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Chuck Clark
07-04-2000, 10:43 AM
Hi everyone,

I was just reading some of the posts here on AikiWeb Forum and I see lots of folks using the words "competition or competitive" and I would like to kinda pick this word apart a bit because I think our society's usage is skewed. I would appreciate your thoughts after reading the following essay.

Competition
This article originally appeared in the Jiyushinkai Budo News and
then was reprinted in Furyu, The Budo Journal

I am a competitor. I grew up competing for grades in school and victories on the athletic field. Now I compete in the business world. At times it seems my whole life is a competition. So, what drew me to aikido? This is a noncompetitive martial art with no tournaments, trophies, or the other traditional trappings of competition. Am I trying to escape from competition?

My involvement in aikido has forced me to question my understanding of competition. I've always thought of competition as winning or losing. Where did I get this idea? As a kid I was told that it doesn't matter if I win or lose, but it's how I played the game that counts. As an adult, I was told that winning is everything, and the only thing worse than losing was failing to compete. This approach to competition seemed to produce a state of warfare in my life. Every situation became a confrontation resulting in either a win or a loss, and losing was unacceptable. Is competition reflected in this zero-sum view of life?

The word compete comes from the Latin competere, which is a compound verb formed from com that means 'together', and petere that means 'to seek'. Therefore, compete originally meant 'to seek together'. Webster's defines compete as 'to come together or to strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective'. These definitions appear more closely related to aikido than my zero-sum view of life as 'winning is everything'.

So, maybe aikido is competitive. It is a journey we take together, seeking an objective, and hopefully as we travel our journey moves from the unconscious to the conscious.

I believe that competition has become confused with combat, which is a zero-sum path. Combat comes from the Latin combattere, which means 'to fight together'. Webster's defines combat as 'fighting with and striving to reduce or eliminate'. These definitions appear to be more consistent with our society's understanding of competition. We like to view our activities in terms of warfare. Why else do we find Sun Tzu's The Art of War in the business section of our bookstore, or hear athletes talking about 'taking no prisoners'? Are these competitors or combatants?

Traveling along the road of competition is healthy, and it is only when we detour into the darkness of combat that we lose our way. Confusing the two roads has deprived many people of the chance to experience the lessons of competition. Some have become engrossed with the idea that winning is everything, and they only see life as a series of battles in a war. The only purpose to their life is winning, but they never question what they have won. Others are scared of losing, so they refuse to play the game. They become spectators, failing to participate in life, and losing by default. Neither of these groups understands that competition is part of our journey through life, not the final destination.

Life requires participation (getting your hands dirty; putting our hand in your partner's face; taking a fall), and participation involves the risk of failure. In The Art of Peace, O-Sensei says, "Failure is the key to success, each mistake teaches us something." How can we find failure or success if we confuse competition with combat?

Success and failure are 'mile markers' along the road during competition. We use them to gauge our progress. We should learn from both our successes and our failures, because neither are permanent nor final stops along the road. However, in combat, success is just a reprieve until the road ends in failure. Which road do you wish to travel?


Copyright by Roger Alexander 1996 All Rights Reserved

(Roger was a professional baseball pitcher and is now a teacher and coach as well as a sandan in aikido.)

Thanks,

akiy
07-04-2000, 10:54 AM
Good points there, Chuck.

I don't think competition is a bad thing, even in aikido. I feel that competition with ego leads to the concepts of winning and losing, something that's probably not "right" in aikido. However, competition in it's purest sense will help both parties learn and grow in a cooperative manner.

(I have a quote here on my whiteboard at home that says, "Always make new mistakes." As long as I'm open to making mistakes, I feel like I'm open to fixing them, too...)

-- Jun

Chuck Clark
07-04-2000, 11:16 AM
Happy 4th of July, Jun!

By training with the "real" meaning of competition and the intent to transcend the fear or worry of "winning and losing" we have the chance to actually succeed in this transcendence.

I think if we do not have a "competitive attitude" there is no real chance to grow. However, if we have, as Roger says, taken to using the concept of "combat" while using the word competitive, we just muddy the waters. We are then trying to eliminate something that is necessary to succeed in the practice.

I think there was a mistake made in translating M. Ueshiba's teachings by using the word "competitive" as meaning a zero sum activity where there is a winner and loser. Of course this is paradoxical because most of us for a long, long time feel deep in our guts that we "lose" every time someone makes a technique on us when we don't expect it, etc. This is why the transcendence is necessary. Winning and losing isn't important ... until it IS important! We must know the difference.

AikiTom
07-04-2000, 02:39 PM
Good insight. Wanting to excel and wanting to win are two different things, or maybe one at different points on the same continuum. A matter of degree. Pressing yourself to excel is good I feel because you take pleasure at achieving something that took focused effort, whereas in winning some take pleasure from the fact that someone subdued/dominated another.
On a tangent, a thought I always have liked is in the Sun Tzu book, in which it is asked, "What is the object of war?" Someone answers, "Victory," and they are told that's not correct. Rather, it's "Peace." The knowledge behind the exchange is that "victory" is not lasting, and often prompts retaliation in a new try for "victory," in a cycle of violence. And that is where an excessive thirst for "winning" on the mat, can be dangerous, not fun, and distort the mood/culture of a school.

giriasis
07-05-2000, 01:40 PM
Thank you Chuck.

That article made me think of my band competitions in junior high and high school. The schools in my home county were part of the Florida Bandmasters Association and they did not believe in competition. They believe that to excel in music a muscisian should "compete" against him or herself. We did not compete for first, second or third but rather for Superior, Excellent, Good ratings. We were judged for the quality of our performance rather judged against other performers. So essentially if all participants were good enough, they all could receive a Superior rating.

Even now as I learn and practice aikido this concept of competing with oneself has been reinforced so I can become a better person whether it is in law school or in the dojo.



[Edited by giriasis on July 5, 2000 at 09:42pm]

dbgard
07-05-2000, 03:33 PM
I liked the thread concerning irimi and tenkan, but I was having trouble logging in to respond. I'd like to sum up my thoughts on it. Irimi at its highest level is entering a distant or future situation with one's mind, then deciding whether or not to physically enter this friendly or dangerous environment. If a positive outcome is predicted, then it is time for either irimi "hug" as Dennis Hooker Sensei taught at a seminar of his which I attended, or irimi nage to "cleanse" the situation. If one forsees a negative outcome for his or her self, then tenkan / kaiten is far more noble and wise than iriminage. I hope y'all like my thoughts on that =).

Aiki is Eternal,
Drew Gardner
Gokyu (but ALWAYS a beginner)
Aikido Schools of Ueshiba
FSU Aikido Club, Tallahassee, FL

Nick
07-06-2000, 11:08 PM
I believe that competition, in Aikido, even as described above, is still a bad thing. Competition is about winning, IMO, and if someone in an Aikido dojo tries to "compete" with others, the results are disasterous. Uke comes in with an attack, and BOOM! Nage wants to show everyone his technique is soooo good (competition) and throws uke with excessive force, breaking his wrist.

Now, this is an exaggeration of course, but as O-sensei said: "There is no attack. To be attacked is to lose." So therefore, if we try to attack each other (competition), we both lose...

-Nick

Chuck Clark
07-06-2000, 11:42 PM
Nick,

You're missing the point.

The "construct" you're using for competitive is skewed and slanted towards aggression and combative behavior which is destructive and does not contribute to learning aikido.

Combative training relationships do not form trust and intimacy between partners.

Training in a way that leads to transcendence of winning and losing must have a true "competitive" intent but without aggression and the zero sum attitude of a combative intent.

Nick
07-07-2000, 07:14 AM
damn... I hate it when you're right :).

-Nick

dbgard
07-07-2000, 06:43 PM
Chuck,

This is an aikido website. If you would like to discuss the beauty of competition, reverse evolution, and killer instinct, please start your own website for your martial "art", godblessyuwazzap aikibudo or whatever. In aikido it is my understanding that a positively numbered sum is better than a zero sum. I think you are forgeting a key philosophy of the East when you make your bold statements. (Remember, the East is where all this great budo came from that we practice.) Here it is:

Increase can often be Decrease.

e.g. 2 + (-1) equals 1. Adding something negative to such a noble number as '2' will only manifest itself as a step in the wrong direction.

Do not fret, increase can also be increase!

e.g. 2 plus 1 equals 3. do you understand, Chucky? I look forward to your feedback on this matter.

the number 0 is terrible! that's the goto statement in computer programming, it's the endless cycle of rebirth in Hinduism and Sikh (I think), 1 is no-mind, 0 is no life. Life is a sport, so drink gallons of water and pee in the toilet so as not to kill flowers in the garden. There I go again rambling, I'll say bye for now.

Drew "The Man" Gardner
Arrogance is Only Fun
When it is Harmless

Chuck Clark
07-07-2000, 07:01 PM
Mr Gardner,

Young sir, you show your instructors that you list in your profile great disrespect by treating anyone in such a disrespectful manner. I'm certainly glad that I don't have to put up with you.

'Nuff said.

Keith
07-07-2000, 09:23 PM
Drew,
Are you referring to Chuck CLARK? Because I see the exact opposite of what you are criticising in your post. Have I missed something? Help me out here. Perhaps you think he meant "competitive" in the way it's normally used in our culture, when he actually meant it in the spirit of the first post. Of course if I'm the one who has misunderstood Mr. Clark, he is welcome to correct me.

Keith Engle

AikiTom
07-07-2000, 10:33 PM
Dang!
I'm with you Clark Sensei.

[Edited by AikiTom on July 9, 2000 at 01:39pm]

dbgard
07-08-2000, 09:25 AM
AikiTom wrote:
Dang! I, too, am speechless. Feel like I was sitting in an empty room, and an airplane flew in one window and out the other! A little too much rawness to be beautiful in that mental Altoid.
Arrogance ain't harmless or fun, and it hurts or gets hurt on the mat.
I'm with you Clark Sensei.


I don't respect the ego, neither should anyone else, an uchi deschi of O'Sensei's for 15 or so years once became a Tengu and taught me that. Sorry y'all didn't pick up on it. I hope you learn it soon or form your own little martial "art" because aikido has no room for the likes of this bull shit.

Peace,
Drew

AikiTom
07-08-2000, 09:28 AM
[Edited by AikiTom on July 9, 2000 at 01:40pm]

dbgard
07-08-2000, 10:08 AM
thomas,

Since you have all the right words and the perfect order for them, why haven't you written a book yet? Or maybe you just couldn't find a publisher. keep the faith kohai!! Oh, and you seem to be a little obsessed with me, and if you feel that turning into anger-filled, psychotic envy, Dr. Drew recommends fluoxetine HCl (Prozac). Take care now, bye bye then.

8P
Drew "Mr. Misogi" Gardner

p.s. I use the words in the proper way I think, just not the way in which you can complete your psychotic secret mission in life (I apologize for that) NOTTTT!!!

Nick
07-09-2000, 07:41 PM
Drew:

I understand the kind of person you are. You believe you are right, and everyone else is wrong. Perhaps we are. However, you have no right to personally attack someone or call their philosophy bullshit because you don't agree with them is not only arrogant, but is stupid, and in real life will get you hurt. You should be more repectful of everyone on this board, and also their opinions.

Also- how do I understand the kind of person you are? Because I used to be that kind of person. Then I found the art that is called Aikido, and it totally changed my life. I now have respect for everyone, no matter how low my opinion is of them, because everyone thinks that they are right. Are my words and thoughts bullshit? Perhaps. However, if they are, I don't want to see the truth, because this bullshit called Aikido is amazing, and has permentantly changed my life.

I only hope you realize the spiritual aspects of Aikido soon.

Peace,

-Nick

AikiTom
07-09-2000, 08:54 PM
Nick, thanks for the back-up, bud. The problem with a "'roid rage" guy like this isn't his words or his lack of understanding of aikido, (for instance, his statement "gokyu but still beginner's mind" - Duh, gokyo IS a beginner, Drew!) it's that he doesn't see these faults.
This type of person always hurts someone on the mat, and leaves a trail of injuries. I doubt he works out with the senseis he mentions - they wouldn't tolerate that behavior.

Pete
07-10-2000, 02:18 AM
I think another aspect of this chaps disrespect for people is the way he changes your name without permission in his posts. I wouldn't dream of calling Chuck Clark Sensei 'Chucky', and if TOM chooses to sign his threads TOM, who is he to decide to use THOMAS?? After all, your given on your birth certificate name may actually be TOM!!

The thread itself is very informative, AND I think, quite ON TOPIC about Aikido, after all, as far as I can tell, one of the BIG questions revoloving around in the Aikido world, seems to be 'should Aikido be competetive'!!

I personally don't get a great deal out of 'competetive combative' sports, but enjoy trying my best against friends in say bowling as much as the next guy. In Aikido, the only person I compete against is me! After all, I am the only one that is getting in the way of bettering myself in the art!!

Domo Arigato

Pete

Chuck Clark
07-10-2000, 08:43 AM
Hi everyone,

This struggle with the concepts of how to be "competitive" without being "combative" is troublesome. I suspect we have gotten so used to using these words while meaning the same thing that we don't have a word for what it's like to be able to stop worrying about winning and losing.

What if we just "always try to do the best we can without worrying if we're 'better than someone else (or even how we were yesterday)' and just do the practice."

If we value the budo aspect of the practice then we must enter into the paradox of "caring whether we let the energy of the uke do its intended job or to get off the line, blend, take balance, and render that energy harmless" but not caring whether we "win or lose" or that we're "right or wrong" or that we're better than the other person. Just do the practice, try our best to survive a dangerous encounter (if it ever occurs), and let the relative dynamics of life determine all of those other things.

Thanks,

dbgard
07-10-2000, 10:59 AM
All these grandiose opinions, and I have yet to hear a direct quote - or any type of substance - from one of the great aikido books out on the market. I do recall Erik Sensei mentioning one of Leonard Sensei's books, but the rest of you? Don't you want to share a viewpoint on a work by John Stevens, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Saotome Mitsugi (besides just his photos and discussion of aikijutsu)??? Wouldn't anyone like to thank Ikeda Sensei for operation one hell of a good aikido equipment business? I would.
This personal assault crap has gotta go, in my opinion, because compared to Saito Sensei, Saotome Sensei, and other rokudan and higher-ranking Sensei, we are all little ants trying to climb the hill in the U.S.
Maybe there's a hill in each country of the world which will one day be climbed by all the good citizens. One that glorious day the world will sing together. Honestly though, any one of we aikidoka conversing on this web page who is below the rank of rokudan, let's say (so we can draw a line somewhere), is a baby in aikijutsu. I know of students who have never even set foot in an aikidojo who are Sensei and Sempai to me in Aikido. Those who have acheived a form of satori and have found their personal Maai I consider Sensei and Sempai in the Way of Truth, the Way of the Kami, the Way of the kami, the Way of Harmonious Blending with the Spirit of God, the Way of Harmonious Blending with the Spirit of Good.

Drew

giriasis
07-10-2000, 12:49 PM
"In the Art of Peace we never attack. An attack is proof that one is out of control." --Morihei Ueshiba

or

"the Art of Peace can be summed up like this: True victory is self-victory; let that day arrive quickly!" --Morihei Ueshiba

From the way you speak, your words are very disrespectful. There are ways of expressing your disagreement without attacking them. I have read many of Chuck's words and others on this site and their words have given reason for deserving respect.

Just because someone with more experience, more knowledge, and more understanding of aikido disagrees with you does not mean you are less. It is just that they disagree.

My question to you would you speak to these people this way in person? I don't think so.

Anne Marie


[Edited by giriasis on July 10, 2000 at 12:59pm]

Nick
07-10-2000, 02:49 PM
It is amazing the kind of zeal and bravery people get when their words cannot hurt them in real life. However, that bravado goes away for many faced with an attack. It is at that point that our bullshit turns to Aikido, and we subdue the opponent.

Also, to Pete: Who said we had to quote anyone or anything? Our own opinions have effect also.

-Nick

dbgard
07-10-2000, 03:14 PM
giriasis wrote:
"In the Art of Peace we never attack. An attack is proof that one is out of control." --Morihei Ueshiba


A perfect example of hypocrisy and/or bold statements in light of lack of coherence and/or gratitude.

Do you think that calling me a coward and extremely disrespectful is a compliment of sorts? Sounds like a verbal attack to me. One which I deal with much more often than the physical attacks.

Fighting fire with fire gets nobody very far, try cooling the "hot ones" down with a little water, maybe everyone will feel better. Or, are you just trying to make an uncomfortable situation here behind the guise of an innocent girl? If so, you are kind of being a bitch. Take care now, bye bye then.

Drew G.

Nick
07-10-2000, 03:48 PM
"Take Care now, Bye Bye then."

I hope you will heed your own words and leave this board. Your presence is dragging us off-topic and starting a flame war.

-Nick

dbgard
07-10-2000, 07:48 PM
Nick,

C'mon buddy, this art is about staying lighthearted I think (though not necessarily 'flaming' as you might say hahaha).

It's time to do away with this macho "look at me I'm a samurai in a long skirt" nonsense, and for the love of God start enjoying ourselves.

If I happen to throw a quote or two in from Ace Ventura, that should be funny I think, didn't you see those movies?

Hasta la vista, baby,
Drew

JO
07-10-2000, 08:43 PM
To bring this thread back to the meaning of competitive. I have to disagree on the competitive/combattive split. Maybe it was our messed up society that changed the meaning from the latin, but I can think of no one speaking english who would use the word competition to describe people striving together for something, not from a teamwork perspective anyway. To quote the Oxford dictionary under competitive "having a strong urge to win".
In ecology (my field of study), we use the word competition to describe two or more organisms striving for one common resource with the idea that if one gets it the other doesn't and this is pretty much in line with the general usage of the word. For two organisms working together for mutual gain, we use the term mutualism or symbiosis.
Using this terminology I would say that aikido is (or strives to be) a mutualistic martial art, and that this is part of what I enjoy about it.

Nick
07-10-2000, 10:13 PM
one thing- I meant Drew, not Pete, in my above post.

-Nick

Chuck Clark
07-10-2000, 10:30 PM
Great post, JO

This is the sort of discussion I had hoped to get going.

I agree. What I call our randori practice for example is a "managed competition based on the recognized need for a symbiotic relationship of mutual trust and growth." Similar to your biological model.

Something different about it though, is that we engage in a desensitization and resensitization process in order to transcend 'winning and losing', which is of course, paradoxical. While doing randori, each person must be trying one hundred percent to take the partner's initiative and make the best quality of technique possible while at the same time ... not really caring who throws or is thrown as long as it is a "sweet technique."

This is very hard to understand for many people and extremely difficult to learn to do. It is a process which takes perserverance and great focus of our intent. We go through various levels of attitudes which we often aren't proud of, but if we continue in the right direction, we eventually reach the goal.

Once you really don't care if someone "catches" you, the sensitivity to the process reaches very high levels and you're so relaxed that you learn that there are still many options to make kaeshiwaza, for example. A person who "fights" and is unwilling and uncomfortable being at risk lacks the sensitivity to feel the openings.

The process takes quite some time and there must be a strong motive in the practitioners to cooperate in this mutual learning exercise while using this 'competitive' attitude of trying to 'win' without caring who actually wins. Often it boils down to ... "some get it, and some don't."

Experienced judo players can tell immediately, for example, who knows the difference between randori and shiai. You can tell at first contact by the way the person responds to having their balance broken.

Well, enough for now. I am interested to know what you think about these ideas.

Thanks for your input.

Pete
07-11-2000, 03:13 AM
Why does throwing in a quote from a book by a recognised Aikidoka make a persons point more acceptable to some people? Why rely on what is basically that one authors point of view on something, when even the lowliest grade, or even someone who has never done Aikido may be able to bring a fresh view point to what ostensibly could become a stagnant discussion! This world of ours, this 'democracy', and especially this FORUM is supposedly built on free speech and having the chance to air your view without fear of reprisal, or rebuke. And too often like most things it gets bogged down in petty bickering and childish ignorance (of which we are all guilty of, even me!!). Every single person, from a no kyu right up to the Doshu himself has the right to express their view and to live life how they choose. So, in the interests of democracy, the forum, and humanity in general perhaps it would be nice to 'listen' or read, digest others points of view, and then reply in a courteous AND respectful manner without resorting to name calling, or bickering!!

Peace people. After all as Aikido is 'The Art of Peace'.

Pete

George S. Ledyard
07-11-2000, 06:39 AM
It was suggested earlier that we look to the great Senseis for our inspiration and essentially stop spouting our own ideas. Well, I must say that I have read every book in English on Aikido, some more than once. I go back over and over to the best ones. There is a point in which you have to take the concepts and great ideas and make them your own. The reason I submit my ideas to the forum is to practice putting them in coherent form and checking to see if what I am saying seems to make sense to others. Not only that, but without your own personal training to illuminate the words of the teachers with such a depth of experience you won't necessarily understand what they mean anyway.

