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akiy
05-15-2002, 06:36 PM
Originally posted by Gopher Boy here (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1840)
I think that there is a certain personal development that Sensei looks for in aspiring Shodans. The potential to be a responsible student, able to help the lower grades.

I only mention this (without any refernce to the time it takes) as there are a few posts on the technical abilities of Shodans and how they vary but I didn't see much on their personal development of character, which I feel must be equally important.

I hope, at least, then that I will make shodan as it will reflect for me a positive change in my character. With so many people saying that Aikido is not a violent art and if you want to maim people then do something else, is it unreasonable to think, then that a 'black belt' in Aikido signifies more that technical proficiency?
Back in September, this poll (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=77) showed that 93% of folks responding thought that an aikido teacher's character mattered for them even if his/her techniques were effective.

But, I wonder how it goes in the other direction.

Do you think that a student's character should be taken into consideration as part of attaining rank in aikido?

(Sounds like an upcoming poll, huh?)

-- Jun

lt-rentaroo
05-15-2002, 07:43 PM
Yes. I do believe that character should be considered. I believe this because students are a reflection of their teacher, and not just from a technical standpoint.

For lack of a better qoute, here's one from the Spiderman movie:

"With great power comes great responsibility."

Think of power as the techniques we learn, responsibility then, is the moral fortitude to understand the damage that those techniques can do if not executed properly.

MaylandL
05-15-2002, 08:59 PM
These two webpages provide some interesting comments.

http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/goldfield2.html

http://www.aikidofaq.com/practice/yudansha_ranking.html

I think that Mitsugi Saotome Shihan(?) comments are particularly relevant in terms of what he looks for in his students.

On a more personal note I agree with Mr Louis Sharpe's comments about responsibility but I would take a slightly different spin on that. I think its to further your training and accept the fact that there is so much more to learn. An aikidoka's personality, character, commitment to the practice of aikido and its principles, the willingness to share what he/she knows and the humility to learn from others and the respects for others I think are very important aspects of yudanshas.

The short of it is that, yes I agree that all of the attributes of an aikidoka should be considered not just their technical ability.

My sensei promotes his students not just on technical proficiency alone but also on their "attitude" and character

Happy training and looking forward to reading other peoples comments on this topic.

Greg Jennings
05-15-2002, 11:04 PM
Originally posted by akiy

Back in September, this poll (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=77) showed that 93% of folks responding thought that an aikido teacher's character mattered for them even if his/her techniques were effective.

But, I wonder how it goes in the other direction.

Do you think that a student's character should be taken into consideration as part of attaining rank in aikido?

(Sounds like an upcoming poll, huh?)

-- Jun

1. I believe that the one goal of aikido training is to bring our demons out into the light of day where we can exorcise them.

2. My experience has been that aikido training largely succeeds in doing this. I.e., if a person is a jerk, it'll come out on the mat.

3. So, I believe that a person that is of poor character will exhibit poor behavior in the dojo.

4. If a person works through that and no longer exhibits the behavior, then all is well and they're deserving of promotion.

5. If a person continues to exhibit the poor behavior, they are failing in their training and are undeserving of promotion.

Best Regards,

Gopher Boy
05-16-2002, 12:04 AM
Nice to see something come of my comment! I would love to see the results of such a poll Jun - it would be very interesting!

I believe that there is an obvious level of proficiency in the techniques required of a Shodan. I also believe that the nature of Aikido is such that learning and practicing the techniques leads you to develop a better character.

Quite a lot of the Aikidoka on this forum say (when Aikido is compared / matched up against another MA) that the goal of Aikido is not that of being able to defend oneself but to develop love, harmony etc, etc... Considering this, I think it should ring through to the rankings of such an art.

By the amount of people who seem to adopt the above view, it would appear to be a fairly straight forward result, but somehow I think it wouldn't be.

Without trying to offend anybody, as I am only a newbie, I am wondering if this view is more of something to hide behind and put up in the face of a challenge rather than something to wave around with pride.

Before starting Aikido, I had looked into several other arts and had previously done a small ammount of some of them. I do not believe Aikido to be either the most effective or street practical art. So why do we do it? It gives us something that nothing else does. For me, that is more valuable than all the technical ability of any other art. Why else would I be here? After all - how will soemthing like Tae Kwon Do help me raise a child lovingly or resolve conflicts with only the strength of my character? Aikido helps us to better do things that really matter.

