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Janet Rosen
08-15-2012, 08:26 PM
I am putting this in Open Forums because I'm just not sure where to fit it....

The increasing polarization of Aikiweb over the past year or two with a predictable pattern of mutual ad hominem attacks and the breakdown of many threads has been bothering me a lot. The latest devolving thread, “Re: Ki Testing...” got me upset enough to sit down and focus and write.

I make no special claims here...I am very much a “hobbyist” aikido person in the sense that, having come to it late in life in an attempt to get some kind of exercise, with very little kinesthetic or athletic skill or practice, and with the family and financial obligations of middle age that make it rate a distinct third level priority in the juggling of daily life. If I have any “cred” here or in the dojo it is because I took to the art on a purely emotional level the moment I bowed in - however frustrating a given class might be, I LOVE training - and because I think about aikido a lot and seem to be able to articulate some things about that folks can relate to. So yeah, take what I say with as many grains or kilos of salt as you like. Know this for sure though: my “motives” are straightforward.

I valued the old aikido-l, and came to value aikiweb, for the “Big Tent” approach. I may not completely understand what all the exercises and ideas behind a particular style of aikido are, but starting with our 1998 aikido-l list seminar I’ve made an effort to get on the mat with as many types as aikido folks as I can get to. First because I’m really curious and second to try and better myself. I’ve always been made welcome and always came away withe something positive, something of value.This includes having gotten off my butt and gone to meet and train, once each, with both Mike Sigman and with Dan Harden.

What I’m about to say had NOTHING to do with the relative merits of any individual or any school, style or system. It has to do with Aikiweb as a place for folks to meet and talk respectfully.

I always enjoy reading a thread in which somebody either asks a question about a particular aspect of training (say, competition in Shodokan Aikido) or compares and contrasts (say, what “randori” comprises in different styles), or posts some thoughts about a particular aspect of training (say, ki testing in a dojo with that lineage).

In my opinion, respecting the actual training that many of our members enjoy for whatever their reasons should be a hallmark of Aikiweb. Let me be very clear: I am NOT talking about allowing absurd claims from no-kyu charlatans or those who invent schoolrs or rank to go unchallenged. I will be really pissed off if anybody hijacks this thread to claim that is what I’m saying. I am talking about mainstream aikido within lineages we are familiar with. I’m talking about understanding that for whatever reasons, people are training in aikido and enjoying training in aikido and it is meeting their goals or expectations.

The moment I read what follows, I knew it was going to be the derailment of what was to me, until then, a very interesting beginning of a thread Mary started on the subject of ki testing:

“It is important to realize that cooperative ki testing within the martial arts has sever limitiations and is all but utter nonsense when it comes to practical use of aiki outside of the "martial arts."
Most teachers and students I have met (well...all really) cannot use ki under high stress; they simply fall apart. I have a very strong belief that under severe pressure the Japanese Shihan (including those who teach ki and internals) would simply be taken apart by those who themselves develop ki in high stress/high pressure environments. And yes I mean the famous ones.”

Dan, this may well all be TRUE. You’ve got the years, experience, and training to back up your assertions and I don’t doubt the veracity of what you are writing. But it ended up being a thread-killer for those on Aikiweb who do train in dojos where ki testing is done, who find it has a place in their regular training, and for any of us who are interested in reading about or writing about it. All of a sudden instead of talking about ki testing, it is a battle about the way people train.

I understand you think that ki testing hasn’t done a damn thing to enhance martial practice. But if Aikiweb is to be an online forum for the broad spectrum of people who enjoy training in aikido, there needs to be a baseline respect for the disparity and breadth of all aikido and frankly sometimes that just means choosing not to post so that people who DO a certain mainstream practice can discuss among themselves the things that interest them. On that level, while I have theutmost respect for your work, your training and your teaching, I sympathize with Mary’s frustration when she replied, “Perhaps we should just call this site DanWeb.”

One thing I have learned, not in the dojo, but as a nurse and a family member, is that "being right" isn't always the most important thing. How we comport ourselves among others is.

akiy
08-15-2012, 11:02 PM
Hi folks,

Well said, Janet. Thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts and for having the integrity to step forward to share them with us. (I have moved this thread into the "Announcements & Feedback" forum.)

As you and others here know, I created (and continue to maintain) AikiWeb as a place for people to come together to discuss aikido -- a place for meaningful exchange of ideas, experiences, and opinions about the art. Such an endeavor for such an exchange on the Internet isn't new. Many people here, myself included, have participated in places like the Aikido-L mailing list and the rec.martial-arts Usenet newsgroups in days past.

One thing I witnessed in these former "Internet aikido discussion groups" were instances when people of a certain aikido background (eg Aikikai, Yoshinkan, Ki Society, Tomiki) explicitly or implicitly put down another group due to differences in their manner of training -- in essence, a "my style is better than your style" kind of discussion. Or, worse yet, these discussions sometimes actually became a "your style is worse than my style" argument.

These days, there is very little of such "style" wars. However, the same kind of divisive language and polarizing rhetoric can be seen in other ways. Specifically, the manner of discussion surrounding "internal training" has made it seemingly difficult for some discussions to take place productively.

I very well understand that the manner of training espoused in internal training methods go counter to some of what is practiced by many aikido practitioners -- so, of course, the discussion will sometimes need to highlight such differences. Yet, what I have seen feels like an increasing amount of condemnations, disparagement, and even seeming contempt for what the majority of people in aikido are practicing -- and are even enjoying practicing.

Frankly, if this continues, I can only see AikiWeb being a place only for those who subscribe to internal training. Although some of you may think that would be a positive destination, that is not where I want to see AikiWeb end up -- just as I do not want the site to become only for those practicing Aikikai, only for those practicing Yoshinkan, only for those practicing Ki Society, and so on.

Again -- that is not where I want to see AikiWeb ending up.

Of course, I want there to be expressions of differing opinions.  And, of course, I want that expression to be heartfelt and passionate.  What I do not want is AikiWeb to have divisive rhetoric.  What I do not want is AikiWeb to be just a small number of polarized factions.

My requests are simple. Be respectful in your discussions. Keep your discussions directed toward the topic and not toward the people behind the topic. Contribute positively to the discussion.

And, I will only echo what Janet wrote above, as she has done it better than I can right now: "if Aikiweb is to be an online forum for the broad spectrum of people who enjoy training in aikido, there needs to be a baseline respect for the disparity and breadth of all aikido and frankly sometimes that just means choosing not to post so that people who DO a certain mainstream practice can discuss among themselves the things that interest them."

So, please, folks. Let's steer these discussions away from divisive and polarizing language but towards a rich and meaningful exchange of ideas, experiences, thoughts, and opinions.

I appreciate your attention and welcome your thoughts regarding any of this.

Best regards,

-- Jun

tarik
08-16-2012, 02:22 AM
I have to jump in and say that my own level of participation has dropped precipitously in part because of the level of discourse. I have certainly had spirited conversations and disagreements in my day, but they were always in the spirit of debating a specific issue and not putting down entire groups.

Great post, Janet, but you're likely only preaching to the choir.

Best,

PeterR
08-16-2012, 03:27 AM
Ditto

PhillyKiAikido
08-16-2012, 08:47 AM
Ditto

lbb
08-16-2012, 08:52 AM
I made one comment in the "ki testing" thread and then opted out, for one reason: it's not part of my practice, I don't really know anything about it, and I'd be blowing hot air if I opined on it. I agree with what Janet has said: I don't really think that it's the place of outsiders like myself, who don't participate in a practice, to participate in a discussion of that practice, unless we can do so 1)in a spirit of true inquiry and 2)without derailing the discussion. To elaborate:

In a spirit of true inquiry: this means that you recognize that you don't know about the subject, you come to it with an open mind, and you want to learn more about it. It does not mean coming into a discussion with your inexperienced pre-formed opinion that something is worthless and trying to challenge it and pick it apart. It also does not mean coming into the discussion having tried the practice and decided it's not for you. I don't like rutabagas; that doesn't mean it's appropriate for me to charge into discussions on the cooking of rutabagas and rail about how awful they are. You don't have to eat rutabagas, and you don't have to test ki, and your opinion on either subject is really not needed. The world will continue to spin if you simply keep your opinion to yourself. In the highly unlikely event that someone asks, you can simply politely volunteered, "It's not my thing" and move on.

Without derailing the discussion: if you've got basic questions about something, there are probably better places to ask them (or ways to find answers) than injecting them into a discussion of the practice by current practitioners. Questions about the practice by an open-minded non-participant
don't always derail a discussion among those who do participate in a practice...but they can, so I think it's good to exercise some care about this.

One final thought: if the idea of not injecting challenging, contrary opinions into a thread on ki testing (or rutabagas) seems like an infringement on self-expression, or like it undermines the spirit of free inquiry, or whatever...try replacing the phrase "ki testing" with "zazen". Imagine an aikiweb in which no one could start a thread on zazen without some non-sitting individuals feeling the need to challenge the basic validity of the practice, offer their opinion that it's a waste of time, disparage the accounts of people's practice, etc. Would we praise this behavior as intellectual prowess and a free-thinking spirit of inquiry? Or would we see it differently?

Jim Sorrentino
08-16-2012, 09:26 AM
Hi Jun,My requests are simple. Be respectful in your discussions. Keep your discussions directed toward the topic and not toward the people behind the topic. Contribute positively to the discussion.

[snip]

So, please, folks. Let's steer these discussions away from divisive and polarizing language but towards a rich and meaningful exchange of ideas, experiences, thoughts, and opinions.

I appreciate your attention and welcome your thoughts regarding any of this.
I have a few suggestions to help implement your requests and enrich the exchanges:

1) Avoid argument from authority. The fact that X-Shihan said something that supports one's own position in a discussion is interesting, but is not, in itself, rational discourse.

2) Avoid argument from anonymous authority. Asserting that "A high-ranking or very experienced person who must not be named said something significant," is worth even less than argument from authority, because the anonymity of the source prevents anyone else from meaningfully examining the rational basis of the assertion. Similarly, stating something along the lines of "X-Sensei decided turn down an invitation to teach at Y-Dojo for reasons that are public - and a lot more that are private," is not really helpful. By definition, if it's private, it does not belong in a public forum, and a reference to it serves only to imply that the writer has some special, secret knowledge.

3) If using sources other than one's own experience and rationally supported opinions to support one's arguments, cite those sources so that others may look at the text and interpret it for themselves. This is especially helpful if the source is in a foreign language, and open to differences in translation.

4) If the discussion concerns a video, and one wants to criticize the quality of the movement which the video shows, then one should post another video showing a demonstration of the movement performed in a better way. Further, the critic should be able to state clearly why the movement in the second video is better. ("Behold!" is not a reason. :) ) The "answering" video need not be of the person who is criticizing the video in question, but it should show movement similar enough for the people in the discussion to use it to compare and contrast with the video in question. If one is not willing to take the risk that AikiWeb's readers may mimic movement that they view in a video, but do not understand, then one should not not participate in the discussion.

5) Remember that mystery is not a substitute for rational discourse. Stating something like, "We have never seen an Aikido teacher --- to include over a dozen shihan --- be capable of surviving or successfully pulling off our first warm up exercise," does not advance the discussion if there is no accompanying description or depiction of the warm-up exercise. (Please notice that this quote is also an example of argument from anonymous authority, with its reference to a dozen nameless shihan.)

Rational discussion is, in its own way, as difficult as anything we may attempt on the mat --- especially when the subject of the discussion is physical experience.

Jim

chillzATL
08-16-2012, 09:28 AM
FWIW, I kind of felt the same way about the post Janet mentioned, even though the thread had been dead for nearly two weeks at that point. Rather than get annoyed by it I kept politely pushing Dan to expand on his post, ask the questions he wanted to ask clearly and offer some examples of how he does it and to his credit, he delivered. It was, IMO, one of the best posts he's ever made here. So while it may have come off initially as a thread killer, I don't think it ended that way.

Beyond that I like what Mary said. Online we often forget how easy it is to just walk away and let it go.

kewms
08-16-2012, 10:54 AM
I think, by now, the positions and training philosophies of most of the frequent posters around here are pretty well known, as are the areas of disagreement among them. So I'm not sure what it accomplishes to state those positions over and over, with increasing volume. The horses are dead, folks.

Which is why I'm not around much lately. Aikiweb interests me only to the extent that it enhances my on-mat practice, and recently it hasn't really done that.

Katherine

bkedelen
08-16-2012, 11:17 AM
This is a great post. The world would be a better place if Aikiweb as a community valued a diverse approach to Aikido training.

As Ellis Amdur has said this forum is somewhat more palatable when viewed through a well populated ignore list, but that creates a significant barrier of entry for people who are new or not familliar with the features of the forum.

I do not agree with the world of haves and have-nots that has been proposed here over the last several years, and I will continue to find this community distasteful as long as it continues.

MM
08-16-2012, 12:41 PM
Dan, this may well all be TRUE. You've got the years, experience, and training to back up your assertions and I don't doubt the veracity of what you are writing. But it ended up being a thread-killer for those on Aikiweb who do train in dojos where ki testing is done, who find it has a place in their regular training, and for any of us who are interested in reading about or writing about it. All of a sudden instead of talking about ki testing, it is a battle about the way people train.

I understand you think that ki testing hasn't done a damn thing to enhance martial practice. But if Aikiweb is to be an online forum for the broad spectrum of people who enjoy training in aikido, there needs to be a baseline respect for the disparity and breadth of all aikido and frankly sometimes that just means choosing not to post so that people who DO a certain mainstream practice can discuss among themselves the things that interest them. On that level, while I have theutmost respect for your work, your training and your teaching, I sympathize with Mary's frustration when she replied, "Perhaps we should just call this site DanWeb."

One thing I have learned, not in the dojo, but as a nurse and a family member, is that "being right" isn't always the most important thing. How we comport ourselves among others is.

Janet, I hope you know I have a lot of respect for you, but ... this was a major sigh moment for me.

You said, "there needs to be a baseline respect for the disparity and breadth of all aikido" while stating that certain groups in that same breadth of all aikido should just shut up.

Reading the Ki thread that got closed, I once again find that it is the "harmony" and "blending" group of Modern Aikido who are the ones who do *not* have the "baseline respect for the disparity and breadth of all aikido".

I mean, really, you can count at least three times Mary Eastland brought the thread subject straight to the personality of Dan. (Danweb 29, how great thou art 41, and platform to market 54)

I can count zero times Dan brought the thread subject to any personality (of the posters). Instead, it was a conversation pointing to the depth of abilities and skills of the aikido greats. You know, those men who stood out as exemplary examples of aikido.

You (plural) want respect for the disparity of aikido until a group shows up with a far different viewpoint and/or cause and then it's disparity of aikido *except* for that group which just needs to STFU.

It's a public forum where people express their opinions regarding their training. And, sadly enough, it's been 99% of the time, the "peace and harmony" "Aikido" group that brings the discussion to the personal level.

Instead of just stating something as simple as, "yes, you're training is different, but I'd like to just talk about how we approach things", you get, "Danweb", etc.

Instead of, "yes, I understand that Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Mochizuki, Tohei could do these things that we can't do (which, really groups together a lot of us) and you seem to be able to, but I'd like to talk about how we are approaching our organization/dojo/group's training", we get it'd be better if your group just didn't post at all.

You (plural) post you want respect for the breadth of all aikido but then go on to tell us to shut up. Where is the respect in that?

In the end, I still would like to train with you (plural) because I think the Internet is *not* a communication device at all. It's just an information medium that people think can be used to communicate. With that in mind, I try to keep an open mind about people. Meeting them usually goes far, far better.

Mark

P.S. And Jim is just using this thread to post yet another personal jab at Dan. All seemingly politely, mind you. The intent behind it was not and IMO is deplorable.

lbb
08-16-2012, 01:05 PM
Instead of, "yes, I understand that Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Mochizuki, Tohei could do these things that we can't do (which, really groups together a lot of us) and you seem to be able to, but I'd like to talk about how we are approaching our organization/dojo/group's training", we get it'd be better if your group just didn't post at all..

Mark:

You want people to say "yes, I understand that Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Mochizuki, Tohei could do these things that we can't do (which, really groups together a lot of us) and you seem to be able to, but I'd like to talk about how we are approaching our organization/dojo/group's training". What's the context here? What would the antecedents of this statement be? What would this statement be in reply to? Give me an example, a made-up dialogue if you will, at which you think this model statement would be an appropriate response.

Conrad Gus
08-16-2012, 01:16 PM
You (plural) want respect for the disparity of aikido until a group shows up with a far different viewpoint and/or cause and then it's disparity of aikido *except* for that group which just needs to STFU.


Mark,

It's not "STFU". It's "state your experience, opinion or disagreement, then step back and allow others to state theirs". I think we want to encourage the "far different viewpoints", not drive them away. I for one have come to enjoy the IP discussions when they stay on topic and maintain a respectful tone, on threads where they are relevant.

