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AikiWeb System
09-27-2002, 11:05 AM
9/27/2002 10:04am [from Jun Akiyama (akiy@aikiweb.com)]
Website: http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/messisco1.html

I just put up a new article here on AikiWeb by Dan Messisco entitled, "The Importance of Receiving." (http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/messisco1.html) regarding Dan's experience with an aggressive tae kwon do teacher while he was teaching aikido in Seoul, Korea. I think it's definitely worth the read!

opherdonchin
09-27-2002, 11:43 AM
The wonderful thing about this article was how, in the thread that it came from, it was itself an example of cutting through a situation of conflict and shifting the perspectives of the people involved. Eric Hasslehofer captured it nicely when he replied to the post by saying
I like having you around these parts even if I don't exactly agree with everything you've written. It's been a long time since I've read a story like that on this forum or any Aikido forum for that matter. I'd almost forgotten there was such a thing.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in our training and in making sure our techniqus 'work' that we lose track of the idea that AiKiDo is not supposed to be about fighting better than the other guy.

Tadhg Bird
09-27-2002, 12:41 PM
Wow. What an excellent story... certain to be repeated until it becomes legend. ;)

Where others would have felt a need to 'prove' the superiority of thier technique, Dan Messisco embodied "ai" :ai: and demonstrated the truth of Aikido :ai: :ki: :do: .

johnkeya
09-27-2002, 01:13 PM
Hi everyone! I am a newbie to Aikido (I have been training since April). I love this website and all of the very interesting and insightful posts. I have so much to learn!

Anyway.....

In reading the above mentioned article I was reminded of an interview of O'Sensei that I read recently on the AikidoJournal website. In it O'Sensei mentions a few occasions where he faces off against other martial artists in order to demonstrate the power of Aikido.

Interview (http://www.aikidojournal.com/articles/_article.asp?ArticleID=41)

Here is a snippet from one such instance..."I invited him to come over. While we were talking Mihamahiro said, "I've also heard that you, Sensei, possess great strength. Why don't we test our strength?" "All right. Fine. I can pin you with my index finger alone," I answered. Then I let him push me while I was seated. This fellow capable of lifting huge weights huffed and puffed but could not push me over. After that, I redirected his power away from me and he went flying by. As he fell I pinned him with my index finger, and he remained totally immobilized..." There are a few other similar instances mentioned in the interview.

In order to gain a deeper understanding of Aikido I would like to ask this:

Is there a fundamental difference in these two approaches, or are they just different manifestations of the same thing? The article seems to stress a non-confrontational, almost evasive tactic, while O'Sensei seems to choose a more direct approach when challenged.

daedalus
09-27-2002, 04:19 PM
I, of course, have no idea, but I am willing to hazard a guess. I'd say that they would be different manifestations of the same thing. It actually would make a pretty good analogy to irimi and tenkan in my opinion.

Now time for the more wise to have their say!

SeiserL
09-27-2002, 05:35 PM
The application of Aikido from the perspective of the uke.

Deepest compliments and appreciation.

Until again,

Lynn

L. Camejo
09-27-2002, 10:19 PM
Shows how the open hand overcomes the closed fist.

Beautiful example of seeing beyond the illusion and going to the heart of the matter.

:ai::ki: all the way.

L.C.

mike lee
09-28-2002, 05:39 AM
I think Dan's story illustrates the advantages of not competing with others.

When I first started aikido, I didn't know anything about it. I just assumed that it was like most other martial arts, and that there would be some kind of competition. I didn't care -- I just wanted to learn aikido.

When I found out that there was no competition, it was kind of a new concept for me (although I now know that some styles have competition).

But over the years I've learned the value of not competing -- how it changes our attitude toward others, especially at that critical moment when someone wants to hand you your head on a platter.

It gives you a hidden edge, because you're not like that other guy (and yet you are), and he can't quite figure that out. You're cool when he's hot -- rational amid a swirl of irrationality.

Some people say that the lack of competition weakens us. I say, "it could, if you let it."

Some aikidoists still compete with each other in various ways -- but this approach to training is wrong.

The proper attitude is to simply strive to be better than you were during the last training lesson -- as a student or a teacher. Using this approach, you will always improve and excell.

Chuck Clark
09-28-2002, 09:03 AM
In my own experience, I had to finally stop competing with myself, as well as others. I had to stop trying to do well to please my sensei and make him proud of me. I was left with just doing the best I could at all times. Obviously some days are better than others, but just do the best in this instant that you can.

Constantly comparing makes us all weaker because we are fearful that we may be on the losing end of the comparison. Or the opposite, but still the same is always feeling like we're better.

"Fear is the mind killer."

Regards,

Myriam Cedres
09-29-2002, 04:19 PM
9/27/2002 10:04am [from Jun Akiyama (akiy@aikiweb.com)]

Website: http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/messisco1.html

I just put up a new article here on AikiWeb by Dan Messisco entitled, "The Importance of Receiving." (http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/messisco1.html) regarding Dan's experience with an aggressive tae kwon do teacher while he was teaching aikido in Seoul, Korea. I think it's definitely worth the read!
Beautiful story full of aiki spirit. I agree,

there's no need to prove anything...Myriam

Edward
09-30-2002, 09:44 PM
Well, this story makes me feel a little uneasy. Don't get me wrong, the outcome was great, an aikido principle was used successfully, but I can't help thinking that it was achieved on the expense of Dan's dignity, and that of aikido's. I am sorry, but this is truly how I feel about it. I think this is not the founder's aikido but rather our own christian western aikido.
I disagree fully with the idea of a confrontation, but I wish Dan could have found a less submissive way out of it.

Erik
09-30-2002, 10:11 PM
Well, this story makes me feel a little uneasy. Don't get me wrong, the outcome was great, an aikido principle was used successfully, but I can't help thinking that it was achieved on the expense of Dan's dignity, and that of aikido's. I am sorry, but this is truly how I feel about it. I think this is not the founder's aikido but rather our own christian western aikido.