I wonder if anyone else feels the same or if I am just offending all the more seasoned Aikidoka. I apologise if I am, as I am trying to base my comments around posts to this forum.


Phill.

I only wish the lengths of my posts were indicitive of there quality!

MaylandL
05-16-2002, 01:26 AM
Originally posted by Gopher Boy

Quite a lot of the Aikidoka on this forum say (when Aikido is compared / matched up against another MA) that the goal of Aikido is not that of being able to defend oneself but to develop love, harmony etc, etc... Considering this, I think it should ring through to the rankings of such an art.

By the amount of people who seem to adopt the above view, it would appear to be a fairly straight forward result, but somehow I think it wouldn't be.

Without trying to offend anybody, as I am only a newbie, I am wondering if this view is more of something to hide behind and put up in the face of a challenge rather than something to wave around with pride.



Hi Phil

How's the weather in Sydney :)

You have raised an interesting question. IMHO, Aikidoka strive to practice their art with Ueshiba's principles in mind. A godan said to me that aikido is different to other martial arts such as karate and tae kwon do from the perspective that aikido is about self development and improvement and not about comparison or contests with others. The Godan went on to say that its a life long journey of learning and gets bound up in your philosophy of life. I'm not sure that this is true for all practitioners but I feel comfortable with that statement. I train for personal development reasons.


Before starting Aikido, I had looked into several other arts and had previously done a small ammount of some of them. I do not believe Aikido to be either the most effective or street practical art. So why do we do it? It gives us something that nothing else does. For me, that is more valuable than all the technical ability of any other art. Why else would I be here? After all - how will soemthing like Tae Kwon Do help me raise a child lovingly or resolve conflicts with only the strength of my character? Aikido helps us to better do things that really matter.


I think there would be people who would disagree that aikido is not street practical. Joe Thambu Sensei has adapted his aikido for his security business and regularly holds seminars on "self defence" applications. I am sure there are others in this forum who can provide their experiences and comments. My own experience is that its got me out of a couple of situations. I dont think any martial art can claim to be the most effective either.

I think its important to distinguish between training techniques and use in a self defence situation. There are a lot of emotional and physiological changes that happen very quickly during a self defence situation that martial arts training doesnt necessarily provide. I've heard too many times on the news or read newspaper reports of people that have been badly injured in their own driveways even though they have had martial arts training.

IMHO, there are many challenges for aikidoka in the practice of aikido. The notion of blending, harmonising and having a stillness of spirit are difficult concepts to train and to apply to self defence situations.

Its a really difficult one to comment on. I'm still coming to grips with what aikido is. Hope this provides further food for thought.

Happy training :)

PeterR
05-16-2002, 01:35 AM
Originally posted by Gopher Boy
After all - how will soemthing like Tae Kwon Do help me raise a child lovingly or resolve conflicts with only the strength of my character? Aikido helps us to better do things that really matter.
Don't think I am doing Aikido for lessons in childcare :confused:

The assumption about basing your promotion on character is that the person doing the promoting is qualified to judge and they themselves have a character that is well developed. I would also ask by what standard.

As Greg points out your character does show up on the mat and I do think your behaviour in the dojo has relevance but I get a real uneasy feeling when we start talking about character evalutions. Shades of street corner personality tests - gee you're deficient buy these courses.

Also not particularily happy with the statement that only Aikido is about personal developement. I would say that the majority of Japanese martial arts, either gendai or koryu, are about personal developement. As for effectiveness, all depends on the training and the practitioner - just like any art.

Edward
05-16-2002, 01:46 AM
There are certainly some very interesting points in the above posts. But no one seems to acknowledge the most important factor in shodan gradings: POLITICS.

I have seen many cases of injustice where some very able aikidoka had to wait ages for their shodan grading, and were failed several times in the exam, because of their independent spirit, while other less talented aikidoka but with better a**-kissing abilities were granted this rank in no time.

Usually this CHARACTER excuse is given to justify the injustice as obviously all people attending the event can see that the technical level of the applicants is impeccable.

So I personally believe that the character issue has been already used and abused since the creation of aikido.

