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Old 01-13-2007, 02:34 AM   #27
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 788
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Re: Backward Roll - Risks and benefits

Ron,

As far as I'm concerned, in an attempt to provide counterpoint, you have instead just unwittingly corroborated my claim that these objections are ridiculous, and worse. The concept that we are dealing with here has been parodied in Pink Panther movies, in the form of Clouseau's butler Kato. There's a reason why it's funny. One-upping someone else in terms of surprising them with random, unexpected malevolence is inherently ridiculous. Aside from the first example, which seems like a mere training convention for a certain group, and the second one, which just seems like a standard part of advanced training, the examples you provide show how this dynamic can easily escalate from silly to scary to criminal.

Whipping a fake knife out of one's gi at an unexpected moment strikes me as an exercise in being an arrogant smart ass. It is simply outside the parameters of the practice. I find it hard to see any way to interpet this that does not involve seeing the knife-wielder as thinking he is better and more aware than his partner, and looking to prove it, and/or thinking the training that he and his partner are supposed to be doing is beneath him somehow.

Onward to the more disturbing. The final two examples you give sound like classic cult behavior. I would not tolerate either one from any dojo I attended. When someone transgresses the implict boundaries of your association or social contract with them, it is a serious matter, and possibly a criminal act. I would say both of the practices you describe meet the legal definition of assault - the first physical and the second verbal... at the very least.

If any Aikido classmate of mine ambushed me with a weapon, I would defend myself in earnest. Unless they were vastly superior to me in a no-rules, anything goes, real self defense scenario, they would likely be going to the hospital. I do not tolerate unprovoked attacks on my person with weapons, and I can't imagine why any sane person would. My classmates do not have my permission to abuse me in this way, and they have no business assuming it without asking.

If an Aikido teacher of mine brought a presumably loaded firearm to class and said things that implied that he was going to use it on the students, I would assume he had lost his mind. Depending on my assessment of the scenario, I would either object strongly or attempt to escape and call the police. Either way, I would quit the dojo and press assault charges - even if the suit cost me money and was unlikely to succeed, I would pursue it to the end as a matter of principle, in the hopes that taking a stand and causing major hassles would serve to protect other students from such predatory behavior in the future.

Once again, no one, including my Aikido teacher has my permission to threaten me or play any kind of sadistic head game on me to "teach me a lesson". That's not what I signed up for. If you did, I'd say you are about an inch away from drinking poisoned Kool-Aid in the jungles of Guyana. My idea of participating in Aikido is not about joining a cult and allowing people to abuse me in ways that surprise me at every turn, it is about a mutually consensual social contract with two-way respect and clear boundaries.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 01-13-2007 at 02:46 AM.
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