The whole issue of what is competition is an interesting one. If my partner does not allow me to throw him when my technique isn't adequate, is that competition? I once attended an Aikido seminar and was training with a student from a different dojo. We were doing katate tori related techniques. I grabbed the wrist of my partner in the way that I do when I am out at someone elses place (not the way I would with my own students or as I would with my training buddies). In other words I was being polite about it but trying to give good energy. The person was completely unable to move. Normally I would have immediately backed off because clearly the person wasn't up to training at even that reduced level. But before I could make the adjustment the training partner said to me "You're very resistant! Your energy body isn't very sensitive." I was flabbergasted to realize that as a partner I was expected to make their technique work for them. That in pointing out the complete lack of understanding which my partner had (even though I hadn't been intending to do so) I was considered at fault. I am sure that that person would say that I was being competitive. But at the point where it is the uke's fault that you can't do your own technique, does anyone have any idea what is going on in the training? Is there even training going on at that point? I don't think so.

I have had the experience many times of doing a whole two-hour class with Ikeda Sensei as my partner. On a number of occasions I hardly did a technique the whole time. His turn to throw I fall down, my turn to throw, I fall down. You get the picture. When you stand across from someone like Ikeda sensei and look in his eyes you see implacable partner. There is no doubt in your mind that one way or another he will do whatever it takes for you to go to the ground (and I mean he'll do it with skill and precision, without injuring you at all). His martial intention is something to behold. In my younger days I would defeat myself before he even had to do a technique just do to the strength of his intention. I finally got to the point where I would at least endeavor to make him work for it. I would shoot for a small grunt or something that would act as a sign that he actually had to devote some small effort before I went flying. Very occasionally I would get it; most of the time, not. I know that many people in Aikido would look at what we were doing as competition. It is in a sense. in a sense. But I would say that they misunderstand the nature of the competition. When Ikeda Sensei is training like that with me he is being the grindstone on which I polish myself. I can't say that it's always fun because of course we all really are attached to success and it's not so reinforcing to have to face the fact that you can't do something. But its extremely valuable. Talk about having to deal with your ego. That kind of training is a form of tough love. But Ikeda Sensei is also a very "clean" gentleman. You can train that way with him precisely because you can trust that on the rare occasion that you get the better of him on a technique, he won't make you "pay" the next time as many teachers I've encountered will do. I trained for fifteen years before I ever managed to hit one of my teachers. When I finally pulled it off I went home to tell my wife "I did it, I finally got him!" Saotome Sensei's response when I was able to strike him was a smile and the simple comment "good" and them I went flying as usual on my next attempt. He was genuinely pleased that I had been able to land one.

That kind of training you can only do with a small number of people. It requires an agreement between you that honesty in your technique is what you are looking for. If I don't have it, I don't want my students falling down. How can I get better if they are giving it to me? If my partner stops my technique I say "Thank you" (as long as the arrangement is mutual). People can give each other a very hard time on the mat and look very competitive. But its the attitude behind the competition that counts. You can have a competition of sorts both with yourself and your partner as long as it is not trying to make yourself bigger at the expense of someone else. When you give your partner a hard time out of respect for him because he deserves your best efforts as uke and you expect the same from him that may have some elements of competition in it but its a positive version.

O-Sensei once did a demonstration in which one of his ukes pulled his attack; he didn't attack with real intention because he feared that O-sensei (who had been very ill) couldn't handle the attack. O-Sensei broke his arm because he hadn't come in cleanly (not intentionally so but as the result of a attack that had incorrect energy). He expected that he would be attacked all out and in fact that was the only way to really be safe when you took the ukemi.

I think there is a large component of competition in our practice but it is a competition that doesn't have winners and losers. Winners and losers happen in sport and combat. In our form of competition there aren't any winners and losers, the participants all win because they all get better through the efforts they put in.

[Edited by George S. Ledyard on July 11, 2000 at 06:48am]

JO
07-11-2000, 06:58 AM
I agree that intent has a lot to do with whether or not you are being competitive in aikido. There are no competitions in our practice in the conventional sense (say as in most sports). However, if when practicing you resist a technique to prove to yourself or to your partner that you are better than him you are competing with him. If you resist his technique because he is missing something, I find it helps if you give him an idea about what is missing both when I am resisiting and when being resisted against, then you may actually be helping that person improve.
If I go back to my biological model, it is only competition if you take something away from the other to give yourself (or in this case you ego) a boost. But if you give something back to the person and help them reach their goal (of a better technique) how can you be seen as competing with them.
I do find it tricky to know how much to resist a technique though. Some partners seem to like a strong resistance to see if they can still do the technique while others get quickly frustrated, hopefully with experience I will learn to read which is which more quickly.

Chuck Clark
07-11-2000, 07:41 AM
George,

What you're describing is very much what we do in randori except we have a method for teaching people to do it. Of course, we start very slow but committed to full movements full of intention. If you start a movement, you have to complete that movement to it's natural finish (ie. when going slow it's easy to realize you have made a mistake. You must understand that if you were going regular speed, it wouldn't be possible to stop and change your movement, so you continue and learn what the outcome is).

Eventually after quite a few years of this practice, we can go full speed and power at times. This is very strong and difficult practice and isn't done very often. We prefer to go about 1/3 speed or so. It's a very powerful learning tool. Your brain is picking up information whether you're doing the technique or end up taking the ukemi.

dbgard
07-11-2000, 10:19 AM
Ledyard Sensei,

Yes it is sometimes tough love, a very samurai love. My congrats on connecting a punch to Mr. Saotome I've seen him "live in concert" and I don't think he gets hit too often. My home dojo is affiliated with the ASU, so Saotome Shihan is our...well....our shihan. 8). I went to a seminar of his in Orlando not too long ago. After the seminar, a few nidans were testing for sandan, which certainly was exciting and quite humbling to watch.

One of the nidans was called out to do a randori with three shinai wielding "ninjas" attacking. He kept on trying to use their own shinai against each other, execute textbook techniques, and I think, just all-around look cool. He kind of reminded me of Johnny Ringo in Tombstone[.

After getting smacked in thr forehead full-force by at least 2 shinai, "Ringo" ended up getting his promotion.

Shihan decided he'd let us know a slightly better way of accomplishing randori. Well, A MUCH BETTER WAY. Saotome M. Shihan asked the "ninjas" to take positions on the mat, and yelled ATTACK!!!! I don't think he even had to touch one attacker or one shinai, he just moved through it all. He was taking a walk through the park, and the attackers were only helping Shihan's breath circulation my mixing the air molecules around him with their missed slashes.

Some Amaebi Heads for the Recycle Bin,
Drew

Erik
07-11-2000, 12:51 PM
You see an attractive member of your desired sex you....

a) let your internal feeling of love attract him/her to you.

b) rely on the harmony of the universe to put the 2 of you together.

c) express your interest whilst highlighting what makes you a better partner than all the others doing the same thing. In other words, you compete with them.

If you are smart you compete based on that. If you are rich you compete on that basis. If you are good looking you compete on that basis. In nature you see this when males compete for the females affections. The strongest gets to mate and the loser doesn't. The competition helps to ensure the best mate with the best.

I remember my 8th grade math teacher fostered competition amongst 3 students and we each moved much further than we otherwise would have. Competition was a tool to get us to work harder and learn more. I'd suggest in that environment it was very much a positive thing.

I do recall Erik Sensei mentioning one of Leonard Sensei's books, but the rest of you?

I hope there's another Erik out there. I've been fortunate (hopefully those in the class agreed with that interpretation) to have taught a fair amount and played a fairly major part in more than one school but I definitely don't fit the generally accepted usage of this term. Hell, I'm not even close to being the senior student in rank or time where I currently hang out.

Also, my suggestion would be to not use this term here at all. My understanding is that the term simply means teacher but for some reason it often seems to carry strange overtones which lead to bizarre and strange behavior. My fear is that it causes people to subordinate what might or might not be valid opinions. Maybe these are just my own personal issues but I've seen some big huge hangups around that term and they weren't fun to be around.

JO
07-11-2000, 03:04 PM
Yes we all compete at some time or another for something. This usually makes life harder although sometimes it just makes it interesting.
As for competition at school, I think that this is a perfect example oh how competition can be a problem. When in CEGEP (Quebec's junior coillege system)I was in an advanced program with a small number of students, we tended to help each other out with our school work, to everybody's advantage. In the general school population, I heard many stories where competition for grades was so high that students would avoid giving any help or even mislead their peers. This generally creates great stress.
Personnally I always aimed for high grades but not necessarily for grades higher than anyone elses. So I have helped many fellow students over the years. I once coached a friend through a stats test, she thinks she would have failed without me, instead she did better than I did (although we both got A's).
I think we can all strive for our ideals (high grades, money, great aikido technique) without competing. For myself, when it came to grades I compared myself to my ideal more than to the other students.

Erik
07-11-2000, 04:02 PM
JO, your missing the point I was making (or I made it badly). We were not competing for a scarce resource. We were competing to learn. It's different from your educational example where there are limited resources (scholarships or whatever) and winning or losing can make the difference between a good education and a job flipping burgers. It might if there are only so many opportunities for advanced education. In the latter case I'd imagine almost anything goes.

Chuck Clark
07-11-2000, 04:04 PM
Consider some ideas from concepts of sport from earlier times... "it isn't whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game," etc. or how about, "winners never cheat and cheaters never win."

These sayings are almost laughable now in big time pro sports, collegiate money making athletic programs, even high school programs which have become farm teams in essence for the colleges and pros. I have no problem with these programs producing good athletes who plan to try to make a living in the pros. However, the tactics and goings-on behind the scenes to succeed are not reminiscent of the sayings quoted above.

Business now is not just competition for a share of the market; it's more often "put the other guys out of business!" Sounds like lots of nasty, combative stuff to me.

Erik
07-11-2000, 04:29 PM
Chuck Clark wrote:
Consider some ideas from concepts of sport from earlier times... "it isn't whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game," etc. or how about, "winners never cheat and cheaters never win."

These sayings are almost laughable now in big time pro sports, collegiate money making athletic programs, even high school programs which have become farm teams in essence for the colleges and pros. I have no problem with these programs producing good athletes who plan to try to make a living in the pros. However, the tactics and goings-on behind the scenes to succeed are not reminiscent of the sayings quoted above.

Business now is not just competition for a share of the market; it's more often "put the other guys out of business!" Sounds like lots of nasty, combative stuff to me.

I couldn't agree more. I used to regularly play in pickup basketball games and for some of us it was good exercise and occasionally good competition. I used to like nothing better than to have someone better come out because it motivated me to play better and see how good I could be.

For others it was different. I used to have to endure arguments, fights and generally deal with petulant children. I've been intentionally hurt, heard of knives and guns coming to play and even been in one fight myself (pre-aikido). I've watched people cheat and lie when the only reward was winning a game no one would remember playing the next day. We're talking games with nothing on the line, yet these people lied and cheated. It was amazing to behold.

One other positive aspect to this is that occasionally someone would get under my skin and piss me off. It helped make things real, was often a very good learning experience and interestingly enough the energy of the anger would often be the catalyst for an improvement in my game. It's an interesting energy and one I've not really been able to duplicate on the mat.

dave
07-11-2000, 04:38 PM
Nick wrote:
damn... I hate it when you're right :).

-Nick NICK if any one was rightit was you,tthe point was participation and cooperation,some would justify competition and aggression if they could.

Orange
07-11-2000, 07:42 PM
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I was flabbergasted to realize that as a partner I was expected to make their technique work for them.

I know this is off topic but...

I have seen people resist techniques in such a way that Nage is forced to pick a different technique. I can't think of any examples offhand but I do know that locking the elbow often turns a relatively painless technique into something that can become rokkyo. In cases like these, we usually have uke do something they aren't doing instinctively for the sake of the exercise, in essence, making nage technique work.

JO
07-11-2000, 07:47 PM
Erik, I think I understand your position. Comparing oneself to others and "competing" to acquire knowledge or skill can be a strong motivation for improvement but I have seen it get out of hand. If you are motivated purely by the thought of being better than the others you may try to bring them down rather than bring yourself up. You and your classmates may have been above that kind of behavior but many are not and it does not necessarily take anything as seductive as a big scholarship to bring it out (although it can help, the worst stories I have heard are from students trying to get into med school).
I think maybe the question comes down to the line between frienly competition and no holds barred competition, personnally I have found that that line is easier to cross than we like to think (I've seen enough fights in little league hockey and baseball to know that much).

Chuck Clark
07-12-2000, 12:04 AM
JO wrote:

Comparing oneself to others and "competing" to acquire knowledge or skill can be a strong motivation for improvement but I have seen it get out of hand. If you are motivated purely by the thought of being better than the others you may try to bring them down rather than bring yourself up

I agree wholeheartedly. That's exactly why we need training in a controlled learning environment monitored by a teacher who has gone through the process and has achieved some level of their own self-control.

Running away from or refusing to deal with these human problems in dealing with conflict are not the way to learn behaviors which give us the tools to resolve conflict.

Great discussion now, by the way. We all have much to learn from each other!

Thanks,

[Edited by Chuck Clark on July 12, 2000 at 04:07pm]

Yo-Jimbo
07-14-2000, 01:54 PM
People most often set their personal records when competing with others. Gold medals have that effect. It is easy to motivate one to reach for the carrot or avoid the whip. Sometimes that motivation is greater if someone else can get the carrot or whip too.

I've always played basketball by the words, "If your not trying to win, why keep score." -Worf. I love how it pushes me to perform, win or lose. Still, not long ago, in a pickup game a (football) player that was on the other team riped my shirt off my back because he was frustrated by losing. My aikido in that situation was to take off the remains of my shirt and keep playing. He taught me to blend with and channel unnecessary aggression and I taught him that being mad and voilent isn't enough to keep one from losing two more times.

Competition is not inherently evil. Cooperation is not inherently good. I happen to prefer cooperation with others towards positive goals to even competing with myself. Aikido is said to be about destroying the "competitive mind" and the "ego". During training, I try to defeat my desire to compare myself to others while being aware that everyone has various abilities that are stronger/weaker than my own. I'm not afraid of competition/conflict with others; I just try not to go looking for it.

When playing multi-player computer games, I now find it more fun to play on the same side as one of my friends and lose to the A.I. (computer player), than to beat one of my friends when playing the game against them. I look to work together if it is at all possible, if the activity has no point without competition with others (like Black Jack) then I enjoy it for what it is.

Boiling it all down: do others agree that it is the craving of conflict aspect of competition with others that must by eliminated?

Can competition (or lack thereof) with oneself be just as destructive?

Chuck Clark
07-14-2000, 04:15 PM
Welcome to the AikiWeb forum,

Of course competition with yourself can be bad, any competition CAN be bad.

"Ultimately Master Ueshiba concluded that the true spirit of budo is not to be formed in a competitive and combative atmosphere where brute strength dominates and victory at any cost is the paramount objective."

K. Ueshiba

From the quote above I sense that M. Ueshiba sensei was "qualifying" those attitudes. What if we can be competitive without using brute strength and we've actually gotten to the point where we don't really care who makes the technique because we've realized that we both learn from both sides of the experience.

If we have no competitive sense in our intent, how can we care about "self-defense," how can we really be motivated to take the initiative and be the one who is making the quality decisions about where all this energy is going?

I think what it comes down to is - do we practice aikido as an artful exercise or do we include the aspect of aiki (bu) do? Both have value. We should just make sure which we really want to do and then be sure we're practicing in a manner that actualizes our intent.

Regards,

barry.clemons
04-29-2007, 06:27 AM
Thread Resurrection

Sensei Clark,

With respect, these are the first thoughts that occured to me when (past the interruptions) I read this thread;

- Our environment has intertwined the concept of winning and losing with the idea of success and failure. To be successful in 'life', you have to 'compete' for the good job (and continue to compete for the job in respect to job security and promotion), 'compete' for the house and car (there is an element of competition derived in your finances in the form of your credit unless you bought your house with cash), and even in some religiously spiritual aspects there is 'competition'.

- How can one apply this change in mentality to their environment, not just on the mat?

I felt your words on this subject merited its reintroduction for further discussion.

Great post, JO

This is the sort of discussion I had hoped to get going.

I agree. What I call our randori practice for example is a "managed competition based on the recognized need for a symbiotic relationship of mutual trust and growth." Similar to your biological model.

Something different about it though, is that we engage in a desensitization and resensitization process in order to transcend 'winning and losing', which is of course, paradoxical. While doing randori, each person must be trying one hundred percent to take the partner's initiative and make the best quality of technique possible while at the same time ... not really caring who throws or is thrown as long as it is a "sweet technique."

This is very hard to understand for many people and extremely difficult to learn to do. It is a process which takes perserverance and great focus of our intent. We go through various levels of attitudes which we often aren't proud of, but if we continue in the right direction, we eventually reach the goal.

Once you really don't care if someone "catches" you, the sensitivity to the process reaches very high levels and you're so relaxed that you learn that there are still many options to make kaeshiwaza, for example. A person who "fights" and is unwilling and uncomfortable being at risk lacks the sensitivity to feel the openings.

The process takes quite some time and there must be a strong motive in the practitioners to cooperate in this mutual learning exercise while using this 'competitive' attitude of trying to 'win' without caring who actually wins. Often it boils down to ... "some get it, and some don't."

Experienced judo players can tell immediately, for example, who knows the difference between randori and shiai. You can tell at first contact by the way the person responds to having their balance broken.

Well, enough for now. I am interested to know what you think about these ideas.

Thanks for your input.

Chuck Clark
04-29-2007, 07:17 AM
Thread Resurrection

Sensei Clark,

- How can one apply this change in mentality to their environment, not just on the mat?

It's about truly understanding your original nature and then making your "outsides match your insides" with the goal of uplifting all beings and doing as little harm as possible.

It's about learning to share appropriately (you have to make it "fit" each instant... the real meaning of takemusu aiki in my opinion). It's about the quality and long term vialbility of a simbiotic managed competition with each of us trying to do our best and taking care of each other.

Jigoro Kano said it simply: Seiryoku Zenyo Jita Kyoei. Best Use of Energy with Mutual Benefit.

Budo practice in this philosophical model is a training method and demonstration of a way to achieve this in our whole life.

I had forgotten about this thread from years ago. It is still the heart and meaning of my practice and what I try to pass on to others. Thanks for bringing it back.

Kevin Leavitt
04-29-2007, 08:41 AM
I like alot of the work of Stephen Covey. He covers it best with the concept of creating a Win/Win society or mentality.

Win/lose is short sighted and eventually (at least philosophically), it catches up with us. Sometimes in ways we don't even realize!

I think much or the suffering we experience in life is due to the fact that much of what we do is based on the concept that in order to "Gain" someone else has to lose.

I don't think it necessarily has to be this way and I try and strive for creating synergy and win/win where ever I come.

Aikido is a good allegory and practice for this type of philosophy and mentality as it seeks to create synergy, heal, and to find options other than win/lose.

jennifer paige smith
04-29-2007, 11:51 AM
Nick,

You're missing the point.

The "construct" you're using for competitive is skewed and slanted towards aggression and combative behavior which is destructive and does not contribute to learning aikido.

Combative training relationships do not form trust and intimacy between partners.

Training in a way that leads to transcendence of winning and losing must have a true "competitive" intent but without aggression and the zero sum attitude of a combative intent.

I'm really enjoying this discussion and I have some experience with both sides of the competition equation, as do many of us here.

I come from a sports competitive background and the environment was really powerful in stimulating me to do my best, to seek together, as Mr. Clark defined so nicely, and to grow in our skills as a team. What it didn't do was move my mind beyond the human construct toward the flowing power of NATURES WHOLISTIC MODEL which doesn't stop or begin with competition, as sports do. (even darwinian posits are fragmented in juxtaposition to natures fullness). The trap of competition is that it appears to be complete. The ultimate test, if you will.
Someone in sports said "it isn't wether you win or lose, but how you play the game." To me, the larger aspect of aikido is 'how you play the game'. O'Sensi tried to play it like nature, it seems.
He spoke of the the 'body level' of practice and the 'spirit level' of practice; nature being the model of spirit.
I recently wrote an article for the Federal Government in which I stated "competion has no place in the pursuit of harmony". I was challenged by my own convictions after I saw the article published and I felt less certain about my assertion that it was 'useless'. On a level, I agree with my own understanding. On another I know competition in appropriate context is healthy. So I continue to dance the dance of context and look beyond my own incomplete human terms for life. Sometimes competing, sometimes harmonizing, sometimes doing both. Always looking beyond.;)

L. Camejo
04-29-2007, 01:20 PM
Chuck,

This is a brilliant thread. Apparently it existed a long time before I joined aikiweb so I never saw it.

My personal view is inline with Chuck's, but then again this view is also Tomiki's view of what can be accomplished through competition and is in line with the original olympic ideal of human beings coming together "to meet and to test" which is also a translation of shiai if I am not mistaken.

