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CurtisK
05-21-2010, 04:19 AM
Many people question Aikido as a fighting art. There are valid arguments on both sides, but I wonder if it is the right question. If it is a typical fight we all have to admit that any person who is comfortable in managing their center and effecting the center of those that enter their space, will have a huge advantage over the average person.

To help visualize something more intricate, let's view the battle/bully/confrontation as ball of chaos in empty space. We are an object outside of that ball and the two approach. To fight it is to dive into it and pull it a part, piece by piece, exchange blows and overwhelm with superior force over time. Our preferred option should be to bounce off of it once (or avoid completely) and continue on our way. If forced to continue the exchange, rather than diving into it, we bounce off of it in a controlled fashion. We orbit and bounce at our pleasure, maybe just once, or perhaps for many cycles as a superior force tires itself, watching for an opportunity to escape orbit or if necessary a weakness; then BAM... we eliminate the chaos. No fighting. Just finishing.

Overly simplified? Sure, but the principle is sound imo.

dps
05-21-2010, 04:48 AM
Sounds like good strategery.

David :)

Kevin Leavitt
05-21-2010, 06:32 PM
For me, I make it even simpler. I am either in the fight or I am not. If I am in the fight, it is important for me to realize that their is a fight going on and that I am in it.

So either I am in or out. If I am in the fight, then I enter and enter and enter until it is over.

If there is no fight, then there is nothing to bounce off of, or avoid as there was nothing there to begin with.

RED
05-21-2010, 08:43 PM
I lean more towards Kevin.

I believe that Aikido is in it of itself a definite statement. Its see a fight and make a definite choice to not participate. It views the fight and refuses to accept it as part of itself. I don't think Aikido can exist where there is a struggle.

God can't have sin, a fish can't play poker... Aikido can't fight.

Mikemac
05-21-2010, 09:40 PM
I lean more towards Kevin.

I believe that Aikido is in it of itself a definite statement. Its see a fight and make a definite choice to not participate. It views the fight and refuses to accept it as part of itself. I don't think Aikido can exist where there is a struggle.

God can't have sin, a fish can't play poker... Aikido can't fight.

God hath sinned (He loves violence and killing en mass), A swordfish can play poker, and an Aikidoka can fight because the technique opens up any possibilty.

Aikibu
05-21-2010, 11:07 PM
"In Aikido the fight is over at the moment of first contact." Shoji Nishio Shihan

Some folks take this to mean that it's necessary to end the fight right away...What Nishio Sensei meant was that as an Aikidoka the very moment you are attacked you MUST commit and blend with your attacker to have any chance to express Aikido and "protect" them...

O'Sensei said the much same thing about a half a dozen different ways...

Aikido as a Martial Art requires the utmost in commitment to any attack and you're fooling yourself if you feel otherwise...The attack need not start with a physical exchange mind you... but it can start with a look or someone having a bad day taking it out on you. When I practice off the mat "commitment" requires that I control Uke by making a connection with them... or not....Terry Dobson's book "Akido in everyday life" is very helpful in explaining this paradigm..

So to me "Why fight? Just Finish" makes perfect sense. :)

William Hazen

CurtisK
05-22-2010, 02:20 AM
We agree on the avoidance Kevin, but I am not with you on once its started we should "enter and enter and enter until it is over"

My first option was continue on your way; avoiding completely is best.

When I said "watching for an opportunity to escape orbit" I imply even after the confrontation is initiated, the best option to to get out of there if you can with no need to "finish" anything. Your ego must be checked to walk away after they landed a couple slaps, but it sure beats breaking their arm (remember, they likely dont know about natural-angle/unbendable arms, never mind how to fall). However once the only choice left is to finish, you do just that; there never really was a fight as most people think of it. You should not need to "enter, enter, enter", you pick your moment and enter only once. It's all you need.

Edit: If I had the skill & confidence of the masters, I can only presume I would handle it differently than I have descibed here. Would a great one let someone smack him (or her) around while they looked for escape, probabaly not. I am a humble student with a long way to go before I can handle any person in any situation ensuring neither of us are seriously injured.

CurtisK
05-22-2010, 02:40 AM
Terry Dobson's book "Akido in everyday life" is very helpful in explaining this paradigm..

Thank you for this tip. I will pick it up when I get the chance. The Sprit of Aikido (Kisshomaru Ueshiba) touches on it quite a bit, as do many Zen related topics and various present day "managing confrontation" teachings. With some of those as a background it is interesting to look at the topics with an "aiki lens" so to speak.

RED
05-22-2010, 06:55 PM
God hath sinned (He loves violence and killing en mass), A swordfish can play poker, and an Aikidoka can fight because the technique opens up any possibilty.

Well first off, having a degree in theology and being a former missionary, I just plan take offense at the biblical misconception to the first statement... but I digress from that topic.

An actual fish does not have a nervous system let alone can play a card game.

And,
an Aikidoka can not participate in a fight. Aikido sees where ballance is missing, and restores ballance. To fight, there has to be a winner and a loser. In Aikido you have neither a winner and a loser, you have reconciliation.
Either you are in the fight or not! Aikido is a conscious statement that evil and violence is incorrect, and an even more conscious statement that it will not partake in it. Don't get me wrong, Aikido is not passive. Budo is not passive. Aikido's first and foremost goal is in defense of the 7 virtues of Budo...those are virtues worth warring over. However Aikido takes a very clear statement that if you are to stand firmly in the name of those virtues then "conflict"or "fighting" isn't part of it. Because O'Sensei had a firm opinion that conflict, competition, and fighting was the exact opposite of the 7 virtues.


Frankly it is more about defending those virtues, those things that are redeemable in humanity than it is about defending yourself. I take the personal opinion that if you are in it to just learn a means of defending yourself, then you are selfish .Selfishness is in direct conflict to the 7 virtues. The goal is to protect your attacker, then yourself! By doing so you are defending the 7 virtues.

