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virginia_kyu
08-26-2002, 03:28 PM
Starting over from the beginning, my original point was that often Aikido philosophy is used by some as a tool for world politics when I believe its intention was with reforming the individual.

George S. Ledyard
08-26-2002, 06:41 PM
I think that based on his writings and what I have heard from Saotome Sensei that O-Sensei did believe that Aikido was a means to trsnform the world. What is not clear to me is the mechanism...

Did he believe that a few people would train in Aikido, reap its benefits and then go on to effect the world through their strong leadership? Or did he think that millions of people would eventually start training and the world would change due to their collective influence in the world?

I don't know if either is going to happen. It seems that in the modern era the people who are our leaders are quite unlikely to do anything like Aikido. They are too busy doing whatever it takes to attain and keep power.

On the other hand, demographics indicate that only about 1% of the population has any interest in doing a martial art and of that Aikido is one of the smaller in terms of numbers of people participating.

The Aiki Extensions folks (Aiki Extensions (http://www.aiki-extensions.org/))are trying to find a way to get select Aikido folks to influence the world on a wider scale and many of their ideas are quite interesting. I wonder if O-Sensei had anything like this in mind? I suspect that what he envisioned was much more along the lines of some sort of quantum change on a mystic level created by the energy of the folks training but that's no more than conjecture on my part.

virginia_kyu
08-26-2002, 08:47 PM
This kind of goes to my point, if someone with your kind of experience with Aikido and one who trained directly with Saotome sensei is not sure how O'Sensei envisioned this, then how can others with much less experience claim to have such an understanding?

Yes, there are some that get into those philosophical matters but is that not a spiritual journey for themselves rather than an ideology to tell us for example: whether it is aiki or not to fight Iraq?

What bothers me is not those who wish to follow O'Sensei's religion or philosophy, I have the utmost respect for it. I am uneasy about people using their interpretation of O'Sensei's philosophy as dogma to use as a political ideology in world or even domestic affairs.

guest1234
08-26-2002, 11:22 PM
No, Michael, the problem is some people see Aikido as a way to improve themselves, and hence a way (and a duty) to improve the world. You just disagree with what they see as an improvement, or perhaps the need to do anything other than take care of yourself, or both.

Just because you don't feel that way, doesn't make it right, either, unless of course you got it right from O Sensei's mouth. If not, then you have your views, we have ours, and learn to deal with it.

opherdonchin
08-27-2002, 01:28 AM
I think what Colleen says comes off a little harsh, but I agree with the basic idea. Perhaps O'Sensei meant it to be a way of transforming the world, perhaps he meant it to be a way of transforming the individual, and perhaps (as George Ledyard suggests and a number of people also said in the last incarnation of this thread) the idea was to transform the world through transforming the individuals. In any case, the number of people with any sort of privileged claim to knowing Ueshiba's mind on this matter is limited. More importantly (to my mind), AiKiDo is no longer limited or bound by what O' Sensei did and thought. If some people feel that AiKiDo, properly understood, means working for world change, then who are we to tell them different?

opherdonchin
08-27-2002, 01:34 AM
In some ways, maybe, there are two separate questions. The first is "are there political lessons to be learned from AiKiDo." This is a valid question about which people can have different views. In some ways it relates to the question of whether AiKiDo should have an impact on your life outside the dojo. I thought Colleen's post on the previous incarnation where she said that the root of AiKi is seeing things through another person's perspective really captured my personal view on this matter (without either agreeing or disagreeing with the politics she was expressing).

The second question is whether it's AiKi to say that someone else is not being AiKi. This is another valid question, whose answer is (for me) not trivial. The role of criticism in AiKiDo is something I've been struggling with for a while. Most people agree that it's good to be positive as much as possible, but it's harder to agree when it becomes appropriate to say, "that's (in my view) just not AiKiDo."

mike lee
08-27-2002, 03:43 AM
often Aikido philosophy is used by some as a tool for world politics

Please be more specific. What are some examples of this supposed phenomenon?

It should be noted that the originator of this thread, by implying that aikido philosophy is somehow being misused for political purposes, presumes to have a clear understanding of precisely how that philosophy should be applied in the lives of individuals, based on his teacher's instruction and extensive research. This is also assuming that he in fact has a complete grasp of that philosophy.

P.S. Maybe O'Sensei had something specific in mind and maybe he didn't. Maybe he just had faith that it would grow in various directions like branches on a tree. Take Terry Dobson and his work on conflict resolution as an example.

P.P.S. Regarding the relatively small number of aikidoists in the world, there is a Chinese saying: One ounce can deflect a force of 1,000 pounds. Then again, if we are truly insignificant in terms of numbers, why get paranoid about our influence?

Bruce Baker
08-27-2002, 07:21 AM
Yep ... O'Sensei meant Aikido practice, in its open forum of violence/ nonviolence, interaction of learning the ways of others, and the persons character that would persevere would lead to a better understanding of both the individuals character for humanity, plus expose the indivdual to a an environment that would lead to understanding the interaction of other human beings qualities.

To understand harmony, we must know the nature of things, and in seeking harmony, we are better human beings ... hence the better human being changes the world, one person at a time.

Aikido strives to give us the tools to be better human beings or give the tools to be the strength of society and its role model... whether we want to be a role model or not.

Aikido changes us, hence makes the world a better place.

Guest5678
08-27-2002, 08:27 AM
Pay it forward.

Think of the number of people you interact with on a daily basis, now an annual basis. Now, think of the number of people each of those people interact with, and so on and so on and so on......

The energy (be it positive or negative) of your interaction with the people you directly deal with will have an indirect effect on their interaction with others and then their interaction with others, and so on and so on.....

So, one smile and kind word from you may indirectly affect someone way down the line of interactions....

This is one mechanism, I believe, that can be used to accomplish what the founder was hoping for. It all starts with us though. We have to improve ourselves through our daily positive practice. Only then can each of us have a positive effect on those around us. It all starts at home then spreads like a virus (which happens to be a very natural method of transmission by the way..)

-Mongo

SeiserL
08-27-2002, 09:57 AM
IMHO, there is an assumption that to transform the individual, Aikido has the potential to transform the world.

This is an assumption that has yet to necessarily be born out. Children in the US were raised under the assumption that if their self-esteem was protected and they felt good about themselves, they would naturally perform better. Instead we got a generation of spoiled children who simply believe they are "entitled" to receiveing without participating and contributing.

Aikido does offer a pardign shift. As a model, it does apply quite nicely to other than just individual trnasformation. But, to make a paradign work, each individual most adopt the new paradign. In other words, the individual must actaully change their individual mind and see themselves as a part of the whole.

Yes, I am one of those people from Aiki-Extensions who are attempting to use the parading outside the dojo. Good results too, I might add.

IMHO, we all win or we all lose.

Until again,

Lynn

guest1234
08-27-2002, 10:20 AM
I want to appologise for being harsh; I'd like to say it's not the real me, but sometimes unfortuantely, it is. :(

There are only a few things that I'm passionate about, but God save the person who crosses me on one of them... I'm working on that (but obviously need to increase the effort a bit)

virginia_kyu
08-27-2002, 10:21 AM
No, Michael, the problem is some people see Aikido as a way to improve themselves, and hence a way (and a duty) to improve the world. You just disagree with what they see as an improvement, or perhaps the need to do anything other than take care of yourself, or both.

Just because you don't feel that way, doesn't make it right, either, unless of course you got it right from O Sensei's mouth. If not, then you have your views, we have ours, and learn to deal with it.
Colleen, I think I was saying that I do believe that Aikido is for reforming the indiviual. And I can certainly "deal with" people having other views, I would not have started this thread if I did not want to hear other people's views on it. I would have just posted on the AikiWall if I just wanted to spout of my opinion on it.

You have every right to your opinion and I also have every right to criticise it and raise conserns that I have.
In some ways, maybe, there are two separate questions. The first is "are there political lessons to be learned from AiKiDo." This is a valid question about which people can have different views. In some ways it relates to the question of whether AiKiDo should have an impact on your life outside the dojo. I thought Colleen's post on the previous incarnation where she said that the root of AiKi is seeing things through another person's perspective really captured my personal view on this matter (without either agreeing or disagreeing with the politics she was expressing).

The second question is whether it's AiKi to say that someone else is not being AiKi. This is another valid question, whose answer is (for me) not trivial. The role of criticism in AiKiDo is something I've been struggling with for a while. Most people agree that it's good to be positive as much as possible, but it's harder to agree when it becomes appropriate to say, "that's (in my view) just not AiKiDo."
As I said before I think I agree that Aikido is a means for growth of the individual. I have absolutely no problem with people having whatever viewpoint they want on world politics.

I did not say in my post that I don't think people who do Aikido should have views on world politics, I said that it troubles me that people misuse Aikido philosophy as some sort of dogma or political ideology.
Please be more specific. What are some examples of this supposed phenomenon?

It should be noted that the originator of this thread, by implying that aikido philosophy is somehow being misused for political purposes, presumes to have a clear understanding of precisely how that philosophy should be applied in the lives of individuals, based on his teacher's instruction and extensive research. This is also assuming that he in fact has a complete grasp of that philosophy.

P.S. Maybe O'Sensei had something specific in mind and maybe he didn't. Maybe he just had faith that it would grow in various directions like branches on a tree. Take Terry Dobson and his work on conflict resolution as an example.

