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CarlRylander
06-29-2010, 08:13 AM
I think Aikidoka are supposed to apply Aikido to their lives, and use it to enhance them.

I have tried to use Aikido principles for a long time, minimising damage to 'opponents' and so on. Thing is, I've come out of some situations having sustained quite a bit of damage myself, though the situation was resolved to good effect. Has anyone else noticed this? Also, can you do this when practising the physical Aikido? I would have at least one broken arm and a flat nose, if I did it this way. Should you feel the slightest bit guilty, if you can end up with all your interacters on the floor, and you on your feet? Should you take a 'pratfall', just to make them and you feel better?

lbb
06-29-2010, 10:46 AM
The whole business of "non-physical aikido", "verbal aikido", etc. has always struck me as a bit of a stretch. People speak of "blending with someone's energy", but really, this is hard enough to learn to do in the physical realm with a non-adversarial partner. Believing that you can be deft enough to do this verbally or mentally with someone whose interests do not mesh well with yours seems like an advanced topic, to say the least. So, it's maybe a bit of a forced fit to try and apply aikido to your whole life -- one that frankly I don't see the need for. Before you studied aikido, you weren't a helpless baby -- you could tie your shoes, do your laundry, cook a meal, have a conversation, participate in a meeting, etc. All of those activities have their own skills and strategies, and if you want to learn to improve them, why go to aikido? Take a cooking class, learn about how to conduct a better meeting, study conflict management. Personally I find that some of the Buddhist teachings on aggression are a lot more direct, accessible and practical than anything that aikido teaches about conflict.

Anjisan
06-29-2010, 01:26 PM
Concerning the metaphorical use of Aikido, it was strongly incorporated into my Masters program in psychology and I found it effective. I cannot comment on if it was more or less so than other approaches though. It was a welcome change from the linear thinking of me to them as opposed to "with them", leading them, blending with them and directing them. Just as with physical applications, there is no "intent" to "get them" but in the process of working through issues one may become "hurt". That certainly is not a desired consequence, but it may be an inevitable one in some circumstances. If one is afraid of that either on a metaphorical or physical level (given that it is sometime a risk in many interactions) then in my opinion one should admit that to oneself, work to overcome it, otherwise why even get out of bed in the morning?

As far as the physical application of Aikido, I believe that first and foremost that your safety, that of your family, friends, and the innocent are deserving of the most protection. After that.................. comes the well-being of the attacker/s. I believe that using only the amount of force necessary to end the confrontation/attack is appropriate, ethical and an ideal to strive for. However, being pragmatic, that can mean a few different things. Some believe as I infer from you post, that as Aikidoka we are under an "implied" obligation to do so, but there are different means to arrive at this desired place. Some, quoting Osensei in his later years (Like Yoda--when his focus had changed from being martially dominant to a more philosophical/spiritual focus) that one should treat an attacker like an "out of control child".

Personally, if one is a skilled as Osensei one can look at it that way--most here are not--maybe maybe someday but not now. If the attacker is a very drunk individual-maybe. However, if they seriously want to do you/others some serious harm---ah.......no. In that case bringing harmony back to the situation--if escape is not possible or honorable--leaving your elderly grandmother in the home during a home invasion for example--may call for incapacitating the attacker either by a pin, choke, or yes........injury.

I believe that it begs the question in the , is less harm likely to be brought to the individuals (both perpetrator/s and victims) if the attacker/s is/are neutralized as quickly as possible? I believe so...yes. Ethically, would I strive to do so with the minimal amount of force....yes. Does that mean sometimes that the situation I may end up injuring--perhaps severely--the attacker........yes. Is this still Aikido.......yes.

fisher6000
06-30-2010, 05:55 AM
Regarding Mary's comment, I think everyone's different.

I learn things physically. The buddhist teachings that she refers to felt very conceptual to me before starting to train, and I do train specifically to navigate a (non-physically) aggressive workplace.

This really works well for me. I feel like I am specifically learning the difference between giving in or rolling over and being strongly helpful and effective while simultaneously keeping myself protected.