Kevin Leavitt
05-22-2010, 08:51 PM
Curtis wrote:

When I said "watching for an opportunity to escape orbit" I imply even after the confrontation is initiated, the best option to to get out of there if you can with no need to "finish" anything

Finishing means that you have achieved dominance and can control the situation. I think we are saying the same thing. However, IMEs many times people will back out of a fight mentally believing that the fight is over because they really want to believe it is over and they do so without actually physically or even mentally/emotionally controlling the fight.

When doing so, it provides the other person the space/time he needs to regroup and come back at you.

Watch any number of youtube videos and you can typically pick up the points in a fight where the person stops entering and controlling and gives back the fight to the other guy.

"finishing" does not mean you have to hit, strike or hurt your opponent necessarily. It can also mean controlling the fight, which I think this is fundamentally what we study in aikido, the dynamics and flow of force from beginning until end.

I think we are probably saying the same thing in a different way.

You should not need to "enter, enter, enter", you pick your moment and enter only once. It's all you need.


What I mean by enter, enter, enter is that you keep following through. I see many students, say in iriminage, enter initially then fail to continue to enter and close down the space. They enter, then as soon as proprioceptive contact is made the stop entering then the begin to try and manipulate uke, or the simply exit because they feel they have hit a wall and that they should not continue in..so they back out and proceed to enter again or choose a different angle rather than continuing along the same irimi but changing it slightly to move around the road block.


In my mind, when I hear the word "bounce" this is what I visualize. Hitting a roadblock, bouncing back off of it, (Exiting), then trying to re-enter, or waiting to see what uke does.

IMO, this is what I mean by "knowing and recognizing you are in a fight". IMO, if you give that space back to your opponent, you will probably never be able to take it back and you have given him valuable real estate that he will exploit.

So yes, I agree, enter once, and keep moving into the center until it is complete and only then do you give space back.

RED
05-22-2010, 10:04 PM
Curtis wrote:

What I mean by enter, enter, enter is that you keep following through. I see many students, say in iriminage, enter initially then fail to continue to enter and close down the space. They enter, then as soon as proprioceptive contact is made the stop entering then the begin to try and manipulate uke, or the simply exit because they feel they have hit a wall and that they should not continue in..so they back out and proceed to enter again or choose a different angle rather than continuing along the same irimi but changing it slightly to move around the road block.

.

I trained with some one(they were either higher ranked than me, or equal, not sure.) very recently where in iriminage they would constantly throw themselves straight down before I stepped through. They seemed annoyed by my follow through. They kept trying to block my bicep, because the first time I thew them they were hit across the chin with my shoulder/bicep. Like they didn't expect it.
And when they threw me, I would be sitting arched back, trying to be a polite uke to this person, just sort of waiting for them to follow through...they never did. I think they expected me to fall straight down without their commitment to the throw; sort of like they were doing to me.

I'm not like an Aikido master by any means here, but I do have an opinion about intent when training. I think that follow through is key. If you expect some one to just fall with out your commitment to the technique...it won't happen.

My Sensei said something important to me yesterday: "If you baby your uke forever you'll never get great at this."

Brian Beach
05-23-2010, 06:27 AM
An actual fish does not have a nervous system...


Huh!?! - all animals have nervous systems.

mathewjgano
05-23-2010, 10:31 AM
I like the ball of chaos analogy. I believe that with increasing sophistication of aiki (not just the physical aspect) comes a greater ability to recognize the order within that chaos. People are usually motivated by something, even if it's inarticulate to themselves, and the "trick" to budo is recognizing the core drives in order to cut to the chase. The "trick" to Ueshiba Aikido, per my very meager vantage, is finding mutual benificence for all involved...which is a part of bettering the overall state of the universe.

The goal is to protect your attacker, then yourself!

My sense of things is that there is no automatic hierarchy involved here (i.e. "[first] protect your attacker, then protect yourself").

dps
05-23-2010, 02:02 PM
An actual fish does not have a nervous system.....

Yes they do.
http://www.mcwdn.org/Animals/Fish.html

" A fish has a brain and a nervous system. Its eyes are positioned on either side of its body and are quite large, with no eyelid. Their retinas have both rods and cones. They have large pupils that let in a great deal of light. They have an inner ear but no outer ear opening. Since their bodies are the same consistency as water. Sound in water travels four times as fast as in the air. The fish also has a lateral line system just under the skin of its head and the top of its body that helps it detect motion and therefore prey. Fish have a nasal sac that helps them smell. Some fish produce a low voltage electrical current that keeps prey away. "

....let alone can play a card game.

I have never seen a fish play a card game but maybe no one has ever asked one to play.

If your argument's premise is faulty then your conclusion is faulty.

David

RED
05-23-2010, 03:57 PM
Yes they do.
http://www.mcwdn.org/Animals/Fish.html

" A fish has a brain and a nervous system. Its eyes are positioned on either side of its body and are quite large, with no eyelid. Their retinas have both rods and cones. They have large pupils that let in a great deal of light. They have an inner ear but no outer ear opening. Since their bodies are the same consistency as water. Sound in water travels four times as fast as in the air. The fish also has a lateral line system just under the skin of its head and the top of its body that helps it detect motion and therefore prey. Fish have a nasal sac that helps them smell. Some fish produce a low voltage electrical current that keeps prey away. "

David

I was exaggerating :p

RED
05-23-2010, 03:58 PM
I like the ball of chaos analogy. I believe that with increasing sophistication of aiki (not just the physical aspect) comes a greater ability to recognize the order within that chaos. People are usually motivated by something, even if it's inarticulate to themselves, and the "trick" to budo is recognizing the core drives in order to cut to the chase. The "trick" to Ueshiba Aikido, per my very meager vantage, is finding mutual benificence for all involved...which is a part of bettering the overall state of the universe.

My sense of things is that there is no automatic hierarchy involved here (i.e. "[first] protect your attacker, then protect yourself").

