View Full Version : How heavy?

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11-01-2002, 07:49 PM
So, I suppose this is particularly addressed to those who train to acheive "martial" results.
We avoid the gross, immediate threat, and "address the center." We attempt to - how to say - allow the happening to shape a safe resolve, but it doesn't *work*. And so in effect the aggressor forces the budoka to escalate in "violence" to match the aggressor. The question is this: How deeply into battle are you willing to go, and therefore willing to train? Do you include those aspects intended to maim or kill?

Maybe we could divide into three groups.
A) Those who feel aikido, when done "properly" should never require permanent damage, let alone death, and so train only in what we might call "nonviolent" techniques."
B) Those who feel that they do need some element of violence - -perhaps because it takes too long to learn to do it "properly" or some other reason.
C) Those who feel that violent, even lethal response is sometimes required and don't want to deny themselves any possible solution.

Does that include everyone?
If so, where do you fit in?
If not, tell me other views.


11-01-2002, 08:05 PM
It's better to have something and not need it than to not have something and need it.

11-01-2002, 08:15 PM
Hypothetical situation: You are attacked by someone much bigger and stronger than you, with an obvious will to hurt you badly. You are quite lucky to be able to throw him and pin him on the floor with a nikkyo. The guy obviously did not surrender, and if he gets up he will attack you again. Would you put a little more pressure on that arm and break or dislocate the elbow or shoulder? You beat I would. And to make sure that he will be inooffensive, I will grab the other arm and repeat the same procedure. Aikido works only one time per one person. Attackers are not fools, they will discover the trick quickly. So you have to make sure that the guy won't be able to attack again. Yamada Shihan said basically the same during a seminar in Kuala Lumpur: "Once you throw someone, you don't let him go so that he will attack you again. Maybe you will not be as lucky next time. Once you control the attacker, you should finish him off", or something in this meaning.

Deb Fisher
11-02-2002, 10:49 AM
A dojo is a labrotory environment. Everyone knows or is learning how to take proper ukemi. Therefore, aikido in a dojo environment is consensual, community based, and always nonviolent - it's not a real fight, it's a simulation for training and exploration purposes. You don't work beyond the level of your uke, you don't kick anyone's ass, or else they won't buy you beers after class!

In 'real life' not everyone knows how to take ukemi. With that in mind, it is most often better not to use aikido, because physical conflict is very unlikely unless both parties asked for it. Which doesn't seem harmonious to me.

It takes two to tango.

Bruce Baker
11-02-2002, 11:26 AM
Clarity is the only way to resolve and impliment action in any situation.

If the situation warrants hurting the attacker to the point of injury because of his/her efforts cannot be curbed or met within the limits of safety, they you is gonna have to know how to hurt somebody.

OK ... what do you do when you have someone pinned and they don't give up after you break an arm? Break the other arm?

Or should you know how to knock them out, incapacatate them with a stike here, or a rub there?

Guess what? We are returning to knowing how to knock someone out with a pressure point to keep from killing them.

How far would you have to go to protect yourself in a situation that would lead to your death or injury, or the death or injury of others? As far as it takes to resolve the situation.

Stop thinking in terms of what would you do, learn what options are available, and use them as the situation warrants.

It is a waste of time to dwell upon the darkness of how far you might have to go, concentrate on learning, and you will do what is necessary when the time comes.

11-02-2002, 02:15 PM
Bruce, I agree that it has nothing to do with dwelling.

Simply recognizing the parameters of your training.

If you don't train in something, it is highly unlikely you will be able to magically execute it when you need to.

Now as far as I know, knock-out pressure point training is not de riguer in aikido.

Also, we seem to be thinking in terms of what happens once we've pinned someone and they won't give up.

What if they are armed, or there is more than one, or they are an immediate and grievous threat to someone.

We definitely need clarity in this situation.

And I bet you the one who's been considering these sorts of things will be a step ahead of the one who hasn't taken the time to "dwell."

Love is definitely the answer.

But what does it look like?

11-02-2002, 07:00 PM
IMHO, as little as possible, but as much as needed.

Until again,


Bruce Baker
11-03-2002, 10:42 AM
Think about if you had to turn a weapon of an attacker back upon the attacker?

Do you know how to use it to either incapacitate verses killing the attacker?

Training, knowledge, having the ability to use that knowledge does not make you a killer, or a bad person.

What if?????

If you ask what if, they you need to find an answer.

I don't have all the answers ... just the one's that satisfy my needs.

Part of being responsible is to ask for advice, but sometimes you will have to search for yourself to find and answer that satisfys you.

Everytime I get into what if, I start laughing at the results of physical interaction, and that pretty much breaks up the seriousness of what someone was trying to do by the simplicity of the physical practice.

My first karate teacher used to say,"Oh, Well." and until I was faced with situations that did not fit into the neat box of someone else's opinion, but was answered by doing the wrong thing, I didn't know the answer of "Oh, Well."

11-04-2002, 03:54 AM
I definitely fall into category C.

I carry a concealed firearm, and practice martial arts as well. I believe in being prepared. I even carry a lighter, but am not a smoker.