Having said that, Jun's remarks are not directed specifically at Dan or at the IP "theme". This is a reminder to everyone that it is not necessary to dig in and defend your opinion at all costs against all parties that express disagreement. Additionally, personal attacks are never appropriate, even in response to real or perceived personal attacks. We can only have a healthy, respectful discussion community if everybody contributes with that goal in mind.

Guidelines for maintaining collective sanity on Aikiweb:

Just say what you want to say (relavent to the topic).
Don't take it personally if someone disagrees with you.
Don't try to convince the world of your opinion (it's not going to happen).
Re-post if you have something new to add to the conversation, not just to say the same thing as before, but LOUDER (by dominating a thread, walls of text, bullying people into submission, etc.).
Ignore all personal attacks on yourself or others. Flame wars are genuinely harmful and upsetting for the parties involved.


Aikiweb is a very cool thing, and I for one have a certain fondness for the people on here that I have never even met in person (even the ones I disagree with!). Let's not give up on it out of frustration. Let's agree to go in a better direction for the benefit of all.

Excuse me now while I go clear my ignore list.

Peace,

Conrad

Jim Sorrentino
08-16-2012, 01:22 PM
Mark,
P.S. And Jim is just using this thread to post yet another personal jab at Dan. All seemingly politely, mind you. The intent behind it was not and IMO is deplorable.
You're mistaken. Jun made several requests:

1) Be respectful in your discussions.

2) Keep your discussions directed toward the topic and not toward the people behind the topic.

3) Contribute positively to the discussion.

He also stated an overall goal of "steer[ing] these discussions away from divisive and polarizing language but towards a rich and meaningful exchange of ideas, experiences, thoughts, and opinions."

I suggested five guidelines for implementing Jun's requests which I believe would achieve his goals for AikiWeb. I didn't mention Dan. My intent was to improve the quality of the discussion on AikiWeb. What is your opinion of each of the guidelines I suggested? In your reply, please "keep your discussions directed toward the topic and not toward the people behind the topic." Also, characterizing other opinions as "STFU" seems disrespectful --- please don't do that again.

Jim

Chris Li
08-16-2012, 01:23 PM
Looking back at the fist post on the thread in question, and the response cited by Dan in the first post by this thread - it seems to me that Dan's response is exactly on topic, in a discussion on competition or non-competition in Ki training.

Isn't the whole point of a forum about vigorous discussion from people with varying opinions? If that's not the desired result than a blog seems the better option to me.

Best,

Chris

Basia Halliop
08-16-2012, 01:31 PM
I think, by now, the positions and training philosophies of most of the frequent posters around here are pretty well known, as are the areas of disagreement among them. So I'm not sure what it accomplishes to state those positions over and over, with increasing volume. The horses are dead, folks.

This.

There are a number of subjects that seem to inspire two very different kinds of posts (often from the same people in a different context, BTW). One is when a bunch of people interested in the topic get together and have a discussion on their shared positive training experiences, things they've learned, suggestions of others to train with, neat things they noticed, etc. The other is more about arguing with people who aren't particularly interested in what the poster is doing about why they should be interested in what the poster is doing instead of in what they are actually interested in, and often happens in the context of a thread started to discuss something that the original posters were interested in discussing. These distinctions happen in many subjects, the internal training stuff is just one recent example but not the only one.

The first feels to someone reading like a positive discussion, and is possibly even interesting to others, at least some of the time (though other times not, which is fine too). It reads like content about something. It occasionally draws you in and makes you read bits of it and go 'hmmm'. The second, whether the poster intends it that way or not, feels to someone reading more like a rant than like content, and is almost guaranteed to make anyone who didn't already agree with the poster before they started talking get very turned off by the subject (and possibly by the individual as well).

I'm going to assume that most people who have favourite subjects that they post passionately about do so at least in part because they genuinely want to get others interested in what they're talking about, not turned off or disgusted or bored. I think any of us in that position would do well to consider our goals and what is productive or counter-productive to our goals. As well as accepting the basic human fact that however hard we try we can't decide what others will be interested in; we can only do what we can to make it more likely (and not less likely).

lbb
08-16-2012, 01:43 PM
Isn't the whole point of a forum about vigorous discussion from people with varying opinions?

Hi Chris,

I tried to speak to that in my comment above. As a generic statement, that sounds good, but for it to be valid and practical, we need to be a little clearer about what a "discussion" is. The simple act of injecting speech (or text) into a conversation is not the same thing as participating in a discussion. If a group of people are talking about the best way to prepare rutabagas, and someone comes along and opines that rutabagas suck and no one in their right mind cooks them, do we call that "vigorous discussion from people with varying opinions" and say it's a good thing?

MM
08-16-2012, 01:49 PM
Mark,

It's not "STFU". It's "state your experience, opinion or disagreement, then step back and allow others to state theirs". I think we want to encourage the "far different viewpoints", not drive them away. I for one have come to enjoy the IP discussions when they stay on topic and maintain a respectful tone, on threads where they are relevant.

Having said that, Jun's remarks are not directed specifically at Dan or at the IP "theme". This is a reminder to everyone that it is not necessary to dig in and defend your opinion at all costs against all parties that express disagreement. Additionally, personal attacks are never appropriate, even in response to real or perceived personal attacks. We can only have a healthy, respectful discussion community if everybody contributes with that goal in mind.

Guidelines for maintaining collective sanity on Aikiweb:

Just say what you want to say (relavent to the topic).
Don't take it personally if someone disagrees with you.
Don't try to convince the world of your opinion (it's not going to happen).
Re-post if you have something new to add to the conversation, not just to say the same thing as before, but LOUDER (by dominating a thread, walls of text, bullying people into submission, etc.).
Ignore all personal attacks on yourself or others. Flame wars are genuinely harmful and upsetting for the parties involved.


Aikiweb is a very cool thing, and I for one have a certain fondness for the people on here that I have never even met in person (even the ones I disagree with!). Let's not give up on it out of frustration. Let's agree to go in a better direction for the benefit of all.

Excuse me now while I go clear my ignore list.

Peace,

Conrad

Let me explain in a bit more detail. Regarding Jun, I fully agree with his post. The only part that I have no answer for is this, "Yet, what I have seen feels like an increasing amount of condemnations, disparagement, and even seeming contempt for what the majority of people in aikido are practicing -- and are even enjoying practicing."

Me, the people I know, the people I train with, all do not condemn Modern Aikido (majority of people in aikido are practicing). There are many posts here by us that Modern Aikido has benefit and value. What we are stating is that most of Modern Aikido lacks aiki (Ueshiba's aiki). There's nothing I can do with how our posts "feel" to people. I don't have an answer for that. It's something each person must find in the mirror.

That most Modern Aikido lacks aiki is a truth. That there is a training methodology to gain aiki is a truth. That aiki would make Modern Aikido better is a truth. There is no degrading in any of those statements. No more than Ueshiba stating that aiki would make any religion better.

As for the STFU. I used a stronger term as a way to bring emphasis to the point. Note the sentence it was used in. Plurality of people wanting respect and a voice for all groups except for one which sort of negates the original premise completely. It was a point with emphasis, not a point against specific people.

Mark

Chris Li
08-16-2012, 01:55 PM
Hi Chris,

I tried to speak to that in my comment above. As a generic statement, that sounds good, but for it to be valid and practical, we need to be a little clearer about what a "discussion" is. The simple act of injecting speech (or text) into a conversation is not the same thing as participating in a discussion. If a group of people are talking about the best way to prepare rutabagas, and someone comes along and opines that rutabagas suck and no one in their right mind cooks them, do we call that "vigorous discussion from people with varying opinions" and say it's a good thing?

The only problem is - Dan never said that rutabagas suck:

It is important to realize that cooperative ki testing within the martial arts has sever limitiations and is all but utter nonsense when it comes to practical use of aiki outside of the "martial arts."
Most teachers and students I have met (well...all really) cannot use ki under high stress; they simply fall apart. I have a very strong belief that under severe pressure the Japanese Shihan (including those who teach ki and internals) would simply be taken apart by those who themselves develop ki in high stress/high pressure environments. And yes I mean the famous ones.

He did say that cooperative rutabagas suck, which seems right on topic for me, since your original post was exactly on the point of cooperative vs. non-cooperative Ki testing.

FWIW, Dan does quite a lot of what would normally be classed as "Ki testing", and has advocated for it on Aikiweb on multiple occasions.

Best,

Chris

Russ Q
08-16-2012, 01:57 PM
When I read a topic starter by a "mainstream aikidoka" and there is a reply by an "IP practitioner" what I'm reading between the lines is that the IP guy is saying there is a lost paradigm in modern aikido practice. The "path to power" is not being taught today in mainstream aikido and likely wasn't taught to some of the present day big guns. So, when we have someone, for example, wanting to discuss ki testing within the milleu of their dojo/lineage then the IP guy pipes up...he's coming from a POV that is, essentially, saying "it's all for naught if you don't have this fundamental skill (at whatever level you may be at now) or are working on the development of this fundamental skill - IP" Therefore, if I'm (the IP guy) going to join the discussion it's from the POV that IP is the game changer. That without a basis in IP there is no discussion about ki testing (or whatever). Some may agree with that or not, most probably don't care and are happy to have the discussion from a more generally accepted and mainstream POV. The IP guy, it seems, cannot operate that way (nothing wrong with that btw) so if he is going to join the discussion it will always gravitate toward the need to bring IP development back into the training methods we currently employ because, without it, these methods are empty.

So, to achieve Janet's vision perhaps the IP guy(s) have to remain silent simply because IP is so integral to how they live, breath and see the world.

That said, I would have to agree with Jim's ideas on clear, polite discussion. If the IP guys can speak directly to the thread topic from their POV then that should be productive for participants and trolls alike. ie. "how much competitiveness is good/bad in a ki testing situation?" IP guy " we approach this kind of exercise this way.....". etc, etc.

Hope that isn't too disjointed and stream of consciousness like...:-)

Cheers,

Russ

Nicholas Eschenbruch
08-16-2012, 01:58 PM
Janet, thanks for opening this discussion.

While I have no easy explanations and cannot think of any clear culprits, I deplore two related things in recent months (geeh, is it years already?):

(1) I strongly believe in "modern aikido", as it is sometimes disparagingly called, as a fascinating practice which is "fun", for lack of a better word, and can change lives. So do most aikido practitioners. However, it seems very difficult these days to discuss it as such on aikiweb without intensive, almost ritualised reference to a lot of stuff that, for a huge majority of practitioners, has nothing to do with their practice for now. (Please note that I am not saying I agree with all of modern aikido; also note that I still belive Dan's teaching is invaluable for me personally)

(2) history - as it relates to the aikido most of us do - has recently been predominantly used in discussions here in a negative, backward looking and often fundamentalist (as in, back to the golden days) way. It is hardly ever used in a constructive, forward looking manner. I wonder whether there is still a gap between truly fascinating historical insights some of you have had, and, well, their practical relevance to what most of us do, which is modern aikido. I really look forward to the times when that gap will be bridged, but until then, we should treat each other with more tolerance and courtesy.

On the whole, I sometimes find it a little peculiar that opinions and arguments that do not contribute (or sometimes, even do not care about) modern aikido as a living practice get such bandwidth here.

MM
08-16-2012, 02:02 PM
Mark,

You're mistaken. Jun made several requests:

1) Be respectful in your discussions.

2) Keep your discussions directed toward the topic and not toward the people behind the topic.

3) Contribute positively to the discussion.

He also stated an overall goal of "steer[ing] these discussions away from divisive and polarizing language but towards a rich and meaningful exchange of ideas, experiences, thoughts, and opinions."

I suggested five guidelines for implementing Jun's requests which I believe would achieve his goals for AikiWeb. I didn't mention Dan. My intent was to improve the quality of the discussion on AikiWeb. What is your opinion of each of the guidelines I suggested? In your reply, please "keep your discussions directed toward the topic and not toward the people behind the topic."


That's really funny. Those "guidelines" of yours are exactly the same things you keep harping to Dan about ad nauseum in your posts to him.

Also, characterizing other opinions as "STFU" seems disrespectful --- please don't do that again.

Jim

Regarding STFU, read my post to Conrad. Twisting words to try to make me out to be a bad guy ain't gonna work. And using "please" in context with "don't do that again" ain't gonna work. You are, to put it simply, just another joe shmoe (as we all are) on aikiweb. If Jun has an issue with my choice of words, he will let me know. He always has. You, OTOH, have no power, right, nor responsibility to issue such statements. I mean really, "seems" disrespectful? "seems"? You didn't know? And if you didn't, why try to tell me to not do it again? Off of something you don't know if it was? Was that an attempt at being disingenuous trying to make other people look bad? Unlike you, I won't tell you what to do. Jun is more than capable of doing that.

Mark

Marc Abrams
08-16-2012, 02:15 PM
The beauty of this forum is that in becomes an in-vitro laboratory for people to work through ideas and beliefs about the practice of Aikido (and related arts). The significant limitation of this (and any other internet forum for that matter) is that it simply exists in cyberspace.

We are discussing, debating, etc. an area this is tangible. Martial arts exist as a "DNA legacy" of surviving physical/deadly conflicts. We no longer test those skills in seasonal battles amongst warring clan. The tests that some do employ have been tailored to allow for more than a live/die paradigm. Ultimately, the skills can or cannot live up to the claims made about them. I would like to believe ( I really do know better from reading some people's posts) that Aikidoka are unified in their shared belief that what O'Sensei taught was a MARTIAL art that was viable and stood up to repeated tests by many. I would like to believe that almost all of us would share a belief that O'Sensei's skills were unique to few and that they do not seem to be passed down as a whole entity. I would like to believe that many of us struggle to try and rediscover what made O'Sensei one of a handful of uniquely skilled martial artists at that point in history.

We can debate until time immemorial as to what those skills sets were and were not. There is a video legacy and first-hand account legacy (few of those people are alive today) to which we can begin to try and measure up to what we are seeking to achieve. There are those of us who go out and meet those who claim certain skill sets and abilities. We can see first-hand what we think that we know and can do. We can see first-hand what others think that they can do and know. These meetings have been occurring as long as martial arts has been around. Some of the meetings have been cordial and respectful, others were neutral in tone and others were deadly. Regardless of the nature of the meetings, the results spoke for themselves.

Today, we have people on the Aikiweb who make claims and steadfastly refuse back up what they allege. Today we have people on the Aikiweb who make claims and are out in the general public for some, if not all to experience. It is comical to me to read posts from those who refuse to meet others and find other verbal dance routines to avoid real contact, while at the same time claiming to know "better" than others. I do not expect that his pattern will cease by this thread, or many like it. Jun will continue to have to shut down threads because some people seem determined feel they have no obligation to have to live up to our shared heritage of real meetings and real results. This myopic pattern that exists within all styles of martial arts is only made worse in cyberspace.

Many of us take periodic breaks from posting due to this never-ending pattern of thread directions. This forum will hopefully continue to provide people with a variety of information (that significantly varies in relevance and reality-testing). The sad part is that in cyberspace, everybody can voice their opinions without having to stand behind their words. Many of us on the Aikiweb and other forums will continue to use this forum as an opportunity to broaden our understandings by taking words and ideas and having them tested and challenged so that we can remain anchored within martial realities. These realistic encounters and experiences are the foundations of respect within the martial community at large. Those who do not want to step up to realistic tests, experiments, challenges (it does not matter what you call them) have no one to blame but themselves when others end of disparaging what they say for lack of face-to-face candor.
In summary, I can only hope that we as a community display a more tempered approach in what we say, claim and ask for. The realities of martial arts breeds true humility, integrity and respect. That is why my closest friends are almost exclusively from the world of martial arts.

Marc Abrams

Dan Rubin
08-16-2012, 02:16 PM
Even if I could truly "ignore" certain members, even if their posts were never "quoted" within the posts of others, I would be left with the annoyance and resentment of the remaining members. And threads would continue to be closed, and fewer (and fewer) members would contribute. Ellis had the right idea: members may join his IHTBF threads only if they have "felt it," essentially limiting those threads to members with something positive to contribute.

I suggest that Jun review the threads that he has closed and look for a common -- um -- thread. Might there be one particular member who appears in almost all of them? If so, might this particular member be in the habit of starting fights and keeping them going? Does this particular member have so much of value to contribute that his/her presence is worth the deterioration of AikiWeb?

Suppose that member -- if he or she exists -- were permanently banned from all but one forum, perhaps given his/her own forum, where he/she could be found and engaged by anyone who wished, leaving the rest of us in peaceful ignorance?

Conrad Gus
08-16-2012, 02:19 PM
Looking back at the fist post on the thread in question, and the response cited by Dan in the first post by this thread - it seems to me that Dan's response is exactly on topic, in a discussion on competition or non-competition in Ki training.

Isn't the whole point of a forum about vigorous discussion from people with varying opinions? If that's not the desired result than a blog seems the better option to me.