I agree with you now that you mention it. My main point was that the need to protect self is not the only objective.

Gorgeous George
05-23-2010, 05:04 PM
If your argument's premise is faulty then your conclusion is faulty

Not of necessity.

Kevin Leavitt
05-23-2010, 06:15 PM
I agree with you now that you mention it. My main point was that the need to protect self is not the only objective.

I agree philosophically. You are fighitng for a reason though. It could be to protect yourself primarily. It could be that you are fighting to protect a "greater good"...whatever moral/ethical justification that good may be based on. It could be that your life is secondary to that greater good, and that is why you entered the fight to begin with.

I think in the situation, philosophically at least, that you are concerned with the long term outcome of the fight and that whatever it may be has the desired affect that you wanted or felt a moral/ethical obligation to protect.

It could be your own life if attacked by someone wanting to cause you harm.

It could be your child.

It could be a ideology/concept/political goal.

It could be to stop a greater harm of some sort.

I think there are many reasons...but whatever the reason is...one, know that you are in the fight. Have a clear understanding of why you are fighting, and a clear understanding of what your desired outcome should be.

CurtisK
05-23-2010, 10:28 PM
As I re-read, again, my OP, I still like the metaphor. It can represent many situations. However, I missed an option, perhaps the best one if we are to contribute to making the world a better place. As some responses have alluded to, rather than escaping or destroying, if possible we can try to bring order to the chaos. Calm the situation in a fashion that no one gets hurt, and doesn't leave the chaos waiting for the next "victim" to happen by.

This isn't just bullies on the street, it could be any confrontation, like an angry coworker. Rather than simply finding your way out of their focus, if you can help them find order in themselves the whole workplace will be better off. Do you owe it to them to care enough? No. Do you owe it to your employer? Probably not. Do you owe it to yourself? If you're asking me your asking the wrong person.

L. Camejo
05-24-2010, 01:44 AM
"In Aikido the fight is over at the moment of first contact." Shoji Nishio Shihan

O'Sensei said the much same thing about a half a dozen different ways...

Aikido as a Martial Art requires the utmost in commitment to any attack and you're fooling yourself if you feel otherwise...The attack need not start with a physical exchange mind you... but it can start with a look or someone having a bad day taking it out on you. When I practice off the mat "commitment" requires that I control Uke by making a connection with them... or not....Terry Dobson's book "Akido in everyday life" is very helpful in explaining this paradigm..

So to me "Why fight? Just Finish" makes perfect sense. :)
I agree with William and the OP.

I think many forget that Aikido deals with confrontation at a very very early stage, well in advance of any physical exchange. Defensive measures such as leading, unbalancing, positional dominance etc. therefore, are also applied at that very early stage and are quite subtle... even moreso in an actual conflict.

Borrowing from Matthew G's post a bit - the "trick" to budo is recognizing the core drives in order to cut to the chase

I think what he said is absolutely correct when dealing with the concept of a "fight", defined as the give and take, back and forth of a prolonged engagement in conflict.

In Jujutsu we close distance, make physical contact with the attacker and then engage in a physical give and take to achieve dominance and end the encounter. It is most times not instantaneous because we enter the encounter planning to "fight" or have a battle which involves a give and take with our partner.

In my AIkido, since the engagement and manipulation is done well in advance of physical contact, if the conflict does exists long enough to reach the physical (i.e. non-physical measures were insufficient to prevent the conflict), the physical response should be something that would "cut to the chase" and end the conflict in one step, not lose the psychological ground already gained by restarting the back and forth of the engagement now at a physical level.

I've actually proven this repeatedly using our competition-based randori framework. When I have a "fight" mindset on, there is this constant game of give and take between my attacker with a tanto and I, unarmed. He attacks, I avoid or block without executing a clean technique, closing distance or getting kuzushi... and so the exchange repeats itself until someone gets lucky.

However when I remove the "fight" mindset and "cut to the chase" I actually move less, present myself as an "easy" target to my partner who gives me a dedicated attack because he is led to believe that it is impossible for me to evade his strike. This gives me all the energy and positioning I need to throw or pin him in one move as I have already setup this outcome by ma ai manipulation and a host of other things that makes him believe he will be successful in his attack if he commits to it.

If we are not leading the mind before the physical attack it is very difficult to execute Aikido waza imho and fighting is the result. When the attacker's mind is under your control it is easier to protect him because "fighting" you is not as high an immediate priority as regaining psychological and physical balance so that he can continue his attack.

Imho.

LC

Chuck Clark
05-24-2010, 09:10 AM
:)

Very nice! Easy to say but difficult to do... until it isn't. But then, that's the nature of just about everything isn't it? We must all find our real, true, deepest motivation for doing what we do. It usually becomes simple, straight forward, and very powerful. Techniques, strategy, etc. are just the tools. They are but a very small part of the real practice.

Best regards,

Aikibu
05-24-2010, 10:14 AM
I agree with William and the OP.

I think many forget that Aikido deals with confrontation at a very very early stage, well in advance of any physical exchange. Defensive measures such as leading, unbalancing, positional dominance etc. therefore, are also applied at that very early stage and are quite subtle... even moreso in an actual conflict.

Borrowing from Matthew G's post a bit -

I think what he said is absolutely correct when dealing with the concept of a "fight", defined as the give and take, back and forth of a prolonged engagement in conflict.

In Jujutsu we close distance, make physical contact with the attacker and then engage in a physical give and take to achieve dominance and end the encounter. It is most times not instantaneous because we enter the encounter planning to "fight" or have a battle which involves a give and take with our partner.

In my AIkido, since the engagement and manipulation is done well in advance of physical contact, if the conflict does exists long enough to reach the physical (i.e. non-physical measures were insufficient to prevent the conflict), the physical response should be something that would "cut to the chase" and end the conflict in one step, not lose the psychological ground already gained by restarting the back and forth of the engagement now at a physical level.