The negative impressions many get from the word competition I think is unfortunate since what happens in reality is that competition forces us to dig deep into ourselves and try our best to succeed. The problem is since we are dealing with human beings who all possess weakness and fear, digging deep brings out stuff that is not all peaceful, harmony-seeking or a positive influence on those around us or ourselves. When we focus on winning alone we lose sight of the true purpose of competition.

Imho the definition of competition has never changed but the weakness and base elements of humankind, when forced to the surface as a result of the pressures and challenges of competition, have over time changed our general perception of what defines competition. In effect many are blaming the mirror (in this case competition) for what it reflects (mankind's general tendency to resort to base/life or death survival instincts when placed under extreme and severe pressure).

To me competition is critical if one is practicing Budo since it does not take the aloof road of denying that the baser elements of humanity exist, but it confronts those baser instincts and forces us to cut deeply at the true enemy, which is the self and our need to win at any cost and be combative (not competitive) with out fellow humans.

Just my 2 cents.
LC:ai::ki:

L. Camejo
04-29-2007, 06:02 PM
Sorry, that last line should have read "With our fellow humans."
Gambatte.

Chuck Clark
04-29-2007, 06:09 PM
Good post Larry. I look forward to someday meeting you and training together. Ain't it grand!

Best regards,

George S. Ledyard
04-29-2007, 06:51 PM
My partner, Genie Rivers is a beginner in Aikido but she was a national championship fencer. She has always been a bit irked by the "disrespect" shown by many Aikido people for competition and felt it didn't recognize the extent to which competition could be an essentially "spiritual' endeavor (see the discussion of "spiritual" in the other thread).

I think an essential element in the "spiritual" side of competition is losing. Of course we strive to win. But most people doing an activity are not in competition to be "the best". only a very elite group of folks ever have a shot at that. So most folks compete and their experience is a mix of wins and losses, just like everything in life.

The place where competition becomes a trap is when you hit the top. Genie found that she started to find her sense of self worth being defined by staying on top. It became about the winning, about the recognition she got by winning, about how she felt about herself when she won. She stopped competing and started doing Aikido because (as we do it) it didn't have any competition and she was a total beginner so she didn't get many strokes for her efforts as an aspiring 6th kyu (not an easy thing to wean herself away from). I think she is getting ready to get back into her fencing and I think her perspective will be totally different now.

Most folks don't run into this issue as they will most likely lose as much as they win. For most folks there is always that person who can beat them so they don't get caught by the trap of winning.

tarik
04-29-2007, 10:16 PM
Great thread. As part of my training lately, I've been reviewing old notes, old threads, and old messages in my e-mail and re-evaluating discussions I'd read and/or participated in years ago. It's an interesting process and a revealing process how greatly our understanding changes and grows over time. It's also mildly amusing to see some of the old flames and immature behavior that comes and goes over time on these forums.

Anyway, I love the content of this thread and I'm glad to see it resurrected. I come from an educational background that tried to take back the idea of what good competition means (a school based on supposed real Greek classical thought). I've striven against the idea of zero-sum practice for a long time and at this point, in the interests of clearer communication, I'm willing to consider conceding the use of the term competition to those who think competition must mean combativeness, even though I think it describes well the training process that Chuck Clark describes.

If so many people refuse to acknowledge that competition can be appropriate and not combative, perhaps a more precise term is required.

Of course, when I tried to convey this sort of training in person, like George Ledyard, I have met resistance to the idea that a partner should offer any sort of challenge to a tori practicing a technique, so it is not just in words that we need to learn clarity.

Kevin Leavitt
04-30-2007, 03:16 PM
I think competition can be looked at macroscopically and microscopically, or internal verses external.

To me, there are two basic types of competition. Sports competition is one form, and then competition in which we desire to possess something that may not be possessed.

It is possible to compete in say a judo tournament and still stay focused on your internal goals of self improvement in a healthy way, using competition as a means to assess, grow, and establish a bond and cooperative spirit with your fellow judoka.

However, once your attitude becomes "win at any cost", and you become focused on winning is the only thing...it becomes unhealthy.

I think it is okay to compete in sports and maintain the right perspective on the meaning of winning. Winning and losing in sports is not the same thing as winning at all cost.

I think many lose sight of the distinctions and lump "competition" into one huge category and view it as a bad thing in any form.

tiago
05-20-2007, 04:53 AM
the matter is simple:

Competition is only for loosers

think about it.
regards,

tiago

tarik
05-20-2007, 09:43 AM
the matter is simple:

If it were simple, why are there so many posts and discussions about it?

Competition is only for loosers

Pithy. Meaningless. An observation that is actually untrue.


think about it.


I have. The most I've ever learned has occurred because of failure, so I'll stick with 'competition', thanks.

jennifer paige smith
05-20-2007, 11:28 AM
Seems like we definitely talk about the simple things the most.

If you wish to align yourself with O'Senseis teachings, you will need to align yourself with nature at some point.You will (need to /choose to )abandon the model of competition that we are discussing here to surmise how nature really functions.To open your mind to a new model. If this is your training goal, as it was for the founder,to train in the model of nature, than this will break down.

Nature is simple. Re-aligning our lives and egos with it is not.

Just try competing with it.

tiago
05-20-2007, 12:26 PM
From the Oxford American Dictionary in my Mac:

Compete: strive to gain or win something by defeating or
establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same

Competition is only for loosers
you've chosen competition
now you know you'll never be a winner
it's a fact, but do as you like
Jennifer has been much more eloquent and I agree with what she says
and, by the way, failure does not come from competition
and life is not a competition
if the most you've learnt, you've learnt it in a competition...
I hope you see my point so I don't need to actually say it

L. Camejo
05-20-2007, 01:36 PM
In light of recent posts I think this link may be of some assistance, especially those interested in competition as it occurs in nature as well as "definitions" of competition.

http://globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/competition/competition.html

An ongoing issue with this thread is that various people see competition in various ways (this issue goes all the way back to Ueshiba M and Tomiki K). Their definitions of the thing will directly affect how they view it.

Just to add a bit of confusion in the hope of bringing clarity, in this thread alone we have at least 2 dictionary definitions of competition:
From the Oxford American Dictionary in my Mac:

Compete: strive to gain or win something by defeating or
establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the sameandWebster's defines compete as 'to come together or to strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective'. These definitions appear more closely related to aikido than my zero-sum view of life as 'winning is everything'.

It is agreed however that both words come from the Latin root competere which is defined as follows:
to strive together, from Latin: to meet, come together, agree, from com- together + petere to seek (http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-synonyms/compete)

I think how you already feel about the concept will have much to do with the definition you prefer believe is the correct one imho. This returns us to the point that the whole issue is really one of perception and prejudice and not what the actual meaning of competition is. The Latin root is clear as to what the word means, even if English translations are somewhat varied imho.

So the real question is: "Is your interpretation of competition congruent with the practice of Aikido?"

Imho many are confusing competition with contest and combat.
Gambatte.

Chuck Clark
05-20-2007, 02:14 PM
Good post Larry. It amazes me how many people will not budge from their own view and try to look through a wider window to achieve a broader view. Part of competition is not only with others but with ourselves so that we're able, no not only able to learn and change even though it can be frightening, but to look forward to the constant change in all things and be willing to discard some things as well as accept new things. When we can do this following universally understood values of best efficiency with mutual benefit then we will know true competition as a means of growth and sustenance over the long term.

tarik
05-20-2007, 05:13 PM
From the Oxford American Dictionary in my Mac:

Compete: strive to gain or win something by defeating or
establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same

Competition is only for loosers,

Your dictionary contradicts you.


you've chosen competition
now you know you'll never be a winner
it's a fact, but do as you like

You are not a mind reader, and you clearly do not know what I have or have not chosen. It appears that you haven't read my posts and the posts of those I reference in context and thought about much what was actually said.

I hope you see my point so I don't need to actually say it

I am not a mind-reader, so you'll actually have to say it.

tarik
05-20-2007, 05:46 PM
If you wish to align yourself with O'Senseis teachings, you will need to align yourself with nature at some point.

I'm very interested in his budo, and his humanity and his passion. Like every other human being, his foibles are what make him interesting, but why would I want to model my life after a man who did the things he did and made the choices he made? I want my children to know me and enjoy spending time with me.


You will (need to /choose to )abandon the model of competition that we are discussing here to surmise how nature really functions.To open your mind to a new model. If this is your training goal, as it was for the founder,to train in the model of nature, than this will break down.

I'm sorry Jen, but your comments about nature completely violate everything I've ever learned by actual observation. Nature is extremely competitive. As a gardener, you should have some idea about that.

As someone who majored in biology in college, and studied anatomy, and who is fascinated by nature and it's examples, I would offer the following current conclusions:

1) Competition is a fundamental part of nature and natural systems.

2) What we really are learning when we learn "aiki" is not natural at all. If fact, it is directly counter to our instincts of how to deal with opposing force. It works by studying nature and working WITH natural movements and responses and reaction to create a new outcome, but the chosen actions of tori are not 'natural' in any normal sense of the word, although they certainly do have to become relaxed and 'natural' movements.

What I am exploring in my training today is in fact to remove my natural responses and reactions to being attacked and to have the ability to choose something else. Hardly 'natural', IME, to change my internal responses to being hit, pushed, or otherwise attacked.

Ask me again in 10 or 20 years and we'll see if I've modified this opinion.

Nature is simple. Re-aligning our lives and egos with it is not.

Nature is the most complex system in existence. The global warming fiasco is a great example of an oversimplification of science and an understanding of how and why the world is changing.

[QUOTE=Jennifer Smith;178800]Just try competing with it.

I had steak for dinner last night. Mmmmmm.

Regards,

tarik
05-20-2007, 05:53 PM
So the real question is: "Is your interpretation of competition congruent with the practice of Aikido?"

Imho many are confusing competition with contest and combat.
Gambatte.

Amen.

Larry, I agree with you and Chuck.

Regards

Janet Rosen
05-20-2007, 07:02 PM
I note with a small smile and a bit of satisfaction that the linguistic root of competition is the same as for competent. How does one get to be competent?....

PeterR
05-21-2007, 01:13 AM
From the Oxford American Dictionary in my Mac:

Compete: strive to gain or win something by defeating or
establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same

Competition is only for loosers
you've chosen competition
now you know you'll never be a winner
it's a fact, but do as you like
Jennifer has been much more eloquent and I agree with what she says
and, by the way, failure does not come from competition
and life is not a competition
if the most you've learnt, you've learnt it in a competition...
I hope you see my point so I don't need to actually say it

Let me see if I understand this.

You are a winner if you don't compete and a looser if you do?

Is anyone else just overwhelmed by the irony here?

tiago
05-21-2007, 01:53 AM
of course it is ironic!
oh, god
I will have to say it
but later, now I'm in a rush
best,
tiago

PeterR
05-21-2007, 02:19 AM
Usually I hate it when long dead threads are resurected but this one had a few gems peppered througout - glad I re-read most of it.

I liked the one below - especially the comment concerning randori and shiai in the Judo context.

Great post, JO

This is the sort of discussion I had hoped to get going.

I agree. What I call our randori practice for example is a "managed competition based on the recognized need for a symbiotic relationship of mutual trust and growth." Similar to your biological model.

Something different about it though, is that we engage in a desensitization and resensitization process in order to transcend 'winning and losing', which is of course, paradoxical. While doing randori, each person must be trying one hundred percent to take the partner's initiative and make the best quality of technique possible while at the same time ... not really caring who throws or is thrown as long as it is a "sweet technique."

This is very hard to understand for many people and extremely difficult to learn to do. It is a process which takes perserverance and great focus of our intent. We go through various levels of attitudes which we often aren't proud of, but if we continue in the right direction, we eventually reach the goal.

Once you really don't care if someone "catches" you, the sensitivity to the process reaches very high levels and you're so relaxed that you learn that there are still many options to make kaeshiwaza, for example. A person who "fights" and is unwilling and uncomfortable being at risk lacks the sensitivity to feel the openings.

The process takes quite some time and there must be a strong motive in the practitioners to cooperate in this mutual learning exercise while using this 'competitive' attitude of trying to 'win' without caring who actually wins. Often it boils down to ... "some get it, and some don't."

Experienced judo players can tell immediately, for example, who knows the difference between randori and shiai. You can tell at first contact by the way the person responds to having their balance broken.

Well, enough for now. I am interested to know what you think about these ideas.

Thanks for your input.

skinnymonkey
05-21-2007, 09:36 AM
Didn't O-Sensei get some of his best students (Tomiki, Shioda, etc) by allowing them to attack him so he could "prove" that his Aikido wasn't just a show? Those are probably bad word choices, but it seems to me that testing yourself and showing your technique isn't the same as competing. I'll bet that Shioda or Tomiki wouldn't say that they "lost" to O-Sensei and I'll bet O-Sensei didn't feel like he "won" against them. It was just an honest way to show the technique and the principles of Aikido.

Here is a perfect example of this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2TJoq0lPHM
This is from an old documentary and what you don't see is that Ueshiba was sitting and watching this as well. So was this "Competition" from Tohei? Did it serve to enlighten "Herman" or did it just make Herman a loser?

I don't know the answers to these questions for certain, but it seems to me that you can use honest techniques against resistance without sacrificing the ideals of aikido.

What do you all think? Is this competition in this video? Was it competition when O-Sensei did it with Shioda or Tomiki?

Thanks,

Jeff D.

dps
05-21-2007, 10:10 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2TJoq0lPHM
.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1T3ZG_JqqY

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
05-21-2007, 10:57 AM
I hadn't seen the Tomiki/wrestler video before. That was interesting.

tiago
05-21-2007, 02:39 PM
hi,

I will first try to respond to Tarik, and then more generally, in case somebody finds my point of view interesting.

Tarik,
I don't have to read your mind, I say you chose competition because you said so. You should read your own posts.
To understand my point you don't need to be a mind reader either, just read between lines:
Life is not a competition
if the most you've learnt you've learnt in a competition
then get a life
The most I've learnt was during the worse and the best moments in my life, none of them had anything to do with any competition.
It reminds me a strip from Mafalda (the cartoon by the genius of Quino) although it's not related to competition:
one child is working hard with a ruler and scissors, making a paper plane. Another child comes and asks what is he doing.
- I'm trying to make this plane great! - he says
- oh, I see... what I would like to make great is my life... - his friend responds, and leaves
the first one looks at the paper in his hands, throws it away, and runs to play with the other children

So, in general, what I think,
If you want to talk about competition, then talk about competition. Don't tell me that competition, in fact, means something else, which happens to be almost the opposite of what we understand by competition, and which is in accordance with Aikido theory. Please, be honest. Try the following exercise if you like:
A - last night, my family and I competed for my glasses

what is the sentence with the closest meaning to A:
1- last night, my family and I joined efforts to find my glasses
2- last night, my family and I tried to determine who was the best at something, and the winner got the glasses

So you see the meaning of competition, which is close to what we understand when we talk about competition in nature. Or nobody else sees that some are trying to find "competition" not aggressive, and then talk about "how natural" it is, in fact, to compete, when we could say that competition in nature is probably the most aggressive of all.
People are trying (consciously or unconsciously) to bend the meanings.
In fact, what we call "competition" in nature is what humans see as competition. I'm sure that the lion trying to get some food for its cubs, or the zebra, trying to survive, don't see it as a competition. It is the same with aggression. You have to be very careful not to humanize animals' behaviors. I think it is confusing because it is called "competition" in the biological sciences, but it is just a name.

I agree that testing is not competing. Otherwise it would be impossible to learn anything. The problem is that in Aikido there's a thin line between practicing hard, testing, and competing. And the problem is much worse because it is not explicit (except in the Tomiki-ryu) and probably nobody would admit that they're competing, although sometimes you can feel how they are competing... from little clues... or can you?
Another thing I found, is that many times what I thought was a non-cooperative uke, a competing uke, or just a bad person, where in fact my misreading of my partner, probably of a different school, or used to a different way of standing. So I've decided that, unless somebody challenges me explicitly, I will never assume there is any kind of competition (and if I get challenged, I would never compete, of course) Similarly, I've learnt not to judge others' technique as inferior or worse than mine, as I've heard too many times people saying that of each other reciprocally (both to me separately, of course)

And about the irony,
competing is only for losers
it is!
some people apparently have a problem with being a loser. They could try and think why...
the sentence was meant as a joke. To call somebody a loser, is, in some way, competing already.
but on the other hand, I also think it is true
The concept of competing is inseparable of the concepts of wining and losing (with or without aggression, that's a different issue)
once you accept competition, you accept the division of the universe in winers and losers
it's a fact!
and by that, you become yourself a loser, automatically, as nobody wins always at everything
If you want to look at it from a different perspective:
when you compete, you are placing the outcome of your success in your competitors. Therefore, you're not free anymore. You depend on your competitors to proclaim you a winer (in case you win, of course) and then, even if you win, if you're the best and everybody claims you're a hero and nobody could ever defeat you, even then, that victory is empty, because it's relative.
so there, I've said it

Sorry for the long and boring reply.
That was it, I promise.
And sorry if my english is not perfect, it's not my mother tongue.
Best,

tiago

miratim
05-21-2007, 04:43 PM
A - last night, my family and I competed for my glasses

what is the sentence with the closest meaning to A:
1- last night, my family and I joined efforts to find my glasses
2- last night, my family and I tried to determine who was the best at something, and the winner got the glasses

Or 3, which may represent what competition can sometimes accomplish:

3- the previous few years, my family and I competed in scavenger hunt and hide and seek, honing our skills against each other to become faster and smarter. So when I lost my glasses, we competed against each other again to see who could find them first. No matter who actually found them, we all won because we found my glasses very quickly and could get back to regular family time.

mjhacker
05-21-2007, 05:16 PM
what is the sentence with the closest meaning to A:
D. You're a blind loser with no life?

tarik
05-21-2007, 05:17 PM
I don't have to read your mind, I say you chose competition because you said so. You should read your own posts.

What else did I say about competition and the use of the word?


Life is not a competition
if the most you've learnt you've learnt in a competition
then get a life


I'll presume your aggression is merely a poor use of a second language.


If you want to talk about competition, then talk about competition. Don't tell me that competition, in fact, means something else, which happens to be almost the opposite of what we understand by competition, and which is in accordance with Aikido theory. Please, be honest.

I see significant intellectual honesty presented in the opinions in this thread.

People are trying (consciously or unconsciously) to bend the meanings.

I think it is confusing because it is called "competition" in the biological sciences, but it is just a name.

It's ok to 'redefine' or tweak the meaning of a word to more precisely match our intent and meaning as long in a scientific context, but not in Aikido?

and if I get challenged, I would never compete, of course) Similarly, I've learnt not to judge others' [...] as inferior or worse than mine, as I've heard too many times people saying that of each other reciprocally (both to me separately, of course)


the sentence was meant as a joke. To call somebody a loser, is, in some way, competing already.
but on the other hand, I also think it is true


<ahem> So why are you competing here? ;)

some people apparently have a problem with being a loser.

Not here.

The concept of competing is inseparable of the concepts of wining and losing (with or without aggression, that's a different issue) once you accept competition, you accept the division of the universe in winers and losers

Go study game theory.

If you want to look at it from a different perspective:

I DO look at it from a different perspective.

when you compete, you are placing the outcome of your success in your competitors. Therefore, you're not free anymore. You depend on your competitors to proclaim you a winer (in case you win, of course) and then, even if you win, if you're the best and everybody claims you're a hero and nobody could ever defeat you, even then, that victory is empty, because it's relative.

If I am defining my win-loss criterion, it really doesn't matter what my 'competitors' say or do; but I'll agree with you to the extent of saying that I choose me 'competitors' VERY carefully to be people who agree with my goals and are willing to help me achieve them. So yes, in that sense, my success depends upon their cooperation and their competition.

Regards,

PeterR
05-21-2007, 08:12 PM
I hadn't seen the Tomiki/wrestler video before. That was interesting.
I assume you meant Tohei.

The last part was clearly demonstration but the first part it really looked like the wrestler was trying to come to grips and was nicely controlled.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
05-21-2007, 08:50 PM
I assume you meant Tohei.

The last part was clearly demonstration but the first part it really looked like the wrestler was trying to come to grips and was nicely controlled.

Sorry; it was a typo. I recognized it was Tohei, but I guess when I started typing some synapses got crossed and I used the wrong "T-name".

Sort of how like they say avoid writing a story with two characters whose names start with the same letter...it's surprisingly confusing.

jennifer paige smith
05-22-2007, 09:21 AM
This has become a very competetive converstion.

We are a family (like it or not). While we're competing we are removing ourself from our family time (inversely related to above post about scavenger hunt and glasses..sorry don't remember which number). If we were cooperating in task then we would never be leaving our 'family time' or our musubi. We would be in consistent principle:circle:..

