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Buck
08-08-2009, 01:11 AM
I was a nerdy kid, who was picked and beat up on allot, a kid who knew that any and all weakness I shown, usually just by the nature of being me, would feed school bullies. It gave me a unique perspective, being trashed, learning to avoid people when I could, to not bring attention to myself for fear of being spotted by someone who wanted to hurl insults, taunts and physical punishments for their amusement. Being a “husky” a.k.a. fat kid, didn’t help either.

At the risk of a bad pun, that extra pound really slowed me down running from the in pending fate at the hands of the bullies. It did cushion many pokes, jabs, and other forms of battery, a bit. What’s more, it cushioned those falls from being tripped, pushed, and all that stuff. But, it was a curse as well, it was the taunts, name calling, insults all targeted to my weight. A problem I had, I didn’t know, I had. It is difficult for a kid short with thyroid disease, not to know why he was fat, much less not be able to can spell thyroid correctly. The “husky-ness” was a blessing and burned.

Needless to say this haunted me all through school, the short build, the nerd qualities processed, the undiagnosed thyroid disease, among many other things that made me the favorite target of many bullies. And you know a person does get tired of it. It is something you don’t ask for. You want to be left alone; you don’t do anything to invoke a bully other then having “nerd sweat” as discovered by Lisa Simpson. You feel lonely and isolated, anger and powerless to stop the abuse. You know the psychological ways of a bully over time, enough so that you could write a book. Knowing the who, and stuff, is fine. But, the goal is being able to gain you life back, to gain control, to stop all the humiliation, emotional distress, the over-whelming stress, until, one day a decision is made. No a realization that there must be action, a stand must taken. A stand that will… forever…stop the violence.

I had no idea what the movie was about one afternoon that ignited the decision to take a stand, and change the life I was forced to live. I bought the tickets and entered the theater and sat in the front row not knowing what to expect. The ticket said, “Black Rain.” As the movie played I recognized Mike Douglas, but I didn’t know who the Japanese actor was, Ken Takakura. As I watched the movie it just struck in a funny way. Maybe it was Ken Takakura’s character, Masahiro and the cool, sharpness of that character, against the Mike Douglas’s strong character, Nick, who characteristics are what I wanted to model. But, what ever it was that lead to take a stand, it was at that point I would adopt an avatar representing the decision I made to make new change.

I waited until the credits to roll to find out who played Masahiro. I located in the scroll Ken Takakura. Either momentarily hypnotized or a something, I stayed seated through all the credits. When I got home I want to know more about the actor who played Masahiro, I did my research, though there was one life changing error I made. Sitting through all the credits there where many Japanese names and the only one I could remember precisely was that of Toshihiro Obata.

Little did I know at that time, it would be Toshihiro Obata name’s that would point to the path of Aikido. And, it would be Aikido to be that avatar of change, where I would no longer suffer at the hands of bullies.

After sometime of confusing the two actors, I came across a magazine article talking about Toshihiro Obata and Aikido. I thought how impressive. Knowing nothing about Aikido I had to find out more. I read everything and anything on Aikido on the magazine racks and books. I then decided to start a class.

Starting Aikido ran along the lines of the old Charles Atlas cartoon ad- post recently here in a thread. I thought I had a tool, a weapon to employ power and revenge over those who degraded and bullied me over the years. It was an instrument that I could use to gain control and power over would-be bullies who would target me in adult life. Aikido is what I need a martial art, not to get sand kicked in my face. And that was really sent home with Seagal Shihan’s first movie. It was later after being in an Aikido class did I realize how I completely misunderstood Aikido.

What Aikido brought to me was an understanding that violence isn’t really control. Being in a toe to toe match, be it MMA, or what have you, doesn’t allow for control. Two combatants going toe-to-toe with fists, and grappling ground work all taking some time, and within that time exists the struggle for control. Violence such as that consumes the combatants. It is usually resolved quickly unless there is a grave mis-match or luck. What you want is control and that control, like polar opposites, works to its opposite. Not being of a combatant mind, but a non-violent mind yields control over many combatants.

If I was of a combatant mind, I would have sought revenge on those who victimized me. I would have studied anything and everything to kick some butt for payback. To deliver as much pain possible. But Aikido stopped me from such an error. I realize the greater peace. A societal peace where such petty mind-sets start and continue wars be it on a personal level for revenge that grows to being countries embraced in violence and killing for generations. I realized I didn’t want that on my soul. I didn’t want or need to seek revenge as powerful of an instrument as it is. And Aikido could hurt someone, especially if I misused it to a degree that I didn’t need to go to. I didn’t want the combatant mind, if I was ever again threatened with violence, I would want to control that violence not match it and struggling for control and dominance over it.

As I train at several schools of Aikido, I got a feel for the vast scope of Aikido and its potential. A potential not always exercised or understood. A misunderstood art because of its martial elements and history, it’s coded philosophy and spiritual message. Aikido isn’t easy in anyway, and that difficult has lead me to understand myself and the reasons for taking Aikido in the first place. As the biblical saying points out, you don’t take the broad road, you take the narrow (more difficult) road.

I have realized Aikido is about personal character, it is about people being better and refraining from violence on its most understandable level. It isn’t about injecting it with the latest fad martial art or what not to make it better, more effective. That is the very shallowest level of Aikido, I had realized early on. If I was to over-come past and future bullies I first must over-come myself.

My character changed no longer was I going to be a victim. Dropping the desire for revenge as a result of Aikido freed me. It freed me from those continued emotions that where obsessive that had gone un-noticed. The constant desire for violence (in this case revenge) was weigh to personal growth. The martial part of Aikido was the derivative to instill, for me, mental and physical discipline. To re-shape how I looked at myself and others. To gain confidence, and all that stuff. Once that was gained, I no longer needed revenge. My new attitude and skills re-shape how I was seen by others. I found myself just like the characters I had admire in the movie “Black Rain.”

I give allot to Aikido in providing a platform to take a stand on against those who targeted me. No more would I show up on a bully’s radar, or sweat the scent of nerd. All of it accomplished without a confrontation and all without violence; all with a new real sense of myself.

These types of things are always over-looked when someone offers a new “customization, enhancement, or retro fit” to Aikido. It shouldn’t be that way, IT shouldn’t be over-looked. That is the heart, and soul of Aikido is character, personal change and growth. There lays the strength and power of Aikido, knowing violence is the struggle for control. Violence means not having control. Where as peace is control. Aikido is about control.

rob_liberti
08-08-2009, 05:14 AM
Buck,

You seem to be laboring under the false impression that aikido ONLY builds character if it is NOT martially viable. That's BS.

Sorry for your childhood. I was probably one of people picking on you (someone just like you maybe). In my case, I honestly feel bad about hurling those insults.