Best,

Chris

Chris,

I always take your posts seriously, but in this case I think you're wrong. I didn't read that thread at all, so I went back and read the OP and the post in question from Dan (here it is (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=314060&postcount=12)). He used the topic at hand as a convenient excuse to launch into an off-topic manifesto.

The subsequent posters are also responsible for the thread going off topic, as they respond to the manifesto instead of the OP. The thread doesn't ever get back on topic after that. Janet's point in this thread is valid, IMO.

Conrad

phitruong
08-16-2012, 02:20 PM
i found aikiweb fascinating. i enjoyed studying folks, how they think, act and so on. this is like a great place to study psychology, sociology, anthropology, aikiology, and various other ology (not to be confused with orgy which is a different kind of social paradigm :) ). it's a great melting pot (the seafood kind). methink folks are trying to put order around their thought/ideas and expressed on the internet which, personally, is a bad idea, since the internet is an organized chaos or was it chaosily organized. i guess i learned from day one on the internet that

anyway, from my point of view, aikiweb or any of the internet forum is fascinating.

lbb
08-16-2012, 02:21 PM
Oh, jeez, here we go. What a waste of time. This is pointless. I'm outta here.

Chris Li
08-16-2012, 02:27 PM
Chris,

I always take your posts seriously, but in this case I think you're wrong. I didn't read that thread at all, so I went back and read the OP and the post in question from Dan (here it is (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=314060&postcount=12)). He used the topic at hand as a convenient excuse to launch into an off-topic manifesto.

The subsequent posters are also responsible for the thread going off topic, as they respond to the manifesto instead of the OP. The thread doesn't ever get back on topic after that. Janet's point in this thread is valid, IMO.

Conrad

Well, it's certainly a rant (nothing wrong with that) - but to the very end it's about cooperative testing, which makes it right on topic for me:

This mindset we have all but been brainwashed into believing limits us, limits the teachers, and it limits the arts. It is why typical martial artists get there asses handed to them by people who actually know what they are doing with ki and appropriate levels of ki testing.
Those who advocate this highly cooperative practice as a static dojo model...will forever fail and will forever...FOREVER....literally run away,,,, from those of us who know what we are doing with ki under stress.

I think most people in Budo just want to love their budo for whatever it is, and want nothing to do with real testing.
When it comes to budo nothing is truer than;
Do not look to authority for truth
Look to truth for authority
Dan



FWIW...

Best,

Chris

akiy
08-16-2012, 02:32 PM
Hi folks,

Can we please move away from continuing the discussion of a now-closed thread here? I do not believe that was Janet's intent (although I'm sure she'll correct me if I am mistaken).

Thanks,

-- Jun

Jim Sorrentino
08-16-2012, 02:33 PM
Mark,
That's really funny. Those "guidelines" of yours are exactly the same things you keep harping to Dan about ad nauseum in your posts to him.
So are you going to offer an opinion of the guidelines I suggested?

Regarding STFU, read my post to Conrad. [snip] Was that an attempt at being disingenuous trying to make other people look bad? Unlike you, I won't tell you what to do. Jun is more than capable of doing that.

I believe that it is completely with bounds for participants in a discussion to ask each other to discuss things in a respectful way. You chose to read my request as an order --- which it was not. I believe that terms like "STFU" belong on Bullshido and similar boards, and not on AikiWeb. Expletives, whether stated explicitly or as acronyms, are not explanations. Would you use them in a discussion with Peter Goldsbury? I didn't think so. ;)

Jim

Conrad Gus
08-16-2012, 02:37 PM
The beauty of this forum is that in becomes an in-vitro laboratory for people to work through ideas and beliefs about the practice of Aikido (and related arts). The significant limitation of this (and any other internet forum for that matter) is that it simply exists in cyberspace.

We are discussing, debating, etc. an area this is tangible. Martial arts exist as a "DNA legacy" of surviving physical/deadly conflicts. We no longer test those skills in seasonal battles amongst warring clan. The tests that some do employ have been tailored to allow for more than a live/die paradigm. Ultimately, the skills can or cannot live up to the claims made about them. I would like to believe ( I really do know better from reading some people's posts) that Aikidoka are unified in their shared belief that what O'Sensei taught was a MARTIAL art that was viable and stood up to repeated tests by many. I would like to believe that almost all of us would share a belief that O'Sensei's skills were unique to few and that they do not seem to be passed down as a whole entity. I would like to believe that many of us struggle to try and rediscover what made O'Sensei one of a handful of uniquely skilled martial artists at that point in history.

We can debate until time immemorial as to what those skills sets were and were not. There is a video legacy and first-hand account legacy (few of those people are alive today) to which we can begin to try and measure up to what we are seeking to achieve. There are those of us who go out and meet those who claim certain skill sets and abilities. We can see first-hand what we think that we know and can do. We can see first-hand what others think that they can do and know. These meetings have been occurring as long as martial arts has been around. Some of the meetings have been cordial and respectful, others were neutral in tone and others were deadly. Regardless of the nature of the meetings, the results spoke for themselves.

Today, we have people on the Aikiweb who make claims and steadfastly refuse back up what they allege. Today we have people on the Aikiweb who make claims and are out in the general public for some, if not all to experience. It is comical to me to read posts from those who refuse to meet others and find other verbal dance routines to avoid real contact, while at the same time claiming to know "better" than others. I do not expect that his pattern will cease by this thread, or many like it. Jun will continue to have to shut down threads because some people seem determined feel they have no obligation to have to live up to our shared heritage of real meetings and real results. This myopic pattern that exists within all styles of martial arts is only made worse in cyberspace.

Many of us take periodic breaks from posting due to this never-ending pattern of thread directions. This forum will hopefully continue to provide people with a variety of information (that significantly varies in relevance and reality-testing). The sad part is that in cyberspace, everybody can voice their opinions without having to stand behind their words. Many of us on the Aikiweb and other forums will continue to use this forum as an opportunity to broaden our understandings by taking words and ideas and having them tested and challenged so that we can remain anchored within martial realities. These realistic encounters and experiences are the foundations of respect within the martial community at large. Those who do not want to step up to realistic tests, experiments, challenges (it does not matter what you call them) have no one to blame but themselves when others end of disparaging what they say for lack of face-to-face candor.

In summary, I can only hope that we as a community display a more tempered approach in what we say, claim and ask for. The realities of martial arts breeds true humility, integrity and respect. That is why my closest friends are almost exclusively from the world of martial arts.

Marc Abrams

Marc,

No disrespect intended, but this is excellent example of "divisive rhetoric".

I'm not challenging your opinion (you have some good points, IMO) or your right to free speech, but it's Jun's forum and he has asked us (in this very thread) to steer away from this kind of thing.

Conrad

Janet Rosen
08-16-2012, 02:41 PM
Hi folks,

Can we please move away from continuing the discussion of a now-closed thread here? I do not believe that was Janet's intent (although I'm sure she'll correct me if I am mistaken).

Thanks,

-- Jun

Thank you. It was an example, that's all. And my point is not, to loosely paraphrase Mark, "some people should shut up."

My point was and is very simple and applies to each and every one of us, regardless of how we train, why we train, where we train, etc.: Think about how and why you are posting. Is your post going to contribute to an ongoing actual conversation or be in essence a door slamming shut?

So if I were to re-phrase that paraphrase :) it would be "all people should sometimes shut up." I anticipate stepping out of this thread now, with a final plea for letting this be a space where people who train for different reasons and in different styles to have conversations.

Janet Rosen
08-16-2012, 02:48 PM
Jim and Mark you clearly have a history and it is not productive to rehash it here. Can you go PM?

Basia Halliop
08-16-2012, 03:01 PM
There's nothing I can do with how our posts "feel" to people. I don't have an answer for that. It's something each person must find in the mirror.

I would argue that anyone writing anything, at least in any context other than a private journal, can and should care about how their writing comes across to other people. Otherwise what is the point of writing it down and showing it to others rather than just thinking it to oneself or writing it in a private journal?

Who is the audience of the writing intended to be? What is the intended effect on that audience?

Michael Hackett
08-16-2012, 03:33 PM
I have been a member of Rotary International, rely on what Rotary calls the "4 Way Test" and I've found it to be a great guide to fruitful communication.

Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Whether one subscribes to the tenets of any social or fraternal order, the 4 Way Test has helped me communicate respectfully with others - even though I may sometimes fall short.

Marc Abrams
08-16-2012, 03:47 PM
Marc,

No disrespect intended, but this is excellent example of "divisive rhetoric".

I'm not challenging your opinion (you have some good points, IMO) or your right to free speech, but it's Jun's forum and he has asked us (in this very thread) to steer away from this kind of thing.

Conrad

Conrad:

I did not try to be divisive, nor did I consider what I wrote to be an example of divisive rhetoric. I simply pointed out the advantages and limitations of this forum (and others) and with real meetings. You and I can agree to disagree (although I do not know exactly what you are disagreeing with) and to what I wrote as having to do with what Jun asked us to steer away from.

Regards,

marc abrams

kewms
08-16-2012, 04:17 PM
That most Modern Aikido lacks aiki is a truth. That there is a training methodology to gain aiki is a truth. That aiki would make Modern Aikido better is a truth. There is no degrading in any of those statements. No more than Ueshiba stating that aiki would make any religion better.

The nature of truth is that it remains true whether people believe it or not, and regardless of how vigorously people defend or attack it.

As I said upthread, your position is well known. I even largely agree with it. That doesn't mean that it's productive to explain it *every* *single* *time* a more or less relevant thread comes up.

Katherine

mathewjgano
08-16-2012, 05:23 PM
Janet,
Thank you for your eloquence. I thought that was well put (they always are, in my opinion), for whatever it's worth.
I think in many cases the focus is more on the narrative than the conversation, if that makes sense, and I think that tends to cause us (I'm know I'm guilty of it) to pay less attention to the personalities we're conversing with; to shape our messages more in terms of our desire for delivery than in the way it will be received. Like Demetrio said (in another thread), people always apply theur own conceptions to any concept; I think it's unavoidable and putting things in terms of true/false or valid/invalid automatically changes the conversation. No we aren't all correct, but we have to respect the fact that those who are perhaps less informed (for the sake of argument) have the right to figure things out on their own. Right or wrong is irrelevant past a certain point. When it comes to furthering the conversation and promoting open-minded discourse instead of entrenched defenses of some narrative, we have to allow the potentially erroneous viewpoint some space to remain fluid. This means taking a proverbial step back sometimes, like you're suggesting. Now I hate to suggest to anyone to curb expressing their thoughts. The whole point of the internet and Aikiweb, as I see it, is to try to express our thinking, whatever it may be. But at some point (times like now for example), while maintaining that connection, I think it helps to let "aite" up in order to get them to reorganize in order to have something more useful to work with...if I'm making any sense. I dunno...my brain has slowly been melting through my ear-holes these past couple weeks; in more ways than one, so I apologize (to all) if I'm just adding another muddled message to the mix here.
And for the record I think Dan has adjusted his rhetoric a bit. I perceive a real effort for tightening up his message to include something softer than what I've perceived to be his "blunt" (direct) point of view. I apologize for shifting some focus onto him for a moment, but my only gripe with him in the past has had to do with his way of communicating and I think I've seen that shift to a softer mode.
Once again, rereading my post here, I'm left feeling like I recognized something I cannot adequately describe...and probably not seeing the forrest for the trees...
meh...
Take care folks, and thank you for continuing to share your thoughts. This "noob" appreciates your experienced insights.
FWIW.
Matt

kewms
08-17-2012, 12:37 AM
I would argue that anyone writing anything, at least in any context other than a private journal, can and should care about how their writing comes across to other people. Otherwise what is the point of writing it down and showing it to others rather than just thinking it to oneself or writing it in a private journal?

Sometimes, the purpose is "thinking out loud," seeking feedback on ideas that may not be fully formed, or on a line of thinking that one has not yet fully explored.

There's a saying among writers: there is no writing so bad that it can't be improved, but a blank page is just a blank page.

At the same time, writers are very wary about distributing early drafts too widely. If I know something is bad and am seeking advice on how to fix it, it's not very helpful to tell me that my whole approach is wrong, I'm wasting my time, and I should take up basketweaving instead. Nor am I likely to get useful feedback on a sonnet from someone who thinks poetry is stupid.

Katherine

MM
08-17-2012, 08:02 AM
As I said upthread, your position is well known. I even largely agree with it. That doesn't mean that it's productive to explain it *every* *single* *time* a more or less relevant thread comes up.

Katherine

This actually does relate to Janet's topic in this thread. I think if people look at the overall threads on Aikiweb in each forum (excluding Non-Aikido), you'd find that a high percentage of threads do *not* have, um, DanWeb (for lack of a better descriptive term) in them.

And that is why I have no answer to Jun's point about how things "feel" or even how they "seem". That's a personal issue that I cannot help with. Why does this content strike to the very bone of people? Really, the overall sentiment is what Janet posted. Which brings me back to Janet.

Thank you. It was an example, that's all. And my point is not, to loosely paraphrase Mark, "some people should shut up."

My point was and is very simple and applies to each and every one of us, regardless of how we train, why we train, where we train, etc.: Think about how and why you are posting. Is your post going to contribute to an ongoing actual conversation or be in essence a door slamming shut?

So if I were to re-phrase that paraphrase :) it would be "all people should sometimes shut up." I anticipate stepping out of this thread now, with a final plea for letting this be a space where people who train for different reasons and in different styles to have conversations.

In essence, I disagree with you, Janet. :) If you think about the overall arc of what you're asking, you're hoping that these "DanWeb" posts won't get posted so that threads won't get shut down or conversations won't get killed. In essence, shutting the door on "DanWeb" posts so that other groups can have their public conversations. You want to shut a door so that another might not get shut. But that's still saying to a group of people, please shut up so that I can enjoy this conversation. Now, I'm all for asking someone to politely keep to the parameters of the topic. If that means someone wants to keep the parameters to how their group/organization trains or does things, that's fine. I can bow out of the conversation.

However, stating "there needs to be a baseline respect for the disparity and breadth of all aikido" while also asking a group to not post is not the way to go. That's just asking people to shut up so other people can enjoy their conversation all the while saying that there should be respect for the disparity and breadth of all groups. IMO, it would be better to have people ask if the thread/conversation could be kept within specified boundaries (i.e. please don't talk about "DanWeb" stuff here).

I'm guessing we'll disagree. But I think we're okay with that (I am). :) We agree on things, we disagree on things. Makes for an interesting world.

Mark

Mary Eastland
08-17-2012, 08:29 AM
I think you are in a bit of denial, Mark. :) If you look back through the threads the pattern is obvious.

When someone out of that group (and there is a group) posts something that is pertinent to the topic, it is ignored. That is why it doesn't feel like a discussion. It seems like a political platform.

The only time something is responded to is when it provides a place to say: the first poster is wrong, your way is wrong and the only way, is the way the group talks about.

I know it is hard to see something when I am part of it. When I hear someone I respect tell me something, I need to look at it the way they see it. Humans often can't see the forest for the trees. I don't have to change but at least I could see it from their point of view.

I would like to be able to share ideas and exchange experiences with everyone that is interested in Ki development. :)

Demetrio Cereijo
08-17-2012, 08:49 AM
But if Aikiweb is to be an online forum for the broad spectrum of people who enjoy training in aikido, there needs to be a baseline respect for the disparity and breadth of all aikido and frankly sometimes that just means choosing not to post so that people who DO a certain mainstream practice can discuss among themselves the things that interest them.

Sure, but IMO there is also the need of less passive agresiveness, less whining and a thicker skin. But asking for that to akido people is, as we say here, like asking an elm to give pears.

Marc Abrams
08-17-2012, 08:55 AM
I think you are in a bit of denial, Mark. :) If you look back through the threads the pattern is obvious.

I am sure that you would also own up to your end of "denial" in the "pattern" that you talk about?

When someone out of that group (and there is a group) posts something that is pertinent to the topic, it is ignored. That is why it doesn't feel like a discussion. It seems like a political platform.

The only time something is responded to is when it provides a place to say: the first poster is wrong, your way is wrong and the only way, is the way the group talks about.

Is that the only pattern that you have observed, or chose to comment on?

I know it is hard to see something when I am part of it. When I hear someone I respect tell me something, I need to look at it the way they see it. Humans often can't see the forest for the trees. I don't have to change but at least I could see it from their point of view.

What makes you think that Mark, or anyone else for that matter, had not looked at things from the other person's perspective? The assumption that you make, smacks of elitism and is expressed in a manner that could be viewed by others as passive-aggressive (what Aikidoka being passive aggressive :eek: ). People can look at something from another person's perspective and still come to a variety of conclusions about the person's perspective. If a person concludes that the other person's perspective is wrong, crazy, etc. and expresses that opinion, you seem to automatically conclude that the person's perspective was not taken into account, the person was not "respected."

