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RonRagusa
06-15-2011, 07:02 AM
Before you can be benevolent and spare people from pain /punishment/retribution you have to be in a position whereby you have the power to exercise your authority to inflict punishment in the first place.

The idea expressed by the above quote is often accepted as axiomatic when any discussion comparing soft vs hard Aikido is undertaken. So the purpose of this thread is to question and examine the underlying assumption, namely that the ability to express benevolence must necessarily be predicated upon the ability to inflict pain and punishment, as it relates to Aikido.

Ron

lbb
06-15-2011, 07:28 AM
The idea expressed by the above quote is often accepted as axiomatic when any discussion comparing soft vs hard Aikido is undertaken. So the purpose of this thread is to question and examine the underlying assumption, namely that the ability to express benevolence must necessarily be predicated upon the ability to inflict pain and punishment, as it relates to Aikido.

Ron

I don't want to derail your thread, Ron, but the question that you're posing does not follow from the quote that you started the thread with. The essence of that quote is simple: if you do not have the power to do something, you are not refraining from doing it, you are simply incapable of doing it. Your argument is completely different, but in this context, it's a strawman: I don't see anyone arguing that ability to express X is predicated upon ability to do Y, merely that ability to do X is necessary in order to refrain from doing X. If you can simply set that quote aside, I think you've got the start of a good discussion, but if you want to argue against that quote, I think that argument is simply and conclusively dismissed.

RonRagusa
06-15-2011, 07:37 AM
I don't see anyone arguing that ability to express X is predicated upon ability to do Y, merely that ability to do X is necessary in order to refrain from doing X.

Hi Mary -

Fair enough. Let's move the discussion forward from your point and set the quote aside as you suggested.

Best,

Ron

Dazzler
06-15-2011, 07:44 AM
Hey Ron

I'll have first dibs at this then...

I believe I see where Joe is coming from and tend to agree with him.

While it is lovely to aspire to turn the other cheek, for a martial artist I see this more as a choice that comes with ability and knowledge.

One can only choose not to use force or power...if you have it in the first place.

Choosing not to fight back is only really a choice if you actually posess the power to fight back.

If you don't...then for me its not really a choice.

I've always bracketted this line of thinking along with the phrase 'nuclear deterrent'...possession of power so devastating that the application of such force really needs extremely careful consideration.

In line with this I've heard my betters in Aikido say that you cannot just choose harmony...first you must learn to fight.

Kind of like if you want peace...have a strong army!

Perhaps train hard, fight easy is also an appropriate line of though....

In relation to Aikido..if ones practice lacks the potential to destroy uke and is undertaken purely for the joy of the movement then for me personally it lacks something important.

When it posesses that dangerous potential no matter how hidden it is behind layers of care and consideration for partner and practice objectives then it is a beast with teeth.

FWIW

Kind regards

Daren

Dazzler
06-15-2011, 07:45 AM
bugger ...have you moved the goalposts already?

lbb
06-15-2011, 07:57 AM
bugger ...have you moved the goalposts already?

That was my suggestion, Daren. He threw you a softball :D

So, I guess the question would be more like "Do you have to have the power to harm before you can develop benevolence?"

sakumeikan
06-15-2011, 08:03 AM
Hey Ron

I'll have first dibs at this then...

I believe I see where Joe is coming from and tend to agree with him.

While it is lovely to aspire to turn the other cheek, for a martial artist I see this more as a choice that comes with ability and knowledge.

One can only choose not to use force or power...if you have it in the first place.

Choosing not to fight back is only really a choice if you actually posess the power to fight back.

If you don't...then for me its not really a choice.

I've always bracketted this line of thinking along with the phrase 'nuclear deterrent'...possession of power so devastating that the application of such force really needs extremely careful consideration.

In line with this I've heard my betters in Aikido say that you cannot just choose harmony...first you must learn to fight.

Kind of like if you want peace...have a strong army!

Perhaps train hard, fight easy is also an appropriate line of though....

In relation to Aikido..if ones practice lacks the potential to destroy uke and is undertaken purely for the joy of the movement then for me personally it lacks something important.

When it posesses that dangerous potential no matter how hidden it is behind layers of care and consideration for partner and practice objectives then it is a beast with teeth.

FWIW

Kind regards

Daren
Hi Daren ,
How are you my old mukka?Hows life down in Bristol?
Daren. remember the old adage , walk quietly /softly but carry a big stick.Say Hi to old Kenny for me.
Cheers, Joe.

Dazzler
06-15-2011, 08:14 AM
That was my suggestion, Daren. He threw you a softball :D

So, I guess the question would be more like "Do you have to have the power to harm before you can develop benevolence?"

I'll have to learn to type faster...thats a different question entirely.

I'll think about that one.

Dazzler
06-15-2011, 08:15 AM
Hi Daren ,
How are you my old mukka?Hows life down in Bristol?
Daren. remember the old adage , walk quietly /softly but carry a big stick.Say Hi to old Kenny for me.
Cheers, Joe.

PM on its way Joe.

mrlizard123
06-15-2011, 08:49 AM
That was my suggestion, Daren. He threw you a softball :D

So, I guess the question would be more like "Do you have to have the power to harm before you can develop benevolence?"

Reading it as it pertains to aikido I'm not completely clear on the benevolence side of things...

If we mean simply to act charitable or in a good fashion I think the answer is no; we can offer to train with a new person even though we were really looking forward to training with that person who really tests us, lend someone a belt as they forgot theirs, give away a hakama we no longer use for someone who needs one etc etc.

Or is the benevolence in question with reference to the actual execution of our aikido practice/technique/principal in action?

RonRagusa
06-15-2011, 10:34 AM
Reading it as it pertains to aikido I'm not completely clear on the benevolence side of things...

If we mean simply to act charitable or in a good fashion I think the answer is no; we can offer to train with a new person even though we were really looking forward to training with that person who really tests us, lend someone a belt as they forgot theirs, give away a hakama we no longer use for someone who needs one etc etc.

Or is the benevolence in question with reference to the actual execution of our aikido practice/technique/principal in action?

Hi Rich -

As in the latter.

Best,

Ron

RonRagusa
06-15-2011, 10:41 AM
Kind of like if you want peace...have a strong army!

Hi Daren -

But do you really? The Swiss come to mind as an example of another way. They have no army to speak of yet have managed to stay out ot two World Wars and a bunch of regional skirmishes.

On the other hand, we in America have an armed forces that are second to no one's in terms of capability, yet we have no peace.

Go figure... :confused:

Best,

Ron

Dazzler
06-15-2011, 10:54 AM
Hi Daren -

But do you really? The Swiss come to mind as an example of another way. They have no army to speak of yet have managed to stay out ot two World Wars and a bunch of regional skirmishes.

On the other hand, we in America have an armed forces that are second to no one's in terms of capability, yet we have no peace.

Go figure... :confused:

Best,

Ron

Not wishing to make this about the swiss...lovely people, nice clocks & chocolate...

But really ...choosing to abstain may not be an option when the war machine knocks on your front door ....

Likewise choosing to be submissive is not really a choice if its the only position you have eh?

Choosing to to be kind and loving ...while possessing some of that capability...now that is a choice.

But what do I know? I can barely cope with the changing subject of this thread.:freaky:

Regards

D

graham christian
06-15-2011, 11:24 AM
The idea expressed by the above quote is often accepted as axiomatic when any discussion comparing soft vs hard Aikido is undertaken. So the purpose of this thread is to question and examine the underlying assumption, namely that the ability to express benevolence must necessarily be predicated upon the ability to inflict pain and punishment, as it relates to Aikido.

Ron

Hold on a minute here. The above is what many believe so why change it? From what I see it's what most folks call being martially effective which they believe is the main aim and thus gives you choice.

Ron, is this the type of axiomatic concept and underlying assumption you are asking to be examined or have I got it wrong?

Regards.G.

Jauch
06-15-2011, 11:47 AM
But really ...choosing to abstain may not be an option when the war machine knocks on your front door ....

Likewise choosing to be submissive is not really a choice if its the only position you have eh?

Choosing to to be kind and loving ...while possessing some of that capability...now that is a choice.

Maybe this is a human problem. Act like if the only real option that we have is to show our teeth and hope that the other understand that if he came a bit more close to our bone, we'll bite him...

The problem is that the other has his own teeth too...

And sometimes, have big teeth is not enough to save you when the other thinks that maybe the bone that you protect with so great care is enough to both of you, or if they think that between them and you, the bone will be better with them.

To me, have the power and do not hurt is not to be "benevolent". Is to show the "teeth" :(

And show the teeth is not to have a choice, because sooner or later you will be caught off guard or outnumbered. Than, have big teeth will not help.

The point is, the need to "protect" yourself through the "strength" (or technique) is really inevitable, or there are other ways?

I think that there are other ways... :)

C. David Henderson
06-15-2011, 12:06 PM
The title to this thread, to me, also suggests a different topic than "Do you need to know how to be martially effective before you can exercise benevolence against an attacker."

"Hard before soft" suggests the view that in training it is better to train in a "hard" manner first, before trying to develop "softness" in technique. Which, I believe, some people would maintain is part of becoming "martially effective" when executing technique "softly."

But executing "softly" doesn't necessarily mean "benevolently." Think of a softly executed kote gaeshi...off a balcony.

Is the title also intended to define the discussion?

graham christian
06-15-2011, 12:52 PM
The title to this thread, to me, also suggests a different topic than "Do you need to know how to be martially effective before you can exercise benevolence against an attacker."

"Hard before soft" suggests the view that in training it is better to train in a "hard" manner first, before trying to develop "softness" in technique. Which, I believe, some people would maintain is part of becoming "martially effective" when executing technique "softly."

But executing "softly" doesn't necessarily mean "benevolently." Think of a softly executed kote gaeshi...off a balcony.

Is the title also intended to define the discussion?

I agree that exactly which point is up for discussion?

The title? O.k. I'll go with that.

I would thus say approach soft, execution soft, result soft. No hard. Great discipline.

Regards.G.

RonRagusa
06-15-2011, 01:05 PM
Hold on a minute here. The above is what many believe so why change it? From what I see it's what most folks call being martially effective which they believe is the main aim and thus gives you choice.

Ron, is this the type of axiomatic concept and underlying assumption you are asking to be examined or have I got it wrong?

Regards.G.

Have at it Graham.

The hard before soft title of the thread came from something I read that Tony posted awhile back. To paraphrase, before you can do soft Aikido you must first learn hard Aikido, or something along those lines.

Anyway, when I read Joe's post "Before you can be benevolent and spare people from pain /punishment/retribution you have to be in a position whereby you have the power to exercise your authority to inflict punishment in the first place.", it made me wonder about the whole soft vs hard Aikido debate and how it all relates to the idea of least possible harm when responding to a conflict and whether it's necessary to be in a position to inflict punishment (hard Aikido) in order to not do so (soft Aikido).