I disagree fully with the idea of a confrontation, but I wish Dan could have found a less submissive way out of it.
I'll make you a bit more uncomfortable. This is a Terry Dobsen story. No, not that one.

He was going to see a movie and it was raining. I don't think Terry was ever the most nimble of guys and as he was running to get into line he slipped and bumped into a guy. As he described it, the guy looked like he had just had one of those conversation's where his girlfriend said the magic words. You know which one's. The kind that immediately make you crazy as only someone close to you can do. The guy was apparently pretty big too as Terry mentions the guy's size and Terry was not a little guy. Terry notices the guy is pissed and

drops into sieza and bows.

It completely difused the situation and as Terry put it, the guy was like "c'mon man, get up from there. What are you doing down there."

Jason Tonks
10-01-2002, 05:14 AM
There are I suppose many ways to have handled the situation in the article. I always feel intent is important in these type of situations. There is nothing wrong with walking away/talking down a situation, even being apologetic if you are in the wrong in a situation. As long as YOU are making the choice to back down from a potential conflict and it is not being made for you through someone imposing fear upon you. This can only be done if you have confidence in your own combative ability and choose non-violence. The old school way of dealing with this would be to get the teacher to come in as hard and as fast as he likes, deal with him and maybe gain a few Tae -Kwon - Do converts! Just thought I'd throw the cat among the pigeons!

All the best Jason T

G DiPierro
10-01-2002, 07:15 AM
an aikido principle was used successfully, but I can't help thinking that it was achieved on the expense of Dan's dignity, and that of aikido's.Edward, I didn't it see that way at all. How did Dan sacrifice his dignity? His perceived himself as nothing more than a low-level teacher of Aikido and his actions were consistant with that role. Had he been capable of handling the TKD man's attack, then the correct way of handling the situation would have been much different. The "aiki" principle in action here was simply that he correctly perceived his role in the situation and acted accordingly.
I disagree fully with the idea of a confrontation, but I wish Dan could have found a less submissive way out of it.If you disagree with the idea of a confrontation then you shouldn't be doing Aikido. Confrontation is what the martial arts are all about. As I pointed out earlier, submitting seems to have been correct for Dan in this situation. There is nothing wrong with submission when the situation calls for it. If your teacher asks you to sweep the mat, but you are tired and don't feel like it, what do you do? My guess is that you submit and sweep the mat.

aikigreg
10-01-2002, 10:27 AM
I don't see that he submitted at all. That was an underhanded bastardly thing to do, teaching him Aikido and making a friend like that. Shame on him! :D

opherdonchin
10-01-2002, 10:31 AM
Do we really need the "shouldn't be doing AiKiDo language"? I always cringe when I read that. I mean, I know there are lots of things that make me feel that someone else shouldn't be doing AiKiDo, but it is almost always covering up a more interesting and less dismissive feeling that I'm having underneath.

mike lee
10-01-2002, 10:50 AM
Arrogance is bliss. :p

Alfonso
10-01-2002, 11:07 AM
His perceived himself as nothing more than a low-level teacher of Aikido and his actions were consistant with that role. Had he been capable of handling the TKD man's attack, then the correct way of handling the situation would have been much different. The "aiki" principle in action here was simply that he correctly perceived his role in the situation and acted accordingly

that's strange, I didn't read fear into Mr. Messisco's story. I understand he's quite an accomplished aikido instructor. I think his handling of the situation is top rate instruction on the spirit of Aikido.

G DiPierro
10-01-2002, 07:39 PM
Do we really need the "shouldn't be doing AiKiDo language"? I always cringe when I read that. I mean, I know there are lots of things that make me feel that someone else shouldn't be doing AiKiDo, but it is almost always covering up a more interesting and less dismissive feeling that I'm having underneath.Opher, the statement you are referring to was nothing more than a rhetorical device. I don't really mean that Edward shouldn't be doing Aikido. I was just making a point about how the view he expressed is, in my view, incompatible with Aikido practice.that's strange, I didn't read fear into Mr. Messisco's story. I understand he's quite an accomplished aikido instructor. I think his handling of the situation is top rate instruction on the spirit of Aikido.
Alfonso, I never mentioned fear. Go back and reread my post. You should find that it agrees completely with your statement that he handled the situation in "the spirit of Aikido."

Suru
10-01-2002, 11:40 PM
Chuck,

I liked your posting of "fear is the mind-killer." I have read "Dune" myself and I agree that is the best way to put it. "Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. i will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." Messisco Sensei apparently had a similar philosophy. Congrats to a true aikidoka.

Drew

G DiPierro
10-02-2002, 06:22 AM
I don't see that he submitted at all. That was an underhanded bastardly thing to do, teaching him Aikido and making a friend like that.The TKD man demanded that Dan teach him Aikido and Dan did exactly that. Obviously, then, he submitted to the demand. The only way to avoid submitting in this situation would have been to refuse to teach the man anything at all. Dan tried this approach initially but, in the face of the man's continued insistence, soon changed his mind. Take a look at what his exact words are at that point. "Realizing there was no way out of this," Dan says, he finally engaged the man. Those sound like the words of submission to me.

In this situation, submitting to the man resolved the conflict in an effective way. Dan did not emphasize this aspect of the situation in his article, but it is as least as relevant to Aikido practice in general as the other aspects that have been discussed.

SimonW11
10-02-2002, 02:21 PM
Edward, I didn't it see that way at all. How did Dan sacrifice his dignity? His perceived himself as nothing more than a low-level teacher of Aikido and his actions were consistant with that role. Had he been capable of handling the TKD man's attack, then the correct way of handling the situation would have been much different. .
He took the ukemei he was capable of handling the attack. More than that he was capable of choosing the attack.

Choosing your opponents attack is about as good as strategy gets.

Simon

SimonW11
10-02-2002, 03:06 PM
LOL I have just read Sensei Hookers counter example.

Notice How he also dictated the terms of the encounter.

