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Kelly Allen 12-14-2003 01:49 AM

This Forum Just Lost Credability it had Left.
I registered on these forums more than a year ago thinking it would be a good way to discuss Aikido with other Aikidoka. After about a month of posts I disovered that a few trolls in this forum made it quite unpleasent to continue posting. Thus I started only to use the Journal to obtain Aikido insights and left the forums to the trolls. Occasionally I would read the odd forum thread out of boredom and happened upon some posts from Furuya sensei which were so insightful I began to regularly read the forums again. Now I see the same trolls that caused me to stop posting and reading the forums a year ago has pushed Furuya Sensei off the forums as well.

I Quote Furuya Sensei

"My intention in coming into this website was to share some little bits of information. But as you can see, this did not work out very well and so many people are so offended. I guess I am surprised and shocked at how hurtful people can be, especially in the name of Aikido. Even with Aikido, I see that people have not changed much. My intention was only to share my experiences and knowledge and that is all. Anyways, and I really don't know why, my intentions have been misunderstand and there doesn't seem much I can do about this so this is my last imput here. Just a few of you have been very nice to me and to those people I would like to express my thanks. Anyways, best wishes to all,"

Loseing my posts was no big loss, but losing Furuya senseis, wisdom, insight, experience, and his wonderful ability to put them into words is a dear loss to this forum. I shake my head in disgust at the behaviour that has caused this to happen.evileyes

Williamross77 12-14-2003 01:58 AM

here here!

in aikdo dojo if someone is brash and rude they are expelled wothout hesitation, why not here?

Col.Clink 12-14-2003 02:00 AM

There will be trolls on every forum that doesn't have full time moderators. Furuya Sensei will be back I'm sure.

People need to just ignore some things and let it fall into the void. Maybe some "emotional ukemi" on the member's part, and a little deletion on the admin's part??

I dunno, just thinking out loud.:freaky:



Kelly Allen 12-14-2003 04:10 AM

Quite frankly, US ignoring trolls won't do US any good if we've lost one of our most knowledgable sources of Aikido information, on a forum designed to share Aikido information, due to bad troll behaviour.


shihonage 12-14-2003 06:07 AM

For someone with a multiple dan rank in a martial art, Mr. Furuya seems all too fragile and an easily upset human being, and apparently, judging by his parting words, not without a certain penchant for drama.

I, for one, don't particularly miss a thread, which stayed on the front page for ages, which was filled with 300 of his posts along the lines of:

Flowers bloom, and sword cuts enemy,
Wisdom of ages, will O Sensei bring,
Look at the beautiful clouds,
In harmony they move,
Just as people should.
Aiki !

Make no mistake, despite an eerie similarity to creations sprung forth from his poetic genius, the one above was made up by me.

When someone comes to a martial art site for information, one can only hope they don't get scared off by a thread filled with hundreds of posts of such poetic prowess.

Oh, and


Bill Ross (Williamross77) wrote:
here here!

in aikdo dojo if someone is brash and rude they are expelled wothout hesitation, why not here?

Because Internet differs from real life in more ways than one.
70% of all interpersonal communication is non-verbal.

rachmass 12-14-2003 07:55 AM

I agree with Ms. Allen's assessment, and am sad to see Furuya Sensei's departure. I do hope he continues to post on VOE so that he cannot be attacked by trolls.

The forums can be extremely helpful and offer lots of good information, but they can also be slanderous and hurtful; all by people whom one will never meet, and have no idea who they are; and they have no idea who they are hurting and how it affects their target. It doesn't matter if someone has been training in MA for 50 years or so and holds multiple dan grades; that person still has feelings and an obviously great level of humanity. I am really saddened by the way folks sometimes behave on these threads.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino 12-14-2003 08:27 AM

I agree, the incident was unfortuante. However, I see worth to this forum without Furuya-sensei posting - although I also greatly appreciate his input. He still writes his articles (maybe he will have more time for those now) and is still kind enough to reply to emails.

