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SeiserL 11-07-2010 09:42 PM

Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
1 Attachment(s)
Breathe in, model
Breath out, mentor
Mindfully

I must admit that I tend to agree with Charles Barkley when he says that he is a basketball player and not a role model. I would hate to think that someone would end up like me. When I became a father I realized I needed to clean up my act and must admit that it helped me a lot. Unfortunately, my sons still ended up a lot like me. I have already apologized to them several times.

Vicarious observational learning takes place often unconsciously through imitation and identification. It is very powerful. Advertising media uses it all the time. They have associated the unrelated facts that if we use their product we will be thin, attractive, smart, cool, and drive the right car while being very well dressed. All this just for purchasing and consuming their product.

This is a lot like a hologram, we don't just get a part of the message, we get all of it. There is some new research that proposes that the brain contains internal mirror-neurons that fire in association to external stimulation. If we watch an elite athlete learning a new skill or warming-up we will see their associated mental rehearsal with the event. Neurologically the brain does not know the difference between actual events and those of fantasy. Repeated fantasizing of mental rehearsal can imbed a new belief or behavior.

It happens in families all the time. As a counselor I am often asked to work with adolescents who have an attitude problem. When I meet their parents I see exactly where they learned their behavior. Membership has the entry criterion. The learned ego is based on imitation and identification. We have to be careful who we follow and mindful of those following us.

When my wife first saw a video tape of my old FMA/JKD instructor (Ted Lucauylucauy) she said that he moved just like I do. I corrected her by admitting I moved like him. This was a compliment to me (sorry Ted). When you see my Aikido, you see some of who taught me (Sensei Dang Thong Phong). Only he is so much better at it then I am. We behave, feel, and think a lot like those who taught us how to behave, feel, and think.

Modeling: to plan or form after a pattern/shape, to produce a representation to simulation, to construct in imitation

We don't have to say anything to been seen and accepted as a role model. It's often not our choice, but the choice of those looking for something and we just happen to be in their line of vision. The same goes for those we modeled after. We choose them. Perhaps that choice reflects some inner need in us. We model after those who match our needs, wants, and desires. Perhaps we project what we want our models to be and never see who they really are, This projection often leads to some real disappointments and disillusionments when we realize that our role models are not who we idealize they are but are just humans with all their human faults and frailties.

Mentoring: entrusted with the education, a trusted counselor or guide, a tutor or coach

In program we often use the cliché of walking the talk. Walking is our modeling. Talking is our mentoring. Just as people tried to save us some misery of self-learning, we too will share our experience and perspective in the hopes of helping others. Perhaps some just do it to sound intelligent and wise and gain respect. You can tell a great mentor because it is more important to them that you be impressed with who you are and what you can do than who they are and what they can do. A mentor wants the student to surpass the teacher. A mentor is like a catalyst to a chemical reaction that facilitates the change but does not really remain a part of it.

Mindfulness: bearing in mind, inclined to be aware, the art of staying conscious and aware of the present

Perhaps I don't have a very positive view of us as a human species because I think most of us are simply creatures of habit on automatic pilot. Whatever we were taught (through unconscious modeling and mentoring) we repeat without questioning for the next generation who model after us. This is how information can be transmitted and replicated without alteration. However, I am also aware of the old children's game of gossip by passing a message around a circle only to find out in the end that it is entirely different than it began. Perhaps this is why things get lost in translation and transmission.

Perhaps if we all became more mindful of our models and mentors and more mindful of those who choose us as their models and mentors, we could communicate with more clarity, conviction, and compassion.

Breathe in, model
Breath out, mentor
Mindfully

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Now get back to training. KWATZ!

crbateman 11-08-2010 06:17 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Hello Lynn-san... I like what you have written. We are all products of the input we receive from any interaction, times the effect that we derive from it. It gives each of us the ability to be both mentor and learner in most any situation. While some might argue the point, I think that in any encounter there exists both the opportunity to teach and to learn. What we do with these opportunities is what distinguishes each of us.

Your example of Charles Barkley describing himself as "not a role model" has got me thinking. Is it really within his power to decide this? Or, is it more a function of how others might view him? I think that being a role model comes with the territory with celebrity or notoriety. Mr. Barkley may not want to feel any responsibility for the results of others who might look at him as an example, but I don't think he has any way to prevent them from doing so. It's human nature to be imitative, particularly of those who are successful, and especially if that success comes seemingly in spite of themselves or the status quo. I, for one, have much more respect for those who accept and embrace that unique opportunity to be helpful to others.

