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03-28-2004, 01:01 AM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of March 28, 2004:

How important a goal in your aikido training is the notion of defending yourself while minimizing or negating damage done to your attacker?

I don't do aikido
Critically important
Very important
Somewhat important
Not very important
Not at all important


Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=213).

acot
03-28-2004, 03:57 AM
I voted critically important because any other attitude in the dojo is just down right dangerous.

Ryan

Hanna B
03-28-2004, 04:00 AM
The question contains two separate ones: How important is the self-defence aspect, and how important is the don't harm the attacker-aspect. I voted Not very important, because I am not so interested in the self-defence aspects.

DaveO
03-28-2004, 05:39 AM
I voted 'Somewhat important'.

First; as those who know me know; I study aikido for the interesting tactical - not necessarily SD - aspects. That said; I personally believe aikido to be highly effective in an SD role if the user is effective.

OK; that out of the way; I voted 'Somewhat' for these reasons: 1) If we're talking about an SD situation (which is what the question asks), the attacker's welfare is by necessity less important than my own. However; an attacker comes in a wide variety of roles. It can be a full-out full intent assault; or a guy trying to start something, or a drunk that needs help to a taxi. Or it could be a troubled or autistic teen. While my welfare is more important to me than theirs; based on the situation their welfare's importance can go from 'not at all' (as in a full-out assault) to 'somewhat' (as in a guy trying to start something) to 'damn near as much' (as in an autistic kid). So how much damage is done to an attacker depends on the attacker. If he's swinging a weapon (such as a beer bottle - let's not talk about knives; they're a whole different ballgame); I will break the attacking arm if that technique occurrs; i.e. I won't try to turn it into something less harmful. Why? Safety - mine. OTOH; if it's someone who really doesn't mean it; who doesn't know his own strength or needs help; I'll do everything in my power including taking damage to keep him from harming himself - or me; more than I can avoid. So my answer would be "3a - depends on the situation"; but since that wasn't a choice; I chose 'somewhat'. :)

Michael Karmon
03-28-2004, 06:45 AM
It is a question of CHOICE. I can choose to let some a**hole get away with a bad attiude or I can hospitalize the SOB. Aikido gives me a variaty of options where as harder styles are more "punch in his nose firts, ask questions later" way of thinking.

In the dojo it is not so different , I can choose to ease Uke to the matt giving him all the time he needs to adjust himself, or I can slam him down with an extra 'twist'.

I choose to do so according to the way I feel Uke's energy and if he is, junior or a veterain, young or old, "hot" or "cold". The energy I get dictates my reaction. In the street you have to assess the situation and get the energy of the oponent in order to decide the amount of actual danger you are in and so to decide the damage to inflict.

Robyn Johnson
03-28-2004, 12:51 PM
I voted "Critically Important" because that's why my mom and I started learning Aikido in the first place!

My brother has Down Syndrome and is very strong and occasionally he would get violent (which is unusual for Down Syndrome people) with my mom or I and we had to try to find some way to defend ourselves without hurting him. A friend pointed us to Aikido nearly 4 years ago and it has been a real blessing! :D We have had to use it before and we were able to get him on the ground and control him until he calmed down and he wasn't hurt! :)

Someday, my brother will have to be placed in a special home. My mom and I have grown to love Aikido so that even after he's gone we plan to keep learning and having fun in our dojo. :)

Robyn :ai: :ki: :do:

Chad Sloman
03-28-2004, 01:06 PM
critically important for me

Doka
03-28-2004, 01:56 PM
Flip Side!

We don't _defend_ ourselves in the dojo. Our ukes don't (usually) mean us harm.

In the street - Crush 'em! :D

OK, that is simplistic and a big step to take, but you do what it takes!

Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6!

DaveO
03-28-2004, 03:21 PM
Flip Side!

We don't _defend_ ourselves in the dojo. Our ukes don't (usually) mean us harm.

In the street - Crush 'em! :D

OK, that is simplistic and a big step to take, but you do what it takes!

Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6!
Better be careful; that's a dangerous attitude to take, for several reasons. You made a good point when you said "OK, that is simplistic and a big step to take, but you do what it takes"; let me elaborate a bit. :)

The first is entirely defensive: taking an aggressive attitude in an encounter can easily turn it from a defensive situation - which Aikido can deal with - to a fight; which Aikido can't deal with. Let's be clear: in a defensive situation; a defender must have one thought uppermost: Ending the situation safely. In the vast majority of SD situations; that means getting enough position or distance to achieve breakaway; in other words; to escape the situation.Thinking about taking the guy out or finishing the fight can cause you to linger long enough to turn it into exactly that - a fight. And if that happens; you're in major doo-doo. Remember; if a guy is attacking; regardless of the situation he wouldn't be attacking if he didn't think he could win. It takes one person to start a SD situation; the attacker. It takes two to start a fight.

Which brings me to the nastier side of the problem: the legal side. I don't know about other countries; but in Canada and the US; a defender may use only the minimum force possible to defend himself. Doing any more can not only make you look bad; but can in fact turn you into the aggressor; the one they're going to throw the book at.

It may sound nice and neat to say 'Better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6'; but please keep in mind the fact that easy answers are only easy when they're incomplete. :)

Tom Hooper
03-28-2004, 03:22 PM
I Voted "Not at all important" but this is because i cant stand people who go out of their way to hurt others, i feel with years of practice i will lose this vindictive nature! But this is the reason i took up aikido because i got rather severely beaten so it made me lose respect for some people.

Tom

mj
03-28-2004, 03:34 PM
The prospect of looking out for the guy I was fighting was only presented to me after about 4 years of Aikido. Although it did not improve my aikido, (what a selfish pov) it gave me some basic understanding as to what may actually be going on (imo).

Doka
03-28-2004, 04:51 PM
he wouldn't be attacking if he didn't think he could win.
He may be attacking out of rage, drugs, alchohol, stupidity, mental illness, etc! They don't give a thought to winning!

I think that you missed the dry humour in my post! Dry in that it is so true! You may have to break the everyday law to stay alive! In the UK they call it reasonable force!

True!!??

:ai:

stuartjvnorton
03-28-2004, 05:55 PM
Crtically important.

Not for them, but for me.

"Excessive force".

Not exactly a win.

zachbiesanz
03-28-2004, 09:29 PM
I voted very important.

It's not critically important only because there are other many things I need to work on before I could create a situation wherein I have the option of not hurting the other person (i.e. getting out of the way). Not injuring the assailant--resolution without winners and losers--is the whole point of aikido. If you don't care about that, maybe you should quit training and go buy a handgun.

Moreover, people are pretty smart (even the wasted or insane ones to a certain degree), and might be able to read your intentions from your body language. If you mean them harm, they might pick up on that and fight harder than if you appear calm and peaceful.

PeterR
03-28-2004, 09:43 PM
I voted not at all important.

It really doesn't figure at all in my training and neither does the converse.

Roger C. Marks
03-29-2004, 06:29 AM
[QUOTE="Robyn Johnson"]:D We have had to use it before and we were able to get him on the ground and control him until he calmed down and he wasn't hurt! :)

I worked with adolescents with special needs and found aiki really useful for defusing potentially explosive situations. Obviously, the principle of 'no harm' was of primary importance and I found the best techniques were the most subtle, just deflecting energy by tenkan movements which were not recognised as a threat or attempt to control worked just fine. I had less success with outright control movements, especially when dealing with people who had Downs Syndrome. As Robyn says, aggression is not characteristic of the syndrome, however stubbornness is. When at a motorway service station I was with a young man who sat on the floor and decided he was not going to go anywhere and there were 15 other people in our group waiting to move out, there was no way, short of lifting and dragging, that I could get him to move. His acceptance of the pain involved in any technique I was prepared to use was phenomenal so in the end we all waited until he was ready - a long time!

I think waiting was the aiki technique of preference.

ian
03-30-2004, 12:02 PM
Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6!
Why?