As you can see, I've managed, due to my mish-mash of mixed metaphors, to engender a boat load of confusion. But hey, most threads end up addressing tangential issues. I'm finding the responses interesting and informative.

So please, feel free to respond in any manner you see fit. I'm sure it'll be worth the read.

Best,

Ron

jonreading
06-15-2011, 01:08 PM
I'll bite, but let me first clarify some points:
1. Hard and soft aikido do not inherently possess a state of virtue.
2. The ability to act in one disposition [or another] is not dependent upon the ability to act in the converse action.
3. Inflicting pain and inflicting punishment are different concepts.

That said, I think this argument comes up often in aikido, poorly constructed as it is. I believe aikido requires a structure to properly function. When we begin training, the structure [should be] very similar to competent jujitsu; that is, a mechanically sound structure that works. As we train, the structure should soften as we improve the mechanical efficiency (moreso resembling aikido). This is actually quite common in most activities and sports; the subject acquires a grace in action related to her activity. So I believe aikido is both "hard" and "soft".
Second, benevolence is a term that describes a predisposition to act. The antonym is malevolence. While many of us may not benevolently act, few of us malevolently act. In other words, my inability to benevolently act does not predispose me to malevolent actions.
Third, predisposition inherently requires a choice of action, from which my choice may be predisposed. The omission of a choice makes predisposition irrelevant, since there is only one course of action.

In aikido, I think we often give ourselves far too much credit for our [in]ability to apply aikido upon our partners. Sure, we'll talk a big game..."I'll take the assailant's knife and hold him down until the police came"...."I'd never hurt someone trying to attack me"... blah blah blah. But then we'll also say things like "aikido doesn't need to work on the street" or "I am not interested in whether aikido works". But then we'll have conversations about how uke must collude with nage simply to make technique function in a dojo.
Very simply put, the role of competent aikido is to provide a course of action that provides an outlet for compliance. Aikido is not love; it is compassion, or probably better put, agape (I am pretty convinced the love thing is a poor translation). We must have the bravery (confidence in our ability to accomplish a task) to use aikido and the courage (action with the foreknowledge of consequence) to commit to our actions.

graham christian
06-15-2011, 01:26 PM
Have at it Graham.

The hard before soft title of the thread came from something I read that Tony posted awhile back. To paraphrase, before you can do soft Aikido you must first learn hard Aikido, or something along those lines.

Anyway, when I read Joe's post "Before you can be benevolent and spare people from pain /punishment/retribution you have to be in a position whereby you have the power to exercise your authority to inflict punishment in the first place.", it made me wonder about the whole soft vs hard Aikido debate and how it all relates to the idea of least possible harm when responding to a conflict and whether it's necessary to be in a position to inflict punishment (hard Aikido) in order to not do so (soft Aikido).

As you can see, I've managed, due to my mish-mash of mixed metaphors, to engender a boat load of confusion. But hey, most threads end up addressing tangential issues. I'm finding the responses interesting and informative.

So please, feel free to respond in any manner you see fit. I'm sure it'll be worth the read.

Best,

Ron

O.K. Ron. Statements to do with spare people punishment or pain I find amusing for some reason. It seems such an arrogant view. Like the persons secret ambition is to be judge jury and executioner and a harsh negative one at that.

I think most of history on the negative side is to do with this view of great strength and power in order to bring peace. To me that's normal thinking but not natural. It's nutty think.

Using great force or armies etc obviously brings war, death, destruction. Not doing it brings the opportunity for peace.

In that way of thinking peace can only be defined as a state of no war, hence peacetime.

To me that's not true peace, in other words peace is not a lack of something it's state of harmony. A lack of something is merely a void.

So most history books show negative history, a story of wars and conquests and voids. So no ones ever taught any difference.

Hows that for starters? Anywy got to go training now. Have fun.

G.

thisisnotreal
06-15-2011, 01:29 PM
Ron, maybe this (http://rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12497) ["internal before external"] is an interesting conversation to you.

lbb
06-15-2011, 01:39 PM
O.K. Ron. Statements to do with spare people punishment or pain I find amusing for some reason. It seems such an arrogant view. Like the persons secret ambition is to be judge jury and executioner and a harsh negative one at that.

But it does tie back to the quote in the original post: in order to "spare" someone punishment, you must first be capable of inflicting it. But that's a digression.


Using great force or armies etc obviously brings war, death, destruction. Not doing it brings the opportunity for peace.

In that way of thinking peace can only be defined as a state of no war, hence peacetime.

To me that's not true peace, in other words peace is not a lack of something it's state of harmony. A lack of something is merely a void.

Added emphasis mine, and I agree. In addition to peace not being defined as the absence of war, I would also say it's not a passive thing. Peace takes work: all the things that make it possible for human beings to live together harmoniously take a lot of work, and it never ends. And a lot of it is very practical, getting-your-hands-dirty work, too. Digging a garden, growing food is one of the types of work that is necessary to make peace possible, just as one example. Peace isn't possible if human beings don't have the things they need to survive and thrive.

Hanna B
06-15-2011, 02:08 PM
Anyway, when I read Joe's post "Before you can be benevolent and spare people from pain /punishment/retribution you have to be in a position whereby you have the power to exercise your authority to inflict punishment in the first place.", it made me wonder about the whole soft vs hard Aikido debate and how it all relates to the idea of least possible harm when responding to a conflict and whether it's necessary to be in a position to inflict punishment (hard Aikido) in order to not do so (soft Aikido).


I think it is quite possible to learn effective aikido through supersoft training. I used to be in a line of aikido that is super soft... one has to learn to find the structure, both in your own body and in the "body with four legs" that you create together with your partner. That is usually done by hard grips, not letting tori perform the technique so easily. But it can also be done by enhancing your sensitivity... someone who is good at aikido - or at any type of jujutsu-related art - knows there was a flaw in his or her technique without "not being able to perform the throw". With soft training, you can arrive at this sensitivity much earlier.

BUT I think a much smaller group of the people who train in this way, even of those who train for a long time, will eventually reach street effectiveness. One reason... many of them probaby won't be interested. Another, more aggressive/hard training puts you through other things that are useful in stressful situations. It probably conditions your body more. It probably makes you at least a little bit more used to adrenalin rushes.

If your training never is even the least aggressive, the chances that you'll let someone else's aggressiveness overpower will be greater. But I do know of people who were trained in this way, who still managed to use their aikido successfully in real life. They wouldn't manage every situation, of course. OTOH, who would?

(I only threw a glance at the internal/external training thread, but it seemed to contain some good reasoning somewhat along my lines.)

valjean
06-15-2011, 02:18 PM
Have at it Graham.

The hard before soft title of the thread came from something I read that Tony posted awhile back. To paraphrase, before you can do soft Aikido you must first learn hard Aikido, or something along those lines.

Anyway, when I read Joe's post "Before you can be benevolent and spare people from pain /punishment/retribution you have to be in a position whereby you have the power to exercise your authority to inflict punishment in the first place.", it made me wonder about the whole soft vs hard Aikido debate and how it all relates to the idea of least possible harm when responding to a conflict and whether it's necessary to be in a position to inflict punishment (hard Aikido) in order to not do so (soft Aikido).

As you can see, I've managed, due to my mish-mash of mixed metaphors, to engender a boat load of confusion. But hey, most threads end up addressing tangential issues. I'm finding the responses interesting and informative.

So please, feel free to respond in any manner you see fit. I'm sure it'll be worth the read.

Best,

Ron

Hi Ron. As a relative newcomer to the art (~ 2 years), I'm struck that my instructor will often take the time, when reviewing aikido technique with us, to point out minor modifications that would transform the technique into something really nasty and "hard." I think the aim is to make some of the martial meanings of the movements clear. For someone who is really capable (i.e., not me), benevolence flows from not applying brutal or lethal force, despite the fact that aikido proficiency certainly creates openings for this.

It strikes me though, that this may be a different kind of "hardness" or "strength" in training than what is sometimes discussed in forum. Just based on reading other threads, sometimes "hardness" seems like it may be associated with the direct use of muscular strength in the performance of techniques, as an aid to overcome the balance of an aggressive and actively resisting opponent.

I don't think I've ever seen my instructor do the latter, although maybe I'm not competent to judge. And maybe I'm just misunderstanding what I've read elsewhere in the forum. But that kind of "hardness" (which perhaps is also connected to adjectives like "full force" and "high speed") seems like a somewhat different variation than what comes to my mind when I think of my own instructor.

Mike Sigman
06-15-2011, 02:44 PM
This argument/discussion about "hard" and "soft" ("go" and "ju", ju as in jujitsu) seems to miss what "hard" and "soft" originally referred to.

From:

http://www.judoamerica.com/coachingcorner/kano-kata.shtml

In passing, Gleeson introduces Shao's cosmological structure, making a point of the dichotomy of the static universe into ju (soft) and go (hard) elements. Historically, from the martial arts perspective, this turned out to be less important than the holistic mind-body relationship emphasized by Shao's successor Wang Yang Ming, especially his notion of ju as making the body "soft" or "pliant" to the will 5. This concept was one of the many faces of ju perceived and embraced by Kano. Gleeson makes this allusion, but never offers these details, and to the extent that it does succeed, it misleads. Having introduced the subject, Gleeson fails to offer more critical, more relevant information from Kano's own martial arts lineage. So the reader is left with a shaded, incomplete picture.

Kano extensively studied the Tenjin Shinyo Ryu Jujutsu which is a fusion of Shin no Shindo Ryu and Yoshin Ryu. Yoshin Ryu (Yo, meaning "willow tree," and Shin, meaning "heart or spirit") was de-vised by a doctor from Nagasaki named Shirobei Yoshitoki Akiyama. Akiyama had studied battlefield and healing arts in Japan, and is thought to have been accomplished in Jujutsu. Wishing to extend his knowl-edge, Akiyama went to China to study in the 1600s. There he studied medicine, katsu (life-restoring tech-niques), and various martial arts, especially striking arts and their use as applied to vital areas (kyusho-jutsu). He also studied Taoism, Taoist healing and martial arts, and acu-punc-ture. The centerpiece of the art he created by incorpor-ating his training in China with Japanese methods was a syllabus of 300 techniques. This represented an infusion of the "soft" or "internal" martial arts of China into Japan 6.

The soft or internal arts were known popularly in China as jou-chuan, the characters for which are read in Japanese as "ju-ken," meaning "soft fist." It was common throughout that period to refer to all internal arts by this name. This may have played some role in the eventual popularity of the term jujutsu for these rough-and-tumble martial arts. Kano and others argued that there was nothing "gentle" or "soft" about Jujutsu, and that ju was hardly the over-riding principle of the arts. The arts were called "ju-arts" or jujutsu because they were based on internal methods and ki (internal energy), not because they employed no strength or force 7.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Dazzler
06-15-2011, 02:55 PM
Maybe this is a human problem. Act like if the only real option that we have is to show our teeth and hope that the other understand that if he came a bit more close to our bone, we'll bite him...