Aikido is a martial art not a religious order.

Gopher Boy
05-16-2002, 01:55 AM
Hi Mayland - good to see another Aussie! As usuall, Good ol' Sydney is throwing a whole lot of bizarre weather our way - beautiful 1 minute, torrential downpour the next (as in - right now, when I am about to leave work!)

Thanks for the insightful comments - food for thought indeed.

I think that the reason that you hear stories of martial arts practitioners getting assaulted and being able to do nothing about is a matter of practice. IMHO, of course. I would back a boxer to beat the snot out of a karateka of similar training years. One reason - experience. The boxer is more used to rocking with the blows and has experience with someone who is actually trying to hurt him/her. At least much more so that a karateka.

Though, it was heartening to hear that in Sydney last night (conveniently enough!) a lady who is to be attending a karate contest soon was assaulted / confronted by a burglar in her home. He was not the most happy chap when he left. (I presume in a divvy van!) Good to see there is still some right in the world. Actually, a good friend of my brother who is quite well versed (to the tune of 2nd dan) in Gojo Ryu Karate had his work robbed by a few guys. He eventually calmed down when faced with a knife. At which point 2 of the robbers had to be carried out.

But I digress. (Only to prove that I have nothing against Karate though!)

Blending and harmonising. I couldn't agree more.


Phill.

Gopher Boy
05-16-2002, 02:14 AM
Sorry to post again so soon but as stated in my last one - it is bucketing down outside and I am trying to delay going out there!

Thanks for the respone Peter - interesting points. I agree whole heartedly that judging character is a somewhat subjective thing and the question has to be asked - "who is this person to judge my character?". However, (and please excuse my naturally naive nature!) I would like to think that sensei is such a person. I, personally believe that our sensei (a shihan) is wonderful in this respect and seems to pass people at gradings with the confidence that they will grow into the new position - for all grades.

Then again, as has been brought up in so many posts, especially on the "how long till shodan" that this was taken from, it seems that the criteria for obtaining rank seems to be a fairly subjective thing as well. As said before - I am only commenting on the posts.

Sorry if I implied that only Aikido has such benefit - it wasn't intended and often I lose track of where I started when I write posts! Maybe (as an after thought,) I meant the specific kind of personal development - as each art would very likely change people in different ways. The self discipline often sited as a great benefit from karate, I do not find in my classes, but I find other things that, for me, I value more.

I like all these replies as they do (as Mayland said) give food for thought - which is always good. I like my ideas to be challenged, especially as a newbie. I like to speak honestly and get honest reactions - thanks for the feedback!


Keep at it - i am glad to have my Aikido development aided by you all!


Phill.

aiki_what
05-16-2002, 08:05 AM
Character is such a subjective measurement. So much would go into the judgement.....Do we tend to ascribe more character to people we like or admire because of their skill set? I know plenty of high ranking yudansha who's personal lives are a mess but on the mat they have the best of character....and shouldn't character carry on into their personal lives?

And what of our role models for character? If you would believe the stories/rumours that float around, 3 of the ranking japanese shihan that reside in the states:

1 has a reputation for purposely hurting people

1 had a serious problem with drugs

1 had a variety of relationships with various girlfriends throughout the country.

Not to mention, many of the american sensei who at lower levels have used and abused students in the name of "aiki" and "budo".

Are these appropriate models for character?

The flip side of this is that there are plenty of sincere teachers out there who deal with character on a one to one basis. They get to know their students both as aikidoka and people.

Technique is one realtively clear cut critieria that can be measured and observed.

IMO, Character must be observed and measured internally by the individual.....

Until such time that the lack of apparent character makes itself apparent to the group.

Edward
05-16-2002, 10:17 AM
Aikido is advertized as a character building MA ...etc. etc. etc.

But it doesn't seem so successful in doing that. As Mark mentioned, I myself have rarely seen a high ranking teacher whom I would consider as my role model. Their aikido is great but they suck in the real life.

So I really don't think aikido does anything to improve character or morality or whatever magical powers some would like to give it.

thomson
05-16-2002, 11:16 AM
Wow, interesting thread.
I suppose I'm one of the lucky ones. Our club sensei is a godan and is incredible person on and off the mat. Very good, powerful aikido, and a real gentleman. Christenham sensei has made a positive impact on many people, both in the club and outside.

