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Old 04-18-2005, 01:48 PM   #78
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,402
Re: causing no (serious) harm

How or why does training toward the gaining of a non-violent (or less injurious) technology purify our will to violence?
To constantly practice "do minimal damage" under increasingly difficult situations in an increasingly effective and minimized way forces me to constantly practice reconciling self and other in a physical way -- as I started describing in my last post. I think that if I constantly practice reconciling self and other in a physical way, it will slowly have a strong impact on my psychology which in turn will be invaluable in my pursuit of purifying my will to violence.

I base this opinion on my other experiences with aikido in how physical practice has helped me change on a mental/emotional level.

I can say for certain that the constant physical practice of almost endlessly taking highly reflexive, reactive, and responsive ukemi by someone like my teacher that can throw powerfully and without ego firmly tied together the idea that physical power grows with physical humility. Over time, I would say that physical practice has been more helpful to my emotional maturity and my psychology than anything else.

For one example in particular, once I was convinced that no matter how many times I was thrown to the ground I could keep getting up, I found that translated into a new sense of emotional security. I could take chances with my emotions that I had previously been unwilling/unable(?) to make because now I *knew* that no matter how hard an emotional fall I took I would be able to pick myself up again.

For a second example, to take better and better physical ukemi, I had to (try to!) completely give up my resisting with tightness so I could pay much better attention and respond/react much more quickly and efficiently to the seemingly random places my teacher would throw me. Over time, I developed some ability to pay attention to my partner so I could continually move with them (I continue to develop this one as well). I was shocked when I realized that I was also getting a sense of the nage's "mood". I was further shocked when I realized that this connection could be bi-directional provided both people are open to each other. I started getting a better sense of just how truly intimate this martial art is. It occurred to me that there is nowhere to hide. If I felt something negative about someone they were going to know about it. With the responsibility of teaching my own classes, I had to make some big changes on myself. I spent a lot of time trying to take ukemi from some senior aikido people I thought I might want my internal feeling to be more like. I could compare and contrast my feeling with theirs and get quite a bit of insight. I also realized that when I was taking ukemi from someone who was good at sharing that happened to be in a bad mood, I could generally get them smiling by taking their ukemi only a couple times while concentrating on my own joy of the practice.

I suppose I cannot prove any of this; I can only offer that some other people I have spoken to about this kind of thing have had similar perceptions.

My point is that such physical practice combined with intent has helped me make some big changes. I see no reason why this wouldn't also work towards the goal of purifying the will to violence.

Can we not, as always, find ways of disregarding our ideals, no matter how virtuous they may be?
I still say then when pressed, you will do what you practice. You question reminds me of "who will guard the guard?". Of course, we find ways of disregarding our ideals. That's why we need partners -- many partners -- with this kind of practice.

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.
I think a will to violence is also born out of a lack of ability to do anything else. "Time in" maybe not the answer, but I think it is a good fundamental step in you ask me.

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.?
In my opinion, considering training the way I am suggesting, I'd have to say: Yes.

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?
I don't have all of the answers, but I think that the main thing is to stick to principle. Get people moving well enough to be able to continually increase the drama and maintain some degree of safety. I have been looking towards developing some kata for common boxing combinations like jab, cross, uppercut, etc.; and some drills to make it hard on someone trying to set ups a shoot/tackle (early in the beginning phase) like moving, and working the face; and some more difficult knife attack defenses. I'm certainly not there yet, but that is what I look towards doing. I think the main thing is to always practice the kihon waza for a large percentage of class, and move on to some of the more sophisticated things for a small percentage of each class. Hopefully, the principles in focus would be the same.

I'm just working this all out. This is my approach. I'm open to all criticism, but I'm not yet convinced that it is not going to get me where I'm trying to go. I'm unaware of a better way at present.

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