Thanks again for the thoughtful article. Looking forward to sharing time and space.

SeiserL 11-08-2010 08:50 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Clark Bateman wrote: (Post 267858)
Your example of Charles Barkley describing himself as "not a role model" has got me thinking. Is it really within his power to decide this? Or, is it more a function of how others might view him?

Yes agreed.

Others choose to see us as role models whether we like it or not.

Many of us would prefer not to be, believing that there are so many others so much more worthy of leading the way.

But ultimately, we must be mindful that we are following others and others are following us.

Darn!!!

Rei, Domo.

jonreading 11-08-2010 11:38 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
When Charles Barkley made those comments in the early nineties, professional athletes had not yet become sensationalized in the media for their...err... mistakes in judgement. The comment was controversial because many people still believed in the ethics of athletes. Athletes shook hands after playing, didn't take steroids, liked children and old people and signed autographs for free. Heck, some one might even hit a home run for a sick kid. Now if you ask for player stats you have to clarify between home runs and arrests.

I rant because sometimes we do not realize how much our actions speak for our character, nor do we realize what parts of our character resonate with those around us. There are many basketball players who can dunk a basketball - what Charles Barkley didn't realize was his popularity in the sport was the result of his character as much as his abilities (if not more than).

Humans are fallible. It's not when we fall from grace, but how we stand up after falling. The bigger the mistake, the harder we fall. One of the burdens leaders bear is to appreciate that responsibility. One of the burdens society bears is to mantle the proper leaders.

SeiserL 11-08-2010 02:02 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 267869)
Humans are fallible. It's not when we fall from grace, but how we stand up after falling. The bigger the mistake, the harder we fall. One of the burdens leaders bear is to appreciate that responsibility. One of the burdens society bears is to mantle the proper leaders.

I can model failure well and without much thought.

Randy Sexton 11-10-2010 06:38 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Thanks for the insight. I liked the line "waklng is our modeling, talking is our mentoring"
Doc Sexton

SeiserL 11-10-2010 04:21 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Randy Sexton wrote: (Post 268039)
I liked the line "walkng is our modeling, talking is our mentoring"

Osu Doc,

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.

Talk is important. Many of the principles in Aikido would never have made it to my consciousness if some one had not told me about it. I do tend to lead with my head.

Walk is also important. It lets me know its possible.

I need to know its possible and I need to know how.

Then the discipline is up to me.

Looking forward to sharing space and time again.

Rei, Domo.

Susan Dalton 11-10-2010 05:27 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Jon said:
"When Charles Barkley made those comments in the early nineties, professional athletes had not yet become sensationalized in the media for their...err... mistakes in judgement. The comment was controversial because many people still believed in the ethics of athletes. Athletes shook hands after playing, didn't take steroids, liked children and old people and signed autographs for free. Heck, some one might even hit a home run for a sick kid. Now if you ask for player stats you have to clarify between home runs and arrests."

It's none of my business, but how old are you Jon? When I went to college in the 70's, I saw atrocious behavior by some athletes because they had been taught that the rules did not apply to them. Because they were gifted, they were special, and some believed they could do as they pleased.

One thing I like about aikido is that with improvement comes responsibility. And, no matter how good you are, you still clean the mat.
Susan

SeiserL 11-11-2010 10:47 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Susan Dalton wrote: (Post 268079)
One thing I like about aikido is that with improvement comes responsibility. And, no matter how good you are, you still clean the mat.

Yes agreed.
And many will mentor that this is the lesson to be learned.
Few will actually model that they have learned it.
On and off the mat, always mindful.
Thanks for reading and responding.

jonreading 11-11-2010 12:46 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

I can model failure well and without much thought.
I love it.

As for the question about my age, I am in my mid thirties. In response to the statement,
Quote:

I saw atrocious behavior by some athletes because they had been taught that the rules did not apply to them. Because they were gifted, they were special, and some believed they could do as they pleased.
I couldn't agree more. But the point to which I was referring was that Charles Barkley was the first athlete to say Your kids should not idolize us - we are athletes, not heroes. The comment was made not because it was the first time an athlete was caught doing something stupid, but because the media's "new" methodology of de-constructing celebrities was casting a poor light on athletes.