My Aikido is heavily mixed with Kung-Fu(various styles, but most heavily Wing Chung), and as such I have at my disposal a wide array of both deadly and pacifying attack options. I can go for a throw and perform a kick at the same time, if I must. It's akward, but if done correctly, such mixing can be very devastating. That said, both arts are arts essentially devoted to protection, defense, and peace in general.

I won't subscribe to the thinking that I hope I never have to use it, because I do believe that it's naive to think that there's not going to be a situation that could benefit from my exercising violence, or simily pacifying it. At some point, there will be a situation, because life is full of conflict, and I hope that I will be able to use my Aikido/Kung-Fu to resolve it. What I do hope though, is that my use of those things is of as much positive impact as possible, benefitting all involved, even whomever I may have to harm. Sometimes hurting people in the short term teaches them a lot in the long term, like smacking a small kid for trying to put metal stuff in an electical outlet. I hope I do not have to kill though, but if I do, I hope that it works out so that it benefits those involved as much as possible.

So to summarize, I fit C, but I temper it with a great deal of pacifism. I find the balance can still fit the ideals of both Kung-Fu and Aikido.

11-04-2002, 10:11 AM
I carry a concealed firearm, and practice martial arts as well. I believe in being prepared. I even carry a lighter, but am not a smoker.
Sounds a bit paranoid? Isn't part of Budo to understand that death comes to everyone. Are you saving up for an oxygen tent? Whether you die age 100 of natural causes or you are murdered in a mugging - we all end up in the same place, and you won't be around to feel embarrassed about it.

Ueshiba said 'when the enemey attacks with fire, respond with fire, when they attack with water, repsond with water'

I'm not sure what this means, but presume myself that the more aggresive the attack, the more likely they are to fall heavy! (I would not try to cusion the fall of someone who was particularly aggresive).

In some ways, I've considered the opposite necessary; to conform to yin/yang i.e. if someone attacks you very weakly, a powerful strike is more useful than trying to use this 'energy' - conversely, it is much easier to unbalance a committed attacker.

Personally, as long as we act with respect to each other (and all things), the question of how much damage to do is a question of the situation and one's own ability.


11-04-2002, 01:28 PM
Sounds a bit paranoid?


Ueshiba said 'when the enemey attacks with fire, respond with fire, when they attack with water, repsond with water'
1) Do you have insurance? Smoke alarms?

2) Gotta bring fire if you're gonna use it!

11-04-2002, 05:20 PM
Sounds a bit paranoid? Isn't part of Budo to understand that death comes to everyone. Are you saving up for an oxygen tent? Whether you die age 100 of natural causes or you are murdered in a mugging - we all end up in the same place, and you won't be around to feel embarrassed about it
First of all, I'm not a Buddist. Secondly, I'm not in any hurry to get killed, my death will happen in time, and I hope to die well, not just die at the earliest convenient time. Budo is about life as much as about death. If Buddists were truly so totally unconcerned with premature death, they'd have never developed all these fine martial arts.

As for paranoid? Perhaps, but I am prepared for a lot, and due to my situation, my own history, and the history of others I have known and read about, I feel it is a good decision to be so prepared. I'd carry a rifle at most times if it were legal. Not because I'm eager to hurt anyone, or because I think most people are eager to hurt me, but instead because I think it's a good exercise.

11-05-2002, 01:34 PM
I wonder if Ueshiba Sensei would've worn a sword. He certainly seemed to feel the loss of samurai culture (I should say budo to be exact) was the sign of the end of Japan. Could you have budo without weapons? But yet, post-WWII after seeing the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we saw that humans had reached the evolution of weaponcraft to actually destroy Earth.

The incineration of so many civilians had never been imagined before, and I would contend was not within the realm of budo. Given that O-sensei was under international restrictions against practicing "martial" art and also given his spiritual revelations it is impossible to get a definite amswer to the question of O-sensei wearing a sword.

And understand this:

The Japanese people basically lived in an artificial world since handguns were basically outlawed for - what? - 150 years?

This was to preserve the cohesive system of ethics, honor and the supremacy of training.

The "great equalizer" had no place in this system, in fact all but threatened to destroy it.

And how did they achieve this nearly absolute ban on handguns?

Military rule, of course!

So don't even think it is an option!

Would O-sensei wear a handgun if he lived in the U.S.?

More like "would his bodyguard?"

11-06-2002, 05:18 AM
Hard to say if he'd have worn a sword.

He certainly would have not worn a nuke though lol. No self-defense value to a nuke, and for that matter, not much regular defence value. It's a deterent, or a revenge weapon, but once exchanges of fire begin, everyone loses. I would bet such weapons horrified O'Sensei, and he was certainly no fan of militarized Imperial Japan, nor did they seem too fond of him.

Japanese law certainly did maintain tight control over who was allowed to carry firearms, but don't forget, it also heavily controlled who could carry a sword as well. The peasantry was feared, because it was known full well if they were armed, and in the right state of mind, they would be hard to stop, even considering the general lack of martial skill. Pure numbers accounts for much. I suspect O'Sensei would have been in favor of more multilateral distribution of martial training, but I'm not totally sure, because when he started Aikido, he would not accept students except with credentials and a recommendation. He did change this stance later though. If this suggests a change in philosophy, I can't be sure, but it could. We certainly do know that he was a proponent of defending one's self, and one's community against injustice, much along the same lines as the Shaolin monks of China. Certainly an interesting area of debate though...