P.P.S. Regarding the relatively small number of aikidoists in the world, there is a Chinese saying: One ounce can deflect a force of 1,000 pounds. Then again, if we are truly insignificant in terms of numbers, why get paranoid about our influence?
The "Aikido and the politics of violence" thread is one example but I think there are many good examples througout many topics on these forums.

Mike, I make no such claim that I have any idea how it should be used in people's lives, in fact I have very little understanding of any of it. Everything I say on these forums comes from me and not my teacher, I don't know what my teacher's thoughts are on this.

I am also willing to bet there are very few people who do have a good understanding and this is exactly why it makes me uneasy when people use it in a political context.

I certainly didn't join Aikido to join a worldwide political movement. Maybe some of you did, and you have every right to spread your view, but I also have every right to my concerns.

virginia_kyu
08-27-2002, 10:25 AM
I want to appologise for being harsh; I'd like to say it's not the real me, but sometimes unfortuantely, it is. :(

There are only a few things that I'm passionate about, but God save the person who crosses me on one of them... I'm working on that (but obviously need to increase the effort a bit)
Colleen, I don't think you were being that harsh, just passionate. There is nothing wrong with that. So long as we are not cursing at eachother I think it is ok.

guest1234
08-27-2002, 10:39 AM
Good. Then come a little closer, and grab my wrist right here... :D

guest1234
08-27-2002, 10:45 AM
Oh, and Mike, I've been thinking about your ancient saying... and about all the difference just a small thing can make: a thin layer of ice on a wing can bring down a plane, a small nail stop a speeding car, a few grains of sand in a ball-bearing joint...not to mention the power of the tiny atom. I have a similar one that sits on the shelf over my desk at work: one person can move a mountain, one stone at a time.

mike lee
08-27-2002, 11:06 AM
I certainly didn't join Aikido to join a worldwide political movement. Maybe some of you did, and you have every right to spread your view, but I also have every right to my concerns.

I'm not really sure what this is about. Maybe I've been gone too long, but I don't know a single individual who thinks that aikido is a political movement. But if there is, I'd surely like to hear their views.

As far as I know, one of the basic principles of aikido is anticipating trouble before it gets physical, and then attempt to find a peaceful resolution. This is what some call "aikido in daily life." Such concepts are promoted by Koichi Tohei and the Ki-Society, and used in reference to inter-personal relationships.

The concept of using such means in world affairs may have crossed some people's minds. I don't really see how this constitutes a "political movement."

Erik
08-27-2002, 12:19 PM
This kind of goes to my point, if someone with your kind of experience with Aikido and one who trained directly with Saotome sensei is not sure how O'Sensei envisioned this, then how can others with much less experience claim to have such an understanding?

Yes, there are some that get into those philosophical matters but is that not a spiritual journey for themselves rather than an ideology to tell us for example: whether it is aiki or not to fight Iraq?

What bothers me is not those who wish to follow O'Sensei's religion or philosophy, I have the utmost respect for it. I am uneasy about people using their interpretation of O'Sensei's philosophy as dogma to use as a political ideology in world or even domestic affairs.
Michael, I think you also have to take Aikido within the context of when it began to gain prominence in the world. Many of today's teachers began their careers in the 60's or 70's which had certain distinct paradigm shifts going on. One was a dissatisfaction with government and authority. Another was the idea of inner peace, harmony and higher consciousness. That influence is very much alive and strong today. Also, many folks have discovered that you can't easily make money doing conventional martial arts. So you transform your practice into a mystical spiritual thingee. Self-help on the feet and in the air if you will.

I'm fine with this, although I often think that the last thing the world needs is another self-help book. I have, in fact, found value in these realms and I'm glad this sort of thing exists. I also wish them all the best in changing the world. It might, or it might not, be a better place if they succeed.

However, in the end, you have to realize that none of us, unless we live there, know jack about the situation in the Middle East. Hell, I really don't even know much about what's going on in my own country. The Middle East is incredibly complex with many cultural and historical issues. For us to say we have answers there is just water cooler talking.

We bend wrists and we would often be well-served to remember that.

mike lee
08-27-2002, 12:35 PM
I think most people go to the dojo to train. I don't think that they have the time to talk about the wide range of issues that we discuss on this forum. It would be a great error in judgement to think that what we say on these threads represents aikido.

We talk about sex, drugs and politics. So what?

But remember one thing -- the concept of America began with a series of discussions between Ben Franklin and some others at a small tavern in Boston. I'm sure that at times, some of them felt a little uneasy too.

virginia_kyu
08-27-2002, 01:06 PM
I might be taking it a little far by calling it a political movement, but I am not sure. If it is not a political movement it is close.

I read some material in the Aiki-Extensions website and it seems to me that their focus is through the individual, using Aikido to enhance people's lives on a one by one basis. I find nothing wrong with that.

When people go beyond that I become uneasy about it.

guest1234
08-27-2002, 01:44 PM
Erik's comment about difficulty in knowing what is happening in our ouwn country kind of summed up much of what I find concerning about the general US attitude on the world. One game show recently asked a contestant to name the only man to serve as VP and President, without ever being elected to either office. Not a tough one, come on, how often does a VP resign in disgrace and then later the President for similar problems? Her answer: Colin Powell. We are a nation that has trouble thinking outside of sound bits, unaware of our own history but willing to rewrite others', proudly unable to speak any language other than our own, eternally searching for McDonalds when travelling abroad.

As a country, we have one Aikido principle right: we take center better than just about anyone. And we definately see ourselves as the center of the universe, making our partners revolve around us.

Other things that are stressed: be sincere, maintain connection, don't muscle... perhaps not as good at.

I just think we need to take a bit better care of our ukes; someday it might be our turn, and my first Aikido teacher always said "payback is a b----"

virginia_kyu
08-27-2002, 02:37 PM
Other things that are stressed: be sincere, maintain connection, don't muscle... perhaps not as good at.

I just think we need to take a bit better care of our ukes; someday it might be our turn, and my first Aikido teacher always said "payback is a b----"

You see, this is partly what I am talking about. I don't see how we physically do techniques has anything to do with how we should engage in world politics.

I just think some people take Aikido way too far from its purpose.

guest1234
08-27-2002, 02:47 PM
Not for one minute would I think you would.

But I see connections. I've told folks in my dojos before that I find Aikido, when practiced with good connection, to be a very intimate experience. But even aside from that, I can tell a lot about a person from how they practice Aikido.

I can tell if they are afraid to be close, afraid to trust, if they need to control, if they can't surrender. I can tell if they do things to their partner, or with them. If they want to win, or to train.

A friend has said he thinks you can tell what your partner will be like in bed...I'm not so sure I want to let my mind wander in that direction, but I do think you get an idea of what kind of person they are, and how they view themselves and others.

Kevin Leavitt
08-27-2002, 07:20 PM
Mike,

appreciate you trying to understand why others study aikido. It seems that your reasons for studying aikido may be different from others.

I believe I have shared my thoughts on this with you before, so forgive me if I repeat myself.

Aikido can be many things to many people. If someone finds meaning and translation from it into other areas of their lives, then that is aikido and it is a good thing. Some may only get the physical exercise and "self defense" out of it.

I think budo in particular is imitates life, as do all arts in general.

You are forced to walk the paradox of a warrior between life and death and right and wrong. You live in the gray area so to speak. To practice budo is to practice the art of war and the art of peace. You cannot do one without the other.

To answer your question more directly. How can you gain peace on a global or macro scale unless you improve yourself? It starts with you as a person. That is all you have control over. Your personal actions can influence others. As one poster said "pay it forward".

I cannot get into all the ways I see aikido is a great example for peace. Keep looking though and you will see it.

Don't take applying "aiki" to our current world situation so literally. Being aiki can mean harming or killing when it is justified. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Aikido is not about pacifism. If it where then we would all just practice lying down like jellyfish!

If you read O'Sensei's philosophy in various translations, you will find it full of great examples of how to apply it. You will also find that it sometime contradicting in nature, that is the paradox. "Don't do harm, Stop Harm".

This quote from "The Art of Peace" by O'Sensei translated by John Stevens may help sheds some light.

"The real Art of Peace is not to sacrifice a single on of your warriors to defeat the enemy. Vanquish yo foes by always keeping yourself in a safe and unassailable position; then no one will suffer any losses. The way of a Warrior, the Art of Politics, is to stop trouble before it starts. It consist in defeating your adversaries spirituatlly by making them realize the folly of their actions. The Way of a Warrior is to establish Harmony."

virginia_kyu
08-27-2002, 09:54 PM
Don't take applying "aiki" to our current world situation so literally. Being aiki can mean harming or killing when it is justified. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Aikido is not about pacifism. If it where then we would all just practice lying down like jellyfish!
Kevin, yes we discussed this before and I continue to agree with your outlook on it. I also think that you are able to get to the point I was trying to make better than I can.

Alfonso
08-28-2002, 02:11 PM
Michael, If I don't vote republican will you still talk to me?

I think it's a misuse of Aikido to use it as a soapbox for politics.

bcole23
08-28-2002, 02:43 PM
HH the Dalai Lama:

Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually. Peace, for example, starts within each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighboring communities, and so on. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. And there are ways in which we can consciously work to develop feelings of love and kindness.

