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Old 08-01-2005, 10:30 AM   #24
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
Re: Does Budo require a sense of shame?

Interesting thread. I'm not sure I get it though...I'm not sure I have ever really applied the concept of 'shame' to my training in any thoughtfull way. I guess like everyone else, I feel 'shame' when I act inappropriately (in an aikido context), perhaps throwing someone too hard, or using too much physical power rather than focusing on staying relaxed, taking away uke's power, and using just enough of my own to ensure a proper balance break.

I think I'm going to struggle with this thread to see if I can come to understand it more clearly.

Why can an aikidoka look at someone doing more or the same amount of investment and call his/her involvement casual but fail to do the same in regards to one's own similarly invested training?
Perhaps an aikidoka doesn't do this...I find no particular reason to make a judgement about someone else's activities in this way. Another reason might be that the aikidoka could be busy 24/7 trying to bring the lessons they learn on the mat to the rest of their life.

Is it not because one possesses too much "self-respect," not enough shame?
I equate too much self-respect with an inflated ego. I have suffered from this many times...and will again. I'm not sure it causes me 'shame' certainly makes me feel rather silly upon reflection though.

Does not our over zealous attempts to remain void of shame prevent us from calling our training casual (by allowing us so easily to call our training serious) when it in fact possesses every mark of not being serious?
Well, different people have different definitions of what is serious. In some ways, I consider my training right now not very serious...because I don't attend physical training very often. I have a whole bunch of reasons for this, some I'm sure have some merrit, some I'm sure don't. In other ways though, I spend quite a bit of my time off the mat trying to internalize what I learn on the mat, trying to apply the lessons in less physical ways at work and at home, etc.

A training partner recently tested for 3rd dan. He has always been much better than I at internalizing his training. He has an extremely busy schedule, and yet was able to prepare for and (in my opinion) do very well on his 3rd dan exam with only a relatively short time (but intense) of preparation. Now, I could say to myself 'I train more consitantly over a longer time than he (this may or may not be true), so why is he able to do this?' Or I could be honest with myself, realize that he has certain abilities that I do not have, and if I wish to do so, find ways to strengthen those abilities in myself. The fact of the matter is, even in those less frequent times he is on the mat, I find something in his training manner that is less 'casual' than mine. I guess my awareness of this difference and how it motivates me is what you are calling 'shame'? Personally, I'd simply call it honest self-reflection, and the ability (when used correctly) to modify my approach to achieving my goals.

Is it not because there is a "self-respect" that is trying to operate void of its co-dependent aspect of shame that we are both making it hard to truly get serious about our training and making it very easy and important to cultivate delusion?
Well, I hope I have few delusions about how serious my training is just now. I'm not sure that any amount of off mat reflection, no matter how honest, can make up for time not on the mat. But I do feel that off mat reflection is important, and that it (like mitori geiko when injured) can suplement a less frequent training schedule due to other priorities.

Maybe you could let me know if I'm getting what you're asking...


Ron Tisdale
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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