That said, I agree with the notion that character should not be a factor in whether or not you advance in rank. Rank should be an indication of what you have learned and how well you perform aikido. If only we lived in a perfect world.

Last, I also believe that aikido can help you to become a better person if that is what you want out of it. Aikido is merely a tool, you determine how you apply it. If all you are looking for is techniques then thats all you will get out of it.

Mike:D

Erik
05-16-2002, 11:17 AM
A couple of things to add here. When the 93% number came out I challenged it. I still think it's BS. This is a test for those of you in the USA but the rest of you can take it too.

Do you tell your children not to lie?
Many hands go up.

Do you think it's a bad idea if the boss sleeps with the employees?
Many hands go up.

What was Bill Clinton's approval rating?
Disconnect! Disconnect!

Seriously, whenever asked, I think everyone would stand up and say character counts. What are they gonna say?

"Character? Bah? My favorite training partners are jerks. They are the kind of guys who break your wrist when you look at them wrong. My sensei? I'm so proud of him. He was arrested for dealing crack. He's the son I should have had. My son's an honor student."

When push comes to shove, you have to look at what people do. And what they do is usually very different from what they say. Sorry if that sounds cynical. I don't think it is. I just don't think these types of questions are very good because they tend to produce a result different from what actually happens.

As an aside. One of the famous yoga teachers got himself in trouble for sleeping with his students. Seems yoga has a code of ethics for it's teachers. Imagine that.

Edward
05-16-2002, 12:54 PM
Originally posted by thomson

Our club sensei is a godan and is incredible person on and off the mat. Very good, powerful aikido, and a real gentleman. Christenham sensei has made a positive impact on many people, both in the club and outside.



Congratulations! You just secured your next grading exam ;)

Just joking:D

Jim23
05-16-2002, 01:00 PM
--------------
Originally posted by PeterR

As Greg points out your character does show up on the mat and I do think your behaviour in the dojo has relevance but I get a real uneasy feeling when we start talking about character evalutions. Shades of street corner personality tests - gee you're deficient buy these courses.

Also not particularily happy with the statement that only Aikido is about personal developement. I would say that the majority of Japanese martial arts, either gendai or koryu, are about personal developement. As for effectiveness, all depends on the training and the practitioner - just like any art.

--------------

Yes, on both points. Regarding character, both my sensei are good, but are they role models for me outside the dojo? Not quite (maybe when they're a little older - maybe not).

Regarding the second point, it would be arrogant or immature to think otherwise.

--------------
Originally posted by Gopher Boy

IMHO, of course. I would back a boxer to beat the snot out of a karateka of similar training years. One reason - experience. The boxer is more used to rocking with the blows and has experience with someone who is actually trying to hurt him/her.
--------------

Yes, but I think that perhaps one of the main reasons is that people who can't take a punch don't stick with boxing for long.

--------------
Originally posted by Erik

When push comes to shove, you have to look at what people do. And what they do is usually very different from what they say. Sorry if that sounds cynical. I don't think it is. I just don't think these types of questions are very good because they tend to produce a result different from what actually happens.

As an aside. One of the famous yoga teachers got himself in trouble for sleeping with his students. Seems yoga has a code of ethics for it's teachers. Imagine that.

--------------

But can you picture it? Won't go there.:D :D

Jim23

Kat.C
05-16-2002, 01:02 PM
Probably a little late for changing this but I just reread my post and it wasn't quite what I wanted to say. I think people can easily make mistakes in judging the character of others, and sometimes judge by the wrong things. I do however feel it is the sensei's desicion to grade students and if he bases his decision on character as well as skill that is his right. I think that how you behave on the mat should definitely be taken into account, but that is not necessarily an indication of character, it is just willingness (or lack of it) to obey rules.

Carl Simard
05-16-2002, 02:05 PM
In our dojo is not really "character" that count but what we may call "attitude on the mat". What it means is that the more you get advanced, the more you should be able to be a model for the others in the dojo (not , outside it).