I've actually proven this repeatedly using our competition-based randori framework. When I have a "fight" mindset on, there is this constant game of give and take between my attacker with a tanto and I, unarmed. He attacks, I avoid or block without executing a clean technique, closing distance or getting kuzushi... and so the exchange repeats itself until someone gets lucky.

However when I remove the "fight" mindset and "cut to the chase" I actually move less, present myself as an "easy" target to my partner who gives me a dedicated attack because he is led to believe that it is impossible for me to evade his strike. This gives me all the energy and positioning I need to throw or pin him in one move as I have already setup this outcome by ma ai manipulation and a host of other things that makes him believe he will be successful in his attack if he commits to it.

If we are not leading the mind before the physical attack it is very difficult to execute Aikido waza imho and fighting is the result. When the attacker's mind is under your control it is easier to protect him because "fighting" you is not as high an immediate priority as regaining psychological and physical balance so that he can continue his attack.

Imho.

LC

A perfect description of Aikido and the way I was "raised". Thanks Larry. :)

William Hazen

dps
05-24-2010, 10:20 AM
..... "fighting" you is not as high an immediate priority as regaining psychological and physical balance so that he can continue his attack.

Good point.

Real life experiences makes you see how invaluable this is.

All confrontations from a simple disagreement to a physical fight is about psychological control of your mind (by you or them) and your opponents mind (by you or them).

David

.

RED
05-24-2010, 01:22 PM
I agree philosophically. You are fighitng for a reason though. It could be to protect yourself primarily. It could be that you are fighting to protect a "greater good"...whatever moral/ethical justification that good may be based on. It could be that your life is secondary to that greater good, and that is why you entered the fight to begin with.

I think in the situation, philosophically at least, that you are concerned with the long term outcome of the fight and that whatever it may be has the desired affect that you wanted or felt a moral/ethical obligation to protect.

It could be your own life if attacked by someone wanting to cause you harm.

It could be your child.

It could be a ideology/concept/political goal.

It could be to stop a greater harm of some sort.

I think there are many reasons...but whatever the reason is...one, know that you are in the fight. Have a clear understanding of why you are fighting, and a clear understanding of what your desired outcome should be.

I agree. I think the sticky part is when you confuse "fighting for the greater good, for protection etc" with fighting the human being in front of you. You got to keep stuff in perspective.

L. Camejo
05-24-2010, 06:24 PM
I agree. I think the sticky part is when you confuse "fighting for the greater good, for protection etc" with fighting the human being in front of you. You got to keep stuff in perspective.Is it different really? Or is it just another example of human beings using degrees of violence to make one more palatable than another?

In "fighting" for philosophies, ideologies, loved ones or a greater good we still have the problem of subjectivity and relativity. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Who deserves to live more in a life and death struggle - my child or yours? It depends on which side of the fence you are on. Often an equal case can be made for each side of a situation, if that side alone is taken into perspective. Personally I think Ueshiba's global concept of Aikido was designed to do away with this sort of dualism.

The question is - are you able to engage in a conflict situation with the skill, desire and mindset to allow the other element or elements of the conflict to leave the encounter with a sense of dignity and a win/win feeling instead of a win/lose feeling? Imho Aikido offers the option to employ superior psychological and physical tactics and strategies to bring about a win/win out of what becomes a win/lose situation in most cases. Otherwise there is no prolonged harmony among forces, just a perpetuation of violence and the winner/loser dichotomy.

On another note - the definition of "fight" being used here is not precisely the same one we are using to explain the concept of "finishing" or instant victory above.

Best.

LC

RED
05-24-2010, 07:53 PM
Is it different really? Or is it just another example of human beings using degrees of violence to make one more palatable than another?

In "fighting" for philosophies, ideologies, loved ones or a greater good we still have the problem of subjectivity and relativity. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Who deserves to live more in a life and death struggle - my child or yours? It depends on which side of the fence you are on. Often an equal case can be made for each side of a situation, if that side alone is taken into perspective. Personally I think Ueshiba's global concept of Aikido was designed to do away with this sort of dualism.

The question is - are you able to engage in a conflict situation with the skill, desire and mindset to allow the other element or elements of the conflict to leave the encounter with a sense of dignity and a win/win feeling instead of a win/lose feeling? Imho Aikido offers the option to employ superior psychological and physical tactics and strategies to bring about a win/win out of what becomes a win/lose situation in most cases. Otherwise there is no prolonged harmony among forces, just a perpetuation of violence and the winner/loser dichotomy.

On another note - the definition of "fight" being used here is not precisely the same one we are using to explain the concept of "finishing" or instant victory above.

Best.

LC

You misunderstand, I'm not talking about death. Or competition.
From the aspect that Aikido's purpose was to only fight in defense of the 7 virtues. and death and competition are in opposition to those virtues.

I actually hate debates like this. In ways it feels like it complicates something that should be simple... and it leads to overly simplifying thingsthat should be hard to understand.
A wise teacher once said, "Just shut up and train!" lol

L. Camejo
05-24-2010, 09:49 PM
You misunderstand, I'm not talking about death. Or competition.
From the aspect that Aikido's purpose was to only fight in defense of the 7 virtues. and death and competition are in opposition to those virtues.So in other words its ok to engage in a "fight" as long as it is in defence of these 7 virtues? Or am I once again misunderstanding? Also, where exactly does Ueshiba M. speak about Aikido's purpose being the defence of the "7 virtues of Budo"? The only reference I have heard about 7 virtues in Aikido has to do with the pleats on the hakama.Can you provide a quotation where he indicates this? I actually hate debates like this. In ways it feels like it complicates something that should be simple... and it leads to overly simplifying thingsthat should be hard to understand.I'm sorry you hate these sorts of debates. Imho debates are one of the rare areas in Aikido training where you actually have to back up what you say with something more substantial than "this is what I think".A wise teacher once said, "Just shut up and train!" lolTrue. But many train for a long time with their mouth shut and never actually ask the right questions that they need to truly, deeply understand their Budo. The result is years of training with little actual knowledge.

