Re: Fight or Quit: there is no choice
Just to add a few points…
The sparring "war story" related in the Aikido Journal blog was one, discreet incident. My old karate instructor most certainly did not routinely stand on the sidelines coaching students by shouting, "Fight or quit!"
But even if he had, how would that have been different, exactly, from the "Do… or do not" quote supplied by Mr. Boswell? Seems to me both "Yoda" and my former teacher are saying the same thing. Neither one advocates merely "trying."
In the sparring incident, A.J. was effectively incapacitated. Had it been the street, he'd have been defeated, and rather than simply suffering a substantial headache consequent to the shot to the face, would likely have been thoroughly stomped when on the ground and perhaps killed.
Even within the context of contact sparring, Dave outweighed A.J. by almost 40 pounds of solid muscle; every time the gloves went on, we knew playing with Dave was a bad idea. But that's really no different from any instance of combat, simulated or real. As elaborated by Donn Draeger and others, there are only three possible outcomes when opponents engage: A is injured or killed and B survives; B is injured or killed and A survives; or both A and B are injured or killed. Meaning, two chances out of three, things are not going to turn out especially well. (This "bottom line" illuminates quite nicely the desirability of effecting O-Sensei's approach to conflict resolution, achieving, as it were, a fourth outcome.)
The dojo incidents related in the Aikido Journal blog are representative of a training atmosphere I'm glad I experienced, at least now that it's far in the past, but have no desire or intention to replicate for my students. Or certainly not to that degree. As Budd has related above, I do look for less extreme ways to discomfit students, to make it clear that something more than "merely trying" is expected.
By virtue of training in the same line of Shinto Muso-ryu Jo as a number of the Jiyushinkai seniors, I know from experience they exhibit -- hell, they radiate -- the same kind of do-or-die composure and determination seniors in the old karate dojo did. If Clark Sensei might address the question, I'd love to know what he considers the most important aspects of his training paradigm leading to that result.