Simon

G DiPierro
10-03-2002, 05:04 AM
He took the ukemei he was capable of handling the attack. More than that he was capable of choosing the attack. Choosing your opponents attack is about as good as strategy gets.Honestly, Simon, I don't know where you are getting these ideas. Taking ukemi is not the same thing as handling an attack. In this situation, if Dan wanted to try to handle the man's attack, he would have asked the man to do just that, attack him. The he would have tried to handle it by doing an Aikido technique.

Dan's approach, OTOH, acknowledged that he couldn't safely throw the TKD man in a confrontational situation. That is to say that he admitted that he couldn't handle the man's attack, and by doing so, released much of the tension that had built up. This is, obviously, not the same thing as "handling his attack."LOL I have just read Sensei Hookers counter example. Notice How he also dictated the terms of the encounter.
What are you talking about? If you mean Dennis Hooker, he hasn't even posted on this thread, much less provided a "counterexample" to anything. Moreover, it should be clear from my last post that the TKD man was the one who dictated the terms of this encounter. He demanded that Dan teach him Aikido, and that's exactly what happened.

Jason Tonks
10-03-2002, 07:07 AM
Absolutely Giancarlo. The inescapable fact is that he "backed down" from a potentially dangerous situation. There was a peaceful resolve to this which is always a good thing, but in essence he was overpowered by another mans will to act on his demands. Nobody has the right to mentally or physically impose their will upon you. I feel this is where the unease lies in certain peoples interpretation of the article in question.

All the best

Jason T

mike lee
10-03-2002, 07:33 AM
Discretion is the better part of valor.

Judge not Dan lest thou be judged by the same measure thou used to measure him (or at least placed in a similar situation by the powers that be). :blush:

I do have a very important suggestion: If you should choose to stand on principle in a violent confrontation, make sure that your medical insurance is paid up, you have an excellent dentist, and that you have access to a good lawyer.

Jason Tonks
10-03-2002, 08:29 AM
Mike, I agree with you discretion is indeed the better part of valour. However I maintain my point that no one has the right to impose their will upon you. How far would you allow anyone to dictate your actions to you? I have been in similar situations and it is bloody frightening but I refused to be ruled by fear. Everybody is different and resolves things in their own way. I'd have at least made the guy be Uke!

All the best

Jason T

SimonW11
10-03-2002, 08:44 AM
Honestly, Simon, I don't know where you are getting these ideas. Taking ukemi is not the same thing as handling an attack.
You are mistaken. I would add it takes supreme confidence to take ukemi for someone you believe intent on doing you harm.


In this situation, if Dan wanted to try to handle the man's attack, he would have asked the man to do just that, attack him. The he would have tried to handle it by doing an Aikido technique.
He had already handled the attack. Before contact was made.
You are Dan's approach, OTOH, acknowledged that he couldn't safely throw the TKD man in a confrontational situation. That is to say that he admitted that he couldn't handle the man's attack, and by doing so, released much of the tension that had built up. This is, obviously, not the same thing as "handling his attack."
Umm I am not quite sure what you mean. Presumable you think Dan Could not handle the Other guy safely in a physical confrontation, Why? after all Dan refused to say the other guy was better.

Whos safety do you think Dan was worried about?

He took a verbal attack and deescalated it.

Seems to me that he handled the attack very well. Do you generally escalate verbal attacks into physical ones? Do you consider this "handling attacks" well? Does your boss/customers/priest/lawyer agree?
What are you talking about? If you mean Dennis Hooker, he hasn't even posted on this thread, much less provided a "counterexample"
He Posted to the original thread this article is from.

http://65.119.177.201/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=9&t=001452

Read it I am sure you would approve of Mr Hookers approach.
Moreover, it should be clear from my last post that the TKD man was the one who dictated the terms of this encounter. He demanded that Dan teach him Aikido, and that's exactly what happened.
I cant believe you are really that naive. this is just a debating point surely?

Dan gave him what he asked for instead of what he wanted.

mike lee
10-03-2002, 08:47 AM
However I maintain my point that no one has the right to impose their will upon you.

That's a great principle, but consider the fact that Dan was foreigner and a guest in Asia.

Ultimately, foreigners lose every fight in Asia, eventually. Why? Because if Dan had won, the TKD teacher would have lost face. Then, his only choice would have then been to commit suicide (not likely) or to get 15 of his TKD buddies together and beat the hell out of Dan in some secluded area with no witnesses.

That's how it works here. There's no such thing as a fair fight in Asia.

Still want to be a hero?

Jason Tonks
10-03-2002, 09:20 AM
Mike I can see your point. He might indeed have made the right choice here. Your point regarding all his mates beating the hell out of him is an example of the sad state of society today. Not just in Asia either. Cowardly thugs are everywhere unfortunately.

All the best

Jason T

G DiPierro
10-03-2002, 10:26 AM
I cant believe you are really that naive. this is just a debating point surely? Dan gave him what he asked for instead of what he wanted.Simon, I'm not going to reply to the content of your last post. Since you already seem so convinced of your expertise that no amount of rational discussion will change your mind, I will not waste my time trying. And since you feel that I am so naive, I will just defer to your vast experience and let your comments stand, for the most part, as they are.

I am going to make one exception, though, and respond to your claim that Dan gave the TKD man what he asked for instead of what he wanted. You have brought up an interesting point here that is essential for correctly understanding and interpreting this story.

How do you know what the man wanted? Do you have direct access to his mind? No, all you have is Dan's description of the events, and that description is necessarily biased. Dan says that the man "only wanted to show his students how Japanese Aikido was inferior to Korean martial arts," but actually that's only Dan's perception of what the man wanted.

In fact, it is far more likely that the man was truly interested in Aikido but had difficulty expressing this interest in a less aggressive way. Dan mentions that at the time the Koreans tended to look down upon the Japanese and their arts, so it stands to reason that the man would have found it difficult to approach Dan sincerely without losing face. Hence, he reverted to an aggressive posture. Instead of realizing the true nature of the man's intent, though, Dan created a confrontational situation in his own mind by assuming the worst. In this way, he was the source of his own problems. Usually, that's the way things are.

