Thread: Fatal Injuries
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Old 12-05-2001, 09:53 AM   #22
Ghost Fox
Dojo: Jikishinkan Dojo
Location: New York City (Brooklyn)
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 219
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Re: "Death on the mat"

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Harnack


Aikido is an art that anyone can learn and perform. What we are discussing is at what level particular people want to train. Obviously you take your training very seriously as evidenced by the "death on the mat" statement.
I don't believe aikido is an art that anyone can learn or perform. Some people just do not have the mental discipline to understand the metaphysical theories behind aikido and budo, while other don't have the physical dexterity or stamina necessary to learn the mechanical complexities.

I do believe that all people can benefit from the ideals that aikido preaches. That is peace, harmony, and non-confrontation, but the mat is a sacred ritual space. People confuse a dojo with a gym; a dojo is a place where people go to learn about The Way. Just like not everyone belongs in a Catholic Cathedral or Taoist Monastery, not everyone belongs on the mat.

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Harnack


However, the martial attitude is no excuse for dangerous and malicious behavior towards others, in fact it is a complete misunderstanding of "budo" to pretend otherwise.
I completely agree with you, if you read my post you will see that I state, "negligence and malice is not required for injury", budo is INHERIENTLY dangerous. Proper protocols and safeguards reduce the likelihood of injury, but they do not completely eliminate their possibility. Each year people are accidentally killed by firearms even though all the proper safeguards where in place. Things of a martial nature such as budo, firearms, knives can kill, it is intimately woven into their creation.

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Harnack


"The way of the samurai is the way of death" is a statement often quoted from the Hagakure. The kicker to this statement is that it is your own death that one is confronting, not the inflicting on someone else death.
Again I totally agree. The confrontation of death and our own mortality is an ecstatic experience that must be embraced by all. Most people choose to live their entire life avoiding thoughts of their own mortality, this is a prison. People who truly practice budo understand this, and choose to face death and by doing so they find liberation. When I face an uke on the mat, I realize that we are participating in a intensely passionate and sacred moment. Aside from sexual intimacy there is no closer experience two people can share. When uke and nage face-off, it is a ritualistic recreation of two samurai in a dual to the death. I embrace my aikido, and hopefully death, the way I embrace my lover. Two people consumed in a mutual carnal experience whose only goal is to blend their individual egos and for one perfect moment become one.

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Harnack


O' Sensei made many statements about Aikido giving life and being in tune with life. He also encouraged us to "practice in a vibrant and joyful spirit". Those persons who inflict injury on others in training are not practicing "budo" if we are to follow O' Sensei on this.
This is the goal I inspire to in my practice; it is my single motivation in aikido. Masters such as O'sensei are in such accord with the universe that their execution of technique is perfect. I make no such claims. I do my best to make sure my uke is unhurt during practice, and I have never seriously injured anyone on the mat. In my dojo we don't blame each other for the small bumps and bruises we obtain during practice. We don't even say sorry. We check to see if the other person is okay, but we all know pain is part of process. People often seek someone to blame, it has to be someone's fault, somebody has to have made a mistake, and who due I sue. This is the sniveling mentality that is destroying our culture, somethings just happen.

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Harnack


True there are many other paths to follow and all who desire to walk a path should be allowed to discover which for themselves. Those who choose Aikido should be encouraged whenever possible, not injured by some overly "serious" student who fails in their responsiblity to take care of their partner.
Serious, I don't think people are serious enough. I am a fanatic just like Ueshiba. O'sensei trained his student in Suwariwaza until they bled; he trained them rigorously for hours on end. They called his dojo at Ushigome the Hell Dojo. I love the people I train with and some of them have become like family to me. I would never do anything intentionally to hurt them, but I also know that some of them will be called upon to use their aikido to save their very lives. I would be hurting them even more if I didn't give them 100% of myself and demand the same in return. Someone on aikiweb has an excellent quote on their closing statement. "Iron sharpens iron so does a man sharpens the continence on their friend."

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