That said, don't start pointing the finger at 'trolls', though I'm sure they exist. That will provoke another argument, this one, absurdly enough, about how they disrupt things. It seems destined to lead to futile conflict.

Please, everyone, let's take this latest incident in an aiki spirit; as Leonard-sensei wrote, "Taking the hit as a gift". Use it to remind you to respond harmoniously to even challenging posts. Not that you shouldn't disagree, but do so without letting yourself get pulled into what is essentially a personal bickering match. Before you post that brilliant, scathing reply you've labored over, wonder if maybe you shouldn't just delete it and leave it as a silent exercise in venting aggression, before writing a more appropriate response that will have a useful impact and either neutralize the aggression of others, or give them a chance to enter into the conversation legitimately.

My 2 cents.

aikidoc 12-14-2003 08:30 AM

I agree a sense of respect and civility needs to reign on forums for the "art of harmony". Unfortunately, there are those who only get their kicks by stirring up controversy or attacking other. It's human nature and I doubt we will change it. We all could wish for an art in which the participants in all aspects would demonstrate the respect and courtesy displayed on the mat. Alas. Humans are humans. Although it does little for productive and interesting conversations, we will always have those who will attack and demean others without real provocation (although they may think they have). Free speech I guess, but not without a cost in this case.

jk 12-14-2003 08:31 AM

I think thicker skin was called for. There were some issues discussed that I thought required rigorous scrutiny and debate from those equipped to do so; I had hoped for more scholarly engagement from Reverend Furuya on those issues.

As for the poetry thread, I'm sure some found it entertaining, if not informative. A few may have found it enlightening; there should be a place for that in Aikiweb. For my part, the thread says a little something about the personalities of the participants, which is a good thing.

Qatana 12-14-2003 09:29 AM

Actually Aleksey your poetry more closely resembles O'Sensei's.

indomaresa 12-14-2003 10:02 AM

the internet is an amazing place

If you met someone for real, you will probably use your manners to impress him/her. But here on the internet you can chose to forgo that and speak anything you want, however you want, regardless of who is on the receiving end of your words.

People with little or insufficient internet experience will be appalled on reading several angry words, in contrast to a hacker's zen-like calmness when finding his e-mail overflowing with thousands of flames, bombs etcetera.

I joined this forum, expecting to meet and learn philosophy and experience from aikidokas around the world because you CAN'T learn techniques online. Therefore I'm confused at people who came on this forum to attack other people's philosophy. What are they after here? Fun? Redemption? Damnation? Are they even learning aikido?

Basically, when a person started to attack another's opinion with the full intent to win. Or to hurt. He has failed in learning aikido. They are better off learning a more adrenaline-pumping martial art, instead of this sappy aikido which prohibits them from unleashing their more 'human' qualities.

If they persist to study aikido techniques, then maybe they should find some other name for their newly created style. Minus the 'ai'

ian 12-14-2003 12:31 PM

What's the point of writing in a forum if you expect everyone to agree with you? I use this forum selfishly: - I write opinions hoping that someone with more insight than me will correct me, and thus I can learn. Luckily this has happened many times.

Another benefit is that there is no hierarchy in this forum. I'm constantly impressed by the insightful thoughts of beginners.

Although there are some individuals who can be offensive, there is a way to remove their comments from your own view on aikiweb (though to me, that is not beneficial - its better to face harsh criticism and be aware of it, than to pretend it doesn't exist). Yeh, there are stupid arguments from uninformed people - but who cares, you don't have answer back?

I have found this forum an exceptional resource and am thankful even for the more hurtful comments (Ron);-). Long live freedom (and ease) of speech on aikiweb.


fvhale 12-14-2003 02:45 PM

My two cents in defense of AikiWeb.