For some of us, the most effective way to do so is through religious practice. For others it may be non-religious practices. What is important is that we each make a sincere effort to take our responsibility for each other and for the natural environment we live in seriously.

The Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1989

virginia_kyu
08-28-2002, 03:35 PM
Michael, If I don't vote republican will you still talk to me?

I think it's a misuse of Aikido to use it as a soapbox for politics.
Alfonso, I don't exactly understand what you are saying. Of course I will (and have) been talking to lots of people who I am pretty sure don't vote Republican.

About the soapbox, I think you are ignoring my whole point here that I think there should not be any politics in Aikido whether be mine or someone elses.

IMHO, Aikido is for self improvement and self defense, and if that in itself helps make a better world then great.

HH the Dalai Lama:

Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually. Peace, for example, starts within each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighboring communities, and so on. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. And there are ways in which we can consciously work to develop feelings of love and kindness.

For some of us, the most effective way to do so is through religious practice. For others it may be non-religious practices. What is important is that we each make a sincere effort to take our responsibility for each other and for the natural environment we live in seriously.

The Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1989


That is nice and everything but I think you are going off the subject. If you want to post something by O'Sensei and then follow it up and relate it to what we are discussing then fine.

Kevin Leavitt
08-28-2002, 03:46 PM
Looking through the post, I don't really see where Mike is using Aikido as "soapbox".

Then again, I think that is Mike's whole point to begin with....Not to use it as a soapbox.

Since no one "owns" aikido...and every person gets out of it what they want...then what is wrong with using it as a "soapbox" as long as it adheres to the principles of aikido.

After all, Aikido was O'Sensei's personal soapbox for the Art of Peace!

Kevin Leavitt
08-28-2002, 03:57 PM
Michael,

I think Brandon's post is very relevant. Basically saying the same thing...it is about self improvement, you improve yourself you improve the world. (I know you already understand this though from our conversations!)

Alfonso
08-28-2002, 04:36 PM
I'm sorry man, didn't want to come off rude, but I don't think you want political discussion, just converts to your politics.

Agreeing that Aikido brings on personal development, I think it can inform political thought.

I don't think politics can inform my Aikido.

And I do think that Aiki-web is being used as a soap box for politics, witness three threads on that discussion. I also see atempts to link Aikido principles into supporting those political arguments.

Am I wrong in thinking you are actively engaged in politcs as an activist?

Bruce Baker
08-28-2002, 06:04 PM
Wow, some very good points have come up.

Is each human being the center of the universe? That would be a yes.

You live your whole life in the form you are given. You can't get out and walk around outside of this form, and you must protect this form from outside forces ... I guess in a wierd way, we are each the center of the universe.

How we act and react to the innumerable creations that also the center of the universe ... Oww ... too much for my little brain.

If a small number of people don't make a difference, why does all of our important turning points in history have the mark of one particular person for certain events, when in fact many more are involved?

Would those events occur without these key people? Kind of the point we are debating here, isn't it?

Fact is ... if you didn't spend years training in Aikido, but maybe Karate, judo, or some other art, would your character be a charitable as it is from Aikido training?

It might be, but in my experience, the number is considerably smaller, and even after fifty years old there is still a ego or a pride to prove ones ability to beat other fighters.

If you have forgotten, or don't know about the ego or pride, go watch a sport karate contest sometime. See how many of them are good sports, making good friends (even with the lesser skilled participants), or are they somewhat snobbish ... stuck upon themselves?

Sit an watch an Aikido Seminar, then tell me what is different. Is it the Aikido that makes them different, or the people who practice Aikido who are different?

In either case, I think more people of Aikido are charitable, and do live in a better role model. That is why, even if you never become a great fighter, warrior, or fully understand the budo way, Aikido will make a differnce to change the world.

Oh, and even if some of us say the same thing in a different way, doesn't that go a long way to proving this thesis?

Kevin Leavitt
08-28-2002, 06:41 PM
Bruce,

I think that Aikido tends to attract people that are somewhat "chartiable" in nature. Even though aikido can refine the person...it does not make the person.

There are many, many ways to let go of ego. Aikido didn't do it as much for me as meditation, but aikido helps me practice mindfullness and coming to grips with my ego.

I am not really following you alfonso? I think at some point you have to discuss current events to include politics if you want to apply the principles of aikido in daily life.

I think the intent is not so much to convert someone to anothers views...but an attempt to understand how or if you can use aikido principles in daily life.

virginia_kyu
08-28-2002, 10:02 PM
I think Brandon's post is very relevant. Basically saying the same thing...it is about self improvement, you improve yourself you improve the world. (I know you already understand this though from our conversations!)
Well I guess it is sort of relevant
I'm sorry man, didn't want to come off rude, but I don't think you want political discussion, just converts to your politics.
Alfonso, no reason to apologize. I can take it, trust me.
Agreeing that Aikido brings on personal development, I think it can inform political thought.

I don't think politics can inform my Aikido.

And I do think that Aiki-web is being used as a soap box for politics, witness three threads on that discussion. I also see atempts to link Aikido principles into supporting those political arguments.
not sure what you are trying to say here. How can you agree with using Aikido as a soapbox and then accuse me of engaging in political activism.
Am I wrong in thinking you are actively engaged in politcs as an activist?
To address your question, no I am not here to win political converts and no I am not actively engaged in politics as an activist.

And if I were trying to win political converts I can assure you that the last place I would come to is an Aikido forum :)

Have I ever been involved in politics? Yes but so what.

Alfonso
08-29-2002, 12:54 PM
once again my apologies. I needed some pounding to take off the coffee edge. Got some last night and it made me a lot happier.

Just grouching.

virginia_kyu
08-29-2002, 10:11 PM
No problem :) You know I have been a little edgy myself lately too. I have had a bad sinus infection for a few weeks. There is nothing that gets me in a worse mood.

BTW, sorry I am going off subject here for just a second. Just to repeat what I said on another thread, for all of you who have been visiting my website trying to see a photo of what I look like, :D, I don't have any of me up yet. I will let you know when I upload any. However, my wife made me put up alot of photos of our cats to show to her friends.

I have been seeing alot of hits to my site from AikiWeb so I started thinking, "wow it must look pretty weird that I have a lot cat pictures on my site."

:blush:

opherdonchin
09-04-2002, 02:08 PM
I've been gone for a while and a lot has happened.

A lot of people seem to agree that one of the most direct ways in which AiKiDo might or might not affect the world is through it's affect on individuals.

Very few people have weighed in on the question of whether AiKiDo actually informs their political views. I'm not sure I understand how someone could be deeply affected by AiKiDo without that affecting, at least in some ways, their political outlook. I guess one way would be if they felt that how their nation behaves follows a different system of values than how they themselves behave. Another possibility I can think of would be that AiKiDo had not changed their basic moral view (and hence their politics) but it had changed the immediate application of that morality to different situations. Like I said, I'm not sure I understand this very well.

In my case, AiKiDo has definately affected the way I understand political issues because it has changed in many ways my whole understanding of the world. For that reason, it also informs my political dialogue. I can't easily use concepts from AiKiDo when discussing politics with people who have never heard of it. However, when discussing politics with fellow AiKiDoka, using concepts that we have in common to describe my perspective seems very natural.

Kevin Leavitt
09-04-2002, 09:23 PM
I would say that aikido has had an impact on the way I see politics. I tend to form less opinions now and find myself thinking harder about issues. Really it has opened my eyes up to see that many times in politics there is no right or wrong, only a difference in "technique".

Alfonso
09-05-2002, 11:49 AM
Hey if we agree that Aikido can inform our political views, can we start a new thread? I'm getting confused at the fact that these posts are in the Misuse of Aikido.

Is Aikido informing your personal political views a Misuse of Aikido?

If not, then let's discuss this under some other header.

mike lee
09-05-2002, 12:01 PM
I think the problem began because somebody thought that there was a conspiracy among a couple of posters to turn aikido worldwide into a massive political organization that would eventually rule the globe, forcing all of us to march in lockstep.

P.S. It could happen.

opherdonchin
09-05-2002, 12:04 PM
Hey Mike! Where are you? We need someone to take up the alternative viewpoint or we'll be sunk in a morass of helpless agreement!

Brian H
09-05-2002, 12:28 PM
Silly TV contribution:

I was watching "Dinotopia" with my kids last week and while some of the "Its-OK-if-you-get-eaten-a-dinosaur-might-be-hungry" got on my nerves, one of the "laws of dinotopia" actually struck me as relevant to this on going debate here.

"One drop of rain raises the ocean"

While I was watching the movie just to humor the kids, that one little thing gave me something to ponder.

In the largeness of the world, and the fact that history will not begin or end with me, it would be immodest for me to believe that I make any more contribution than one drop of rain in the ocean, but I can make a difference. (I guess they don't know about the whole evaporation/cloud/rain cycle in "dinotopia"- or they just didn’t like the complications)

virginia_kyu
09-05-2002, 12:51 PM
I think the problem began because somebody thought that there was a conspiracy among a couple of posters to turn aikido worldwide into a massive political organization that would eventually rule the globe, forcing all of us to march in lockstep.
:) Pretty funny stuff. I was however concerned that many see Aikido as a political movement rather than a martial art. If Aikido helps inform your political view then fine, however personally I find it rather absurd.