Basia Halliop
05-22-2007, 09:32 AM
While we're competing we are removing ourself from our family time

I guess some people never had fun playing monopoly, clue, racing, who can push who off the couch first using only their feet, last one there's a rotten egg, potato-sack races, had a snowball fight, etc or any other good spirited games with friends and family when they were little... competitive games can sometimes be very fun games to play _with_ family, IMHO, if the attitudes towards it are good. Of course if the attitude is unhealthy, then it can be totally different (like a bad gym class or whatever).

jennifer paige smith
05-22-2007, 09:34 AM
I'm very interested in his budo, and his humanity and his passion. Like every other human being, his foibles are what make him interesting, but why would I want to model my life after a man who did the things he did and made the choices he made? I want my children to know me and enjoy spending time with me.

I'm sorry Jen, but your comments about nature completely violate everything I've ever learned by actual observation. Nature is extremely competitive. As a gardener, you should have some idea about that.

As someone who majored in biology in college, and studied anatomy, and who is fascinated by nature and it's examples, I would offer the following current conclusions:

1) Competition is a fundamental part of nature and natural systems.

2) What we really are learning when we learn "aiki" is not natural at all. If fact, it is directly counter to our instincts of how to deal with opposing force. It works by studying nature and working WITH natural movements and responses and reaction to create a new outcome, but the chosen actions of tori are not 'natural' in any normal sense of the word, although they certainly do have to become relaxed and 'natural' movements.

What I am exploring in my training today is in fact to remove my natural responses and reactions to being attacked and to have the ability to choose something else. Hardly 'natural', IME, to change my internal responses to being hit, pushed, or otherwise attacked.

Ask me again in 10 or 20 years and we'll see if I've modified this opinion.

[QUOTE=Jennifer Smith;178800] Nature is simple. Re-aligning our lives and egos with it is not.

Nature is the most complex system in existence. The global warming fiasco is a great example of an oversimplification of science and an understanding of how and why the world is changing.

I had steak for dinner last night. Mmmmmm.

Regards,
Tarik, Just because it violates your personal understanding doesn't make it wrong.


Please look into Master Fukuoka's texts 'Mu Farming" or 'The One Straw Revolution' before you attempt a discussion about what I should know about nature and how it works. After that, we can talk. Until then, keep scarfing the meat.

mjhacker
05-22-2007, 09:54 AM
We are a family (like it or not). While we're competing we are removing ourself from our family time (inversely related to above post about scavenger hunt and glasses..sorry don't remember which number). If we were cooperating in task then we would never be leaving our 'family time' or our musubi.
In my dojo family, we cooperate precisely BY competing appropriately with each other. To do any less is to lie to my brothers and sisters. Yet... somehow, we are closer than any other dojo family I've ever been a part of.

Hmmm.

The painful truth is that many (if not most) of the rabidly anti-competition "peace and love" folks I've experienced are, in reality, extremely passive-aggressive abusers who talk a good game, but whose true heart is actually very different from what they'd prefer to believe it is.

<sarcasm>Oddly</sarcasm>, we don't seem to have (m)any of those folks in our family.

Direct honesty and appropriate use of competition in training either weeds these people out or changes their nature.

jennifer paige smith
05-22-2007, 10:13 AM
I have been taught to view the whole art and it's practicioners as my family, not just my dojo. My 'great-grandfather' taught that the art was not for competition. I have yet no reason to dis-believe him.

Chuck Clark
05-22-2007, 10:40 AM
This has become a very competetive converstion.

I agree. It's the only kind of "conversation" I like to take part in. What's absolutely important is: we need to define our terms if we're to have a conversation that is productive. If different meanings are going to be used for the same word/s then we will continue to be at loggerheads and be wasting our precious breaths.

I'd rather not take part in: adverserial, antagonistic, combative, argumentative, passive-aggressive "conversations" or discussions that are really attempts to "defeat" or "win over" the "opponent" to a way of thinking or belief system while protecting one's own position.

Nothing wrong with that stuff in the appropriate venue. A courtroom for example, or a debate that is designed and intended to be adverserial. An academic that is being questioned on a therory that is being tested to try and disprove the theory. It must be vigorous and often adverserial in nature. I'm willing to do any of these all the way up to physical combat if I have decided it is absolutely necessary (and have done so in the past on many occasions. Unfortunately, the first time I was young and too naive and ignorant to understand I didn't have enough good information to make that decision. I learned.)

As pointed out earlier in this conversation/discussion it is very important to determine which common definition of "competition" you need to use that is germain to the general nature of the point at hand.

From the Oxford American Dictionary:
Compete: strive to gain or win something by defeating or
establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same

From the Webster's Dictionary:
Compete: to come together or to strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective.

It is agreed however that both words come from the Latin root competere which is defined as follows: to strive together, from the Latin: to meet, come together, agree; from com - together + petere to seek.

I prefer Webster's version when applied to the aikido ideal as do a lot of people I know and love to train with.

People keep using Ueshiba Morihei's statements about "competition." Please go to the trouble of looking into what he really said, not what other's have translated it as. There are many versions. Since very few people are alive today that heard him, we should be very careful about how we commit ourselves and our passion.

If we use language properly we can figure out, along with our gut level knowledge, what each other really is about. In a conversation, I'm not trying to change anyone's mind or beliefs... I want to find out what those are at whatever level the other person is willing to share. I'm looking for information, knowledge, and education, and am willing to share with anyone so we can all grow and enjoy each other if possible.

Sorry for the length of this, but it seems a bit silly to me to keep talking around the fact that we need to be specific about our terms and be willing to widen our view. If not, then we aren't having a "conversation" or a "discussion".

Ron Tisdale
05-22-2007, 11:30 AM
Similarly, I've learnt not to judge others' technique as inferior or worse than mine,

Hmmm, not sure I could tell that from the posts on this thread...

This is one of the perennial conversations on aikido boards. There are so many posts discussing this it's not even fun anymore. The only thing I can add is that we would probably get more mileage from looking at the Japanese word Ueshiba used when he made his statement on "competition", and understanding it in the culture in which it was used. The latin root, the common use in English etc., does very little to enhance our understanding of what Ueshiba meant.

Best,
Ron (I do find it odd that the ones who most espouse being open minded, often seem to me to be the most close minded. But then I've been told I'm rather odd...so...)

Chuck Clark
05-22-2007, 12:05 PM
I think competition can be looked at macroscopically and microscopically, or internal verses external.

To me, there are two basic types of competition. Sports competition is one form, and then competition in which we desire to possess something that may not be possessed.

It is possible to compete in say a judo tournament and still stay focused on your internal goals of self improvement in a healthy way, using competition as a means to assess, grow, and establish a bond and cooperative spirit with your fellow judoka.

However, once your attitude becomes "win at any cost", and you become focused on winning is the only thing...it becomes unhealthy.

I think it is okay to compete in sports and maintain the right perspective on the meaning of winning. Winning and losing in sports is not the same thing as winning at all cost.

I think many lose sight of the distinctions and lump "competition" into one huge category and view it as a bad thing in any form.

Sorry for the duplication, but I thought this post would fit here also.

tarik
05-22-2007, 12:34 PM
This has become a very competetive converstion.

I almost made the same point earlier. I find it ironic that people want to argue over explicit definitions instead of being willing to discuss how one explicit definition can actually be helpful or instrumental to the learning process. Instead people jump on and call everyone losers who acknowledge what they're doing as appropriate competition . How ironic, indeed.


Tarik, Just because it violates your personal understanding doesn't make it wrong.

Certainly not. What makes it wrong is that it violates the current consensus of theory and observation in today's comprehension of nature.


Please look into Master Fukuoka's texts 'Mu Farming" or 'The One Straw Revolution' before you attempt a discussion about what I should know about nature and how it works. After that, we can talk. Until then, keep scarfing the meat.

Working more efficiently with natures own processes (which include competition) does not change how nature works.

Regards,

Ron Tisdale
05-22-2007, 12:47 PM
Here is an example of where I think this conversation could most profitably go...

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=15050&highlight=competition#post15050

Or, in plain english, this is where the meat is... :D

Best,
Ron

dbotari
05-22-2007, 12:59 PM
Best,
Ron (I do find it odd that the ones who most espouse being open minded, often seem to me to be the most close minded. But then I've been told I'm rather odd...so...)

Amen brother.

Dan

Chuck Clark
05-22-2007, 01:24 PM
To make it clear from my own heart... I am completely in agreement with anyone that dosen't take part in sports (kyogi) type competition. I did for many, many years in judo and would not do it again. However, other facets of competion are, in my experience, necessary in learning budo. Of course, at some point, we actually can rise above it... if we are willing to go through the process of experiencing and learning what it is we need to rise above. I don't think it can be done only by intellectual conceptualizations and philosophical argument. I know people that I think have done it... I'l be the first to say that I have not... but I'm in the midst of it and on the journey. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

tiago
05-22-2007, 02:06 PM
just to leave things clear
just one more thing
or two...

I do understand the different meanings people are giving to "competition" in this conversation

some keep confusing competition with testing
I find no problem with testing
I like hard training, and a good, strong uke, that resists my technique
there's no competition there
but if you like, of course, you can call it competition
you can also say that the moon is the sea, and that Friday is the day after Monday

Then there are those who are fond of competition
because they use it as a carrot, to motivate themselves
and do unpleasant, although useful or necessary, things
this is ok, I've heard it is very effective
although I've never seen the need for such a trick
maybe I'm not the right kind of donkey

many thought I'm competing
and I believe it is because they have the competition-mind very deep in their souls
so be it
some people just don't get it, and there's no solution for that
although it is a pitty, and I'm sorry to see it

oh, well
the possitive side is that I chose to change my motto
now it's: "winners don't compete"
it sounds better
and the subconscious message is that competition is like a drug
:)

enjoy

tiago

Ron Tisdale
05-22-2007, 02:07 PM
Took some little digging, but found what I was looking for. Man, it's Peter G.' first post on the board! Talk about history...

Hello, Everybody,

This is my first post in this forum (so please be nice!). Cyber-shihan Ubaldo Alcantara first asked me for information on this topic and it took me some time to realise that it was in connection with Jun Akiyama's web site. I sent Ubaldo a reply, but then realised it was better to contribute to the forum myself. So here is what I have discovered in O Sensei's writings about competition.

1. The word which O Sensei uses for 'competition' is ‹‘ˆ@(‚‚‚‚‚: KYOU-SOU). The first character is composed of the Radials 117 (standing) and the character (344 in Nelson's dictionary) for 'ani' (brother). The second character is also read as 'araso' and the meaning of the compound is basically 'rivalry'.

The word ŽŽ‡@(‚‚ ‚ SHI-ai) has the sense of two teams meeting for a game or match and is not used by O Sensei.

2. Where does O Sensei discuss competition in Aikido? I have seen no evidence for any general declaration made by O Sensei against competition. There is a reference to sports understood by O Sensei in a western sense on Page 50 of Hideo Takahashi's book, "Takemusu Aiki", which records lectures given by the Founder. A translation of O Sensei's ideas is given on Page 21 of Issue 117 of Aikido Journal. There O Sensei does talk about competition as applied to aikido, always using the Chinese character I explained above. His views are clearly old-fashioned and he makes statements about Japan and western sports which are no longer true.

3. The reference to Tomiki Sensei and competition appears on pp.184-188 of "Aikido Ichiro", by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Doshu explains that Tomiki Sensei became a professor at Waseda University in 1954 but often came to visit the Founder in Iwama and Tokyo. Tomiki Sensei was a POW in Siberia and developed a system of aiki-taiso, probably to stay alive, and explained his system to O Sensei. In Kisshomaru Doshu's words,

"On seeing this (sc. Tomiki Sensei's system), my father said,

‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚@‡‹C@‚Ə‚‚‚č‚

"If you call this sort of thing "Aiki", it will cause problems."

Kisshomaru Doshu then goes on to discuss what happened afterwards. I muself have had lengthy conversations with Kisshomaru Doshu and with Okumura Shigenobu Sensei (9th dan), who first learned aikido at the hands of Tomiki Sensei and was later deputed to negotiate over whether Tomiki Sensei should use 'aikido' for his art. Okumura Sensei was clearly torn between loyalty to his sensei and loyalty to the Founder.

Best regrds to all,

Peter Goldsbury

The link to the thread is here:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=998
and is important for the follow up posts...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
05-22-2007, 02:09 PM
Tiago,

I don't know if it's the language difference, or if it's that internet thingy getting in the way. But you come off sounding WAY condescending and smug. No biggie...but you might want to at least be aware of it.

Best,
Ron

tiago
05-22-2007, 02:15 PM
sorry,
and the last, I promise
Tarik,
the only competition that there is in nature
is the one you bring
if you don't understand this
you don't understand, period
go think about it
instead of assuming that people don't know what you are talking about

tiago
05-22-2007, 02:17 PM
thanks Ron
I can see what you mean
but if you look at the thread, it was this ironic joke of mine
that produced some irate responses
you can do with it as you like
it is not my choice to lie in order to make anybody feel better

Ron Tisdale
05-22-2007, 02:20 PM
it is not my choice to lie in order to make anybody feel better

Hmm, well, wouldn't want you to compromise your principles, such as they are. :(

Best,
Ron

ChrisMoses
05-22-2007, 02:25 PM
but if you look at the thread, it was this ironic joke of mine
that produced some irate responses


Are you still joking in post #93? My sarcasm-detector doesn't work on your posts...

Ron Tisdale
05-22-2007, 02:35 PM
Actually, Tiago, I appologize.

This sideline is way off topic...I'd rather focus on the posts by Peter and others, than my own sniping.

Let's take it to PM if we must, or start a new thread. Jun, my bad, feel free to move my junk to new thread, or just delete.

Best,
Ron

tiago
05-22-2007, 02:48 PM
Ron,
sorry, that did sound harsh, right?
but in a way, I cannot admit that the moon is made of water, because someone chose to call the sea "moon", and I don't want to disturb his mistake...
and there might be a language component also
but I cannot help but feel very sad for this people who are looking forward to "resume normal family time"
I'm really sorry, I know it's me, so don't bother to get angry
I wish everybody many years of normal family time
just as much as I wish my family will never get to be normal

Christian,
There is no joke in post #93
although I see it sounds strong
(especially the "go think about it" part, I could have said "please, try to consider it...", but it wouldn't have had the same effect)
my point is strong
if you read from my first post, you'll see I tried to explain everything in the best way
but some people just get angry at what they don't understand
instead of asking "what do you mean"
they just accuse you of whatever, trying to feel safe and in control again
so be it

thanks both, I apreciate your concern

tiago

tiago
05-22-2007, 02:50 PM
sorry, Ron, didn't read that last post of yours before posting mine
I agree

Esaemann
05-22-2007, 03:11 PM
"some people apparently have a problem with being a loser."

If so, I'm surprised its not more than "some". Anybody who does not, has already mastered a very difficult concept preached by (Cheng Man-Ching?) regarding Tai Chi -- "invest in loss". If so, I'm way behind in my practice. Seems in my experience that most outside the Tai Chi or Aikido community (and even some inside them, including me) have a problem with being a loser. The extent is different for each, though. Some want to have a problem with being a loser, and others are working on the problem, while others are not aware of the problem, and some don't.

Not inferring criticism from the comment, just positing my worthless thoughts.

Eric

ChrisMoses
05-22-2007, 03:30 PM
Christian,
There is no joke in post #93
although I see it sounds strong
(especially the "go think about it" part, I could have said "please, try to consider it...", but it wouldn't have had the same effect)
my point is strong


Strong points are only interesting if they're vigorously defended (meaning with a LOT of background and evidence). When Einstein offered his theory of relativity, he did so with enough evidence and logic behind his theory, that while it was initially rejected as absurd by many in the Physics community, it eventually won them over and has become the primary model for modern Science. It was only worth consideration however because of how vigorously it was defended and reasoned. I could make the statement, "Gravity pulls us away from other objects of mass!" That's a strong challenging statement, but it's also wrong and I could not offer a single thing to back up my claim. So when you claim that there is no competition in nature, I'm stuck in something of a predicament. Since I know that to be false, and you have offered no evidence to the contrary, I can either assume that you are non-credible or are defining your terms much differently than I (and others on this board) are. Either way, we can't enter into a meaningful discussion at this point based on what you've presented so far. Perhaps it's a language barrier, I don't know.

tiago
05-22-2007, 03:55 PM
Hi Christian,
I am not saying that there is not competition in nature
I just say that the competition that we find in nature is a human concept (it's in the eyes of the beholder, if you like)
so, it is in fact a falacy to justify competition by saying that nature is competitive

tiago

L. Camejo
05-22-2007, 04:50 PM
Imho competition is for winners. When done with the correct mindset one cannot lose.

I think Yann said it best here - http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=95057&postcount=20
...competition is teaching me what I need to improve on. It shows me when my techniques are weak and ineffectual. It shows me I have to work a lot more before I am ``good''. That's why I win all the time. It's a learning tool. Nothing more, nothing less.

For those who practice and compete in this manner there is no incongruency between Aikido and competition and there are no hang ups on the word as experienced by those who do not understand the paradigm. Those who experience negative effects of losing are actually experiencing the ego attempting to reconcile self perception (I think I am really good at Aikido and am hard to beat) with reality (I just lost, what could I have done better?) imho.

Gambatte.

Keith R Lee
05-22-2007, 05:05 PM
This quote came to mind while reading this thread:"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."


Theodore Roosevelt
"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

tarik
05-22-2007, 05:12 PM
sorry,
and the last, I promise
Tarik,
the only competition that there is in nature
is the one you bring
if you don't understand this
you don't understand, period
go think about it
instead of assuming that people don't know what you are talking about

All belief's are assumptions and predicated upon assumptions, but I do make a sincere effort to make mine educated.

Actually, I think it would be quite fair to say that you don't know what I'm talking about. Perhaps there is indeed a language barrier.

All the irate attitude and aggressive language I've read so far has not come from my posts. If I were unkind, I might assume that you are merely a troll, but I have taken your comments as sincere and at face value and addressed them directly.

Instead of responding in kind, and asking clarifying questions or saying and offering something substantial to challenge or question my assumptions or the assumptions of those whom I have publicly stated my agreement with; you have chosen to attack and say that I'm a loser.

If I continue to take your words at face value, it would appear that you aren't interested in discussion, you merely want to provoke me or else you're agitated by my measured response and can only resort to name-calling and accusations of 'irate' behavior. Perhaps there are other options, but I currently find little of value to discuss with you about this.

Regards,

tarik
05-22-2007, 05:14 PM
This quote came to mind while reading this thread:

Theodore Roosevelt
"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

Thank you, Keith.

Regards,

mjhacker
05-22-2007, 05:16 PM
Thank you, Keith.
Thank you TEDDY!

L. Camejo
05-22-2007, 05:18 PM
Very apt post Keith.

tarik
05-22-2007, 05:22 PM
"some people apparently have a problem with being a loser."

If so, I'm surprised its not more than "some". Anybody who does not, has already mastered a very difficult concept preached by (Cheng Man-Ching?) regarding Tai Chi -- "invest in loss". If so, I'm way behind in my practice. Seems in my experience that most outside the Tai Chi or Aikido community (and even some inside them, including me) have a problem with being a loser. The extent is different for each, though. Some want to have a problem with being a loser, and others are working on the problem, while others are not aware of the problem, and some don't.

Not inferring criticism from the comment, just positing my worthless thoughts.


Eric, this is in fact a key point. I've known people who dropped out of aikido because they perceived falling down as 'losing'; which I suppose it is in a sense. However, it is by letting of winning and losing; or more accurately; redefining what you and your partner want to 'win' and 'lose' or achieve, we learn and grow in our training. It is truly competition, but the competition is not to defeat our partners, and people get lost in that. I've said before that perhaps we need better word, but Webster's clearly offers competition as a legitimate word to describe this.

Regards,

ChrisMoses
05-22-2007, 05:49 PM
Hi Christian,
I am not saying that there is not competition in nature
I just say that the competition that we find in nature is a human concept (it's in the eyes of the beholder, if you like)
so, it is in fact a falacy to justify competition by saying that nature is competitive

tiago

Gravity is also a human construct (we don't REALLY know what's going on), colors are a human construct (have you ever wondered if blue looks the same to everyone else?), I could go on...

Grow three kinds of mold on enough food for one, watch rams during mating season, kittens at play, dogs at a park, birds at song...

We may have created a word to describe it, but it existed long before we stood upright. You could I suppose say that we can stand BECAUSE it existed.

I've never been in an aikido dojo that didn't have some form of competition, even if it was just comparing ones self to those who started around the same time.

George S. Ledyard
05-22-2007, 08:36 PM
"some people apparently have a problem with being a loser."

If so, I'm surprised its not more than "some". Anybody who does not, has already mastered a very difficult concept preached by (Cheng Man-Ching?) regarding Tai Chi -- "invest in loss". If so, I'm way behind in my practice. Seems in my experience that most outside the Tai Chi or Aikido community (and even some inside them, including me) have a problem with being a loser. The extent is different for each, though. Some want to have a problem with being a loser, and others are working on the problem, while others are not aware of the problem, and some don't.