I did NOT feel badly about any of that before I started doing solo exercises. You see, prior to meeting Dan, I got VERY good at doing all sorts of finesse to hide my structural weaknesses and exploit the attacker's structural weaknesses. That's pretty much the best you can hope for without a deep study of aiki. The problem with that aikido - YOUR aikido I assume - is that it is WAY TOO MUCH about control. It's all about controlling the situation, and frankly control tends to be THE best way to hide/avoid having to feel.

After I spent about a year and a half just doing standing exercises everyday, I started getting this "feeling free in the world" feeling. It rocked my world. Everything had to change. Control - to which I personally had been addicted to - started to feel like something foreign in my mouth. "Control" was/is/has become very distasteful on a deep level. I am continuing to change, and grow.

Buck, I took what I assume to be your aikido (meaning aikido sans aiki) really far. I assume much further than you by all of your writing. I'm telling you from a lot of experience with it, that what it seems that you are looking to validate is something I took to the nth degree myself because I had built most of my personal self worth around it. And for me, and I suspect others, it turned out to be a FALSE path - where control became much more of a burden than something to save you. I HAD to take it somewhere else.

If you send me a PM I'll be happy to talk about it with you live.

Rob

dps
08-08-2009, 05:49 AM
Being a "husky" a.k.a. fat kid, didn't help either.

Boy that brings back unpleasant memories when I was a kid. Levis even had a size "husky" jeans for us fat kids.

David

Guilty Spark
08-08-2009, 09:17 AM
In high school I was never picked on. I was the guy picking on the bullies who picked on the nerds or weaker types.

A societal peace where such petty mind-sets start and continue wars be it on a personal level for revenge that grows to being countries embraced in violence and killing for generations.

I think a lot of people who were picked on in school look back as adults and try to make heads or tails of it. They try and make it into some kind of grand philosophical debate.
Sometimes the bigger guy just picks on the smaller guy because their smaller. standing up to a bully isn't embracing killing for generations, it's physically stopping someone from hurting you. Laws of nature.
The control I'll teach my daughter is to use violence to get control of the situation then use pain compliance to convince the other person to stop. She doesn't have to break someones arm but I want her to be prepared to do so if it comes down to her life or the other persons.

You can over come yourself as much as you want, if you physically can't defend yourself then a bully isn't going to care much for your inner peace. If you're happy going home with a broken nose black eye and no money in your wallet it's a personal choice I suppose.

Sometimes to gain control and peace you need to do more violence than then the other guy.
People WILL do violence. Be it an individual level in a school yard or as a country. People often don't seem comfortable with accepting that but where would we be if people at one point didn't say 'okay enough is enough' and rose up to meet the aggressors.

dps
08-08-2009, 11:01 AM
. Violence means not having control. Where as peace is control.
Could clarify this for me.

Buck
08-08-2009, 12:50 PM
Could clarify this for me.

I looked back on my post and I could make that thought clearer. This isn't a complex thing.

If you have ever been in a violent situation like a physical fight, you know what you are doing is struggling in a violent way to harm another for the purpose of gaining control. You want dominance over another and that process is gained through (usually) a violent physical exchange of two position. One position is being defensive, thus trying to gain control. The other position is the offensive, thus trying to maintain control. Therefore, the act of violence isn't control, it is wanting or gaining control. When things go to a level of violence that is a loss of control which violence happens when there is a desire to gain or re-gain control.

Aikido taught me where the real control was and it wasn't in violence.

Buck
08-08-2009, 01:28 PM
Buck,

Rob

I started this thread to share with others something personal, a deeper understanding of what is Aikido is to me. Sure there is the spiritual side of Aikido and it can be said to over-lap or be seen as the personal side Aikido. But to me the spiritual isn't that. It is the personal intimate reasons that exist in our hearts to why we take Aikido. For me it was being bullied and wanting revenge, then the personal realization through the practice of Aikido revenge wasn't the answer.

Maybe if I took MMA or something like that, I would have felt different, but I don't think I would have come to the same depth and scope of the realizations I have now. Through MMA, I might feel the need to go back and kick some butt. I would then risk many consequences, and place myself in compounding situations, all for the opportunity of my ego feeling better? Feeling like a bad-boy, would be a short and cheap victory at best. I realized that that because of Aikido.

My realizations where not the result of trying to or where able to decipher O'Sensei's stuff. It came through mental discipline, physical discipline, practice and randori. It came through the people and friends I practiced with and under. It came with the realization through the practice of technique and what it was designed for. Aikido is a martial art. It has character building stuff that is associated with martial philosophy. It doesn't mean you have to be a soldier, what it means it the process of building a person's positive character can be done through that of the philsophy of military disciple and values related to character. For example, building real confidence gained by pushing physicial limits, achieving goals, and all that stuff. Stuff our sports are built on as well.

So Rob, it is very disheartening to read your comments. Here I give a personal story where Aikido changed how I would handle bullies and stop being their victim. Aikido change how I seen things and in turn change how I was seen. That taking the violent road spurred by revenge as a means of conflict resolution was not the way to go. It is paramount to a person shooting first and then asking questions later. Because of Aikido, I gained a greater power, a great and more efffective means of control over those who did and would bully me. Without the suffering from that old saying, "live by the sword, die by the sword." I walked the path of peace, and found greater resolve in that. That is a fact. The results are seen daily. The pen is mighter then the sword.

My goal has been achieved and it is a peaceful result. I am not in violent physical conflicts. I am not seen any longer as the easy target. I get the respect I was looking for, a type of respect that is long lasting and one I don't need to defend physically or otherwise. That is what I call the greatest internal strength a person can have.

Rob am sorry if that has failed for you. Maybe being older and wiser you might go back to it with a different set of eyes.

Buck
08-08-2009, 01:46 PM
In high school I was never picked on.

To all: I am not giving advice, I am telling of my own unique personal experience inorder to give a background and insight on the choices I made, and what I wrote.

Grant,

I learned this in my attempts to fight back. Unless, I could brutally beat the bully up, who was bigger, older, full of more muscle, hormones and skill than I, to a bloody pulp, I would get a worse beating or have my head in the toilet longer. I would also risk having others jump in on the situation. Being at a disadvantage in many ways-including physically, I found it better to take a stand that wouldn't result in more violence and retaliation, and that was in Aikido. Aikido provided me that internal strenth I needed to change and take control of things I didn't think I had control over.

Janet Rosen
08-08-2009, 03:25 PM
Buck,
You seem to be laboring under the false impression that aikido ONLY builds character if it is NOT martially viable.

That's odd,I didn't read that in what he was saying.

donhebert
08-08-2009, 03:30 PM
Being bullied over a extended period of time when one is young creates a pernicious form of physic wounding. People who haven't experienced this sometimes don't appreciate the effort it takes to overcome the consequences. Everyone is a work in progress. Kudos to Philip for using Aikido to take him this far.