Regardless, please don't tell me what the Aiki way of solving a political problem or a world crisis is or what is "un-aiki" or not. That kind of preaching is not Aikido it is your opinion.

opherdonchin
09-05-2002, 12:58 PM
Ah, but here we get back to my (ever so insightful!) post from a while back:
The second question is whether it's AiKi to say that someone else is not being AiKi. This is another valid question, whose answer is (for me) not trivial. The role of criticism in AiKiDo is something I've been struggling with for a while. Most people agree that it's good to be positive as much as possible, but it's harder to agree when it becomes appropriate to say, "that's (in my view) just not AiKiDo."
Now, I'm definitely willing to say that some perspectives on the world are just not aiki. Of course, as you say, that's my opinion, but, even if I'm a little embarassed about it, it is, in fact, my opinion.

And here is my litmus test (for both personal and national issues): if, when it's all over, you feel like you've won and they feel like they've lost, then it wasn't aiki. In general, if you are trying to win, it isn't aiki.

(That should breathe some life back into this, no?)

akiy
09-05-2002, 01:17 PM
Interestingly enough, one of the original definitions of "aiki" as used in some koryu arts (established a long time before the founder of aikido was even born) was to dominate, crush, and (basically) kill the opponent by being able to "match" their movements and intent...

-- Jun

aikigreg
09-05-2002, 01:26 PM
I don't see what's so tough here. Aiki as a political movement would be my sensei or one of you telling me to vote for a certain candidate because to do so would be Aiki (when in reality it would be BS).

Another way aiki could be political is if one of us gets elected to some office, in which case I hope we use our Aikido powers for good and not evil. :D

Aikiweb is the sharing of opinions that lead to my benefit. Sometimes that benefit is just to realize I strongly disagree with someone, and sometimes the benefit is a new realization of something.

Aikido *IS* changing the world. Through our own personal growth. If Aiki has changed *you* it has changed the world. It is my utmost wish that as each of us walks the way we get closer to that universal harmony.

opherdonchin
09-05-2002, 02:39 PM
I just got a poster in the mail today from AiKiDo Today Magazine. It shows pictures of two pairs of hands in contact, ready for kokyu dosa or whatever you call it, and the legend read, "A Way to Reconcile the World"

Kevin Leavitt
09-05-2002, 09:28 PM
Michael,

Are you implying that you find it absurd that aikido could influence your outlook, philosophy, and paradigms towards politics?

If so, then it sounds like to me that you feel that aikido is "just a martial art" and is simply a bunch of "moves" that allows you to deal with "physical" conflict.

Not trying to put words in your mouth, nor do I really care if you "buy" into the spirituality or philsophy of aikido, but if you feel that way, I think your are missing a great deal of what Aikido has to offer, or any martial art for that matter.

virginia_kyu
09-05-2002, 10:55 PM
I see Aikido as a set of ethics to apply towards martial situations, a dicipline for personal growth, a fun workout with friendly people, and a means for self defense.

When I say "personal growth" I mean just that, not political action. By all mean you guys can believe whatever you want I just happen to disagree with Aikido being used for that.

opherdonchin
09-05-2002, 11:15 PM
But Mike, this is where I don't understand. What are your politics if not an extension of you in some way. How could 'personal growth' fail to influence your political outlook? Are you so sure of your politics that you never re-evaluate them? Or is there something specific about AiKiDo that makes you believe that it can not lead to the kind of growth that would change your political outlook.

This honestly confuses me.

virginia_kyu
09-05-2002, 11:29 PM
I simply don't see how performing Ikkyo has anything to do with what is going on in world affairs.

I can see how it would influence how I would handle a personal situation involving the potential for violence. However, I see no connection to politics here.

opherdonchin
09-05-2002, 11:40 PM
I guess I imagine personal growth changing more than just "how I handle a personal situation involving the potential for violence." At least, I know that when I think of AiKiDo in my daily life it has changed me in sort of deep ways that affect every interpersonal situation I face as well as simply my own attitude towards myself.

The idea (and you are certainly not required to endorse this; I'm just telling you about my experience) is that AiKiDo changed my perspective on the world. As such, it has probably also affected my politics.

In my particular case, I don't think its effect on my politics is all that great compared to its effect on more personal things, but that probably also reflects the importance that I attach to politics in my life.

virginia_kyu
09-06-2002, 09:18 AM
Opher, again as I said before what I am really talking about as people using Akido as some sort of official dogma to hammer everyone one about what the proper "Aiki" way to handle a world crisis is.

opherdonchin
09-06-2002, 09:43 AM
How do you tell the difference between dogma and a legitimately AiKi-influenced perspective?

What is the line between pointing out where my ideas of AiKi differ from someone elses and hammering them?

Not trying to bait you. These are real questions that I struggle with in my life, not just for the sake of this discussion.

virginia_kyu
09-06-2002, 10:45 AM
Interestingly enough, one of the original definitions of "aiki" as used in some koryu arts (established a long time before the founder of aikido was even born) was to dominate, crush, and (basically) kill the opponent by being able to "match" their movements and intent...

-- Jun
Think about what Jun posted here Opher.

opherdonchin
09-06-2002, 11:04 AM
Well, that's certainly not the use O'Sensei gave to the term, nor the one that is in common parlance today. It's not the way I use the term. I admit that it's very interesting and reflects (to me) the changes in Japanese society as it devolved into the imperial horror it became approaching WWII. It is in response to that political philosophy, to a large extent, that AiKiDo as we know it was born.

So, is that quote an example of what you mean by personal development?

virginia_kyu
09-06-2002, 11:39 AM
Well, that's certainly not the use O'Sensei gave to the term, nor the one that is in common parlance today.

I am also pretty sure that O'Sensei was not a hippie neither was he a pacifist.

opherdonchin
09-06-2002, 11:43 AM
On what basis are you making that claim?

Anyone with some background in Ueshiba's political philosophy want to weigh in? I don't feel qualified to address this point.

Mike: are you avoiding my questions on purpose?

virginia_kyu
09-06-2002, 12:03 PM
So, is that quote an example of what you mean by personal development?
No I am not trying to avoid your question at all. The quote is not what I mean by personal development, it is what aiki means.
How do you tell the difference between dogma and a legitimately AiKi-influenced perspective? There really isnt much difference. It is when people try to use Aikido as a platform for political ideology that it becomes annoying to me.
What is the line between pointing out where my ideas of AiKi differ from someone elses and hammering them?
It really depends on the context.

Xentilius
09-06-2002, 12:18 PM
Neil, do not forget that the USA had dropped the nuclear/atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I think he did not blame or had forgave them. Otherwise he would not have sent his student, Koichi Tohei to spead Aikido to the U.S . We should know that this is much more worst than planes crashing into buildings.

The nuclear/atomic bombs had a great impact on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. People there have disformed body until today. Even their offspring have this effects.

I think u should know what is more devasting.

Xentilius
09-06-2002, 12:19 PM
Sorry abt the name, its Neal..

virginia_kyu
09-06-2002, 12:29 PM
Neil, do not forget that the USA had dropped the nuclear/atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I think he did not blame or had forgave them. Otherwise he would not have sent his student, Koichi Tohei to spead Aikido to the U.S . We should know that this is much more worst than planes crashing into buildings.

The nuclear/atomic bombs had a great impact on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. People there have disformed body until today. Even their offspring have this effects.

I think u should know what is more devasting.
I am sorry but what does that have to do with what we are talking about here?

Erik
09-06-2002, 12:35 PM
Well, that's certainly not the use O'Sensei gave to the term, nor the one that is in common parlance today. It's not the way I use the term.
I believe at one point in his career Ueshiba roughly defined aiki as

the practice of blending and harmonizing with someone in order to get them to do what you want.

Erik
09-06-2002, 12:39 PM
I am also pretty sure that O'Sensei was not a hippie neither was he a pacifist.
He may not have been a pacifist but I think by Japanese standards he was out there. From what I know, I would have no problem calling him a Japanese hippie. Maybe that's not really fair but I kind of like the concept. :)

Do the Japanese have such a thing as a hippie?

shihonage
09-06-2002, 02:25 PM
I just got a poster in the mail today from AiKiDo Today Magazine. It shows pictures of two pairs of hands in contact, ready for kokyu dosa or whatever you call it, and the legend read, "A Way to Reconcile the World"
I kept that particular poster on my wall for a while, but then noticed that the more Aikido-related things I have in visible range, the more often I skip Aikido classes (I guess what the common masses nowadays would call Feng-Shuism or whatever)... so I took it down...

opherdonchin
09-06-2002, 02:29 PM
Boy, I hope it doesn't affect me that way. I just purchased it to put up in my lab in hopes that it would remind me that I should leave and go to class.

Kevin Leavitt
09-06-2002, 04:57 PM
To answer your earlier question about ikkyo Michael.

Obviously different people will get different understandings out of ikkyo.

I have found after a few years of study that the lessons I learn in studying aikido and the skills I learn as an infantrymen are very relevant to everyday life.

Ikkyo is a physical technique, no question about it, but the physical can be a good reminder of the mental which is harder to keep a fix on.

For example, I have found when I try to anticipate a shomenuchi to perform ikkyo that it does not work. Uke can simply redirect and adjust his attack to keep me from doing ikkyo.