Hamni as a defensive stance; staying low; not letting yourself get pulled over with Uke; making a ball and rolling Uke on the outside of the ball; getting off the line of attack first; protecting my own body (interests)--these are all things I consider at my job whenever conflict erupts. And I am able to keep my job (no small thing in this economy) even though it's a pretty martial environment because aikido is teaching me how to think about conflict as an opportunity.

I guess I would say to the OP that aikido isn't all ki and being nice and empathy. That's a big part of it, but it's also a biomechanical study of conflict, and it's that part that I find helpful, not the fluffier stuff, even though I also believe in that. It's a martial art, the whole point is that you use it to protect yourself and to win. I think it's a great set of principles for ensuring that wins are mutual, and that conflicts don't become zero-sum games.

scarey
06-30-2010, 08:29 AM
As far as the physical application of Aikido, I believe that first and foremost that your safety, that of your family, friends, and the innocent are deserving of the most protection. After that.................. comes the well-being of the attacker/s. I believe that using only the amount of force necessary to end the confrontation/attack is appropriate, ethical and an ideal to strive for. However, being pragmatic, that can mean a few different things. Some believe as I infer from you post, that as Aikidoka we are under an "implied" obligation to do so, but there are different means to arrive at this desired place. Some, quoting Osensei in his later years (Like Yoda--when his focus had changed from being martially dominant to a more philosophical/spiritual focus) that one should treat an attacker like an "out of control child".



I can see the motivation for trying to protect family, friends, or generally put, "all the good guys". I would like to offer the argument that the bad guy needs more protection. Here are a few reasons this might be true:


There are more good guys than bad guys. Numerically, it's an easier job to protect them.
The bad guy is the root cause of chaos. All energy should probably be focused on putting a cap on that chaos.
The bad guy, flawed in their behavior, simply "needs" more help.


Just offering these ideas for debate. It's good to have forums like this where we can explore different approaches. What are your thoughts?

CarlRylander
06-30-2010, 08:40 AM
Have any of you taken a pratfall, though, even stumbled? In or out of the Dojo? I think the common sense answer is that, you shouldn't, cos a bruised ego is better than a broken neck, which is what could happen in the physical world.

In some places, in some situations, it is better to take a black eye and have done with it, cos, if you don't, your attacker will be back with a gang and you could lose teeth. I suppose the correct and sensible thing to do would be to show that you can neutralise them, very effectively, without damaging THEIR egos. I have heard of this done, people being put in choke holds, who were VERY well connected, very high status, and the situation resolved well. You've got to be good, though. I guess you're all aiming for that.

CarlRylander
06-30-2010, 09:01 AM
I think just countering, without neutralising, would work too. Showing that you can take all they can give. I'm supposed to be a complete ditz, that's why I only do the mental side, if it exists.

Janet Rosen
06-30-2010, 10:17 AM
I have tried to use Aikido principles for a long time, minimising damage to 'opponents' and so on. Thing is, I've come out of some situations having sustained quite a bit of damage myself, though the situation was resolved to good effect.

To quote somebody "Aikido works. Your's doesn't."

RED
06-30-2010, 10:26 AM
My grandmother always said "Never enter an argument where you can't allow the other person to retreat at any moment, and always let them save face."
This assumes that you are the calm one and have control of the situation, and being the one in control and calm, you allow the person to save face and dignity, without feeling defeated, at any moment.

Gorgeous George
06-30-2010, 10:56 AM
A couple of hours ago i was forced to go and confront a man being verbally and physically abusive towards his 'woman'. I initially contemplated taking my jo over there and being very direct and confrontational; that was very much a fantasy scenario. I eventually went over there, and didn't really know how to make my presence known, so i stood close by and waited for the imbecile to notice me; he then stared at me, and i stared straight back. He asked me some questions, and i let it be known i wouldn't let him touch her again, and that he was being very unfair to her.
He didn't touch her again, didn't advance on me, or display any threatening behaviour, and the police arrived after a while.