The problem is that the other has his own teeth too...

And sometimes, have big teeth is not enough to save you when the other thinks that maybe the bone that you protect with so great care is enough to both of you, or if they think that between them and you, the bone will be better with them.

To me, have the power and do not hurt is not to be "benevolent". Is to show the "teeth" :(

And show the teeth is not to have a choice, because sooner or later you will be caught off guard or outnumbered. Than, have big teeth will not help.

The point is, the need to "protect" yourself through the "strength" (or technique) is really inevitable, or there are other ways?

I think that there are other ways... :)

hmmm ...with all the teeth quotes maybe we've bitten off more than we can chew.

of course there are other ways... but your interpretation that to have power and not use it is 'to show the teeth' could be true...but could also be false.

It would depend on the sitution perhaps?

Regards

D

Hanna B
06-15-2011, 03:01 PM
This argument/discussion about "hard" and "soft" ("go" and "ju", ju as in jujitsu) seems to miss what "hard" and "soft" originally referred to.


Hard and soft are words that are used in many different meanings, in many different walks of life. Their meaning is not patented. The talk about "hard" and "soft" styles of aikido has been around for much longer than the current "aiki trend". I can only speak for myself, but I am not "missing out" your meaning of the term. I am simply using another.

Muscling a technique through, as valjean describes his impression of the term "hard aikido", is not what the term usually means. I think every aikido practitioner who has been around these boards for more than half a dozen years are perfectly aware of this terminology. There may be a connection to the concepts of "internal" and "external" but they are not identical.

Basia Halliop
06-15-2011, 03:10 PM
But do you really? The Swiss come to mind as an example of another way. They have no army to speak of yet have managed to stay out ot two World Wars and a bunch of regional skirmishes.

The Swiss are strange and are a more complicated example than I think your quote suggests... they seem to believe more in neutrality than in non-violence per se - they have a policy that's something along the lines of, not to get involved if they aren't directly attacked. I don't know how big their army actually is or how it ranks in terms of planes and tanks, etc, but they have mandatory military service for all able bodied males and voluntary for women - so a huge percentage of their adult population is basically a member of the army. They have militias and are required to maintain their weapons and keep them at home, hence have very high rates of gun ownership with, according to a quick google search, an estimated 1-3 million guns in a total population of about 7 million, including some half a million military issue assault rifles kept at home.

Mike Sigman
06-15-2011, 03:17 PM
Hard and soft are words that are used in many different meanings, in many different walks of life. Their meaning is not patented. The talk about "hard" and "soft" styles of aikido has been around for much longer than the current "aiki trend". I can only speak for myself, but I am not "missing out" your meaning of the term. I am simply using another.

Muscling a technique through, as valjean describes his impression of the term "hard aikido", is not what the term usually means. I think every aikido practitioner who has been around these boards for more than half a dozen years are perfectly aware of this terminology. There may be a connection to the concepts of "internal" and "external" but they are not identical.

Oh.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master that's all.'

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. 'They've a temper, some of them particularly verbs: they're the proudest adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'

'Would you tell me please,' said Alice, 'what that means?'

'Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. 'I meant by "impenetrability" that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'

'That's a great deal to make one word mean,' Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

'When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'I always pay it extra.'

'Oh!' said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other remark.

lbb
06-15-2011, 03:18 PM
Heh, my thought about the Swiss was that before the advent of modern warfare, they were protected by living in difficult terrain that no one else wanted, and that after the advent of modern warfare, they have been protected by having control of everyone's money.

Hanna B
06-15-2011, 03:19 PM
Oh.

Yes indeed, sir.

Or perhaps you have changed the entire aikido terminology in the last few years? That would be interesting, indeed.

I have trained in the softest, danciest aikido there is. I even used to have "Say it loud, I'm a dancer and I'm proud" as a signature line. I wouldn't claim it to be the most internal one, though... are you telling me I'm wrong? :D Then everybody should arrange seminars with me instead of with you and Dan Harden...

Tony Wagstaffe
06-15-2011, 03:21 PM
I personally think that the hard & soft scenario is being able to adapt your technique to suit the situation. I have used both in real situations depending on the ferocity of the attack and the strength of the assailant.... IE: Do I do atemi if my assailant attacks hard? You bet your life I do! If they just grab hold of me and I am able to execute a softer atemi or lock, yes.... It has varied from time to time and there is no set way.....In other words adapt to your situation..... Hard or soft.
One should practice both in equal quantities. When I say hard I mean from an uke who will not collude with you and jump off with the slightest suggestion. Someone who is willing to make it difficult for you to find the least path of resistance so you are able to explore how they react to your movement and so forth. It doesn't mean you have to beat the sh1t out of eachother, but as a tool for finding your weaknesses and strengths....

Mike Sigman
06-15-2011, 03:26 PM
Or perhaps you have changed the entire aikido terminology in the last few years? That would be interesting, indeed.
Aikijujitsu. Well, I don't think that *I* have changed anything, but if you think about it, there is a distinct overlap in the discussion. Regardless, I'm not about to face a raging soft-dancer for the sake of a couple of words. ;)

Mike

Hanna B
06-15-2011, 03:29 PM
Aikijujitsu.

The topic of this web board still is aikido. Not aikijujutsu.

Tony Wagstaffe
06-15-2011, 03:34 PM
Yes indeed, sir.

Or perhaps you have changed the entire aikido terminology in the last few years? That would be interesting, indeed.

I have trained in the softest, danciest aikido there is. I even used to have "Say it loud, I'm a dancer and I'm proud" as a signature line. I wouldn't claim it to be the most internal one, though... are you telling me I'm wrong? :D Then everybody should arrange seminars with me instead of with you and Dan Harden...

That sounds interesting.....:D

lbb
06-15-2011, 05:48 PM
"I may define terms as suits me, but when you have the nerve to suggest that I don't own the language, you are humpty-dumptying." Is that the message?

hughrbeyer
06-15-2011, 07:29 PM
As originally stated--"Before you can be benevolent and spare people from pain /punishment/retribution you have to be in a position ... to inflict punishment in the first place"--it's obviously false. It doesn't take much thinking to see it.

Take Martin Luther King in this country. He didn't have the power to inflict any sort of punishment--cause a few riots, maybe, is all--yet he led a movement that spared many people pain, on both sides of the racial divide. Having a big stick and a belligerent attitude doesn't guarantee peace, just that people will leave you alone until someone bigger comes along.

But I do think my aikido has to work martially or I'm wasting my time. Some rambling thoughts as to why:

From weakness comes fear, and from fear comes belligerence. The confidence to deal with a situation as it is, without feeling like you must beat down and overwhelm, comes from knowing you have valid options--that you know how to respond. Aikido teaches a range of responses. It teaches how to respond to big strong attackers as well as small quick attackers. It teaches how to respond even when you feel overwhelmed and overmatched.

Physical and mental responses are not separate, any more than mind and body are separate. Aikido teaches a response based on centeredness, self-awareness, and self-sufficiency--it teaches not to be drawn off balance or over-extend or overcommit no matter what uke does or doesn't do.

Nonetheless, aikido teaches how to be aware of the attacker and understand their attack. It teaches you to see mechanical flaws in balance and posture (good), to blend with their movement and lead them off-balance (better) and to accept their attack and neutralize it in your own centeredness (best, in my value system, which you don't have to buy into).

But it won't do any of this if you don't have a martially valid situation. If you're not dealing with real attacks, with the potential to do some harm if you screw up, you aren't really practicing any of the above.

And hard vs. soft? Meh. If your soft aikido can neutralize my hard attack, it's good. If your hard aikido creates openings for me to get at you, it's bad. That's all.

Tony Wagstaffe
06-15-2011, 07:49 PM
As originally stated--"Before you can be benevolent and spare people from pain /punishment/retribution you have to be in a position ... to inflict punishment in the first place"--it's obviously false. It doesn't take much thinking to see it.

Take Martin Luther King in this country. He didn't have the power to inflict any sort of punishment--cause a few riots, maybe, is all--yet he led a movement that spared many people pain, on both sides of the racial divide. Having a big stick and a belligerent attitude doesn't guarantee peace, just that people will leave you alone until someone bigger comes along.

But I do think my aikido has to work martially or I'm wasting my time. Some rambling thoughts as to why:

From weakness comes fear, and from fear comes belligerence. The confidence to deal with a situation as it is, without feeling like you must beat down and overwhelm, comes from knowing you have valid options--that you know how to respond. Aikido teaches a range of responses. It teaches how to respond to big strong attackers as well as small quick attackers. It teaches how to respond even when you feel overwhelmed and overmatched.

Physical and mental responses are not separate, any more than mind and body are separate. Aikido teaches a response based on centeredness, self-awareness, and self-sufficiency--it teaches not to be drawn off balance or over-extend or overcommit no matter what uke does or doesn't do.

Nonetheless, aikido teaches how to be aware of the attacker and understand their attack. It teaches you to see mechanical flaws in balance and posture (good), to blend with their movement and lead them off-balance (better) and to accept their attack and neutralize it in your own centeredness (best, in my value system, which you don't have to buy into).

But it won't do any of this if you don't have a martially valid situation. If you're not dealing with real attacks, with the potential to do some harm if you screw up, you aren't really practicing any of the above.

And hard vs. soft? Meh. If your soft aikido can neutralize my hard attack, it's good. If your hard aikido creates openings for me to get at you, it's bad. That's all.

How about receive softly, put down hard to make sure you don't have to repeat yourself.... dodgy

lbb
06-15-2011, 08:05 PM
Hugh, I think you're not making the distinction between alleviating others' pain/making others' situation better, and refraining from causing others' pain. Not that the former isn't worth talking about, but the original statement concerns the practice of restraint.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
06-16-2011, 02:29 AM
Maybe off topic, maybe another facet in this conversation:

I once mentioned the distinction hard/soft in a conversation with one of my main teachers who is usually perceived as very tough. He looked at me as if I was a little slow in learning and said something to the extent of: "If your aikido is good, you can express yourself in a hard way or in a soft way. If it is bad, there is no use making excuses about it being hard or soft." That about settled the matter for me regarding the application of technique.

Beyond technique, I find the idea that one needs to be powerful in order to chose peace persuasive, but (as others have said in other words) it really begs the question what power is, which for me is a kind of koan at the heart of aikido, and not easily settled. We mostly tend to give the answer that is easiest for us, I guess, and thereby possibly miss the lesson that is to be learned.

graham christian
06-16-2011, 04:19 AM
But it does tie back to the quote in the original post: in order to "spare" someone punishment, you must first be capable of inflicting it. But that's a digression.

Added emphasis mine, and I agree. In addition to peace not being defined as the absence of war, I would also say it's not a passive thing. Peace takes work: all the things that make it possible for human beings to live together harmoniously take a lot of work, and it never ends. And a lot of it is very practical, getting-your-hands-dirty work, too. Digging a garden, growing food is one of the types of work that is necessary to make peace possible, just as one example. Peace isn't possible if human beings don't have the things they need to survive and thrive.