By waiting for the attack to develop and he believes he will hit me, he commits, I irimi and respond appropriately.

life works the same way. How many times to you presume that someone is going to have a certain behavior or have a certain reaction, we usually react lashing out in anger or saying something that maybe totally in appropriate to the person. Sometime we regret what we have done or said, other times we may not realize the damage at all because of the opportunties lost to develop a relationship.

I posted in the "Other" area a long story about a lesson I learned in Ranger School. That I won't repeat here, but it relates to this type of theory.

How we act, react and carry ourselves physically affects us spiritually, and mentally...you cannot separate the three aspects IMHO...so I feel Ikkyo and Aikido in general is very relevant to everyday situations.

Hope this helps explain how I feel.

virginia_kyu
09-06-2002, 10:26 PM
I can understand that Kevin, that is perfectly fine with me if you view it that way. I just don't see Aikido that way.

I am honestly not trying to put down anyone's personal beliefs here. I am just raising concerns that I have and giving my perpective for what it is worth.

Anyway, as I stated on the Iraq thread I am going so I won't be posting anymore here. It has been a very interesting discussion.

PS: I have to say one thing though, when I am practicing Aikido on the mat I really feel all of my aggression leave me. It is a purifying experience to me, I guess that is what I meant by personal growth.

mike lee
09-07-2002, 04:18 AM
If you are not the same person on the mat as you are in the voting booth, then you are two-faced.

opherdonchin
09-07-2002, 02:09 PM
Two-faced sounds harsh, and probably isn't exaclty what you meant (yes?) Perhaps instead of suggesting that Mike is being intentionally duplicitous (which is what two-faced would mean) it would be more appropriate to say that if that experience of feeling the agression leave is a positive one for him, it might be worth asking himself how he might find it in other walks of life. Indeed, it might be worth asking why he doesn't find it other places. What makes AiKiDo so different and special?

virginia_kyu
09-07-2002, 03:01 PM
I don't have words for Mike Lee that are appropriate to use on these forums.

I am not saying here that I walk around all day in an agressive state until I get to Aikido. I am actually quite a calm, polite, and peaceful person. What I was trying to say that any aggression that I might have had during the day like stress is relieved when I am doing aikido. I think the flowing movements of it all helps me to unwind from the day, thats all really.

I would love to continue this discussion but there are too many people that want to launch personal attacks rather than discuss and debate, and in the interest of my own personal harmony I am going elsewere to discuss Aikido.

opherdonchin
09-07-2002, 03:27 PM
Where are you going, Mike?

virginia_kyu
09-07-2002, 05:19 PM
aikido journal

Brian H
09-07-2002, 05:50 PM
He may not have been a pacifist but I think by Japanese standards he was out there. From what I know, I would have no problem calling him a Japanese hippie. Maybe that's not really fair but I kind of like the concept. :)

Do the Japanese have such a thing as a hippie?
http://www.aikidoaus.com.au/dojo/index1.htm

When I think of O'Sensei, I do not think "hippie"

If I had to put him into a 60's cliché, I think I would see him on as more the rebel biker.

When I look at his picture (especially the ones of him when he was younger), I see a real bad ass dude.

I know him only though his teaching as passed down through his students.

My original teacher speculated that “modern” aikido is influenced by the fact that all of the remaining original students of O’Sensei studied Aikido as young men from a old man. Aikido did change over the years as O’Sensei evolved in and as he aged.

I have been told by people inside and outside Aikido that it is about “non-violence.”

I have never really agreed with this, because I do not find it “non-violent” to spin somebody around and toss them onto the back of the head.

I see instead, the moderation of violence. Some techniques are safer/gentler than others, and the focus of my study is to find ways to use technique to reduce harm.

I have seen many Aikidoka remark how violence on a nation scale or in response to the 9-11 attacks is “un-aiki”

O’Sensei’s writings and teachings give atemi an important role in the application of Aikido technique in combat, and when nations make war I do not see how a bomb could not be used as atemi in an effort to reduce the overall harm of making war.

Xent cites the use of Atom bomb in WWII as being similar to the 9-11 attacks.

I strongly disagree.

The atomic bombings were indeed horrific, but they averted the need to mount an invasion of Japan. Such an invasion would have likely incurred millions of casualties on both sides. The quick end to the war was a worthy goal (although many will disagree with the means).

The 9-11 attacks served only do cause death, destruction and harm. They were meant as a beginning of a war, not an end.

opherdonchin
09-07-2002, 05:56 PM
A lot of AiKi (as I understand it) is about intent. In that sense, people arguing that atomic bombs were meant to save lives may have been doing their best version of AiKi. That's hard to tell. Of course, like anyone who has watched a beginner test knows: their best version of AiKi may not be the best version you can imagine; you still need to respect the AiKi that's there.

Certainly, the 9-11 attacks would not count as that. Or would they? Maybe that is their version of AiKi. Pretty scary, but worth a thought. I've seen some pretty lousy beginner tests.

And where would an attack on Iraq be? Or any other political move? I guess the idea is that the question of 'is it AiKi' is always relevant. You can always judge things that way (if judging is what you like to do). Starting with the judgement may not be the best way to teach, though.

Clearly, my thoughts are being influenced by multiple simultaneous threads.

Mike: I'm sorry to see you go.

Kevin Leavitt
09-07-2002, 10:05 PM
Mike, glad you see aikido as a purifying experience on the mat. I think after studying it a while you may find that it carries over into your life in many other ways off the mat. Starting on the mat is what you must do however.

It took me a number of years before I really understood this, really not until recently.

I must tell you that I went to Mike Lasky's seminar today, and it was one of the best days of my life, not on the mat, but off the mat.

I was sitting in a resturant with 6 other aikidoka, one who is my karate sensei for 10 years, the others friends I met just today. The friendship and bond we shared was as if we had been friends for ever.

My karate sensei, is now a very close friend of mine with a family, they stayed with us last night and we all had a good time talking and sharing our feelings etc.

I can tell you that it will enrich your life off the mat eventually, so don't give up, but don't try too hard either, enjoy the experience as it is presented daily.

As for personal attacks, sometimes we provoke them, some time not. But as I said earlier, it takes two to fight and clash egos. So, if someone is attacking you personally, well they are as wrong as your are.

Sometimes though things you see as an attack is someone just trying to be honest with you and show you "flaws" or weaknesses in your "technique". It is hard for all of us to accept criticism from time to time.

If everyone in the world would try really hard, try past the point of when it hurt, to truly understand another, true empathy...then we may learn to have compassion for others and see through their facades. Finding the real person underneath has shown me that 99% of all people are just like me, good people struggling to make sense out of this thing we call life!

I wish you luck Michael, and hope aikido continues to be a tool that will allow you to get out of it what you want!

virginia_kyu
09-07-2002, 11:06 PM
Sometimes though things you see as an attack is someone just trying to be honest with you and show you "flaws" or weaknesses in your "technique". It is hard for all of us to accept criticism from time to time.
Not sure that someone calling you a "liar" or "two faced" qualifies as someone trying to have an honest dialogue Kevin.

I really feel like I am on another planet here. Someone calls me a "liar" and a "lowlife" (as on the iraq thread) and then I am accused of engaging in ego battles for defending myself. This while you (and others) completely brush aside the absolutely hateful comments made against me here.

There is a very bizarre dynamic here on these forums man. I think that what many of you mean when you say "understanding one another" is actually "Come around to our way of thinking or else."

That is why I choose not to continue here, because there are all kinds of hidden agendas behind what people say here and that there is an incredible phoniness to all of this "harmony" stuff.

And this is also making me seriously consider whether Aikido is right for me at all.

virginia_kyu
09-07-2002, 11:38 PM
Actually, Aikido is right for me, its just that many people on these forums are not.

See you on the mat Kevin, and let us forget all of this nonsense here anyway becuase that is what it is.

opherdonchin
09-08-2002, 01:17 AM
Not sure that someone calling you a "liar" or "two faced" qualifies as someone trying to have an honest dialogue Kevin.

I really feel like I am on another planet here. Someone calls me a "liar" and a "lowlife" (as on the iraq thread) and then I am accused of engaging in ego battles for defending myself. This while you (and others) completely brush aside the absolutely hateful comments made against me here.
Hey Mike,

You do what you feel is right for you. Seriously.

I actually do believe (with the threads that I've been following and I'm not sure I've seen everything) that the people who made inappropriate comments actually were trying to have an honest dialogue. They just weren't doing the best job possible. While their comments were clearly innappropriate (and perhaps some of mine were, too, I don't know for sure), you often react defensively and the situation sort of spirals out of control. I'm not blaming you here: I think that a number of people who posted in response to your threads (again, possibly including me) posted stuff that was not respectful and even provocative. Still, like Kevin said, you can't have a fight without two combatants.

By the way, maybe for me that's the real message of AiKiDo. It takes two to have a fight. I guess I was brought up believing that it only took one combatant (and one victim) and so I struggled to make sure that I was in the victim's role (and therefore justified). I don't believe that any more. I don't believe it in politics either (just to be on topic briefly).

I had an interesting experience today that keeps seeming relevant to me. I'm going to sneak it in here because I really want to tell about it and I figure by this point not too many people are reading this thread.