Do you pressupose that the goal of life is survival? I think the great paradox of the martial arts is that to become a great martial artist you must be prepared to face death. When this can be done I think it is realised that there is no reason why your survival should be more important than theirs.

When people are attacked, or following war, as far as I am aware (and I'm no specialist)post-traumatic stress is often related to feelings of hatred. Whether you kill someone or not, hating either yourself for what you've done, or the other person, is the thing that will destroy you over the long term.

Ian

Doka
03-30-2004, 01:49 PM
Ian

You can devalue your survival, but if someone is intent on killing me, then I will use reasonable force - which means anything in that situation.

Why should my family have to carry on without me?

mj
03-30-2004, 04:58 PM
Why should my family have to carry on without me?
By that logic we can all live as cowards :)

Doka
03-30-2004, 05:21 PM
By that logic we can all live as cowards :)
B*ll*cks! :disgust:

That is complete crap! Where do you get that from? Fighting for your life is cowardess? :confused:

You obviously have no grasp of logic, or are bitter from the taste of the wooden spoon! :rolleyes:

mj
03-30-2004, 05:44 PM
Well.I dunna about spoons.

But I have heard lots of excuses for violence from violent people. (Even though 'why must my family live without me' is a pretty crap one - sorry.)

And 'cowardess' looks like such a freudian sli....p :)

Doka
03-30-2004, 06:15 PM
OK MJ, someone is trying to kill you!!! He wants to rob your wife and children of their husband and father!!! No Lover to hold, no Dad to help with homework and be there to love them no matter what! I am sorry, but if you can argue against that then you are no husband or Dad! You will be arguing against pretecting your family!

If I am not there then I cannot be there and/or protect my family!!! Can't you see the flaw in what you say?

I would not flinch from protecting my family! I am no coward! The cowards are those who tend to find excuses for not acting! Sticking their heads in the sand!

MJ, you are talking crap! I dragged a friend out of a large group who had targeted him (having never met him before - for fun maybe), who were kicking him repeatedly. I got hit with a tyre iron on the way in and exited with my friend! We were both hurt bt made it out! What would have happened to him if I hadn't of gone in!

Isshin! Absolutely!

OSU!

Nafis Zahir
03-30-2004, 11:16 PM
Since the word "attacker" was used, I assume what was meant was someone on the street and not an uke in the dojo. That being said, I voted Not very important. Why? Because I have no control over the extent of damage done to an attacker. The extent of damage to the attacker, all depends on them. If they do not attack me, then there is no damage! If they attack harshly, their own negative energy will magnify any technique I do and make it all the more devestating to them. I may choose a simple technique that may have complex results. After all, my response will be spontaneous and without much thought. I will do no more or no less than what is necessary, but still, the extent of damage is in their hands, not mine.

Michael Karmon
03-31-2004, 02:11 AM
Why?

Do you pressupose that the goal of life is survival? I think the great paradox of the martial arts is that to become a great martial artist you must be prepared to face death. When this can be done I think it is realised that there is no reason why your survival should be more important than theirs.

Ian
Ian, I dare say that your's is one of the weirdest posts I have seen.

If someone tries to physiclly hurt me or anyone I am responsible for then it is my duty to prevent it.

It is my beleive that it is morraly wrong to allow anyone that INITIATES violence to benefit from it and any one who initates violance does it at his own peril.

Furthermore, if someone attacks with deadly intent (knife etc.) then, morraly speaking, he forfeits his life upon doing so.

If it comes down to "my life or his" and no other option then I will kill him and will not think badly of myself.

Samurais were ready to die at an eyeblink but they fought and killed for their honor and duty to their master.

ian
03-31-2004, 04:56 AM
Samurais were ready to die at an eyeblink but they fought and killed for their honor and duty to their master.
Yep - but whilst serving their Lord (ie before becoming Ronin) they did not fight specifically to protect their lives; in fact 'mutual death' was thought to be very honourable in battle.