Like the gardening analogy. Thumbs up from me.

Regards.G.

graham christian
06-16-2011, 04:46 AM
Hi Ron. As a relative newcomer to the art (~ 2 years), I'm struck that my instructor will often take the time, when reviewing aikido technique with us, to point out minor modifications that would transform the technique into something really nasty and "hard." I think the aim is to make some of the martial meanings of the movements clear. For someone who is really capable (i.e., not me), benevolence flows from not applying brutal or lethal force, despite the fact that aikido proficiency certainly creates openings for this.

It strikes me though, that this may be a different kind of "hardness" or "strength" in training than what is sometimes discussed in forum. Just based on reading other threads, sometimes "hardness" seems like it may be associated with the direct use of muscular strength in the performance of techniques, as an aid to overcome the balance of an aggressive and actively resisting opponent.

I don't think I've ever seen my instructor do the latter, although maybe I'm not competent to judge. And maybe I'm just misunderstanding what I've read elsewhere in the forum. But that kind of "hardness" (which perhaps is also connected to adjectives like "full force" and "high speed") seems like a somewhat different variation than what comes to my mind when I think of my own instructor.

Hi Michael.
Hope you don't mind me coming in here as your post was addressed to Ron. (I'm sure he'll get back to you) However I did like what you said, especially the first paragraph.

On those minor modifications to techniques and showing the differences, yes I love it. I personally wouldn't use the word hard there and would prefer to use the word harsh.

For example if you take shihonage. I insist in my Aikido that on the last part of it you must return the ukes hand to the inside of his shoulder by the base of the neck.(physical) Geometrically I say that must be a circle. Ki wise I say you must return their Ki back to their centre line. Sword wise I say how it's two cuts and that second cut must be down the centre line. These I don't call harsh yet they must also be very definite.

On the other hand I show how returning the hand to a position outside of the shoulder is not only out of alignment but also very harsh. This way also has variations, all harsh. Very useful for ripping out ligaments and tearing tendons so no doubt very effective for the purpose of disabling, much more pertinent to a battle field.
(Or for those with malevolent intent) However, not allowed as standard practice in my dojo.

Thanks for the post. G.

graham christian
06-16-2011, 05:04 AM
Yes indeed, sir.

Or perhaps you have changed the entire aikido terminology in the last few years? That would be interesting, indeed.

I have trained in the softest, danciest aikido there is. I even used to have "Say it loud, I'm a dancer and I'm proud" as a signature line. I wouldn't claim it to be the most internal one, though... are you telling me I'm wrong? :D Then everybody should arrange seminars with me instead of with you and Dan Harden...

Well said Hanna.

Give some people a few 'internal principles' from some chinese arts and let them study them, get a load of historical 'facts' about them, learn some benefits of them and hey presto theyre experts on Aikido, their taking it to new heights, their experts on yoga, on Ki , on chi, on O'Sensei, on Tohei et al. Wow!

Some are experts on Aikido and can't do Aikido. Now that's quite an ability you must admit.

Some boast how a shihan couldn't do his Aikido on them. In their mind that makes them superior and leads them to think they know more about the core of Aikido than that Shihan. Amazing.

I found a way to stop a boxer hitting me so I must be the holder of a secret basic fundamental principle of boxing mmm. I'd better package that, dress it up and change the face of boxing forever!!! Hallelujah.

It's all good fun . G.

Jauch
06-16-2011, 05:36 AM
hmmm ...with all the teeth quotes maybe we've bitten off more than we can chew.

of course there are other ways... but your interpretation that to have power and not use it is 'to show the teeth' could be true...but could also be false.

It would depend on the sitution perhaps?

Regards

D

Hello Daren :)

Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong, maybe none of it. :)

I agree that, generally speaking, be able to defend ourselves is neither wrong nor right. It's simple a nature fact. If good sense was the rule in our species, we would be living in a much better world. But it isn't. :eek:

The question is that the assumption that to be "bigger" will lead to a "peace situation", or at least to a "less war situation" like in the best solution possible, is obviously a false statement. Seek to be the "strongest" in order to have the "choice" to not inflict "pain" (in a very general manner), isn't the best "behaviour", because this is really acting like an animal that to keep others away, show the "teeth". Sometimes it will work, but often this will lead to conflicts, just what it tries to avoid.

If sometimes show the teeth is the "best" we can do to try to avoid a conflict, then, at some point before, we have failed. As a "species", do not starts a conflict will bring peace? No. Peace is something that exists only if working actively towards it.

Show the teeth is always an act that originates in fear, like every aggression is also an act of fear, even if this is not so apparent.

I think that learn to see the fear in the other and in ourselves is the first step in a path that we must walk in order to actively work toward peace.

;)

RonRagusa
06-16-2011, 05:56 AM
Hi Ron. As a relative newcomer to the art (~ 2 years), I'm struck that my instructor will often take the time, when reviewing aikido technique with us, to point out minor modifications that would transform the technique into something really nasty and "hard." I think the aim is to make some of the martial meanings of the movements clear. For someone who is really capable (i.e., not me), benevolence flows from not applying brutal or lethal force, despite the fact that aikido proficiency certainly creates openings for this.

It strikes me though, that this may be a different kind of "hardness" or "strength" in training than what is sometimes discussed in forum. Just based on reading other threads, sometimes "hardness" seems like it may be associated with the direct use of muscular strength in the performance of techniques, as an aid to overcome the balance of an aggressive and actively resisting opponent.

I don't think I've ever seen my instructor do the latter, although maybe I'm not competent to judge. And maybe I'm just misunderstanding what I've read elsewhere in the forum. But that kind of "hardness" (which perhaps is also connected to adjectives like "full force" and "high speed") seems like a somewhat different variation than what comes to my mind when I think of my own instructor.

Hi Michael -

My usage of the terms hard and soft are meant to be metaphorical. I see "hard" Aikido as being primarily concerned with the imposition of nage's will upon uke and controlling all aspects of the encounter. I see "soft" Aikido as eschewing the idea of control altogether and letting the technique arise naturally from the nature of the encounter.

Of course reality isn't so black and white and there are innumerable shades of gray in-between both extremes. The original, and poorly rendered I might add, question of this thread concerned whether or not one must first learn hard Aikido before being able to master the softer side of the art.

Best,

Ron

RonRagusa
06-16-2011, 06:07 AM
Beyond technique, I find the idea that one needs to be powerful in order to chose peace persuasive, but (as others have said in other words) it really begs the question what power is, which for me is a kind of koan at the heart of aikido, and not easily settled.

That question deserves a thread of it's own Nicholas. I especially like the koan reference in your post, I think it all practitioners come up against at some point in their study.

Best,

Ron

graham christian
06-16-2011, 06:21 AM
Heh, my thought about the Swiss was that before the advent of modern warfare, they were protected by living in difficult terrain that no one else wanted, and that after the advent of modern warfare, they have been protected by having control of everyone's money.

Now that's a very astute observation. Interesting.

As to your farming analogy it's had me looking further at the title of hard before soft. My observations:

First the study and practice, the discipline of doing so, that's hard. Once you get better aquainted and more comfortable with the method of study and practice (after getting your hands dirty) the process remains the same but to you it's easier, softer.

Then there's the application or practice on it's own. Of course it starts off very hard, very physical only and uncoordinated plus with the usual reaction of if in doubt or under pressure revert to more force. So hard comes first.

Later you may get pretty competent but are training with pretty competent or better adversaries. Then keeping in the discipline, the principles becomes hard and you have the same cycle of progress.

Same cycle repeated throughout.

Regards.G.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
06-16-2011, 06:26 AM
I especially like the koan reference in your post, I think it all practitioners come up against at some point in their study.

Best,

Ron

Hi Ron,
I am indebted to John Crook's presentation of Ch'an there: he likes to say that many of us, if not all, have a 'life koan' at the heart of our inquiry. My own take ist that, for many people passionate about martial arts, this is a life koan having to do with power and peace, conflict and connection. And in aikido, quite possibly, hard and soft.

My current thinking is that we tend to get stuck with our habitual way of responding to those topics (we like hard, we like soft) and often fail to acknowledge that it may precisely the other aspect that we may be missing.

Jauch
06-16-2011, 06:27 AM
Hi Michael -

My usage of the terms hard and soft are meant to be metaphorical. I see "hard" Aikido as being primarily concerned with the imposition of nage's will upon uke and controlling all aspects of the encounter. I see "soft" Aikido as eschewing the idea of control altogether and letting the technique arise naturally from the nature of the encounter.

Of course reality isn't so black and white and there are innumerable shades of gray in-between both extremes. The original, and poorly rendered I might add, question of this thread concerned whether or not one must first learn hard Aikido before being able to master the softer side of the art.

Best,

Ron

Hi, Ron. :)

Now your question is much more clear to me. :D

I think that we do not have a choice in this matter. :rolleyes:

To me, aiki, when applied to a physical encounter (in a training, for example), and by a physical point of view, is about to get all the energy that the partner is using to hit/grab you and "dissipate" it, usually in an immobilization or a throw.

To accomplish this, we must be "sensitive" to the other/surrounds, so that there is no need to "think" in what must be done. This would be your "soft" aikido.

It's impossible to get to this point if you have your mind stressed, if you feel aggressive or if you are in a "defensive" state, etc. In other words, it's impossible to do aiki if you have fear, even if it's difficult to see it.

The problem is that usually we are always in a fear state, almost all the time in our lives, not only in the tatame. Because this, our body is conditioned to certain responses that is incompatible with aiki.

We must learn, first, to overcome our own defences and automatic responses.

So, before you can simple let things happen, you must pass by the "hard" aikido step.
In this step, that starts with us learning to move ourselves in ways that we wouldn't before. We will be, most of time, thinking instead of feeling, because we are yet learning.

It's the type of training that we do and our own focus and objectives that will accelerate slow or even prevent us from getting to the soft aikido. :)

graham christian
06-16-2011, 07:27 AM
Ron. Such an innocuous looking thread and yet I'm finding it very thought provoking.

Metaphorical views, practical views, cyclical views, all kinds and most pertinent.

On looking for a common denominator ('a' not 'the') I am noticing the degree of hardness is proportional to the degree of ignorance.

Now ignorance shouldn't be seen as a put down or a belittlement but rather as a fact. I found some people in life hate to admit they don't know something and would get extremely embarassed just by saying 'I don't know' Some people find it strange when I blatantly say I don't know to a question of theirs. It's almost like you musn't say that or you can't just say that. Hence the word ignorance can induce discomfort.

However it shouldn't. There are many things I am ignorant of. When it comes to the ins and outs of computers I would say I'm quite ignorant, I don't know that much about their insides or even software and usage and I still type with two fingers. Thus many things and solving problems when they arise to do with computers are to that degree harder to me. Some of my solutions therefore are unaligned, don't solve the problem, ignorant. Sometimes I might use force, very ignorant.