Not inferring criticism from the comment, just positing my worthless thoughts.

Eric

Every one of us is engaged in a battle for his or her life. It's a battle none of us will win. This is a fundamental truth and it doesn't take a great depth of realization to understand it. We are all going to die...

What does take a great depth of understanding is to live ones life every day while staying conscious of this fact. We live in a culture that is almost entirely devoted to ignoring this fact.

What takes even more understanding is to realize that there never was anyone who lived and therefore there can't be anyone who dies.

The idea that there is competition in nature is based on observable fact. It is imperative of every living thing to try to work towards the continuation over time of the species. From the tiniest microbe to the most complex animal, the fundamental drive in nature is to pass on the genetic material to another generation. At this level it isn't just competition. It is an all out, fight to the death, take no prisoners, battle.

But if you step back and look at the larger picture of whole systems, one can see that what appeared to be a chaotic battle of constant victory and defeat, one can see that there is a larger balance that exists between these elements. So the larger systems are more stable than the pieces that make them up. But looking at the passage of time you see that even these larger systems have no permanence, that they are constantly changing and evolving.

If you take it out one step further, you see that the Universe as a whole is made up of constantly changing components. Systems are constantly coming into being and passing away again. Change is the only constant. Yet there is a balance there. The totality is always in balance even though it has no permanent component parts.

Human beings have the unique ability to relate to this in one of two ways. We can look at the small picture, the level upon which survival looks like a matter of defeating a never ending array of threats, whether from human enemies, disease, or natural disaster. At this level it looks like competition, everything looks like a fight. It justifies the most extreme cruelties to ones fellows, wholesale slaughter of those deemed different from ones own group. It creates the illusion of separateness that allows one individual to put his own ineterests ahead of someone else's, it makes intimacy impossible and destroys relationships, etc.

Or we can look at the larger picture... We are impermanent as individuals, here in this form only for the blink of an eye. No one gets to win, we all end up in the same place, we all have hopes and dreams that, no matter how hard we pursue them, will ultimately pass away as well. In this we are all the same. We are the same, not just as other human beings, but we are the same as every living thing. We are just components in systems that are components of larger systems, not one iota of which has any permanence.

There is nothing but the flow, the Kannagara no Michi, so to speak. If we manage to truly understand the nature of the flow, there is no competition, for there are no separate entities to compete. There is nothing to compete for. We are in this form for only a very short time and our appearance in this form only has the meaning we give it in how we choose to live our lives while we have them. As Nishioka Sensei said in the interview mentioned in another thread, Budo training is about learning to lose humbly.

Notions of competition that are based on the illusion that there is lasting victory over anything or anyone are just the products of small mind, the little picture. Big mind is understanding that in the end, all such victories are illusory, they have no essential reality. If one really gets that, then ones life becomes about how to live, how to acknowledge the connection, one develops a sense of compassion for the other impermanent entities that we are sharing this temporary world with. In my opinion, training is about developing this understanding. Notions of winning and losing are irrelevant in the end.

Chuck Clark
05-22-2007, 11:57 PM
Another keeper George. We had a good night in the dojo tonight... sort of a warmup for Shochugeiko that starts tomorrow and goes for five days. Wish you were here.

Walter Martindale
05-23-2007, 12:56 AM
gokyo IS a beginner, Drew!(some snipping)

As a still wet-behind-the-ears 53 year old Aikikai shodan (since January), Shodan is beginner. I've always felt that shodan is the point at which you start to understand enough to be worth training (a concept learned as a judo shodan in about 1980)

A bit OT, no?
Re: the competitive stuff - often testosterone can prove that two Aiki fellows can get competitive with each other - not a match with points or anything, but "can I throw you harder than you can throw me" or " Can I prevent you throwing me" or bilge like that. I've practiced once with a young woman who seemed to want to prove to me that she was able to bang me around - which was OK, but it was the first partnership of a 6-session weekend long seminar (ouch) , Moving very slowly on Monday.
Walter

tiago
05-23-2007, 01:00 AM
Great post George
Indeed, some people get it :)
best

tiago

PeterR
05-23-2007, 01:36 AM
As a still wet-behind-the-ears 53 year old Aikikai shodan (since January), Shodan is beginner. I've always felt that shodan is the point at which you start to understand enough to be worth training (a concept learned as a judo shodan in about 1980)

The post you quoted is from 2000 - I doubt the author even remembers writing it if he's still around. Just pointing out the dangers of thread resurection.

That exchange was in response to a classic passive-aggressive personallity that I feel would have real trouble in martial arts that have a competitive component no matter how you define it. At the very least requires one to lose gracefully, analyze what you can improve on, train some more and try again. If you can't manage that you will end of leaving in frustration or finding a dearth of training partners.

jennifer paige smith
05-23-2007, 09:22 AM
Here is a link to Masanobu Fukuoka's work online. It is free and easy to read. It is worthwhile and definitely revoltuionary in the most positive sense.

www.soilandhealth.org/copyform. asp?bookcode=010140.fukuoka - 6k

George S. Ledyard
05-23-2007, 10:21 AM
Another keeper George. We had a good night in the dojo tonight... sort of a warmup for Shochugeiko that starts tomorrow and goes for five days. Wish you were here.

Hi Chuck,
Actually, I'm off to Baltimore in the am to conduct my first East Coast Intensive. So I guess we'll both be busy... Hope to see you soon.
- George

Esaemann
05-23-2007, 11:08 AM
George,

It seems I'm re-reading in your comments what I just read last night in the Taoist meditation section of a book ... strange! An idea was how to lose the focus and/or fear of death, by thinking of oneself as part of nature/system/universe (whatever you want to "define" it as) instead of as a separate entity that lives and dies -- Gee, eerily similar to your comment about never living or dying.

As a human living in society, I realize I may never understand and/or accept this idea, but hope to not be bothered by that realization some day.

Thanks,
Eric

jennifer paige smith
05-23-2007, 06:47 PM
Hi Christian,
I am not saying that there is not competition in nature
I just say that the competition that we find in nature is a human concept (it's in the eyes of the beholder, if you like)
so, it is in fact a falacy to justify competition by saying that nature is competitive

tiago

A 'wholistic system analysis' is available in the work of Fukuoka Masanobu, a name and link I mentioned above. The Concept and Practice of Green philosophy through Mu Farming; I can only encourage and reiterate that it is a worthy read for any person interested in the concepts of the cosmos, man, nature, competition,creationism and living etc. In there you will find the binding points between the nature of which Tiago is speaking and the darwinian nature of which Christian is speaking bound in the human way to which George is speaking. The nature that they all relate to is evident within . It will offer a method to evaluate this next step concretely and to see that there is a 'binding feature' in and among these theories put out today.

thanks

tiago
05-24-2007, 08:03 AM
Hi Christian,
Gravity is also a human construct (we don't REALLY know what's going on), colors are a human construct (have you ever wondered if blue looks the same to everyone else?), I could go on...

Grow three kinds of mold on enough food for one, watch rams during mating season, kittens at play, dogs at a park, birds at song...

My point is that mold are not competing (I take mold cause it's the most obvious case for what I want to say) Mold simply grow, mechanically. They reproduce by taking the molecules in the environment and converting them into mold components. You can even reproduce the process with a computer. Now, we say that mold "compete", we can even say that "they strive for survival, in an agonic fight for resources..." and all that documentary kind of speach. But molds know nothing of it (in fact they just know nothing at all) they do not strive, not worry, they just repeat a chemical mechanism, and what you see, from your perspective, at a particular size scale, and time frame, looks pretty much like a competition, so we call it so.

It is as if, instead of talking of gravity, someone said that the mass bodies love each other, and so they tend to gather together. It's just a matter of observation...
It's true that gravity is also a human concept, but it is not confused with a human behavior.
I hope it is clear.

We may have created a word to describe it, but it existed long before we stood upright. You could I suppose say that we can stand BECAUSE it existed.

I've never been in an aikido dojo that didn't have some form of competition, even if it was just comparing ones self to those who started around the same time.

That's sadly true. In many cases it seems like an explicit competition would be healthier for those who need it. Although I keep thinking that the best is to get over it altogether...

best,
tiago

ChrisMoses
05-24-2007, 08:38 AM
My point is that mold are not competing (I take mold cause it's the most obvious case for what I want to say) Mold simply grow, mechanically. They reproduce by taking the molecules in the environment and converting them into mold components.


I understand your point better, thanks. I would point out however, that certain lines of psychology would argue that while humans exist on a much more complex level, their actions are driven by the same mechanical needs as that mold: nourish the self and reproduce. All of the trappings of culture, emotion and higher thought can basically be reduced to that. Not everyone would agree with that world view, but it is a real hypothesis.

jennifer paige smith
05-24-2007, 08:58 AM
I understand your point better, thanks. I would point out however, that certain lines of psychology would argue that while humans exist on a much more complex level, their actions are driven by the same mechanical needs as that mold: nourish the self and reproduce. All of the trappings of culture, emotion and higher thought can basically be reduced to that. Not everyone would agree with that world view, but it is a real hypothesis.

Not just to stir the pot, but the personalization of the process is not part of the mechanism. The concept 'self' is human construct and imposition. I agree that many cultural phenomena can be reduced to this level of understanding. But there is again a deeper layer, further from the 'self'. I would add that when we add a quality of love or apprecition in any from of observation we are immediately closer to the truth.
Credible theorists put forward the notion that we are nurtured and natured away from our true natures by a society that no longer embraces or includes themselves as nature.Even generationally and genetically.A common argument that the process of 'aiki' training is an unnnatural process of instinct turns it's head away from the view that our nature is and was always present and training is ( or can be) acknowleging and tapping into to our 'unused' nature and generating wholey. In other words we are training ourselves away from the seperation that has been created.:circle: . This is also a fundamental 'native' viewpoint.

jonreading
05-24-2007, 10:56 AM
To me, competeion is a defined term, so I will not re-post another definition of what we all know is sematically the definition of competition.

However, I believe competition has two elements:
1. A stated goal or achievement that concludes an event
2. Mulitple participants intent upon accomplishing the stated goal first or best.

Competition is part of nature, and part of life. We hear highschool biology terms like, "natural selection," "survival of the fittest," and "natural competition." To deny that competition exists in our lives, or exist conditionally seems odd given our education. Every day, we compete in somethings. For example, I see competition in rush-hour traffic.

If I am not faster than my brother, he will outrun me to the cookie jar and get the last cookie. If I am not the better employee at work, then I will be fired.

Competition is a tool that makes us better at a given task. If we compete enough, we learn how to become better at that task. If I run enough my legs become strong and my body mechanics become efficient, then I will outrun my brother to the cookie jar. If I work harder than my colleagues, then I will be rewarded with a raise or promotion.

I think competition is a resourceful tool that makes use better at aikido. I think those who choose not to use competition miss out on a useful tool.

I think sometimes we mistakenly apply "competition" to the budo of aikido. I have no one against whom to compete to make myself better. Therefore, I don't consider budo to be competition. To me, budo is the acculumation of competitions, an evolutional process.

tiago
05-24-2007, 12:39 PM
Jon,
I understand your point about competition as a tool (which I would call the "carrot theory")
But if I improve myself by depriving others of what they want or need (a job, a cookie, or whatever) I don't feel I'm getting better, but worse.

Continuing the idea about competition in nature, maybe you could say that all living things have two main instincts: survival and reproduction. Competition in humans can be seen as a sublimation of these two powerful instincts, and that explains why it's such a powerful tool. But I think that doesn't mean that competition is not something to be overcome by culture.

Aikido, as an example of culture, is conceived to change many of our instincts, and probably also the instinct to competition "in order to create a better, more harmonious society"...

tiago

L. Camejo
05-24-2007, 01:45 PM
But if I improve myself by depriving others of what they want or need (a job, a cookie, or whatever) I don't feel I'm getting better, but worse.The thing is though, there are forms of competition where someone else is not deprived of what they think they want or need. When someone does not win a match in shiai one is supposed to learn from the lesson and use it towards development. If one instead reacts negatively because they have not won a medal, did not get fame or glory or other similar reason then competition is doing its job in an Aikido context, it is assisting with the destruction of the ego, since quite often the only reason one would feel negatively about losing a competition imho is when the ego is bruised by a sense of "loss" as a particular ego/self-induced illusion gives way to reality. Not all competitions are zero sum games, hence there are competitions that create win/win situations instead of win/lose situations.Aikido, as an example of culture, is conceived to change many of our instincts, and probably also the instinct to competition "in order to create a better, more harmonious society"...I agree with this somewhat. However how does one change these instincts through Aikido training? How does one measure progress in changing these instincts? How does one know when one is deluding oneself that change is happening when in fact it is not?

Imho Aikido operates using a process where the human self is forged over time through correct training, testing and correct mindset. The ability to transcend the negative, win/lose, one upmanship, anti-unity concepts that can be experienced via competition are not forged in Aikido via osmosis, but through serious, hard, focused training by looking at oneself and willingly creating change over time. The same goes for technique, one cannot have sound technique if it is not tested, else what we have is delusion, just like many of those who preach that they don't "compete" yet are passive/aggressively competitive at every turn. Imho one cannot transcend something without first fully and truly understanding the thing and through that understanding find a way to be truly above it. Iow one cannot transcend competition without first seriously subjecting oneself to it and seeing which inner demons come out when one is honestly tested. It is only then can we start to really deal with the issues that we have regarding competition and hope to transcend. Transcendence requires honesty. I note with a small smile and a bit of satisfaction that the linguistic root of competition is the same as for competent. How does one get to be competent?....I think Janet's post may have been missed by some, but imho it is highly appropriate. How many people do you know who are competent at anything who have not competed either externally with an opponent or internally with the self, to achieve competency?

Just some ramblings.
Gambatte.

Janet Rosen
05-24-2007, 09:07 PM
Thanks Larry <rei>

jonreading
05-24-2007, 09:30 PM
Tiago,

Let me directly answer to your question. I assume you are continuing the cookie analogy from my earlier post. So we have a competition that requires me to outrun my brother to get the cookie first. You posed the hypothetical posture that by running faster than my brother and obtaining the cookie first, I am depriving my brother of the cookie. To this scenario I must first clarify this point - if I can outrun my brother to the cookie, then my brother was never in a position to possess the cookie. If my brother never could possess the cookie, then I certainly could not deprive him of a thing he never possessed. If my brother can run me, then it would be presumptuous to claim that I could deprive him of something I do not possess. Competition is not depravation, the words are not interchangeable.

I want to be very careful to say that I believe competition is not compassion. You are posing a question of compassion. I would not look to competition to answer a question of compassion. To answer a question of compassion I would look to society, culture, religion, or other factors that influence compassion. These congnitive influences will determine my compassion towards others.

PeterR
05-24-2007, 11:43 PM
Tiago,

Let me directly answer to your question. I assume you are continuing the cookie analogy from my earlier post. So we have a competition that requires me to outrun my brother to get the cookie first. You posed the hypothetical posture that by running faster than my brother and obtaining the cookie first, I am depriving my brother of the cookie. To this scenario I must first clarify this point - if I can outrun my brother to the cookie, then my brother was never in a position to possess the cookie. If my brother never could possess the cookie, then I certainly could not deprive him of a thing he never possessed. If my brother can run me, then it would be presumptuous to claim that I could deprive him of something I do not possess. Competition is not depravation, the words are not interchangeable.

I want to be very careful to say that I believe competition is not compassion. You are posing a question of compassion. I would not look to competition to answer a question of compassion. To answer a question of compassion I would look to society, culture, religion, or other factors that influence compassion. These congnitive influences will determine my compassion towards others.

A Flintstones episode had Wilma bringing in two pieces of cake to Fred and Barney that were hugely mismatched in size (the cake not the protagonists). Barney immediately scarfs down the massive piece leaving Fred the other. Fred, naturally, is a bit put out. Barney asks what he would have done and Fred replies that he would have been polite and taken the smaller piece. Barney points out that the end result is the same.

I guess Barney was compasionately helping Fred avoid the competition for the bigger cake.

Whether you are talking about people who use competion as a training mechanism or those where winning the competition is the goal itself I think it is a major errror to assume that the transient nature of victory is not understood. Both sets of people have experienced wins and losses on any number of occasions and know they will do so again.

It is a false characture to assume that anyone is so one-dimensional.

Toby Threadgill
05-25-2007, 01:06 AM
Hello,

First of all I've got to say to Chuck Clark that I really appreciate your thoughts and musings in this thread. How is it we don't get together more often?

On the subject at hand I must admit to being rather mystified by the difficulty people have with discerning the difference between a beneficial competitive element that challenges ones technique and psyche, leading to a deeper understanding of budo and one's proper context in it, and a detrimental competitive obsession that manifests itself in self aggrandizement and ego gratification.

I have always understood the difference between these very different facets of "competition" because the differences were strictly imprinted on me by my teachers, especially Takamura Yukiyoshi. Furthermore consider this. If aikido's most noble purpose is to neutralize violence thru the implimentation of physical and mental awase, don't you think genuine conflict is required in the training model? Does anyone actually believe that a training model without genuine conflict or a watered down version of conflict can effectively prepare you to successfully address such a powerful adversary?

Takamura Sensei had a makimono hanging in his dojo that said:

"Conflict is the anvil of shugyo"

When asked about this he stated that training only in a cooperative passive state was not real budo. That conflict was what defined budo, what made a martial art, martial. He reiterated that without genuine physical conflict in your training paradigm you reduce budo to ballroom dancing. He likewise stated that without the challenge of internal conflict or psychological strife, how can we expect to confront that demon that is our most base animal tendencies and emerge as truly enlightened human beings?

This topic is universal in budo regardless of what path we follow as martial artists.

Respectfully,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

tarik
05-25-2007, 01:31 AM
But if I improve myself by depriving others of what they want or need (a job, a cookie, or whatever) I don't feel I'm getting better, but worse.

Go back and read the posts by Chuck Clark on this thread. I am not advocating depriving anyone of anything what they want or need. Quite the opposite.


Aikido, as an example of culture, is conceived to change many of our instincts, and probably also the instinct to competition "in order to create a better, more harmonious society"...


I quite agree, but in this quote, I would change the word competition to combative competition or talk about a zero sum game. The competition I advocate for is not a zero sum game.. ever.

Precision in word choice is quite important to communication.

Tarik

tarik
05-25-2007, 01:53 AM
Hi Toby,


I have always understood the difference between these very different facets of "competition" because the differences were strictly imprinted on me by my teachers,


This lesson was impressed upon me by my teachers in various sports even before I began studying budo. Eventually this let to me quitting a varsity team in high school once because I was unwilling to participate in the attitude and environment endorsed by the team captain.

It has always been amazing to me the divide between people for whom "winning is the only thing" and people for whom correct attitude, personal challenge, and the process itself that is important.

In budo, conflict is essential in order to actually study 'conflict resolution'. It boggles the mind to think that people believe that one can become truly skilled at conflict resolution when they refuse to allow [appropriate] conflict into the dojo.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
05-25-2007, 07:27 AM
First of all I've got to say to Chuck Clark that I really appreciate your thoughts and musings in this thread. How is it we don't get together more often?
Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Hey Toby,

I feel the same way my friend... the only reason I can think of is: intent, distance, timing, and opportunity. Time seems to be a commodity that everyone is always short of these days, however I don't seem to recall a rift in time continuim or anything that has taken away any time. I think we're all just "over booked" and our dance cards are always full. It's a management issue. I'm on pretty good terms with my boss, so let's work it out somehow. I often think of you and always enjoy your posts on the web. We need to lay hands on more often. We don't live that far apart. I'm getting ready to move up to the area where Phil Relnick, my son Aaron, and quite a few of our Jiyushinkai folks are now (and more will be in the near future) so maybe we can all get together and have a "budo fest" at some point. That sounds pretty good to me.

We're in the middle of our annual Shochugeiko right now so I've got to finish my coffee and get to the dojo soon.

Best regards,

tiago
05-27-2007, 10:38 AM
hi,
I have the impression I haven't been clear enough. I've felt some things were obvious, or just a matter of a little analysis.
Now, in fact, I feel I will never be clear enough.
So I'll do it for you, one last time (hopefully)

In the example of the cookie, you are getting what both want (the cookie). You can give the cookie to your brother anytime (even after the competition), you could even share the cookie. what a concept!

but that wouldn't work, right?

why? oh, why (oh, god)
well, if you look inside yourselves, just a little bit (you don't need to be a zen monk) ask yourselves why is it that competition works as a tool. How is it that this sublimation of basic killer instincts works in a modern "civilized" person. Well, it doesn't take a PhD to see that winning is pleasurable, and defeat is unpleasurable. And this is the same whether you are competing for a cookie, a million dollars, or nothing at all. What makes you strive for success (the carrot) is the plasure you receive by defeating another fellow human, and the fear you have of being defeated. The pain of the other's defeat is what motivates you.

Now you'll insult me, you'll deny it, you'll say that I don't understand, and that healthy competition is different from aggressive competition. But you just don't want to see that they're essencially the same. The denial is quite revealing indeed.

