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Old 08-20-2012, 09:11 AM   #97
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
Re: Aikiweb as a "Big Tent"

Dave de Vos wrote: View Post
I'm aware that you asked Nicholas, but I couldn't resist the urge to respond (I'll say ahead of time that I don't know whether or not Nicholas agrees with my response. I only represent myself.).

Whether it's true or not, restating those points over and over in the form of unsolicited advice or criticism will not have the desired effect of convincing people. It just causes friction. Peter Goldsbury's post #66 hints that a wise man knows when to speak and when to remain silent.

If you think your neighbour is ugly, do you think that every time you see him, you should tell him that, and advise him to go see a plastic surgeon to fix it? Do you think that he will appreciate your honesty, even after he has told you over and over that he happens to like his looks and so does his wife?
Ofcourse it's a different matter if he asks your opinion about his looks. But even then, one might try to avoid hurting his feelings or insulting him by choosing ones words carefully.
That is a double edged sword issue: First, people who start threads are simply inviting comments. If they don't want comments or feel the need to only allow certain classes of comments, they should write blogs instead. The advice and criticism is solicited by virtue of the fact that a person chooses to start a thread. It seems like an on-going circus of certain people starting threads who like to read their own words, inviting thread "wars" without any real attempt to have open minds on their behalf (and that is not even approaching the unwillingness to be able to demonstrate anything in person). It is not surprising that other groups of people challenge, criticize, etc. the people and their posts. The most remarkable thing that most people do not want to face in this thread, is that those who typically give the "unsolicited advice and criticism" are the ones who also make genuine offers to respectfully "flesh-out" the ideas in some type of training experience.

Friction can be a wonderful opportunity for people to look at their own ideas and beliefs from differing perspectives. Friction can allow people to actually be motivated to test out their beliefs and ideas. After all, martial arts begin and end with what can be done or not done (as opposed to differing thoughts).

I would suggest that wisdom and integrity should go hand in hand. Don't ask a question if you are not willing to hear an answer. Don't put your ideas out there in a thread and not expect to receive a myriad of opinions. The people who spend so much time on the Aikiweb complaining about the poor reception to their ideas, the "mean-spirit" of people's comments, the "unwillingness" of those "mean" people to fully understand and embrace their ideas, etc., are typically the ones who shy away from the natural consequence of putting ideas about martial arts out in the public = "SHOW ME!"

As much as both sides should show some respect and restraint in their comments and threads that they start, both sides should be also be willing to find some format to demonstrably put their ideas and beliefs about "martial arts" abilities, theories, understandings to the test. If a person is not willing to stand behind and up to their beliefs and ideas, then maybe, just maybe that person should show better restraint in starting threads and/or a "thicker skin" when the expected criticisms and unsolicited suggestions start arriving.

Marc Abrams
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