Dan's blindness to the true nature of the situation is also what allows him to look like a hero when he turns the situation around and makes friends with the man. But, in reality, he is just a hero in his own mind, and, of course, also in the minds of those naive enough to uncritically accept his version of the story. Ultimately, all Dan did in this situation was to change his own mind. And, ultimately, that's really all Aikido is about.

opherdonchin
10-03-2002, 11:01 AM
But, in reality, he is just a hero in his own mind, and, of course, also in the minds of those naive enough to uncritically accept his version of the story. Ultimately, all Dan did in this situation was to change his own mind. And, ultimately, that's really all Aikido is about.Excellently put, although I suspect I read this with a very different 'spin' than I think you wrote it with. If Dan felt like a hero in his own mind, then masakatsu agatsu (true victory is victory over ourselves) and he is indeed a hero. Indeed, AiKiDo is only ever about changing yourself. Or, if you like, AiKiDo is steeped in the understanding that all you can ever really change is yourself. You can think of it less as a choice AiKiDo makes to focus inward and more as a realization that that is the only place to focus.

AiKiDo teaches us (well, at least it teaches me) that my tendency to lose in conflicts arises fundamentally out of my tendency to perceive things as conflicts. Dan's insight was (at least this is how I understand the story) that no real conflict needed to exist between him and the other instructor. You can only lose that which you value, and it doesn't sound, from Dan's story, that anything he valued was lost. AiKiDo teaches (me) to be careful about the things I choose to value: the more things I hold on to, the more vulnerable to seeing situations of conflict and loss that I become.

G DiPierro
10-03-2002, 02:25 PM
Excellently put, although I suspect I read this with a very different 'spin' than I think you wrote it with. If Dan felt like a hero in his own mind, then masakatsu agatsu (true victory is victory over ourselves) and he is indeed a hero.You are right, I wasn't thinking of the masakatsu agatsu interpretation. While it is not incompatible with my intended meaning, I don't think that Dan attained full realization of that ideal in this situation.Dan's insight was (at least this is how I understand the story) that no real conflict needed to exist between him and the other instructor.I agree with this, however, I think that his understanding of the causes of the conflict was rather limited. This is why this his decision to employ ukemiwaza rather than nagewaza was incorrectly taken the primary factor leading to the resolution of this conflict. In fact, it was not strictly relevant to the resolution of the conflict at all.

opherdonchin
10-03-2002, 11:09 PM
I agree with this, however, I think that his understanding of the causes of the conflict was rather limited. This is why this his decision to employ ukemiwaza rather than nagewaza was incorrectly taken the primary factor leading to the resolution of this conflict. In fact, it was not strictly relevant to the resolution of the conflict at all.This is interesting and I feel I don't entirely understand what you mean. Can you say what you see as the causes of the conflict, what you see as his understanding of those causes, and in what sense you feel like the conflict was not resolved.

Not rhetorical questions; honestly curious (that happens often enough there should be a shorthand. Nrq;hc (?) )

G DiPierro
10-04-2002, 01:07 AM
Can you say what you see as the causes of the conflict,I saw the causes as being that Dan did not realize that the other man was truly curious about Aikido and that the Korean man, due to the reasons I discussed, took an overly demanding approach that Dan misinterpreted as hostile to himself and Aikido.what you see as his understanding of those causes,As I see it, Dan blamed it all on the other guy. He thought the cause of the problem was just that the man did not have a sincere interest in Aikido and was only trying to give him a hard time.and in what sense you feel like the conflict was not resolved.Well, I think that for the most part the conflict was resolved. However, for the sake of discussion, I see the major issue as being that Dan still blames the other man for causing the conflict and beleives that he employed some magic technique to change the other man's mind. In reality, it seems more likely that Dan simply misperceived the state of the other man's mind in the first place, and that his "technique" was nothing more than considering, at least for the sake of getting rid of his immediate problem, that the man may have actually wanted what he said he wanted. But I didn't get the impression that Dan sees it this way himself. Instead, the story reads as if Dan faced this evil TKD man who was out to get him and, though the use of his superior Aikido skills, Dan prevailed over the man and won the day. In this way, he has not fully embodied the ideal of masakatsu agatsu.

kendo52
10-05-2002, 08:55 AM
I'm shocked that Aikidoka of any rank would get caught up in banter and rhetoric. Having trained extensively with Dan Messisco Sensei . . . let it be known that if he chooses, he can take care of himself - in ANY martial situation - but that's not his message. His message is in the story - read it again. There's only one way to refer to Messisco Sensei - GRAB HIS WRIST.

mike lee
10-05-2002, 09:08 AM
I'm shocked that Aikidoka of any rank would get caught up in banter and rhetoric.

I'm shocked that you're shocked! :blush:

(But please, stand by your man.)

opherdonchin
10-05-2002, 03:41 PM
Captain Louis Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

G DiPierro
10-05-2002, 10:53 PM
I'm shocked that Aikidoka of any rank would get caught up in banter and rhetoric.Welcome to AikiWeb! Quite a shocking place, isn't it?His message is in the story - read it again. There's only one way to refer to Messisco Sensei - GRAB HIS WRIST.
If the only way to "refer" to him, whatever that means, is to "grab his wrist" then why did he write the story in the first place? If you don't want people to discuss your writing then you shouldn't post it here! Besides, if you are right that the only way for us to judge Dan is to physically grab his wrist ourselves, then obviously we will have to ignore your post. After all, you wouldn't want us to get up caught up in any banter and rhetoric, would you?

DaveO
10-06-2002, 06:49 AM
If I may throw my own 2 cents in and get back to the original topic, I fail to see any point in which the writer 'submitted' to the TKD instructor. He acted as uke, yes, but is being uke being submissive? I don't believe so, especially not in this case.

In the story, Sensei Dan took the TKD instructor's wrist and began to teach him an Aikido technique, using himself as uke. Far from an act of submission, it is quite the opposite: He established and maintained the role of instructor in the situation, placing the TKD inst. firmly in the role of student. He did it in a very skillful manner too; in such a way that TKD couldn't object and had no reason to. An excellent demonstration of the first rule of teaching: 'control your class'. I have to remember that technique and add it to my repertoire.