You will say that competition is necessary. I just say that winners don't compete. The only thing I want to get right is my life, my friends.

Of course, everyone is free to choose one's own hell. I just feel the obligation to point out that your hell is making everybody's life
worse.

I know, you're only concerned about improving your time recod, and decided that not getting the cookie will make me improve my time record. You are trying to decide my own hell. So you know what, you can keep the cookie. Hold on to it, because someone will come and take it. And you know they will.

And so we came back to the endless topic of Aikido and fear. You see, competition is for people who are really afraid. Any winners? Don't think so.

still the best,

tiago

PS: a clever ad that kind of illustrates my point (only in spanish, sorry)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REG3NhVYzW8

ChrisMoses
05-27-2007, 12:09 PM
You will say that competition is necessary. I just say that winners don't compete. The only thing I want to get right is my life, my friends.


I'll just say that competition IS. If you've compared prices between petrol/gas or ground beef you've entered into some kind of competition. Did you spend extra money on organic produce or get cheaper prices? Ever tried to get a raise? A job? A spouse? If you have children you've taken part in a race to the death of millions of cells...

To deny these facts is just as fantastic as to believe that by pitting yourself against another to *polish your waza or person* is merely forcing them into a living hell.

Oxygen is toxic, and yet we die without it... How's that for Zen?

tiago
05-27-2007, 03:06 PM
Hi Christian,
Of course there IS competition in this world of ours. I just don't see it as necessary or desirable. Cells don't compete, I don't participate in any price competition (because I don't decide the price of anything) petrol companies may compete, I don't. I live a simple life so I don't need a raise so badly, and my spouse and I are just happy to have found each other (I didn't need to outrun anyone to get her, mainly because I don't see her as a prize).
I won't get into every example you are giving, but I don't believe any of those competitions are necessary.

As for the second part, maybe I wasn't clear enough.
Pitting yourself against another forces them into a part in your hell only as long as they chose to practice with you. That's why I say you can keep your cookie.
But on the other hand, I've never ever seen any result from people competing on the tatami, except some seriously bad looking bruises. In my experience, it's just not the right mindset to learn Aikido, which (I believe) is something much more serious than who is stronger, or gets the best ikkyo, or can make the longest breakfall...

best,

tiago

ChrisMoses
05-27-2007, 04:34 PM
n my experience, it's just not the right mindset to learn Aikido, which (I believe) is something much more serious than who is stronger, or gets the best ikkyo, or can make the longest breakfall...



Ah, you're still thinking about trophys and bragging rights. I'm talking about competition as a method to study conflict. They are very different in my experience. As Mifune Kyuzo said (translated in "The Canon of Judo") "Competitions are an opportunity to express expertise and knowledge on both sides. One can look at oneself critically, without burdening one's mind with thoughts on life or fear of death." and then later, "Therefore the loser will learn his weaknesses, and persue his studies further, while the victor will surely advance further to mastery of judo's mysteries." Sure sounds mutually beneficial to me...

Also, if you ever buy anything, you are helping to set the price.

Kent Enfield
05-27-2007, 10:32 PM
How is it that this sublimation of basic killer instincts works in a modern "civilized" person.I've stayed out of this. I'm not really an aikido person anymore. And it's mostly because of things like the above statement.

That statement takes a huge assumption for granted, without trying to justify it, or even acknowledge that it is an assumption. How do you get from training in which two participants simultaneously attempt to achieve mutually exclusive goals (strike without being struck, throw without being thrown, put a ball through one hoop while preventing it from being put through a second hoop, accumulate the most fake money and little plastic houses, correctly answer the most questions) to a sublimation of killer instincts?

tarik
05-27-2007, 11:05 PM
well, if you look inside yourselves, just a little bit (you don't need to be a zen monk) ask yourselves why is it that competition works as a tool. How is it that this sublimation of basic killer instincts works in a modern "civilized" person. Well, it doesn't take a PhD to see that winning is pleasurable, and defeat is unpleasurable. And this is the same whether you are competing for a cookie, a million dollars, or nothing at all. What makes you strive for success (the carrot) is the plasure you receive by defeating another fellow human, and the fear you have of being defeated. The pain of the other's defeat is what motivates you.


Your model doesn't describe what's being recommended here. If you haven't figured that out yet, then you should spend a little more time reading the earlier posts in the thread, particularly from the various very senior people who posted (not me).


Now you'll insult me, you'll deny it, you'll say that I don't understand, and that healthy competition is different from aggressive competition. But you just don't want to see that they're essencially the same.The denial is quite revealing indeed.

Indeed, it is. Thanks for sharing.

Of course, everyone is free to choose one's own hell. I just feel the obligation to point out that your hell is making everybody's life worse.

You have again demonstrated that you have absolutely no clue what your talking about, who you're talking to, or what people here are really doing when they train 'competitively'.

You see, competition is for people who are really afraid.

I would have said denial.

Regards,

tiago
05-29-2007, 06:38 AM
every aikido school includes testing
every school has an examination system
every sensei has a way of correcting mistakes, and a way to show progress

yet almost no aikido school has competition

now you say that you need competition in order to understand your progress
how is this nonsense?
you say that competition is not one against another
so, competition is not competition?

all this clumsy manipulation of language, apparently trying to amount to a justification of competition, has no fundament, no reasoning, and is not an argumentation.

Tarik says "what is being recommended here", as if there was some kind of consensus. And as if that would be a logic argument. But I've given up on him long ago. He takes everything too personally.

I've been descriptive and logical in explaining my inferences (btw, Kent, the key word is "sublimation", it has a positive meaning, it is related to the argument about competition in nature, and I am, in fact, trying to give competition some credit)
and all I found as reply was negation and ad-hominems, mixed with some common sophisms (like the use of etymology as an argument, a sophism already recognized and categorized by ancient greeks, sorry Janet, but it's true).

I have no other possibility but to think that (at least some) are doing this on purpose.
They say one shouldn't attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. But I can no longer attribute this to stupidity.

In the end, I hope the beginner aikidoka reading this can be aware that competition is the wrong way to try your progress in aikido. Progress in aikido is not the same for everybody, and it is not linear. As simple as that. And for sure, the lack of competition is in no way an obstacle to achieving the best from oneself.

The inconvenient truth, some are still avoiding, is that competition works as an incentive because you enjoy feeling superior to somebody else. But with that poison in your mind, the best aikido is simply not achievable. The Mifune Kyuzo quote is bringing a quiet mind even in the event of competition. It's trying to avoid competing even through competition, and not the other way around. And if what you want is conflict, you don't need to go anywhere. Conflict happens in life every day, and in the dojo, every day. Without any competition.

Santiago

ChrisMoses
05-29-2007, 09:03 AM
If I didn't know better, I would say you were trying to win this argument... :D

Chuck Clark
05-29-2007, 09:48 AM
If I didn't know better, I would say you were trying to win this argument... :D

This is why, in my training, I like to practice conflict resolution with real (managed) conflict in a way that does not end in argument and gives us all a chance to transcend caring about who wins and who loses in the end ... until it's not practice. There comes a time in human relations when it actually does matter who "wins." There are many people that preach peace and love while, at the same time, taking advantage in harmful ways and doing great violence. Many people do the same while preaching that competition is good. It seems to me that it would be a good thing to learn how to share in an endeavor that helps resolve our conflicts in compassionate and appropriate ways with the intent to uplift all beings and do as little harm as possible while learning to love each other.

I have taken part with and seen many people make this journey and find it a useful part of their life. It is difficult and takes time... every time we make a critical evaluation of anything and make a choice, there are conflicts and choices must be made. This type of practice is a form of de-sensitizing and re-sensitizing our buttons that get pushed during conflict and can give us tools to help us make better and more creative solutions to problems. Plus, many of us find it great fun and a way to help each other get both a mental and physical massage/adjustment. :)

tiago
05-29-2007, 10:33 AM
Chris,
I do like your sense of humour :)
tiago

jonreading
05-29-2007, 10:47 AM
Tiago posted:
"Well, it doesn't take a PhD to see that winning is pleasurable, and defeat is unpleasurable. And this is the same whether you are competing for a cookie, a million dollars, or nothing at all. What makes you strive for success (the carrot) is the plasure you receive by defeating another fellow human, and the fear you have of being defeated. The pain of the other's defeat is what motivates you."

I can honestly say I have never heard anyone ever define motivation as the pain of another's defeat. I think I have heard all that I need to for this thread. In reading some of these posts, I think I understand the fear of competition and the aversion to the concept of competition that Tiago has posted. I do not think this is either a definition of competition, nor a healthy attitude towards competition on which to base a debate.

Competition is a tool for me to use to make myself better at aikido. I do not hope for others to fail, I do not depend on others to praise my devotion. I rely on myself to develop my skills. My partners challenge my study, push the limits of my physical and mental training, and force me to become better on the mat. Without the support from my dojo and my friends to provide a foundation on which to test my skills, I would not be able to excel in my training. I compete with my friends who wish me to succeed, almost as much as they wish to succeed themselves. :)

I am motivated to train aikido because I see great spiritual wealth in my contemporaries and those who precede me, and I also want to obtain that wealth. For those individuals successful in training who precede me, I do not harbor shame or anger for accomplishing something I have not. I only see someone who may help me also to succeed...

tiago
05-29-2007, 11:22 AM
Chuck,

All you are saying sounds great, I agree with most of it. I just don't see the relation with this thread.

Indeed aikido has been used in several ways to practice conflict resolution.
I am not aware, though, that in any of those cases it was used through, or together with, competition.
And indeed I do know of some cases where there was no competition and very good results.

On the other hand, besides my personal experience, I have good reasons to think competition is harmful. I've explained them here.
In reply to this, what I hear from the people trying to defend competition is not only confused, but also confusing. And I know that this is harmful.

Trying to win this thread would be trying to silent oposition, without caring for what's (closer to) the truth. I could describe the behavior of some people here in those words, but I've given up on him. On the contrary, I would love to hear the reasoning behind the use of competition (real competition, not an ad hoc definition tailored by fantasy) as a tool, and why you think the incentive behind competition is not the difference between wining and losing.

You want to use competition in order to prove that competition is futile? Then why do you disagree with my statement "winners don't compete"? Yes, that would probably be the only positive idea behind competition (like, "you've won, so now what") But I believe that in Aikido the approach is different. I'm sure you can find a conflict in the lack of competition in Aikido. For competitive characters, the lack of a winer and a loser can be challenging, as we have found here. I believe that's the approach in Aikido, and that's the way to work with it within Aikido. And it seems more sensible that if you want to try the glory and misery of competition, you can play any sport you like.

best,
tiago

tiago
05-29-2007, 11:24 AM
Jon, you are talking about testing, not competition.

Ron Tisdale
05-29-2007, 01:18 PM
but I've given up on him.

Don't worry, we've given up on you, too... ;)

Best,
Ron :D

tarik
05-29-2007, 01:22 PM
Tarik says "what is being recommended here", as if there was some kind of consensus.

There is a relative agreement amongst a certain group of individuals if you read back in the thread to the beginning. I referenced them already. I doubt anyone in that group would significantly disagree with your characterization of typical sports competition as being a net negative experience for too many people. The difference here is that no one you are arguing against is recommending that model for budo training.

And as if that would be a logic argument.

I see little point at the moment in putting into my own words what others have already said better. But I certainly am capable of it.

Let me offer this potentially unspoken perspective concerning this conversation. Human beings are a part of nature rather than separate from it. Human constructs whether physical or conceptual are entirely a part of nature; including the value judgments we place upon those constructs. Seldom are such constructs entirely good or bad; they are merely models to help us understand what we observe and/or create.

But I've given up on him long ago. He takes everything too personally.

LOL. Again you make statements without substance to back them up. You haven't even touched me on a personal or emotional level; except for amusing me, I suppose.

I've been descriptive and logical in explaining my inferences ... and all I found as reply was negation and ad-hominems

The only name calling I saw was on your part, but I'll go back and see if anyone else indulged.

I have no other possibility but to think that (at least some) are doing this on purpose. They say one shouldn't attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. But I can no longer attribute this to stupidity.

This seems to me to be another example of attacking the messenger instead of the message. You're indulging in it far more than those you argue against.

Santiago, etymology aside (which is not entirely irrelevant in this type of discussion), there is more than one single valid modern dictionary definition. You are focused on a *different* one than many people here, including Chuck Clark, Peter Goldsbury, Toby Threadgill, George Ledyard, Christian Moses, Larry Camejo, and many others are interested in and talking about.

If you insist on focusing your efforts against that specific form, more power to you; most would not disagree, although even that form has it's appropriate place.

Accusing people here who want to talk about other forms of competition as beneficial of name calling and malice when your behavior is the only one that begins to match your accusations is both sad and laughable.

Regards,

Ron Tisdale
05-29-2007, 01:26 PM
Tarik, your patience is admirable. Carry on, nothing for me to do here...

Best,
Ron ;)

Chuck Clark
05-29-2007, 02:46 PM
All you are saying sounds great, I agree with most of it. I just don't see the relation with this thread.

Indeed aikido has been used in several ways to practice conflict resolution.
I am not aware, though, that in any of those cases it was used through, or together with, competition.

Tiago,

Thanks for your comment. I guess one of the relative connections is that I'm the one that started this thread many years ago.

Along with your unawareness of aikido being used in such a way, I suspect that there's many other things that you're unaware of.

You might want to get out a bit more, or at least consider there may be other viewpoints than yours that have merit. Just a thought...

jennifer paige smith
05-29-2007, 10:00 PM
Don't worry, we've given up on you, too... ;)

Best,
Ron :D

Not me. I love him.

L. Camejo
05-29-2007, 10:55 PM
Interestingly enough the paradigm that Tiago is using to counteract the value of competition in Aikido (i.e. that competition is bad for Aikido because of the definition he chooses to believe) would also negate Ueshiba M.'s re-interpretation of :ai::ki: in modern times that allowed him to create what we identify as Aikido. Both concepts have evolved over time and deeper understanding.

If we decided to stick with the original Edo era Kenjutsu definitions of Aiki taken from Ittoryu Heiho Toho Kigenko (A Study on the Origin of Ittoryu's Freestyle Practice) in 1822 - "When facing an enemy, this gets to the point of Aiki, waiting and seeing how one beats the other", the concept of Aiki originally had a negative connotation from a Kenjutsu perspective since the above situation is one where mutual kill would be the probable outcome. Aiki was something to be avoided as much as possible in sword combat in the Edo era.

Later, in Jujutsu schools in the Meiji and Taisho periods, the definition of Aiki started to change and adopt a positive connotation. The book Aiki no Jutsu by Bokutsu in 1892, indicated that "tekijin dokushin no jutsu (techniques of reading an opponent's mind) and kiai (yelling) are the most important parts of Aiki."

Even later on we have Sokaku Takeda and Ueshiba M. linked to this account regarding the definition or Aiki on Aikidojournal - Takeda's failure to leave a clear-cut definition of aiki led to ambiguity in Ueshiba's interpretation, although Takeda still appointed Ueshiba to the important post of acting instructor. Later, as Ueshiba's school grew, his disciples and followers added some new meanings to aiki to compensate for the ambiguity. Since the term is composed of a combination of two Chinese characters-ai (unification) and ki (spirit or mind: they decided that aikido is a way to become one with the universe or harmonize with the movement and rhythm of nature.So Ueshiba M. and his students radically redefined the original concept to forumlate what we hold today as "Aiki" in Aikido. The thing is the definition evolved and changed over time, depending one the understanding and influences encountered by different masters. The same thing applies to the ancient Greeks and the Olympic ideal of sportsmanship in competition and even Kenji Tomiki and Jigoro Kano's view of competition's place in Budo training. What may have been seen as a negative once was reformulated to become a positive, provided the human being involved in competition was strong enough to ward off his baser instincts to win at any cost and degrade competition into another method of ego gratification and one-upmanship.

If we follow Tiago's reasoning, then Aiki should be taken at the original Kenjutsu definition which alludes that it is something to be avoided and is a negative element in training and combat. If this reasoning were to hold then Aikido as we know it today would not exist and we should stop and re-evaluate whether what we are doing really embodies Aiki in the original context.

The truth is that concepts and definition change and evolve over time. If we do not reconcile these developments with our own understanding and evolve accordingly we become informational relics and a hindrance to human evolution.

Imho.
LC:ai::ki:

George S. Ledyard
05-30-2007, 12:52 AM
Interestingly enough the paradigm that Tiago is using to counteract the value of competition in Aikido (i.e. that competition is bad for Aikido because of the definition he chooses to believe) would also negate Ueshiba M.'s re-interpretation of :ai::ki: in modern times that allowed him to create what we identify as Aikido. Both concepts have evolved over time and deeper understanding.

If we decided to stick with the original Edo era Kenjutsu definitions of Aiki taken from Ittoryu Heiho Toho Kigenko (A Study on the Origin of Ittoryu's Freestyle Practice) in 1822 - "When facing an enemy, this gets to the point of Aiki, waiting and seeing how one beats the other", the concept of Aiki originally had a negative connotation from a Kenjutsu perspective since the above situation is one where mutual kill would be the probable outcome. Aiki was something to be avoided as much as possible in sword combat in the Edo era.

Later, in Jujutsu schools in the Meiji and Taisho periods, the definition of Aiki started to change and adopt a positive connotation. The book Aiki no Jutsu by Bokutsu in 1892, indicated that "tekijin dokushin no jutsu (techniques of reading an opponent's mind) and kiai (yelling) are the most important parts of Aiki."

Even later on we have Sokaku Takeda and Ueshiba M. linked to this account regarding the definition or Aiki on Aikidojournal - So Ueshiba M. and his students radically redefined the original concept to forumlate what we hold today as "Aiki" in Aikido. The thing is the definition evolved and changed over time, depending one the understanding and influences encountered by different masters. The same thing applies to the ancient Greeks and the Olympic ideal of sportsmanship in competition and even Kenji Tomiki and Jigoro Kano's view of competition's place in Budo training. What may have been seen as a negative once was reformulated to become a positive, provided the human being involved in competition was strong enough to ward off his baser instincts to win at any cost and degrade competition into another method of ego gratification and one-upmanship.

If we follow Tiago's reasoning, then Aiki should be taken at the original Kenjutsu definition which alludes that it is something to be avoided and is a negative element in training and combat. If this reasoning were to hold then Aikido as we know it today would not exist and we should stop and re-evaluate whether what we are doing really embodies Aiki in the original context.

The truth is that concepts and definition change and evolve over time. If we do not reconcile these developments with our own understanding and evolve accordingly we become informational relics and a hindrance to human evolution.

Imho.
LC:ai::ki:

This is a good point. There are different "aspects" of aiki... in training we are largely striving for "awase" or "matching". In fighting we are not.

It's like the waves on an oscilloscope. "Awase" is basically having the waves "in phase". Aikido training is largely about being in phase, at least in the kihon waza and in any weapons form practice you encounter.

But "awase" is not desirable in fighting where one desires to put the enemy "out of phase" with your actions. Being "in phase" can result in "ai-uchi" and it also gives an enemy the chance to reverse a given technique (kaeshiwaza).

Whether one is striving for "awase" or is trying to put the opponent "out of phase", both require ki musubi to be effective. In other words, controlling whether one is "in phase" or "out of phase" is just an example of different aspects of the "joining" which is aiki.

tarik
05-31-2007, 05:09 PM
This is a good point. There are different "aspects" of aiki... in training we are largely striving for "awase" or "matching". In fighting we are not.

I've started a new thread asking about this:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12673

tiago
06-02-2007, 02:24 AM
Hi,

for reasons beyond my control, some time has passed, and so I'll try to reply on a first come, first served basis.

Chuck,
whether you started this thread or not makes no difference as to the value of your arguments. Your arguments should stand by themselves. Your claim is quite similar to an ad-hominem fallacy, but we'll see that in a moment.
As for other view points, everybody would agree that it is always interesting to hear a good idea. But it should be a good idea, and not a false claim supported with mistakes. I don't find that interesting, and in many cases it can be quite harmful.

best,

tiago

tiago
06-02-2007, 02:26 AM
Jennifer,
thanks for your comment. I also liked your posts, and wish I could put my thoughts into words as nicely as you do.

all the best,

tiago

tiago
06-02-2007, 02:34 AM
Tarik,

ad-hominem, my dear dictionary reformer, is not "name calling", and you certainly don't sound wiser just by using the word "indulged" next to such a mistake.

So, ad-hominem is the attack of an argument by attacking the person who stated it. You see, when somebody shifts the focus of the argumentation from "the meaning competition" to "you are trying to win this argument", it is an ad-hominem. In fact it even has a name: ad-hominem tu quoque, which means "you too". So, even if I were trying to win a competition, that is no reason to invalidate my argument.

We can also see the relation with the argument that Chuck was trying to use, based only in the fact that the person who said it was this or that. Yes, when you go to the doctor you believe what he says because of who says it. This is based in authority, which I wouldn't say that comes from starting a thread in this forum.

