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Old 11-22-2005, 12:37 PM   #19
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 59
Re: Article: On the Interdependent Nature of Tactics and Strategies by "The Grindstone"

David Valadez wrote:
…However, what if Budo was not simply about the cultivation of a martial spirit? What if Budo training is about a reconciliation of the subject/object dichotomy, through which one could fuse a moral philosophy/practice of love, harmony, and union onto the very core of one's being? To do this, one will require a practice that truly does seek to penetrate to the core of one's being. For Aikido to do this, in my opinion, we cannot have it remain of mock battles and/or of choreographed movements. It must remain real -- which is to say it must place us in the very nature of reality itself.
For aikido to be budo that makes us one, we must commit to real situations… I am really struggling with this thread - you are hard for me to follow this way; I wish I had you across from me instead. I am one of those people who learn best through demonstration and hands-on practice. I can't read my way to an understanding very well. I think that's why the mock battles and choreographed movements work really well for me - there is a known outcome, and if that outcome does not happen, I must figure out why and adjust appropriately. In a deeper way, too: aikido demonstrates in a way I have never experienced elsewhere how "I" get in the way of things. There are physical, direct consequences of my assumptions. So I am with Kevin on the allegory - aikido can be a very effective way to mirror your pitfalls back at you. Whether you see and deal with it or not is another matter.

So do you mean that you can refine yourself to react to what is, instead of what you think is, only through what you term "real" training? To me, there are always filters -- I practice with the same folks all the time, I have experience with them and hence deeply rooted assumptions about how they move and feel. Those assumptions might get in the way of seeing what really is in the moment. How do you train your way out of that in the dojo setting?

David Valadez wrote:
…commitment is actually a cultivated state of being. Commitment is not something that comes to us through our own volition. This is true of commitment whether we are talking about a marriage or whether we are talking about attacking. Commitment is a matured state of existence; it is learned only as much as it is practiced, and it is practiced only as much as it is learned.
I am very grateful for those about whom I have the assumption "I won't hurt her/him." Things just flow better -- it feels like they know me. My ambition (right now) in aikido is to give ukemi that allows nage to feel completely confident that they can do whatever they have to and not hurt me. But that ambition is very clearly only brought about by my own fear of hurting others -- I may in fact not share that with anyone else. So commitment through familiarity… and attendant assumptions… Commitment is a two-way street, I think. You have to will it to practice it -- as you also said, you first mimic commitment -- you make yourself do it in spite of whatever reluctance you might have. It becomes easier the more you do it, and the more you see people react to it (reflection in others).

I really don't know how you would ever identify and remove all the filters -- it seems to me that our brains make assumptions to allow us to act. Can you really be all-aware? We feed off others as well -- some Harvard study on body language ( indicated that empathy is hardwired and not cultivated as previously thought (and yes, I am willing to take that on faith and experience and assumption). We seemingly cannot escape the effect of other peoples' emotions. Are we really learning how to -- ahem, distance ourselves from them in aikido? To manage that effect? Does aikido bring us closer to others or to ourselves? Is there really a core, or are there only reflections of everything else?

My answer right now would be that it brings us closer to ourselves. Whatever we find there determines how we relate to others. I find aikido's ability to illuminate aspects of myself that I may be unaware of magical and endlessly fascinating. But it is only through the reflection in my fellow students and instructors that I become aware of this.

Jon wrote:
The question David brings to the table is can aikido resist the degradation of martial arts as we (as a society) continue to reduce the effort that is required to participate.
I lived in China for two years in the late 80's - early 90's. When I returned to "civilization", I felt completely deflated. I had used so many parts of myself while away, it seemed as if I only needed 10% to get by back home. But it's all up to you, innit? You can choose to participate. So whether aikido can resist the "degradation" is really up to the practitioners/sensei. I would assume that many people are drawn to the martial arts for the challenge - possibly to escape the drudgery of "real life." The building block is there.

One thought just leads to another in your threads, David. I am sorry for being so long-winded without a seeming point. And again, the forum is hard to work in -- much better suited for in-person discussion. Just had to put this down, though, 'cause it made me think.
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