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Old 11-10-2012, 10:18 PM   #90
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,508
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
Quote David:
No, it's not circular reasoning. It is a description of the mental contradiction that "the aikido community" which has replaced true standards is inflicting on its students.

Quote Tom- No, this is a contradiction that you have contrived, it is not something that the "Aikido community" experiences. And you may not see this as a circular reasoning, but you are using a premise to prove an argument that proves your premise. That is invalid reasoning.
No, it's not a contradiction that I contrived. I just haven't quoted the exact people who have been preaching this fallacy. But I've met it in teacher after teacher, both in person and online, most of them having no real skill, but lots of opinions. They want to wear the black belt and claim multiple degrees of it, and show "devastating" techniques in class that would only make a serious attacker laugh. Yet they are firm in claiming that "aikido is not about developing power". It's just a sort of hedge should they ever show up beaten up because they actually tried to use some of their stuff in an emergency. If they didn't really hope to attain power, they wouldn't have spent so much time in martial arts classes and they wouldn't show their naive students how nasty (and powerful) their beautiful techniques can actually be, if necessary. But they never fail to preach how bad it is to seek technique that will definitely be effective because seeking such things indicates a desire for power...which is bad. They are the ones who set up the Catch 22. I'm just pointing it out. I didn't make the circular reasoning: I'm illuminating it.

Quote:
Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
Quote Tom: If your premise is that people are drawn to Aikido because they seek power - could you prove that by giving some figures ? In how many schools is this happening? How many Aikido styles? How many Aikido organisations?
Referring to one person's friend is not sufficient
I can't tell you how many whales are left in the oceans, but I know it's far fewer than when Melville was writing. And of the aikido people who started because they wanted power...I can only guess.

Quote:
Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
Quote David
No, you substituted Tissier and Seagal for Ueshiba. I elaborated on that and pointed out that neither of them is known for prayer or particular spirituality and both project quite a violent power in demonstration (and Seagal, in particular, in movies). So people who are drawn to aikido by seeing such people as that don't even have an image of an old guy in prayer to balance the images of throwing someone around. They come to aikido because they see someone throwing people around. And you say they're not coming to attain power? Why else would they come to such examples?

Quote Tom-Now that is called cheating; I did not substitute Tissier and Seagal for Ueshiba. I mentioned their name as a counterargument to your premise on Ueshiba's power. You then went on substituting Tissier and Seagal for Ueshiba. With this kind of reasoning that you are expressing here, there is no real exchange of arguments possible.
I did originally say that people started because they saw Ueshiba's power and you pointed out that most people now haven't even heard of Ueshiba. Well, he was like my grandfather in martial arts (my teacher's teacher), so I can hardly imagine aikido people not holding him as the exemplar. But my point was, they saw a powerful demonstration of aikido from someone whom they were moved to emulate. You say it wasn't Ueshiba but Tissier or Seagal. Fine. The point is that they first saw power and their image of aikido was power. I don't insist that it had to be Ueshiba or anyone in particular, but that it was an impressive demonstration of aikido as a powerful martial art.

Quote:
Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
Quote Tom: If people are coming to Aikido with an image of Tissier or Seagal, would that not solve your issue? And therefor counter your argument? Or are they the people who are troubled with this contradiction?
I hope I made this clear above. If people came to aikido with an image of Tissier or Seagal, they came thinking that aikido is very powerful. That was my point: they saw aikido as a way to become powerful, so they joined: they joined to become powerful.

Quote:
Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
Quote David:
I only recently became aware of people like Tissier, though I have known of Seagal for decades. My only examples of real aikido, however, were Ueshiba, Mochizuki, Shioda, Saito and a few others. All known for tremendous power.

Quote Tom:
I have trained with students of Tissier since the eighties. Never went to any of his classes though.

Quote David:
I say they are drawn by its image of power--sometimes expressed rather violently. And they see that before they know of its spiritual side at all.

Quote Tom:
Yes, but can you prove that? Why are they not drawn to Aikido for the beauty of it? I know I was.
Well, what's beautiful about aikido? As Melville says in the quote in my original post, "...those motions derive their most appalling beauty from (strength). Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it; and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic." So I submit that the "beauty" that attracted you to aikido, the most important element was the power of the beauty--the strength expressed and bestowing the beauty and harmony of the movements.

That's why I went to the trouble to transcribe that rather lengthy passage from such an old book.

Quote:
Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
Quote David:
I was first attracted to aikido after some experience in kyokushin karate with a direct student of Mas Oyama, where I had a bull-killer as an exemplar. I saw an article in East/West Journal called Aikido and the Mind of the West, which focused mostly on the spiritual interests of Morihei Ueshiba and the tactic of using the attacker's energy and efforts to throw him. It was another approach to power--a trickier kind of power that also valued protecting the attacker (while kyokushin focused on knocking him out if not killing him). I wanted something that would let me not harm the attacker, but I would have considered it a waste of time if it did not pretty well guarantee the ability to completely dominate a violent attacker. So power was a major factor.

Quote Tom: Well, here at least we have something in common. I studied as well with a direct student of Mas Oyama. He was also a direct student of Sawai - Mas Oyama's teacher. At the time my teacher taught Kyokushin karate and Sawai's Taikiken. Although influenced by both Budo I had a bigger interest in Taikiken.

Quote David: Now, I think most people see it similarly in the beginning. 1) they see an effective fighting art, then 2) hear that it uses the other person's power, then 3) hear that it values protecting the attacker. But they really want that power of an effective fighting art, first.

All this is fine and natural for human beings. In my case, I wound up in yoseikan aikido, where the naturalness of seeking strength and power have always been understood. We were taught not to use strength in technique and not to achieve technique by force; however, development of strength was natural in the process of training because much of the practice involved strength-building exercises as well as relaxation and sensitivity exercises.

Quote Tom: I wound up practicing Shorinji Kempo - and I could say the same about it as you are saying about Yoseikan Budo. So your image of seeking power as a goal comes from this?
Exactly. Who undertakes such a hard practice to become weaker? Who goes to a job to end up with less money? Who puts gas in the tank of their car only to find that it went to someone else's car instead? We train for a benefit. They say "That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger." But that which takes our time and money and doesn't make us stronger...well, it makes us weaker. Who would pay for that? And why wear a black belt because we got progressively weaker over several years of practice?

Quote:
Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
Quote David:
However, for many people, a fourth point arises and creates the problem I am addressing here: 4) "the aikido community" teaches students that desiring to become strong is, more or less, evil and they shouldn't do it.

Quote Tom:
Again, who is teaching that to become strong is wrong? Which teachers, which schools. Surely you cannot mean all aikido schools and all aikido teachers!
Well...who is objecting to my claim here? Read the posts on IP/Aiki. Who protests that there is something wrong with trying to gain power? There is a serious vein of this running through what Chris likes to call "the aikido community," which seems to be a body that can vote on what aikido should be, as American Christians have decided to make Jesus' teachings about the rich man entering Heaven actually mean "greed is good." I haven't named names just to be polite, but this is a response to (and a sort of a bait for) those who insist that we should not be trying to gain "power" from aikido training. They're the same ones who are confused about whether we should intend for an aikido technique to throw the uke. They are largely persuaded that it should happen almost accidentally. They post all over this forum...

Maybe my meaning is clearer now.

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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