Now in Aikido I hold to the AIM which is soft, no excuses. With that I acknowledge the process you need to go through to achieve the aim. But I do therefore know that when its hard or too forceful or even too harsh then although that's part of the cycle it is also due to my not aligning the principles correctly, my ignorance.

That don't mean it's wrong it means it needs to be seen as it is.
It's not optimum. Then the question becomes but am I getting better?, am I improving? etc. to put it all into perspective.

2cents.G

mrlizard123
06-16-2011, 07:40 AM
Hi Michael -

My usage of the terms hard and soft are meant to be metaphorical. I see "hard" Aikido as being primarily concerned with the imposition of nage's will upon uke and controlling all aspects of the encounter. I see "soft" Aikido as eschewing the idea of control altogether and letting the technique arise naturally from the nature of the encounter.

Of course reality isn't so black and white and there are innumerable shades of gray in-between both extremes. The original, and poorly rendered I might add, question of this thread concerned whether or not one must first learn hard Aikido before being able to master the softer side of the art.

Best,

Ron

If someone tries to hit you over the head, you prevent them, regardless of the means, have you not just imposed your will on them? They wanted to hit you, you didn't want them to, you got your way.

Quite a simplistic example but I hope my point clear; I think it is not as simple as "imposing will" since you "allowing" a technique to occur does involve some will on your part otherwise we wouldn't need to learn aikido just walk round with a "what will be will be" attitude wouldn't we?

I'm not suggesting that the technique being dictated by the circumstance is wrong, just that this could be seen as imposing your will, albeit more "subtlely" perhaps.

Mary Eastland
06-16-2011, 08:20 AM
"If someone tries to hit you over the head, you prevent them, regardless of the means, have you not just imposed your will on them? They wanted to hit you, you didn't want them to, you got your way."



Another way to say this is that you prevented them for imposing their will on you by blending with their movement and energy thus creating harmony. It takes a lot of courage, confidence and training to be able to do this, hence the call for more and more training.

sakumeikan
06-16-2011, 09:16 AM
The Swiss are strange and are a more complicated example than I think your quote suggests... they seem to believe more in neutrality than in non-violence per se - they have a policy that's something along the lines of, not to get involved if they aren't directly attacked. I don't know how big their army actually is or how it ranks in terms of planes and tanks, etc, but they have mandatory military service for all able bodied males and voluntary for women - so a huge percentage of their adult population is basically a member of the army. They have militias and are required to maintain their weapons and keep them at home, hence have very high rates of gun ownership with, according to a quick google search, an estimated 1-3 million guns in a total population of about 7 million, including some half a million military issue assault rifles kept at home.
Dear Basia,
Why should the Swiss[and any other inteligent country ] go to war unless being threatened directly ? The Swiss being intelligent people simply sit back and coin in the money stashed away by would be dictators/dictators / greedy politicians etc.Think of all the private safety deposit boxes in Zurich.As for the Swiss Army sounds like Dads Army.Sounds like a good defence system [not ] against missiles/tanks /Harrier jets.
Cheers, Joe

phitruong
06-16-2011, 09:29 AM
looking though all the posts and saw nobody mentioned the bedroom conditions :D

the asian model of yin-yang, hard-soft, is about balance. you can't have one without the other. sometimes you need hard, other times you need soft. some buggers need to be kill and some need to be save. some need to be led down the floor gently, others need to be drill into the floor (some might like it and ask for more for they might enjoy the sore since they have masochist tendency at the core and some might say "no more! never more!". yet other might still implore or laugh or exclaim "blimey! cor!" :)

sakumeikan
06-16-2011, 09:33 AM
As originally stated--"Before you can be benevolent and spare people from pain /punishment/retribution you have to be in a position ... to inflict punishment in the first place"--it's obviously false. It doesn't take much thinking to see it.

Take Martin Luther King in this country. He didn't have the power to inflict any sort of punishment--cause a few riots, maybe, is all--yet he led a movement that spared many people pain, on both sides of the racial divide. Having a big stick and a belligerent attitude doesn't guarantee peace, just that people will leave you alone until someone bigger comes along.

But I do think my aikido has to work martially or I'm wasting my time. Some rambling thoughts as to why:

From weakness comes fear, and from fear comes belligerence. The confidence to deal with a situation as it is, without feeling like you must beat down and overwhelm, comes from knowing you have valid options--that you know how to respond. Aikido teaches a range of responses. It teaches how to respond to big strong attackers as well as small quick attackers. It teaches how to respond even when you feel overwhelmed and overmatched.

Physical and mental responses are not separate, any more than mind and body are separate. Aikido teaches a response based on centeredness, self-awareness, and self-sufficiency--it teaches not to be drawn off balance or over-extend or overcommit no matter what uke does or doesn't do.

Nonetheless, aikido teaches how to be aware of the attacker and understand their attack. It teaches you to see mechanical flaws in balance and posture (good), to blend with their movement and lead them off-balance (better) and to accept their attack and neutralize it in your own centeredness (best, in my value system, which you don't have to buy into).

But it won't do any of this if you don't have a martially valid situation. If you're not dealing with real attacks, with the potential to do some harm if you screw up, you aren't really practicing any of the above.

And hard vs. soft? Meh. If your soft aikido can neutralize my hard attack, it's good. If your hard aikido creates openings for me to get at you, it's bad. That's all.
Dear Hugh,
I used the phrase walk softly /big stick as an analogy.
Who said anything about be belligerent?Martin Luther King was the peaceful side of the racial stuff .What about the Black Panthers?They were not in the Boy Scout movement.Malcolm X also was initially against 'Whitey' and did not preach universal brotherhood.
Sad to say human nature will take advantage of the weak.
As far as hard /soft in aikido is concerned I think the Aikido body has to be tempered /forged by severe training.Of course this is not fashionable nowadays.Most if not all the early Uchi deshi of O Sensei endured a very severe routine.
Cheers, Joe.

Jauch
06-16-2011, 09:38 AM
Dear Basia,
Why should the Swiss[and any other inteligent country ] go to war unless being threatened directly ? The Swiss being intelligent people simply sit back and coin in the money stashed away by would be dictators/dictators / greedy politicians etc.Think of all the private safety deposit boxes in Zurich.As for the Swiss Army sounds like Dads Army.Sounds like a good defence system [not ] against missiles/tanks /Harrier jets.
Cheers, Joe

Hi Joe :)

A friend of mine, that is swiss, told me something about pay a fee every year to avoid something related to the army (and he is between his 40's and 50's). He is against war and is a comunist too. He is really a good person :)

Anyway, Swiss found a way to survive in a chaotic world (even more in Europe, with all their wars since way before the Greeks...).

Probably is not the most ethical way of life, since almost all the "economic resources" that ends there are the product of human exploitation.

But again, with all that are talking here are, in a direct or indirect way, exploits others human beings. Chinese, Indian, the poor in our own countries, etc.

The question is: why ANYONE would go to WAR?
Maybe someone will answer that sometimes this is inevitable, to defend a country of being invaded, etc.

But again, why a country would like to invade other country?

Maybe because instead everyone being working towards a common goal (social human developing, for example), we insists in explore others and excuse our actions with thoughts like "the world is for the smart", "be the best or take the consequences" and other foolish ideas.

And we bring this type of thoughts to our aikido training, instead learning something good there and go put it in action out of tatamae.

We stay at the "hard" aikido (like in the concept of Ron), instead go ahead.

jonreading
06-16-2011, 09:45 AM
I appreciate the perspectives and am finding this thread an interesting read. I don't want to derail the thread, but I'll throw out some additional comments:

1. Harmony does not have a virtue. The imposition of one's will onto another is manipulation. Sometimes harmony sucks. I think we need to understand that want we are really saying is, "I'm all about harmony as long as I get to do what I want [to]." O'Sensei said the pursuit of aikido is about understanding the universal truth. We are to act as interpreters who better understand what is going on and act in a manner to preserve a greater thing. So we are manipulating "harmony" to our perspective.
2. The variations of definitions will kill us. I have noticed this trend in aikido to re-define terminology as we see fit, often different from the original definition. I understand we have a language and culture barrier, but eventually the terms will degrade because there is no factual basis for them.

I think something Mike [Sigman] brought up is important. Here is a clear definition of hard and soft and I read several posts that dismissed the definition. Mike didn't make up that stuff... we just no longer want to use that definition...it has become contrary to how we do aikido so we are simply dismissing the term.

We need to be careful in our use of language. Dancy-aikido is either dance or aikido. Aikido is an internal art - you either have internal power from the training, or you do not. As Hanna suggested, I would prefer to receive dance lessons from a dancer, not a martial artist. I would prefer to receive martial arts instructor from a martial artist, not a dancer. But once we start confusing the two...

RonRagusa
06-16-2011, 09:55 AM
If someone tries to hit you over the head, you prevent them, regardless of the means, have you not just imposed your will on them? They wanted to hit you, you didn't want them to, you got your way.

Quite a simplistic example but I hope my point clear; I think it is not as simple as "imposing will" since you "allowing" a technique to occur does involve some will on your part otherwise we wouldn't need to learn aikido just walk round with a "what will be will be" attitude wouldn't we?

I'm not suggesting that the technique being dictated by the circumstance is wrong, just that this could be seen as imposing your will, albeit more "subtlely" perhaps.

Hi Rich -

Imposing my will on someone is forcing him to do something he does not want to do. For instance, if as nage I attempt to execute a shihonage throw and uke does not move where I expect him to I can crank on his wrist and shoulder to force him to move where I want him to (hard). I can impose my will on him. On the other hand if I instead adapt my motion to conform to his I can follow the circumstance as it unfolds and execute the technique at a point where it emerges naturally from our interaction (soft).

The difference is more than one of descriptive language. Approaching Aikido training from either point of view requires a distinct mindset on the part of the student in order to grasp the concepts underlying the physical training.

Best,

Ron

phitruong
06-16-2011, 10:03 AM
I would prefer to receive dance lessons from a dancer, not a martial artist. I would prefer to receive martial arts instructor from a martial artist, not a dancer. But once we start confusing the two...

ran into a guy when i took hapkido years ago. he stood out among the many black belts. his timing and distance and smoothness and balance and everything he did was incredible and perfect. found out later that he also taught ballroom dancing and figure skating. sometimes it's hard to differentiate the two.

RonRagusa
06-16-2011, 10:16 AM
Hi, Ron. :)

Now your question is much more clear to me. :D

I think that we do not have a choice in this matter. :rolleyes:

To me, aiki, when applied to a physical encounter (in a training, for example), and by a physical point of view, is about to get all the energy that the partner is using to hit/grab you and "dissipate" it, usually in an immobilization or a throw.

To accomplish this, we must be "sensitive" to the other/surrounds, so that there is no need to "think" in what must be done. This would be your "soft" aikido.