Best regards,

Don Hebert

Guilty Spark
08-08-2009, 08:32 PM
Sorry Philip it's your opinion I didn't mean to suggest you're wrong. I was just disagreeing but I doubt this thread was intended to be a debate :)

Are you basicly saying you use Aikido to physically defend yourself but you do so without anger or thoughts of harm against the person hurting you?

gdandscompserv
08-08-2009, 09:32 PM
I am currently working with some youngsters here in Okinawa. We normally go to the gym after work for some exercise. After our workout, the 23 year old said he wanted to go play basketball. I was driving and I really didn't want to stay and play, since I was already fairly exhausted, but I decided some good friendly competition would be good for me. We played a very competitive game that came down to the wire. I was dog tired. I threw up a wild three point hook shot that missed the rim and the youngster pounced on the rebound and put in an easy layup for the win. He was very happy to have won. I was very happy for the game to be over. Sometimes winning isn't about control and losing isn't about losing control.

Buck
08-08-2009, 09:38 PM
Sorry Philip it's your opinion I didn't mean to suggest you're wrong. I was just disagreeing but I doubt this thread was intended to be a debate :)

Are you basicly saying you use Aikido to physically defend yourself but you do so without anger or thoughts of harm against the person hurting you?

No, problem.

Aikido provided a means for me to change my perspective about getting back at those who bullied and victimized me.

By changing my perspective, as a result of my personal Aikido experiences. I realized that an attitude of revenge and the attitude of physical aggressive proactive- in your face I am going to kick your butt- confrontation (that would of resulted in violent conflicts) wasn't effective.

What was more effective and had little chances of being in violent conflicts was the the other approach of gaining confidence in a larger scope, finding non-violent ways to reduce conflicts, like not seeking and employing revenge. I felt being physical aggressive proactive confrontational didn't keep me off the bully radar. It would instead redefine my blip on their radar, from victim to opponent.

Buck
08-08-2009, 09:39 PM
I am currently working with some youngsters here in Okinawa. We normally go to the gym after work for some exercise. After our workout, the 23 year old said he wanted to go play basketball. I was driving and I really didn't want to stay and play, since I was already fairly exhausted, but I decided some good friendly competition would be good for me. We played a very competitive game that came down to the wire. I was dog tired. I threw up a wild three point hook shot that missed the rim and the youngster pounced on the rebound and put in an easy layup for the win. He was very happy to have won. I was very happy for the game to be over. Sometimes winning isn't about control and losing isn't about losing control.

Yes, that is true when your playing a game. :)

Buck
08-08-2009, 10:14 PM
I believe that true internal strength is something you don't go out and get. It is something you that you have on the inside.

It was and is because of Aikido that allowed me to develop my internal strength. The result is a positive and healthy change in my life. I hope this will inspire people.

rob_liberti
08-08-2009, 10:25 PM
That's odd,I didn't read that in what he was saying.

I got that impression specifically from these lines:

I have realized Aikido is about personal character, it is about people being better and refraining from violence on its most understandable level. It isn’t about injecting it with the latest fad martial art or what not to make it better, more effective. That is the very shallowest level of Aikido, I had realized early on. If I was to over-come past and future bullies I first must over-come myself.

These types of things are always over-looked when someone offers a new “customization, enhancement, or retro fit” to Aikido. It shouldn’t be that way, IT shouldn’t be over-looked. That is the heart, and soul of Aikido is character, personal change and growth. There lays the strength and power of Aikido, knowing violence is the struggle for control. Violence means not having control. Where as peace is control. Aikido is about control

Maybe you were not talking about this current fad of actually trying to inject aiki in AIKIdo. But if you were, it was very disheartening to read those comments. Injecting a new fad, REALLY? People are trying to resolve the issue that they have long recognized - that they didn't have much of a "choice" - unless it was more of a stylized symbolic attack. The path depends on the actual ability to CHOOSE peace.

I'm not saying EVERYONE who trains aikido devoid of aiki is a control addict who uses control to avoid feeling, but it is certainly not UNCOMMON. I think I can recognize that to varying degrees, in a lot of aikido people. That's not a true path at all - I lived it. Beware of false enlightenment. I'm not saying I have all of the answers, but I'm pretty sure I can tell you where NOT to look.

Rob

Kevin Leavitt
08-08-2009, 10:30 PM
I believe that true internal strength is something you don't go out and get. It is something you that you have on the inside.

It was and is because of Aikido that allowed me to develop my internal strength. The result is a positive and healthy change in my life. I hope this will inspire people.

I think you and Rob use "Internal Strength" in two different ways. I really don't think either of you are wrong, just using the phrase in a different way.

Janet Rosen
08-09-2009, 12:58 AM
I think you and Rob use "Internal Strength" in two different ways. I really don't think either of you are wrong, just using the phrase in a different way.

Yep. Rob, I really think this essay has nothing to do with the other threads on aikiweb. It's about one persons transformation based on finding internal resources - the same way we talk about no point in traveling if you want to find yourself.

rob_liberti
08-09-2009, 06:36 AM
Yep. Rob, I really think this essay has nothing to do with the other threads on aikiweb. It's about one persons transformation based on finding internal resources - the same way we talk about no point in traveling if you want to find yourself.

I read:
"These types of things are always over-looked when someone offers a new "customization, enhancement, or retro fit" to Aikido. It shouldn't be that way, IT shouldn't be over-looked. That is the heart, and soul of Aikido is character, personal change and growth."

I got three messages:

1) personal transformation based on how aikido _had_ been
2) he seems to believe another thread here on aikiweb is talking about a fad - *a fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period of time; a craze*. And further
3) that those people on the current *put aiki back into aikido* "fad" somehow OVERLOOKED the fact that the heart and soul of aikido is character, personal change and growth. My point is that such people haven't overlooked that; it could not be further from the truth. That, in fact, there is more growth potential.

I suppose it just brings to mind an image not too long ago of say a bunch of people with typewriters talking about the latest computer fad and talking about how people who will use computers are missing the main benefits of the typewriters...

Rob

Buck
08-09-2009, 12:10 PM
I think for me, a part of Aikido has become the understanding of the abstract benefits that are not as readily seen as the physical results of performing waza. I have mentioned some of them already.

It is my belief that the practice of Aikido being difficult like throwing a person as prescribed in Aikido has effects on our minds. It is like anything else. As well all know, Aikido is a defensive art, it isn't an aggressive art like compared to full contact sports that experiences allot of stressors.

Point is, we train in such a manner that there are less way there is less stress and stressors being experienced, say in comparison to contact sports, that allow us to function better under pressure and not default to violence when faced with a conflict that are better to de-escalate the situation.

*Stress in its true definition by Dr. Hans Selye. I recommend reading up on stress according to Dr. Hans Selye.