Best
LC

Walter Martindale
05-24-2010, 10:11 PM
(snip)

Imho debates are one of the rare areas in Aikido training where you actually have to back up what you say with something more substantial than "this is what I think".True. But many train for a long time with their mouth shut and never actually ask the right questions that they need to truly, deeply understand their Budo. The result is years of training with little actual knowledge.

Best
LC

My former judo sensei used to joke about the old fellows hanging around the Kodokan in Tokyo muttering and mulling on "Judo wa nani?" I am afraid I thought it was pretty funny too, but was quite young at the time - more bashing heads at the dojo than philosophical at the time.

Now there's a bit more thought. Mostly trying to sort the confusion.
Walter

dps
05-24-2010, 10:20 PM
Hop this helps.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=301

David

Anjisan
05-25-2010, 08:48 AM
Is it different really? Or is it just another example of human beings using degrees of violence to make one more palatable than another?

In "fighting" for philosophies, ideologies, loved ones or a greater good we still have the problem of subjectivity and relativity. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Who deserves to live more in a life and death struggle - my child or yours? It depends on which side of the fence you are on. Often an equal case can be made for each side of a situation, if that side alone is taken into perspective. Personally I think Ueshiba's global concept of Aikido was designed to do away with this sort of dualism.

The question is - are you able to engage in a conflict situation with the skill, desire and mindset to allow the other element or elements of the conflict to leave the encounter with a sense of dignity and a win/win feeling instead of a win/lose feeling? Imho Aikido offers the option to employ superior psychological and physical tactics and strategies to bring about a win/win out of what becomes a win/lose situation in most cases. Otherwise there is no prolonged harmony among forces, just a perpetuation of violence and the winner/loser dichotomy.

On another note - the definition of "fight" being used here is not precisely the same one we are using to explain the concept of "finishing" or instant victory above.

Best.

LC

I would also argue that Osensei's Aikido was designed first and foremost to allow one to protect his or her own life. My life before bad guys life, they are not equal in that context. Semantics and academic arguments aside, you have someone who wants to hurt you--perhaps even KILL you, someone you care about, or someone vulnerable and one needs to do something about it. Perhaps, it's a home invasion and with wife (or husband no sexism intended just dealing in probabilities) and kids in the picture, simply running out of the house isn't an option for example. The simple fact of the matter is that very few of us are even close to being skilled (at least currently) enough to be able to make the choice of if we hurt or kill or scrape the knee of those who weild the spear which we wish to stop in the name of peace, love, whatever.

Certainly using the minimum amount of force is a worthy goal to terminate the violent encounter is somewhat realistic. It certainly, according to my sensei is the most ethical approach. But once it all comes down and all those variables that are absent in the dojo come crashing in and the fight or flight kicks in it will get much more complex quickly especially if one doesn't get into serious physical conflicts routinely.

Perhaps we should just be happy to survive the encounter and be thankful to our training to be able to go home and give our loved ones a hug. I am a huge believer in the spiritual and personal development of Aikido, but to philosophize about who lives or dies or who is a terrorist is academic fodder for the coffee shop because few of us are that good to make that choice.

Aikibu
05-25-2010, 11:20 AM
I would also argue that Osensei's Aikido was designed first and foremost to allow one to protect his or her own life. My life before bad guys life, they are not equal in that context. Semantics and academic arguments aside, you have someone who wants to hurt you--perhaps even KILL you, someone you care about, or someone vulnerable and one needs to do something about it. Perhaps, it's a home invasion and with wife (or husband no sexism intended just dealing in probabilities) and kids in the picture, simply running out of the house isn't an option for example. The simple fact of the matter is that very few of us are even close to being skilled (at least currently) enough to be able to make the choice of if we hurt or kill or scrape the knee of those who weild the spear which we wish to stop in the name of peace, love, whatever.

Certainly using the minimum amount of force is a worthy goal to terminate the violent encounter is somewhat realistic. It certainly, according to my sensei is the most ethical approach. But once it all comes down and all those variables that are absent in the dojo come crashing in and the fight or flight kicks in it will get much more complex quickly especially if one doesn't get into serious physical conflicts routinely.

Perhaps we should just be happy to survive the encounter and be thankful to our training to be able to go home and give our loved ones a hug. I am a huge believer in the spiritual and personal development of Aikido, but to philosophize about who lives or dies or who is a terrorist is academic fodder for the coffee shop because few of us are that good to make that choice.

And fewer still are the actual Aikidoka who are handed any life or death decision "experience." In my experience one does not choose at all in that "situation"... one acts...And you had better hope your Aikido Approach emphasizes it's Martial Side which is my point. What Larry is suggesting and I concur with (based on my own 20+ year approach to Aikido) is that it is much more than just a few cool looking moves... Aikido's Irimi...Maai...and Atemi...all take place before there is any physical contact between parties and it is in those moments where your Aikido is proven to work...or not...

(Broken Record Time) Nishio Shihan always emphasized that Aikido must work against other experienced martial artists in order to be considered a Budo... but that does not mean you have to test life and death in order to find out...That would be like saying I had to cut real people with my sword in order to find out if cutting worked (Thank God we are no longer as ignorant as the Samurai.)

Practice Hard... Practice Hard... Practice Hard... (or as my friend Kevin understands it) My Platoon Sgt would always say The more sweat on the practice field the less blood on the battlefield. :)

William Hazen

Anjisan
05-25-2010, 11:49 AM
And fewer still are the actual Aikidoka who are handed any life or death decision "experience." In my experience one does not choose at all in that "situation"... one acts...And you had better hope your Aikido Approach emphasizes it's Martial Side which is my point. What Larry is suggesting and I concur with (based on my own 20+ year approach to Aikido) is that it is much more than just a few cool looking moves... Aikido's Irimi...Maai...and Atemi...all take place before there is any physical contact between parties and it is in those moments where your Aikido is proven to work...or not...