It's impossible to get to this point if you have your mind stressed, if you feel aggressive or if you are in a "defensive" state, etc. In other words, it's impossible to do aiki if you have fear, even if it's difficult to see it.

The problem is that usually we are always in a fear state, almost all the time in our lives, not only in the tatame. Because this, our body is conditioned to certain responses that is incompatible with aiki.

We must learn, first, to overcome our own defences and automatic responses.

So, before you can simple let things happen, you must pass by the "hard" aikido step.
In this step, that starts with us learning to move ourselves in ways that we wouldn't before. We will be, most of time, thinking instead of feeling, because we are yet learning.

It's the type of training that we do and our own focus and objectives that will accelerate slow or even prevent us from getting to the soft aikido. :)

Hi Eduardo -

Interesting thoughts. I do believe there is a natural progression from hard to soft regardless of the form one learns at the outset.

Best,

Ron

Amir Krause
06-16-2011, 11:00 AM
Seems to me people here have changed the meaning of the terms: "hard" and "soft", those terms are related to the way one moves and emplys his techniques, not to their efficiency/ effect/ potential for damage/ ...
Softness is about feeling the other, being sensitive to his movements and intentions. softnessis also about own power gneration - supported by the all body in a supple no rigid way. All of these are also connected to harmoney - moving with the other, and not against his moves.

The way I have been taught,claims one has to be softifone wishes to have ability. Aikido techniques are nearly impossibleto implement against resisteance if one is hard, if one is really soft, the resistance tends to disapear (and often one should change his technique in the process).

In this usage of terms, "soft" requires one to be strong, like the tiger, and not weak. "Soft" does not equal giving up to any resistance, rather feeling it before hand and channeling the new vector into ones own movement.

To be soft implies awareness, because of that, if is soft, he should be benoulovant and not remain malouvent. But, again, that does not equal letting an attackerget away, rather, adjasting the response to the specific situaiton.

Amir

****
As for the swiss, to the best of my knowledge, their army has been considered as one of the strongest armiesfor many centuries (no accident the pope guard is called "swiss guard").

As for wars, one main reason for those is dispute over resources, which could be land, gas, fuel, watter, money or people. Or any cmbination there after. Add to this the natural human "dislike of strangers" - important for groups survival in the past (shown even among apes). Humans define own groups in many ways - nation, religion, etc.

Amir

mrlizard123
06-16-2011, 11:09 AM
Hi Rich -

Imposing my will on someone is forcing him to do something he does not want to do. For instance, if as nage I attempt to execute a shihonage throw and uke does not move where I expect him to I can crank on his wrist and shoulder to force him to move where I want him to (hard). I can impose my will on him. On the other hand if I instead adapt my motion to conform to his I can follow the circumstance as it unfolds and execute the technique at a point where it emerges naturally from our interaction (soft).

The difference is more than one of descriptive language. Approaching Aikido training from either point of view requires a distinct mindset on the part of the student in order to grasp the concepts underlying the physical training.

Best,

Ron

You expect uke to move one way, they move another, uke doesn't want to have shihonage done to them (otherwise why would you need to crank it? I could let you do it from anywhere) so you adjust and more softly/smoothly apply your technique to them. You have softly imposed your will over uke.

Not saying malicious, just will was imposed.

sakumeikan
06-16-2011, 11:39 AM
Hi Joe :)

A friend of mine, that is swiss, told me something about pay a fee every year to avoid something related to the army (and he is between his 40's and 50's). He is against war and is a comunist too. He is really a good person :)

Anyway, Swiss found a way to survive in a chaotic world (even more in Europe, with all their wars since way before the Greeks...).

Probably is not the most ethical way of life, since almost all the "economic resources" that ends there are the product of human exploitation.

But again, with all that are talking here are, in a direct or indirect way, exploits others human beings. Chinese, Indian, the poor in our own countries, etc.

The question is: why ANYONE would go to WAR?
Maybe someone will answer that sometimes this is inevitable, to defend a country of being invaded, etc.

But again, why a country would like to invade other country?

Maybe because instead everyone being working towards a common goal (social human developing, for example), we insists in explore others and excuse our actions with thoughts like "the world is for the smart", "be the best or take the consequences" and other foolish ideas.

And we bring this type of thoughts to our aikido training, instead learning something good there and go put it in action out of tatamae.

We stay at the "hard" aikido (like in the concept of Ron), instead go ahead.
Dear Eduardo,
How about oil?Natural reserves? Make cash from armament sales?Neo Colonialism?Lebensraum?Plenty of reasons why one country would invade another.Think Iraq.Cheers, Joe.

RonRagusa
06-16-2011, 12:07 PM
You expect uke to move one way, they move another, uke doesn't want to have shihonage done to them (otherwise why would you need to crank it? I could let you do it from anywhere) so you adjust and more softly/smoothly apply your technique to them. You have softly imposed your will over uke.

Not saying malicious, just will was imposed.

I understand what you're saying Rich.

Best,

Ron

Cliff Judge
06-16-2011, 12:36 PM
The question is: why ANYONE would go to WAR?
Maybe someone will answer that sometimes this is inevitable, to defend a country of being invaded, etc.

But again, why a country would like to invade other country?


If you've invested in defense, war is obviously a way to make a lot of money.

Its also a good way to secure a position of power in a democratic society, particularly if your people tend to be scared and uneducated.

Jauch
06-16-2011, 06:43 PM
As for wars, one main reason for those is dispute over resources, which could be land, gas, fuel, watter, money or people. Or any cmbination there after. Add to this the natural human "dislike of strangers" - important for groups survival in the past (shown even among apes). Humans define own groups in many ways - nation, religion, etc.

Amir

Dear Eduardo,
How about oil?Natural reserves? Make cash from armament sales?Neo Colonialism?Lebensraum?Plenty of reasons why one country would invade another.Think Iraq.Cheers, Joe.

If you've invested in defense, war is obviously a way to make a lot of money.

Its also a good way to secure a position of power in a democratic society, particularly if your people tend to be scared and uneducated.

Hi people :)

I think all this goes in "etc". haha :D
It's easy to find many reasons why a country goes to a war.

Like I said before, the reason why we are at war since the beginning of time is that we have fear and think that exploit others is the only way to guarantee (or improve) our "way of life".

The same happens in Aikido. Most of time, because of fear (even if it is not visible to us), we try to "exploit" the other, try to overcome him.

Using what Amir said (and I agree, if I understand), this is to be "hard" aikido, because this leads to a great difficult to achieve a empty mind so that the "universe" is able to tell us what must be done.
Maybe a little shift in our training mind set can change our "hard" aikido into "soft" aikido.

But is really difficult to do this. And the wars are out there to prove how difficult is to change our way of thinking.

Jauch
06-16-2011, 07:00 PM
You expect uke to move one way, they move another, uke doesn't want to have shihonage done to them (otherwise why would you need to crank it? I could let you do it from anywhere) so you adjust and more softly/smoothly apply your technique to them. You have softly imposed your will over uke.

Not saying malicious, just will was imposed.

Hi Rich :)

I'm a little confused.

Seems to me that one of the themes discussed here is the need to adapt our movement to uke's movement AFTER the attack have been initiated, in the case the uke move in an unexpected way AFTER we are doing something (like a shiho nage).

This, to me, sounds like "lack of control".

After the attack starts and nage and uke join the movement, the nage must be in "control".
If the uke has "space" to do something unexpected, it's a failure of nage.

I will (try to) enter a shiho nage only if I have control enough to be sure that the uke can not "avoid" it. It's dangerous to the uke and for me trying to apply a technique if the uke is not "dominated".

In fact, the "control" must be gained when the movement starts... The technique (shiho nage, ni kyo, it kyo, etc) is only to "show" the uke that what he is trying to achieve (hit me or grab me) is useless...

No? :confused:

graham christian
06-16-2011, 08:36 PM
On the subject of control? I too adhere to a principle of non-control in my Aikido. Therefore no imposition of will. Having that as a principle means when not doing so then the Aikido is less effective.

Sounds strange I know.

In fact I group that principle with a few others, namely non-opposition, non-aggression and non-disturbance.

I also relate them to centre line. So be it.

Thus in my Aikido there is no control from the analytical meaning of the word, from the mechanical meaning, from the generally held meaning, from the combative meaning.

There is however joining with and leading in accordance universal laws. Will is extinct at that point.

G.

Anjisan
06-16-2011, 08:44 PM
It has been my experience that when I began in Aikido I was harder, using too much muscle. As I have progressed I have become softer which has allowed me to come full circle and throw harder! Ok ok,.............. have a wider range to adapt to the attack at hand.

mrlizard123
06-17-2011, 02:34 AM
Hi Rich :)

I'm a little confused.

Seems to me that one of the themes discussed here is the need to adapt our movement to uke's...

Hi Eduardo,

I was using the example above to illustrate that I believe that applying a technique/principal to someone who has decided to attack you such that the attack is foiled is an imposition of your will on to that person, not that I am passing judgement on this.

I am merely pointing out that if someone has the desire to do you harm and you prevent them, by whatever means, you have thwarted their willed outcome of events and imposed your own.

I was not trying to explain application of technique per se but exploring the concept of whether hard/soft, as they are being discussed here, are linked to imposition of one's will upon another. I believe not.

I too adhere to a principle of non-control in my Aikido.

Graham, how do you see it as non-control if uke does not complete the movement they envisaged when they began? Is it not control?

It might be that the definitions of control and will are what are at odds here.

RonRagusa
06-17-2011, 05:48 AM
I am merely pointing out that if someone has the desire to do you harm and you prevent them, by whatever means, you have thwarted their willed outcome of events and imposed your own.

Hi Rich -

When I engage an uke on the mat I form a connection with him that goes beyond a purely physical interaction. I connect with his center in such a way as to break down the barrier that defines "him: and "me". When attacked I become the attack, so to speak. I don't think about what's going on, have no agenda and simply lead/follow where our motion takes us. At some point the technique will grow out of our movement. There is no question of imposing my will on him because both he an I have vanished for the duration of the interaction.

The study of connection is a core component of my practice, something I have been working on for many years, and I'm sure that attempting to explain it in a few sentences leaves more unsaid than otherwise. I guess you have to experience it in order for it to make any real sense.

Best,

Ron

Jauch
06-17-2011, 05:59 AM
On the subject of control? I too adhere to a principle of non-control in my Aikido. Therefore no imposition of will. Having that as a principle means when not doing so then the Aikido is less effective.

Sounds strange I know.

In fact I group that principle with a few others, namely non-opposition, non-aggression and non-disturbance.

I also relate them to centre line. So be it.

Thus in my Aikido there is no control from the analytical meaning of the word, from the mechanical meaning, from the generally held meaning, from the combative meaning.

There is however joining with and leading in accordance universal laws. Will is extinct at that point.

G.

Hi Graham :)

When you talk about "universe law" and not impose will or control (by yourself), I can't help but see that you're talking about being only a "vessel" to a greater force (the universe).