Because there is less stressor going on in practice this allows the body and mind to achieve the preferred state of Homeostasis, and maintaining that preferred state, in face of a stressor(s). When performing a technique under the stress of being grabbed over time and repetition, I think the body operates more in the Homeostasis state. At least it has for me. And when that happens, a person can control the effects of stress and thus function greater in a Homeostasis state. A person is then less likely to feel and react to the stress being experience and possibly defaulting to a violent action.

What I am saying is because of Aikido I developed calmness and the fear of being beat by bullies was not as strong. In that way, I was better able to thing about options, behavior and prevent methods when targeted by a bully. Having that mind set, enable me to be relaxed and thus able to move more freely, and unrestricted by the effect of a stress. I didn’t freeze, I didn’t sweat, or look nervous or uncomfortable and all that, and that change, did affect how bullies look at me. It did add another dimension to my confidence and a level. That also added to how bullies changed how they looked and treated me.

Simply another way I built internal strength because of Aikido.

I have to say this is my personal experience and result from practicing Aikido. And that is apart from the philosophy, spirituality and all that of Aikido. I don't want to associate my beliefs and experience being assoicated to that of O'Sensei want Aikido to be about. :)

Anjisan
08-10-2009, 09:15 AM
I think for me, a part of Aikido has become the understanding of the abstract benefits that are not as readily seen as the physical results of performing waza. I have mentioned some of them already.

It is my belief that the practice of Aikido being difficult like throwing a person as prescribed in Aikido has effects on our minds. It is like anything else. As well all know, Aikido is a defensive art, it isn't an aggressive art like compared to full contact sports that experiences allot of stressors.

Point is, we train in such a manner that there are less way there is less stress and stressors being experienced, say in comparison to contact sports, that allow us to function better under pressure and not default to violence when faced with a conflict that are better to de-escalate the situation.

*Stress in its true definition by Dr. Hans Selye. I recommend reading up on stress according to Dr. Hans Selye.

Because there is less stressor going on in practice this allows the body and mind to achieve the preferred state of Homeostasis, and maintaining that preferred state, in face of a stressor(s). When performing a technique under the stress of being grabbed over time and repetition, I think the body operates more in the Homeostasis state. At least it has for me. And when that happens, a person can control the effects of stress and thus function greater in a Homeostasis state. A person is then less likely to feel and react to the stress being experience and possibly defaulting to a violent action.

What I am saying is because of Aikido I developed calmness and the fear of being beat by bullies was not as strong. In that way, I was better able to thing about options, behavior and prevent methods when targeted by a bully. Having that mind set, enable me to be relaxed and thus able to move more freely, and unrestricted by the effect of a stress. I didn't freeze, I didn't sweat, or look nervous or uncomfortable and all that, and that change, did affect how bullies look at me. It did add another dimension to my confidence and a level. That also added to how bullies changed how they looked and treated me.

Simply another way I built internal strength because of Aikido.

I have to say this is my personal experience and result from practicing Aikido. And that is apart from the philosophy, spirituality and all that of Aikido. I don't want to associate my beliefs and experience being assoicated to that of O'Sensei want Aikido to be about. :)

I have had a similar experience from training in the martial arts over the years in general in Aikido in particular. I can fully appreciate the internal strength that one can discover and how that in turn, how that strength can be projected outwards.

Further, I certainly understand that the environment that we train in can be conducive (and necessary) to instilling a sense of internal calm and peace when confronted with stressors that could lead one into trouble. Aikido--in my opinion-is much more complex and deep than many of the striking arts.

However, once and if the combat begins, I am guessing that it will become a cross-fire hurricane pretty fast--messy both emotionally as well as physically. The environment that we train in as Aikidoka may be conducive with learning a complex art, but may not be as helpful translating to the street.

d2l
08-10-2009, 11:35 AM
Hope I don't wear a written ass whoopin' for this, but here goes..

To me, Phillip's post was about learning how to "fight" without fighting. Some of us are very good at fighting and pick things up rather easily. "Naturals" if you will. Others need more help and time.
Irregardless, we all seem to be on the same destination, just different paths to get there. To me Phillips post suggests he found a way (through Aikido) to be "destructive" to the opponent without actually having to destroy. He has come to the realization that he can severely hurt somebody if he lets his emotions take charge. I think this is where the "control" factor comes in. Aikido gives the practitioner "choices". Not all things in life have to be do or die.
His motivation at first was vengeance. But through study, has come to realize that vengeance may not always be the best way. Again, this is the "control" aspect.
The reference to M.M.A. or flavor of the week injections into Aikido, is fitting in his first post. To which I happen to agree with. They lack what Phillip was/is looking for. He may not have known what he was looking for at first, but he eventually found it.
He chose Aikido for all the wrong reasons at first, but in the end I think it is safe to say Aikido chose him. :)

This is just MY take on it. I may be 100% wrong though. ;)

lbb
08-10-2009, 12:07 PM
Irregardless, we all seem to be on the same destination, just different paths to get there.

I don't think we all have the same destination, but I don't see any reason why we should.

Buck
08-10-2009, 12:24 PM
In response to Jason's thought that envoked this:

My experience with being bullied/attacked is like anyone else in that situation. I mentioned the body reacts in a way that is defined as stress under that situation. What I call the presence of mind including mindfulness is a result of Homeostasis, the body's preferred state which is a balance in the body's chemistry resulting in a feeling we identify as calm.

When we are not in Homeostasis, due to a stressor, our presence of mind is altered. For example, clear thinking, assessment abilities and problem solving are hampered. It is best to maintain a Homeostasis and presence of mind when faced with a stressor.

In relation to my experience I needed a environment (Aikido class) where the stressor where simulations . By being so, I was able to work to maintain a better Homeostasis when under a particular set of stressors. In my case, those stressors where being in a violent conflict.

Having a better presence of mind became as skill. Stressors that someone deals with for the first time experiences like being violently attacked experiences an intense stress experience, and physical shock. Overtime that lessens as the body being conditioned to the same type of stressors is able to achieve Homeostasis faster, and longer under those stressors. Thus, by doing so a better presence of mind and body functioning are achieved.

Here is the importance of practice, and possibly having a distinct target for practice. It is to work under simulated conditions to achieve Homeostasis for a set of stressors. And when this is achieved it can be applied under actual conditions.

When I practice in the dojo, I have the opportunity work to stay calm and have a better presences of mind. That has been transferred to being bullied and experiencing violence on the street. I have learned when some one wants to do you harm and use violence there are too ways.

One way is escalation where it is done in stages, where the violent person works up to committing the violent act. It may start out with threats, insults,etc, and/or intimidating physical contact to full contact. The violence is preceded with warnings and stuff. The victim sees the violence coming, and experiences stress because of it.