If we are talking about a topic that is purely abstract, then it is much easier for people to consider all ideas as having merit. If the topic is tangible in nature (aka- Aikido) then that approach is simply not realistic. people are entitled to their opinions about anything. That entitlement is not free from responsibility and reality-testing. There have been many opinion and ideas expressed on this forum that have not stood the "test-of-time" when "fleshed out in person." I believe that we gain a greater degree of respect when we can acknowledge the errors of our ways and learn from them, than we can ever gain from the "everything is good" approach. That approach is not realistic, viable or useful outside of not wanting to hurt the feelings of those whose egos are too attached to their ideas. The people that you like to attack, are typically the people who strenuously express, test and modify their ideas based upon real-life testing.

I would like to be able to share ideas and exchange experiences with everyone that is interested in Ki development. :)

I would qualify that to say that you seem to do so ONLY if their ideas and experiences are harmonious with what you already believe to be true.

Marc Abrams

Mary Eastland
08-17-2012, 09:12 AM
That last post is an excellent example of what I am talking about.

Anthony Loeppert
08-17-2012, 09:54 AM
I am sure that you would also own up to your end of "denial" in the "pattern" that you talk about?
...
Is that the only pattern that you have observed, or chose to comment on?


That last post is an excellent example of what I am talking about.

One post is certainly an excellent example...

Basia Halliop
08-17-2012, 10:03 AM
Personally, as far as I can see part of the basic premise of a normal conversation or of a discussion forum (as opposed to, e.g., a scientific journal or a newspaper or something with a more narrow goal) is that people can and will be interested in what they're interested in, will believe what they believe, and will want to talk about it with each other, even when you are convinced or even _know_ that what they're talking about is Objectively Provably Wrong. That's life, that's conversation.

Mary Eastland
08-17-2012, 10:22 AM
One post is certainly an excellent example...

Yes it is...and then someone else from the group coming out and making a snarky comment is another example of the bigger picture. :)

vjw
08-17-2012, 10:36 AM
Yes it is...and then someone else from the group coming out and making a snarky comment is another example of the bigger picture. :)

How about coming out yourself, from behind your garden gate and meeting some of the people that have different views to you. You could then comment here on aikiweb on how the meet up went?

Mary Eastland
08-17-2012, 11:01 AM
I have.

vjw
08-17-2012, 11:27 AM
I have.

Who was it and what are your thoughts on the meeting?

MM
08-17-2012, 11:38 AM
I think you are in a bit of denial, Mark. :) If you look back through the threads the pattern is obvious.

When someone out of that group (and there is a group) posts something that is pertinent to the topic, it is ignored. That is why it doesn't feel like a discussion. It seems like a political platform.


My point is that in the overall scheme of aikiweb, those threads are actually in the minority. Just at a general, quick sampling of the General forum ... of the 25 listed threads, only two had people posting IP/aiki (DanWeb) type stuff. I would guess the sampling in the other forums is near the same. :) It just "seems" or "feels" like it's in a majority.

Now, as to the second sentence... How do you know it's ignored? Remember, you have people here who have anywhere from 0 year to 20+ years training in aikido. Do you think people with 10-20 years haven't had similar training experiences?

As to "feel" and "seem", okay, I can definitely see that, understand that, maybe not agree with it ... so, in regards to Janet's theme of the thread ... what do you suggest we do to make things better?

Mark

akiy
08-17-2012, 11:59 AM
How about coming out yourself, from behind your garden gate and meeting some of the people that have different views to you. You could then comment here on aikiweb on how the meet up went?
Let's move this thread away from being on a personal level, please.

Thanks,

-- Jun

mathewjgano
08-17-2012, 12:15 PM
Who was it and what are your thoughts on the meeting?

That would be a different topic wouldn't it? This is a topic on how to promote a greater sense of dialogue, not on what we think about an experience with x,y, or z practicioner.

the basic premise of a normal conversation...is that people can and...will want to talk about it with each other, even when you are convinced or even _know_ that what they're talking about is Objectively Provably Wrong.
I think this gets to the heart of the matter: there are a lot of people who seem to want to post less because they think the conversation will change into another iteration of the typical criticisms we see on Modern Aikido, which tend to relate to the issue of "internals."
Right or wrong, there is a tone that comes through which says IP is the real deal; anything not IP is essentially false. The point has been made that people can do Aikido and have fun, but also says something akin to: "if they're not including very specific aspects of O Sensei's training (and they're probably not), then it's not the real budo of O Sensei." Again, right or wrong is beside the point when it comes to communicating ideas with the goal of keeping the communication going and not devolving into what has become somewhat typical here. It is the question of how to address "that which has become somewhat typical here" which this thread is about, assuming I'm understanding it correctly.
Janet seems to be suggesting that there is an effort to push an idea or set of ideas, which while very much grounded in authenticity, also pushes people away from participating or otherwise distracts from the conversations on a regular basis. Starting from that conclusion (which many seem to agree with), how can we diminish this effect? Dialing it back a little in some way seems to be her suggestion. I liken this to letting aite/uke up in order to let them get their feet under them before...well...you throw them:D but the point is to give people "space" to reorganize and re-engage.
...My other wooden nickle; which fills my quota. See you folks later.
And remember: be excellent to each other. Party on.

kewms
08-17-2012, 12:36 PM
But that's still saying to a group of people, please shut up so that I can enjoy this conversation. Now, I'm all for asking someone to politely keep to the parameters of the topic. If that means someone wants to keep the parameters to how their group/organization trains or does things, that's fine. I can bow out of the conversation.

I think that's what Janet is asking, that people *do* choose to bow out of conversations rather than restate certain well-known positions over and over again.

I don't think the request is to "shut up," so much as "we were talking about something else, and would like to continue to do so, please."

Katherine

kewms
08-17-2012, 12:40 PM
http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/duty_calls.png
http://xkcd.com/386/

Really, it's okay to let people have their delusions.

Katherine

dps
08-17-2012, 12:42 PM
I.....So I'm not sure what it accomplishes to state those positions over and over, with increasing volume. ......


Marketing;

"9 Reasons to Repeat Your Message

I'd like to share some reasons you need to repeat your marketing message.

If you want your message to stick, remember these pointers:
1. Your audience forgets 90 percent of what they see and hear within two weeks.

Why is this so? In the United States, we are exposed to more than 1,600 advertising, public relations, sales promotion, and marketing messages every day. Of them, we "see" only 80. And we really recall and take action on just 12.

There is a strong need to repeat your message because of competition in the marketplace.
2. Your market changes constantly.

The marketplace is not stagnant. Because we move, because of better communication and transportation, because we get bored, because we want new challenges, because we want to dive into new opportunities, the market changes. And when your market changes, you have to chase it-which means you need to repeat your message.
3. Test new ideas on a continuing and ongoing basis. And retest old ideas.

Because your marketplace is like an octopus-never staying in one place for long-you need to find out how to reach it best. And you need to do it in an ongoing fashion. Also, test old ideas that worked when you used them before. Try them again.
4. Reach out for new business.

In 1972, 1 lost two-thirds of my business within 60 days. One of my major accounts went bankrupt. Another decided to walk.

Because I had not been searching for new business, it took me almost nine months to get even. Every week since that time, I spend a little time reaching for new business.
5. Talk to your customers on a regular basis.

There is no reason for you to think that your audience remembers what your offer is. Or why, they should respond to it.

You must promote your offer on a continuing basis. Use multimedia. Use a combination of mail, print, telephone, broadcast, trade shows, take-ones and other marketing tools to let your market know what your offer is.
6. Ask for the order.

The organization, Sales and Marketing Executives International has done a study, indicating that 81 percent of all sales are made on the fifth call or later in the sales process.

What this says is that you need to ask for the order over and over again. You need to repeat your offer, repeat the benefits, repeat the request for actions ... and ask your prospects and customers to give you some additional business.
8. You need continuity in the marketplace.

You are more likely to be remembered when it's time to buy, if you are seen frequently.
9. You need continuity of sales efforts.

No matter how you sell-by a captive sales force, by a telemarketing unit, by a distribution network of some type, through a retail store, or through a combination of methods you need to have your sales force selling on a continuing basis.

Your sales team will find it easier to close sales if you are more visible in the marketplace. Continuity in the marketplace and continuity of sales effort tie together."

From http://www.presentation-pointers.com/showarticle/articleid/408/

dps

Marc Abrams
08-17-2012, 12:57 PM
http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/duty_calls.png
http://xkcd.com/386/

Really, it's okay to let people have their delusions.

Katherine

Katherine:

Delusions are fine as long as they remain delusions. When people act on their delusions you get results such as the Jonestown mass suicide, The latest delusional person who brought weapons to a theater in Colorado, etc.. Expressing ideas and thoughts are great as long as they can simply remain in that realm. What happens when you try and "mix" reality with non-realities is where things can get dicey.

As to the Aikiweb, I agree with the sentiment that after time, those people who insist that their thoughts and perceptions about Aikido are some higher truths, in the face of a differing reality, should not be responded to as much as they seem to generate some kind of morbid interest (like slowing down to see the accident on the side of the road). I think that like the accident on the side of the road, those people will continue to garner interest. Those that seek real change also know where to look. At the end of the day, people can either grow in their pursuits, stay stagnant, or simply get worse. No expressed ideas can ever hide that reality.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Anthony Loeppert
08-17-2012, 02:08 PM
Yes it is...and then someone else from the group coming out and making a snarky comment is another example of the bigger picture. :)

I see. And this bigger picture, how many shadowy groups are there for people to come out of?
And how long have you felt this way? Feel free (please) to start a new thread outlining all your novel ideas.
It would be extremely useful to those like myself that didn't realize we belonged to a group.

It will be put on the agenda of the daily danweb conference call...

vjw
08-17-2012, 03:17 PM
That would be a different topic wouldn't it? This is a topic on how to promote a greater sense of dialogue, not on what we think about an experience with x,y, or z practicioner.
.

If we met up, and got a better sense of what each other was doing, I think it would go along way to improving the dialog. Wouldn't talking about the experience and what we got from it improve things?

I've traveled form Rochester to DC, Long Island, NJ, and MA and further to meet people from Aikiweb that gave me an impression that they had something to offer. The trip has always been rewarding.Now, if only it could help me with my dialogue:o

Jim Sorrentino
08-17-2012, 03:22 PM
Hi Victor,

I've traveled form Rochester to DC, Long Island, NJ, and MA and further to meet people from Aikiweb that gave me an impression that they had something to offer. The trip has always been rewarding.Now, if only it could help me with my dialogue:o

When you get to DC, please stop by Aikido of Northern Virginia!

Jim

vjw
08-17-2012, 03:32 PM
Hi Victor,

When you get to DC, please stop by Aikido of Northern Virginia!

Jim

I have been to your dojo. Another Jim was teaching that night. We had fun.

akiy
08-17-2012, 05:17 PM
Hi folks,

First off, I appreciate the level-headed discourse that I see from most of the people in this thread. Thank you for your thoughts and support for raising the level of discourse here on AikiWeb.

I wanted to take a few minutes to respond to some things that were raised, and I wanted to also express my appreciations for a few things. To quote Blaise Pascal for a moment, "I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had time to make it shorter." Similarly, I have not had time to, perhaps, be as diplomatic nor fully thought out as I usually wish. To quote Kurt Vonnegut, "So it goes." And, so, here goes.

One thing I read in Janet's message is frustration that some threads end up (predictably) being centered around internal training when, initially, it had a different direction. It's a frustration that I've heard from many and one, frankly, that I have personally shared. I have had times in the past when I've predicted how some discussions will turn out: when someone brings up issues with ukemi, the discussion will turn into how aikido ukemi is contradictory to internal training methods and damaging to one's development in the art; if someone talks about trouble with a certain portion of a technique, the discussion will turn into how using "aiki" would prove such points meaningless; if ki testing is brought up, the discussion will become . . . I'm sure the reader gets the point. Again, this is not to say that the subject of internal training is invalid in those discussions. I know that this topic of internal training is one that's very important to some folks here. And, I very well understand that internal training methods can be applied in many different aspects of aikido. Rather, I feel that the pervasiveness of the internal training topic often keeps many discussions from flourishing by taking over that discussion through sheer volume of rhetoric and overall direction of discussion (as Janet and Katherine have mentioned in their posts (here (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=314320&postcount=32), here (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=314330&postcount=37), and here (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=314381&postcount=54))).

Also, as I wrote before, there often seems to be a tone in these discussions that include "condemnations, disparagement, and even seeming contempt" (my words) for what many people are practicing -- which, in turn, seems to serve to strip away the meaning and enjoyment that many people find in their current training. (As an aside, I use "seem" as I can only interpret what I see and do not have the means to divine the writer's intentions.)

For example, I've seen people write that there is very little reason 1) to train in a method (or subset of an approach) that does not have the goal or 2) to train with a teacher who does not have the ability to physically dominate one's opponent. Although they are valid notions, some people have stated pretty clearly that they either do not subscribe or that they are not in such notions. As such, I think returning, time and time again, to this line of argumentation (which I feel gets too often conflated into many of the threads) does not get us very far when it comes to discussing topics which are built upon a different foundation.

Another example is the labeling of those who do not do internal training methods as practicing "modern aikido" -- a rather broad brush, in my eyes. Does that mean everyone who did non-modern aikido (pre-war?) had internal training? Does that mean everyone who is otherwise practicing today lacks internal training? It just seems to serve to create a rift to me. Another pet peeve of mine is when people write something to the effect that "no Japanese shihan is capable of doing XYZ" as I don't really see the necessity to be explicit about the ethnicity of such a group (especially when it's probably also their case that non-Japanese shihan are also incapable of XYZ). Also, when I see words and phrases such as "utter nonsense," "brainwashed," "aikibunnies," and "caricature of the real thing," I don't see how such rhetoric can serve to bridge differences but only to divide and polarize, no matter the intent of the posting.

~ * ~

As an aside, some folks bring up the fact that "meeting up" with others will basically solve everything. I don't deny that meeting people face-to-face will often help bridge differences and will also allow for demonstration and, perhaps, transmission of a lot of what we do in this art of aikido -- as some of you know, I've organized many seminars and workshops to this very end. Furthermore, not everyone has the ability nor means to go out and meet others -- and, also, there are those who purposefully choose not to do so. I think choosing one's experiences is a right that everyone has; criticizing them for not going out and experiencing something that someone else finds valuable/insightful/necessary seems odd to me. In any case -- not to be obvious or anything -- but this here is a discussion forum; its purpose is to discuss -- to communicate with each other our thoughts, experiences, and opinions. As such, if your discussion boils down to that catchphrase, "it has to be felt," then I don't see a whole lot of point of that line of argument in a discussion forum. Of course, I understand and agree that certain experiences are very difficult to capture in words; my request there, then, would be for folks to take the time and effort to do what they can to do so. After all, that's the purpose of the AikiWeb Forums.

~ * ~

In response to Mark Murray's question of "What do you suggest we do to make things better?", one thing I'm feeling from folks is that some consider internal training critical/integrated to their aikido training and others do not. I remember encountering the same sorts of philosophical differences, if you will, in the past when topics such as Tomiki competition, weapons work, and other "facets" of aikido training that wasn't shared universally came up. Those who practiced it seemed to think those facets are incontrovertibly important; others, not so much.

One imperfect solution, then, would be to start a new thread referencing the original one to discuss the topic from the viewpoint of internal training. Some may argue, though, that this doesn't address the feelings that some have that internal training might be pertinent to the discussion at-hand. Although I understand and can even agree to a certain point, I think that being able to clearly focus and delineate the topic at-hand will, in the long run, enable a much richer discussion. In terms of starting a new thread, it will enable the original thread to continue while the second thread will be there to allow discussion with a different emphasis. Again, this is imperfect -- but, until there's a difference in which the manner of discussion about internal training becomes such that talking about it isn't so polarizing, that's probably the best and simplest solution that I can offer today.

A more difficult solution, if I can say so with more than a bit of presumption regarding people's intentions, would be for everyone to be a bit more kind in their communication here. Yes, I said it -- be more kind. I sometimes get the feeling that some folks post here with a sense of righteousness and maybe even some indignation, as though they had something they wanted to educate others about -- or, even worse, put down what others have written -- rather than entering into dialogue based on sharing one's experiences, thoughts, and opinions. When you encounter differences between your point and those of others, be passionate without hostility. Seek to work out the differences you encounter, or walk away from those differences without carrying away bitterness and anger. Just as "budo begins and ends with respect," each of us has the responsibility to conduct ourselves with dignity, integrity, and, yes, respect.

~ * ~

On another topic, there are also people with, as Janet writes, "a history" between themselves and others that underlie (or, worse yet, overtly takes over) their interactions. To these folks, my request is to keep your animosities out of your discussions. Honestly, seeing people keep bringing out their dirty laundry to air on AikiWeb seems unnecessarily petty and immature. Cut it out, folks. Please engage in your discussions without coloring your points with such personal baggage, or take it to private conversations.

