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Old 12-21-2007, 10:59 AM   #133
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Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
Re: Love to hear your oppinions on this video.


I'm sorry. I did not mean to condescend or to insult. I honestly have no problem with folks doing different things, such that I do not feel inclined to judge them one way or another - other than to be able to say, "That's not what I do." Or, "I do this, and here's why..." There's nothing beyond that for me. So, when I point out difference, it's, for me, just a matter of pure description (e.g. "Today is Friday." "That car is red." "It's 0900 hours." Just description.) You are doing something completely different, even if we talk about "aiki" "irimi" "Aikido" etc. - phrases and terms that I have said in my posts, phrases and terms that you in your posts used to go on to talk about things, things like being late, being important, being valuable, etc. These are the commonalities I was referring too - shared words that were used to describe things via comparison.

To compare something, things have to be similar at some point - that is the assumption I'm going on (e.g. being late or on time is a comparison, being good for someone or being bad for someone is a comparison, etc.). My point is that one can't compare what is not similar at all. My point is that, from my point of view, there is no more similarity between our two experiences of "Aikido" than there is between my experience of Aikido and, for example, banking or ship building. Sure, some things overlap, but not enough to compare. We are just doing different things - meant to be purely descriptive, not insulting.

For example, I think my students, were they to go to your dojo, would feel as if they started an entirely different art. I'm sure your students would feel the same thing were they to come to mine. This is not to say that there are not things to learn, as there are things to learn if our students mentored under a master ship builder, even things that they can take back to our respective dojo and put to good use, but ship building is not what we teach at our dojo.

It is true I did paraphrase your comments regarding the ones you made on the welfare of students and the responsibilities of instruction, etc., that are relevant to that issue. I did say that. I thought the jump in logic would not be such an issue, since my only point was that under my experience of Aikido, unlike yours, one does not go around talking on the welfare of students, for example, when one knows or shares little to nothing regarding such matters. Meaning, as different as your practice is from mine, I would not presume to even guess what you are trying to do with your students and therefore what you are leaving out or not addressing, etc. I would, on good faith, which I always try to have, assume that you know more about what you are doing than I do (because I am not doing it), that your students are not idiots for choosing to train in what you are doing (i.e. that they are intelligent folks), that you all are mature enough to have a sound and healthy relationship with each other - one that is constructive and nurturing and that affects other aspects of your lives in positive ways. For example, I wouldn't go to the ship builder and tell him, "I'm an Aikido instructor, and, regarding the welfare of your students, I can see that you are teaching ship building improperly (or leaving this out, or risking this, or they'd be better off if you did this, etc.)!" If I did, which I wouldn't, but if I did, I wouldn't expect the master ship builder to say, "Oh, since you are an Aikido instructor, let me do it like you said." All that, for me, in my practice, would be too much egocentrism.

From your last posts, I think you are sort of saying what I'm saying: we do different things. There's nothing wrong with that - not at all. The part I'm adding is that comparison and contrast (which all opinions are based upon) requires common experience and shared knowledge/information - that it's next to impossible, perhaps futile, to compare/contrast when things are so different. I'm not telling you to have no opinions, especially here. But I'm pointing out that I have no sense at all of what you might mean, for example, by "being late" "Irimi" "Aikido" etc. Your Aikido, as perfectly valid as it is, for you, for anyone, is not comparable to what I'm doing or trying to do. That's not a bad thing, and that still leaves, as I said in the last post, other topics for, I'm sure, very meaningful conversations, etc. I respect your difference, and I can do that better by noting it than by pretending it's not there.

Ah, the perfect intuitive example just hit me: You know when you are talking to one person, and someone one else is standing there and is listening to the conversation, and that third person speaks a different language, or maybe they have a thick accent, and they say something right in the middle of your sentence, saying it where it is proper to place an interjection, and you heard them, but you couldn't catch what they said, and you then start wondering if they spoke your language or their native language, wondering if you heard them correctly, and then you start wondering how to interpret their accent, knowing you are assuming they would not speak their native language to you, guessing they probably knew you can't speak their language, and then you start comparing what you thought you may have heard to what you think they might have said at that point in the conversation, as the conversation is continuing, and then you realize, "Damn, I didn't get what he said! I have no idea what he said or wanted to say! Does he want me to respond?!" But then you realize, or it seems, the conversation can continue if you just look at him and nod your head "yes" and say "Ah hah, Ok." Either way you feel like an ass and you hope you don't blow it, because you don't want them to feel left out or to think you are rude. So, you do the nod thingy, wanting to kick yourself all the while for not understanding them in the first place, and you then just go on talking to the other person you were already talking to... You know what that is like - that lack of shared context and meaning? That need for one? That's what this felt like to me after I saw your Aikido. Whether I'm the foreigner or you are, matters not. Nothing is being judged here - difference is being pointed out. Here, in this silly, stupid example, I'm just referring to that point where one realizes he/she has no shared meaning or context.

Now when I face that kind of situation, I don't avoid that third person, I don't ask them to never talk again, etc. I try to have more exposure to them, I've even tried to learn a foreign language or two along the way, etc. I try not to do the nod yes thingy. I try to tell them, "I'm sorry, I did not understand you." I try to build up a translation capacity, as I build up a common or shared context. Right now, I have no idea what, for example "being late" or "being on time" might mean when you say it. I only know it's not what I mean or could ever mean - that we are speaking different languages here. With more exposure, with more time together, I'm sure I'll be better able to understand what you might mean, translating what you say into what I say, and also how to make myself better understandable to you. Right now, that's not going to happen - not on this topic. So, again, please excuse me if you felt I was being rude. I need more time to develop a shared context.


David M. Valadez
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