Then the other way is where the person doesn't work up to it. There are no warnings. The violence strikes hard and fast without indication or warning. The victim is completely taken by surprise without a chance. Stress is experienced at the moment of violent contact.

I think there is allot of misconceptions made about violent conflicts as a result of sport fighting and not being on the losing end of a violent experience. In a violent bully type of situation you are either taken by surprise or your not. In the latter case, stress can be intense as the situation builds to a violent conflict. Therefore, it is my experience that the signs of stress and stress can amplify the violence. Because the signs of stress and stress can be interpreted as weakness and vulnerability.

Most of the situations people will experience will be building to a violent conflict, especially most bully types. Learning and understanding stress in the conditions of class, or just working out, have helpful to be able to have a presence of mind, and have that balance, that homeostasis in a violent situation.

There are terms like describes states of being, like mindfulness and stuff. What ever it is called, it is the body and thus the mind, functioning at a state of homeostasis more then a state of stress. No two experience of violence is really the same twice, and there are different intensities and degrees of violence that are stressors that cause the body to fall out of balance/homeostasis to various degrees resulting in lots of emotions and feelings interfering with perception, thinking and stuff.

It is better to experience all that in the dojo first, for obvious reasons, and not only when in the mist of violence. Aikido has provided me that opportunity to experience in an environment where I can work things out, have trial and error in dealing with stressors. Because learning to control stress is difficult and takes work by nature. A skill that is not thought about by the inexperienced, and/or the less knowledgable. A fatal oversight in my experience.

Buck
08-10-2009, 12:26 PM
Hope I don't wear a written ass whoopin' for this, but here goes..

To me, Phillip's post was about learning how to "fight" without fighting. Some of us are very good at fighting and pick things up rather easily. "Naturals" if you will. Others need more help and time.
Irregardless, we all seem to be on the same destination, just different paths to get there. To me Phillips post suggests he found a way (through Aikido) to be "destructive" to the opponent without actually having to destroy. He has come to the realization that he can severely hurt somebody if he lets his emotions take charge. I think this is where the "control" factor comes in. Aikido gives the practitioner "choices". Not all things in life have to be do or die.
His motivation at first was vengeance. But through study, has come to realize that vengeance may not always be the best way. Again, this is the "control" aspect.
The reference to M.M.A. or flavor of the week injections into Aikido, is fitting in his first post. To which I happen to agree with. They lack what Phillip was/is looking for. He may not have known what he was looking for at first, but he eventually found it.
He chose Aikido for all the wrong reasons at first, but in the end I think it is safe to say Aikido chose him. :)

This is just MY take on it. I may be 100% wrong though. ;)

Yep, you are 100% correct. :)

rob_liberti
08-10-2009, 12:49 PM
Okay fine, but I think it bares repeating that NOT fighting when you have no real option OF fighting, is something you could do without taking a day of class.

lbb
08-10-2009, 02:39 PM
Okay fine, but I think it bares repeating that NOT fighting when you have no real option OF fighting, is something you could do without taking a day of class.

And if your mother had wheels instead of legs, she'd be a bicycle. Nyuk nyuk nyuk!

rob_liberti
08-10-2009, 02:54 PM
yo mamma's so ugly, her nickname is DAMB!
"Aikido, my way" - perfect. :)

Buck
08-10-2009, 09:46 PM
I could have went to a MMA gym, and studied that, and I do like to watch the fights like anyone else. Or a boxing gym to learn to seek revenge and defend myself. But I didn't because for one I am a short guy, small guy, and thus be at the mercy of all those larger and stronger than me, which was everyone.

I knew no matter how hard I tried, or good I got, never had a chance against those bigger and stronger than I. I knew I would always be at a disadvantage in those arts. Those place would not build my confidence and stuff like others. They would reinforce that I would always be the rabbit the dogs chased. I can't ever win, because I couldn't beat those guys, and thus I wouldn't be learning anything different then being bullied.

In an Aikido environment the playing field was different. I didn't have to deal without the same issue at like a MMA or Boxing gym. Muscle wasn't the rule, size wasn't the rule, I wouldn't always be on the losing end. Because of that it provided me the opportunity for confidence. The opportunity to look at things differently as a result of working on a waza with all different sorts of people, and all the other stuff I mentioned earlier in other posts. Here too, I had a better chance of developing internal strength because I wasn't always on the short end of the stick as the old saying goes.

Aikido is a great fit for me for that and many other reasons. It changed the way approached problems and people. It provided me with confidence and solutions that didn't have to be violent, or negative in nature. I made the right choice, the right choice for me.
And I know others like me in Aikido understand the difficulty of the situations of being bullied, and understand completely what I mean. I am a better person because of Aikido.

jss
08-11-2009, 07:59 AM
In an Aikido environment the playing field was different. I didn't have to deal without the same issue at like a MMA or Boxing gym. Muscle wasn't the rule, size wasn't the rule, I wouldn't always be on the losing end.
Yeah, lack of sparring will do that for ya...

d2l
08-11-2009, 11:54 AM
Seems to me, that this thread is going somewhere that Phil wasn't intending.
Looks like it's gotten into a p***ing contest of sorts. Those who agree with Phil, and those who say his approach is all WRONG.
We practice the "come get me anyway you can" scenarios. If it is not a committed attack, then one does not get put in a position to actually fight.
I know of a few Dojo's of whom their black belts don't even know how to fall or get thrown (hard) without getting hurt. Sure they may know all the fancy terminology, but if they chose that particular school for self defense, then they have been robbed. I am willing to bet there are some members of this site that know exactly what I'm talking about.
One thing that really gets on MY nerves, is the holier than thou, "If it's not Ueshiba's Aikido, then it is NOT Aikido" attitude. People seem to forget that Ueshiba wanted his students to experiment and come up with their own ways/ideas. So there really is NO such thing as Ueshiba's brand of Aikido. The fundamentals may be the same, but the beauty of Aikido is that you are "allowed" to try and create new things. And I don't mean the flavor of the week injections. The here today, and gone tomorrow kind.
Maybe Phil was not clear enough to some about his actual "combat" training. Or maybe he didn't feel it was necessary. Only he knows.
My reasons for taking up Aikido are the exact opposite.
I have been fighting all of my life. I grew up fighting in the streets. I've fought in the military. And I work in a prison, so it's a safe bet that I've fought in their too ;) .
I actually hate fighting, but I am good at it. I suppose it's in my blood though. Maybe it's genetics?
I chose Aikido as a form of stress release. Sure I could've chosen another style. But there was something about how Aikido was presented to me that I was drawn to. Because of my past experiences, it was hard wired in my head that EVERYTHING was do or die. There was no room for diplomacy. When I first started Aikido, I was still hard wired in the do or die mode. When we do the "come get me anyway you can" scenarios, anything goes as long as no one gets hurt. If I get hit, kicked, elbowed, kneed, or caught in a choke, so be it. I have to find a way to survive.
One day during the learning of a new technique, I had thrown my Uke who was holding a knife. I was fully expecting him to give up the knife after being thrown, to which he did NOT. OOPS! So I start cranking on his wrist. He still did not let it go. DAMN, this is taking too long, I thought to myself. So, I hit the top of his hand hard enough for him to give up the weapon. When my Sensei saw this, he came unglued! It wasn't because of making something work that he was angry over. It was because we were supposed to be going slow and "soft" enough so that we could learn the technique more efficiently. And that I went all out, when at the time, it was not necessary. He slapped me in the back of the head and called me a big dumb gorilla and assured me if I ever went full force again I would be kicked out of his school. WOW! Just the threat of being kicked out hit me like a sledge hammer. I found something I really enjoyed, and was starting to learn from. I did not want to lose it.
He understood that this was due to my back round. It was not my intention to break something, it's just how I was programmed. But he needed for me to understand that there is a time and a place when going full force would be necessary, and when it wouldn't.
While my experiences are the opposite of Phil's, I can still somehow relate. I guess that's what makes Aikido so unique and special.