~ * ~

To respond to a few people's thoughts:

I don't really think that it's the place of outsiders like myself, who don't participate in a practice, to participate in a discussion of that practice, unless we can do so 1)in a spirit of true inquiry and 2)without derailing the discussion.

I think what Mary brings up above (and in the rest of her message) has many good things in it and is worth re-reading (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=314269&postcount=6), especially her analogies containing rutabagas and zazen.

If the IP guys can speak directly to the thread topic from their POV then that should be productive for participants and trolls alike. ie. "how much competitiveness is good/bad in a ki testing situation?" IP guy " we approach this kind of exercise this way.....". etc, etc.

I agree with this. Too many times in the past have I seen people resort to "that's been discussed already" or "it has to be felt" as their response rather than delineating the differences of their training methods, experiences, and principles through words in a productive and positive manner.

(1) I strongly believe in "modern aikido", as it is sometimes disparagingly called, as a fascinating practice which is "fun", for lack of a better word, and can change lives. So do most aikido practitioners. However, it seems very difficult these days to discuss it as such on aikiweb without intensive, almost ritualised reference to a lot of stuff that, for a huge majority of practitioners, has nothing to do with their practice for now. (Please note that I am not saying I agree with all of modern aikido; also note that I still belive Dan's teaching is invaluable for me personally)

(2) history - as it relates to the aikido most of us do - has recently been predominantly used in discussions here in a negative, backward looking and often fundamentalist (as in, back to the golden days) way. It is hardly ever used in a constructive, forward looking manner. I wonder whether there is still a gap between truly fascinating historical insights some of you have had, and, well, their practical relevance to what most of us do, which is modern aikido. I really look forward to the times when that gap will be bridged, but until then, we should treat each other with more tolerance and courtesy.

Thank you for that, Nicholas. I agree on both points.

Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Nice "tests," Michael. I like the last two, especially.

Janet seems to be suggesting that there is an effort to push an idea or set of ideas, which while very much grounded in authenticity, also pushes people away from participating or otherwise distracts from the conversations on a regular basis.

Well said, Matthew.

~ * ~

I also wanted to relate that I have heard from many people who, in their paraphrased collective words, "used to participate on AikiWeb but don't any longer because of the tone of the discussions." Words such as "predictable," "disrespectful," "vituperation," and "trolling" have come up in their feedback. Rather than people walking away due to the subject matter, it really seems to be the tone and manner of engagement that they found objectionable. Also, I'll just say that no matter how "true" something might be, if it's being couched in disrespectful terms, I don't want to see it here on AikiWeb. Saying "just saying" or "no offense" or being tactless under the guise of being straightforward are not acceptable. On this topic, I'll just quote myself, as I've already expressed the below sentiments a while back:

I would rather have a community which understands and subscribes to conducting discussions in a civil manner over one that may be more "vibrant" which fosters disrespectful behavior. I've done what I can (imperfectly, of course) to maintain such a standard, even when it meant pushing away people whose behavior got in their way of contributing positively, no matter their experience level and acumen regarding the topics being discussed -- and I will continue doing so.

~ * ~

Again, I want to thank everyone for their engaging in this meta-discussion about AikiWeb. I'll close with a link to my post "Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct" which I posted earlier this year: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20698

Back to work for me.

-- Jun

PS: I have moved the discussion on "Rutabagans" to a different thread (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21658).

Janet Rosen
08-17-2012, 07:20 PM
Thank you, Jun.

Aikibu
08-17-2012, 07:32 PM
Nothing beats context.. and Janet as I've said elsewhere thank you for your heartfelt expression of wanting to achieve and preserve harmony here....Though we have never met I consider you a kindred spirit

In my own personal experience ( and it's been pointed out here more than once already) Context is everything...

The "real" Budoka I have met in life were extremely polite for the most part (as well as a ton of folks I know whose profession is (simply put) killing other human beings)...After all... when you can seriously hurt or kill someone the only thing that keeps you in "context/check" is your own humility and respect for others...

A real Martial Artist in my own experience strives only to achieve victory over themselves... through discipline, focus, humility, and respect. Having been there and done that...The rest is meaningless to me.

It was an evolution this wild eyed brawl at the drop of a hat Irishman sorely needed to understand and experience.

William Hazen

graham christian
08-17-2012, 08:55 PM
Jun, life is full of surprises. I'm impressed by your post and bow to your wisdom.

Peace.G.

Peter Goldsbury
08-17-2012, 09:23 PM
One thing I have learned, not in the dojo, but as a nurse and a family member, is that "being right" isn't always the most important thing. How we comport ourselves among others is.

Hello Janet,

Here is a quote I found from a book on cross-cultural rhetoric. The quotation is from a life of the Buddha. He is being pressed by opponents with questions as to whether he would ever use unpleasant, disagreeable speech. He replies,

"Speech that the Tathagata knows to be untrue, false, and useless, and also unpleasant and disagreeable to others, he does not speak; that which he knows to be true, real and useful, but also unpleasant and disagreeable to others, he knows the right time to express it. Speech that he knows to be untrue, false and useless, and also pleasant and agreeable to others, he does not speak; that which is true, real, but useless, and also pleasant and agreeable to others, that, too, he does not speak; but that which is true, real, and useful, and also pleasant and agreeable to others, in that case he knows the right time to express it." (Edward J Thomas, The Life of Buddha as Legend and History, 1975.)."

So, for the Buddha, timing is everything. This is part of an Indian rhetorical tradition that is definitely not Greek. The rhetorical tradition that is usually called 'western' is based on ancient Greek rhetoric, which itself is based on contentious disputation prior to a decision being taken by third parties.

Best wishes,

Dan Rubin
08-17-2012, 10:45 PM
One imperfect solution, then, would be to start a new thread referencing the original one to discuss the topic from the viewpoint of internal training.

Hear! Hear!

kewms
08-18-2012, 12:06 AM
Those that seek real change also know where to look. At the end of the day, people can either grow in their pursuits, stay stagnant, or simply get worse. No expressed ideas can ever hide that reality.

I think part of my approach to this thread is that each of us is ultimately responsible for our own training. So if someone chooses to train in a way that I think is "wrong," that is not my problem or my responsibility.

Sure, I might choose not to visit their dojo, and suggest that others not go there either. And if they happen to visit my dojo, they should expect to receive the same instruction as any other student, even if it collides with their preconceived notions.

But out here on the internet, where the only real consequences are embarrassment and hurt feelings? *shrug* Life is too short. I've got my own training to worry about.

(And that's even more true when the debate is around the effectiveness of a particular training methodology, rather than something like safety or instructor ethics.)

Katherine

kewms
08-18-2012, 12:09 AM
"9 Reasons to Repeat Your Message

I'd like to share some reasons you need to repeat your marketing message.

I believe Jun has advertising packages for those who wish to repeat a marketing message over and over. That's not what the discussion forums are for.

Katherine

Janet Rosen
08-18-2012, 01:01 AM
"Speech that the Tathagata knows to be untrue, false, and useless, and also unpleasant and disagreeable to others, he does not speak; that which he knows to be true, real and useful, but also unpleasant and disagreeable to others, he knows the right time to express it. Speech that he knows to be untrue, false and useless, and also pleasant and agreeable to others, he does not speak; that which is true, real, but useless, and also pleasant and agreeable to others, that, too, he does not speak; but that which is true, real, and useful, and also pleasant and agreeable to others, in that case he knows the right time to express it." (Edward J Thomas, The Life of Buddha as Legend and History, 1975.)."

Many, many thanks for that.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
08-18-2012, 05:40 AM
I find this thread challenging because I really sympathise with both sides to some extent. I think it is important to remember, in this particular conundrum, that it may not be enough for discourse to be rational and polite on the surface.

Here is a small collection of thought patterns that I personally find make things difficult. Some of them easily push people’s buttons and we simply will have to be careful about them:

Founder-related Legitimacy Digs: telling somebody who practices aikido – especially if you do not practice it yourself – that they do not do what their founder intended is simply impolite and mostly pointless, even when presented in the most rational and polite way. Do not do it. I mean, you would probably not go on some religious forum and tell people their prophet was really not what they thought. Though there is historical evidence in that direction for many prophets. Slightly different field, same sensibility.

Aikido Arrogance: this is the assumption, strong but often denied amongst aikidoka, that their art is really the moral culmination of Japanese budo. And, lo and behold, also martially effective, for whatever that means. I may overstate it, but the sentiment is present in almost every post a few people here make.

The Empirical Gap: What I mean by this is an inherent refusal amongs the huge majority of aikido practitioners to have any form of empirical testing of what they claim to be able to do; I do not just mean the physical, but almost more so the spiritual/ personal/ philosophical benefit supposedly built into the art. Aikido just seems to be notoriously evasive outside of very circumscribed communities of practitioners.

The Martial Fallacy: it really does not follow from the word „martial“ being somewhere that the practice definitely needs to be about effective combat – however defined. It just does not. Words change meaning all the time, they really do.

The Shihan Mystery: If any of these Shihan practising with Dan who do not own up to the fact that they do should read this – you are doing a disservice to your art, to this forum and quite possibly to Dan. But until these guys own up to it, I think they should simply not be mentioned here again.

The Group Paranoia: There is no group. Dan’s stuff is just very persuasive to very diverse people, who may agree on little else in life and in budo. Live with it.

The Money Making Excuse: Its just too easy to accuse people of monetary interests of some sort if you have no other argument left. That’s almost the level of conspiray theories. Oh, you believe in those too – hm, why am I not surprised...

Not My Aikido: Unless some sort of direct evidence from the aikikai archives turns up („...and afterwards, he poured himself some sake, approached me and said, look son, this is what I meant:...), we will never know why he said it. He may have disliked the lack of harmony in the hall.

The Ueshiba Efficiency Fallacy: Just because Morihei Ueshiba was a good fighter, it does not follow that he wanted others to be, and would thus disapprove of non-fighting aikido.

The Rationalising Mysticism Trick: We need martial experience to explain Ueshiba, but for reason XYZ we can really do without religious experience. We dont have much ourselves? Oh, that is just coincidence really.

OK, play with those if you like or add some more, there sure are...

Gary David
08-18-2012, 10:44 AM
I find this thread challenging because I really sympathise with both sides to some extent. I think it is important to remember, in this particular conundrum, that it may not be enough for discourse to be rational and polite on the surface.

OK, play with those if you like or add some more, there sure are...

I agree essentially with what Nicholas described in his full post above. Rather that adding to the mix I have just posted a picture of my teachers over my life in Aikido. This is a composite of the two me's, now and much earlier, along with the individuals that affected my practice over the years the most. These individuals are here because I had personal on mat experiences that altered my search. Four of these individuals have moved on while I still have close connection with three of these individuals. What these individuals did for me, besides a unique experience(s) was to open up my search, to look around, to test the waters and to taste the varied possibilities that were out there.

What saddens me the most is that closing down by most of the adventure of exploring and learning......and from that how to incorporate what you have experienced into one's art. I am having an interesting time in trying to incorporate what I am getting from Dan into the general Aikido drills used in the dojo to add some value to practice. I would also say that what I have gotten from Dan has helped me in better understanding some of the unique experiences I have have with my teachers earlier.

OK ok, I will add entries to Nicholas's set.............

Assigning Value without Experience: Writing folks off without actual interaction, without valid experiences or with enough interaction to place real value. This goes both ways of course. You can have enough trust in someone who has had experience to then except that someones placement, though nothing replaces real experiences. Of course you have to make yourself available for these experiences and be ready to travel.

Reevaluating Our Experiences: Sometime along the way we should take a look at our placement values on individuals.....see if they still hold up or not. This can result in them going both up or down. This may change your schedule. May mean letting go of some things or adding others.

my thoughts...
Gary

Janet Rosen
08-18-2012, 10:54 AM
I find this thread challenging because I really sympathise with both sides to some extent. I think it is important to remember, in this particular conundrum, that it may not be enough for discourse to be rational and polite on the surface.

Yes...and your list of points are good ones.

akiy
08-18-2012, 12:25 PM
Here is a small collection of thought patterns that I personally find make things difficult.
Nice list of thought patterns to avoid, Nicholas. I hope folks here will be able to stay away from each of them.

-- Jun

Dave de Vos
08-18-2012, 01:17 PM
I've had these gut feelings for some time, but I've never been able to to find the right words to express them. Thank you Nicholas. I fully agree with your post.

lbb
08-19-2012, 09:01 AM
Assigning Value without Experience: Writing folks off without actual interaction, without valid experiences or with enough interaction to place real value. This goes both ways of course. You can have enough trust in someone who has had experience to then except that someones placement, though nothing replaces real experiences. Of course you have to make yourself available for these experiences and be ready to travel.

I'd add an asterisk to this, in that there's more than one kind of experience. This forum is also "actual interaction"; I don't think you can get away from that one. I don't think it's appropriate to try to discredit someone for being unwilling to pursue a face-to-face encounter with a person who has acted in a disparaging, abusive or arrogant manner in this forum. I'd call that instead making an intelligent decision.

lbb
08-19-2012, 09:04 AM
The Rationalising Mysticism Trick: We need martial experience to explain Ueshiba, but for reason XYZ we can really do without religious experience. We dont have much ourselves? Oh, that is just coincidence really.

Nicholas, I really liked your list. I thought it was clear and on target. I was a little confused as to exactly what this one meant, however. Can you elaborate on it?

Thanks,

Gary David
08-19-2012, 09:42 AM
I'd add an asterisk to this, in that there's more than one kind of experience. This forum is also "actual interaction"; I don't think you can get away from that one. I don't think it's appropriate to try to discredit someone for being unwilling to pursue a face-to-face encounter with a person who has acted in a disparaging, abusive or arrogant manner in this forum. I'd call that instead making an intelligent decision.

Mary
I am thinking in the broader view...I have met folks over the years and have avoid them off a single encounter only to go back later an find out I had missed somethings. I trained with a guy years ago that I found, in my mind, to be an a__.......I avoided him off of one or two encounters. 20 years later watching him teach and see what he was passing along I could see that it filled in some holes. I talked with him and let him know what I had been thinking years ago and what I though now that I had missed. This has happened with me several times over my lifetime.

I understand the reluctance when someone is offering you something you see wrapped in a bitter package like 'you don't have it' or 'you suck'.........One way to react is to get angry, consider all of this as disparaging, abusive or coming from arrogance with no basis, walk away or fight back.

Sometimes one needs to look in the mirror and ask..."could there be any truth in this?" and check it out. I have more than once walked into a room to 'check it out" and never gotten by the watching part before leaving....and as often stayed to participate. One will never know unless one makes the effort to find out.

In the end though...I don't think any of this is about abusive, disparaging and arrogant behavior by a few individuals...it is more basic than that.....

Gary

aikilouis
08-19-2012, 10:53 AM
So it's basically the question if you want to be diagnosed and cured by Dr House or patted on the back by a mild-mannered "alternative medicine" quack.

mathewjgano
08-19-2012, 11:02 AM
So it's basically the question if you want to be diagnosed and cured by Dr House or patted on the back by a mild-mannered "alternative medicine" quack.

No, because for starters, you cannot be "cured" over the internet and diagnosis is still somewhat problematic, even if not in all cases. It's basically the question of recognizing the impact we're having on the nature of communication and adjusting to promote greater dialogue.

kewms
08-19-2012, 11:21 AM
I'd add an asterisk to this, in that there's more than one kind of experience. This forum is also "actual interaction"; I don't think you can get away from that one. I don't think it's appropriate to try to discredit someone for being unwilling to pursue a face-to-face encounter with a person who has acted in a disparaging, abusive or arrogant manner in this forum. I'd call that instead making an intelligent decision.

I don't think it's appropriate to try to discredit someone for being unwilling to pursue *any* face-to-face encounter. Life is short. Training time and travel budgets are limited, and we all have to pick and choose.

But that cuts both ways. If you haven't seen someone, you're not really qualified to talk about what they can or can't do. (Something to especially keep in mind when discussing people who are now dead.) If no one has seen you, then no one can corroborate your own claims.

Along the same lines, it might be helpful to remember that writing ability has little or no relationship to any physical skill. Ability (or inability) to be articulate on internet forums implies nothing whatsoever about a person's martial ability (or lack thereof).

Katherine

kewms
08-19-2012, 11:32 AM
So it's basically the question if you want to be diagnosed and cured by Dr House or patted on the back by a mild-mannered "alternative medicine" quack.

There are plenty of doctors who have *both* excellent technical skills and excellent bedside manner. The idea that geniuses are inevitably miserable human beings makes good television, but doesn't have much to do with reality.

On the other hand, it can be helpful to remember that if a teacher is being nice, that could just mean they don't give a @#$% whether you get it or not.

Katherine

Dan Rubin
08-19-2012, 12:25 PM
No matter how wonderful someone is in person, I don't want him/her to hijack threads with argumentative posts. The problem is in the nature of the posts, not in whether or not I agree with what the person is saying.