The argument should not be, "well, this behavior has been going on for XX years..." the argument should be, "this behavior is unacceptable. It was unacceptable 20 years ago, and it is unacceptable now." The sad part of the story is we are not saying this.

SeiserL 11-11-2010 03:03 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 268101)
The argument should not be, "well, this behavior has been going on for XX years..." the argument should be, "this behavior is unacceptable. It was unacceptable 20 years ago, and it is unacceptable now." The sad part of the story is we are not saying this.

I am saying that.
Walk the talk.
We all already know the right things to do.
So lets just do it.

Fred Little 11-11-2010 04:13 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 268101)
The argument should not be, "x." the argument should be, "y."

Dear Jon,

Without regard for the values for which the variables "x" and "y" may be place markers, or the broader subject under review, it has been my general experience that making arguments about what "should or should not" be the case rarely has much utility unless I'm looking for an amen from someone in my own choir. YMMV.

Best,

FL

George S. Ledyard 11-11-2010 07:14 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Fred Little wrote: (Post 268109)
Dear Jon,

Without regard for the values for which the variables "x" and "y" may be place markers, or the broader subject under review, it has been my general experience that making arguments about what "should or should not" be the case rarely has much utility unless I'm looking for an amen from someone in my own choir. YMMV.

Best,

FL

Hi Fred,
While I get what you are saying, I think I'd like to put in a plug for the positive argument. I think most people are extremely dependent, social beings. They are essentially herd, or perhaps more kindly, tribal beings. Most folks want leadership. If you don't give them good leaders, they will follow bad ones.

So, when folks make statements about the way they think things should be and perhaps shouldn't be, I think it becomes part of the process of people actually deciding what it is that they think. The last thing one would want, in my opinion, is to have everyone as a "ditto head" for lack of a better message being put out there.

The quote, typically attributed to Edmund Burke but really a paraphrase, I think says it...
Quote:

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
So, in a further distortion of the original I would say that all that is needed for bad ideas to flourish is for no one to state the good ones. Which is the only reason I can see to "fight the good fight" here on the forums.

Sure, let's be realistic, who doesn't like it when the choir gives you the big amen? But I do believe it is more than that. And one really needs to be very Zen about such things, putting the ideas out there with no particular attachment to whether anyone agrees or not.

SeiserL 11-12-2010 06:52 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Fred Little wrote: (Post 268109)
Without regard for the values for which the variables "x" and "y" may be place markers, or the broader subject under review, it has been my general experience that making arguments about what "should or should not" be the case rarely has much utility unless I'm looking for an amen from someone in my own choir.

There's an Aikido choir? How come no ones tells me about these things?

IMHO, as a therapist I often find that people are struggling to find the rights answers because they are asking the wrong questions.

IMHO, "should" just usually means it isn't the way I want it to be. We "should" be better role models an mentors means we already know that its not that way and we are falling short.

I do believe we/I can do better.

Thoughts?

SeiserL 11-12-2010 06:59 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote: (Post 268115)
And one really needs to be very Zen about such things, putting the ideas out there with no particular attachment to whether anyone agrees or not.

Osu Sensei,

I wouldn't know what to do with agreement. Usually I am uncomfortable with it. I often just state/share what I perceive.

Agreement just means it matches for someone. Disagreement just means it doesn't. Its not right/wrong or good/bad. Each statement is only personal about that person's experience.

BTW, since I don't play well with others, I tend not to sing in choirs. A long time ago there were a couple Detroit rock/blues bands though.

Fred Little 11-12-2010 11:21 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote: (Post 268115)
Hi Fred,
While I get what you are saying, I think I'd like to put in a plug for the positive argument. I think most people are extremely dependent, social beings. They are essentially herd, or perhaps more kindly, tribal beings. Most folks want leadership. If you don't give them good leaders, they will follow bad ones.

So, when folks make statements about the way they think things should be and perhaps shouldn't be, I think it becomes part of the process of people actually deciding what it is that they think. The last thing one would want, in my opinion, is to have everyone as a "ditto head" for lack of a better message being put out there.

George,

I agree entirely with the need for an affirmative argument, the need for positive examples, and the purity of the impulse that often lies at the root of a "should/should not" argument.

It's simply that my experience is that presenting binary choices -- with one of the two framed negatively-- alienates many of the people that need to be brought along.

Framed positively, I find that aspiration to best practices can be encouraged effectively. Framed negatively, I find that acknowledging that the world is a messed up place and that harm reduction is a worthy undertaking that may be more effective than insistence on an idealized and unrealizable standard based in abstract moral/ethical considerations is sometimes the only place to start.

Or so a semi-reformed abuser of the "should/should not" construction advises....:D

Cheers,

FL

jonreading 11-12-2010 12:01 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
This is gonna to tangent the thread. I promise I'll try to bring things back...
Quote:

Fred Little wrote: (Post 268109)
Dear Jon,

Without regard for the values for which the variables "x" and "y" may be place markers, or the broader subject under review, it has been my general experience that making arguments about what "should or should not" be the case rarely has much utility unless I'm looking for an amen from someone in my own choir. YMMV.

Best,

FL

My comments were in regards to re-aligning an argument that was heading towards permissive reasoning. I do not believe in permissive reasoning (Mom, can I jump off the roof? Jimmy down the street did it...).

Specifically, I was arguing that just because athletes abused their status at some earlier point in time does not mean their behavior becomes excusable at a future point in time. If it is factual that athletes abused their status at an earlier point in time and at a later point in time and it is factual that society does not support that behavior, then the presumptive logic here implies that between these two points of time [society would have taken] corrective action was not successfully applied to curb the abusive behavior of athletes. I was re-constructing the argument for my point. Anywho...

However, I think that our moral stances are weakening, which was the reason I read this post. I think Lynn gave some great insight into this phenomena. Remember Catherine Genovese? She was the girl killed in NY while bystanders watched her murder. We now call this effect the bystander effect. Good people doing nothing...

Its easier to stand up when others stand with you; it is lonely when you're the only one. So we stop standing. We stop arguing with those who present counter arguments. We concede opinions to avoid confrontation. We spend a lot of energy excusing our actions. Ichi go, ichi e, right? I wonder how many residents from that Bronx neighborhood would've called the police if they could have a do-over?

Aristotle says there are three types of audiences to debate: those who agree with you, those who disagree with you, and those who are uncertain. Aristotle advocates arguing to those who are uncertain because those who agree with you are firm in their conviction and you will not convince those who have set their conviction against you. If you are talking to those with like-minds, you are not engaged in rhetoric.

Kevin Choate used to advocate students should complete every technique, regardless of if it was the correct technique or another technique. One time... right? How many of us aren't ready when we stand in front of our partners? How many of us should act, but don't?

Should is fine as look as you stand behind it.

SeiserL 11-12-2010 12:53 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 268127)
Should is fine as look as you stand behind it.

Then its not a statement of what "should" be but a statement of what is.

I would rather stand alone than fall/fail with many.

Some things are just wrong and we need to courage to just say so. Likewise, some things are just right and we need the courage to act on them.

SeiserL 11-12-2010 12:59 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Fred Little wrote: (Post 268124)
Framed negatively, I find that acknowledging that the world is a messed up place and that harm reduction is a worthy undertaking that may be more effective than insistence on an idealized and unrealizable standard based in abstract moral/ethical considerations is sometimes the only place to start.

Yes agreed.

The world is a messed up place and in our humanness we are all a mess too.

Yes, those "idealized and unrealistic standards" are "the only place to start."

The decision is to walk in that direction and the daily discipline is to keep walking no matter what.

Barbara Knapp 11-13-2010 11:48 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
My experience is that it is very important to say and to hear others express a higher standard than many of us can achieve. Not in a critical or punitive way, which is what drives people apart - but just reminding ourselves that we are capable of being more than what we are, and that the standards remain even when we fail. In fact, I would suggest that a mentor who never made a mistake would be useless. It is their steadfastness and honesty that counts; their showing that anyone can get there from here.

Its important to speak up and act because its difficult to hang on to ideals when everyone around you seems to be denying them. We need a community, and its very difficult to be much better than the people around you. We are always creating the conditions for eachother to become a little better, or to do something we may really regret.

Isn't that one of the things aikido is about?

SeiserL 11-13-2010 12:17 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Barbara Knapp wrote: (Post 268157)
My experience is that it is very important to say and to hear others express a higher standard than many of us can achieve.

Isn't that one of the things aikido is about?

IMHO, aikido is only a tool or a context in which we can practice this.

If it is achievable for one of us, it is achievable for all of us.

It is not a "higher standard", but the standard.

We have to quit accepting "less than" from others and ourselves.

Thoughts?

Janet Rosen 11-13-2010 01:54 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Barbara Knapp wrote: (Post 268157)
In fact, I would suggest that a mentor who never made a mistake would be useless. It is their steadfastness and honesty that counts; their showing that anyone can get there from here.

The day the master seamstress who was my teacher came into class and confessed that the previous evening she had sewn in a sleeve inside out, I wanted to kiss her. Seriously, if folks put their mentor or teacher on a pedestal, then they remain acolytes, and never develop the mindset to let them become masters, mentors or teachers.

SeiserL 11-13-2010 02:37 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Janet Rosen wrote: (Post 268164)
Seriously, if folks put their mentor or teacher on a pedestal, then they remain acolytes, and never develop the mindset to let them become masters, mentors or teachers.

Most people figure that if I can do it (whatever it may be) then they certainly can.

Barbara Knapp 11-13-2010 03:55 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

If it is achievable for one of us, it is achievable for all of us.

It is not a "higher standard", but the standard.

Any thoughts?
A few:

Standards are there to work toward, not to be achieved once and for all? Everyone has bad days and good days. Failing is important. Its one of the things a mentor can teach. It is hard to do it well and gracefully.

I meant, that being good people depends in part on having/creating/sustaining a good community. also, that aikido practice, at least in part, is about demonstrating and experiencing compassion, and so creating a community that helps everyone grow.

I was in a class once where the teacher asked us to imagine we were a small village about to be attacked, and our survival depended on every single student being as skillful and strong as possible. Same thing, only different.

SeiserL 11-13-2010 06:25 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Barbara Knapp wrote: (Post 268176)
Standards are there to work toward, not to be achieved once and for all?

This may be where we differ.

IMHO, standards (and high standards at that) are to be established, achieved, and maintained. That's the daily discipline.

Thoughts?

Janet Rosen 11-13-2010 07:49 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Lynn Seiser wrote: (Post 268180)
This may be where we differ.

IMHO, standards (and high standards at that) are to be established, achieved, and maintained. That's the daily discipline.

Thoughts?

I'm not Barbara, but I'm going to raise my hand and guess that your difference may be semantic. There are standards as in goals - used this way in schools or workplaces sometimes - and there are standards as in principles - which is how I tend to use the term.

SeiserL 11-14-2010 06:42 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Janet Rosen wrote: (Post 268182)
There are standards as in goals - used this way in schools or workplaces sometimes - and there are standards as in principles - which is how I tend to use the term.

Yes agreed.

We know there are semantically different ways to use and definitions of any word. Its always been a problem in communication and mis-communication.

There are standards for the goals and standards for the process of getting there.

The question is do we lower the standards (as goals and process) so more people can achieve them or do we raise them and model and mentor more people in making the higher standards (benchmark) for their standard daily practice?

How do we make (higher) standards more standard and the standard practice?

Thoughts?

Barbara Knapp 11-14-2010 11:05 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Yes, I think we are talking about slightly different things. I am very process oriented, and not much interested in end states. I am talking about guiding light standards, not standards for grading things, like eggs; or people's skills, like ranks in martial arts.

A thought - its the grading type standards that tend to divide people. Its ok to grade eggs, and important to divide incompetent professionals from competent ones. But it does create problems when we start imposing our personal standards, beyond basic health and safety, on other people. At least, its never worked well for me. Being judged, and being disappointed by other's failures to meet my standards, is no fun and not really all that useful...being shown the way by someone who cares and is still learning themselves, that is powerful.

Barbara Knapp 11-14-2010 11:08 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
...and I see I have turned your definition on its head. oh well.

SeiserL 11-14-2010 03:08 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Barbara Knapp wrote: (Post 268197)
Yes, I think we are talking about slightly different things. I am very process oriented, and not much interested in end states.

I have never been very goal-directed end-state-oriented either.

But once I discovered I was direction-directed my life got better and I was able to surpass whatever end-state goal I would have set.

I find when I allow myself to be too process oriented I am not concerned with making any progress and usually do not.

The combination of process-orientation with direction-directed has allowed me to maintain a much higher standard for myself with forward progress than I found previously possible.

I do agree that anything that contains judgments of good/bad or right/wrong have not be useful for me.

Thoughts?

George S. Ledyard 11-15-2010 01:24 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Lynn Seiser wrote: (Post 268180)
This may be where we differ.

IMHO, standards (and high standards at that) are to be established, achieved, and maintained. That's the daily discipline.

Thoughts?

The reason we call them "standards" is that we intend for them to be met. The things that we put out there to strive for, and perhaps never attain, are "ideals".

SeiserL 11-15-2010 05:09 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote: (Post 268240)
The reason we call them "standards" is that we intend for them to be met. The things that we put out there to strive for, and perhaps never attain, are "ideals".

Nice distinction. Compliments.

How we think of things (intent) are not just semantics, but literal commands to our neurology on how to respond.

Thoughts?

Peter Goldsbury 11-15-2010 07:11 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote: (Post 268240)
The reason we call them "standards" is that we intend for them to be met. The things that we put out there to strive for, and perhaps never attain, are "ideals".

Hello George,

I have just had dinner with Jun Akiyama here in Hiroshima and we had long talks about aikido, websites, Aikiweb etc etc. So, full of renewed enthusiasm about the wonderful possibilities of AikiWeb, I enter into the fray--and ask: Really, what is the cash value of the difference between intending and striving? You 'intend' to meet standards, or, more impersonally, to have standards met (by others?), but 'strive' to attain ideals. As someone famously asked: where's the beef?

And then Lynn adds:

"How we think of things (intent) are not just semantics, but literal commands to our neurology on how to respond."

Wow. Lynn, forgive me for having a 'Szczepan moment' here, but are you reporting what actually happens when we think of things or when we issue commands to our neurology? The force of 'literal' suggests to me that I actually issue commands to my (mind which then issues commands or my) brain to command my arm muscles to move the steering wheel in such a way that the car I am driving actually moves in the way I want it to.

Or are you simply suggesting what we (in our psychologically unenlightened innocence) think happens?

In general, my own thoughts echo those of Fred Little, but I would push the thought that you can never derive 'ought' or 'should' from 'is' rather more strongly than Fred did.

Best wishes,

PAG

SeiserL 11-15-2010 08:01 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 268247)
Wow. Lynn, forgive me for having a 'Szczepan moment' here, but are you reporting what actually happens when we think of things or when we issue commands to our neurology? The force of 'literal' suggests to me that I actually issue commands to my (mind which then issues commands or my) brain to command my arm muscles to move the steering wheel in such a way that the car I am driving actually moves in the way I want it to.

Or are you simply suggesting what we (in our psychologically unenlightened innocence) think happens?

Neuroscience is very supportive of the inter-connectedness of the mind and body is a two-way street. What we do with body stimulates neuropathways in the brain. Also, what we consciously and voluntarily focus on in our minds gets neurologically transmitted to the body.

This is often studied in sport psychology through mental rehearsal.

In your example, if you look at something to the side of the road, yes your car will tend to drift in that direction.

I have a friend who told me that one of the problems he has in Aikido is he is trying to move in body in circles while his mind is still thinking in straight line.

In linguistics we often see the underlying implied meaning of the words we use often act as an indirect command.

Perhaps the congruence of body and mind is important.

Thoughts?

BTW: I am really enjoying and learning from our discussion here. Thank you to all.

Janet Rosen 11-15-2010 10:37 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
To me a standard is the expectation of how I will behave or perform - whether it is an external standard laid out by, say, my workplace or my inner self-expectations; the latter being a very harsh taskmaster.

On the other issue... research indicates the brain/nervous system is indeed much more plastic than we were taught in university thirty years ago. And not only is there greater capacity for remodeling or regeneration that previously thought, our neuroanatomy/physiology is literally changed by what we experience or see (interesting stuff scanning the brains of kids chronically witnessing violence around them) and also by the messages and beliefs that form each person's inner landscape.

George S. Ledyard 11-15-2010 12:00 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 268247)
Hello George,

I have just had dinner with Jun Akiyama here in Hiroshima and we had long talks about aikido, websites, Aikiweb etc etc. So, full of renewed enthusiasm about the wonderful possibilities of AikiWeb, I enter into the fray--and ask: Really, what is the cash value of the difference between intending and striving? You 'intend' to meet standards, or, more impersonally, to have standards met (by others?), but 'strive' to attain ideals. As someone famously asked: where's the beef?

In general, my own thoughts echo those of Fred Little, but I would push the thought that you can never derive 'ought' or 'should' from 'is' rather more strongly than Fred did.

Hi Peter,
I am simply using the terms in the way that folks seem to commonly understand them. "Ideals" seem to represent something that we'd like to see but most often don't even expect to, perhaps because of consistent disappointment, as in our politics here, but it's best if I don't start on that...

When someone who is said to be "idealistic" he is thought to be a bit out of sync with reality, a wishful thinker, one whose ideas don't really reflect reality, no matter how "nice" they are.

When someone seems to REALLY believe in his ideas and tries to actually live them, he is called a Saint. Given the history of Sainthood, not only would folks generally concede they are extremely rare, but most folks would admit to not really wishing to be one.

I think this is how most folks actually use the terms "ideals" or "ideally".

"Standards" however, are considered to be a statement or definition of quality or performance that is to be met. The expectation is that the standard MUST be attained or maintained. There is no wishful thinking here. Safety "standards" might be set by the government and failure to maintain those standards could even be actionable. Performance "standards" are the basis of ones performance review and determine whether one gets a raise or even keeps his job. If the "standards" are unattainable or too poorly defined, people get really upset and that is considered a form of bad management. "Standard" procedures are even used as part of a legal defense if one is being sued for negligence. One strives to show that ones actions were standard actions in the industry and not something out of the ordinary. So consistently when we use the term "standards" there is a connotation of expectation, even responsibility that simply isn't there when we use the terms "ideal" or "ideally".

So, the relevant question, since this is an Aikido forum, how this discussion applies to Aikido? In that realm I would say that the uses are perhaps a bit different.

I think that one of the great issues with Aikido is that we have treated the art and skill therein as representing some set of "ideals". The Founder was an "idealist" and perhaps even a "Saint" of sorts, and therefore we don't expect our technique or actions to meet that standard because it is seen as an "ideal", not really a "standard" that anyone expects to duplicate.

So, too often this extends all the way down through the whole "pyramid" of the Aikido endeavor. Performance at all levels is seen as a set of "ideals" rather than "standards". No one seems terribly upset when an "ideal" isn't reached. Yes, I would have liked it if he had done such and such on his test, but he's older, has kids, has a career, isn't very athletic, whatever... and it's the effort that counts anyway, so voila we have a new back belt.

This happens all the way to the top. No one seems terribly upset by the fact that his teacher has admittedly not measured up to the "standard" set by the Founder because it isn't really seen as a "standard" but rather as an ideal.

No one in my organization seems to be terribly upset that not a single one of their teachers has met the standard set by Saotome Sensei because it's been turned into an ideal. So much so that people go about their training telling themselves that they couldn't actually attain that level. It's ok to go to a seminar with Saotome Sensei and not understand a thing that happens from Friday night until Sunday night because Sensei is "amazing" and, of course, we are not.

All along the whole vertical hierarchy of the art we see people letting themselves off the hook for doing their jobs because they have turned what should have been "standards" into "ideals" and no one really expects or is expected to reach and "ideal".

I think that one of the definitions of Budo would be that one treats the "ideal" as the "standard". It is a continuous search for a perfection that, while truly unattainable, is sought with single minded, unflagging effort. This effort continues right up until ones death. Remember the Nike ad campaign "Just do it!". Well, that's more the Budo outlook. No excuses, no letting oneself off the hook. It's the attitude of shinken shobu or "live blade encounter". You either perform or you die. My wife Genie was a championship fencer. When entering the finals after a whole weekend of fighting matches to reach that place, there's profound level of exhaustion... the will is often the only thing that separates the winner from the loser on that day. "Be tired later" was her mantra.

So, in my opinion, Budo is an exercise of the will to keep one in pursuit of the "ideal". Aikido, in my opinion, is an extremely "idealistic" art. But it takes a strong will to pursue those ideals and treat them "as if" they were really standards. One could maintain that doing Aikido with some actual "aiki" should be a standard, that with no "aiki" it's, ipso facto, not even Aiki-do. Yet somehow we've ended up treating skill in "aiki" as an ideal, not something we insist on but a sort of unattainable "ideal" for most of us, that only a chosen few attain.

Since we are no longer a warrior culture, we can let ourselves off the hook. There's no serious negative consequence to not being any good at Aikido. It's not like we perform or die. Besides, it's just a hobby. It's supposed to be "fun". Folks who are too single minded about things make everyone just a bit uncomfortable. Believing that one could actually be as good or better than ones teacher would be seen, not just as unrealistically idealistic, but actually disrespectful, ones ego getting out of control.

So, for me, contrary to popular usage as I have defined it, in Budo, and therefore Aikido even more so, the "ideal" should be the "standard". I am going to understand what O-Sensei understood before I die. I am going to be every bit as good as my teacher, Saotome Sensei. Absolutely nothing stands between me and Ikeda Sensei but my own lack of resolve. If I am less committed to the pursuit of this "ideal", if I don't simply insist for myself that this "ideal" actually represents a "standard" for my performance, then it's just a short step from that to making the whole thing an "idealistic", pie in the sky, wishful thinking, hobby. And that sure as hell isn't Budo.

And, as a teacher, it is not only my job to do this for myself, it is my job to "set the standard" for my students. And here is the "road to Hell", for sure. I have a beautiful dojo with the commensurate rent and expenses. I need a certain number of students just to keep the doors open. If I am too "idealistic" about setting my "standards", I'll be training with two people in my garage. So, I have to compromise on what I would prefer to see as my "standards" and treat them as "ideals". Rather than insist on a standard, I set up easily attainable "minimum standards" that I can live with without feeling like I am running a McDojo, where I can look at myself in the mirror each day and not feel like I am ripping people off and then I try to cajole, inspire, push, interest, even trick people into slowly raising that standard towards an ideal that I know most will never be serious enough to attain.

The endeavor is a Sisyphean task for ones own training and as a teacher responsible for the training of others. It is a daily struggle. And that's what makes it Budo, I guess.

jonreading 11-15-2010 12:30 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Semantically, I think the term "standard" requires an objective component against which to be compared. Standardized testing for example compares a solution against an undisputed answer; the question is either correct or incorrect. Industry standards for example set a specification that must be met by a manufacturer before they can sell a product. These are real expectations to be met by those who operate under them.

"Shoulds", "oughts" and "coulds" fall into a subjective realm. We use these terms to describe those things we believe are important, but maybe are factually ambiguous or morally defined or include some element of subjectivity.
As a personal comment, I think most people have difficulty structuring an argument and use soft language like "shoulds", "oughts" and "coulds" to soften their conclusion statements...just in case they are wrong. I don't think these people are wrong, but the quality of their argument should be questioned. Logic is used precisely to derive a "should" from "is" (classically, at least two "is" statement). We call this "should" a theory, theorem or hypothesis. The difference is that a logical "should" is substantiated by fact, and verified by examination (or experimentation). We have reached a point in our cultural dialogue that we neither require substantiating facts to support a claim, nor verify the concluding statement. So we stop using these concluding statements because heaven forbid we're wrong...

For what its worth, I believe Aikido falls into a more subjective realm. We are kinda the purple markers of the grading world (this is a joke about school boards encouraging teachers to use "less harsh" colored markers to annotate student work, seriously). I think it is tough to have [universal] "standards" in aikido beyond that which a dojo sets forth.

SeiserL 11-15-2010 03:09 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Janet Rosen wrote: (Post 268256)
To me a standard is the expectation of how I will behave or perform.

Yes a statement of intent and expectation of what you "will" do, not what your hope to do someday maybe.

SeiserL 11-15-2010 05:27 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote: (Post 268261)
It is a daily struggle. And that's what makes it Budo, I guess.

As an admitted hobbyist I know I limit my growth. However, I know I can be a lot better by keeping my standards of practice high.

IMHO, too many people set their standards of practice so low that they limit their potential and guarantee disappointment and failure.

That's how we make the daily discipline into a daily struggle.

I am fortunate that I have been exposed to models and mentors that helped be get past many of my own limitation and get a glimpse of the possible.

Thoughts?

SeiserL 11-15-2010 05:33 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 268265)
I think it is tough to have [universal] "standards" in aikido beyond that which a dojo sets forth.

IMHO, standards are personal statements we make about ourselves, not from the Aikido world or our dojo.

Its not about what other people should or ought to do. Its about what I want to do.

I have been told I am very opinionated but not very judgmental.

I state what I belief based on my level of practice and understanding to date. With any luck and more progress it will change as my perspective changes.

IMHO, standards are not something I want to project out onto others, but to incorporate and integrate into my own life. If others see they are worthwhile and which to practice too, that's fine. If not, this is the direction I am walking.

Thoughts?


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