I think that i avoided direct confrontation, didn't force my will on him, and matched his will; that's what i see aikido as.
Anybody who thinks that the implications of aikido techniques/principles do not encompass ethics in every regard are mistaken, i believe.

jonreading
06-30-2010, 11:32 AM
As we train in aikido, we acquire a social obligation both to our aikido community and our social community. I believe that as we learn how to convert our fighting skills into other skills we should use that knowledge to improve our lives and the lives of those around us. Think Book of Five Rings for Business...

In exercising these obligations, I make two observations:
1. Allowing another to injure you [or others] under the pretense that will resolve an issue is not aligned with budo. Aikido is about giving, not allowing another to take. What my partner receives from me is what I choose to give, not what she wants to take.
2. Acting falsely is not aligned with budo. The means of lying to your adversary under the pretense that lie will result in a desireable end is dishonorable.

Adhearing to these two observations, I do not believe there exist many situations where allowing yourself or another to be abused by an antagonist is true to our aikido training. I do not believe there exist many situations where a [false] sacrifice in lieu of a future consequence is true to our training. I do not believe that allowing an antagonist to engage in abusive behavior is true to our training.

Do I walk way from a mugging in progress? Do I ignore a co-worker who is dealing with spousal abuse? Do I give a bully $5 because he demands it? While none of these responses require physical interaction, they absolutely represent obligations we should undertake to protect members of our social community. This is the protection of which budo speaks.

Anjisan
06-30-2010, 12:57 PM
As we train in aikido, we acquire a social obligation both to our aikido community and our social community. I believe that as we learn how to convert our fighting skills into other skills we should use that knowledge to improve our lives and the lives of those around us. Think Book of Five Rings for Business...

In exercising these obligations, I make two observations:
1. Allowing another to injure you [or others] under the pretense that will resolve an issue is not aligned with budo. Aikido is about giving, not allowing another to take. What my partner receives from me is what I choose to give, not what she wants to take.
2. Acting falsely is not aligned with budo. The means of lying to your adversary under the pretense that lie will result in a desireable end is dishonorable.

Adhearing to these two observations, I do not believe there exist many situations where allowing yourself or another to be abused by an antagonist is true to our aikido training. I do not believe there exist many situations where a [false] sacrifice in lieu of a future consequence is true to our training. I do not believe that allowing an antagonist to engage in abusive behavior is true to our training.

Do I walk way from a mugging in progress? Do I ignore a co-worker who is dealing with spousal abuse? Do I give a bully $5 because he demands it? While none of these responses require physical interaction, they absolutely represent obligations we should undertake to protect members of our social community. This is the protection of which budo speaks.

Very well put. IMHO when one begins down the path of a budo whether it be Aikido or any other for that matter, one has taken on the path of being a warrior as well---to me it is just part of the deal. It has a code of ethics that will have variance from person to person, dojo to dojo, and art to art but there are undoubtedly themes from warrior cultures all over the world that one would recognize (ie protecting the weak/ innocent--not just ones own butt, loyalty, sense of honor, commitment, discipline, compassion, etc.

I believe that those who walk the path of a budo embrace these as both a means of becoming a better human being and as expression warriorship. Again, IMHO it not a code of convenience which one abandons when it suits you. I guess I think of the samurai as an example-their code was followed 24/7.

Janet Rosen
06-30-2010, 01:59 PM
Very well put. IMHO when one begins down the path of a budo whether it be Aikido or any other for that matter, one has taken on the path of being a warrior as well---to me it is just part of the deal. It has a code of ethics that will have variance from person to person, dojo to dojo, and art to art but there are undoubtedly themes from warrior cultures all over the world that one would recognize (ie protecting the weak/ innocent--not just ones own butt, loyalty, sense of honor, commitment, discipline, compassion, etc. .

Gee, I'm happy with the code of ethics I had as a grown up before I started aikido and have seen no need to change it to emulate that of a now-extinct top-down archaic feudal society. Definitely a case of YMMV!

