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Old 02-16-2010, 08:33 AM   #48
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Dojo: Milwaukee Aikikai
Location: Wisconsin
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 401
Re: The Martial Art of Difficult Conversations

Bernard Kwan wrote: View Post
Hi Matthew -

Thanks for making this point, and I do note you also raise the example of TKD and other martial arts.

However let's say I practice a form of meditation, and the practice leads me to me more calm, centered, less prone to aggression and more present in the moment. If an argument/ non physical conflict arose and I resolved it in a skillful and peaceful manner, people don't usually say "that's good Meditation, or that's a good application of of meditation principles!"

I would say that skips a step and gives too much credit to the meditation itself. IMO, meditation causes me to be a better human being and by being a better human being I am able to conduct myself better in the world. However the toolset that I am using to resolve the conflict may have nothing to do with meditation or aikido, but the kind of person that I have become as a result of these meditation practices helps me to use the toolset more effectively.

Another analogy may be yoga improves my flexibility which helps with my golf, which may lead me to a getting a hole in one. Is my hitting the hole in one good "yoga"? I don't think anyone would say so.

One can still credit yoga or aikido as part of an overall training regime but making the distinction is very important.

Would like to hear your thoughts.
I think the difference between the yoga and meditation analogies and the martial arts analogy used in the article here is that martial arts and mediation are both methods of resolving conflict. With that in mind, I don't think it is unreasonable to draw more parallels between these two than with, say, yoga and golf.

But the short answer is no. The author here tells us that martial arts taught him to keep a clear head in conflict and to have a "go to" ready for the outset of any conflict. He never, however, says that his method for working through difficult conversations is actually an application of any martial art. What he is saying is that some of what he has learned about resolving physical conflict in martial arts can be applied in resolving other forms of conflict.

There is a line between claiming to apply the lessons of martial arts and claiming to apply the martial arts themselves, and I think we are dishonest with ourselves if we cross it. But that line is finer with aikido than with most martial arts, because aikido's founder clearly intended aikido training to teach us things we could use in non-martial aspects of life.
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