For example, we are asked, when on the mat, to be always on our guard and attentive to what happens all around us. The more you get advanced, the more it became unacceptable to be taken offguard... Another example is how you give the "rythm" or "intensity" to the class. To you follow the classes with assiduity or come only during rainy day when you have nothing else to do? In short, the more advanced you are, the more you are expected to give the lead to the others and not simply follow the pack...

So, this "dojo attitude" is also taken in consideration, not only your technique. But not the "how you are in your personnality" or "how you conduct your life or the lifestyle you have", which are very personnal things that only you can judge...

Doug Mathieu
05-16-2002, 02:31 PM
Hi All

I see an interesting concept here arising from a simple question about ranking.

This is one of those areas were consensus will never likley occur. However perhaps a majority opinion might be possible.

My feelings are character as it relates to Aikido applies to the idea of respecting the integrity of all beings even ones who are trying to cause you harm. I don't think that means I have to love them or make myself into a saintly person.

I have decided for myself that the central message from O'Sensei when he said there had to be a better Martial Art approach and he experienced a revelation was that the fighting arts to his date advocated or resulted in destroying their apponent once they engaged.

This is where he may be telling us its not enough. Even though someone may be trying to harm you we still have a need to try to minimize harm to the other person while protecting ourselves.

I think that is a huge challenge and few people will be able to fully accomplish it. I know I'm not skilled enough. However its in the trying that counts.

If we ask what makes Aikido different from other martialo arts then I believe that is it. After all you can probably find every physical technique somewhere else. Judo uses Sankyo, etc.

This brings us to ranking. In the context of what I have said I think at some point your demonstration of this understanding should matter as to whether you progress in rank. When? I don't know. Probably a Shodan should be moving into ideas and not just focusing on the physical side of Aikido. However until Sandan you are still training and acting under your Sensei's direction very closely.

At Yondan and above I have heard it becomes much more a self learned process and that is often when students are no longer outright tested for rank. Perhaps that is when people should know if they are practicing Aikido or simply learning a way to fight.

The above is my very personal outlook. Clearly many could disagree and find details that may be off base and I think as with many endevours with a principle to follow there will be the extremes of good and bad students/teachers. Pointing out examples of Teachers and senior students who don't show these characteristics doesn't take away the principle.

After all if the Catholic Church struggles to deal with pedophile priests why should the Aikido community expect to be perfect.

One last comment. I think someone referred to a Sensei who sexually abused/took advantage of? some students. If its who I think it is that teacher was stripped of rank and expelled from the Aikido organization he was part of.

guest1234
05-16-2002, 04:54 PM
I think this just goes back to what I wrote in the related thread: that senseis give a shodan rank to those they fell (for whatever, often not truely objective/quantifiable, reasons) are ready to progress to another level (which is also not necessarily objectively definable) that is unique to the individual and his sensei. And it will vary from style to style, dojo to dojo, and even within a dojo. Some will have questionable character, some questionable technical ability, some even both. And the same might even be said about the senseis. I don't see rank as comparable from person to person, but just a measure of one's individual progress, and some person's shodan may be very different from another's (perhaps due to age, mental ability, weight, etc they will NEVER be where 'you' think shodan is)...

In just three years I have seen ikkyu students and shodans who cannot make it through a class due to poor conditioning, whose technique would be barely 4th kyu in other places, who can't roll, or who have the caring attitute of a black widow spider and the ego of a rock star. I can only assume that they have made some sort of progress that when viewed by their sensei, was significant enough to get them to where they are, and mark a transition of some sort. From this, I can conclude that trying to find some sort of meaningful yardstick by which to measure 'shodan' is hopeless. It means something only in relation to the individual and what his/her sensei thought of what they had done so far, and what they were ultimately capable of achieving. Trying to compare rank between inividuals is like comparing apples and puppies.:confused:

Gopher Boy
05-16-2002, 06:29 PM
I think, firstly, that I will need to do a lot more Aikido (who doesn't!) and travel a lot more. I must say that I have not met a single member of our dojo who I would not like to associate myself with outside of class. It seems, from these posts that I am very lucky and somewhat in the minority. I shall be even more thankfull for this now!

I think I have learnt (at least) one thing from these forums (and esp. these posts), and that is that in Aikido, we never get the answers we were looking for. I think this is because we all think of our Aikido in a different way and it means (sometimes wildy) different things for us all. This is most likely a combination of our own 'pre-Aikido' character, the people we train with, our sensei(s) and the way in which our Aikido is taught. As everyone is different, so will every opinion be different.