Sorry if it seemed like I hijacked your thread Phil. I totally get what you are trying to say. :)

rob_liberti
08-11-2009, 01:23 PM
Just for the people reading this someday in the future. The topics of argument in this thread can be found in this other thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16607
Rob

K. Abrams
08-11-2009, 04:32 PM
And if your mother had wheels instead of legs, she'd be a bicycle. Nyuk nyuk nyuk!

Teehee! My grandmother used to say "...and if you had wheels, you'd be a trolley car!"

gdandscompserv
08-11-2009, 05:41 PM
I actually hate fighting, but I am good at it.
How do you know you're good at it Anthony?

d2l
08-12-2009, 01:26 AM
How do you know you're good at it Anthony?

I like the way you presented the question. Simple, and straight to the point. But a seemingly open ended question.
I say I am good because of my experiences. Even other people have said it. I am not a bragger, but I'm very well aware when something kicks off, I am someone you want on your side. I am aware of what I am capable of. And yes I have run the gauntlet many, many times. Whether I wanted to or not. And truth be told, I don't like being "good" at hurting somebody. This is not to be confused with arrogance. It is self awareness. I never said I was unbeatable, nor have I ever been beat. Some people are good at fighting. Others are good at fixing cars. Some people have a "talent" for particular things, and some have a "talent" for other things. How do you know if a U.F.C. fighter is good for instance?
How does anybody know they are good at something?
What are you good at, and how do you know? ;)

Were you expecting me to answer with a fight record, or go into detail over a specific instance? :)

gdandscompserv
08-12-2009, 01:56 AM
I like the way you presented the question. Simple, and straight to the point. But a seemingly open ended question.
I say I am good because of my experiences. Even other people have said it. I am not a bragger, but I'm very well aware when something kicks off, I am someone you want on your side. I am aware of what I am capable of. And yes I have run the gauntlet many, many times. Whether I wanted to or not. And truth be told, I don't like being "good" at hurting somebody. This is not to be confused with arrogance. It is self awareness. I never said I was unbeatable, nor have I ever been beat. Some people are good at fighting. Others are good at fixing cars. Some people have a "talent" for particular things, and some have a "talent" for other things. How do you know if a U.F.C. fighter is good for instance?
How does anybody know they are good at something?
What are you good at, and how do you know? ;)

Were you expecting me to answer with a fight record, or go into detail over a specific instance? :)
Personally, I'm not particularly good at anything. But to address your question; "How does anybody know they are good at something?"
To proclaim oneself good at something usually involves some type of vetting process.
What is that vetting process regarding you being good at fighting?
How many fights have you had?
What type of fights were they?
How many of them did you win?
How do you know you won those fights?
What was the context of those fights?

Shadowfax
08-12-2009, 09:25 AM
When you are good enough to have the confidence to say you are you generally don't need to prove it. I have a very close friend who is also very very good at fighting. He has never proven it to me either but trust me I believe him. A person who truly is good at something owns it, they have no need to prove themselves. I have the same attitude in my horsemanship.

Like our OP I experienced similar issues of heavy bullying and other abuses. Unlike him I never got to the point of wanting revenge or wanting to be able to get back at the people hurting me. I just found ways to avoid or escape. But backed in a corner I have had to get physical a few times too. I learned though how to stop bullies before they got a hand on me again, simply through self carriage. Only had to leave marks on people once or twice to get the point across. And never beyond what was necessary to get them to leave me be. But because of that past I got so I was always on defensive mode. Never relaxed around people never trust anyone. Aikido is helping to make me a calmer person. Knowing that I have a way to protect myself that still allows me to do little to no harm to the aggressor has actually allowed me to be less on the defense. Although I'm not sure that will ever totally go away.

While my experience is also a bit different from the OP it is also similar and I can totally understand his point of view. I have to say I admire his courage to share that with us. It may help someone else down the road to know they are not alone and perhaps Aikido will help them as well.

lbb
08-12-2009, 09:51 AM
When you are good enough to have the confidence to say you are you generally don't need to prove it.

Interesting. I've known any number of people who claimed to be good and something and turned out to be nothing of the sort.

Like our OP I experienced similar issues of heavy bullying and other abuses. Unlike him I never got to the point of wanting revenge or wanting to be able to get back at the people hurting me. I just found ways to avoid or escape. But backed in a corner I have had to get physical a few times too. I learned though how to stop bullies before they got a hand on me again, simply through self carriage. Only had to leave marks on people once or twice to get the point across. And never beyond what was necessary to get them to leave me be. But because of that past I got so I was always on defensive mode. Never relaxed around people never trust anyone. Aikido is helping to make me a calmer person. Knowing that I have a way to protect myself that still allows me to do little to no harm to the aggressor has actually allowed me to be less on the defense. Although I'm not sure that will ever totally go away.

Bullying takes many forms, and I think that has a lot to do with how it affects its victims down the road, although perhaps it's also largely due to the victims' wiring or understanding of the situation. I got harassed for being different in grade school and junior high, and at times it got physical, but even while it was going on, I knew that it was limited in scope and duration. The important difference between me and the bullies was not that they were more powerful now, but that I was going places and they weren't. In high school, the bullies (the ones that made it that far) either cleaned up their act or found themselves increasingly marginalized and dropped off the radar scope. I don't know where any of the kids who harassed me in junior high are now, but I can honestly say that I never gave them another thought as soon as their very transient power had vanished. If I think back on bullying situations, they have no emotional charge for me whatsoever, for which I'm very grateful.

While my experience is also a bit different from the OP it is also similar and I can totally understand his point of view. I have to say I admire his courage to share that with us. It may help someone else down the road to know they are not alone and perhaps Aikido will help them as well.