For me, this is a "faith" view and I can't argument on this subject.

But there is one point that I think I can. The "will" subject.

Even if you're not aiming to impose your will on the uke directly, letting the universe choose the path of events, you're doing it anyway.

This is because you choose to be the "vessel" of the universe law. Doing this, you're accepting the universe law will impose it's own "will" on the uke, because uke is trying to impose their will on you. And accepting this, you're imposing your will to uke.

But this "will" that we're talking is, seems to me, a "philosophical" one. It's more concept than feelings.

I agree with you that to do aiki one must, in the contact moment, have no feelings of "imposing" anything on the uke.

But the ausence of feelings doesn't mean that your will is not being imposed to the uke...

Confusing?

Hi Eduardo,

I was using the example above to illustrate that I believe that applying a technique/principal to someone who has decided to attack you such that the attack is foiled is an imposition of your will on to that person, not that I am passing judgement on this.

I am merely pointing out that if someone has the desire to do you harm and you prevent them, by whatever means, you have thwarted their willed outcome of events and imposed your own.

I was not trying to explain application of technique per se but exploring the concept of whether hard/soft, as they are being discussed here, are linked to imposition of one's will upon another. I believe not.

Graham, how do you see it as non-control if uke does not complete the movement they envisaged when they began? Is it not control?

It might be that the definitions of control and will are what are at odds here.

Ok Rich, I got your point :)
And I agree.

But like I said to Graham, seems that we all are talking about different "levels" or "layers" of control and will.

This is very confusing... :)

lbb
06-17-2011, 06:43 AM
I am merely pointing out that if someone has the desire to do you harm and you prevent them, by whatever means, you have thwarted their willed outcome of events and imposed your own.


If you refuse to play someone else's game (and have the power to back it up), is that really "imposing your will" on them? Think about this scenario: you're standing outside a shop, trying to engage people as they go in and out, because you want them to join your organization/sign a petition/whatever. I walk up to the shop, intent on buying my newspaper/six pack of beer/wankel rotary engine/whatever. You step in my way and try to engage me, but before you can really get going I say "No thanks" and dodge around you and continue on my way. I have the power to prevent you from giving me your spiel because I'm ambulatory and I've dealt with this situation before. Do you truly believe that I've "imposed my will" on you?

(or, if you find that example to be irrelevant, change it from "trying to engage people" to "trying to smack people on the head". It works either way)

Jauch
06-17-2011, 07:29 AM
If you refuse to play someone else's game (and have the power to back it up), is that really "imposing your will" on them? Think about this scenario: you're standing outside a shop, trying to engage people as they go in and out, because you want them to join your organization/sign a petition/whatever. I walk up to the shop, intent on buying my newspaper/six pack of beer/wankel rotary engine/whatever. You step in my way and try to engage me, but before you can really get going I say "No thanks" and dodge around you and continue on my way. I have the power to prevent you from giving me your spiel because I'm ambulatory and I've dealt with this situation before. Do you truly believe that I've "imposed my will" on you?

(or, if you find that example to be irrelevant, change it from "trying to engage people" to "trying to smack people on the head". It works either way)

This comment was for Rich, but if you don't mind Mary, I'll say something too :)

If your will is NOT to be engaged (or NOT to have your head smacked), even if you just dodge around, not even touching the "offender", you still make your will prevail.

To me, thats the point. In the "big picture", you imposed your will, because you make things happen at your like :)

Touch or dodge are only "means" to achieve the goal that is, in your example, avoid the engagement or the headache (the will of the others).

mrlizard123
06-17-2011, 07:39 AM
If you refuse to play someone else's game (and have the power to back it up), is that really "imposing your will" on them? Think about this scenario: you're standing outside a shop, trying to engage people as they go in and out, because you want them to join your organization/sign a petition/whatever. I walk up to the shop, intent on buying my newspaper/six pack of beer/wankel rotary engine/whatever. You step in my way and try to engage me, but before you can really get going I say "No thanks" and dodge around you and continue on my way. I have the power to prevent you from giving me your spiel because I'm ambulatory and I've dealt with this situation before. Do you truly believe that I've "imposed my will" on you?

(or, if you find that example to be irrelevant, change it from "trying to engage people" to "trying to smack people on the head". It works either way)

It's a good point and I see what you're saying but I think they are not the same so I'll explain it to try to clarify... though it is possible that our views simply differ.

It's unlikely the attacker wants to be thrown/immobilised/restrained/"helped" to fall/whatever but unless this is the outcome, what stops them from continuing to try and hit you as you try to not engage? If you run away and they don't catch you then I would say it is a similar scenario to your shopping example, otherwise you have manipulated the attacker's course of action physically to be different than that of the attacker's intent thereby imposing your "will".

I do not mean physically manhandling me, I mean as in the attackers physical actions are altered, whether by you actioning this by physicality/leading/etc is irrelevant in terms of outcome when measuring whether you have effected a change in the person.

In your example you are simply not entering into involvement in their scenario, they can in fact continue their spiel whether you stop or not (though this would be somewhat pointless).

I see them as distinct scenarios with some overlap.

graham christian
06-17-2011, 11:45 AM
Hi Graham :)

When you talk about "universe law" and not impose will or control (by yourself), I can't help but see that you're talking about being only a "vessel" to a greater force (the universe).

For me, this is a "faith" view and I can't argument on this subject.

But there is one point that I think I can. The "will" subject.

Even if you're not aiming to impose your will on the uke directly, letting the universe choose the path of events, you're doing it anyway.

This is because you choose to be the "vessel" of the universe law. Doing this, you're accepting the universe law will impose it's own "will" on the uke, because uke is trying to impose their will on you. And accepting this, you're imposing your will to uke.

But this "will" that we're talking is, seems to me, a "philosophical" one. It's more concept than feelings.

I agree with you that to do aiki one must, in the contact moment, have no feelings of "imposing" anything on the uke.

But the ausence of feelings doesn't mean that your will is not being imposed to the uke...

Confusing?

Ok Rich, I got your point :)
And I agree.

But like I said to Graham, seems that we all are talking about different "levels" or "layers" of control and will.

This is very confusing... :)

Hi Eduardo, and Rich.

Very astute if I may say so. Yes I do see my body as a vessel as you put it.

Now on the subject of 'will' I agree, along with the other word 'control' that it could be tranlated of different levels of or it could be translated as I say as absence of. Thus an interesting debate.

I liked Mary's analogy too.

Let's put it in Aikido practice terms to give you a perspective.

Drills. I drill people on these aspects from the view of self developement within the frame work of Aikido.

If a person is getting stuck and confused I would observe and communicate to check which principle is the main one they are missing causing the others to go out. Then for instance might say 'O.K. now do it with non-disturbance (without trying to control anything) Of course this is confusing to the student who hasn't done it before so he will then realize he can't so I will give him drills to that effect.

One drill would be a person standing in good posture holding both wrists of the other. He could be very stable or overtlly using force to prevent the other doing as I ask, it doesn't matter which, in fact as part of the drill it's good to test from various stances.

I then tell the student the drill is to push through the opponent in order to move him backwards until he can do it at ease without strength. Now here's the thing. I tell him to imagine, to see the 'Opponent' as a vessel full of water and his job is to move him without disturbing the water. Thus it rules out many things and many ways of doing it for they would all disturb the water.

It's very zen so to speak for it's until you let go of the need to control, until then you cannot see the difference.

So once done, even if accomplished only once from a hundred tries then the person sees and feels how different and infinitely more powerful that experience was. Now they can see and feel and have a bit more reality on Ki, self, and it's application.

Drills to do with specifics such as will and EVEN intent can be done as well. By this I mean without will and even without intent. Very zen once again and 'intellectually' very confusing.

Regards G.

Jauch
06-17-2011, 08:30 PM
Hi Eduardo, and Rich.

Very astute if I may say so. Yes I do see my body as a vessel as you put it.

Now on the subject of 'will' I agree, along with the other word 'control' that it could be tranlated of different levels of or it could be translated as I say as absence of. Thus an interesting debate.

I liked Mary's analogy too.

Let's put it in Aikido practice terms to give you a perspective.

Drills. I drill people on these aspects from the view of self developement within the frame work of Aikido.

If a person is getting stuck and confused I would observe and communicate to check which principle is the main one they are missing causing the others to go out. Then for instance might say 'O.K. now do it with non-disturbance (without trying to control anything) Of course this is confusing to the student who hasn't done it before so he will then realize he can't so I will give him drills to that effect.

One drill would be a person standing in good posture holding both wrists of the other. He could be very stable or overtlly using force to prevent the other doing as I ask, it doesn't matter which, in fact as part of the drill it's good to test from various stances.

I then tell the student the drill is to push through the opponent in order to move him backwards until he can do it at ease without strength. Now here's the thing. I tell him to imagine, to see the 'Opponent' as a vessel full of water and his job is to move him without disturbing the water. Thus it rules out many things and many ways of doing it for they would all disturb the water.

It's very zen so to speak for it's until you let go of the need to control, until then you cannot see the difference.

So once done, even if accomplished only once from a hundred tries then the person sees and feels how different and infinitely more powerful that experience was. Now they can see and feel and have a bit more reality on Ki, self, and it's application.

Drills to do with specifics such as will and EVEN intent can be done as well. By this I mean without will and even without intent. Very zen once again and 'intellectually' very confusing.

Regards G.

Hi Graham :)

I just come back of a concert of a Portuguese band, Deolinda. Really Amazing.

And I found this replay here ;) hehe

Well.

I was thinking about what you wrote. I'm not sure that I understudy everything, because my English is very limited.

When I tried to do my first tenkan ho I could not do it. So, the senior that was practicing with me, asked permission to the sensei and bring to me a 20 liter water bottle (empty) and made-me hold it.
Doing this complete shift my focus from the uke to the bottle. What before seemed impossible, I did the tenkan as if there isn't anyone there.

Is something like this that you do? Try to make people see that they are "looking" to the wrong place? :)

graham christian
06-18-2011, 09:05 AM
Hi Graham :)

I just come back of a concert of a Portuguese band, Deolinda. Really Amazing.

And I found this replay here ;) hehe

Well.

I was thinking about what you wrote. I'm not sure that I understudy everything, because my English is very limited.

When I tried to do my first tenkan ho I could not do it. So, the senior that was practicing with me, asked permission to the sensei and bring to me a 20 liter water bottle (empty) and made-me hold it.
Doing this complete shift my focus from the uke to the bottle. What before seemed impossible, I did the tenkan as if there isn't anyone there.

Is something like this that you do? Try to make people see that they are "looking" to the wrong place? :)

Hi Eduardo.

Sounds like the senior was very wise, I love it. I'm sure if you ask him his reasoning you will find out. It definitely was to get you to let go of something you were doing and would take your attention off of the need to control the opponent.

As to being like what I do? Well in terms of creative drills-yes.