I was visiting a dojo where nobody knows me. Because hakama are bulky to carry and because I think it's right, I wore a white belt. At ASU dojos, white belt and no hakama usually means 'not yet 5th kyu.'

I've been in different dojos in this garb and have gotten different reactions. At this dojo, everyone wanted to teach me. That's fine. I'm always happy to learn, even if learning only means learning how to swallow pride, bow, and say 'thank you.'

Still, my uke is my uke, and sometimes things were hard for one student or another. I'm not saying I was any better than them; that's just the way it was. Anyway, at one point the sensei was trying to show me something (I'm not sure: I believe he was began with helping me on something I was having trouble with, but he may have been trying to show me why it is wrong to resist) and things were hard for him. I wasn't trying to make it hard; that's just the way it was. He didn't give up though. He just kept tossing me around, changing techniques, and working with me.

Pretty soon the whole class was watching. It was pretty athletic. Sometimes it was beautiful and flowing; other times it was ugly struggles. It kept going on and on, down and up. He was having difficulty (in my judgement) because he was using a little too much force (aren't we all always doing that) and perhaps he is used to getting away with that because he is a big man and a talented aikidoka. Or maybe he was doing it on purpose.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun for me and a little bit scary not to know whether we were 'competing' or 'training.' I've rarely had the experience of trying my best to do AiKiDo while I'm really not sure whether or not that is what my partner is also going for. If I have felt that way in the past, it's always with beginners where I feel like I have the right and responsibilty to keep things slow and safe. This was definitly living on the edge, as far as I was concerend. We stopped when he noticed that he'd scratched my neck doing a head-o-toshi. After class he made a couple of comments about how 'we can be trying to make a point' and how that can get in the way sometimes. I'm not sure whether he meant him or me or both of us.

So, the really interesting thing is that after the class one of the guys I'd been working with who had trouble came up to me, took me aside, and told me two things: 1) that when I resist him, I create openings that he can exploit for other techniques, and (2) when the instructor is demonstrating with me, we are part of a team that works together for the class. I thought, for a moment, about sharing my feelings with him. Then I thought better of it, swallowed my pride, bowed, and said 'thank you.'

I'm not sure what I learned from all this, but something tells me that even if I don't know what it is, I learned a lot.

So, Mike, I look forward to seeing you on the mat and I apologize for any offense I may have given you. I hope that now or in the future you can re-read all those obnoxious posts with the kind of generosity that would make it impossible for the posts to be hurtful to you. If you always assume that everyone is on your side, there is no one left to fight. (Hey! Back on topic again by accident).

Kevin Leavitt
09-08-2002, 08:09 AM
Understanding someone does not require that you come around to their way of thinking. Only that you can completely understand the person at the core level. We all have underlying "issues" that we deal with. Some people may feel strongly about military intervention because of fear of losing a lifesyle. Some may oppose it because of fear of losing their life. The root cause of both sides of the poles is fear that we may lose something that as Americans we value. So why we both argue about the superficial arguments that your wrong, I'am right, call them "stupid", "tree hugger", "capitalist pig"...we waste time that could be spent on finding common ground that would allow us to find the middle ground and a better way to peace.

This is not easy to do and requires people to place aside their egos (not values) but egos and work past their personal issues.

I think you have many options as a way to defend yourself.

As in aikido, I can choose to blend "negative energy" and figure out how to slowly get you to look past your ego and feelings and bring you through to see things my way.

Or, I can hit you back just as hard as you hit me, or hit even more.

What I saw on the iraq

Kevin Leavitt
09-08-2002, 08:25 AM
sorry accidently hit the wrong button on my last reply...here is the continuation!

What I saw on the Iraq thread was what I have seen on the mat in many dojos during kumite.

We line up, bow to each other, square off, one person presents an atemi, the other blocks it, he presents an atemi, then quickly someone gets popped hard, emotions run high, energy picks up...then you see a flurry of hands, feet, bodies, as they wilding flail through various techniques back and forth back and forth, until someone gets hurt, or they go away mad at each other, and no one learns anything.

Lots of rhetoric in that thread..."I know this is right...here are the facts. "No your wrong...here are the facts" "I am well informed on this issue, let me prove it by writing a two page discertation on why I am qualified.

Heck I didn't learn much about the situation, other than the amazing lengths that people can go to form a response! What did we learn from that thread?

So, you have options....just like in aikido on the mat, we must unlearn our old way of doing things, get rid of the clashing, and learn to redirect, change things slightly, until we can find the middle ground and harmonize.

Mike, I am not picking sides at all. I think you are correct on the actions of others being wrong. Even if they attack first though, as aikidoka, it makes it just as wrong if you "clock" them back...that is my point.

Aikido has a core set of principles and values. I sincerely think that all that are participating on these threads with us share those core values, and that there is room for all things from conservatives and liberals. Much of what I am seeing in these threads are peoples attempts to reconcile themselves against these values. We need to help each other find that path.

Ultimately those who cannot reconcile against those, will leave. I hope you will continue to stay and discuss things, and be open to new ideas and ways at looking at things.

I really admire your tenacity, and cricital thought. It is valid and reasonable, and there is nothing wrong with your thoughts and ideas. I personally, do not expect you to change or see things my way, only to understand.

Those "harmonizers" that you say are being phonies, well please try and look a little deeper before you dismiss them, I think you will find that like all of us, they are struggling as well to find the path, so with that we can all agree to help each other.

Look at them as simply on the opposite end of a straight line where both of you are looking at the goal in the middle.

Again, I am not siding with anyone so please don't think I am saying you are wrong to have the feeling that you do...nor are they wrong.

What was wrong is the manner we chose to react.

Please keep at it Mike, you willingness to read these post, and to continue dialogue proves to me that deep down you are really trying to understand and that is what this is all about!

Have a great day!

virginia_kyu
09-08-2002, 01:02 PM
Opher, BTW I was not referring to you at all. I enjoyed all of the conversation and debate we had. And the same with you Kevin. And I really think most people here are fine people, regardless if I disagree with them, I just think there is a handful of people here that are space aliens :) and I really need to get back to earth.

Alfonso
09-09-2002, 11:57 AM
one of the risks of the internet is that it is all to easy to find a fellowship of opinions and stay there.

you can now find special interests groups on just about anything. you can log in there and find similar minded people and rejoice in the commonality of your ideas.

The danger is that we lose touch with the reality that most people don't agree and don't share the same ideas.

This forum is an interesting mix. We can't DO aikido as in training. Have you noticed how frustrating it is to discuss tecnhique by writing?

On the other hand, as Aikido people we share some core tenets. One that I think we don't disagree on too much, is that we can learn from conflict.

I'm all to willing to jump in the fray.. it's fun!

I think as people involved in Aikido we are willing to do this, to go out on a limb and give honest attacks with vigour and emtotion, and to trust that the spirit of the exchange will be to find harmony out of this conflict.

I've grown frustrated many times reading some of the flame wars that get out of hand or become noise. Invariably though these discussions do not die in disagreement / chaos. There 's people willing to pick them up and continue on and on..

this is about the only way I think we can have an Aikido like experience through the discussion forum.

I'm appreciating it more and more..

Kevin Leavitt
09-09-2002, 12:40 PM
Well said Alfonso!

Neil Mick
09-11-2002, 04:17 AM
Actually, Aikido is right for me, its just that many people on these forums are not.

See you on the mat Kevin, and let us forget all of this nonsense here anyway becuase that is what it is.
I've been puzzling over this response for weeks, now. And I still have no answers, only a question.

But first, a story: when I had studied Aikido for about 3 months I encountered a man in Saotame Sensei's dojo; it was not a positive initial experience. He was a lot older (maybe a brown belt, in experience) and stiffer.

There were no harsh words exchanged, but from the moment I was his uke, I knew that the "chemistry" was wrong. He got very pushy about his directions: even tho he never said a word. I felt disrespected in a way I don't often encounter in Aikidoists, then or since.

To this day I have no idea what pissed him off, and I've thought about it, a lot.

Anyway, months later, I was his uke, again. We were a lot more civil (maybe I "got" whatever it was he was trying to "say") toward each other...even tho I can't say the practice was "positive." But it was a step in the right direction.

Isn't Aikido about learning to blend (or understand) with that which you don't necessarily agree? Is one person's wisdom really nonsense? Or simply another way of looking?

virginia_kyu
09-11-2002, 03:42 PM
Isn't Aikido about learning to blend (or understand) with that which you don't necessarily agree? Is one person's wisdom really nonsense? Or simply another way of looking?
I did not say that his wisdom was nonsense I meant that these bickerings were nonsense.

And I also don't buy into the notion that Aikido is about "understanding" eachother, I believe Aikido is about defending yourself in an ethical manner. This is exactly what bothers me so much, people using their vision of Aikido philosophy to tell others how to think.

Anyway, I have no problem "understanding" other people's arguments I just disagree with many of them. What is your definition of "understanding" anyway?

opherdonchin
09-11-2002, 03:53 PM
What is your definition of "understanding" anyway?
An excellent question! I've certainly noticed that there is a difference between one person 'feeling understood' and another person 'feeling that they understand.' Usually (and this is, by the way, something that developed in part with my AiKiDo), I find it most useful to define understanding in terms of the feeling that the speaker has that they are understood. That is, I tell myself that if they don't feel understood, then I haven't understood.

