Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Re: causing no (serious) harm
Rob, you wrote:
"My opinion, is that working towards doing the "minimum damage" required to stay safe as the attackers become more sophisticated, more dramatic and intense, less concerned for their own safety, and as the number of attackers increases approaches this ideal in the most practical way to approach the ideal of purifying our will to violence.
It forces you to need to start figuring out how to reconcile the opposites of self and other - to have some degree of integrity with these principles when being pressed hard by your attacker(s).
This kind of approach, to me, has led me to the understanding that I need to continue to not buy into the delusion of separation (on the vertical plane). I must continue to move such in such a way to set up the circumstances that continue to draw/lead energy out of the uke primarily (and not into me in a destructive way of course) so that we can reconcile in a physical way. Normally, I see people in aikido misunderstanding this kind of thing (IMO!) where they end up just doing some kind of evasive movement and then they crank the uke from superior position. I don' t mean that low level nonsense. I mean, lead them out and unify (reconcile self and other) so that we both are contributing to the overall movement so it cannot be countered. Doing "minimal damage" lead me to that kokyu of social-coordination approach (instead of concentrating _only_ on the kokyu of self-coordination which I find to be interesting but obviously not the goal of aikido or we would all be doing Chen style tai chi or something!)."
Two questions or lines of thought came to mind upon reading the above section of your post:
1. How or why does training toward the gaining of a non-violent (or less injurious) technology purify our will to violence? Certainly, we cannot say because our training takes on the ideal of minimum injurious or non-violence. After all, do we not already have this as an ideal -- as something that comes to most of us through our culture alone? Can we not, as always, find ways of disregarding our ideals, no matter how virtuous they may be? Does this not mean then that time spent with an ideal is not really the issue here? When I first proposed the notion of purifying our will to violence, I did not mean to suggest that we can do such a thing simply by making greater and greater efforts toward being non-violent. I imagine you may also mean something different from that as well -- hence my questions here. A will to violence is only partially born out of an ignorance to do or be otherwise, just as it is also only partially born out of a lack of effort to do or be otherwise. Hence, for me, simply supplying a kind of "wisdom" or a kind of "non-injurious technology," or simply providing a kind of meta-practical outlet for people to mundanely explore the already pre-existent social ideal of non-violence one to a few hours a week, is going to leave a lot unturned and/or unpurified. In the same way that training in the use of a Taser may make one relatively less injurious but not necessarily purified of one's will to violence, so too, I would suggest, training toward a non-injurious Aikido would fail in such a purification. This is one reason why, as the Taser becomes more and more widely used and thus comes to replace actual arrest and control skills and/or the soon to be completely defunct "controlling" use of the club (ballistically), we will see more and more Taser-related deaths and/or public outcry against the use of the "non-violent" weapon. Such things do not get to the heart of the problem whether we are wising to address that heart (will to violence) practically or spiritually. Thus, for example, it may be the case that we can acquire a skill to subdue many kinds of attacks without injury to the attacker, but will this make us more patient, more humble, more kind, less prone to hatred, less prone to anger, less prone to desire, less prone to ignorance, less prone to fear, etc.? And will not these things come to plague us daily in many other areas of our life where we may not be in a "fight" but where we may very well be prone to injure others by these things because of that same unpurified will to violence that is left untouched by the discovery of a technique?
2. By a complicated set of circumstances, which I imagine could be deduced, at least generally speaking, we do not see a coordination of people training realistically (i.e. as you said, where "attackers become more sophisticated, more dramatic and intense, less concerned for their own safety, and as the number of attackers increases," etc.) AND training under the banner or toward the ideal of gaining a martial technology of minimum-injury. As I said, there are of course deducible reasons for such a trend in the Aikido world -- many of them have been brought up in this forum here. However, willing to assume that such reasons and the trend they support do not have to make up an inevitable connection, the fact remains that a great many people are able to say they train where attackers become more sophisticated and intense, with less concern for their own safety, etc., but are in actuality quite far from this. I do not wish to regress this point into the usual line of thought where "what's real" is all that we can talk about, etc. But, for example, when we use phrases like "more sophisticated" can we not at least note something that moves further and further from or beyond the level of Shu training? Moreover, can we not mean something that is at least outside the average or identifying training culture of Aikido? I would say "yes" to both of these questions, and yet I believe that this is even more rare a connection to see in the Aikido world. That is to say, you do not generally see a distancing from kihon waza, and/or Shu level training, and/or a technical sophistication of martial triggers or cues (e.g. attacks) in the general Aikido world -- even in dojo that are known for training in "real" Aikido. Institution after institution is geared against such things and individual practitioners that are connected to an institution are prone to follow suit. So what do you do to sophisticate your training, or what does one need to do to sophisticate his/her training? Or more importantly, how often does one need to sophisticate his/her training? For example, do you move away from the abstract ballistic strikes of kihon waza training to the varied angled and timed strikes of left hook or the right cross or the uppercut on a weekly or daily basis? How often? How often does one need to allow the ground-fighting option or the inclusion of kicks and/or hidden weapons in order to bring some purifying efficacy to the training? Etc.