Of course you can chose to believe in Chuck's authority on the meaning of competition in Aikido, but I for one am going to need some reason to back it up, and I found there is none. On the other hand, you can choose to believe in Doshu's authority, and agree with him that Aikido is not competitive.

As for the consensus, we'll see that in a moment, but it is clear that there is none even between the people you quote as agreeing. And again, even that wouldn't be a reason to believe it.

best,

tiago

tiago
06-02-2007, 02:45 AM
Larry,
Ironically, this thread was started by trying to force a new meaning of competition based on etymology. This (I've said it before) is a sophism. It's called etymological fallacy, and Wikipedia defines it as

<<a linguistical misconception based on the idea that the etymology of a word or phrase is its actual meaning. For example, the meaning of the word prevent may be thought to signify "to go before" based on its etymology: from the Latin prae + venire. This falsely deduced meaning is a fallacy due to the fact that it fails to take into account semantic changes over time.
Native and non-native speakers pick up the meaning from reflecting on contextual usage. In day-to-day usage, most speakers of a language will rely on the context of a word or phrase and deduce the meaning from it rather than an etymology which may, in any case, not be at all clear, particularly if it is based in a foreign or archaic language.>>

So, you see, you have to be very careful when you use a word with a meaning other than the usually accepted, and this thread is a good example. I've said before that the people trying to defend competition here are not only confused, but also confusing, and that is harmful.
The "new meaning" for competition that was the idea in the article quoted by Chuck, is very different from the normal, everyday, what-everybody-understands-by, meaning of competition.

You can see it by the fact that there have been people in this thread who supported the idea of competing based on darwinism, others who said it's a good way to train their families, others that good competition was taught to them in high school (by teachers who obviously didn't know of this new, revolutionary meaning of competition) and yet others who said it is the only way to check their progress in Aikido (which, as we've seen, it's nonsense). That's what Tarik calls "consensus", in another case of dictionary reform.

In the case of O'Sensei, you can say that he changed the meaning of a word, but within his cultural tradition (the concept of "aiki" outside Japan has but one generation) gained his authority by becoming the highest regarded martial artist, and then, as he made the change he was founding a new martial art based in his views. Obviously, I cannot and would not try to stop you or anybody else to start their new competitive art. Just don't use O'Sensei's authority by relating your new construct to Aikido.

And that is what I call a reason to support an argument.
Go on now, indulge in name calling and ad-hominem.
Best,

tiago

L. Camejo
06-02-2007, 07:13 AM
In day-to-day usage, most speakers of a language will rely on the context of a word or phrase and deduce the meaning from it rather than an etymology which may, in any case, not be at all clear, particularly if it is based in a foreign or archaic language.So based on this concept, in time as people begin to see that competition itself is not necessarily a negative force upon ones training, but the nature of the human being whose base weaknesses are exposed by competition, the general consensus of the word's meaning will change and then all of a sudden the definition of competition will become something else. But then it will be correct because more people believe it to be so? I'm sorry but regardless of what 1 or 1 billion people believe, the truth remains the truth, regardless of perception. Language is a medium of communication, if people keep redefining words based on how they perceive things, language itself will fail in its purpose. We are starting to see the effects of this today.

What you accuse us of doing has in fact already been done with the word competition, it has just had more time to cement itself within culture. Your concept of what the word competition means and the popular meaning of the word have nothing to do with its original meaning in the true sense of the language. Think of the original meaning of the word "gay" and how it is often used now in certain "English" cultures. The interesting thing is that because this new usage of the word is still young, even though the popular expression of "gay" (homosexual) is quite prevalent, the original meaning (happy) still exists. In time this may change as the popular expression becomes more widespread, but this will mean that a colloquialism has in fact redefined the original meaning of a word without having any actual lingusitc merit.So, you see, you have to be very careful when you use a word with a meaning other than the usually accepted, and this thread is a good example. I've said before that the people trying to defend competition here are not only confused, but also confusing, and that is harmful.Funny, the concept of the benefits of competition in Aikido has not been confusing to some of the highest ranked Shihan of the Aikikai before and after the death of Ueshiba M. It sounds to me that you are the one who is confused. Admittedly, English is not your first or native language. This may have quite an effect on your understanding of certain words.The "new meaning" for competition that was the idea in the article quoted by Chuck, is very different from the normal, everyday, what-everybody-understands-by, meaning of competition.As indicated earlier, what you think is the common, everyday understanding is the "new" definition. Also, it is quite apparent that not "everybody" holds the view that competition is a win/lose proposition. In fact it can be said that only people whose focus is "winning at all costs" instead of "meeting and testing together" have your view of competition. The article on this link - http://www.franklincovey.com/fc/library_and_resources/article_library/personal/individual_effectiveness/building_character_through_competition - written by a former Olympic competitor sums up the actual meaning of competition quite nicely and gives some interesting comments on those who have deluded themselves into believing that the concept is about winning at all costs, instead of playing the game to the best of your ability.

I can see how Ueshiba M. would have an issue with competition. This is because he probably defined the word the same way you do, which is incorrect. In a Meiji era Japan, coming right up to WWII many viewed "competition" in the traditional Bugei manner of a life and death struggle. In these times I'm not sure how many people would have seen any sort of cooperative testing as "mutually beneficial". This mindest showed itself quite well during WWII. Kano J. also met some resistance when he advocated Judo's new randori and shiai paradigm, coming with the understanding of competition's original meaning. Good for him, these voices got quieter after his Judoka officially challenged and routed Jujutsuka from many of the established Koryu Jujutsu schools at the time. The effectiveness of his method could not be challenged as the objective results were undeniable.

If Ueshiba M.'s Aikido is supposed to "encompass and purify all things" then why does it fail so miserably in dealing with competition? Imho it doesn't fail, but then many people don't really know what competition means to start with. In fact the word competition provides exactly the win/win sort of outcome that Ueshiba expresses as what defines his Aikido from other arts of the past. As a way of peace. I even daresay that those who do not engage in some sort of competition for true self development (to cut down the ego as it were) are actually further away from Ueshiba M.'s ideal than those who do engage in it with the correct mindset.others who said it is the only way to check their progress in Aikido (which, as we've seen, it's nonsense).Where have we seen that this is nonsense? Please provide the proof of this allegation. How do you know that your Aikido provides what you think it provides? Where are the results of your objective tests? Gradings are subjective tests (often done in a completely collusive context) so that has very little bearing. From my own experiences the lack of competition in Aikido is what gives us the current situation where a lot of honest Budoka feel that the art is useless for self defence, has no original meaning behind the movements, only works if your partner uses no free will, allows students to create a dangerous cycle of ego-gratification and passive-aggression within their own training environments and a host of other issues.

The reason is because there is no feedback mechanism for objectively testing what one thinks one knows. The result is the culture of martial mediocrity and by extension - self development mediocrity that we see today (an unwillingness to look at the honest truth of the self is fostered and replaced by empty self-coddling). Then look at the schools who do engage in some sort of "meeting and testing" and you'll find that they can readily show what they do and do not know about Aikido and there is no way of dodging the issue of having to consistently do better with ones training. Competition brings honesty and humility, which are critical to the Budoka's development. Lack of competition fosters the opposite - big, unbalanced egos.In the case of O'Sensei, you can say that he changed the meaning of a word, but within his cultural tradition (the concept of "aiki" outside Japan has but one generation) gained his authority by becoming the highest regarded martial artistHighest regarded by whom? He was an exceptional Budoka but highest regarded is a bit of a stretch in a time when the direct students of Takeda who actually completed the entire Daito Ryu syllabus were still around, not to mention the exceptional Budoka from other systems as well. Ueshiba M. was exceptionally skilled, but "highest regarded" is a bit of a stretch imho.Obviously, I cannot and would not try to stop you or anybody else to start their new competitive art. Just don't use O'Sensei's authority by relating your new construct to Aikido.Well besides the fact that you cannot stop it, this is nothing new, maybe it is only to you. For many years, even while Ueshiba M. was still alive, have there been Aikido groups who have realised (like Kendo and Judo) that there is a place for competition in Aikido and it does not conflict at all with the core principles of the art. If anything it improves ones overall Aikido and Budo spirit in a very special way. Imho if Ueshiba M. did not stop it when he easily had the ability to, and was quite knowledgeable of the developments happening in competitive Aikido (may even have encouraged it at Waseda University) then imho competition in Aikido is supported by Ueshiba M.'s authority. Do some research.Go on now, indulge in name calling and ad-hominem.No need to. My argument is totally sound and supported by people who are exemplary Budoka.
Gambatte.

Erick Mead
06-02-2007, 08:13 AM
Language is a medium of communication, if people keep redefining words based on how they perceive things, language itself will fail in its purpose. We are starting to see the effects of this today. ... and always have and always will. Language is not static or pristine. My favorite definition of English is "Bad German poorly spoken by Welshmen with a Latin inferiority complex." Some may say it has overcome its bastard lineage, but there you have it.

Words are tools, which, like other tools are often put to uses far beyond their original design or manufacture -- and old uses are not entirely forgotten even if they are not longer often seen used. Older usages become part of the halo of connotation of meaning around a word reflecting its lineage and history, which is easily demonstrable. If I say I eat "cow" it is technically correct and understandable -- but considered crude usage, whereas if I say I eat "beef" it is acceptable (to the non-vegans, anyway) because of the preserved social hierarchy of the lineages of the words that still reflect the Norman conquest and domination a thousand years later. Latinate words are considered less "touched" by these processes -- but that is in itself an affectation as is seen by the linguistic aspects of the debate here.
The "new meaning" for competition that was the idea in the article quoted by Chuck, is very different from the normal, everyday, what-everybody-understands-by, meaning of competition. Meaning is not a surgical thing, and those who treat it that way usually end up in trouble. As a rule of thumb in arguing -- if I cannot explain a point in at least three completely different ways in my argument I am likely to lose the point in persuading the listener.

For the record the nugget argument of the "new meaning"/"root definition" of the Latin com-petere was state in the article quoted by Chuck Clark as: The word compete comes from the Latin competere, which is a compound verb formed from com that means 'together', and petere that means 'to seek'. Therefore, compete originally meant 'to seek together'. Webster's defines compete as 'to come together or to strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective'. These definitions appear more closely related to aikido than my zero-sum view of life as 'winning is everything'.

In fact if you look at com-petere in the Latin it is far more ambiguous, reflecting the same poles of issues debated here.

petere -- attack, aim at, desire, beg, entreat, ask (for) reach towards, make for

com- -- with, together/along, simultaneously with, amid, supporting, attached, under command/at the head of, having/containing/ including, using/by means of

competere -- meet, coincide, agree, face (death) together, be sound/capable/applicable/relevant/sufficient/adequate

The common usage is the trope of "attack - simultaneously with" "aim at -- command (of situation)" which is also in the Latin usages, one of which founds Larry's argument for "seeking -- together."

In other words, to give the Norman French their just due:

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

The semantic debate about what we mean when we say something in one form or another is only useful to illuminate a functional point about what we actually mean to accomplish.

How do you know that your Aikido provides what you think it provides? Where are the results of your objective tests? Gradings are subjective tests (often done in a completely collusive context) so that has very little bearing. OK, Back to the Latin -- ob-jacto: "I throw (it) away"; Cf. -- sub-jacto: "I throw (it) within/beneath." Interesting juxtaposition. Objective evaluation is about eliminating. Subjective evaluation is about accepting/including. Which is aikido?

From my own experiences the lack of competition in Aikido is what gives us the current situation where a lot of honest Budoka feel that the art is useless for self defense, has no original meaning behind the movements, only works if your partner uses no free will, allows students to create a dangerous cycle of ego-gratification and passive-aggression within their own training environments and a host of other issues. I respectfully disagree.

The reason is because there is no feedback mechanism for objectively testing what one thinks one knows. The result is the culture of martial mediocrity and by extension - self development mediocrity that we see today (an unwillingness to look at the honest truth of the self is fostered and replaced by empty self-coddling). This is unfairly dismissing the subjective feed back mechansisms inherent in the art. Musicians improve in art through subjective evaluation (vice technical competence according to some (equally) arbitrary standard). Albeit anything, including objective evaluation, can be pursued dishonestly and in a ego-gratifiying manner. Subjective feedback mechnisms are not ineffective if pursued honestly and with the attention and intent. they do not fail of that purpose merely because they are no objective measures. It is like measureing the temerpature ofthe bat with a ruler. Wrong tool, for the pusporse intended. The criticism of whether adequate subjective feedback is being generally or sufficently taught may be valid in many cases -- but the categorical criticism of objective versus subjective measures is misplaced.

Chuck Clark
06-02-2007, 08:57 AM
On the other hand, you can choose to believe in Doshu's authority, and agree with him that Aikido is not competitive.

For what it's worth, I decided, after about five years of Ueshiba style practice in the sixties that I didn't want to continue. I was an experienced Kokokan judo yondan and began training in Tomiki Sensei's method of training. I do not take part in the sport style shiai. I have been training in this method and teaching it for over 30 years now with over 54 years of budo training altogether. This in itself really means nothing unless you've trained with me or my students.

I have no problems with questioning and then deciding not to believe in Ueshiba Morihei's authority or anyone else's authority that uses similar training methods. I learn from them when I see something I want to "steal" as do all budoka.

Everyone is welcome to their own decisions. This is a discussion forum where it is not required, in fact, is not desired that everyone be the same.

I liked Eric's last post. I applaud his scholarship. Isn't it wonderful that we can have differing viewpoints and still get along in respectful discussion...

Santiago... I and my students will continue to train as we have been, constantly questioning and testing each other with compassion and the love of budo. Whether you train in the methods you have spoken of is up to you. Good luck to you.

For me, this subject thread seems to have come to the place where it's obvious that it is repeating and going in a circle. I have put the soapbox in storage and have learned a lot from this discussion. Thanks to all that have taken part. I look forward to training with those of you that respect our training and welcome you to our dojo.

Gambatte.

George S. Ledyard
06-02-2007, 09:12 AM
Of course you can chose to believe in Chuck's authority on the meaning of competition in Aikido, but I for one am going to need some reason to back it up, and I found there is none.

One of the things about the modern world in which technology is causing things to change at an exponential rate is that we have lost much sense of traditional wisdom and the role of the "Elders" in carrying it forward.

In high technology world, lengthy experience isn't really positive any more. If you have been in your job too long, you are behind the times. The new folks just coming in to the job market are the ones who have the latest knowledge. You get less relevant, not more relevant as you get older in the technological world.

But martial arts training is "old knowledge". It has been going on for thousands of years and is about very core human issues. Here knowledge is gained by experience, both breadth of experience and depth of experience. This is an area that is traditional in the sense that the "Elders" carry an immense amount of wisdom forward that no amount of the confidence of youth can match.

but I for one am going to need some reason to back it up, and I found there is none.

So how about going on fifty years of martial arts practice in multiple arts? He has done arts which are so-called competitive, he has done arts which are so-called non-competitive. He has done modern martial arts, he has done koryu. His Aikido skill is right up there with the best, his technique is effortless, I've felt it. His ability to pass on what he knows is amongst the best I have ever trained with.

If anyone qualifies as an "Elder" in Aikido it's someone like Chuck Clark Sensei. His word carries the "authority" of a lifetime of training. He has been training longer than most of the folks posting here have been alive. I ALWAYS listen to his opinion. If I find myself in disagreement with him, I double check my thoughts on the subject. If I still disagree, then I have found an area in which my own approach differs. But even then I always accord him the respect due to someone who has done more, for longer, than I am likely to ever do. That is, in my opinion, as much "backing up" as he really needs. You want to pursue your own path, go right ahead. But it's a good idea to show some respect to the "Elders", they have earned it.

L. Camejo
06-02-2007, 09:43 AM
Great posts Erick, Clark Sensei and Ledyard Sensei. Disagreement in debate is a good thing imho. It often brings great knowledge to the table as many have demonstrated here.For me, this subject thread seems to have come to the place where it's obvious that it is repeating and going in a circle. I have put the soapbox in storage and have learned a lot from this discussion. Thanks to all that have taken part. I look forward to training with those of you that respect our training and welcome you to our dojo.I think this sums it up for me as well and I take my leave. Hopefully one day I can make it to Arizona Clark Sensei. It will be an honour.

Gambatte.

gdandscompserv
06-02-2007, 09:49 AM
A discussion on an internet forum is going to have a different tone than a discussion in a dojo. The interaction is completely different and IMO not very effective at transmitting the principles and concepts of budo.:)

Heck, I don't bow to George, Chuck, or anyone else in this forum before attempting to engage them in converstation.:p (They usually ignore me anyway) But I certainly would if I were training with them.

It's just so different in a forum.

George S. Ledyard
06-02-2007, 10:35 AM
A discussion on an internet forum is going to have a different tone than a discussion in a dojo. The interaction is completely different and IMO not very effective at transmitting the principles and concepts of budo.:)

Hi Ricky,
It usually is, but should it be? Why should someone be less respectful or more confrontational here on the forum than they would be in person. It's so easy to lose the sense of the tone your posts take. As I often try to remind folks, there are people reading these threads from all over the English speaking world. People should present their ideas with a mind to the impression they are making. It seems like it doesn't matter but this is a relatively small community and you have no idea when you might actually meet the folks who have been reading your posts.

Heck, I don't bow to George, Chuck, or anyone else in this forum before attempting to engage them in converstation.:p (They usually ignore me anyway) But I certainly would if I were training with them.

It's just so different in a forum.

I actually have a slightly different view on this... Once we are in person, then we deal with each other based on the reality of what we each know. I don't mean being disrespectful, but someone's skill will speak for itself in person. I am always respectful, but deference is earned.

But it is precisely in the area of discourse that people think they can act any way they please with no consequences. Often you see a very junior person with little experience arguing with a VERY senior person with vast experience using a tone that they would NEVER consider using in person. In my opinion, people should post with the same tone they would use in person.

As human beings we all have equal value. But when it comes to our opinions, everyone wants to feel as if their opinions carry the same weight as everyone else's. They don't. Folks with little experience and strongly held ideas end up looking silly. With the advent of the Internet, you can now look silly on an international basis. Never before has the ability to look silly been truly global in scope.

When someone with vastly less experience decides to go up against someone who is pretty universally respected by the folks who really do have the experience, they not only have a conflict with that one person but the whole community of experienced people, who largely know one another, gets alienated. No one expects people to "bow" before greater experience. But it is a good idea to post as if you understand that that experience counts for something.

Discourse on the forums should use the same model we have in training. This is an exchange for mutual benefit. I don't necessarily concede to the other person but I try to be respectful, just the way that I always try to take care of my partner in practice.

We have such a confrontational media style these days. People forget sometimes how to conduct civilized discourse. Discussion too often devolves in to the screaming heads model we see on TV.

gdandscompserv
06-02-2007, 11:25 AM
Thank you for those thoughts George. I always enjoy your perspective on things.
This has been a point of confusion for me since I began my path of American aikido. In Japan the "rules" are quite clear and people rarely challenge them but it is different here in America and even more different on a forum.

Your point:
"Once we are in person, then we deal with each other based on the reality of what we each know. I don't mean being disrespectful, but someone's skill will speak for itself in person. I am always respectful, but deference is earned."
is well taken.
Let me ask you some questions. Should we show the same deference and respect to you while we are socializing in a bar after class as we would while in the dojo? Should I respect or defer to someone simply because of their rank or the number of years training? Very individual and situational if you ask me. Let's imagine someone with exquisite aikido technique, many years of experience and high rank, yet they treat me like garbage? Am I obligated to respect/defer to them? I don't feel that way.

Regarding "opinions," I don't take any of them too seriously and most importantly not my own. After all, "One man's folly is another man's wife." If I was worried about looking silly I would never have taken up aikido. I sometimes feel silly and I'm sure I look silly on regular basis. I don't mind. I think it's very much a part of learning aikido.
In the end though, I agree with you in that we could all show each other more respect. The world as a whole would be better off.

mjhacker
06-02-2007, 12:28 PM
Should we show the same deference and respect to you while we are socializing in a bar after class as we would while in the dojo?

I'm obviously not George, but I am on the shortlist of people slated to play him in an off-off-Broadway version of "Aikido: WOW!" [Fingers crossed!]

My take is simple: treat me with at least as much respect as you would like in return. If you are disrespectful to me, my nature is becoming such that I'm less and less likely to choose to be disrespectful in return... I'll just ignore you as I would any other fool.

Before I continue, allow me to define my terms:

defer -- "to yield respectfully in judgment or opinion" [dictionary.com]

Fortunately, we all have to decide that one for ourselves.

Do I "defer" to my teacher in my day-to-day life? No, but I always consider his advice. He not only has a lot more mileage than I do, he also has a perspective on me that I value. But ultimately, advice aside, all decisions in my life are by fiat. I'm respectful to his opinion, but I don't yield. Responsibility for my words and deeds is mine and mine alone.