For me, these factors seem to have produced a goal in Aikido of being a 'better' person outside of the dojo. For me, it is easy to embrace the principles of Aikido on the mat as all the students are fantastic people and very easy going. Do unto others and all that gaff. However, I find that the challenge comes when interacting with people in the 'real world'. People who are not also embracing the principles of Aikido. It is easy to be nice to someone who is being nice to you - after all, the spirit of Aikido practice is not conflict. It is much harder to be nice to someone who is yelling at you or annoying you in some way.

For me, that part of aikido is more important than the self-defence aspect as I will spend more time being yelled at that assaulted. (At least that's the plan :D ) Hey - with any luck that kind of attitude will stop yelling progressing to fighting.

Anyways, to cut a long ramble into a slightly less long ramble, it is great to read everyone's opinions and comforting to know that Aikido offers so many different things for so many different people. It gives me confidence that as I change, my Aikido will always have something to offer me.


Thanks,

Phill.


"Apples and puppies"? I like that!

Gopher Boy
05-16-2002, 06:36 PM
By the way, thanks for posting this Jun - I have learned heaps. Due to my relative isolation (there is only one dojo I can go to!) it is great to be able to 'speak' with other Aikidoka!

akiy
05-16-2002, 08:33 PM
You're more than welcome, Phill! Please feel encouraged to post any other "delving" questions you may have regarding aikido here in the AikiWeb Forums.

-- Jun

Lyle Bogin
05-17-2002, 11:10 AM
I think Carl hit it when he talked about character on the mat.

On the mat I encounter so many different kinds of people and I try to adjust my character to blend with theirs. I can go hard and be smiling and jovial, I can go soft and be quiet and serious, I can talk a lot, or not say a word.

Perhaps it is adaptability of character, though trying to understand other people, that is closest in relation to martial arts practice.

Jakusotsu
05-17-2002, 11:36 AM
Trying to compare rank between inividuals is like comparing apples and puppies.

But apples and puppies are easy to compare.

For example: both are crisp and juicy. Both are best if kept refrigerated. Apples and puppies will both roll if you throw them.

Kat.C
05-17-2002, 03:24 PM
:confused: Are people referring to personality or character?

Jim ashby
05-17-2002, 04:19 PM
Another similarity between apples and puppies... they both taste great roasted.
Have fun.

Krzysiek
05-17-2002, 04:38 PM
I think I know people outside of Aikido who have a flighty personality because they just don't worry much about most things in daily life (this extends to things like not worrying about how they're going to get a job or where they go on vacations... they just do stuff and it happends.) On the other hand, they tend to have very un-flighty character as they're amazingly responsible and coherent when things need to be accomplished, especially when other people are involved.

I guess whether they're flighty of character or personality to you depends on how much importance you place in the different things they do...
--Krzysiek

p.s.-yum... roasted apples

guest1234
05-17-2002, 05:27 PM
OK, you guys:rolleyes:

I admit, even when I wrote it, I was thinking, well, they both make me smile on cold winter days, and they both roll kind of wobbly and lopsided. But never, NEVER, did crisp, tasty, and roasted:eek: ever, EVER cross my mind.evileyes boy, am I ever glad I didn't use cats in that sentence...:confused:

paw
05-18-2002, 06:32 AM
"Cats the other white meat"
----- bumper sticker seen while biking about town

erikmenzel
05-18-2002, 07:04 AM
Originally posted by ca
am I ever glad I didn't use cats in that sentence

Someone once told me cats taste like chicken.

:D :D :D Kentucky fried cat :D :D :D

:eek: :freaky:

Jim ashby
05-18-2002, 07:58 AM
I now truly believe that cats are psychic. As soon as I read the new idea of cooking cats, both of my siamese started crawling over my keyboard craving attention. Now, where's that pressure cooker?
Have fun.

SeiserL
05-18-2002, 09:45 PM
There is some research in both medicine and psychotherapy that suggest the rapport with and belief in the treating physician has a major effect on the compliance with treatment and the acceptance of guidance. IMHO, that is truth in all aspects of our lives including training in Aikido. Besides just learning the techniques from our teachers we often identify and imitate their beiefs and attitudes without knowing it. look at the study of mememics (thought viruses) for more ideas. IMHO, I would train understand someone I did not also respect.