(Broken Record Time) Nishio Shihan always emphasized that Aikido must work against other experienced martial artists in order to be considered a Budo... but that does not mean you have to test life and death in order to find out...That would be like saying I had to cut real people with my sword in order to find out if cutting worked (Thank God we are no longer as ignorant as the Samurai.)

Practice Hard... Practice Hard... Practice Hard... (or as my friend Kevin understands it) My Platoon Sgt would always say The more sweat on the practice field the less blood on the battlefield. :)

William Hazen

I agree with you with out a doubt! I have long since believed (27 years MA/17 in Aikido) that the connection begins long before the malice intent manifests itself in physical form--no question. Perhaps a more specific point is does one possess the guts, the warrior spirit to see it through? There certainly have been some karate schools that I have been a part of where the sparring comes certainly closer to real life than seems to occur at some AIkido schools at least. One can look great on the mat or even giving seminars but under the gun not so good. My point is that there is a group within the Aikido community that loves to quote Osensei-especially in his later years when he could pin 10 people with a finger and consequently had naturally moved on to a more spiritual/ philosophical focus to Aikido. It is often asserted that we as Aikidoka should treat the person attempting to assault you or some innocent soul as a out of control child-Osensei paraphrase.

Problem is these same people want to skip ahead/ fastforward when they havent conquered there demons (fear under real pressure for one) or gained the skill of Osensei in his later years. Terrorist or Freedom Fighter--really?? How about just survive whomever is attempting to hurt or kill you and we can philosophize back at the coffee shop later about the what they deserved. It probably does have a beautiful view from up on the moral high ground though.

jonreading
05-25-2010, 12:00 PM
My take on this...

1. Fighting is a tactic that exists for people who must demonstrate the ability to control a situation.
2. Finishing is the resoltion of conflict available for people who possess the ability to control a situation.

I am a little confused by the origial post (although I think I see the point of the post)... I think a critical component of an encounter is necessarily the ability to control and resolve ("finish") the situation. I think the "fight" is necessary when you are not perceived to control the encounter - the conflict is that your opponent believes she controls the encounter. A fight will [definitively] establish who is in control of the situation. I argue that fighting is a tactic of people who want to demonstrate control, but who perceptually do not posses it. I do not believe this tactic holds either a positive of negative implication.

I believe that a core component of aikido is the practice of resolving conflict, specifically by controlling the encounter. If there exsist a presumption that I do not control a situation, then fighting is a valid tactic I may use to clarify my control. If I am sufficiently competent to establish situational control without fighting, then I am allowed the gratuity of resolving conflict without the need to fight.

To this argument I make the following concessions:
1. Many aikido people are not competent in fighting and dismiss that tactic altogether by associating fighting with negative behavior
2. Many aikido people do not recognize when they are not in control of a situation or falsely presume to have control when they do not

To the original post I would respond that resolving a conflict without fighting is plausible, but only under the condition that you are capable to establish authority over your opponent and solicit behavior modification without resorting to physical confrontation.

Two comments to this response:
A. I remember a cartoon of two boys walking down a street, one showing a black eye (clearly from a fight). The caption read, "I thought you took aikido? I do, I was able to use my face to avoid hurting his hand.
B. Any substitute teacher will tell you the importance of establishing control over a room. Never a punch is thrown, but a teacher who does not control the situation will always encounter resistence until he can establish authority over the children.

Kevin Leavitt
05-25-2010, 01:22 PM
Nice post Jon!

RED
05-25-2010, 05:25 PM
So in other words its ok to engage in a "fight" as long as it is in defence of these 7 virtues? Or am I once again misunderstanding? Also, where exactly does Ueshiba M. speak about Aikido's purpose being the defence of the "7 virtues of Budo"? The only reference I have heard about 7 virtues in Aikido has to do with the pleats on the hakama.Can you provide a quotation where he indicates this? I'm sorry you hate these sorts of debates. Imho debates are one of the rare areas in Aikido training where you actually have to back up what you say with something more substantial than "this is what I think".True. But many train for a long time with their mouth shut and never actually ask the right questions that they need to truly, deeply understand their Budo. The result is years of training with little actual knowledge.

Best
LC

It is not okay to fight another human being that's my statement in full. Anything else you gathered from what I said is beyond my intention. I stand by my statement that it is important to keep things in perspective when met with an attacker. Never mistake the attacker as the thing you are fighting... O'sensei said"Polish the virtues of Budo in yourself" I gather from that, that there is a battle happening when some one attacks you, but the battle is internal. Keep perspective, don't mistaken the attacker as your adversary. What you are battling is your own imperfections mentally/spiritually. If you recall, the7 virtues are all personal characteristics of what Budo considers an outstanding character.

Debate implies a winner and loser. I did academic debate for 6 years. I'll be quick to point out that debate in the professional sense is never about uncovering the truth, or helping others. Academic debate is typically won by tarnishing the perception of your adversary in the audience's eyes. So yeah, I consider debate specifically un-Aiki. It can be fun... but there is a winner and a loser. And is usually done with an antagonistic tone. In the end, the most common way to win is by tarnishing the character/intelligence of your adversary to the audience. In the end the word debate implies "win"..."de·bate: to engage in argument by discussing opposing points,To fight or quarrel opposing views in order to determine an intellectual victor."

Debating on the internet is the same as debate anywhere else. The same attitudes are used. It usually is a struggle for proving you are smarter or more morally just than the next guy. It's about pride... and there is no room for pride in Aikido.

"Pride takes no joy in being great, only greater." -- C.S. Lewis.


And I stand by my first statement as well, "Just shut up and train." True, some people never speak up and never learn... but many more have become to believe their own legend, and talk so loud they can't hear. When it comes to learning most(if not all) are limited by their own prejudice I think.