Michael Hackett
06-30-2010, 03:28 PM
Those who are true to their code of ethics will try to live within the strictures 24/7. Our ethical standards may differ from the Feudal Japanese in many ways, but we don't have to mimic them to either practice budo or behave as ethical human beings. Aikido can enrich our lives in many, many ways, but we don't have to become plastic samurai to gain those benefits. I, too, am quite comfortable with the ethical model I've followed these many years.

Anjisan
06-30-2010, 03:57 PM
Gee, I'm happy with the code of ethics I had as a grown up before I started aikido and have seen no need to change it to emulate that of a now-extinct top-down archaic feudal society. Definitely a case of YMMV!

For me at least, training has helped me focus more on some areas that perhaps I did not give as much attention to as I should have before I became serious with my training. It will vary with everyone without question as it ultimately is a personal path. However, it seems that in society today considering how many people treat each other (I am not just referring to criminal behavior) that there certainly is something lacking for many--a personal accountability where any code at all is relative (for them situation to situation) and consequently, convenient when and how it is implemented. It is very good that you have had the benefit of such a code that you hold yourself to. To distill the samurai down as you did is short-sighted. The samurai was just one example as many of the values that I stated can be found in many cultures that have had warriors (male and female) to different degrees.

Every culture certainly has its flaws but there can certainly be valuable wisdom found despite the flaws. I mean take our American culture for example where 97+% of the true wealth is controlled by what, the top 1%. Many in the rest of the world may or may not not call it top down, but one certainly couldn't call it egalitarian either.

However, we have much to offer and I would hope that someone from elsewhere in the world would not say to themselves that just because they grew up a certain way, they will dismiss other cultures because what they have is good enough. Would it not be better to take that which is yours (Referring to wisdom and how it might personally help you) from any culture by keeping an open mind regardless of that cultures flaws? Is it not better to keep refining and polishing?

Janet Rosen
06-30-2010, 04:13 PM
I'm sorry, when I read " I guess I think of the samurai as an example-their code was followed 24/7." I think somebody is idealizing a golden age that never existed.
I'm not defending any era or country, just trying to point out there is nothing to be gained by idealizing another.
Typical samurai, from my understanding, was pretty much a semi trained warrior and a pawn of the powers that be. As in, in any era in any place, 80% of any {insert art, culture, institution, etc} is crap.

crbateman
06-30-2010, 05:02 PM
To quote somebody "Aikido works. Your's doesn't."If memory serves me, that was Ikeda Sensei...

fisher6000
06-30-2010, 07:49 PM
I can see the motivation for trying to protect family, friends, or generally put, "all the good guys". I would like to offer the argument that the bad guy needs more protection. Here are a few reasons this might be true:

1. There are more good guys than bad guys. Numerically, it's an easier job to protect them.
2. The bad guy is the root cause of chaos. All energy should probably be focused on putting a cap on that chaos.
3. The bad guy, flawed in their behavior, simply "needs" more help.

What a great way to slice it! I definitely behave according to the principle that you work to protect the Bad Guy. The I Ching is all about the obligation you have to everyone, including people who are acting in opposition to you, or are lost. This obligation is not equal to kindness--it often involves putting one's foot down about what you know to be true, or withdrawing affection/support/approval in the face of a greater wrong. In I Ching terms, to humor someone's violent/ugly/intolerant behavior is to tolerate that which has been spoiled, and it's not just abandoning that brother or sister. It's also the first step to spoiling your own moral compass.

I think that aikido, while unlike the I Ching in many respects, is about finding effortlessness in conflict, and that's a helpful heuristic off the mat that does jibe with the I Ching's ideas about conflict. One of the yudansha where I train is particularly good at pointing out my effort and helping me to find an effortless place, strategy or opportunity for that same movement. I feel like I will never stop trying to muscle everything without this yudansha pointing out that I am doing it wrong first!