G DiPierro
10-06-2002, 10:02 AM
I fail to see any point in which the writer 'submitted' to the TKD instructor.Please go back and read the thread more carefully. Pay particular attention to posts 21, 25, 27, 29 and the last half of 33. I really don't feel like explaining this again.He established and maintained the role of instructor in the situation, placing the TKD inst. firmly in the role of student. He did it in a very skillful manner tooYes, I agree with all this. Dan handled that well.

DaveO
10-06-2002, 12:32 PM
Please go back and read the thread more carefully. Pay particular attention to posts 21, 25, 27, 29 and the last half of 33. I really don't feel like explaining this again.
Pardon me; I wasn't aware my post warranted such patronizing condecension. Neither was I aware I needed any explanation from you. I do not see any of his actions as submission; I see them as an acceptance of the situation and a successful resolution of conflict. His class was disrupted by this individual; he had a simple choice: Allow the disruption to continue or solve it. He chose the latter, and had another choice: Solve it positively or negatively. He chose the former. If you choose to see that as 'submission', that's your choice, not mine.

G DiPierro
10-06-2002, 02:59 PM
Pardon me; I wasn't aware my post warranted such patronizing condecension. Neither was I aware I needed any explanation from you.No? Who did you think was going to explain it? Who did you think you were addressing when you questioned the idea of Dan having 'submitted'? Had you bothered to read the thread carefully, like I suggested, you would have realized that you were responding to my posts. Next time, show some respect to the those with whom you disagree by at least demonstrating in your post that you have read and understood their positions.I do not see any of his actions as submission; I see them as an acceptance of the situation and a successful resolution of conflict. His class was disrupted by this individual; he had a simple choice: Allow the disruption to continue or solve it. He chose the latter, and had another choice: Solve it positively or negatively. He chose the former. If you choose to see that as 'submission', that's your choice, not mine.Your argument is that because Dan's actions were positive in effect, they couldn't be submission. Why not?

mike lee
10-07-2002, 03:56 AM
Oftentimes, when under pressure and with enough training and acquired wisdom, we simply react in a certain way based on instincts. It seems to be almost impossible to fully understand what we did and why we did it the moment.

Neverthess, afterwards, we like like to speculate -- yet, such speculation can never truly be fully accurate.

Basically, all we can do is listen, learn and grow -- and avoid fighting for no reason, except to support our sorry egos.

Jason Tonks
10-07-2002, 04:13 AM
Here's a story regarding the late Master Kenshiro Abbe Sensei who brought Aikido to the United Kingdom in the early 1950's and helped its spread as well as many other budo arts around Europe. One evening when walking back from the dojo, Abbe noticed a group of four young men watching him from the other side of the road. Suddenly the group approached Abbe demanding his wallet. Abbe's response was to throw his wallet on the floor and state " I'm prepared to die for that, what about you?" The men looked at each other then at the wallet, then at Abbe then fled.

I just thought I'd share this story because it is the kind of one that inspires me. Kenshiro Abbe Sensei was my Sensei's teacher back in the 1950's and was a man full of martial spirit and courage. Sometimes I feel in Aikido this has become sadly lacking. I'm sure I'm not a lone voice in the wilderness.

All the best

Jason T

G DiPierro
10-07-2002, 04:31 AM
It seems to be almost impossible to fully understand what we did and why we did it the moment. Neverthess, afterwards, we like like to speculate -- yet, such speculation can never truly be fully accurate.That sounds pretty good to me, although I think that "almost impossible" is a bit too strong. Difficult, perhaps, but possible. I found this quote in an online version of the Hagakure and thought it relevant.We can recognise others faults but are always blind to our own.

mike lee
10-07-2002, 05:12 AM
We can recognise others faults but are always blind to our own.

Well, the main reason there is that I don't have any faults. I thought I was wrong once, but then I found out I was mistaken. :D

opherdonchin
10-07-2002, 08:38 AM
a man full of martial spirit and courage. Sometimes I feel in Aikido this has become sadly lacking. I'm sure I'm not a lone voice in the wilderness.You certainly aren't ("If I could have a dollar for every time I've heard ..."). I like your story about Kenshiro Abbe. I liked Dan Messico's story, too. To me, one of the ideas that is at the heart of AiKiDo is the idea of creativity. I feel that the exciting part of these stories is that they make me think again about a situation that I thought I had understood. It is because of this that I find the lament of the 'loss of martial spirit' in AiKiDo so tiresome. It seems to me (and I could be quite wrong) an attitude where the lamenter tries to fit AiKiDo into a box they feel that they already understand, rather than looking for the creative insight or the creative approach that would allow it to be something new and different from anything they had previously imagined.

mike lee
10-07-2002, 09:13 AM
I just thought I'd share this story because it is the kind of one that inspires me. Kenshiro Abbe Sensei was my Sensei's teacher back in the 1950's and was a man full of martial spirit and courage. Sometimes I feel in Aikido this has become sadly lacking. I'm sure I'm not a lone voice in the wilderness.

Ah yes -- the time when men were men ...

If you want to be a man of courage, no one is stopping you. But what gives you the right to criticize others for not measuring up to your lofty standards?

I've often noticed that it's the cowards that like to sit back and chastise others for not having the kind of guts they imagine themselves to have. But when push comes to shove, they have a rather convenient habit of disappearing.

You try a trick like Abbe Sense's in present-day Chicago and the robbers are likely to pull out semi-automatic hand guns and fill you full of holes.

When I read your obit in the newspaper, I'll remember your inspiring story of courage, while pondering your lack of sound judgment.

opherdonchin
10-07-2002, 09:18 AM
Hey Mike,

Isn't that a bit harsh? Perhaps I read Abbe's story differently than you do. I imagine that pulling off that stunt requires a great deal of sensitivity to appreciate what will and will not work in a given situation, and it's important to notice that his solution did resolve the situation without his even threatening violence.