To try to get people to see they are 'looking' in the wrong place? Well maybe, that's not how I would put it personally.

Each drill is related to a spiritual principle in Aikido, in my Aikido anyway. Each drill is related to either improving center, or centre line or koshi etc.

The main thing is it helped you improve your tenkan thus it's all good.

Regards.G.

Jauch
06-18-2011, 09:23 AM
Hi Eduardo.

Sounds like the senior was very wise, I love it. I'm sure if you ask him his reasoning you will find out. It definitely was to get you to let go of something you were doing and would take your attention off of the need to control the opponent.

As to being like what I do? Well in terms of creative drills-yes.

To try to get people to see they are 'looking' in the wrong place? Well maybe, that's not how I would put it personally.

Each drill is related to a spiritual principle in Aikido, in my Aikido anyway. Each drill is related to either improving center, or centre line or koshi etc.

The main thing is it helped you improve your tenkan thus it's all good.

Regards.G.

Hum.
This sounds very interesting :)
May I ask if you have any video?

I know that when related to "aiki" it's nearly impossible to understand without experience, but I'd like to see some of your drills :)

P.S.: I found some videos :). I'll take a look :)

graham christian
06-18-2011, 10:09 AM
Hum.
This sounds very interesting :)
May I ask if you have any video?

I know that when related to "aiki" it's nearly impossible to understand without experience, but I'd like to see some of your drills :)

P.S.: I found some videos :). I'll take a look :)

Eduardo.
A word of caution when watching my videos. On a lot of them they are best looked at as drills but they don't have commentary so can look confusing as to what's being drilled.

Secondly, they were not done from the view of an instructional video as they are clips taken from a security cam.

To do with drills like you find interesting there is one or two where I am using a saucer where the object is to do moves as if the saucer is full of water, therefore you are not allowed to turn your hand or you would spill the water.

There is one or two with a fan, with this exercise you find you can't grab or grip the opponent yet still have to perform the Aikido. Great for kokyu.

The spirit of loving protection videos were actually two times when that particular person was 'down' for some reason so I said I would wake up his Ki.

Have fun. G.

DH
06-18-2011, 10:41 PM
....Another way to say this is that you prevented them for imposing their will on you by blending with their movement and energy thus creating harmony. It takes a lot of courage, confidence and training to be able to do this.
What this really means is that people who think this way, tend to draw and attract people who think this way...to attack or more pointedly to 'move" at them.
I have never, not even once, seen anyone pull it off against someone truly capable of "imposing their will on them" by attacking them....doing so.

If however one chooses to enter into an agreement with others of the same persuasion who like to "move at them' in some defined manner, and they get to play with that energy by "moving away from them" in some defined manner...well that can be fun, even addicting for many people. I'm told it can also help people learn to cope with stress in a more positive manner.
Why they do it in old Japanese budo clothing or pick up wooden implements shaped like Japanese weapons that are used in Budo, is a bit confusing to me, but hey....its a free world.

Away from aikido....
Imposing of will and resistence with real meaning and consequence:
When Gandhi and his followers, chose to resist at the Dharasana salt works, he had no illusions of blending with a hardwood staff. They knew that to face people willing and capable of killing them, they had no real choice by to suffer and die. There were no other options. And their injuries and deaths broke the heart of their enemies.
Likewise, Martin Luther King and his followers, had no illusions of facing dogs and such focused hatred with blending with the attack. Their injuries and deaths broke the heart of a nation.
These men were immense, incredible examples of peace in action, when they faced the imposition of will to invade their peace and the peace of others it resulted in costs.

True "warriors of peace" are men of incredible sacrifice and clarity....everyone else is just making excuses.
Cheers
Dan

sakumeikan
06-19-2011, 10:10 AM
What this really means is that people who think this way, tend to draw and attract people who think this way...to attack or more pointedly to 'move" at them.
I have never, not even once, seen anyone pull it off against someone truly capable of "imposing their will on them" by attacking them....doing so.

If however one chooses to enter into an agreement with others of the same persuasion who like to "move at them' in some defined manner, and they get to play with that energy by "moving away from them" in some defined manner...well that can be fun, even addicting for many people. I'm told it can also help people learn to cope with stress in a more positive manner.
Why they do it in old Japanese budo clothing or pick up wooden implements shaped like Japanese weapons that are used in Budo, is a bit confusing to me, but hey....its a free world.

Away from aikido....
Imposing of will and resistence with real meaning and consequence:
When Gandhi and his followers, chose to resist at the Dharasana salt works, he had no illusions of blending with a hardwood staff. They knew that to face people willing and capable of killing them, they had no real choice by to suffer and die. There were no other options. And their injuries and deaths broke the heart of their enemies.
Likewise, Martin Luther King and his followers, had no illusions of facing dogs and such focused hatred with blending with the attack. Their injuries and deaths broke the heart of a nation.
These men were immense, incredible examples of peace in action, when they faced the imposition of will to invade their peace and the peace of others it resulted in costs.

True "warriors of peace" are men of incredible sacrifice and clarity....everyone else is just making excuses.
Cheers
Dan
Dear Dan
I agree with every word of you closing statements.It takes a rare breed of man to make this sort of commitment to a cause.
Cheers, Joe.

aikilouis
06-19-2011, 05:08 PM
I would like to comment the point on MLK and Gandhi by saying that their actions were also calculated according to specific social conditions of their time. Because an all-out violent repressive reaction from the opposing authorities was not possible without very damaging consequences, did their non-violent movements stand a change of putting a majority on their side and obtain substantial change.

There are times when peaceful demonstrations or passive resistance are not efficient solutions. The risk is simply too great compared to the chance of victory.

Also, pretending to do a martial art of peace by engaging in a collusive practise at all times without exceptions is ridiculous. One of the key principles that I learned is "Sinken shobu"(sincerity as if in a fight with live swords). It means that each participant must have the mental attitude suitable to a deadly conflict and train skills based on that truthfulness. If you remove any condition of failure, of opposition of wills and of hostility, this is not a martial art practise but an exercise in aesthetics or in self-satisfaction.

No shinken, no shobu. (I'm sure it sounds barbaric, but it is the most concise way to convey my thought here).

gregstec
06-19-2011, 05:26 PM
Also, pretending to do a martial art of peace by engaging in a collusive practise at all times without exceptions is ridiculous. One of the key principles that I learned is "Sinken shobu"(sincerity as if in a fight with live swords). It means that each participant must have the mental attitude suitable to a deadly conflict and train skills based on that truthfulness. If you remove any condition of failure, of opposition of wills and of hostility, this is not a martial art practise but an exercise in aesthetics or in self-satisfaction.

No shinken, no shobu. (I'm sure it sounds barbaric, but it is the most concise way to convey my thought here).

Your statements are very true, but to some that type of activity is beneficial to them - hopefully, those that do it, do not expect it to prepare them for hostile actions against them of the physical nature.

Greg

aikilouis
06-19-2011, 06:04 PM
Well said Greg. Such practises are just not martial, they are something else.

Trying to solve the paradox of martial activity with a spiritual content is part of aikido as a quest. It is clear that for O Sensei aikido had a spiritual meaning, he lectured on and on about it. What is not so obvious is what this meaning was.

Reducing O Sensei's complex worldview to a few slogans like "Budo is love" serves only a purpose : these slogans become dogma, critical thinking is suspended and practitioners are clearly tempted by this holier than thou attitude towards other martial practises just because they are supposed to do aikido, the martial art that went beyond conflict to embrace love.

On the contrary, knowing that Morihei Ueshiba intended to give aikido a spiritual purpose should be an encouragement to challenge our own perceptions, including the role of harmony and conflict in our lives, and the wish of each one of us to see him/herself as a good person.

The idea of extinguishing the will to win in order to reach of state of unity with the here and now is not new in the martial arts. You can find the same idea expressed in Chinese or Japanese treaties. It is clearly seen as a strategic advantage in combat, or more briefly said : "less will, more power" (power = increased tactical advantage).

The practitioner reaches unity with the universe and becomes invincible. It is not a question of morality but of pure efficiency though the optimisation of the individual's relationship with his environment in order to prevail in the conflict.

What O Sensei did, in my opinion, is that he pushed this logic to its extreme and concluded that by according himself to the universe, the individual became the instrument of the accomplishment of the divine design, whatever it my be. I think that he implied a dimension of benevolence in that design, that the final end of this universal project is globally positive, but it is a byproduct, not an initial condition.

gregstec
06-19-2011, 06:17 PM
Well said Greg. Such practises are just not martial, they are something else.

Trying to solve the paradox of martial activity with a spiritual content is part of aikido as a quest. It is clear that for O Sensei aikido had a spiritual meaning, he lectured on and on about it. What is not so obvious is what this meaning was.

Reducing O Sensei's complex worldview to a few slogans like "Budo is love" serves only a purpose : these slogans become dogma, critical thinking is suspended and practitioners are clearly tempted by this holier than thou attitude towards other martial practises just because they are supposed to do aikido, the martial art that went beyond conflict to embrace love.

On the contrary, knowing that Morihei Ueshiba intended to give aikido a spiritual purpose should be an encouragement to challenge our own perceptions, including the role of harmony and conflict in our lives, and the wish of each one of us to see him/herself as a good person.

The idea of extinguishing the will to win in order to reach of state of unity with the here and now is not new in the martial arts. You can find the same idea expressed in Chinese or Japanese treaties. It is clearly seen as a strategic advantage in combat, or more briefly said : "less will, more power" (power = increased tactical advantage).

The practitioner reaches unity with the universe and becomes invincible. It is not a question of morality but of pure efficiency though the optimisation of the individual's relationship with his environment in order to prevail in the conflict.

What O Sensei did, in my opinion, is that he pushed this logic to its extreme and concluded that by according himself to the universe, the individual became the instrument of the accomplishment of the divine design, whatever it my be. I think that he implied a dimension of benevolence in that design, that the final end of this universal project is globally positive, but it is a byproduct, not an initial condition.

All good points that deserve the proper deliberation to truly appreciate.

Greg

matty_mojo911
06-23-2011, 08:30 PM
Quick reply - and perhaps getting back to a simplistic point of view.

The very best Aikido instructors I've seen have always done some hard style, generally something other than Aikido.

Very simply being able to do things in a hard environment gives you confidence, once you have the confidence people tend to move back to soft styles, for a variety of reasons.

Hard does give you a better soft, but it requires the correct personality to do this - many can't.

O'Sensei was as hard as nails when he first started his martial arts career, he moved through this process to develop a "softish' style (though his early versions were pretty hard indeed).

There are no real short cuts to reach a good soft style, I strongly believe it is a process you must work towards, we are all a compilation of our experiences and life. If we were attempting to model ourselves on O'Senseis later Aikido Style, we perhaps should not so much study that alone, but what was the compilation of expereinces that led to that - and yes, many of these are outside of the Dojo and are personal, so there is every chance we cannot replicate it.