Having character is more important than being one.

Until again,

Lynn
Nidan Tenshinkai Aikido
Lucaylucay Kali JKD

Gopher Boy
05-19-2002, 06:20 PM
Very interesting Lynn - are you saying that trusting the doctor / psychologist etc... to give you what you need allows your mind (and therefor body) to accept the treatment more readily. Kind of a placebo effect?

I suppose this works in a rather detrimental way as well. If someone was to train exclusively with people of 'questionable' moral standing (i.e. an MA teacher who was overly violent and confrontational) then I am sure that an unquestioning person would develop these traits as well.

Sorry - that was much clearer in my mind before the keyboard got in the way!

I suppose for that reason, a student must always have an enquiring mind and not blindly accept everything that is thrown at them. In Musashi's 'Book of Five Rings' he says over and over: "You must research this well..." Good advice methinks.


Phill.

SeiserL
05-20-2002, 09:25 AM
Phil,

IMHO, its much more than just the placebo effect, which is very valid. Its holographic in that we take in the whole message (content and character) of the medium in which the message is sent. Very subtle and very powerful.

Yes, choose wisely.

Until again,

Lynn
Nidan Tenshinkai Aikido
Lucaylucay Kali JKD
Ph.D. Psychology

akiy
05-21-2002, 01:09 PM
There's been some pretty interesting responses (culinary tastes notwithstanding) so far!

To ask a related question, do folks think that aikido in and of itself provides people a way to change their character for the better? If you do, do you think it provides a better way of doing so than other venues?

-- Jun

Lyle Bogin
05-21-2002, 01:34 PM
Aikido does provide an opportunity for character develpment, like building a house or playing baseball. But I'm not sure if it developes character more than characters.

Greg Jennings
05-21-2002, 02:09 PM
Originally posted by akiy
To ask a related question, do folks think that aikido in and of itself provides people a way to change their character for the better?

Hmmm. I think it's dependent on both the instructor/dojo and the person.

I've been acquainted with instructors/dojo that had poisonous programs. E.g., Elitest, zenophobic rhetoric, etc.

If a person isn't using the aikido as a vehicle for self-improvment, I don't think the best of programs would do much good.


If you do, do you think it provides a better way of doing so than other venues?


No.

I guess it also depends on the dojo and the person. I guess one could add in other variables like the time in the person's life, etc.

Best Regards,

Lyle Bogin
05-21-2002, 02:14 PM
Kat -

What do you see as the difference between personality and character?

Doug Mathieu
05-21-2002, 02:38 PM
Hi

I agree with Greg. "Aikido" can lead to an improved Character if the student embraces the moral idea. Keep in mind what my take on that is.

If you accept the objective of dealing with aggression and protecting the aggressor as much as possible then over time I think it will affect your own character because it will be very hard to do this without agreeing to the concept and internallizing it.

The next part of the equation is the people involved. A teacher may or may not work toward that or communicate it. However that is not the fault of "Aikido" that is the human element.

I also agree that Aikido is not neccesarily the best vehicle for Character development. I think there are probably many other disciplines that directly work on character. I might feel in the context of Martial Arts that Aikido is a better vehicle than most MA.

Lyle, you asked a good question of Kat re: personality vs. Character. Not to answer for her but just my own thought would personality be things like a person is a happy, sad, moody, angry, generous, stingy, etc person whereas character covers, honesty, integrity, liar, thief. Probably some of it may be blury on the distinction or could cross over some.

Kat.C
05-21-2002, 10:15 PM
Originally posted by Lyle Bogin
Kat -

What do you see as the difference between personality and character?