I admit fighting for your survival is often a natural biological impulse. Just as protecting your family (to continue your genes) is not far removed from protecting yourself. Also what is said and what is done can be completely different things (I admit myself)! However each one of us will die, our families and friends will die - in fact all humans will die. So what you are talking about is a short term solution; in my view it is far better to live however you (personally) feel is best for you, rather than to worry about right/wrong or survival.

(is that weird enough for you?) ;)

Ian

Michael Karmon
03-31-2004, 09:53 AM
Yep - but whilst serving their Lord (ie before becoming Ronin) they did not fight specifically to protect their lives; in fact 'mutual death' was thought to be very honourable in battle.
Mutual death was a very honorable option but I believe that death of old age can be even more honorable.

Now seriously, as a veteran soldier I can accept sacreficing your life for the greater good and for the sake of honour and country but, as my sergeant said, "Let THEIR mamas cry".
However each one of us will die, our families and friends will die - in fact all humans will die. So what you are talking about is a short term solution; in my view it is far better to live however you (personally) feel is best for you, rather than to worry about right/wrong or survival.

(is that weird enough for you?) ;)

Ian
Man, you are damn depressing,:( "we are all gona die so why bother"

I think your are BS-ing us or you should see therapist, like ASAP.

Chad Sloman
03-31-2004, 10:13 AM
I don't understand. Why do we have to kill our attacker? Why do we have to use more force than is warranted? If we have the tools to bring peaceful resolution from conflict, then why don't we use them?

Michael Karmon
03-31-2004, 10:22 AM
I don't understand. Why do we have to kill our attacker? Why do we have to use more force than is warranted? If we have the tools to bring peaceful resolution from conflict, then why don't we use them?
No one said you had to kill your attacker. I think the question was 'to what extent will you go to prevent harm from a real attacker'

To the most of what I have been reading, most say that they will us enough force to stop him but would hurt the oponent rather be hurt themselfs.

Personally I believe in the old Haiku "Don't start nothing there will be nothing'

Chad Sloman
03-31-2004, 10:45 AM
No one said you had to kill your attacker. I think the question was 'to what extent will you go to prevent harm from a real attacker'

To the most of what I have been reading, most say that they will us enough force to stop him but would hurt the oponent rather be hurt themselfs.

Personally I believe in the old Haiku "Don't start nothing there will be nothing'
what scenario could you paint where you would be given that choice? When do I ever have to choose let myself be hurt or hurt my attacker? Once I have gained dominance over my attacker, I choose to cause major harm or not. I choose not.

Taliesin
03-31-2004, 12:41 PM
For myself I voted somewhat necessary. Although I must point out that whilst according to Dave Organ, Candian Law says you can only use the minimum force necessary in the UK (England & Wales particularly)the rules are you can use 'reasonable force' (a question of fact in each individual case) and are not required to 'judge matters to a nicety'.

At the end of the day I personally feel that my entitlement to prevent someone hurting or injuring me is far more important than their 'right' to avoid being hurt by someone they attack. I do believe that it's better to be judged by 12 than carried by six.

As far as the argument that placing a value on your own life can make cowards of us all I would say, it's sensible to value your life. But that doesn't mean that you wouldn't risk your life for something you percieve to be of greater value. In particular home and family.

Besides failuring to do anything effective to defend yourself from an attacker, means that not only will you be a victim but others are more likley to as well.

Just my thoughts

Michael Karmon
04-01-2004, 01:51 AM
what scenario could you paint where you would be given that choice? When do I ever have to choose let myself be hurt or hurt my attacker? Once I have gained dominance over my attacker, I choose to cause major harm or not. I choose not.
Chad,

Here is an example:

a few years ago, While riding a bus, a group of young punks, 15-16 years old, went on and started bulling some of the older passangers. I decided that I will not pretend that I am deaf(I am not very clever). I started to get their attention.

After a very enjoyable mutual bad-mouthing (I was hoping that it will be the end of the confrontation) they began to get phisical. BTW,At that time I was doing Kung-Fu. I warned them once, and on the second go at me I smacked one guy over the mouth and grabbed the other in a wrist hold. That was that, the smacked one sat down in shock and the other one pleaded his release. Every one went off on the station and that was that.

