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Old 12-07-2012, 01:31 PM   #23
R.A. Robertson
Dojo: Still Point Aikido Center
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 286
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Re: Like an Unsheathed Sword

Hi All,

I just want to take a minute to step back into the conversation. For the record, I want to make it clear I'm not against hard training (though I don't see a lot of value in "hard for hard's sake"). What I do like to insist on is established safety protocols, and clear consent and agreement between all parties at all times.

Part of my view of aikido is it's capacity for establishing a very deep connection with a partner or adversary. I'm not a fan of any aikido that is heavy on personal development at the expense of this connection.

I'm also on a fence as to whether I think this article as written fairly characterizes this instructor. The incidents were enough to raise my concern, and that of some others. I hadn't seen this particular teacher in a long time, so I'm in no position to know if that weekend represents his current stage, his future trajectory, or perhaps an uncharacteristically feisty but temporary burst of unfortunate exuberance.

It's also fair to disclose that, over time, there are those that I've hurt. These have been thankfully few and far between. At least, so far as I know -- but that's part of the problem, isn't it? When is post-training soreness normal, when is a small injury a random thing not worth mentioning, and when does an individual or a group need to confront someone whose training is simply too risky?

As for me, I deeply regret any harm ever done. I accept that what we do involves some inherent risk, and no matter all our precautions, accidents will happen sooner or later -- to ourselves, and to those we touch. At no point in the context of our training, should injury be seen as a sign of skill or toughness. Whatever value can be derived after the fact, should be in attending to what not to do.

For those who hurt us, and for ourselves when we hurt others, a degree of forgiveness has to be part of our training. But only to that degree. Beyond this too often invisible boundary, we have to know when something is not tolerable, and take action against it.
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