This is an internet forum, not a dojo. A dojo is a particular place of a particular kind of practice, with a Sensei who is, within that realm, The Authority; there is considerable physical risk to participants. Talking should be the absolute minimum (in my opinion), and obedience to Sensei should be instant. An internet forum is a place in a global communications network where nobody is really in charge, and, aside from a few sociopathic tragedies, nobody is in physical danger. This is a place to read/write freely, within the limits of applicable laws, common sense and decency. As someone mentioned, this is a place where we can discuss things like aikido and MA history and philosophy, talk of future and past, etc. But a dojo it is not. If I hold my arm out to my computer, none of you can grab my wrist. (At least not at present levels of technology; maybe haptic devices will get better.)

This is a forum. That word is Latin, from "foris," meaning outside, beyond the door (of the dojo, perhaps), in the open air. This is a place of rhetoric, of dialogue, of conversation and even humor, sometimes sarcasm and criticism (but please play nice). We can toss around thoughts here, perhaps thoughts we would never feel comforable expressing inside, in a dojo, in a face-to-face conversation with a great Sensei, where we tend rather to be timid and subservient and quiet. We don't toss each other physically, but perhaps rhetorically. And just as we need to learn on the mat not to use our "upper body strength," and how to take atemi and ukemi, perhaps here we need to learn to to use our "upper head" strength that might injure each other. If we can survive the bumps and bruises we get from each other here, we may bring more peace to the world.

There are other points I would like to make. What would happen on a foreign policy forum if Mr. Bush or Mr. Blair decided to join? Chances are, they would receive a lot of criticism, and high-tail it out of there after "Thank you very much." Why do so few top academics participate in internet fora? Because in a real sense, they are "fora" in the classical sense of the word. They are "outisde." They are outside all the protocols and decora of our professions, of our status. If you are the President, Prime Minister, a bishop, a monk, or a seventh-grader, we all come here pretty much stripped of our dignity of office and status. This place is really "outside," and this can be a shock to folks expecting deferential treatment and "respect" that they receive in other places, such as dojo's or universities or government offices. This is a very level playing field, and if your ideas are subject to critique (and everything I write can be critiques about 18 ways to Sunday), then you get criticism. If people can't take this, they are free to go back "inside" to their protected, status-filled environments where nobody expresses themselves as freely. I've done that with some forums. I just couldn't take it. Nobody is forced to be here.

But we should respect each other as human beings, and respect all applicable laws (no slander, threats, etc.) Aside from that, however, the internet forum is a great place to be "stripped" of our robes of office and be really humble. "Who I am" realy doesn't matter here. Nobdoy cares about my CV, what honors I've received, etc. That can be refreshing and enlightening as very cold water, if I can stand it.

I also think this is important for the future of martial arts. We certainly are not going back to 18th century Japan, or even early 20th century Japan, or the martial arts world of the 1970's in the U.S. How will these arts exist in the future? Not as parts of a historical Japanese culture. Confucian ideas of obedience and filial piety are losing ground even in Asia; they will not be suitable models, in my opinion, for the future of martial arts. (Otherwise, for one thing there would be no female leaders in martial arts; wait a minute, where are the female leaders today?) We cannot model, in my opinion, the future of martial arts as a broad human endeavor on historical samurai or Japanse Zen. Dojos are not places of free communication and thought, in my opinion; that is how it should be, also my opinion. Also, "big events" are filled with an atmosphere of formality, need to avoid giving offense, etc. Again, that is not a place for "free and casual" expression and exchange regarding martial arts. This forum may provide a "safe" place to discuss such issues, to discuss what of the past is a helpful stepping stone to the future, and what of the past is a wall.

Peace to all.

fvhale 12-14-2003 03:28 PM

Sorry, just a p.s. to my post above, which came to me while doing laundry...if the Emperor's New Clothes have a certain transparency, you can be sure that would be pointed on on an internet forum or blog! Is that being disrespectful or not following protocol? I don't think so. This is a wonderful, global forum where we can have some of our assumptions tested, and "rank" really doesn't matter. Peace to all.