I see it like one of those very cool 'no hands' throws that people so often question. I'm sure there are lots of ways to do it wrong, and there are lots of ukes with whom it wouldn't work in any case. On the other hand, there is certainly something to be learned from trying to understand when and how it could work.

Jason Tonks
10-07-2002, 09:30 AM
You're probably right here Opher. I can be quite idealistic and I tend to hanker after the "old school ways" myself. Dan was undoubtedly in a very awkward situation in the story. I'm sure now as someone has said Dan can handle himself. He obviously chose the way he felt was best at the time. My only concern was that this choice was made for him through the bullying posture and words of another. I was just concerned at first that he had been bullied into his actions. I feel now that I was wrong and misjudged Dan's actions.

All the best

Jason T

opherdonchin
10-07-2002, 09:45 AM
My only concern was that this choice was made for him through the bullying posture and words of another. I was just concerned at first that he had been bullied into his actions.I can certainly identify with this feeling.

I guess that for a number of people on the thread, the reaction to the story revolves around the question of whether Dan could have 'taken' the other instructor. If he could have, then it's possible to see his choice as wise and generous; if he couldn't, then the suspicion arises that Dan was forced to submit. I've heard AiKiDo teachers say, "if you don't know how to hurt the other person, you can't choose not to do so."

While I think those ideas have a lot to teach us about our attitudes towards violence and non-violence, my personal reaction to the story is a little different. I guess that I hope that I, faced with the same situation, would find an answer that taught me as much and stayed with me as long as Dan's answer did for him. Ultimately, the value of the situation for Dan is in what he takes away from it, and how much use he manages to make of that. His submission or, alternatively, his faithful adherence to principles of non-violence both seem like secondary questions for me.

Jason Tonks
10-07-2002, 10:12 AM
Mike. My only point in all of this was my concern that Dan had been bullied into the way he acted. I now understand that I misjudged his actions and that he was more than capable of dealing with this situation differently if need be. I can be a bit idealistic at times, but I hate the thought of bullies and thugs getting their way.

All the best

Jason T

G DiPierro
10-07-2002, 01:07 PM
I guess that for a number of people on the thread, the reaction to the story revolves around the question of whether Dan could have 'taken' the other instructor. If he could have, then it's possible to see his choice as wise and generous; if he couldn't, then the suspicion arises that Dan was forced to submit.Yes! You have hit it right on the head! Could he have taken the other man? I think the answer is no, but it just doesn't matter. He didn't have to. Look, the guy came over and rudely demanded to be taught Aikido. That's not how to do things, but we have to look at the situation in perspective. The other man is an instructor himself, they share the same practice space, and Dan was a visitor in his country.

So just how much of an insult was it to Dan that the other man took this approach? Not that much. If Dan had been a shihan or even a highly ranked shidoin, then maybe it would have been different, but if that were the case then Dan, or one of his students, would have been sure to teach the man a different sort of lesson, one about respect, not about Aikido techniques.

But Dan let the indiscretion slide, and in this situation I think it was the right thing to do. It was, in fact, submitting, but the reality is that we often submit to others out of respect or because the situation simply requires it, even when they have done something that we don't like. It is part of life, and certainly part of life in the martial arts.

The problem I saw in Dan's story is that he missed this, and he thought that he had not submitted but instead prevailed over the man by trickery or deception. Alot of people on this thread also saw it that way, and I think that's largely a result of the competitive attitude that always needs to identify with winning and being better than others. But Dan is no better or worse than the other man, regardless of what art the other guy teaches or how he approached Dan. The right thing to do was to teach the man some Aikido, not because the other guy threatened him, and not because it resolved the conflict that Dan percieved, but because that's what the man needed and because Dan could provide it. Had Dan realized this in the first place, then there never would have been a conflict at all. That would have been an example of how Aikido can avoid a conflict entirely.

Dan's decision to teach the man by taking ukemi rather than throwing him was a wonderful idea. It alone makes this story worth reading. But why was it important in resolving this conflict? Strictly speaking, the question of method of instruction shouldn't have mattered. The conflict was resolved by Dan's decision to teach the man, regardless of method, because the conflict was created only by Dan's reluctance to teach the man. Why was Dan so reluctant? Maybe he was a little scared and wasn't sure if he could safely throw an aggressive, trained TKD instructor. And maybe he hadn't thought of the idea of taking ukemi for him. Perhaps he was locked into the idea that only way to teach this man a lesson was to throw him.

If so, that would explain why he experienced the idea of taking ukemi as the element that resolved the conflict. For him, this idea, finally appearing at the last minute when Dan thought there was no other way out, is what enabled him to willingly and confidently teach the man. His fear disappeared as he realized that he didn't have to throw the man to teach him. Confidently, Dan reached out grabbed the man's wrist, knowing that neither he nor the other man would be hurt.

The idea of taking ukemi may have played a key role in the resolution of this conflict because it may have been what Dan needed to feel safe teaching this man. And teaching the man was what ultimately resolved this conflict because, in spite of the man's agression and impoliteness, it was the right thing to do.

kendo52
10-07-2002, 02:25 PM
Sorry to put all of you on the defensive - My original post (and intent) meant to read "engage in banter and rhetoric . . . about someone you obviously don't know a whole lot about." If you knew more about Dan Sensei - and its not my job to tell - But if you did , all of your theories and mental constructs, ifs, ands and buts, would become meaningless.

All of your comments remind me how hard it is to have faith and believe in ourselves and other people. I agree that this discussion does come down to who could have taken who - and that is exactly what Dan meant by the relative world. To compare his decision to throw or not - or for him to even engage in combat - would be to relegate the encounter and situation into the dualistic world of Me Vs. Him. Whether it be ukemi or nage being relative to TKD and confrontation is still relativity!! You cannot compare Dan and the TKD for they are mutually exclusive and Dan chose to embody the absolute ideal - aikido.

