If I'm trying as hard as I can to do ikkyo (and refuse to quit), than how can I easily switch to kotegaeshi when it will actually work? If I'm trying as hard as I possibly can to fight off my attacker (and refuse to quit), than how can I switch to running away and calling the police? I should be trying to do things as hard as I think I need to in order to succeed, and quitting exactly when I reach that point. I think the trick in life is to know when to quit whatever you are doing, being it an encounter, a technique, or life itself.
Interesting point, Robert. Allow me, if I may, to define a couple things to better explain what I am for and against.
In any cycle of action, three things occur: Start, Change and Stop. You start the technique of Ikkyo, you execute the technique, you finish the technique and then you're done. When it comes to a fight, the fight begins (the actual physcial altercation of it), you execute techniques, movements, etc., and then you win, lose or draw with the fight and it's done.
To Quit, however? Let's look it up:
Quit: to give up; to cease doing or attempting something especially as an admission of defeat
If you quit a fight, you're giving up and admiting defeat. On the street, this amounts to getting the snot beat out of you and, should you survive, you'll most likely be unconscious and probably have broken bones.
That's hardly a desirable conclusion, isn't it?
Now, the "Do it or die trying" is not what Clark Sensei said. He said," Don't quit and don't die." By not quiting, we're are seeing to it that we follow through on the cycle of action we have already begun. You go into a test, you better execute what is asked of you and finish the exam. Whether the exam was a proper one or not is a subject for another debate, though I'm with you on that point... that was a hairy test being talked about above. Regardless of that, finish it! You agreed to start it... so finish it!
I will not presume to know the mind of Clark Sensei. I can not explain as well as he what he meant by "Don't quit and don't die." However, what I took from that comment was this: do NOT give up on what you're doing and... don't die!
It is human nature to fight for survival. Even a person committing suicide struggles to pull the trigger or toss the pills down or what have you. It goes against everything being alive is all about
: Living! To be thinking to yourself, during a fight or struggle, to "don't die" reminds you that your own life is in your hands and you better take steps to protect it. Sure, we all have to die some time. No biggie. And there's no getting around it. I don't think anyone here is saying you should. But to fight on and survive and make it through? That's a good enough goal, isn't it?
In Aikido, we work on our technique to the end of establishing Harmony again. If harmony is locking up an opponent in a standing gokyo pin and walking the guy over to the cops, so be it. If it means throwing one guy into his two other buddies and running off, that's fine too! You're not quiting when you run from a fight that is going to get you killed. You're stopping the fight by taking yourself out of the equation completely. There's no fight if your not there, is there? Does't make you a quitter, it makes you smart or wise or practical... not a quitter and not a loser.
Now, I do look forward to Clark Sensei coming back and touching on this thread again. I always enjoy his posts.