I'm just saying what I think. In no bad regards to your opinion. Just take what I say with a grain of salt.

dps
05-25-2010, 06:42 PM
... and there is no room for pride in Aikido.

Is that something O'Sensei said?

David

RED
05-25-2010, 06:59 PM
Is that something O'Sensei said?

David

Yes, he said you could not grow in Aikido unless you let go of ego. It's counter intuitive to the entire process.


some quotes for the quote lovers;

"if We Don't Kill Our Ego , Practicing Is Useless. killing The Dark Isde In Us Give Birth To Virtues...:
"The aim of Aikido is to develop the truly human self. It should not be used to display ego."
"Budo was not to be disgraceful, nor was it to maintain personal honor or pride, and it despises meanness and cowardly actions."
"Always try to be in communion with heaven and earth; then the world will appear in its true light. Self-conceit will vanish, and you can blend with any attack. "

L. Camejo
05-25-2010, 09:06 PM
How about just survive whomever is attempting to hurt or kill you and we can philosophize back at the coffee shop later about the what they deserved. It probably does have a beautiful view from up on the moral high ground though.I wouldn't know. What I speak of is from my own experience and those of my students. Gun to the head, gang-style mugging attempts etc. etc. - been there, got the t-shirt, lost my t-shirt once even. :) Interesting training opportunities I think. Life can really test what you think you know. :)

When you get good at surviving you find that there are often more options than just survival. ;) You also find that survival is only the beginning stage of actual conflict resolution. It is the doorway to true interpersonal harmony in a world of conflict imho. As you learn to survive better, more efficiently and longer you begin to be able to choose the outcome of conflict, personal or otherwise.

It's interesting however that you think someone who attacks you "deserves" anything. Are you their "punisher"? What gives you the right not to be attacked over anyone else? If "people who attack you deserve whatever they get" is what you've gained from years of Budo training, well....

Jon: Very nice post.

William: I agree totally with you. But over the years on Aikiweb I have found that some things can only be learnt through experience. Those who think I am talking from theory and not reality are welcome to their opinions, but that is all they are - opinions. Hope to meet and train with you someday. Never experienced Nishio style - I think it would be very interesting. :)

Maggie: A very large grain of salt indeed. :)

Why do I make an issue of the technical, practical side of Aikido so much? If Aikido principles are true then they are true at all levels of ones reality, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. If this is the case then the philosophy has direct applicability in many cases if one intends to go looking for them. The OP's statement at the beginning of the thread is only one of many things one may find.

Just some thoughts.

LC

CurtisK
05-25-2010, 10:43 PM
Thank you for your response Jon, me and my OP are in agreement with it all. My thoughts are biased to the fact that I do not have the ability to ensure a fight is controlled. I belive one day I may and am certain I know a few Aikidoka who could, so I recognize the possibility.

The other aspect to my post comes down to the real situations that people in my world (yes THE world is bigger than mine) would actually need to fight. A tough guy on the street staring you down, some punk bumping into you in the bar wanting you to appologize, that deserate person with no real commitment to the task finding you alone wanting something from you, a road rage incident. My point is this isnt a Bruce Lee movie.

Most situations you can handle without having to fight. You can usually get away with no one getting hurt. When that bully comes on too aggressive and wont let you out, do everything you can to end it without fighting (read: exchanging blows), apologize, push off, tenkan, let him slap you if he needs to look tough... when you decide there is no other option, you pick your moment, and end it. I agree even an Aikido master could not do this against another expert martial artist from any style, they may need to fight (exchange blows)

It might come down to semantics,and maybe some call the entire exchange a fight; I prefer not to.

Of course as I understand it in many situations, especially for the large intimidating people, another option is to let them know with your eyes and select words (or just extending your ki) that they may not walk away if they continue their task. The problem is your average bully is not wise enough to recognize any but the most powerful ki.

The cartoon is accurate. I may not take a black eye simply to protect an aggressors hand, but will take one to prevent a bad situation from getting more violent.

CurtisK
05-25-2010, 11:01 PM
... The OP's statement at the beginning of the thread is only one of many things one may find...
LC

Thank you for for this. I certainly have no intention to take an authority on the topic and there are many, many valid conceptualizations (I add one every monthy or so these days). Suggesting something I wrote may be worth finding, is a compliment whether you intended it as such or not.

Anjisan
05-26-2010, 09:14 AM
I wouldn't know. What I speak of is from my own experience and those of my students. Gun to the head, gang-style mugging attempts etc. etc. - been there, got the t-shirt, lost my t-shirt once even. :) Interesting training opportunities I think. Life can really test what you think you know. :)

When you get good at surviving you find that there are often more options than just survival. ;) You also find that survival is only the beginning stage of actual conflict resolution. It is the doorway to true interpersonal harmony in a world of conflict imho. As you learn to survive better, more efficiently and longer you begin to be able to choose the outcome of conflict, personal or otherwise.

It's interesting however that you think someone who attacks you "deserves" anything. Are you their "punisher"? What gives you the right not to be attacked over anyone else? If "people who attack you deserve whatever they get" is what you've gained from years of Budo training, well....

Jon: Very nice post.

William: I agree totally with you. But over the years on Aikiweb I have found that some things can only be learnt through experience. Those who think I am talking from theory and not reality are welcome to their opinions, but that is all they are - opinions. Hope to meet and train with you someday. Never experienced Nishio style - I think it would be very interesting. :)

Maggie: A very large grain of salt indeed. :)

Why do I make an issue of the technical, practical side of Aikido so much? If Aikido principles are true then they are true at all levels of ones reality, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. If this is the case then the philosophy has direct applicability in many cases if one intends to go looking for them. The OP's statement at the beginning of the thread is only one of many things one may find.

Just some thoughts.

LC

First, I certainly do not believe that anyone deserves to be attacked--Eveeeer. I am certainly No Ones's punisher, but it is my goal to not be anyone's victim either.