His original post and story is in response to Aikido Journals thread about Daito Ryu's effectiveness Vs. Aikido's. Did anyone put his post in the context of that thread when writing their reply? Just curious as ever- kendo52

mike lee
10-08-2002, 04:11 AM
All of your comments remind me how hard it is to have faith and believe in ourselves and other people.

Does that include me? :blush: If so, why?

mike lee
10-08-2002, 04:16 AM
The problem I saw in Dan's story is that he missed this, and he thought that he had not submitted but instead prevailed over the man by trickery or deception.

A classic case of a man in denial?

G DiPierro
10-08-2002, 04:38 AM
My original post (and intent) meant to read "engage in banter and rhetoric . . . about someone you obviously don't know a whole lot about."I don't see this thread as being about Dan per se. It's about a story of which Dan happened to be the author of as well as the main character. Our comments have been limited to Dan's function in these two roles and have no bearing on him outside of this scope. IOW, we have limited our comments to only those subjects about which we have some information.His original post and story is in response to Aikido Journals thread about Daito Ryu's effectiveness Vs. Aikido's. Did anyone put his post in the context of that thread when writing their reply?Although Dan's story was originally posted in a different context, by allowing it to be reposted it here he was agreeing to an important change in context. Instead of being one reply among many in a long thread, Dan's story became the central focus of its own thread. It was also added to one of the permenant sections of this site as a stand-alone item. Dan surely consented to this change, and by doing so brought his story to a wider audience but also subjected it to a much greater degree of scrutiny. One of the first results of this change in context is that many posters early in this thread read too much into Dan's story, thinking to be far more meaningful than it actually was. Eventually, this led to others in the thread to question some of the assumptions upon which these early evaluations were based, leading finally to a quite detailed discussion about the true motivations for the actions of those involved. As I understand it, this thread was created precisely for that purpose.

Jason Tonks
10-08-2002, 05:34 AM
Well put Giancarlo. Not everybody is going to interpret a story in the same way. Freedom of speech and belief I think it's called. I personally can be quite opinionated but if I'm in the wrong like to think I can admit it. Isn't it funny how quickly things can flair up even over an internet posting between two people who don't know each other and live on opposite sides of the world! To think we practice the Art of Peace! The sad reality is that peace sometimes comes at a cost. The vast majority of the time a peaceful solution can be found through discussion and debate but sometimes this is not so. At such times, if justification is on our side I feel we should act against a threat to our well being. Getting back to Dan's story, at the end of the day everybody will draw their own conclusions. Once you make things public, people judge, whether you like it or not. It's human nature.

All the best

Jason T

mike lee
10-08-2002, 05:43 AM
Getting back to Dan's story, at the end of the day everybody will draw their own conclusions.

Or maybe at the end of the day we can learn something new, become a little more open-minded, and be a little more tolerant. :do:

Jason Tonks
10-08-2002, 06:14 AM
Mike I do apologise. We can't all have your humility, piousness and unique insight. Your digs are getting a bit tiresome now. You were obviously after a reaction. Now you got one.

Feel better?

Jason T

mike lee
10-08-2002, 06:29 AM
Mike I do apologise. We can't all have your humility, piousness and unique insight. Your digs are getting a bit tiresome now. You were obviously after a reaction. Now you got one.

I wasn't expecting an apology. But then again, I guess I didn't get one. :rolleyes:

P.S. Reactions are not required.

opherdonchin
10-08-2002, 10:59 AM
Or maybe at the end of the day we can learn something new, become a little more open-minded, and be a little more tolerant.Mike I do apologise. We can't all have your humility, piousness and unique insight. Your digs are getting a bit tiresome now.I hope Mike won't be offended if I say that I also feel his posts occasionally come off a tad sanctimonious. On the other hand, often I think he has some important perspectives to offer. In this particular case, I'd say that I had both reactions simultaneously. It's true that Mike's post can be read as a sort of 'dig,' but that's not the only way you can choose to read it. Another way to read it is as a fairly straight and honest response to Jason saying, "if justification is on our side I feel we should act against a threat to our well being." When I read Jason's post, I really wanted to respond to that line, but I couldn't think of a way to do it gracefully. I'm not sure whether Mike succeeded in responding to the idea gracefully, but I see him as having given it an honest try.

Jason Tonks
10-08-2002, 11:14 AM
Oper. You're right again and I wish I could be as diplomatic as you are. God I tried here after I felt I was in the wrong. However Mike didn't seem to know when he'd won! I find it difficult not to bite back at times but Mike seemed intent on (as I read it) goading me not just a couple of times, but on every occasion. As far as I'm concerned it's over. I apologise for any bad feeling this may have caused. I like to think if we all met each other we'd be mates!

All the best

Jason T

mike lee
10-08-2002, 11:19 AM
I hope Mike won't be offended if I say that I also feel his posts occasionally come off a tad sanctimonious

ONLY A TAD??? I'M INSULTED!!! :grr: :freaky: :mad: :rolleyes: :confused: :D

mike lee
10-08-2002, 11:23 AM
I like to think if we all met each other we'd be mates!

Only if you're a die-hard Bears fan. (Damn Packers!)

opherdonchin
10-08-2002, 01:21 PM
ONLY A TAD??? I'M INSULTED!!!He he he.

I have to admit that these forums have been a consistent 'workout' for me and for my AiKiDo. I often feel very challenged to find the balance between asserting myself (not having my center taken) and crossing over into an attack (throwing my own center away). Everyone knows about how, on the mat, the goal is to perform every technique with a feeling of newness, bringing to it all the focus, connectedness, and center that you can. Of course, on the mat I rarely achieve that. I rarely achieve that here on the forums, either, but I try to do the same thing: bring a sense of expressing my AiKiDo every time. Very challenging and very frustrating.

mike lee
10-10-2002, 03:43 AM
I have to admit that these forums have been a consistent 'workout' for me and for my AiKiDo.

I guess I like to keep "working it" on the forums sometimes, like on the mat when you keep working a technique in an effort to get it generally right. But sometimes one's just got to let it go until the next practice, or the next thread.