Now, I was well within the bounderies of the law to punch in punk #1's face and give #2 a broken wrist. I didn't because they were punks and no real threat to me.

Matt Gallagher
04-01-2004, 12:55 PM
I have heard very high ranking Sensei say "I cannot demonstrate real Aikido since it is a deadly art" (or words to that effect) and have also heard that O Sensei shared this sentiment. I took that to mean that real Aikido is about life and death - not that surprising when you consider the origins of the art - and not to mean that the aforementioned Sensei could not show the appropriate level of control when practising Aikido (for real or in training). I voted 'Critically Important' because by training I hope to achieve such mastery of myself in any situation as to have the choice of life, death or anywhere in between.

Chad Sloman
04-01-2004, 10:49 PM
Michael, it sounds to me like you used excellent aikido in your situation. Did you not want to cause them physical pain? Maybe I'm coming from somewhere else on this, but it reminds me of my high school football coach. He would ask us when we were laying on the field after being creamed: are you hurt or injured? Two very different things. I find it critically important not to injure my attackers but I don't feel bad if they hurt. Pain is our friend in aikido, it tests the resolve of our attacker and gives them an out before getting injured. I do agree that if an attacker injures themselves because of resistance to technique or not knowing how to fall, that it's not our fault. I just don't like the idea of using more force than necessary, ie breaking bones, snapping necks, etc. Just because I plant a good atemi and somebody might get a black eye, doesn't mean that I wasn't loving them at the same time. But if I was poking out my fingers and gouging out their eyeballs, that would be a different story.

Doka
04-02-2004, 02:11 PM
Yes Chad,

Reasonable force!

But what is that if they are intent on killing you?

DaveO
04-02-2004, 04:56 PM
He may be attacking out of rage, drugs, alchohol, stupidity, mental illness, etc! They don't give a thought to winning!

I think that you missed the dry humour in my post! Dry in that it is so true! You may have to break the everyday law to stay alive! In the UK they call it reasonable force!

True!!??

:ai:
Not true; sorry.

A person may be out oh his head as described; but regardless of the attacker's mindset; he believes a)he is right and b)he can get away with it. For reference; I've dealt with all the types you described: the drunk, the drugged, the enraged, the mentally ill (and that is often a misnomer; an excuse for antisocial behaviour. I'm talking about genuine mental illness here.) In each case; the above holds true.

As for breaking the law; the law is specific on the matter; remember that you have to get through a jury's interpretation of the law. A defence lawyer can take your testimony and make you seem to be the bad guy provoking his poor innocent client. Remember also that if you break the law; you are by definition a criminal; regardless of your percieved justification. You can easily become the bad guy in such a situation.

Physical SD skills should be used for only one purpose - to achieve breakaway; nothing more.

villrg0a
04-03-2004, 01:30 AM
i voted critically important

DaveO
04-03-2004, 06:52 AM
Please let me correct something I said above. In my last post I said: A person may be out oh his head as described; but regardless of the attacker's mindset; he believes a)he is right and b)he can get away with it.
I maintain the point; but He believes he is right is incorrect at best - a better term would be "He believes he has justification".

Sorry 'bout that. :)

Lucy Smith
04-19-2006, 06:11 PM
Regardless of the attacker's state of mind, I'm a 16 year old girl who's just not going to stop and think "oh, he's not bad, he didn't mean to try and rape me, he's got mental issues". No, I''m gonna beat the crap out of him. Wait, don't think that anyone who just looks at me funny will get that, the thing is, what was he trying to do? If he just wanted my back pack, of course I'll just apply a pin as "politely" as I can and run away. But if it's late at night and he does some really agressive atempt to grab me or something that's not just to get some money, then I won't pitty him at all. When he's at the floor, I'll just keep kicking his face untill I know he's unconcious and then spray his face with my pepper spray and call the police.

I know this may not be the Aikido spirit, but the world is not perfect and some people are just to mean to let them get away with it. We can't just let go those sort of people because the next girl will probably not know Aikido at all...