Off the mat this concept is easier for me to see and understand in the moment. When I fight for my own interests, ego, bruised feelings, etc, I am the one doing all the work, and everything feels frightening and heavy. When I am sincerely working to help the Bad Guy, there's a lightness to the conflict because it's not about my defense, umbrage or ego. That lightness helps me squelch the fear and embarrassment that normally arise out of conflicts, and allows me to be more creative and watch solutions emerge.

The world is a relative place, and conflict can twist one's perceptions a great deal. Helping your enemy is the best strategy I've found for ensuring that your head stays screwed on. I try to stay very aware of how my body feels (light or heavy) and use that as a way to tell what's motivating me. Aikido of course helps me with this tremendously.

mathewjgano
06-30-2010, 08:31 PM
The whole business of "non-physical aikido", "verbal aikido", etc. has always struck me as a bit of a stretch. People speak of "blending with someone's energy", but really, this is hard enough to learn to do in the physical realm with a non-adversarial partner. Believing that you can be deft enough to do this verbally or mentally with someone whose interests do not mesh well with yours seems like an advanced topic, to say the least.
I agree with the last sentence, but I don't think that's necessarily reason to not apply Aikido in that way. Over time I've sought to apply several systems to things like social interactions. Some I stopped altogether, some I apply to this day. To my mind they're just tools for learning; models to compare with.
I still apply the concepts I've learned in Aikido (i.e. think in aikido terms) because it's still useful for me to do so. My personal philosophy begins with an attempt at understanding "the way of things." Aikido is an approach toward that end...many paths to the mountain top and all that. I would argue the trick in life is finding the path or paths which suit our individual needs and wants, which makes it somewhat a matter of taste.

So, it's maybe a bit of a forced fit to try and apply aikido to your whole life --
:D I think anyone who's read enough of my posts would have to agree with the possibility, if not the likelihood of this, but I would still argue that in my own case I'm the better for having tried. If a person thinks, "blend with the energy," in a situation and it helps them to consider/learn something useful about the interaction, why should it be any worse than any other concept?

...one that frankly I don't see the need for.
Sure, but I don't need to do a lot of the things that provide something useful. Assuming there is only one answer (e.g. "anything not aikido is inferior") is the problem as I see it, not borrowing the ideas of others to help shape your own views and practices.

CarlRylander
07-01-2010, 05:11 AM
I think the situation is a little different in some places where I've been. Most people there, do little personal advancement of any sort, but there are a hell of a lot of them and they all stick up for each other. Pick a fight with one of them, and you're fighting 20 000, a whole system. They think it's unsociable to try at anything. Whether or not they're the bad guy or not, I don't know. I think they'd respect most of you, though. If you have a look about you, they are respectful.

The socio-dynamics have changed since the last time I bounced off someone's fist. The gang culture is worldwide, nearly every kid is part of a gang and just about everyone 'knows someone'. 11 year olds carry knives and a lot of people do kickboxing and people get killed. I think if you look capable, most times you will be left alone, but I'm not sure about this in my case.

I would add, though, that life is not like always like an Aikido demonstration, you see on Youtube. it is not always some choreographed dance. You bounce off people, unexpected things happen, you can get decisively and completely humiliated, by people who've never tried at anything, and some things may not work. It is often very unfair.

I think Aikido is still very relevant and I think that Aikidoists should be able to thread their way through all the other interacters and chess pieces and let them bounce off each other. You just have to try a bit harder, now.

Not that I know anything about it. I can only stand on one foot for 25 seconds!

Janet Rosen
07-01-2010, 05:01 PM
nearly every kid is part of a gang and just about everyone 'knows someone'.

This is definitely true in some neighborhoods & in some subcultures. But in vast areas of the USA, including both major cities and rural areas, in my experience the majority of kids are not in gangs and are not armed.

mathewjgano
07-01-2010, 06:58 PM
As far as the physical application of Aikido, I believe that first and foremost that your safety, that of your family, friends, and the innocent are deserving of the most protection. After that.................. comes the well-being of the attacker/s. I believe that using only the amount of force necessary to end the confrontation/attack is appropriate, ethical and an ideal to strive for. However, being pragmatic, that can mean a few different things.
I agree very strongly with these ideas. I would try my best to protect an attacker (or attackers, ala the A-Team of course!), but that comes after my own safety which comes after my child's. With that in mind, I agree with the idea that sometimes it is wiser to take one on the chin. It all depends upon the particulars of the situation.