Tim Griffiths 12-14-2003 05:34 PM

I'm with Frank on this. No-one's wearing a hakama or a shiny belt here, and a 12 year old who's thinking about doing aikido when he goes to college looks like a guy with 30 years training.

Maybe Jun can add something to the introduction: "Welcome to Aikiweb. If you're used to mailing lists, forums and chatrooms, come on in. If you're a well-respected sensei, with a great knowledge of aikido, but who is quite new to the internet and unaccustomed to the disrespectful, argumentative behaviour that passes for the norm when online, then for God's sake stick the "Voices of Experience" section, where everyone is nice, and steer clear of the rest of it, unless you're really looking for the biggest virtual wedgie you've had since high school".

I think there's a lot of complaining for a bunch of people who are, let's face it, paddling in the shallow end of internet culture. Kelly - compared to the aikido-l list, or (God help us) rec.martial-arts, this place is a bastion of respect and restaint. Still, I don't really expect civil behaviour online any more than I expect the Queen's English in an txt message.

Yes, its a shame to see Furuya sensei leave. But its as big a shame to lose the 12 year old - maybe they could have really learned something from us.


aikidoc 12-14-2003 06:46 PM

I agree there should be no rank issue and people should be able to freely discuss issues and take issue. However, "we should respect each other as human beings, and respect all applicable laws (no slander, threats, etc.)" is an admirable quality. I have been the brunt on numerous occasions of character attacks and yes, even threats. For a while the site got ugly enough I hung out on e budo where moderators don't allow personal attacks. It is one thing to attack a point of view or disagree with someones views, but yet another to attack the person's character or make threats. A measure of what you are all about as a person is reflected in how you treat others. IMHO there is no excuse except bad manners and petty minds for attacking people and making threats. There are polite ways to discuss issues without being rude and uncivil.

I don't think anyone has problems with spirited discussions on issues. However, many of us do take issue with the personal attacks. My hope would be that we can continue spirited discussions without lowering ourselves to the level of school yard pettiness. There are many that don't agree and hang out looking for such opportunities-often under disguised names. On e-budo this is not allowed. You cannot post without using your full name. Aikido journal has deteriorated in several forums to the same kind of pettiness and personal attacks enough to cause Stan Pranin to shut down threads. Frequently, the same people from this site are the instigators. Once they get enough crap thrown at them they go to another site until they get people there sufficiently pissed off. I guess they have nothing better to do than attack people rather than allow productive and spirited discussions. The topic usually turns to them and their attacks-I guess they get some kind of reward for people paying attention to them. They were the first to scream when someone suggested the ignore button be put in on Aikido Journal.

I guess I paddle in the shallow end.

Erik 12-14-2003 07:42 PM


John Riggs wrote:
I have been the brunt on numerous occasions of character attacks and yes, even threats.

John, you and I disagree on certain things, pretty radically in fact. I've participated in several heated discussions with you, but, I never saw anything resembling a threat in those threads. Not once! I recognize that I have a blunt posting style but neither I nor your other arch-enemy on those topics threaten.

Perhaps you could clarify what came off as a threat? I think most of us would not tolerate threats and I know Jun doesn't. Was it a thread I didn't see? Believe it or not, I don't post in every thread. :)

indomaresa 12-14-2003 10:49 PM

frank says

"aside from a few sociopathic tragedies, nobody is in physical danger."

is there ever such an event? i'm curious.. really

anyway, what i'm talking about isn't physical danger, more in the realm of the mind. i.e: People who spend much of their time with secular meditating and focusing on learning self-cultivation is ill-equipped to the barbed and extremely frank comments on the net. Not to mention the psychos.

This sounds like coddling the weak, but in real life I would never have managed to listen to someone in Furuya sensei's caliber speak so much for free. Much less converse. So I would really prefer to help create a forum where great minds can speak without reins, allowing us beginners to learn.

furuya sensei probably isn't a battle-hardened internet veteran. But does that mean aikiweb is only for the tough? Did anyone wan't to be confined to posting in one thread? No matter how green?