Mary Eastland
08-19-2012, 01:25 PM
"The Group Paranoia: There is no group. Dan’s stuff is just very persuasive to very diverse people, who may agree on little else in life and in budo. Live with it. "


I disagree with this one. I am not paranoid. I have been on the other side of a bunch of people who disagree with me. That is fine.

Sometimes when I respond to one person another person responds in a vehement attacking fashion interpreting what I have said in some detrimental way. There is no discussion of what I have said just rhetoric about how I said it.

I think a better way to discuss these matters is to keep the topic at the forefront.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
08-19-2012, 01:48 PM
Nicholas, I really liked your list. I thought it was clear and on target. I was a little confused as to exactly what this one meant, however. Can you elaborate on it?

Thanks,

Mary, I will try: What I mean is that it seems evident to me that Morihei Ueshiba was strongly, if not decisively, motivated by religious motives, occasionally culminating in important mystic (for lack of a better word) experiences - one with the universe and the like. At least in his later years, they seem to have been his primary motivation, and they definitely seem to have been a major turning point and legitimation in his own narrative about his art.

Now I often find that people who are exclusively interested in the martial in the first place will argue that that motivation of his, and the corresponding practices, are somewhat not relevant for his fighting skills and his art.

Almost regardless of what he himself said about it (there are a couple of contradictory standard quotes that can be inserted here), I think it is incorrect, in the attempt to reconstruct the product of the life of the man, to just parcel out the things one likes and is interested in (often: his fighting skills), and leave out the ones that one is less comfortable with (e.g. his mysticism). As if a person's life could be split up like that.

BTW, reformulating this makes me notice that this is of course the mirror image of the often rightly criticised thought pattern "oh, I have done meditation, blissful stuff - I guess I know what O-Sensei meant, I have felt one with the universe, let's forget about the martial side." So thanks. It applies both ways.

Or, shorter: with the same dedicated practice that is needed make "fist in face" possible, "one with the universe" can also be made possible. It's not that one is the hallmark of realism and the other one only for saints of times passed.

Hm. Hope I made myself clearer...

Tom Verhoeven
08-19-2012, 06:03 PM
Janet Rosen, Thank you very much for starting this thread. I consider politeness, gratefulness, humbleness and having an open mind as essential parts of Budo keiko. Without it any martial art would just be about fighting. Aiki-Web could be an excellent place to practice this aspect of Budo.
Just like in a dojo a few basic rules on behavior will make any dialogue go smoother.

Jun Akiyama, thank you for your follow up on this. It is good to see that you recognize that here is a problem here and that you are addressing it. I am one of those that was rather disappointed with AikiWeb and started to stay away from just about every thread.
Thank you both.

Tom

Tom Verhoeven
08-19-2012, 06:37 PM
Thank you for this list - I think most of them are very good points that should be taken in consideration everytime anyone submits a post on a thread.

"However, I do not agree with this one; The Group Paranoia: There is no group. Dan’s stuff is just very persuasive to very diverse people, who may agree on little else in life and in budo. Live with it."

As soon as individuals with a similar background or experience or conviction start to act and react as a group, then even if they live in different parts of the world they are in effect a group!
Perhaps you have time to rewind some of the threads and you will clearly see a group interaction.
Besides that some of them have admitted they were a group. As such there is nothing wrong with a group or identifying them as a group. A basic rule of politeness applies to an individual just as much as to a group. So there is really no reason to speak of group paranoia here.

Personally I am very interested in O Sensei's religious/spiritual experiences and the way this has influenced his Aikido practice and teaching. I think the importance of this part of his life is generally much underestimated.

Tom

Tom Verhoeven
08-19-2012, 06:59 PM
Hello Janet,

Here is a quote I found from a book on cross-cultural rhetoric. The quotation is from a life of the Buddha. He is being pressed by opponents with questions as to whether he would ever use unpleasant, disagreeable speech. He replies,

"Speech that the Tathagata knows to be untrue, false, and useless, and also unpleasant and disagreeable to others, he does not speak; that which he knows to be true, real and useful, but also unpleasant and disagreeable to others, he knows the right time to express it. Speech that he knows to be untrue, false and useless, and also pleasant and agreeable to others, he does not speak; that which is true, real, but useless, and also pleasant and agreeable to others, that, too, he does not speak; but that which is true, real, and useful, and also pleasant and agreeable to others, in that case he knows the right time to express it." (Edward J Thomas, The Life of Buddha as Legend and History, 1975.)."

So, for the Buddha, timing is everything. This is part of an Indian rhetorical tradition that is definitely not Greek. The rhetorical tradition that is usually called 'western' is based on ancient Greek rhetoric, which itself is based on contentious disputation prior to a decision being taken by third parties.

Best wishes,

That is a wonderful quote and a great addition to this thread!
Thank you very much,
Tom

dps
08-19-2012, 08:29 PM
When I first read the the title of this thread (Aikiweb as a "Big Tent) I thought you meant 'The Big Top' like at the circus. :)

Dave de Vos
08-19-2012, 09:18 PM
Thank you for this list - I think most of them are very good points that should be taken in consideration everytime anyone submits a post on a thread.

"However, I do not agree with this one; The Group Paranoia: There is no group. Dan's stuff is just very persuasive to very diverse people, who may agree on little else in life and in budo. Live with it."

As soon as individuals with a similar background or experience or conviction start to act and react as a group, then even if they live in different parts of the world they are in effect a group!
Perhaps you have time to rewind some of the threads and you will clearly see a group interaction.
Besides that some of them have admitted they were a group. As such there is nothing wrong with a group or identifying them as a group. A basic rule of politeness applies to an individual just as much as to a group. So there is really no reason to speak of group paranoia here.


I agree more with Nicholas' point. Yes, there are a number of aikiweb members involved in internal training. That includes Nicholas and Janet (and many others, including me). Still, Janet started this thread and Nicholas stated his points. Doesn't that in itself support Nicholas' point?
If some internal training students happen to support each other's posts about some topic, it does not mean they represent the opinions or sentiments of all other internal training students. It's not the group speaking.

kewms
08-19-2012, 11:01 PM
If some internal training students happen to support each other's posts about some topic, it does not mean they represent the opinions or sentiments of all other internal training students. It's not the group speaking.

And I think that's why members of that group get upset when other posters invoke the Dan Conspiracy. (And yes, that *has* happened.) The members of the group disagree on an enormous number of topics, up to and including the value and applicability of what they're learning.

Katherine

hughrbeyer
08-20-2012, 12:38 AM
Founder-related Legitimacy Digs: telling somebody who practices aikido – especially if you do not practice it yourself – that they do not do what their founder intended is simply impolite and mostly pointless, even when presented in the most rational and polite way. Do not do it. I mean, you would probably not go on some religious forum and tell people their prophet was really not what they thought. Though there is historical evidence in that direction for many prophets. Slightly different field, same sensibility.

I like your post overall, but I must say I totally disagree with this. This is O-Sensei we're talking about. How are we possibly NOT to argue about what he was doing, how he was doing it, and how to reproduce it ourselves? And if part of the argument is that the core of what he was doing has been largely lost, how can that argument be made at all without saying "Most of you missed it"? Particularly when the argument has been made over the years with extensive research into the founder's actual circumstances, language, videos, training, and the reactions others had to his budo.

It's telling that you have to go to religion for your parallel. If you're seeing Aikido as a religion, you've got a problem. Other areas of human experience are supposed to be debatable.

Arguing in the alternative, have you ever hung out on religion boards? Speaking as a follower of one of those prophets, let me tell you that telling each other that the other hasn't understood the prophet at all is a major source of entertainment and refreshment for all. :cool:

Dave de Vos
08-20-2012, 02:26 AM
I'm aware that you asked Nicholas, but I couldn't resist the urge to respond (I'll say ahead of time that I don't know whether or not Nicholas agrees with my response. I only represent myself.).

I like your post overall, but I must say I totally disagree with this. This is O-Sensei we're talking about. How are we possibly NOT to argue about what he was doing, how he was doing it, and how to reproduce it ourselves? And if part of the argument is that the core of what he was doing has been largely lost, how can that argument be made at all without saying "Most of you missed it"? Particularly when the argument has been made over the years with extensive research into the founder's actual circumstances, language, videos, training, and the reactions others had to his budo.


Whether it's true or not, restating those points over and over in the form of unsolicited advice or criticism will not have the desired effect of convincing people. It just causes friction. Peter Goldsbury's post #66 hints that a wise man knows when to speak and when to remain silent.

If you think your neighbour is ugly, do you think that every time you see him, you should tell him that, and advise him to go see a plastic surgeon to fix it? Do you think that he will appreciate your honesty, even after he has told you over and over that he happens to like his looks and so does his wife?
Ofcourse it's a different matter if he asks your opinion about his looks. But even then, one might try to avoid hurting his feelings or insulting him by choosing ones words carefully.

It's telling that you have to go to religion for your parallel. If you're seeing Aikido as a religion, you've got a problem. Other areas of human experience are supposed to be debatable.

Arguing in the alternative, have you ever hung out on religion boards? Speaking as a follower of one of those prophets, let me tell you that telling each other that the other hasn't understood the prophet at all is a major source of entertainment and refreshment for all. :cool:

You don't have to go to religion. Wars have been waged over other convictions.

lbb
08-20-2012, 09:50 AM
Mary, I will try: What I mean is that it seems evident to me that Morihei Ueshiba was strongly, if not decisively, motivated by religious motives, occasionally culminating in important mystic (for lack of a better word) experiences - one with the universe and the like. At least in his later years, they seem to have been his primary motivation, and they definitely seem to have been a major turning point and legitimation in his own narrative about his art.

Now I often find that people who are exclusively interested in the martial in the first place will argue that that motivation of his, and the corresponding practices, are somewhat not relevant for his fighting skills and his art.

Almost regardless of what he himself said about it (there are a couple of contradictory standard quotes that can be inserted here), I think it is incorrect, in the attempt to reconstruct the product of the life of the man, to just parcel out the things one likes and is interested in (often: his fighting skills), and leave out the ones that one is less comfortable with (e.g. his mysticism). As if a person's life could be split up like that.

Got it -- that's what I thought you were getting at. Thanks!

MM
08-20-2012, 10:10 AM
I'm aware that you asked Nicholas, but I couldn't resist the urge to respond (I'll say ahead of time that I don't know whether or not Nicholas agrees with my response. I only represent myself.).

Whether it's true or not, restating those points over and over in the form of unsolicited advice or criticism will not have the desired effect of convincing people. It just causes friction. Peter Goldsbury's post #66 hints that a wise man knows when to speak and when to remain silent.

If you think your neighbour is ugly, do you think that every time you see him, you should tell him that, and advise him to go see a plastic surgeon to fix it? Do you think that he will appreciate your honesty, even after he has told you over and over that he happens to like his looks and so does his wife?
Ofcourse it's a different matter if he asks your opinion about his looks. But even then, one might try to avoid hurting his feelings or insulting him by choosing ones words carefully.

You don't have to go to religion. Wars have been waged over other convictions.

Um, it's a public forum. So, there is no "unsolicited advice" nor "unsolicited criticism". It's public. Forums on the internet are specifically designed for this. So, should my neighbor rent a Public Meeting Hall, invite all people inside to "communicate" and then proceeds to talk about how ugly he is, then, yes, he is inviting other people to comment on that "conversation". That is Internet forums, not someone living next door and unceremoniously telling him/her that they are ugly. Apples and Oranges.

Also, with all due respect to Peter, but I find it ironic that here we are on a thread discussing how we should converse about not taking Morihei Ueshiba out of context yet we take a snippet of a translated work about Buddha to apply here. Could we also not point to the monk who carried the woman across the river? What, you're still holding on to that? :D

lbb
08-20-2012, 10:10 AM
I like your post overall, but I must say I totally disagree with this. This is O-Sensei we're talking about. How are we possibly NOT to argue about what he was doing, how he was doing it, and how to reproduce it ourselves?

My answer to this is simple: we avoid the argument by admitting that we don't really know. I don't mean to dismiss scholarship, but the fact is, I'm not a scholar myself, and I don't speak Japanese. Any "research" that I did would be in English, and thus, at second-hand at best. I can look at the work of others, and I can make intelligent decisions about whose scholarship (and motives) I am inclined to trust. But even the most rigorous and impartial scholar doesn't really know, either. No one does.

Any time that knowledge is passed on, it's like a game of telephone. Things get changed and distorted. You can check back with the originator up to a point; however, even there you're unlikely to get precisely the same message twice. And even mouth to ear, there's always a gap. What is said and what is heard are always different. So why cling to the notion that we can truly know someone else's intention and carry it forward with perfect clarity through the years? This is why religions get bogged down with clothing and hair and who sleeps with who and what you can eat: because it's a lot easier to track these kind of details, and to use them as a prop for one's legitimacy, than to admit that there is no authority and that we each pursue our own truth. That's not to say that all truths have equal value -- but each person has to pursue their own. You can't drink anyone else's koolade (at least, not to good effect!).

It's telling that you have to go to religion for your parallel. If you're seeing Aikido as a religion, you've got a problem. Other areas of human experience are supposed to be debatable.

If I understand Nicholas's point, it's not that he sees it as a religion, but that he perceives others as treating it in such a way -- specifically, like a scriptural religion, a "religion of the book", one with a growing fundamentalist element that claims authority from what is purported to be the word of God. I don't think aikido is helped by "O Sensei Fundamentalism", where people use quotations from the founder as bully clubs to try and advance their point of view. I don't see that it leads to anywhere good -- just an escalating arms race in an effort to claim the ultimate authority over what aikido is.

Marc Abrams
08-20-2012, 10:11 AM
I'm aware that you asked Nicholas, but I couldn't resist the urge to respond (I'll say ahead of time that I don't know whether or not Nicholas agrees with my response. I only represent myself.).

Whether it's true or not, restating those points over and over in the form of unsolicited advice or criticism will not have the desired effect of convincing people. It just causes friction. Peter Goldsbury's post #66 hints that a wise man knows when to speak and when to remain silent.

If you think your neighbour is ugly, do you think that every time you see him, you should tell him that, and advise him to go see a plastic surgeon to fix it? Do you think that he will appreciate your honesty, even after he has told you over and over that he happens to like his looks and so does his wife?
Ofcourse it's a different matter if he asks your opinion about his looks. But even then, one might try to avoid hurting his feelings or insulting him by choosing ones words carefully.

That is a double edged sword issue: First, people who start threads are simply inviting comments. If they don't want comments or feel the need to only allow certain classes of comments, they should write blogs instead. The advice and criticism is solicited by virtue of the fact that a person chooses to start a thread. It seems like an on-going circus of certain people starting threads who like to read their own words, inviting thread "wars" without any real attempt to have open minds on their behalf (and that is not even approaching the unwillingness to be able to demonstrate anything in person). It is not surprising that other groups of people challenge, criticize, etc. the people and their posts. The most remarkable thing that most people do not want to face in this thread, is that those who typically give the "unsolicited advice and criticism" are the ones who also make genuine offers to respectfully "flesh-out" the ideas in some type of training experience.

Friction can be a wonderful opportunity for people to look at their own ideas and beliefs from differing perspectives. Friction can allow people to actually be motivated to test out their beliefs and ideas. After all, martial arts begin and end with what can be done or not done (as opposed to differing thoughts).

I would suggest that wisdom and integrity should go hand in hand. Don't ask a question if you are not willing to hear an answer. Don't put your ideas out there in a thread and not expect to receive a myriad of opinions. The people who spend so much time on the Aikiweb complaining about the poor reception to their ideas, the "mean-spirit" of people's comments, the "unwillingness" of those "mean" people to fully understand and embrace their ideas, etc., are typically the ones who shy away from the natural consequence of putting ideas about martial arts out in the public = "SHOW ME!"

As much as both sides should show some respect and restraint in their comments and threads that they start, both sides should be also be willing to find some format to demonstrably put their ideas and beliefs about "martial arts" abilities, theories, understandings to the test. If a person is not willing to stand behind and up to their beliefs and ideas, then maybe, just maybe that person should show better restraint in starting threads and/or a "thicker skin" when the expected criticisms and unsolicited suggestions start arriving.

Marc Abrams

Chris Li
08-20-2012, 10:21 AM
My answer to this is simple: we avoid the argument by admitting that we don't really know. I don't mean to dismiss scholarship, but the fact is, I'm not a scholar myself, and I don't speak Japanese. Any "research" that I did would be in English, and thus, at second-hand at best. I can look at the work of others, and I can make intelligent decisions about whose scholarship (and motives) I am inclined to trust. But even the most rigorous and impartial scholar doesn't really know, either. No one does.

To a point, that's true, but it's not really a valid argument. Understanding a historic person (or anyone, for that matter) isn't a binary, yes-no, situation, it's a continuum. And yes, I think that it is important to make the attempt, otherwise why study any history of any kind? Isn't it a forgone conclusion that studying what people thought in the past is useful to those of us living in the present and moving to the future?