Some believe as I infer from you post, that as Aikidoka we are under an "implied" obligation to do so, but there are different means to arrive at this desired place. Some, quoting Osensei in his later years (Like Yoda--when his focus had changed from being martially dominant to a more philosophical/spiritual focus) that one should treat an attacker like an "out of control child".
I think of it in that "Yoda"-like way because I view aggressive behavior as generally based on some form of ignorance. Sounds like hippy mumbo jumbo to a lot of people, but when you consider the idea that children are perfectly dangerous little creatures too, I think it makes more sense. We look at adults and assume they know better, but I would argue that in a sense, adults only know what life has taught them. The practical side of this is that it helps create a sense of possibility while tempering the fear, which of course leads to anger which leads to the dark side and we all know what happens when you turn to the dark side! :p

cguzik
07-01-2010, 07:21 PM
The study of giving and receiving is embedded within aikido practice. This definitely applies to social interactions.

Gorgeous George
07-01-2010, 09:18 PM
The study of giving and receiving is embedded within aikido practice. This definitely applies to social interactions.

Exactly.

CarlRylander
07-02-2010, 04:11 AM
Uesiba also said that you should not be too calculating and act unnaturally, too. Just balance the situation, in which you may not come off totally unscathed, you might even die,but logically, you should tap every source, to make sure that possibility is minimised to a zero, as we need a world with Aikidoka!

And, there is no opponent, just an interacter.

Tatsukage
07-02-2010, 12:27 PM
I think Aikidoka are supposed to apply Aikido to their lives, and use it to enhance them.

I have tried to use Aikido principles for a long time, minimising damage to 'opponents' and so on. Thing is, I've come out of some situations having sustained quite a bit of damage myself, though the situation was resolved to good effect. Has anyone else noticed this? Also, can you do this when practising the physical Aikido? I would have at least one broken arm and a flat nose, if I did it this way. Should you feel the slightest bit guilty, if you can end up with all your interacters on the floor, and you on your feet? Should you take a 'pratfall', just to make them and you feel better?

IMHO, Aikido is different for everyone. Firstly, I believe that Aikido translates to "the way of the harmonious spirit". Well, harmony is granted in different ways per spirit, and although we strive for peace, it is something we are rarely able to achieve without some form of altercation. Granted, we are all taught a certain way, in accordance with Sensei's life experiences, style of Aikido, etc, etc... However, with each person there are defining differences in all aspects, which we must consider in any altercation, whether spiritual, verbal, physical, etc...I don't believe that one should feel guilty if one has landed the aggresor on the floor whilst remaining unscathed. However, in said situation, I would believe that the "tori" in said situation tried everything in his or her resolve to use the physical Aikido as final resort. Also, there is the idea of "minimum force" that we are taught, using only what is necessary to apprehend or negate a possibly dangerous situation. Now, I see "minimum force" not as what it will take to stop that attack; I see it as the minimum force you think will take the opponent down and leave him able to get away without further recourse. Granted, he might come back if you "stomp" him, but odds are he'll come back no matter the outcome, if nothing else but to taunt you. Or, if you know that he won't stop, it might be better to act in such a way to where he IS injured, even seriously, because if nothing else you know he'll focus everything on you, instead of picking on others. His mind will dwell, and others will be better off because of your selfless action. I try to keep the mindset of the samurai in that every day is a good day to die, and I shan't worry about this physical shell because I know that to die in battle is better than in a bed sickly. IMHO, of course. Hope this helps.

~Tatsukage~

CarlRylander
07-03-2010, 04:39 AM
Agreed.

And, you are not going to defeat people with the magic power of Aikido, only your instincts, common sense and training.

You might even have to hit someone with something, but if it diminishes the violence, rather than escalating it, that's Aikido, I would say.