I managed several forum as the moderator and we rarely ban people even though the subscribers are mostly childrens and teenagers. If kids can use their manners exquisitely, why can't people who practice aikido?

tim's suggestion for changes in aikiweb's introduction is very good, with some minor changes. :) People should be aware of such things.

Tim, there's NEVER any danger of the 12 year olds leaving. Kids nowadays are made of tougher net material.

I know.

sanosuke 12-14-2003 10:58 PM

To Furuya sensei:

"Be grateful even for hardships, setbacks, and bad people. Dealing with such obstacles is an essential part of training." (from "Art of Peace" by John Stevens).


Williamross77 12-14-2003 11:37 PM

how will this look in 20 years?

PeterR 12-14-2003 11:46 PM


Maresa Sumardi (indomaresa) wrote:
.... probably isn't a battle-hardened internet veteran.

Speaking as a battle hardened internet veteran (Peter holding keyboard while pulling Incredible Hulk pose number 1 - aaaarrrrgh!!!!) I just want to point out that we are all here for our self indulgent pleasure be that delivering our own opinions, reading that of others or both.

If it stops being fun or other things become more important we leave. I suspect our latest casualty was just ready to be annoyed and will either eventually return or not. I enjoyed his posts with the exception of the poetry (no offence but I really am pretty picky) but I sure am not learning Aikido from him or from anyone here for that matter. There's a place for that and its not on the internet.

So I will not ask him back but probably will be happy to see him return.

Do any of the Aikido-L veterans remember Mike B. and of course Dennis H.. There was always a huge fuss on leaving but they kept showing up sooner or later.

Note 1. The above two members are not comparable but the pattern of going and returning was the same.

Note 2. The internet is a great foil for the ideas presented to you by your real teachers so in a way you do learn.

Creature_of_the_id 12-15-2003 01:50 AM


Bill Ross (Williamross77) wrote:
here here!

in aikdo dojo if someone is brash and rude they are expelled wothout hesitation, why not here?

I've always personally found that strange, the expelling of people that is...

Aikido is about learning harmony right? then why only accept people into the dojo who already understand harmony? why 'preach to the converted'.

These people who are expelled will not learn about aikido or harmony by being expelled.

its just the same in a forum like this... if we just discuss harmony with the harmonious then everything feels light and fluffy.

If we discuss harmony with the un-harmonious (its a word, I'm sure!) then we can both gain from it.

Ourselves by learning to blend in a hostile environment instead of the nice and cosy atmosphere and maybe the other can learn as well. although that part is not up to us, it is there own choice. but at least we provide the opportunity for that choice.

mj 12-15-2003 02:11 AM

People always get touchy this time of year.

Tim Griffiths 12-15-2003 03:08 AM


Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Do any of the Aikido-L veterans remember Mike B. and of course Dennis H. ? There was always a huge fuss on leaving but they kept showing up sooner or later.

They left too? I wouldn't know, as I didn't keep going back...:)


Thalib 12-15-2003 05:57 AM

I've left the forum for almost year... then I came back again... Now, I think I'm gonna be leaving again.

Not because of who said what in the forums. I've had a few skirmishes with you guys now and then. Back then I was still easily swayed, I get emotional too easily. Now, I understand that it doesn't matter.

I don't really know who you guys are (well, except for a couple of Indonesians here), and it's not my place to judge. If I read something that is offensive, I simply not reply to it.

There are offensive posts, and there are challenging posts. The offensive ones basically has no desire of seeking the truth. These type of posts are there to discredit you, mock you, or just make fun of you. Ignore them, they have no weight. Replying to them is like defending yourself in a kangaroo court.

The challenging ones are the type of posts that may be opposite in views but respect each other's opinions. These type of posts are written by people that want to learn from each other no matter how different their views are. There might not be any visible solution in the end, but each side is a bit richer in knowledge.

Give me a thousand brilliant men and I will face them all, but give me one stupid man and I would not know what to do.

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