Doug did a good job of answering this question I will just add to it with an example,
When I lived in Ottawa I became friends with a very charming fellow student. I enjoyed hanging out with him, he was funny,smart, and very considerate. Unfortunately, as I later discovered, he dealt in drugs. Wonderful personality, poor character. This guy was really nice, and he kept his drugdealing well hidden, it was kind of an accident that I found out. So it is fairly easy for people to keep their true character hidden, at least for a time.
I know people who are almost the exact opposite too, they come across as jerks but it's just a lack of people skills, they just don't know how to socialize well but they are great people who I trust.
So along with what Doug said,he hit it right on the nail, that's how personality and character differ to me.
And yes, the lines between the two can be blurry.

guest1234
05-21-2002, 10:27 PM
To me, personality is the way you perceive and react to the world courtesy of what God/nature/nurture gave you as basic material. Character is what you do with those perceptions and reactions through the strength of your beliefs (ethical, moral, religious, other).

SeiserL
05-22-2002, 12:55 PM
IMHO (as a professional psychotherapist), everything we do provides and opportunity to change and/or develop. It is a choice we make. No "way" can make us change. People try all the time to change others or to believ that "their way" is "the way."

I tend to remind people that if their parents called them a different name and raise them a different way in a different place, if they had a different history of experiences, they would probably think they were a differnt person. So our ego identity personality is a learned program. It may reflect more the people we learned it from than ourselves. Anything that is learned, can be unlearned anad relearned.

So the question is just who you are, the question is who do you want to be? Decide that and practice it inside and outside the Dojo and watch who you think you are (personality often defined by what you do)and your character (often defined by the rules you live by or the way you describe what you do) changes.

IMHO, Aikido is a great place to choose to change. The philosophy itself goes against what is commonly held in most societies.

Until again,

Lynn
Nidan Tenshinkai Aikido
Lucaylucay Kali JKD
Ph.D. Psychology

MaylandL
05-22-2002, 08:56 PM
Originally posted by akiy
...do folks think that aikido in and of itself provides people a way to change their character for the better? If you do, do you think it provides a better way of doing so than other venues?


I think that aikido can provide some philosophies that may provide guidance to some who wish to take them on board. I would agree with Mr Greg Jennings in that it would depend on the dojo and how they educate their students on those philosophies and how they incorporate them into training.

There are other means for a person to develop their character, for example religious belief and other martial disciplines. Aikido is but one way of self development.

Happy training all :)

Jim23
05-22-2002, 10:15 PM
Can Aikido change your character? I don't think so. Maturing might affect character development - having kids, getting older, experiencing a loss, etc. It's like asking if religion can change someone's character - people usually experience change, then find religion.

I think character is genetic (it can, I suppose, skip a generation or two). Who you are when you're young is, essentially, who you are when you're old. Someone can make a choice to start or stop a specific behavior, etc., but that's not a character change.

A tiger doesn't change it's spots.

Jim23

Edward
05-22-2002, 11:40 PM
On a second thought, I do find some aspects in which aikido has changed my character.

Being exclusively a defensive art, and not teaching any form of agression, I find myself trying to provoke people on the street hoping that they would attack me.

Maybe that's why there is so much provocation on the forums... ;)

Paula Lydon
06-22-2002, 12:14 AM
Hi all! I know others have stated it, but here's my two cents :p I believe that if you are the sort of person to honestly reflect on yourself and are interested in positive change, Aikido, like all of life, can be a wonderful tool. I try throughout my day to be in touch with the different emotions/energies moving through me as I come into contact with outside stimulus, and some things create an energy I don't like feeling at this point in my life. It's I who hold a vision of the better me I'm living, I who critique my character...whoever this 'I' might be.
I train in a large dojo and my head instructor has no idea who I am as a person, and that's fine if he's judging my developement by other criteria. I trained for many years in a different MA, very small dojo, and Sensie did know us personally and character growth did figure into promotions, as well as tech. skill and control. If you had great techniques but didn't care about hurting your partner, couldn't sense and adjust to their ability level, then you weren't promoted, but in that art that criteria was part of the style.
I also agree with the fellow--sorry, I don't have your name--who said a lot seemed based on politics. Sad but true, the squeeky wheel gets the grease...or gets teacher's attention, or gets moved along...whatever. But again, that's part of my development to deal with in as positive a manner as I can.
I hold myself to my own standards, hold no one else to them, and expect no one to hold me to theirs (like they could), as far as my spirit/character is concerned. I claim autonomy and responsibility for myself :do: while gratefull for any and all help along the way. This may sound arrogant, but I think it's just maturity.
Well, that was a mouthful! Thanks for listening...may you find your way. :circle: :square: :triangle: