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Suru
11-21-2003, 10:18 PM
1. Never attack first.
2. If attacked, understand why you're being attacked, for there is almost always a reason.
3. Realize that the attacker's spirit/mind is fear.
4. Know that fear is his primary weapon.
5. Do not threaten or disrespect the attacker even though he may be threatening and disrespecting you.
6. Search for a peaceful reconciliation to the conflict, as there almost always is one.
7. This should end more than 99 percent of conflicts without any physical attack being made.
8. If diplomacy has failed and the attacker does resort to violence, trust and use Aikido until you feel safe that he/she has lost the will to fight.
9. Ask yourself what you could have done differently to prevent the physical attack from occurring.
10. If you learn from the experience, there will be a greater chance for peaceful reconciliation to future conflicts.
11. Never attack first.

I know it's a simple list, but any thoughts?

Drew

sanosuke
11-21-2003, 10:46 PM
remember grasshopper, the secret of your study lies within you.....

akiy
11-21-2003, 11:19 PM
I remember Saotome sensei saying at a seminar once, "So many people come up to me asking me for the secrets of aikido. Secrets, secrets, secrets! You know what? You all learned the secrets of aikido during the first week of your practice."

-- Jun

Thalib
11-22-2003, 12:10 AM
There are no secrets...

PeterR
11-22-2003, 12:52 AM
Shodokan Dogma is all the secrets are shown in the first 30 minutes of class.

Still there are those little twists and nuances that you pick up over time that always keeps you coming back for more.

The list at the beginning - you can keep. With respect to 1. - Sen no sen. The rest is trite.
I remember Saotome sensei saying at a seminar once, "So many people come up to me asking me for the secrets of aikido. Secrets, secrets, secrets! You know what? You all learned the secrets of aikido during the first week of your practice."

Nafis Zahir
11-22-2003, 10:23 AM
Hey Drew,

I agree with most of the list you made. For the most part, I would stick to it. But I live in Philadelphia! Sorry, most of those concepts are void here. People here attack without reason, and the way to resolve 99% of the conflicts in Philadelphia is to destroy the confict itself.

Greg Jennings
11-22-2003, 11:38 AM
Drew:

It's pretty far off from my experience.

Sorry,

SeiserL
11-22-2003, 05:50 PM
Nice list. Compliments and appreciation.

IMHO, the "secrets" of Aikido are all revealed in the training, and by the time you realize them, you also realize they were "secrets" that you already knew.

Chris Li
11-23-2003, 01:42 AM
1. Never attack first.
Were those photos of Morihei Ueshiba initiating techniques airbrushed or something?

Best,

Chris

shihonage
11-23-2003, 04:06 AM
1. Never attack first.
Sometimes it is necessary to start an attack in order to thwart off, for example, subtle gnawings of a bully co-worker.

It worked for me several times.

If I didn't confront that person verbally, I would've let myself subtly and gradually be stepped upon and do the work that was assigned to him, amongst other things.

As long as you're aligned with truth, and the opponent has to hide things in shadows of half-truths and lies, a good attack can clear things out, outline without a doubt as to who's right and who's wrong to those around you, and startle the hell out of the opposition who expected you to silently give in to their manipulative games.

An attack doesn't mean that its made in anger.

An attack may be needed that comes not out of anger but simply out of necessity to clear the situation and regain personal space.

Greg Jennings
11-23-2003, 02:23 PM
I personally don't think that initiating a technique should be confused with initiating violence.

I'm open to any strategy that might lead to the conclusion with the least harm to all parties.

YMMV,

Nick Simpson
11-23-2003, 02:49 PM
Hmmm, Im more than willing to emphathise with someone and try to avert a violent or unpleasent situation, but I dont believe in being a doormat.

If I sense that someone has violent intent towards me then I would be more than willing to pre-empt their attack with one of my own. Im simply just not a good enough aikidoka to restrain someone without injuring them and im sorry to say that if its me or them, I'll go for them everytime. Afterall, they should have to deal with the consequences of their actions if they attempt to hurt someone.

Then again, if I thought I could get away and was on my own(not with a friend or relative who might not be able to run fast, when fighting would be the most likely outcome)/not in an enclosed space, Id prolly just as soon run from them, why fight if you can run?

Suru
11-23-2003, 04:48 PM
Drew:

It's pretty far off from my experience.

Sorry,
Greg,

Please tell me what it is about my list that doesn't mesh with your experience. I would like to learn more.

Drew

Greg Jennings
11-23-2003, 06:09 PM
Greg,

Please tell me what it is about my list that doesn't mesh with your experience. I would like to learn more.
Hi Drew,

I'll put your original list here and give you my thoughts. I'm a low-ranking nobody from nowhere, so take them for what they're worth:

1. Never attack first.

Be open minded to any strategy that results in the least harm to all involved with me and mine (you and yours) first in line.

2. If attacked, understand why you're being attacked, for there is almost always a reason.

If physically attacked, you don't have time to understand. All you have time to do is respond. If it's verbal, you can try to talk them out of it.

3. Realize that the attacker's spirit/mind is fear.

My experience has been that it could be just about anything. Blind rage, hallucinations from drugs or mental illness. They could be just cold blooded and calculated in attempting to rob you.

4. Know that fear is his primary weapon.

Intimidation is just one strategy. I used to bounce some. I saw a lot of sucker punches. That is, surprise attacks. No intimidation, no bullying, just a haymaker from nowhere.

5. Do not threaten or disrespect the attacker even though he may be threatening and disrespecting you.

Good advice.

6. Search for a peaceful reconciliation to the conflict, as there almost always is one.

Not necessarily. The person may not be rational. They may be hallucinating and believe that you're a demon that is going to steal their soul, etc., etc. They could have an irrational belief that you're sleeping with their wife and they're going to take their frustration out on you no matter what.

7. This should end more than 99 percent of conflicts without any physical attack being made.

Talking, pacifying, etc. will help some times. Sometimes it won't. I've been in two altercations post college. If I hadn't smarted off, neither one of them would have occurred. OTOH, all the altercations I was in before graduation would have happened no matter what.

8. If diplomacy has failed and the attacker does resort to violence, trust and use Aikido until you feel safe that he/she has lost the will to fight.

Do what you have to do to keep from being harmed. Aikido, Axe-han-do, Nike-do, spit, bite, puke on them, you name it. Do what you have to do.

9. Ask yourself what you could have done differently to prevent the physical attack from occurring.

Good advice.

10. If you learn from the experience, there will be a greater chance for peaceful reconciliation to future conflicts.

Well, it won't hurt. Like I said, life can be pretty random. There are situations that you just can't get out of. I have a friend who has a large, strong brother with mental problems. His physical attacks appear to happen completely randomly.

11. Never attack first.

See #1.

In general, Drew, I'd say to not generalize. My grandfather had a saying "No generalization is worth a damn including this one".

I highly recommend Ellis Amdur's writings from the old Aikido Journal days. They are quite enlightening.

Best regards,

Don_Modesto
11-23-2003, 09:32 PM
Were those photos of Morihei Ueshiba initiating techniques airbrushed or something?
Yeah. Those and the text, too.

Suru
11-23-2003, 10:01 PM
Greg,

Thanks for your reply. I have never been physically attacked by a psychopath, but then again I'm only 25. I have had a friend tell me she was in Italy and suddenly she had a knife at her throat. The assailant didn't even ask her for money then eventually he just ran away. I would've probably frozen in her situation, like she did. I doubt I would've tried any technique.

You're right, I did generalize my "secrets" of aikido. I tried to cover "normal" situations in which conflict emerges. Things change when we're dealing with someone who is delusional, full of blind rage, or on aggression drugs (phencyclidine for example, or even too much alcohol.)

You cracked me up with the Nike-do!

Thanks again.

As far as O'Sensei initiating technique, it's my understanding that he did this on occasion with his students during training. At my old dojo we did this also, if we knew an attack was coming. I encourage this among those whose sixth sense is so refined that they can feel when a physical attack is imminent.

Drew

Chris Li
11-24-2003, 01:23 AM
As far as O'Sensei initiating technique, it's my understanding that he did this on occasion with his students during training. At my old dojo we did this also, if we knew an attack was coming. I encourage this among those whose sixth sense is so refined that they can feel when a physical attack is imminent.

Drew
More than occasionally, I would say.

Anyway, what about a case in which (sixth sense or no) no attack is imminent? I can think of many situations in which it would be advisable to initiate an attack.

What if, for example, a person is not attacking you, but is instead merely blocking you from going to the aid of your friend who is getting beaten to a pulp?

Best,

Chris

Kevin Leavitt
11-24-2003, 11:55 AM
Sometimes the attack happens in a non-physical way through posture, words, position etc.

It is sometimes best to physically attack first if you have no options. The element of suprise and audacity and taking the iniative is a good thing.

But, again, it requires no other option and a philosophically the other person has already attacked.

Chris Li
11-24-2003, 01:00 PM
1. Never attack first.
As a side note, I don't think that Morihei Ueshiba ever said anything along these lines.

But Gichin Funakoshi did :).

Best,

Chris

fvhale
11-24-2003, 01:38 PM
Dear Chris,

Can I infer from your posts that you have a good grasp of Japanese language? If this is true, can I ask if you have had opportunity to study the written works of prominent teachers of various Japanese martial arts? You seem to be familiar with various work of M. Ueshiba in Japanese, and perhaps also of G. Funakoshi and J. Kano?

My private intuitive sense, as well as my limited experience with different martial arts, is that in the cultural and linguistic context of Japan, there is less "uniqueness" to the various martial arts than we perceive from what is available in English. But I may be all wrong. If you have the opportunity to look at these questions within the original cultural and linguistic context, I'd be most interested in your comments.

(I have found this to be the case with totally different subjects and languages; often something significant between cultures and languages is at best difficult, and at worst an opportunity for all sorts of "repackaging" and "reinventing.")

I realize this may be moving off-topic from "Secrets." Sorry.

Peace to you,

Frank

Chris Li
11-24-2003, 01:58 PM
Dear Chris,

Can I infer from your posts that you have a good grasp of Japanese language? If this is true, can I ask if you have had opportunity to study the written works of prominent teachers of various Japanese martial arts? You seem to be familiar with various work of M. Ueshiba in Japanese, and perhaps also of G. Funakoshi and J. Kano?
I've read just about everything available in Japanese by M. Ueshiba, less from other modern martial artists. The Funakoshi thing is fairly well known, one of his "20 principles of Karate", which states "Karate ni sente nashi" (IIRC), or "there is no first attack in Karate".
My private intuitive sense, as well as my limited experience with different martial arts, is that in the cultural and linguistic context of Japan, there is less "uniqueness" to the various martial arts than we perceive from what is available in English. But I may be all wrong. If you have the opportunity to look at these questions within the original cultural and linguistic context, I'd be most interested in your comments.
As a package Aikido is certainly unique, but most of the individual philosophical statements can be found in other Japanese martial arts as well, going back hundreds of years.

Best,

Chris

Chris Linneman
11-24-2003, 03:09 PM
"The Funakoshi thing is fairly well known, one of his "20 principles of Karate", which states "Karate ni sente nashi" (IIRC), or "there is no first attack in Karate"."

I had heard a different translation/interpretation of this more like "there is no advantage in striking the first blow". I got this from a lecture at one of Sensi Kanazawa's seminars a while back. I realized that this is semantics, still there's a pretty big difference between "no attack" and "no advantage". Karate (at least Shotokan) also has the Ikkeni Satsu (I'm pretty sure I butchered the spelling there)which I understand as 1 blow, 1 victory (or one blow, one kill, depending on how morbid you are). Please let me know if this is off some. I don't speak Japanese.

Anyway - back to the thread... I have a 2 stage approach to conflict resolution:

1) Get out of it - talk away or walk away, or whatever else it takes.

2) If 1 fails, and the threat is real, use whatever means necessary and available, with extreme prejudice... and never assume you have control of the situation.

Training is nice and has many teachings that are of great value to humanity, but defending one's self or others is very difficult to do if I'm concerned with the well-being of the attacker.

"surrender is the logical conclusion to defensive warfare" (some confiderate general, I can't remember which...)

just my $0.02

Chris Li
11-24-2003, 03:38 PM
"The Funakoshi thing is fairly well known, one of his "20 principles of Karate", which states "Karate ni sente nashi" (IIRC), or "there is no first attack in Karate"."

I had heard a different translation/interpretation of this more like "there is no advantage in striking the first blow". I got this from a lecture at one of Sensi Kanazawa's seminars a while back. I realized that this is semantics, still there's a pretty big difference between "no attack" and "no advantage". Karate (at least Shotokan) also has the Ikkeni Satsu (I'm pretty sure I butchered the spelling there)which I understand as 1 blow, 1 victory (or one blow, one kill, depending on how morbid you are). Please let me know if this is off some. I don't speak Japanese.
"Sente" actually means "initiative", or "first move", so I suppose that a literal translation might be "there is no taking the initiative in Karate". Whether Funakoshi meant that strategically (as in "there is no advantage in striking the first blow") or not I don't know, but I do know that there is a story in his autobiography where he expresses his guilt over making the first strike in a confrontation.

As for "ikken-hissatsu", "satsu" would be the Japanese word for "kill". Curiously this was a principle that Morihei Ueshiba expressed as well.

Best,

Chris

George S. Ledyard
11-26-2003, 11:24 AM
"Sente" actually means "initiative", or "first move", so I suppose that a literal translation might be "there is no taking the initiative in Karate". Whether Funakoshi meant that strategically (as in "there is no advantage in striking the first blow") or not I don't know, but I do know that there is a story in his autobiography where he expresses his guilt over making the first strike in a confrontation.

As for "ikken-hissatsu", "satsu" would be the Japanese word for "kill". Curiously this was a principle that Morihei Ueshiba expressed as well.

Best,

Chris
Most of the Japanese martial arts are embued with what I call "sword" mentality. At the heart they contain the idea of "one cut, one death". Despite the rather complex movements contained in Aikido practice, this idea is essntial to understanding O-Sensei's Aikido. It is summed up in the term "katsu hayabi" which can sometimes be transltade as "instant victory". It has a distinct spiritual meaning but also means that at the moment of contact, I have the attacker's center (kuzushi).

Initiative is a separate concept, one that has been debated over and over in the various martial arts. The moral dillema has been solved in Aikido by saying, yes, you can and should initiate technique but you have a range of potential responses that can be adjusted to the situation so that the amount of harm done is not more than the situation dictates.

The list of "secrets" that started this discussion are pretty much all about the ineraction which takes place when violence is still at the "possibility" stage. I do not think they are secrets, nor are they in any way unique to Aikido. Most Budo have codes of conduct which are quite similar.

Lyle Bogin
11-26-2003, 11:59 AM
"You all learned the secrets of aikido during the first week of your practice."

Perhaps we are shown them, but we don't necessarily learn them.

Although this statement is common one among many martial arts, it seems to be mostly a reflection of placing the responsibility of learning on the student. It goes hand in hand with the old practice, practice, practice...and if you never get it, it ain't my fault jack I showed you everything you need to know.

It makes the gong in the temple ring romantically though :).