In this little article I would like to discuss pain. Obviously pain is often experienced during an Aikido training. I will list different circumstances under which pain is inflicted by humans on other humans and the inflicters experience their actions as consciously willed. In the end I will try to look at the peculiarities of the situation during an Aikido training. I am a physicist, who read some introductory texts on behavior of humans, but I am definitely not an expert on the subject. By writing this text I hope to make you smile and possibly to make you rethink some generally accepted truths in a critical way, but I clearly have to leave the creation of scientific truth to others. I practice Aikido for a few month now. Since I am German I apologize for possible improper use of the English language. First of all I would like to note that pain is very often avoided in our society. You can go to pharmacy and will be offered a large variety of painkillers but people will look at you strangely when you ask for a pain enhancer. Pain is sometimes observed in medical settings consider a vaccination or a dentist. Usually people argue that they expect an improvement of health in future and experience the pain as unpleasant. So we find people accepting an unpleasant situation now, hoping for a more pleasant one in future. Pain was and sometimes unfortunately is still used in order to modify behavior. Corporal punishment for criminals has been banned in Europe, still other countries like Singapore still use it. Quite recently corporal punishment of children is being banned in Europe too. Although it still takes place, even if prohibited. We also cause a lot of pain to other humans in times of war. Here it is interesting that the inflicter of the pain will often not directly see the consequences of his/her action, such as a pilot launching a rocket. There is also violence between people without the blessing of the government, such as Hooliganism. Here the inflicters of the pain see the suffering of there victims in quite a direct manner and often become victims themselves. Furthermore we find torturing of prisoners, often with at least tacit approval of the government. It has been shown (by the Standford Experiment and the Milgram experiment as well as others) that torture was committed by sane and normal people and any of us is very likely to become a torturer himself/herself when exposed to similar circumstances. We also find pain inflicted during sadomasochistic activities. These are very often described as very pleasant for the sadistic as well as the masochistic partner. Although cases of rape do occur too. There is also prostitution on both sides, in these cases the joy maybe distributed unequally among the partners. We have seen many different situations in which physical pain is caused to us by other humans throughout our lives. There are also a large number of reasons that people give us to explain each of these behaviors. All that makes me think that our tendency to exchange pain with other humans is something deeply human and needs to be accepted as it is. One thing we can do about it is to use it in a way that is nice for each of us. And I think the situation during an Aikido training provides quite a nice lab to learn about that. There is no fighting against a particular group of people like in Hooliganism. The our partner tells us when stop by tapping out unlike in the Milgram experiment or in case of war where a social authority tells us to go on until our victim is dead. Unlike in other styles of martial arts tapping out in Aikido does not result in defeat and thus can be used without that bias on both sides. There is no money involved as in prostitution. There are many people around which makes non consensual activity very unlikely. We change roles and partners very quickly and all of us wear the same clothes. This is opposed to the situation in the Standford experiment as well as in torturing of prisoners, where prisoners were naked and guards were wearing uniforms and the rolls did not change at all. The people inflicting the pain do not carry authority over the people experiencing the pain as in corporal punishment of criminals or children. Finally there is the question if there is a good reason for inflicting this pain. You can argue that you need to learn about the defensive aspects of Aikido and thus need to learn about the pain you inflict on a possible attacker. And this is perfectly acceptable, and there will very likely much more of those good reasons. Still I also often observed people creating quite a strong pain on my body which I enjoyed. The inflicters told me that they liked inflicting this pain on me too. I also observed that I enjoyed creating pain for others and hearing them tell me that they enjoyed the experience too. I also have been told by people that I hurt them too much and shall try to be more careful, and I also have told other to be more careful with me. I also sometimes ask people if they are Ok with the level of pain I create for them and also hear others asking me if the pain they inflict on me is Ok for me.
Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
The author is of this text is Dirk Huenniger born on 22nd October 1980 in Moers, Germany
This text was written on 16th December 2009 in Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany