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Orange 06-27-2000 08:36 PM

I have been practicing Aikido for a little over a year and have just started to wonder about the claims that Aikido is "non-violent".

The majority of the techniques I have seen end in either a projection or a pin, and I can see how those can be considered non-violent. At the same time there are some techniques such as chokes, that don't seem to follow the same mentality of protecting uke.

And then the fact that techniques can be performed in such a way that they can seriously injure uke only makes me ask the question more.

So is aikido non-violent or is aikido something that can be non-violent but isn't necessarily so?


akiy 06-27-2000 10:24 PM

I remember my first aikido teacher saying, "The techniques of aikido are all capable of great damage -- even to the point of killing the attacker. It's the person doing the aikido that makes it non-lethal." I liked that.

I'm sure other people have thoughts on this subject, though. Anyone else?

-- Jun


Chuck Clark 06-27-2000 11:39 PM

I think "violence" is in the kokoro or mind/heart/spirit/intent of the person not the technique.

As a tornado is not violent, but powerful and possibly destructive in our eyes, budo waza is not violent unless accompanied by violent intent, hatred, malevolent energy from the person who performs the technique.

I took part in almost three years of combat in Viet Nam and only felt violence in myself on three occassions and I'll never forget that feeling. I really believe that we can be compassionate and still do what is necessary to carry out self-defense even in wartime.

I believe the nature of budo is compassionate even though some times we must use strong measures to achieve peace.

Aiki1 06-28-2000 09:14 AM

Just out of curiosity, what style of Aikido do you take that teaches chokes? Some styles do teach them, some don't. Just wondering.

Chuck Clark 06-28-2000 09:57 AM

Mr. Novick,

We practice shimewaza in the Jiyushinkai. It's one of the infinite possibilities that spring out of some of our kihon no kata. Shimewaza done softly and adeptly can be a very quick way to "protect" uke.

Regards,

Orange 06-28-2000 10:03 AM

I don't know what the style is called but my instructor's main influence has been Chiba Sensei.

Nick 06-28-2000 11:13 AM

Suenaka-ha Tetsugaku-ho Aikido does shime-waza.

I believe that Aikido is all in the heart and mind of the Aikidoka. It goes to the discussion of Katsujinken, Satsujinto- Aikido can be used as the Sword to give Life and protect the weak (Katsujinken) as it was meant to, by O-sensei, or it can be used to break someone's back by provoking a fight and than giving them an iriminage on some nice pavement, and using it to hurt the weak (Satsujinto). However, I also believe that Aikido is harder to make work while holding the Satsujinto, than say, karate. The times I have gone to Aikido with stray thoughts on my mind, I become angry and try to use strength, making my technique suffer. This, I believe, is why O-sensei taught Aikido in the way he did. As long as the Aikidoka remembers that Aikido is about The Loving protection of All Things, we shouldn't be too worried...

Sorry for rambling,

-Nick

janet 06-28-2000 04:40 PM

Violence means...?
 
It took a year of strikes and grabs to wonder about it, huh? ;-)

As Chuck pointed out, intent is a major factor here. I think the problem is to some degree semantic: What do we mean by "violent"? Aikido IS a martial art; when de-escalation and simple evasion are not enough, it involves direct physical action. I would probably say that in this context, by "violent" we mean "aggressive." That aikido is primarily used for defense, though at times proactively, not as a tool to bully or oppress.
Does that help?

Orange 06-28-2000 08:03 PM

It is rather interesting that it took me about a year to start wondering about this :)

I had studied Kempo for a while and was trying to figure out why I lost interest in that but have managed to be much more dedicated to Aikido. At first I thought it was that Aikido is not a pummel-you-oppenent-until-he-can-no-longer-fight style of martial art, while the Kempo had "Death Techniques". But after doing a few choke techniques, it struck me that Aikido can be just as deadly, it does have a different mentality applied to it though. As a few posts here have pointed out, Aikido favors the life giving sword.

Chuck Clark 06-28-2000 10:53 PM

Be assured that ALL aiki techniques have many "sharp edges" within the principles of the technique.

One of the things I love about aikido is that a well-trained budoka has a choice about the level of lethal force. Of course, many aggressors in self-defence situations injure themselves.

My advice is that if you're in danger, protect yourself to the best of your ability and worry about the rest later. Of course, the more skilled you become, the more responsibility you have for "restraint" and control. My goal is to always "do as little harm as possible."

Guest5678 06-30-2000 02:04 PM

Re: Violence means...?
 
Quote:

janet wrote:
It took a year of strikes and grabs to wonder about it, huh? ;-)

As Chuck pointed out, intent is a major factor here. I think the problem is to some degree semantic: What do we mean by "violent"? Aikido IS a martial art; when de-escalation and simple evasion are not enough, it involves direct physical action. I would probably say that in this context, by "violent" we mean "aggressive." That aikido is primarily used for defense, though at times proactively, not as a tool to bully or oppress.
Does that help?

========================================================
Janet,

I agree with most of your post however, I would ask you, is Aikido a martial art? or is Aikido a martial way? Personally, I believe it started out as an art that was martial in nature, but as with most living things, through time and a lifelong refinement by it's discoverer (O'sensei), it evolved into what it is today. I also believe this process of evolution has led to the different "styles" we see today. People took home that which it was at that time.

Violence has it's place in Aikido as well as in all martial arts and ways, for If there were no violence, there would be little need to practice. Although violence is not intended, to someone watching you do ikkyo to someone that doesn't know how to take ukemi will appear very violent indeed. I believe it's really a matter of perception.

Just my two pennies in the pot.

Dan


Nick 06-30-2000 06:41 PM

Aikido, as O-sensei taught it, is about protection of all things, yourself and the attacker. That does not mean there can be no pain involved, for as O-sensei said- "Even pain is a manifestation of love." For instance- there is a video of O-sensei performing shihonage on a police officer on the roof of a building. However, the cop almost spins out of it! My instructor (Roy Suenaka) suggests in his Book Aikido Kyohan (plug plug) that O-sensei could have wiped him out, but they were on a roof, with no mat, doing a technique on a civilian with little to no falling experience. As Suenaka sensei says: "It's not bad technique, it's the loving protection of all things..."

Something to think about,

-Nick



Tiggr 07-01-2000 10:49 AM

Aiki as
 
Being somewhat "new" to the Aiki arts, I probably have a (slightly) different perspective.... :)

First, I found an Aikijutsu dojo after over twenty years of various other martial arts (Goju Ryu Karate, Lima Lama Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, Q'uin Tao Kung Fu, Military Sabre, teaching unarmed/knife/bayonet/rifle Close Quarters Combat in special operations units) as well as martial "ways" (Judo, etc.)

Second, the reason I have been exceedingly happy with Icho Ryu Aikijutsu is that it keeps firmly in touch with its martial roots while extending my skills so that I don't HAVE to hurt others unnecessarily.

My point? The techniques of Aiki contain devastating (and potentially lethal) elements. The "way" (philosophy) of Aiki disciplines us to avoid unnecessary conflict and to use an appropriate level of violence only to protect others and ourselves.

I am glad that the Aiki arts has room for all of us.

Nick 07-01-2000 12:05 PM

Aikido gives us a choice to control our opponent. As O-sensei said, quoting a samurai motto:

"Cause pain before you injure. Injure before you maim. Maim before you kill. And if you must kill, make it a clean kill. Squeeze every drop of life from the opponent."

Something new to think about,

-Nick

AikiTom 07-02-2000 09:46 PM

O-sensie really said that "clean kill" stuff? I would doubt it.
Anyway, my two cents, (which summarizes much of the above) is this:
Aikido is not non-violent, as much as it non-agressive.
Aikido is separated from many martial arts because it (ethically and practically) allows for a proportionate response, that is one in direct proportion to the intensity of the attack.
I think that using chokes (carefully) in practice has two values: 1) you need to experience it before it actually happens so you can know the feeling you'll have while using aikido to get out of it, and 2) knowing how to do a choke may be the ethically kindest thing, particularly if multiple attackers are present, and a quick, non-lethal response is called for.

Mike Collins 07-02-2000 10:15 PM

I once had a real life situation in which an intoxicated person invaded my home. In order to put a stop to the situation, pain had no effect, structure (taking his balance ond thereby rendering his structure useless to him) had only the effect of moving this person around. The only way to end the altercation without injuring him (more than I already had, trying to get a reaction with pain), I had to put him to sleep with a choke, and wait for the police. It was non violent because my intent was his protection, as well as the protection of my family.

AikiTom 07-02-2000 10:34 PM

Bravo!

Nick 07-03-2000 08:30 AM

that was a good thing to do. The only other way he could have been subdued with a baseball bat or bokken (take your pick), and when he did go down, he might not have gotten back.

Another example that while Aikido is an effective martial art, it does not have to be violent.

Kanpai,

-Nick

TOMAC 11-22-2011 11:41 AM

Re: Is Aikido Non-Violent?
 
This is a very interesting thread. My first thought is that it is helpful to look at "Aikido" and "Aikido Technique" as separate concepts. Aikido is the way to achieve harmony of spirit. We are all familiar with this basic translation of the name of our art. Technique is a part of the art but does not encompass the art in it's entirety. Since the techniques that we employ in our training are ancient and not unique to Aikido, they are potentially lethal and by construction "violent."

Harmony, by definition, is not all peace and love. In order for there to be harmony there must be discord. Harmony in (western) music operates on the singular principle of the resolution of a dissonant interval to a consonant (or less dissonant) interval.

Our art teaches us to resolve conflict. In the unfortunate circumstance of a violent physical attack our hope is that the principles that we have learned and internalized in the dojo will serve to help us protect ourselves and nullify the attack. If our attacker is injured in the process it is unfortunate. In any event we would not seek to harm or punish our attacker. By this standard my opinion is that Aikido is non-violent.

SeiserL 11-22-2011 01:20 PM

Re: Is Aikido Non-Violent?
 
Quote:

Jun Akiyama wrote: (Post 291)
I remember my first aikido teacher saying, "The techniques of aikido are all capable of great damage -- even to the point of killing the attacker. It's the person doing the aikido that makes it non-lethal." I liked that.

DITTO

Styles are not violent or non-violent.

People's intent and applications can be.

Shadowfax 11-22-2011 03:22 PM

Re: Is Aikido Non-Violent?
 
Expect the old thread police to be along shortly. But this is a good subject and a thread I had not come across before.

Aikido is neither violent nor is non-violent. Aikido just is. It is the person using it, and their intent, that is violent or non violent. Or at least that's how I perceive it.

phitruong 11-22-2011 03:29 PM

Re: Is Aikido Non-Violent?
 
you pay folks to regularly slam you into the ground. i'd say that's pretty violent. actually, it's pretty disturbing behavior, borderline masochism and/or sadism. either way, we are a bunch of sick buggers. :)

matty_mojo911 11-22-2011 04:14 PM

Re: Is Aikido Non-Violent?
 
Aikido involves extreme trust - think about it, it is one of the few martial arts where perhaps 100's of times a class you "offer" a limb - I.e. you grab their wrist, sleeve, collar, stick your arm out etc...etc..then your partner throws or pins you.

I've always found it a slightly odd concept that we give a person a gift, our hand/arm, and they slam us for it. Never really considered that a really harmonius concept - yes, yes I know it all depends on the flow between the two persons, looking after our partner that sort of thing.

I would say that those persons who are rough with our gift are violent - and there are plenty of them out there.

Ps - choking someone out/rendering someone unconcious in my country is considered a "Grevious Bodily Harm" charge. I do BJJ and have choked out plenty of people and been choked out many times but you have to remember it is a technique that can very easily kill if carried a bit far - unlike a wrist lock, arm bar etc..self defense is always proportianate to the immediate threat against you - so it depends on the circumstances as to whether it is acceptable to do.

Kevin Leavitt 11-22-2011 04:40 PM

Re: Is Aikido Non-Violent?
 
Quote:

Cherie Cornmesser wrote: (Post 297808)
Expect the old thread police to be along shortly. But this is a good subject and a thread I had not come across before.I

Aikido is neither violent nor is non-violent. Aikido just is. It is the person using it, and their intent, that is violent or non violent. Or at least that's how I perceive it.

I agree with this too!

lbb 11-22-2011 05:04 PM

Re: Is Aikido Non-Violent?
 
I don't think that aikido is non-violent for the same reason that I don't think it's a spiritual practice. There is more to being non-violent (or spiritual) than just saying you are, or reciting a few platitudes. It takes practice and action and skill and thought, and as far as I can see, neither one of those is systematically taught to aikido sensei...so why would you expect to learn such things in an aikido dojo? My sensei are great people, who have probably reflected more deeply on the subject of violence than the average person...but if I really wanted to study non-violence, I would go instead to one of our newer members who has made a life's practice of non-violence and mediation. Aikido and non-violence, or aikido and spiritual practice, aren't mutually exclusive...but they're not mutually INclusive either.


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