On the other hand, it can be just as useful to think of it in terms of multiple understandings. That is, while my partner does not feel understood, I may have an understanding of what they are saying which I feel has some value. I've certainly learned from AiKiDo that I'm probably more likely to bring them to see that value if I do my best to make sure they feel understood.
I believe Aikido is about defending yourself in an ethical manner.
Hmmm ... I don't think I would ever have introduced the word 'ethical' to a discussion of AiKiDo. It seems very foreign to the philosophy from my viewpoint. But, I'm not sure I understand. When I hear you say "defending yourself in an ethical" manner, I understand you to be saying "eliminating certain (possibly more effective) defense options because I consider them unethical." AiKiDo would then be, to your view, the development of certain (possibly less effective) defense options at the expense of other (possibly more effective) ones.

Is that right?

If so, and just to make sure I really understand, can you also tell me about the ethical framework that determines AiKiDo? That is, what are the central underlying values that say what is ethical and what isn't?

None of these questions are facetious. I feel like a lot of Michael's frustration with this group involves feeling mis-understood, and I really want to understand before I respond.

virginia_kyu
09-11-2002, 10:26 PM
An excellent question! I've certainly noticed that there is a difference between one person 'feeling understood' and another person 'feeling that they understand.' Usually (and this is, by the way, something that developed in part with my AiKiDo), I find it most useful to define understanding in terms of the feeling that the speaker has that they are understood. That is, I tell myself that if they don't feel understood, then I haven't understood.

On the other hand, it can be just as useful to think of it in terms of multiple understandings. That is, while my partner does not feel understood, I may have an understanding of what they are saying which I feel has some value. I've certainly learned from AiKiDo that I'm probably more likely to bring them to see that value if I do my best to make sure they feel understood.
My head is spinning after reading that, I am not sure I understand what you are saying here. :)

I don't think Aikido substites an ineffective technique for an effecive one. I believe that Aikido is effective, I have read lots of accounts on here and many other Aikido sites that demonstrate this.

I think it is pretty clear that ethics make up a strong part of what Aikido is about. Lets take for example, shihonage. In the aikijujutsu version of shihonage I believe that the intent of the technique is to break the attacker's limb. In Aikido on the other hand the attacker is either thrown or pinned and can be neutralized without serious bodily harm. I call that ethics, I don't know what else it is. From what I understand the ethics of Aikido is to attempt to nuetralize an attacker without killing him or doing serious harm if possible. If I am wrong please tell me.

virginia_kyu
09-12-2002, 12:03 AM
I guess I just don't get what you all mean by "understanding." I disagree that every argument is as valid as the next and that the goal is always to reach some consensus in the middle.

Opher, I certainly think that many of your thoughts here have value, this is because we have had several thoughtful conversations. I was not suggesting that our debates were the reason why I was upset. I was referring to what happened on the Iraq thread, there I was responding to propaganda and then personal attacks. I especially have no intention of attempting to be undertanding in those situations, IMHO they need to be challenged not understood.

I do agree with you and Kevin in that I did get angry and react too negatively and I regret it. But I only regret it because it got me off centered not that I was wrong for what I said to them.

The reason I said that I wanted to leave AikiWeb is because I am tired of constantly fending off personal attacks by people who see me as a representative of their political rivalry. People come out of nowhere to say that I am evil and should stop aikido and that I am a "liar" or "two faced" etc. I find it very difficult not to react to this kind of stuff in a hostile manner.

Then people tell me that I am getting out of whack and that I should be more understanding. I agree that I should be more temperate but not that I should be more understanding.

Now I am getting questions about this at my dojo, and I am worried about it because people could easily get a wrong impression about me from what people are saying about me here. Its not that I have received any negative feedback but I just don't like the remote possibility of this carrying over there.

I really value the people at my dojo and my instructor and I would be very upset if any negative feeling developed there over some stupid political battle here.

In fact I was talking to my instructor tonight about this and everything was fine but I was really nervous about it.

While talking this over in my head I was thinking and worrying that all of this crap here could reflect negatively on our dojo. Not that it should but some people are ultra sensitive about his stuff as we have witnessed by Colleen in the Iraq thread.

Again, I value my dojo and the people there too much to risk having any tension there whatsoever. My instructor encouraged me to continue posting here and right now everything is fine but I would like to keep it that way because you never know who will be offended.

Kevin mentioned to me that the Aikido dojo is a sanctuary and I agree, this is why I don't wish to speak of politics here anymore.

Aikido and my dojo are too important to me to risk having my reputation soiled by mean spirited reckless people.

Currawong
09-12-2002, 12:32 AM
It rather shocks me to read threads like this, but doesn't surprise me. It has been over 2.5 years since I practiced Aikido, when I decided that I wasn't going where I wanted to go with it, but chose meditation instead.

Everyone seems so focussed on Aikido, their Aikido, O'Sensei and mentally trying to grasp an understanding of things that cannot be held by the mind.

It probably doesn't help that O'Sensei wasn't buddhist or that what he wrote often referenced concepts that we have no frame of reference to help us understand what he was talking about.

As long as everyone tries to use their mind to grasp Aiki, they will fail. Like the Chinese I-Ching oracle says, "If the vessel is weak, or the connection is not quite made, there will be misfortune.".

I have seen many cases where Aikido teachers, not to mention teachers of anything spiritual, are not enlightened (un"the connection is not quite made" like O'Sensei, or any spiritual master that has realised the Christ or Buddha within themselves - "achieved enlightenment") fall prey to their ego, and thus politics and other nonsense. When there is no proper master to guide us, we end up arguing over what is "right" when no such thing exists. Having an enlightened master gives us a connection to The Source (Aiki-o-kami - "Great Spirit of Aiki" or, more straightforwardly - God) and thus we are, for the most part, protected from the nonsense students of Aikido are having to put up with when people disagree over things.

It is why people worship master's who are hundreds or thousands of years past, as the master isn't there guide them (internally as well as externally), and they can have power over followers etc etc. This is fine if you like playing with your ego, but after a while, you go elsewhere, as I did.

So, in summary, if you wish to find the truth, you must seek it inside yourself, not externally. As within as without. There cannot be peace within a group until there is peace within each individual.

Be at peace within yourself. As more people see you at peace and follow your example, more peace shall be brought to the world.

:)

(Recommended reading on this is Conversations with God.)

mike lee
09-12-2002, 02:12 AM
I really value the people at my dojo and my instructor and I would be very upset if any negative feeling developed there over some stupid political battle here.

Then stop engaging in stupid political battles. If you don't understand the light, admit it, instead of expending all your effort in a futile attempt to vanquish it.

Ghost Fox
09-12-2002, 06:56 AM
Then stop engaging in stupid political battles. If you don't understand the light, admit it, instead of expending all your effort in a futile attempt to vanquish it.
Maybe it's not a failure to see the light, but frustration at being the only one who can see the light, and a desire to help others see the light.

In a city full of insane people, the sane man is crazy.

Just another point of view.

:triangle: :circle: :square:

mike lee
09-12-2002, 07:42 AM
.. I just think there is a handful of people here that are space aliens ...

Sanity?

Ghost Fox
09-12-2002, 07:47 AM
Sanity - the quality or state of being sane; especially : soundness or health of mind. (Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary)

mike lee
09-12-2002, 08:15 AM
Dictionary: I have one. :o

opherdonchin
09-12-2002, 12:44 PM
Then stop engaging in stupid political battles. If you don't understand the light, admit it, instead of expending all your effort in a futile attempt to vanquish it.
Mike, is that really constructive in the light of what has come before? That is, do you really suspect it will help Michael Neal see your point?
I have seen many cases where Aikido teachers, not to mention teachers of anything spiritual, are not enlightened
I haven't see any cases of any group of people who were, on the whole, 'enlightened.' Neither am I. Are you?
I guess I just don't get what you all mean by "understanding." I disagree that every argument is as valid as the next and that the goal is always to reach some consensus in the middle.
Perhaps it's just semantics, but I would say that while all points of view are equally valid, they are not all equally insightful or deep.

I agree with you, Mike, that the goal is not to meet in the middle but rather to meet in the truth. I think, though, that trying hard to understand clearly what the other person sees is a first step towards helping them move on from that viewpoint. Similarly, you say that some viewpoints need to be challenged more than they need to be understood, but it is my experience that I can never effectively challenge another persons view point until I do deeply understand it.

Ultimately, for me, this ties in to the question of AiKiDo is a (possibly less effective) ethical means of defending yourself compared with other means that are less ethical (but may be more effective). It's true that shihonage, ideally, brings your partner to the ground without pain or injury, and that in jiujitsu a similar move might be used to break bones. I'm not sure you told me why the one is more ethical than the other. I'm still interested.