I've also found, oddly enough, that many Aikido students are actually interested in what the Founder of their art had to say.

Best,

Chris

kewms
08-20-2012, 11:16 AM
I've also found, oddly enough, that many Aikido students are actually interested in what the Founder of their art had to say.

Unfortunately, there are very few works in English that offer anything like a coherent body of the Founder's views. (And many kudos to you for helping to fill that gap.) There are lots of sentence- or paragraph-length quotations, but they are, as Mary said, quite often yanked out of context and used as weapons to advance this or that modern agenda.

Katherine

lbb
08-20-2012, 11:27 AM
To a point, that's true, but it's not really a valid argument. Understanding a historic person (or anyone, for that matter) isn't a binary, yes-no, situation, it's a continuum.

I agree -- but I feel like that's most decidedly not what most people on Aikiweb try to do with O Sensei. Here, it's all about promoting and bringing forth the aspects and interpretations that support your worldview. Developing a nuanced, non-binary understanding of a complex human being who isn't around to speak for himself (which surely would include admitting to quite a few "we don't know"s) doesn't seem what most folks want to do.

And yes, I think that it is important to make the attempt, otherwise why study any history of any kind? Isn't it a forgone conclusion that studying what people thought in the past is useful to those of us living in the present and moving to the future?

It can be. But it's always worth asking the question, "Where are we going with this?" When you have a fuller understanding of O Sensei, what will you do with it? Maybe that's the question we really should be asking ourselves.

I've also found, oddly enough, that many Aikido students are actually interested in what the Founder of their art had to say.

Hmm, bit of Monday morning snark? Well, whatever. I've seen enough people go dangerously wrong through the fundamentalist approach for me to want to approach "scripture" with a good deal of caution. I don't see how caution does any harm here.

Do you ever wonder if maybe some of the things O Sensei said were just toss-off remarks? Do you think everything he said should be given equal (fundamentalist) weight?

kewms
08-20-2012, 11:31 AM
Um, it's a public forum. So, there is no "unsolicited advice" nor "unsolicited criticism". It's public. Forums on the internet are specifically designed for this. So, should my neighbor rent a Public Meeting Hall, invite all people inside to "communicate" and then proceeds to talk about how ugly he is, then, yes, he is inviting other people to comment on that "conversation". That is Internet forums, not someone living next door and unceremoniously telling him/her that they are ugly. Apples and Oranges.

What if he's walking through a park with a group of friends, talking about whether or not to get plastic surgery?

Funny thing about the internet: just because you *can* comment, that doesn't necessarily mean that you *should.* I think we can all name sites that are completely unreadable because the rules of civil discourse are so totally ignored.

Apropos of this thread, I was just reading an essay on civility in political discourse. It offered what seems to me a good definition of what civility in argument actually entails (emphasis mine):

This means that arguers are committed to the possibility of finding that their reasons are weaker than they had initially thought or that their opponent’s case is in fact stronger than expected; and when one’s reasons come up short, one may have to revise one’s belief. Unless conducted against the background commitment to the possibility of revising one’s views, argumentation is pointless.

We now are able identify civility in argument with tendencies that enable the exchange of reasons among disputants. Chief among these concerns the need for those who disagree to actually engage with each other’s reasons. This requires arguers to earnestly attempt to correctly understand and accurately represent each other’s views. For similar reasons, arguers must also give a proper hearing to their opponents’ reasons, especially when the opponent is responding to criticism. In addition, when making the case for their own view, arguers must seek to present reasons that their opponents could at least in principle see the relevance of. We can summarize these ideas by saying that civility in argument has three dimensions: Representation, Reception, and Reciprocity.
http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2012/08/civility-in-argument.html#more

Katherine

Chris Li
08-20-2012, 11:55 AM
Hmm, bit of Monday morning snark? Well, whatever. I've seen enough people go dangerously wrong through the fundamentalist approach for me to want to approach "scripture" with a good deal of caution. I don't see how caution does any harm here.

Do you ever wonder if maybe some of the things O Sensei said were just toss-off remarks? Do you think everything he said should be given equal (fundamentalist) weight?

Actually, I meant it in direct response to the supposition in the original post - that we don't know and can never know. Once you go there you stop, IMO, really trying to form an opinion - it's just some inscrutable mystery.

Sure, there were toss-off remarks. OTOH, a pervasive characteristic of O-Sensei's text is the repetition - all of the basic themes and principles are repeated over and over, in the same way and in slightly different ways. It makes those things very hard to ignore or write off as casual remarks.

Best,

Chris

dps
08-20-2012, 11:57 AM
Um, it's a public forum. So, there is no "unsolicited advice" nor "unsolicited criticism". It's public. Forums on the internet are specifically designed for this. :D

This is a public forum in so far as anyone can read them, but not anybody can post here. To post you must sign up and agree to the terms and conditions of the forum in order to participate. In other words you can watch the people over the fence play in Jun's backyard but you can't play unless you agree to play the way Jun wants you too. If you don't play by Jun's rules you aren't aloud in anymore.


dps

James Sawers
08-20-2012, 12:00 PM
Really, you guys should migrate to the "Rutabagans" thread, we are having much more fun....!

akiy
08-20-2012, 12:09 PM
http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2012/08/civility-in-argument.html#more
Nice article you linked there, Katherine. Thanks for sharing that.

And, just a quick request that if the discussion you're having goes too far away from the heart of the discussion here (ie doesn't explicitly tie itself into the original topic), please start a new thread.

Thanks,

-- Jun

Nicholas Eschenbruch
08-20-2012, 12:15 PM
I like your post overall, but I must say I totally disagree with this. This is O-Sensei we're talking about. How are we possibly NOT to argue about what he was doing, how he was doing it, and how to reproduce it ourselves? And if part of the argument is that the core of what he was doing has been largely lost, how can that argument be made at all without saying "Most of you missed it"? Particularly when the argument has been made over the years with extensive research into the founder's actual circumstances, language, videos, training, and the reactions others had to his budo.

It's telling that you have to go to religion for your parallel. If you're seeing Aikido as a religion, you've got a problem. Other areas of human experience are supposed to be debatable.

Arguing in the alternative, have you ever hung out on religion boards? Speaking as a follower of one of those prophets, let me tell you that telling each other that the other hasn't understood the prophet at all is a major source of entertainment and refreshment for all. :cool:

Hi Hugh,
I was going to get back to this since you adressed me, lots of stuff been said since, some very good, but here we go:

I think I can see where you coming from, but still, I also – with much respect! – think that this kind of reaction may be part of the problem. Especially when it comes from people who are neither the ones who have done the original research, nor the ones who can go out there and demonstrate IS. Like myself, who can do neither.

Note that I said “impolite and pointless” in my earlier post; I did not say don’t ever mention it, don’t discuss it with like-minded people and don't point it out to the less like-minded, I did not say the stuff is factually wrong. I personally think it’s right, actually, and have said so in the past.

However, internet forums, IMHO, are not a very good place to go missionary (for some reason, we love doing it though...). When the ideas and texts of Ellis Amdur, Peter Goldsbury, Chris Li have been brought to somebody’s attention, when they have been invited to attend some IS event, and they still don’t engage with all this, I personally see little point to continue pressing the issue with them when it apparently just pushes their buttons and they go into digital hyperventilation. Who am I to make their world, I am not the official representative of eternal truth. So for me its about politness and constructive discourse, first of all, rather than my truth.

With the possible exception of some stuff Peter Goldsbury has written, there is no scholarly opinion about all this, and we are still at the starting point of research, interpreting scattered findings that may again be interpreted differently in ten years, they likely will be. I have drawn my own conclusions and I am following them through, I just do not think it’s worth pages and pages of predictably inconclusive disagreement, just because we all think we are right.

As for religion… I personally do not see aikido as a religion in the least, but take a sort of sociological stance there, to put it politely. So in my world my comparison is not so far flung necessarily. "Cosmologies of greater or lesser reach" is a label I like to think with. There is lot’s of civil religion, and as you say, maybe that’s a problem, but it’s true nonetheless. Try to have rational discusion about speed limits in Germany, or gu …. no, forget it :D

Again, all meant with respect,
Nicholas

lbb
08-20-2012, 12:35 PM
Actually, I meant it in direct response to the supposition in the original post - that we don't know and can never know. Once you go there you stop, IMO, really trying to form an opinion - it's just some inscrutable mystery.

Oh, sorry I misinterpreted! So...don't you think there's room for "I don't know, but I think that..." An opinion, but one that admits the possibility of being wrong?

Sure, there were toss-off remarks. OTOH, a pervasive characteristic of O-Sensei's text is the repetition - all of the basic themes and principles are repeated over and over, in the same way and in slightly different ways. It makes those things very hard to ignore or write off as casual remarks.

That is indeed a fair point.

MM
08-20-2012, 12:50 PM
This is a public forum in so far as anyone can read them, but not anybody can post here. To post you must sign up and agree to the terms and conditions of the forum in order to participate. In other words you can watch the people over the fence play in Jun's backyard but you can't play unless you agree to play the way Jun wants you too. If you don't play by Jun's rules you aren't aloud in anymore.

dps

*Sigh* As I said in my example, once you are allowed inside the Public Meeting Room (I.E. Public Forum) ... in other words, it's taken for granted the definition of public forum meaning that one must either be invited or openly join the forum to have a voice. I did not state in my example that people outside the Public Meeting Room were conversing with those inside.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
08-20-2012, 01:06 PM
...
The increasing polarization of Aikiweb over the past year or two with a predictable pattern of mutual ad hominem attacks and the breakdown of many threads has been bothering me a lot..



The most remarkable thing that most people do not want to face in this thread, is that those who typically give the "unsolicited advice and criticism" are the ones who also make genuine offers to respectfully "flesh-out" the ideas in some type of training experience.

I would suggest that wisdom and integrity should go hand in hand. Don't ask a question if you are not willing to hear an answer. Don't put your ideas out there in a thread and not expect to receive a myriad of opinions. The people who spend so much time on the Aikiweb complaining about the poor reception to their ideas, the "mean-spirit" of people's comments, the "unwillingness" of those "mean" people to fully understand and embrace their ideas, etc., are typically the ones who shy away from the natural consequence of putting ideas about martial arts out in the public = "SHOW ME!"

As much as both sides should show some respect and restraint in their comments and threads that they start, both sides should be also be willing to find some format to demonstrably put their ideas and beliefs about "martial arts" abilities, theories, understandings to the test. If a person is not willing to stand behind and up to their beliefs and ideas, then maybe, just maybe that person should show better restraint in starting threads and/or a "thicker skin" when the expected criticisms and unsolicited suggestions start arriving.

Marc Abrams

Hi Marc,
I think what you write is on some level true, and I deplore a lack of accountability in many aspects of aikido as well. But I think just calling people out for testing is not helpful considering the purpose of more constructive discourse.

For one, there is no inbuilt right to ask for a reality test in internet conversation on anybody's specific terms. That is just not part of the medium, and I doubt it will ever be. As a consequence, if somebody is deluded about what they do, well, all evidence will be interpreted that way. After all, we are not even sure these other people exist under the names they give here in many cases. So conversation that is just about calling people out to whatever reality test is unhelpful unless that person wanted somebody to. Repeating it n times is mostly pointless.

Second, I think talk about testing is really a veiled definition trap: what is tested, which rules, who is the judge, etc. We will not get any agreement. This is not MMA or power lifting.

Third, I think there are few, if any, people on the IS side - except Dan, who does not do aikido and does not intend to or want to do aikido either - who can yet walk the talk regarding the promises of IS. (You may be an exception, we have not met.) I hope that is going to change. But I think that a lot of zeal is invested into this debate that curiously implies to a bright IS future we imagine.

Best

Nicholas

Chris Li
08-20-2012, 01:19 PM
Oh, sorry I misinterpreted! So...don't you think there's room for "I don't know, but I think that..." An opinion, but one that admits the possibility of being wrong?



Reasonable enough!

Best,

Chris

kewms
08-20-2012, 01:21 PM
*Sigh* As I said in my example, once you are allowed inside the Public Meeting Room (I.E. Public Forum) ... in other words, it's taken for granted the definition of public forum meaning that one must either be invited or openly join the forum to have a voice. I did not state in my example that people outside the Public Meeting Room were conversing with those inside.

I think David's point was that Jun, as the forum owner, gets to decide whether it's okay to tell people their aikido is ugly. There are plenty of places where saying "sorry, this is the internet" when the forum owner has expressed concern about the tone of the discussion is a good way to get banned. Jun has a lighter touch than that, but that doesn't mean it's okay or desirable to push the limits.

Katherine

Basia Halliop
08-20-2012, 01:26 PM
Um, it's a public forum. So, there is no "unsolicited advice" nor "unsolicited criticism". It's public. Forums on the internet are specifically designed for this. So, should my neighbor rent a Public Meeting Hall, invite all people inside to "communicate" and then proceeds to talk about how ugly he is, then, yes, he is inviting other people to comment on that "conversation". That is Internet forums, not someone living next door and unceremoniously telling him/her that they are ugly. Apples and Oranges.

OTOH, if your neighbour rented a public meeting hall, invited all people inside to communicate, and ANOTHER neighbour started talking about a third neighbour being ugly, the guy who rented the meeting hall would likely just chuck them out (it's his meeting hall, he's not obligated to allow anyone in or even to be fair about his reasons for inviting or not inviting people).

If not and that continued to be the quality of conversation that was going on, 90% of the people would soon go home or go chat elsewhere, and the hall would soon become full only of those people who thought sitting around discussing how ugly their neighbours are was a fun way to spend some time.

kewms
08-20-2012, 01:31 PM
Third, I think there are few, if any, people on the IS side - except Dan, who does not do aikido and does not intend to or want to do aikido either - who can yet walk the talk regarding the promises of IS. (You may be an exception, we have not met.) I hope that is going to change.

I think this is a very important point for the IS proponents to keep in mind. Most non-IS students are still not complete bozos. Most IS students are not Dan. So a little more humility might be in order.

Katherine

Basia Halliop
08-20-2012, 01:34 PM
Actually, the best internet discussions I've personally seen, most full of content and empty of personality fights and repetition, were almost all in the most heavily moderated forums (though there are exceptions). Ones where either a comment has to be approved before it's even posted, or where one bad move gets your comment edited or erased and you sent a private warning, and the second strike gets your account simply deleted without any further discussion. A huge amount of work for the moderators but boy is it effective and you can get some amazing quality of discussion.

Marc Abrams
08-20-2012, 02:34 PM
Hi Marc,
I think what you write is on some level true, and I deplore a lack of accountability in many aspects of aikido as well. But I think just calling people out for testing is not helpful considering the purpose of more constructive discourse.

For one, there is no inbuilt right to ask for a reality test in internet conversation on anybody's specific terms. That is just not part of the medium, and I doubt it will ever be. As a consequence, if somebody is deluded about what they do, well, all evidence will be interpreted that way. After all, we are not even sure these other people exist under the names they give here in many cases. So conversation that is just about calling people out to whatever reality test is unhelpful unless that person wanted somebody to. Repeating it n times is mostly pointless.

Second, I think talk about testing is really a veiled definition trap: what is tested, which rules, who is the judge, etc. We will not get any agreement. This is not MMA or power lifting.

Third, I think there are few, if any, people on the IS side - except Dan, who does not do aikido and does not intend to or want to do aikido either - who can yet walk the talk regarding the promises of IS. (You may be an exception, we have not met.) I hope that is going to change. But I think that a lot of zeal is invested into this debate that curiously implies to a bright IS future we imagine.

Best

Nicholas

Nicholas:

I do not think that anybody simply call someone out for "testing" for laughs and giggles. We listen and think about ideas that people have put forward and some of them resonate to a point that we want to see how they translate into what we think that we do.

The limitations with the internet as a means of communication regarding tangible entities (such as martial arts) are obvious. I think that it is important to challenge and ask questions to things that seem far fetched. I do not believe that delusions should be allowed to flourish as "legitimate" ideas.

The "testing" of ideas in person is never perfect, but far better than not doing so. The testing of ideas and getting people to see a larger consensual reality was really at the heart of what the Aiki Expos were. Mini experiences like that are now becoming more common place. My experience has been that these types of encounters have led to bridges being created, respect being deepened and an appreciation of our own limitations in context of the myriad of learning experiences that are out there. I frankly went into my first training with Dan expecting little positive. I walked into a room of dedicated, honest martial artists from many different arts. We all walked away excited by how much more we can learn to improve ourselves. It is typically those who have not gone out of their way to have those experiences (or have walked away from them with minds as closed as when they entered in the first place) who seem to try and discount the importance of these types of encounters.