Aikido, or some other form of empowerment -- which, arguably, is what happened with me. I had nothing special going for me but brains and a willingness to work, but I realized at a young age that those were the biggest advantages I could have, and that my life was going to turn out a lot better than the hangin-on-the-corner white trash who were giving me static. When you realize that a bully does not have the power to make your life miserable ("life" in the large sense), what was done to you in the past probably matters a lot less.

Ron Tisdale
08-12-2009, 09:59 AM
I don't know where any of the kids who harassed me in junior high are now, but I can honestly say that I never gave them another thought as soon as their very transient power had vanished. If I think back on bullying situations, they have no emotional charge for me whatsoever, for which I'm very grateful.

But isn't that just a part of growing up? I'm sure any number of us have had similar issues. Believe me, learning to avoid the regular bathrooms to avoid getting beaten up is no fun. But you get over it, and move on...

Sure, aikido can help, toughening up can help, but in the end...you just have to grow up. You can't live your life where everyone who disagrees with you is seen as attacking you. Not a fun way to live, in my opinion.

Best,
Ron

Marc Abrams
08-12-2009, 10:23 AM
But isn't that just a part of growing up? I'm sure any number of us have had similar issues. Believe me, learning to avoid the regular bathrooms to avoid getting beaten up is no fun. But you get over it, and move on...

Sure, aikido can help, toughening up can help, but in the end...you just have to grow up. You can't live your life where everyone who disagrees with you is seen as attacking you. Not a fun way to live, in my opinion.

Best,
Ron

Ron:

No truer words can be spoken. Unfortunately, if it were so easy, everyone would grow up. Unfortunately, many people do not "grow-up" and thereby provide an ample patient source for people in my profession. I would prefer it if people could easily grow up, so that I could spend more time in budo/bujutsu.

People try hard to do the best that they can with what they have at that point in time. We all struggle to deal with the present and leave the past as the past. Some are more successful than others; some need substantial help from others; some never succeed at that task.

The walls that people build to protect themselves lock themselves in, while locking others out. The "vulnerability" that people perceive in themselves in the lack of walls they erect allow others to victimize, while leaving one's self as a victim. Finding a dynamic balance that is in touch with the moment, while building upon a secure and trusting self that is a worthy goal indeed.

Marc Abrams

DH
08-12-2009, 10:42 AM
Though it may sound obvious
I think it is that balance; to put yourself out there, and be willing to take the loss and count it as all good that separates many people. Putting yourself out there can mean many things; physical, emotional, a thought, an idea or a work you truly value, on and on and have it critically appraised.
I've said many times that in a Budo context, grapplers (fighters in general) are some of the more well-balanced people I've met. They put themselves out there in a more complete sense (all-in) than many face in their budo careers. Teachers of a method or style do the same thing but in a different sense; they carry the burden of having to represent. The sense of "representing" can cause confusion about investment sometimes.
Problems can arise when teachers perceive emotional and financial investiture in a method or style as cause for defense, or feelings of inadequacy. Often that can lead to behavior or emotional turmoil that is difficult to resolve. Embracing change and seeing promise in it can be challenging, but from what I have seen; many times the results were worth the process.

In regards to bullying and avoidance and all the issues that surround it from our past to the present; our parents were usually right. The best solution is to face it head-on in all its manifestations and arrive at the other side. It's usually never as bad as we feared, and made us better people in the end.
Cheers
Dan
Edit: I think that was one of early promises of Budo; to face conflict and resolution and what it personally takes to achieve it. However, the promise was meant to embrace that sense of "all-in." Problems arise when broken people who never really went through that process are placed in authoritarian roles over other people with unresolved issues, and the whole thing becomes a self-reinforcing quagmire that sooner or later reaches a critical state.

Ron Tisdale
08-12-2009, 10:47 AM
It's usually never as bad as we feared, and made us better people in the end.
Jeez, I hope so...what a frakin waste of time if not... :D
B,
R

lbb
08-12-2009, 11:00 AM
But isn't that just a part of growing up? I'm sure any number of us have had similar issues. Believe me, learning to avoid the regular bathrooms to avoid getting beaten up is no fun. But you get over it, and move on...

Well, I did, and I'm guessing you did too...but clearly a lot of people don't get over it quite so easily. It seems like you hear an awful lot of people for whom those memories of bullying still carry a big emotional charge decades later -- long after the bullies lost any power to harm them. I really don't know if this is the more common response to being bullied, or if getting over it is more common -- but you don't tend to hear about the people who get over it, I guess.

Sure, aikido can help, toughening up can help, but in the end...you just have to grow up. You can't live your life where everyone who disagrees with you is seen as attacking you. Not a fun way to live, in my opinion.

Maybe the disconnect is in not understanding when people don't have power over you. If you believe they do, then any dissonance may come across as a threat. The kid who bullied you in 8th grade has no power over you any more -- zero, zip, nada. Neither does the person sitting in front of a screen and disagreeing with you.

thisisnotreal
08-12-2009, 12:07 PM
The walls that people build to protect themselves lock themselves in, while locking others out. The "vulnerability" that people perceive in themselves in the lack of walls they erect allow others to victimize, while leaving one's self as a victim. Finding a dynamic balance that is in touch with the moment, while building upon a secure and trusting self that is a worthy goal indeed.

QFT
I really like this. Thank you.

ninjaqutie
08-12-2009, 12:42 PM
Where have some of you gone to school to be beaten up and tormented this bad? I mean, fights happened in my school, but not that often...

I guess one could say that things go on "behind the scenes", but I don't think it did.

thisisnotreal
08-12-2009, 01:15 PM
Though it may sound obvious
I think it is that balance; to put yourself out there, and be willing to take the loss and count it as all good that separates many people. Putting yourself out there can mean many things; physical, emotional, a thought, an idea or a work you truly value, on and on and have it critically appraised.

Hi Dan,
I don't know what it says about me, but I didn't find it that obvious.
Thanks for the post.


Teachers of a method or style do the same thing but in a different sense; they carry the burden of having to represent. The sense of "representing" can cause confusion about investment sometimes.
Problems can arise when teachers perceive emotional and financial investiture in a method or style as cause for defense, ..

I wonder also about the very strong nature of investment and just how confusing this gets as religion and 'spirituality' enter implicitly into this.
Why and how and when the heck did spiritutality get to be a principal issue in TMA? It somehow is a natural evolution to the discussion; and I understand it to a degree; but something here still puzzles me. I don't know quite how to name it.