Do I defer to him in the dojo? That's harder to answer. I certainly respect his age, experience, knowledge, and skill. I respect him as a friend and mentor. I respect him as a fellow human being. I also know that this is MY training, not his. But does he know more about budo than I do? Absolutely. Smart people listen when smarter people are talking.

Did I agree with his decision to promote me to my current rank? The question is completely irrelevant. In this area, I must defer to his experience. How can I not? I've never been there... he has.

There certainly is a place in budo training where you either need to shut up and do what you're asked to do... or leave. You're always free to do either, and learning which is appropriate is just another part of the training.

Sometimes, a teacher will push your buttons just to find out if you'll take authority over them and say "NO!" or whether you'll acquiesce. It's all about learning to fit appropriately.

But every time he invites me to randori with him, it is my responsibility to make him PROVE he can still get me. I must. He's trusting me to push him to grow and to keep him honest. It is my responsibility to tell him the truth.

Does this make me a competitive bastard? You bet your ass, it does.

tiago
06-02-2007, 04:17 PM
Hi,

I'll try to summarize my conclusions as shortly as possible. I agree with Chuck that this conversation is basically closed.

Larry's post is too confused to give a short answer to it, but the main point is that he indulges (I came to like the word :-) in suppositions of what O'Sensei might have thought, which might be interesting, but might be wrong. And then he insists that competition is the only way to check progress, which goes against what most people understand and do (but Erick gave a better answer to that already)

George choses to give Chuck credit for his opinions. I find no problem with that, I just don't understand why he would demand that of me. Chuck got it right when he says that his experience shouldn't mean anything for me unless I've practiced with him or any of his students. In any case, Chuck has discarded the authority argument altogether, and that's fine for me too.

Chuck gives (I believe) a wise answer and I will respect him for that. Of course people here will continue to believe and practice as they always do. Unfortunately that answers none of my concerns about competition, and none of my concerns about the abuse of language.

My point, nobody seems to care about, is that by changing the meaning of a word that has one already understood by everyone, a lot of confussion arises. A lot of that confussion comes from people giving the word the usual meaning (which sounds logical to me). In this thread, this has amounted to a defense of competition by giving it the attributes of something different than competition (as it's usually understood). And you can see for example that there have been posts defending darwinian competition as a way of improving one's running speed.

My opinion, everybody is welcome not to care about, is that competition is ego food, and mind poison. I've explained my reasons to believe this in more than one way, but didn't get any coherent answer. So there's nothing more I can say.

I liked specially Ricky's last post about being silly (sorry, I'm not trying to discredit you by agreeing with you :-) and in any case, George is free to picture me as a teenager who started Aikido two weeks ago.

Finally, I see Michael saying that pushing somebody to grow is being competitive, and so I decide to finish this post inmediately, thinking about my family, and my child's education, about pushing her to grow and cooperate with her fellow human beings. You see, grown ups cooperate, I mean, as long as they are not afraid.

best,

tiago

------
Come and join Aikido, because "winners don't compete" :)

tarik
06-02-2007, 06:49 PM
I've been on the road and in the air; hence my late response.

Tarik,
ad-hominem, my dear dictionary reformer, is not "name calling", and you certainly don't sound wiser just by using the word "indulged" next to such a mistake.

I'm well aware of what it means, Santiago. I chose to use the term "name-calling" to point out that you, in fact, on several occasions decided to attack the person who disagreed with you instead of the argument itself by directly or indirectly calling me (and perhaps others) names, instead of addressing my points. You repeat that behavior above, when I have chosen to keep my disagreement civil.

So, even if I were trying to win a competition, that is no reason to invalidate my argument.

Your point is not invalid, it has already been acknowledged and set aside to discuss other valid definitions (yes, that are STILL in modern dictionaries) of the term.

Of course you can chose to believe in Chuck's authority on the meaning of competition in Aikido, but I for one am going to need some reason to back it up, and I found there is none.

I applaud your approach. It is also mine. I have already spent considerable time establishing Chuck Clark's opinion as authoritative and one that I always sit up and pay attention to when it is offered.

FWIW, I arrived at very similar opinions of competition 15-20 years before I ever encountered Chuck Clark, and I developed those opinions from my educational institutions (all the way through university) and the sporting and martial arts organizations in which I participated and learned about competition. So it is hardly a poorly educated point of view, however unpopular it appears to be.

I agree that it is an unusual point of view in most circles, but not in the ones with which I choose to associate.

My point, nobody seems to care about, is that by changing the meaning of a word that has one already understood by everyone, a lot of confussion arises. A lot of that confussion comes from people giving the word the usual meaning (which sounds logical to me).

Actually, I already made the point that perhaps it would be more clear if we used a different word as is done in Japanese, but there is no different word available in English and if we study history, it is clear that the dichotomy of opinion about this issue of competition ranges over generations.

The Olympics are an excellent example of how competitive intent has grown into uglier forms of competition where only winning has become the important definition; overwhelming and distorting the original intent and purpose of the organization.

Rather than bemoaning it, I choose to embrace it and study the paradox; much like seems to occur in the rest of my training.

On the other hand, you can choose to believe in Doshu's authority, and agree with him that Aikido is not competitive.

I agree with you that Aikido is not competitive in the manner in which you choose to limit the definition of competition, and do not believe it ever should encompass that type of definition.

But I ask you this in response, which might make an interesting and different thread, but that has largely also already been done.

1) What authority does the Doshu have to define my Aikido which is not recognized by him and not directly or even indirectly under his direction or instruction?

2) Where did he state such a thing specifically concerning the other perfectly valid types of competition, because I have certainly not read it anywhere?

3) How is it more authoritative than what the Founder of Aikido said, which were statements concerning a specific form of competition? See post number 15 in this thread. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=998

Of course, this comes full course, resurrecting old threads and old opinions again and again. I fully expect to see this thread again in another 3-5 years or something much like it.

Regards,:ai:

PeterR
06-02-2007, 11:40 PM
This is unfairly dismissing the subjective feed back mechansisms inherent in the art. Musicians improve in art through subjective evaluation (vice technical competence according to some (equally) arbitrary standard). Albeit anything, including objective evaluation, can be pursued dishonestly and in a ego-gratifiying manner. Subjective feedback mechnisms are not ineffective if pursued honestly and with the attention and intent. they do not fail of that purpose merely because they are no objective measures. It is like measureing the temerpature ofthe bat with a ruler. Wrong tool, for the pusporse intended. The criticism of whether adequate subjective feedback is being generally or sufficently taught may be valid in many cases -- but the categorical criticism of objective versus subjective measures is misplaced.

This is a good point. I would say that the presence of objective measures make the process much easier but it also has to be pointed out that such measures don't necessarily cover all aspects of the art or are entirely independent of subjectivity in their own right.

Judo or Shodokan shiai have rules and referees. The former interpreted by the latter. In other words not totally objective although the aim is to be. Using the musician example it is much easier to measure the technical skill of a violinist using a number of scientific gadgets.

However, the ability to perform well in shiai or play perfectly in tune is not the final arbitrator of your overall skill in the art but one aspect of it. In both cases, there are several that can not be easily measured but are usually observed and graded during a performance (enbu).

We all do enbu competitions, if not officially than practically. Any time one gets up to do an enbu you are striving to do the best you can either for yourself or the acknowledgment of your peers. This, in my opinion, differs from shiai only in the degree of objectivity.

gdandscompserv
06-03-2007, 08:22 PM
Integrity in individuals is not to ask, What will others think of me, and my actions? but, What do I think of myself if I do this or fail to that? Is it proper? Is it right?
Integrity in man should bring inner peace, sureness of purpose, and security in action. Lack of it brings the reverse: disunity, fear, sorrow, unsureness.

tiago
07-16-2007, 02:09 AM
Probably many people have seen this already. But I thought the quote belonged here somehow. Even if it is not strictly about the meaning of competition, it is about the meaning of competition in martial arts.

The quote is by Taisen Deshimaru:

"People who do not want to follow the teaching of Zen, the true foundation of Bushido, do not have to do so. They're simply using the martial arts as playthings; to them they are sports like any others.

But people who want to live their lives on a higher dimension do have to understand.

Nobody can be compelled and nobody can be criticized. The first lot are like children playing with toy cars, while the second drive real automobiles. I have nothing against sports; they train the body and develop stamina and endurance. But the spirit of competition and power that presides over them is not good, it reflects a distorted vision of life. The root of the martial arts is not there."

Now, even being a teenager who started Aikido two weeks ago I see some value here.

bye

PeterR
07-16-2007, 02:40 AM
"People who do not want to follow the teaching of Zen, the true foundation of Bushido, do not have to do so. They're simply using the martial arts as playthings; to them they are sports like any others.

Ah but many would argue that Zen is not the foundation of Bushido or Budo for that matter.

CitoMaramba
07-16-2007, 05:12 AM
Ah but many would argue that Zen is not the foundation of Bushido or Budo for that matter.

And one of those would be O-Sensei..

jennifer paige smith
07-16-2007, 09:46 AM
And one of those would be O-Sensei..

What would say O'Sensei believed to be the fundation of Budo or Bushido? In a word.

CitoMaramba
07-16-2007, 10:46 AM
Maybe the answer can be found in his writings:
At that moment I was enlightened: the source of budo is god's love - the spirit of loving protection for all beings... Budo is not the felling of an opponent by force; nor is it a tool to lead the world to destruction with arms. True Budo is to accept the spirit of the universe, keep the peace of the world, correctly produce, protect and cultivate all beings in nature.

CitoMaramba
07-16-2007, 11:09 AM
From an Interview with Okumura Shihan, in Aikido Today Magazine #41:
"O`Sensei hated Zen. If he found that a student was practicing Zen, he would get very angry with that person."

"If O`Sensei had heard people refer to Aikido as `moving Zen` he would have been very upset.

Referenced in an earlier posting in AIkiweb : http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=87323&postcount=32

Mark Uttech
07-16-2007, 03:39 PM
I would daresay that Okumura Shihan is the one who hated zen. Of course zen itself, is not completely innocent. On the one hand, O'Sensei was a benevolent, enlightened master. On the other hand, (and in zen buddhism, there always is an other hand), O Sensei was also a master with an explosive temper. Go figure.

In gassho,

Mark

tiago
07-17-2007, 12:54 AM
certainly O'Sensei believed in Omoto kyo, which is Shinto
that doesn't mean that he was not influenced by Budhism
and that doesn't mean that Deshimaru's description is not perfect
because even if he had been a bicycle repair man
instead of a Zen monk, it's still true that
"the spirit of competition and power that presides over them is not good, it reflects a distorted vision of life. The root of the martial arts is not there" and "they're simply using the martial arts as playthings; to them they are sports like any others."
at the end of the day, facts are still facts.

Ron Tisdale
07-17-2007, 07:20 AM
We spent eight pages of rhetoric with a teenager who has only practiced aikido for two weeks?? Yikes... :D

Best,
Ron (twoooo weeeeeks.....) from Arnold in the customs line on Mars...

PeterR
07-17-2007, 07:38 AM
We spent eight pages of rhetoric with a teenager who has only practiced aikido for two weeks?? Yikes... :D

Worse those 8 pages were before he started aikido - I figured youth, inexperience and lack of reading but I was really caught out. We can't be blamed for that though he did list a real live person as his aikido teacher.

Now, even being a teenager who started Aikido two weeks ago I see some value here.

Chuck Clark
07-17-2007, 08:21 AM
:straightf

:)

:straightf

tiago
07-17-2007, 08:27 AM
really low
you think it makes any difference?
I can let you know, if you must, that I started Aikido more than two decades ago
and I'm certainly not a teenager
but if you want to get a good lesson in human spirit go to the section in this forum entitled "voices of experience"
because at the end of the day, a truth is still a truth
even if told by a teenager
and a low character is still low
even after 50 years of Aikido

PeterR
07-17-2007, 08:44 AM
really low
you think it makes any difference?
I can let you know, if you must, that I started Aikido more than two decades ago
and I'm certainly not a teenager
but if you want to get a good lesson in human spirit go to the section in this forun entitled "voices of experience"
because at the end of the day, a truth is still a truth
even if told by a teenager
and a low character is still low
even after 50 years of Aikido

So basically you are lying to us. Is that it?

tiago
07-17-2007, 08:46 AM
no
basically you don't understand
that's it

"because... a truth is still a truth, even if told by a teenager"
did you read "voices of experience"?

tiago
07-17-2007, 09:10 AM
Peter,

out of curiosity I just opened your page (nice page, by the way) and found this:

"I was seriously disappointed finding the art dominated by fat men and women with a serious lack of intensity during practice."

and I understand your point
I think it clarifies a lot of this thread
I know some dojos like that
when all you have in order to test your technique is sincerity
then it's easy to fall in a self-complacent kind of mood, where we all tell each other how great we are (kind of like this forum)
and I understand that some individuals might find a way out through competition, from the need to protect their pride
but you always have to remember two things:

-the energy comes from pride, it's not empty (in the sense Musashi talks about emptiness)

-competition is not more "realistic", as it is necessarily restricted by rules, and it is certainly not necessary for a realistic sincere practice

yes, there are such dojos where everyone is challenged to the limit of their capacities, allowing for growth and contemplating that the development process in Aikido is not linear and not the same for everyone
and without any competition, but cooperation

I'm sorry I don't have more time for this

Ron Tisdale
07-17-2007, 10:47 AM
really low

How so? It was said in good humor... :D

you think it makes any difference?

I think it can make a difference. If someone is good at debating a point, but then you find out they have no real world experience in the subject matter, so they don't even understand the basics of the matter...then yes, it can make a HUGE difference.

I can let you know, if you must, that I started Aikido more than two decades ago
and I'm certainly not a teenager

Well, that's not what your post said...so I made a little joke of it. If what your post said was incorrect, then why did you type it? If it was a mistake, then there is no need for name calling...just say "I made a mistake".

but if you want to get a good lesson in human spirit go to the section in this forum entitled "voices of experience"
because at the end of the day, a truth is still a truth
even if told by a teenager
and a low character is still low
even after 50 years of Aikido

Well, I think the readers can judge for themselves the relative characters on display here. I'll simply leave it to them. As for my own character, still under development, thanks! ;)

Best,
Ron

tiago
07-17-2007, 12:39 PM
How so? It was said in good humor... :D



then, great!
best,
tiago

L. Camejo
07-17-2007, 04:23 PM
Lol this thread has become totally hilarious. Thanks Ron and Peter for lightening my mood on a tiresome day.

competition is not more "realistic", as it is necessarily restricted by rulesLike everything else in life. Why do people always use the rules of competition to indicate a "weakness" of it when everything in life operates under rules of some sort?

Oh well... :rolleyes:

Gambatte.

Keith R Lee
07-17-2007, 05:51 PM
-competition is not more "realistic", as it is necessarily restricted by rules, and it is certainly not necessary for a realistic sincere practice


Keep telling yourself that, just don't expect a lot of people to agree with you.

tiago
07-18-2007, 01:25 AM
you can keep telling yourself that competition is the real thing
until you need to apply a technique in real life
and discover that the arm dosn't need to be stretched
for the knife to do harm
you see, it doesn't even take long thinking
when you compete, it's a sport,
take it as it is and enjoy it
what I got from Deshimaru's quote is that sports are ok
maybe you didn't realize because of your preconceptions
oh well :)
gambarimasho

Keith R Lee
07-18-2007, 05:57 AM
Mostly I'm thinking that you need proper capitalization, punctuation, and proper formatting, not the pseudo-poetry that you keep posting. I can barely parse it.

Honestly, I have no clue what you're saying in the above post. And don't come back with any more:

no
basically you don't understand
that's it


because that's BS. Just because someone doesn't get the gist of what you're saying doesn't mean they don't understand you. More than likely it's a result of poor communication and expression on your part, especially as you're barely writing complete sentences. If English isn't your first language, I apologize, I know it can be difficult to communicate across a language barrier. However, I'm assuming it is since you list your home country as the UK.

Have you ever "competed" (*gasp* the horror!) in a fully resistant environment against a trained individual? I'm talking about a striking, grappling, or even MMA environment? Not you and a buddy from the dojo working on something; I'm talking full-on, full-tilt with a well trained and well conditioned athlete from a different MA (judo, BJJ, thai boxing, whatever). It might change your mind about how competition can affect practice.

jennifer paige smith
07-18-2007, 07:58 AM
Maybe the answer can be found in his writings:

I was interested to know how you, in particular, would answer. What I meant to write was, what would YOU say it was, in a word.

My answer is, Nature

Thanks for the nice quote.

ChrisMoses
07-18-2007, 08:55 AM
you can keep telling yourself that competition is the real thing


you keep making that
assertion, I do not think
it is as you say.

Ron Tisdale
07-18-2007, 09:00 AM
And facts are facts. :D

B,
R (oh yeah...)

Budd
07-18-2007, 09:04 AM
Inconceivable!

MM
07-18-2007, 09:22 AM
you keep making that
assertion, I do not think
it is as you say.

ROTFL!
i'm just glad I wasn't drinking my coffee when I read this.

Chuck Clark
07-18-2007, 03:02 PM
Amazing!

Again... :)

:straightf

tarik
07-18-2007, 03:08 PM
Amazing!

Again... :)

:straightf

No tongues! :p

;)

:straightf

tiago
07-18-2007, 05:29 PM
it is as you say.

thank you
I'm glad we agree then
best
tiago

tiago
07-18-2007, 05:32 PM
you can keep telling yourself that competition is the real thing, until you need to apply a technique in real life and discover that the arm dosn't need to be stretched for the knife to do harm.

you see, it doesn't even take long thinking.

when you compete, it's a sport, take it as it is and enjoy it.

what I got from Deshimaru's quote is that sports are ok

maybe you didn't realize because of your preconceptions
oh well
gambarimasho

(just in case Keith cannot/doesn't want to use cut and paste)

tiago
07-18-2007, 06:07 PM
Keith,
as a matter of fact, I have competed in Judo, and I have very fond memories of it. Just as I have very fond memories of my rugby years (you know rugby, it's like american football but without protection) Although I never discussed the topic with him, I am quite sure that my Judo Sensei viewed competition in Judo just as any other sport. That's ok, it's fun.

Apparently people get very frustrated when one disagrees. You are looking for my permission to compete? You have it! I just didn't know you needed it. Sorry, I would have given it much earlier. My friendly advice, though, is that you shouldn't take it too seriously. Can I force you to take my advice? No, of course not. (I thought all this was too obvious, but with these people one can never be sure)

I am not a professional athlete, and I am not interested in becoming one. So what? Do you train all day, every day? Is that what you want? To win in at K-1? go ahead, be my guest.
You know, there's only a certain age when you can do that. After some years, your reflexes are not the same and your body just can't take it. Is that what you are looking to? That I don't take it lightly, one should never take lightly what another person does to earn a living. But I think I've been lucky enough that I can earn my living in other ways, and I can take my training very seriously, but don't compete. Can I get your permission to avoid competing? I don't care, because I know well enough what sincere practice is and what it takes.

sincerely
ST

tiago
07-18-2007, 06:17 PM
Oh, about my sentence saying "no, you don't understand, that's it", it was following the previous question "so you are lying, is that it?"
what he wasn't understanding is that I don't think it is important whether you are a teenager or you started Aikido two weeks ago

"I am nobody! who are you?"

Budd
07-18-2007, 08:20 PM
What preconceptions are relevant in this context and who do they belong to?

Mark Uttech
07-18-2007, 10:32 PM
this thread is in trouble.

In gassho,
mark

Keith R Lee
07-19-2007, 06:15 AM
tiago,

you lost repeatedly
so you walked away.
your frustration evident
you chose to hide in your dogi
now I understand

if you don't, too bad
you just don't get it

jennifer paige smith
07-19-2007, 09:25 AM
this thread is in trouble.

In gassho,
mark

Yup. Cheap splatter flick.

tiago
07-19-2007, 10:05 AM
Keith,

it seems you've been reading a different thread, did you really think you can go bullying people around? are you seven?

hey Chuck, give us some smilies, your boy is trying to be funny!

"you lost repeatedly"
I hadn't seen something like this since primary school. Unfortunately I cannot say I'm surprised. You are showing that you are quite a competitor indeed.

As I said, if it works for you great, stay in kindergarden, toying around with your sport and your competitive mind.

"But the spirit of competition and power that presides over them is not good, it reflects a distorted vision of life. The root of the martial arts is not there." ...as we can see...

Keith R Lee
07-19-2007, 12:06 PM
I'm sorry
I didn't know you were bullied as a child
to bring up such psychological torment must have been difficult
don't be scared,
you still just don't understand

Chuck Clark
07-19-2007, 12:19 PM
:)

Sorry, have never met, spoken with, or corresponded with the man. He definitely ain't "my boy"...

:straightf

akiy
07-19-2007, 12:20 PM
Can we please move away from personal attacks and disrespectful language here, folks? Thank you.

-- Jun

tiago
07-19-2007, 12:50 PM
Good to know, Chuck