I think that the convenient tendency to "blame" the IS group/ crowd, etc. has more to do with people's difficulties with owning up to their own shortcomings, than with the actual comments from some within that growing community. I even think that the label is limiting in ways that are not necessarily helpful. I also study with Ushiro Sensei, who would not be considered part of the IS group. My main teacher, Imaizumi Sensei, is certainly not part of that group. Placing me in that group (as some on the Aikiweb would like to do) is simply immature and misleading. I am not concerned about the future of "IS". I am simply concerned about trying to improve myself in all aspects of my life, including budo. I work harder than many to try and become a teacher who can pass down a legacy that resembles the legacy that has been passed down to me by my teachers. It would be a lot easier to not have stepped outside my comfortable world of what I thought that I knew and could do. That is not the path that I have chosen for myself. I will have flown over 50,000 miles this year alone in pursuit of my training (not including driving miles of course). The hours and costs could never be recovered in running a serious school. This is about trying to be the best that I can be, in absence of self-serving delusions.

More constructive discourse will not happen through words alone. Asking someone to do what they say in person is actually a sign of respect. It is not about our egos, but about our art. If we fail to do what we say we can do, then we should have the self-respect to acknowledge that and seek to improve. If we can find those who can do what they say, then they garner the added respect and admiration from those eager to learn. If we can do what we say, can we not claim ownership to it, but seek to pass it on to others so that the respect is about our art.

I hope we do meet some time soon. It has nothing to do with us trying to "live up to our talk." It has everything to do with meeting people on a similar path and helping each other move forward together. The respect that I have gained from these fellow travelers throughout the world has deepened my life and has enabled me to share this greater depth to my students.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Marc Abrams
08-20-2012, 02:42 PM
I think this is a very important point for the IS proponents to keep in mind. Most non-IS students are still not complete bozos. Most IS students are not Dan. So a little more humility might be in order.

Katherine

Katherine:

The absence of real communication via the internet leads to the ease by which a lack of humility is assumed. Martial arts breeds humility and respect not for what is said, but what is done.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Nicholas Eschenbruch
08-20-2012, 02:47 PM
Nicholas:

I do not think that anybody simply call someone out for "testing" for laughs and giggles....

... The respect that I have gained from these fellow travelers throughout the world has deepened my life and has enabled me to share this greater depth to my students.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Marc,

I think we are talking past each other, I agree with all that, some is my own story. I just seem to draw different conclusions when it comes to approaches to online discussions. Probably time we meet up :-)

Have a good day

N

lbb
08-20-2012, 03:04 PM
Katherine:

The absence of real communication via the internet leads to the ease by which a lack of humility is assumed. Martial arts breeds humility and respect not for what is said, but what is done.


I have to say, Marc, it sounds like you're questioning Katherine's judgment about information received via the internet, and yet you're asserting the validity of your own judgment on information received through the same medium. What's the difference?

Marc Abrams
08-20-2012, 03:27 PM
I have to say, Marc, it sounds like you're questioning Katherine's judgment about information received via the internet, and yet you're asserting the validity of your own judgment on information received through the same medium. What's the difference?

I have to say Mary, that you have a remarkable, uncanny ability to misread and distort almost everything that I say. Let me try this with you:

1) I agree with Katherine about the request for humility across the board.
2) Words on the internet about tangible items and experiences are simply not as "accurate" as actually putting your hands on tangible items and experiences.
3) I think that the categories of " IS proponents" "non-IS people" are vague at best and serve to distort a much more nuanced distinction amongst us.
4) Using Katherine's categories, I think that most people "IS" or "non-IS" are not bozos.
5) I think that only Dan Harden is Dan Harden.

I hope that this post has been made clear enough for you so as to prevent further distortions about what I said and what I meant.

Marc Abrams

Marc Abrams
08-20-2012, 03:30 PM
Marc,

I think we are talking past each other, I agree with all that, some is my own story. I just seem to draw different conclusions when it comes to approaches to online discussions. Probably time we meet up :-)

Have a good day

N

Nicholas,

I am hopeful that you have had more success with your approaches to online discussions. I don't see it as us speaking past each other. I think that you accurately pointed out that we do have different conclusions. Nothing like meeting in person! First round is on me...... ps- I will try again to be in Germany in early 2013. Hopefully, major snags will not arise this time.... New York is always a fun trip I hear!

Regards,

Marc Abrams

lbb
08-20-2012, 03:47 PM
I have to say Mary, that you have a remarkable, uncanny ability to misread and distort almost everything that I say.

Oh, for god's sake.

I tell you what, Marc. Since I can't ask you anything without you taking this attitude (thereby making dialogue impossible), I'll just put you in the ignore file. You've ripped into more people than just me with no justification whatsoever, and eventually more people than me will get sick of it.

kewms
08-20-2012, 03:48 PM
3) I think that the categories of " IS proponents" "non-IS people" are vague at best and serve to distort a much more nuanced distinction amongst us.

Agreed, but sometimes quick definitions, though vague, are sufficient to move the conversation along.


4) Using Katherine's categories, I think that most people "IS" or "non-IS" are not bozos.

Agreed, so why are accusations of bozohood so common?

I think a significant part of the problem is that people feel like their teachers and their particular approaches to aikido are being attacked by people who have *not* taken the time to come train with them in person and/or who are trying to accomplish completely different things.

If I bake a blueberry pie, I might be open to comments about the crust. I might even be interested in discussing the relative merits of blueberry vs. huckleberry or mixed berry pies. But it would be really annoying if a bunch of people stomped into the kitchen and (without tasting the pie) told me I should be making a chocolate cake instead.

I'd also be pretty upset if my feeble protestations about the deliciousness of blueberry pie were met by a demand that I travel somewhere (on my own time, at my own expense) to demonstrate the merits of blueberry pie in front of a roomful of chocolate cake lovers. Never mind that I've never said a bad word about chocolate cake, and just want some peace and quiet to enjoy my pie.

Katherine

Marc Abrams
08-20-2012, 03:55 PM
Oh, for god's sake.

I tell you what, Marc. Since I can't ask you anything without you taking this attitude (thereby making dialogue impossible), I'll just put you in the ignore file. You've ripped into more people than just me with no justification whatsoever, and eventually more people than me will get sick of it.

Mary:

What was it that Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet.... OH, I remember ... "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

Your post to me was passive-aggressive at best and you are somehow upset with the clarity of my response? Your "issues" with me are thinly veiled in your posts to me. I appreciate honest, forthright discussions with others. it is most unfortunate that this seems to be lacking in our attempts to communicate with one another.

THANK YOU FOR PUTTING ME ON YOUR IGNORE FILE ;) .

Marc Abrams

Keith Larman
08-20-2012, 04:02 PM
Agreed, so why are accusations of bozohood so common?


Just fwiw I would disagree that the accusations of bozohead are common. Or maybe more accurately there are a few folk who seem to "attract" the accusation repeatedly as a result of their habits in posting. I would dare say most here have rarely if ever been open to the accusation. Some, however, seem to almost relish in repeatedly posting things virtually guaranteed to open the floodgates...

Marc Abrams
08-20-2012, 04:02 PM
Agreed, but sometimes quick definitions, though vague, are sufficient to move the conversation along.

Agreed, so why are accusations of bozohood so common?

I think a significant part of the problem is that people feel like their teachers and their particular approaches to aikido are being attacked by people who have *not* taken the time to come train with them in person and/or who are trying to accomplish completely different things.

If I bake a blueberry pie, I might be open to comments about the crust. I might even be interested in discussing the relative merits of blueberry vs. huckleberry or mixed berry pies. But it would be really annoying if a bunch of people stomped into the kitchen and (without tasting the pie) told me I should be making a chocolate cake instead.

I'd also be pretty upset if my feeble protestations about the deliciousness of blueberry pie were met by a demand that I travel somewhere (on my own time, at my own expense) to demonstrate the merits of blueberry pie in front of a roomful of chocolate cake lovers. Never mind that I've never said a bad word about chocolate cake, and just want some peace and quiet to enjoy my pie.

Katherine

Katherine:

I agree with you that people should refrain from attacking other people's teachers in major public venues, more so by people with no first hand knowledge. The problem is made worse when we place our teachers on pedestals and get too touchy about anything neutral or negative said about them. People can say whatever they would like about my teacher. He's a big boy and can handle his affairs nicely without my assistance......

Now chocolate and blueberry happen to be a great pairing in my book!:D

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Keith Larman
08-20-2012, 04:24 PM
I think we also have to be careful about a few things. It is one thing entirely to have a big tent with lots of different stuff underneath. The problems arise when there are issues of fact in dispute. We all have some responsibility to some extent or another to maintain some level of integrity within our arts. And when someone comes along who, well, just makes stuff up, provides self-serving and, well, absolutely wrong definitions of widely used terms in a language he or she clearly does not understand, utilizes what is at best misleading argumentation and at worst totally fallacious reasoning, and then asserts the validity of those things loudly and frequently, well, I think there is merit to challenging those things. I'll avoid current personalities, but use as an example Mark Tennenhouse of years ago. Those of you who remember he was a fella who had all the answers and it ended badly with him demonstrating a woeful lack of knowledge. It made sense that he felt Aikido needed fixing because apparently *his* aikido was in dire need of fixing. Anyway, he was a loud, constant force on-line. Opinionated and very, very sure of himself. Up until he ran smack dab in to a reality check.

Now that was a particularly ugly incident and hard to watch unfold. But... There are those who post occasionally who remind me greatly of that "type", at least with respect to their proclaimed bravura. And given the often glaring disconnect between what's posted, what is being professed, and what most everyone else was taught/what others know by direct experience, I think it is incumbent upon us to not allow those things to go unchallenged. But... It often makes for more ugliness because the simple fact is that someone is, well, wrong. Not just a difference of opinion, but deluded or fantastically ignorant. I just don't really know if there is any way around that.

Keith Larman
08-20-2012, 04:26 PM
And as an aside, I dropped some dried blueberries in to some really good melted dark chocolate and spread it thick on a sheet last year. Once it set I broke it up in to pieces. I cannot tell you how lovely that was paired with the little bit of 1990 Ch. Montrose left after dinner... Some experiences leave an indelible mark... Sigh...

Rob Watson
08-20-2012, 04:40 PM
but use as an example Mark Tennenhouse of years ago

Let's not forget to give credit where cerdit is due. Mr. Tennenhouse did in fact show up to walk his talk.

Marc Abrams
08-20-2012, 04:52 PM
And as an aside, I dropped some dried blueberries in to some really good melted dark chocolate and spread it thick on a sheet last year. Once it set I broke it up in to pieces. I cannot tell you how lovely that was paired with the little bit of 1990 Ch. Montrose left after dinner... Some experiences leave an indelible mark... Sigh...

Oh Keith..... Tears are coming to my eyes and drool down the side of my mouth just thinking about a 1990 Chateau Montrose with some blueberry and chocolate..... I look forward to the day that we can sit down after some good old-fashioned training and enjoy a delicious meal paired with a great bottle of wine!

Cordially,

Marc Abrams

Marc Abrams
08-20-2012, 05:00 PM
Let's not forget to give credit where cerdit is due. Mr. Tennenhouse did in fact show up to walk his talk.

Robert:

Mr. Tennenhouse did show-up. I was one on the people who experienced that "love fest." It is sad when one's delusions crash into the pavement of reality. The credit to show up was unfortunately not enough to help him out of the big hole that he dug for himself. His talk ultimately did not walk well, but kudos to the courage and integrity it took to show up and ultimately come face-to-face with another reality. It is unfortunate that his "lesson" is not taken to heart by some other people, but such is life....

That experience was a minor blip in what was a very successful Aiki Expo for those who attended and trained with a great bunch of diverse martial artists. There were so many people there who could walk the talk, and so many of us eager people who soaked up all of that great learning.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Keith Larman
08-20-2012, 06:14 PM
Let's not forget to give credit where cerdit is due. Mr. Tennenhouse did in fact show up to walk his talk.

Oh, of course, he did show up. I think he was sincere although quite evasive about his experience and training. But I do think he sincerely believed what he was saying. It just didn't work out when he finally got on the mat with others and crossed hands.

So I do give him credit for that aspect. I also give him credit for the fact that he stopped posting. Maybe he's still out there grousing about it, but in the end I think it worked out. By all account in person he didn't know what he was doing and was out of his depth.

So going back I think those who challenged him on-line, those who engaged him, those who said "Now wait a minute..." were vindicated in a sense. Some things you just can't leave alone. I do agree with Dr. Goldsbury's quote about timing, but I also think that sometimes the time is now. With silly stuff, with insignificant stuff, with stylistic stuff, nah, no reason to comment. There are many fluffy posts here that I don't post to because a) huh? and b) obviously since I don't get it I shouldn't post. But when I *do* "get it", I do know the terms, I do know what they're saying, and what they're saying is absolutely contrary to what I think I know, well, that sometimes requires a follow-up. And I think sometimes it gets to a point where you have to say "No, that's just stupid. It's not what the word means. It's not what the man said. You can't just make things up to fit the world you want to have."

Tennenhouse tried to walk his talk. He didn't get very far. Others are much happier pontificating from behind a monitor as I am now. But since some will continue to pontificate endlessly from the relative anonymity others will feel compelled to say "Now hold on there a minute, sparky..." when things get a little too far away from reality. Which is as it should be even if it is uncomfortable for the guests.

hughrbeyer
08-20-2012, 07:47 PM
Thanks to those who responded to my posts. Mr. Larman has left me with not much to say that wouldn't restate what he's said better, so I won't try.

The thing to remember here is that the AikiWeb community is, in fact, a community. It's not a virtual, words-on-screen, it-doesn't-really-matter, pretend environment. I've studied communities like this for real and one commonality is that there's no distinction between the on- and off-line. People meet online, set up a real-world meeting, and become friends; people develop friendships in the real world, move away from each other, and continue their relationship online.

So the big tent is fine, but your claims have to be honest on their own terms. (Not necessarily on my terms.) That's what this community is about. People challenge your claims because you're talking about something that matters to them. Otherwise the community devolves into a gossip board.

lars beyer
08-24-2012, 11:17 AM
Thanks to those who responded to my posts. Mr. Larman has left me with not much to say that wouldn't restate what he's said better, so I won't try.

The thing to remember here is that the AikiWeb community is, in fact, a community. It's not a virtual, words-on-screen, it-doesn't-really-matter, pretend environment. I've studied communities like this for real and one commonality is that there's no distinction between the on- and off-line. People meet online, set up a real-world meeting, and become friends; people develop friendships in the real world, move away from each other, and continue their relationship online.

So the big tent is fine, but your claims have to be honest on their own terms. (Not necessarily on my terms.) That's what this community is about. People challenge your claims because you're talking about something that matters to them. Otherwise the community devolves into a gossip board.

Agree +1, number one great post. Yup ! (I´m not kiddin´)

Rob Watson
08-24-2012, 12:26 PM
Robert:

Mr. Tennenhouse did show-up. I was one on the people who experienced that "love fest." It is sad when one's delusions crash into the pavement of reality. The credit to show up was unfortunately not enough to help him out of the big hole that he dug for himself. His talk ultimately did not walk well, but kudos to the courage and integrity it took to show up and ultimately come face-to-face with another reality. It is unfortunate that his "lesson" is not taken to heart by some other people, but such is life....

That experience was a minor blip in what was a very successful Aiki Expo for those who attended and trained with a great bunch of diverse martial artists. There were so many people there who could walk the talk, and so many of us eager people who soaked up all of that great learning.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Oh, of course, he did show up. I think he was sincere although quite evasive about his experience and training. But I do think he sincerely believed what he was saying. It just didn't work out when he finally got on the mat with others and crossed hands.

So I do give him credit for that aspect. I also give him credit for the fact that he stopped posting. Maybe he's still out there grousing about it, but in the end I think it worked out. By all account in person he didn't know what he was doing and was out of his depth.

So going back I think those who challenged him on-line, those who engaged him, those who said "Now wait a minute..." were vindicated in a sense. Some things you just can't leave alone. I do agree with Dr. Goldsbury's quote about timing, but I also think that sometimes the time is now. With silly stuff, with insignificant stuff, with stylistic stuff, nah, no reason to comment. There are many fluffy posts here that I don't post to because a) huh? and b) obviously since I don't get it I shouldn't post. But when I *do* "get it", I do know the terms, I do know what they're saying, and what they're saying is absolutely contrary to what I think I know, well, that sometimes requires a follow-up. And I think sometimes it gets to a point where you have to say "No, that's just stupid. It's not what the word means. It's not what the man said. You can't just make things up to fit the world you want to have."

Tennenhouse tried to walk his talk. He didn't get very far. Others are much happier pontificating from behind a monitor as I am now. But since some will continue to pontificate endlessly from the relative anonymity others will feel compelled to say "Now hold on there a minute, sparky..." when things get a little too far away from reality. Which is as it should be even if it is uncomfortable for the guests.

I mean't to contrast Mr. Tennenhouse with those who talk but do not and will not walk. I never implied Mr. T. could walk the talk.