Edit: I think that was one of early promises of Budo; to face conflict and resolution and what it personally takes to achieve it. However, the promise was meant to embrace that sense of "all-in."
That is interesting. But what does this mean in light of the Aikido and the 'how it is practiced' that Ueshiba gave us? (e.g. There is no competition. "true victory is self victory"... but this is hard to measure and going 'all-in' here can just as easily *be* self-delusion). I also find this confusing. Perhaps the going 'all-in' is hidden in the shugyo that is spoken about. It is not bullshittable, to coin a term..

Not looking for answers...just your perspective.
Cheers,
Josh

p.s. 'ninjaqutie': i guess it was the 'school of hard knocks'. my high school was like that to a large degree, fwiw.

Shadowfax
08-12-2009, 01:32 PM
There are bullies and there are BULLIES. Lets just say I had plenty of experience with Randori long before I ever heard the word. And this happened over the span of a number of years at more than one school and not just at school but outside of school which was far worse because you often don't know what is around the next corner. Then one only has to mention things were pretty rough at home too. When you have no safe place to go its not so easy to just "grow up" and learn to deal with it. But still you do eventualy learn to deal with it. Some people get angry and get violent and some people simply withdraw and hide form the world. Some people try to ignore it and bury it but some day it will come out and force the person to deal with it one way or another.

Don't assume you know what someone has been through and don't assume that the damage they claim is not real or is blown out of proportion just because you have never seen just how ugly a person's life can be. I can tell you stories that would truly make you very ill. I'm sure I'm not alone.

The only reason I am posting on the subject is not to get sympathy form anyone. But because someone else reached out and helped me and I figure I should pass on the favor. People need to know that there are others out there who understand. And if you don't understand at least don't belittle them and make them feel even worse than they already do.

Interesting. I've known any number of people who claimed to be good and something and turned out to be nothing of the sort.

Ive met those as well, They are usually very easy to spot. Again don't make assumptions. You can usually tell those who really are what they claim by the results or by their actions. I allow my work and reputation to speak for itself but that does not mean I won't also say it when I need to.

I have to wonder why it is people feel the need to challenge every statement just because it does not fit their personal ideals. We are simply here to share experiences. If you can't use it don't, move on. I really did think there were no attacks in aikido until I came to this forum. But then it was wrong of me to expect Aikidoka to be any differnet form the rest of the world.

thisisnotreal
08-12-2009, 02:40 PM
..i just read that. i guess its' not honest.
i *am* looking for answers.
Cheers,
Josh

lbb
08-12-2009, 04:09 PM
When you have no safe place to go its not so easy to just "grow up" and learn to deal with it.

I don't think Ron was suggesting that it was. I think he was talking about what we do with our history, and how we respond to bullies who no longer have any power to hurt us. There are a lot of people who were bullied or harassed as youngsters, and for whom those past events still have an incredibly powerful emotional charge. I think Ron was talking about those people, not people who are still being bullied.

I have to wonder why it is people feel the need to challenge every statement just because it does not fit their personal ideals. We are simply here to share experiences. If you can't use it don't, move on. I really did think there were no attacks in aikido until I came to this forum. But then it was wrong of me to expect Aikidoka to be any differnet form the rest of the world.

If you did expect that, I'd say it was probably wishful thinking, yes. As I've pointed out many times, despite all the claims by individual practitioners that aikido has made them better people, aikido is not moral education. Does your sensei typically impart a lecture on ethics as part of every class? I hope not, because he/she is probably not qualified to do so. I believe that aikido is one of thousands of practices that, if engaged in earnestly, can improve one's character -- but not because there's anything inherently magical about it. Rather, I believe that our characters are improved by the process of striving and failing and continuing to strive, and having to find patience with ourselves and others, and having to resolve differences in small ways in order to be able to continue training with a group of people, and getting up and going to the dojo when we could sit at home instead. We're improved by persisting the practice of something that demands something real of us, and rewards us sparingly (and sometimes not at all). But there's nothing magic about aikido: character is improved in the same way by the high school athlete who gets up an hour early to run every day of the year, by the woman who persists in maintaining a relationship with an increasingly fussy and cranky older relative, by the man who struggles to overcome his conviction that he lacks creativity as he teaches himself to paint. The magic is in the doing of the thing, not in the thing being done.

Beyond that, this is an internet forum. Ideas do get challenged here, although I'd caution against labeling everything that isn't unconditional agreement as a "challenge". As for why we're here, that varies: some are here to share experiences (which are not always the same), but others are here to get information, to ask questions, to discuss and dispute and hopefully refine their own thinking. One would hope that all of these are acceptable, because...they're gonna happen, whether they're acceptable or not.

Ron Tisdale
08-12-2009, 04:37 PM
Hi Cherrie,

As a black guy growing up in a white neighborhood, who has been stoned, attacked by white and black gangs, who went to a high school were the lunch room was still segregated, who was almost stabbed with a screwdriver in high school (I could go on, but what's the point)...

I don't NOT recognize what someone else may be feeling. What I do say, is that that is not my life NOW...and that we ALL need to get past the past. Otherwise...life just sucks.

'Course, people are perfectly welcome to live a sucky life. It's their dime.

And as Mary said...this is a discussion board...so the statements we make may well be questioned. Nothing at all wrong with that in my book. In fact, I wouldn't come here if that didn't exist.

As to belittling anyone...I don't think anyone here did that. I could be wrong...but I don't think so. Some people belittle themselves with their own behavior. THAT I can't do one darn thing about. Believe me, I've tried.

Best,
Ron (I just re-read my posts to this thread...*I* certainly did not belittle anyone)

Kevin Leavitt
08-12-2009, 05:40 PM
sweet. I am in Florida, in a hotel, bored, and I like to "fight"!

Where are you Anthony? I will be here for another week and a half! Destin/Fort Walton Beach area...you close by?

Maybe we could get together and train some! In a good way...then at least we'd know how "good" we are compared to at least each other!

sounds like we'd have a good time!

Shadowfax
08-14-2009, 02:35 PM
Hi Cherrie,

As a black guy growing up in a white neighborhood, who has been stoned, attacked by white and black gangs, who went to a high school were the lunch room was still segregated, who was almost stabbed with a screwdriver in high school (I could go on, but what's the point)...

I don't NOT recognize what someone else may be feeling. What I do say, is that that is not my life NOW...and that we ALL need to get past the past. Otherwise...life just sucks.

'Course, people are perfectly welcome to live a sucky life. It's their dime.

And as Mary said...this is a discussion board...so the statements we make may well be questioned. Nothing at all wrong with that in my book. In fact, I wouldn't come here if that didn't exist.

As to belittling anyone...I don't think anyone here did that. I could be wrong...but I don't think so. Some people belittle themselves with their own behavior. THAT I can't do one darn thing about. Believe me, I've tried.

Best,
Ron (I just re-read my posts to this thread...*I* certainly did not belittle anyone)

Thanks for clarifying I did misunderstand the statement. As for belittling it was not your comments specifically. that inspired that statement.