I try to get it to the point where the young hot-heads finally go beyond themselves, and can even laugh at themselves -- but it's long-term process. It's not really about taking "digs" or being pious, although on the outside, it comes off that way.

It's like when someone visits a dojo with advanced practice going on and they perceive it as being violent, aggressive, rowdy -- when actually we're just pushing ourselves to the limit and having a good time.

The intent for us is always peace. But how does one know if it's a real, genuine peace unless it's occassionally challenged by a good-natured "attack" once in awhile? :do:

(More words count less.)

Jason Tonks
10-10-2002, 04:22 AM
Alright there Mike. Fair play to you there. I did end up laughing at myself and you're right, I can be a bit of a hot head and have a bad habit of taking things personally when I know I should be viewing things dispassionately. Typical aries I'm told!

Isn't the theory easy compared to the actual real practice. Bit like my old chemistry experiments!

justinm
10-14-2002, 09:51 AM
Isn't the theory easy compared to the actual real practice. Bit like my old chemistry experiments!
As a frenchman once told me - "it's all very well in practice, but it will never work in theory"

akiy
10-14-2002, 10:16 AM
"In theory, practice and theory are the same. In practice, they are not."

The topic here, though, is starting to diverge away from the article onhand. So far, there's been some interesting discussions on "The Importance of Receiving." Does anyone here have any other thoughts on the article?

-- Jun

mike lee
10-14-2002, 11:31 AM
I had a thought, but then I forgot it:freaky:

No, honestly, I've been thinking a lot about football recently. They have receivers in football, but the guys I'm thinking about don't catch the football -- they're the offensive linemen who block for runners and protect the quarterback, and take a beating from rushing defensive linemen and linbackers game after game. They receive a lot of punishment, but they stoicly return to take more. I really admire the quiet strength of these guys.

When I was young, my heros were the destroyers on defense, such as Deacon Jones, Howey Long, Randy White, Richard Dent, `Mean' Joe Green, Ray Nitchke, and the most feared meance of them all, Dick Butkus. I loved the hitters -- the guys that wanted to put their opponents in the hospital, or worse.

But over the years, I learned to admire those guys that received a lot of punishment, and just kept on going. They were also big, awesome, powerful people, but they generally didn't say much, they just had a rock-solid work ethic. Yah; those offensive linemen know how to receive.

Usagi
10-28-2002, 01:13 AM
Most of you people are not paying attention to what was described.

The TKD guy DID NOT WANTED TO LEARN AIKIDO.

The whole point was exactly about that.

The guy WANTED TO FIGHT AND DEFEAT Dan.

So, for those of you who insist that the TKD fellow forced Dan to submit, it was quite the contrary.

The TKD guy wanted to fight and ended up HAVING DAN TEACHING HIM REAL AIKIDO.

If the TKD guy REALLY wanted to learn AiKiDo, his attitude would have been diferent.

The "teach me aikido" sentence was pure irony (anyone can realize that), an excuse to step onto the mat.

Dan acted "absent minded" as if he believed in the intention present in that setence, and TAUGHT AIKIDO.

And to put REAL fire in here...

If O-SenSei and his older deshi were so completely undefeatable, how do any of you explain "Rendevous with Adventure"?

And don't use the "Tohei SenSei was afraid to harm the poor fellow" on me...(that's not what i saw).

One thing is to "grab my finger", another one completely diferent is to fight with someone who REALLY wants to prove that he is better than you.

Most people are still looking for the martial art that will make them the Alpha Male...

True combat is about manipulating the opponent into doing useless acts (like grabing fingers for stance :) ), geting him out of guard and not about twisting joints or striking nervs.

Martial arts are about learning throught the motions.

Any martial art is as good as another.

To believe that just because you train aeekeedoe you are more efficient than a trained boxer, bjj, tkd or street thug is to day dream.

Just because you choose to marry your wife that doesn't mean that all other man in the world want to have her as their wife (or that marrieng her would make a diferent men as happy as you are).

For some reason people insist on these "aeekeedo beats everyone else!" atitude.

Even if it was so, and throught aeekeedo i could become a SuperSayajin, violence(even verbal) SHOULD be the last resource of the inept.

"Some people walk in the forest and see only wood for the fire..."

Bruce Baker
10-28-2002, 08:08 AM
There is an anomaly of having something work for one person that won't work for another person.

Even if done with the same attitude, same spirit, and same exact movements, the actual transition of actions, speech, and presence is dependant upon the individual and their ability to send a message.

Most of the advice we give here, on the Aikiweb forums, is our personal experience based on what works for us.

Now, I am a rather large man, middleaged, with a physical presence that trys not to send the message of danger to those around me. In fact, I find it my life's ambition to be invisible in most endeavors as it allows me to move quietly among the English, an old saying from colonial days.

Most tense situaltions can be disarmed with humor, humility, and a smidge of biting your tongue, but then that is also the advice of someone who would enjoy a raucaus fight with five to ten attackers, also.

No. It is your purpose of recognizing a situation that you must deal with within the means of your physical, mental, and life's experience so that your control of a situation allows your continued survival.

Beyond taking anyones advice, or listening to a story of what someone else did in a particular situation, we are trying to advance our knowledge and life experience without the actual encounter happening to us.

Get back on the ground with the distortion of doing this if you meet someone, or doing that ... it will happen the way it will happen.

Even if it like Dennis Hooker hitting a loud mouth challenger in the mouth as he walks into a dojo full of bravado, right or wrong, that is the way it happened, and it was a lesson to be learned from.

The real story is that we are only renting this time we are alive, inhabiting the earth ... look at any layers when a trench is dug or a road in cut into a mountain.

Don't be ruled by your baser instincts, but then again, use your head to keep out of trouble. The world is full of @@sses, no sense in you being one of them.

Mary Eastland
08-26-2012, 10:41 PM
I really liked this column. I could almost feel the guy's atitude change as he felt his uke.

graham christian
08-27-2012, 07:37 AM
Nice. He heard and gave what was asked with harmony. Everyone was a winner. Excellent.

Peace.G.