Second, my point was that very few (including myself) are good enough (at least at this point in time) to even worry about relativistic arguments of who is a Freedom Fighter or Terrorist. In the moment my agrement is that it really doesn't matter if it is a bar drunk, serial killer, or Santa Clause that is attacking you-they are an attacker period. Survive the attack, the attackers status comes second. They broke harmony by attacking. Will you be any less injured or killed based on who they think they are???

Third, as I stated earlier, I believe as my sensei does that one should ONLY use the amount of force NECESSARY to terminate the violent encounter. Consequently, that will in large part be determined by the attacker and the context of the attack. Regarding the assertion that I believe that if one is attacked that they deserve whatever I deem that they deserve--Not True. The law does not see it that way and neither do I so the comment regarding my years of training and my alleged personal perception that I believe what the attacker deserves is Way Off Base.

Fourth, if I, my family, or an innocent were to be attacked (and verbal de-escalation was not a viable solution) I personally--while I value all life--do not view the attacker and myself as equal in that context. I will certainly do my best to restore harmony with the least amount of injury, but if it comes down to it they go over the cliff, through the window,etc before I or some innocent does.

Finally, I would sincerely really like to learn more about your violent encounter and what techniques you used to survive it. If you were able to talk you way out of it--gold star. Having a MS in Psychology and having worked with at risk youth and in a jail I am all for the verbal use of Aikido. I am here concerned with when talking doesn't work and the situation is in your face even though I agree the attack has already begun long before the first punch is thrown..

RED
05-26-2010, 10:34 AM
I'd like to point out a queer observation. I'm continually finding on this site people making references to defending themselves in "a bar" or a "bar fight".... I'd like to start a petition that we stop hanging out in this mystical bar... it sounds like a gnarly place...and we should also avoid that poorly lit alley that people have mentioned from time to time. LOL

ruthmc
05-26-2010, 11:11 AM
I trained with some one(they were either higher ranked than me, or equal, not sure.) very recently where in iriminage they would constantly throw themselves straight down before I stepped through. They seemed annoyed by my follow through. They kept trying to block my bicep, because the first time I thew them they were hit across the chin with my shoulder/bicep. Like they didn't expect it.
And when they threw me, I would be sitting arched back, trying to be a polite uke to this person, just sort of waiting for them to follow through...they never did. I think they expected me to fall straight down without their commitment to the throw; sort of like they were doing to me.
Hi Maggie,

Sounds to me like there was a bit of 'clotheslining' going on with your iriminage - it is not necessary to hit uke with your bicep in order to perform the technique! As for you arching back as uke, was this because your balance had been taken by tori, or because that's what you thought you should be doing?

Iriminage (like any technique) works because you have taken uke's balance and he has nowhere to go but the floor. Any kind of 'follow through' where you are striking any part of uke in order to knock him over kind of defeats the purpose - if you don't have his balance through your own body movement and blending, you don't have the technique.

IMHO :)

I don't fall down for my fellow students unless they have taken my balance - if they try to force or strike me down they soon learn why that's not a good idea :D Equally I don't want anybody falling down for me unless I have taken their balance, and will stop a technique if I am not achieving this.

Ruth

jonreading
05-26-2010, 11:21 AM
Two points I argue:
1. Fighting is about control. If you choose to allow another person to control an encounter with you, that it not aikido. It may be effective, and it may allow you to avoid a fight, but allowing your opponent to control the encounter is not within the practice of aikido (let allow if she physically assaults you). I would argue that under the hypothetical circumstances described throughout this thread, placating an adversary to diffuse a situation is not aikido.
2. To present a facade to your opponent is dishonest behavior because either you are in control of the encounter and pretending not to be, or you are not in control and misleading your ego. In either case, you have not presented yourself truthfully to your opponent (or to yourself). I would argue this is false behavior and not within the practice of budo...

I don't know if I can buy an argument that boils down to lying to your opponent. If that is the case, why not just pretend to be the weakest person you can so that bullies don't even think you are worth the trouble of beating up...or worse, sad-bagging and pretending you are weak until you decide to put your opponent down for good...

I have never been mislead by a shihan, nor other stewards of aikido. If anything, I am consistently impressed by many leading aikido people for their integrity, honesty, and courage. I do not want my aikido to be false, nor would I emulate those practitioners who promote acting falsely just to avoid confrontation. I practice to have the bravery to stand up for myself, the courage to withstand opposition, and the wisdom to know how to act.

Anjisan
05-26-2010, 01:24 PM
I trained with some one(they were either higher ranked than me, or equal, not sure.) very recently where in iriminage they would constantly throw themselves straight down before I stepped through. They seemed annoyed by my follow through. They kept trying to block my bicep, because the first time I thew them they were hit across the chin with my shoulder/bicep. Like they didn't expect it.
And when they threw me, I would be sitting arched back, trying to be a polite uke to this person, just sort of waiting for them to follow through...they never did. I think they expected me to fall straight down without their commitment to the throw; sort of like they were doing to me.

I'm not like an Aikido master by any means here, but I do have an opinion about intent when training. I think that follow through is key. If you expect some one to just fall with out your commitment to the technique...it won't happen.

My Sensei said something important to me yesterday: "If you baby your uke forever you'll never get great at this."

I am curious if you were doing Omote or Ura? I have heard that many schools emphasize Ura given that Omote-at regular speed-takes a certain/ harder to find type of Uke ala Matsuoka sensei for all those years with Seagal sensei. I agree that one's bicep should not be colliding in an Ura situation. My version (and there seems to be 100s) is that the side of uke's face is immediately on my shoulder and it essentially does the throw. By the time I finish my tenkan I can feel there balance rise.

As far as Omote, the forearm/ bicep area-for me at least and much more senior people that I have sought out-should come Down on the collar bone area as your body goes through. With Omote (for myself at least) it is easy to wait to long, be late and end up clothslining the uke. There has to be a strong irimi feel to it with the lead arm beginning at about 1 o'clock and finishing at about 5 o'clock. For what it's worth.