewing everything in sight -- and then you let it go extinct. And the mammoth. What were you thinking?

When you can manage, say a minor class of non-venomous invertebrate without an ecological disaster -- then we'll talk.

About that Liopleurodon, if you had any idea of the evolutionary imperative that was kinked at its genetic code, it never would have left the schematic design phase. "Let it go extinct?" Oh no, mon frere. There was no lack of intention there. The mammoths, that's another situation entirely...but I've already apologized for the humans.

As for the non-venomous invertebrates, what's a few kalpas of kihon among friends? :D