I value the AiKiDo way of doing it for a number of reasons, none of which have anything to do with ethics. At the bottom of the heirarchy is the question of effectiveness. The less intent I have of doing harm to another person, the less defensive and resistant they will be to what I'm doing. It's easier (for me) to do shihonage when I'm trying not to hurt and throw the other person than when I'm trying to. I do not create unnecessary resistance. On the next rung, there is an issue of my being open to different options. If my focus is not on hurting the other person, but rather feeling them and blending with them, I will be more responsive to the situation as it develops and more able to change my response. Giving up on a goal is hard to do: if the goal was to do a strong shihonage, it will be hard for me to change that; if the goal was to listen and respond, I won't need to change that. Another rung, for me, is my own relationship with myself. I've found that it's almost always true that if I'm angry at someone or want to hurt them, then there is something in me that I'm afraid of seeing or don't want to deal with. By focusing on my own awareness of my vulnerability and accepting it, I put myself in a better position to learn. I'm sure there are lots of other ways of looking at it, but this is my take on why AiKiDo chooses not to hurt others. Ethics just isn't a factor.
I do agree with you and Kevin in that I did get angry and react too negatively and I regret it. But I only regret it because it got me off centered not that I was wrong for what I said to them.
And, perhaps, because it contributed to the escalating spiral of hostility which was, ultimately, not what you wanted. Yes?

I supsect that for some of them, also, it was the lack of centeredness and AiKi in their attack, and not the truth or lack of it of their words, that would trouble them most. Just like you recognize you could probably have been more gentle, but also recognize what it was about them that brought out those other sides of you, it's probably true that many of them feel they should have been more gentle, but they also see what it was about you that made that so hard for them. That's where AiKiDo comes in, I think.

virginia_kyu
09-12-2002, 12:46 PM
Then stop engaging in stupid political battles. If you don't understand the light, admit it, instead of expending all your effort in a futile attempt to vanquish it.
Mike, you are a great example of what I am talking about. You consider yourself englightened by the light, whatever that means, and then call people "two-faced," making personal attacks. I certanily don't consider you enlightened at all and you are certainly in no position to have this condescending attitude with me.
So, in summary, if you wish to find the truth, you must seek it inside yourself, not externally. As within as without. There cannot be peace within a group until there is peace within each individual.
I am not here seeking anything at all. I was just trying to have a discussion and debate about some things. And I find you telling me that I have to find peace in myself offensive given the circumstances here.

I did not ask for anyone's spiritual guidance, nor did I join Aikido in order to be told what is Aiki or not. I already have a religion and I am quite at peace with it and myself.

Regardles if you all want to believe it or not you are being aggressive with your philosophy here. I think maybe you guys should examine yourselves for a while to see how far you have strayed from your own belief system in trying to promote it.

Anyway, I have tried the best I can to explain where I am coming from here. This is definately my last post here, I wish you all the best.

Deb Fisher
09-12-2002, 01:58 PM
What's the definition of "troll" again?

I don't want to be uncharitable, but reading through this it feels like Michael's baiting you folks, intentionally or unintentionally.

opherdonchin
09-12-2002, 02:23 PM
Of course he is. That doesn't mean I haven't learned anything, though. Michael has his goals, whatever they are, and I have mine.

virginia_kyu
09-13-2002, 12:11 AM
Again with the personal attacks. I honestly wish to leave here on a positive note without someone throwing in some kind of cheap parting shot.

And please don't think I am getting worked up now, I am smiling and laughing because I simply am amazed at what is occuring here.:)

There is an active campaign here by some to misrepresent and mischaracterize everything I say. Some people here are misunderstanding me while others are deliberately twisting my words and intent.

I certainly am not here to bait people. I am not posting here for the purpose of getting people worked up and angry. Many people are doing a fine job of that on their own.

I have honest disagreements with people here on philosophy and politics, just trying to get my point of view in with everyone elses. I also have pointed out what I believe to be flaws in some people's arguments.

I regret that I let some people get me worked up but my intent was not to hurt or attack people but to defend myself against false claims made about me.

So I think calling me a "troll" is unjustified and I am sorry you feel that I am some sort of bogey man. I think if you got to know mw in person you would find that I am generally very quiet, calm, relaxed, and polite.

I am also being called insane and having my words and intent twisted around. I make a joke about how I think some people here are space aliens and someone then tries to make the case that I am crazy and that I believe that I am actually talking to aliens here.

You have gotta laugh at this stuff :)

I really honestly wish the very best to all of you, yes even the aliens here, lol :)

I know that I keep saying that each time it is my last post but I would really honestly like to leave here in peace and on a positive note. I think that it is not such a bad idea here to agree to disagree rather than trying to continue a war of words and accusations.

I am extending my hand in peace to all of you and I hope it is possible for you to do the same.

PS: For the record, I do not believe in aliens or spaceships at all but I did enjoy watching the X-Files when it was on. There was just something about Dana Scully. :)

Neil Mick
09-13-2002, 12:34 AM
Live long and prosper, dude :D

virginia_kyu
09-13-2002, 07:44 AM
I knew I was hoping for too much, thanks for the sarcastic gesture Neil. :rolleyes:

At least I can leave knowing that I tried and that it is a handful of others here that are latching on to hotility, ego, and their phony hypocritical "harmonious" twisted version of Aikido philosophy.

As I said before, I think it is time that many of you examined yourselves and your own personal flaws before trying to point out mine. And definately before you go around preaching philosophy that you don't even live by yourselves.

:) Good Luck.

opherdonchin
09-13-2002, 08:18 AM
Hey Mike, no fair. I think Neil meant it seriously and you, at least, interpret his wishes as generously as possible.

I, too, wish you the best of luck and hope that eventually we all (you and us) grow up enough that you would feel comfortable here again.

I, for one, will miss you.

Neil Mick
09-13-2002, 02:25 PM
Hey Mike, no fair. I think Neil meant it seriously and you, at least, interpret his wishes as generously as possible.

I, too, wish you the best of luck and hope that eventually we all (you and us) grow up enough that you would feel comfortable here again.

I, for one, will miss you.
Exactly. The problem with email is that you can't hear my emotions.

I wish you the best, Michael, with no sarcasm intended.

Alfonso
09-13-2002, 02:35 PM
Michael I must remind you of:

http://www.aikiweb.com/humor/hooker2.html

opherdonchin
09-13-2002, 02:41 PM
hee hee

virginia_kyu
09-13-2002, 09:50 PM
Michael I must remind you of:

http://www.aikiweb.com/humor/hooker2.html
So I guess you think you are one of the "middlelanders" then Alfonso? :) That was a pretty funny article and a good note to end this on.

Sorry for misjudging your intentions Neil, best wishes.

mike lee
09-14-2002, 11:19 AM
IRAQI THREAD

Actually I can bring as many “facts” as you want to the conversation but honestly I have much better things to do with my time than to cross reference all my posts with quotes and facts from historical sources. I am done here because I need to get back to my life.

I have reported your post to the moderator because I think you are getting out of hand and getting very personal.

So get off of your witch hunt lady. Sorry for being so harsh but I don't think it over the line for someone who is calling me a “coward”, “liar”, and a “lowlife.”

I can find no post here of mine or anyone elses that comes even close to being as rude, personal, and childish as Colleens. And I can not believe that you somehow are trying to twist all of this and point fingers and me for being the one who is name calling. ... There are two people here, you and Colleen, that are “dishonerable” and “disgusting.”

I want an apology for the false claims that have been made against me here.

Also I don't see people accusing me of being a “liar”, “coward”, and “lowlife” qualifies as “ideas from other people.”

With all do respect to you pal, please don't lecture me on what is proper Aikido behavior.

I really think I was wronged here with a mean spirited personal attack. And I also would like to add that I am the newbie here, I am being attacked by people many years my senior in Aikido, some of which claim to be pacifists and against any negative vibes. ... I am leaving because I really don't think I can learn much from many of you here.

THIS THREAD

I was however concerned that many see Aikido as a political movement rather than a martial art.

... what I am really talking about as people using Akido as some sort of official dogma to hammer everyone one about what the proper “Aiki” way to handle a world crisis is.

Anyway, as I stated on the Iraq thread I am going so I won't be posting anymore here. It has been a very interesting discussion. ... when I am practicing Aikido on the mat I really feel all of my aggression leave me.

... there are too many people that want to launch personal attacks rather than discuss and debate, and in the interest of my own personal harmony I am going elsewere to discuss Aikido.

Actually, Aikido is right for me, its just that many people on these forums are not.

This is exactly what bothers me so much, people using their vision of Aikido philosophy to tell others how to think.

I guess I just don't get what you all mean by “understanding.”

The reason I said that I wanted to leave AikiWeb is because I am tired of constantly fending off personal attacks by people who see me as a representative of their political rivalry.

I did not ask for anyone's spiritual guidance, nor did I join Aikido in order to be told what is Aiki or not. I already have a religion and I am quite at peace with it and myself.

There is an active campaign here by some to misrepresent and mischaracterize everything I say.

I am also being called insane and having my words and intent twisted around.

I know that I keep saying that each time it is my last post ...

... it is a handful of others here that are latching on to hotility, ego, and their phony hypocritical “harmonious” twisted version of Aikido philosophy.

virginia_kyu
09-14-2002, 04:40 PM
Hey Mr. Lee, sorry that you want to keep this going and that you have so much you want to prove. Most of us here are able to put this behind us, sorry that you still want to fight but I have better things to do.

Good luck finding your path to harmony, you have a long way to go!

akiy
09-14-2002, 11:44 PM
Well, I've now received multiple complaints about this thread so far. I've also taken a look to see if there was any way I could "salvage" it and, personally, I don't see a way of doing so. Therefore, I'm just going to use my administrator's Occam's razor and closing this thread.

Please, folks. It would save a lot of grief on everyone's parts if people just maintained a good sense of decency towards each other. Thank you.

-- Jun