Mike Lee wrote:
I think the "bad" kind of violence that we should be considering is an emotion. A person can feel when a thirst for blood and vengence wells up inside. It's not good, and in my opinion, its not right.
I agree with you Mike in a way, and I absolutely loved your "two linebacker" story, I thought you offered a great analogy there. Not to sound sound semantically persnickity, but I would change the words "an emotion" in your quote above to the word "abuse". I have a hard time affecting my emotions (as I believe they are mostly chemical responses to conditioned stimuli), but I always have the option of letting them affect me. So I really have two long term goals: rewiring the conditioning that triggers certain emotional-chemical responses (my teacher calls this "desensitizing and then resensitizing") AND learning "non-attachment through awareness" (this is known in my dojo as "muga mushin", kinda sounds familiar).
J. Krishnamurti brings up the point in his writings that knowing and attention are not the same. I think he is trying to say what we call violence is a pattern we make up after the fact, and that any sort of arrangement of the facts-as-they-are interrupts the attention we may have on those facts. Krishnamurti's perspective echoes what is taught at my dojo and other religious communities, like Zen Buddhism.
I will state again that we live in a violent universe, but that how we allow ourselves to perceive (the bridge/filter between awareness and knowledge) violence dictates our interaction with it. Birth is violent but beautiful, the level of harm acceptable because the perceived benefits far outweigh the harm. A fatal gunshot wound is violent but abusive, the level of harm unacceptable because the perceived harm outweighs the benefits. How would we perceive childbirth if more than half of all mothers died during the process? How would we perceive a gunshot wound if it was an animal we were killing for safety or survival? (What if that animal was another human aiming a weapon at me? Enter the realm of the policeman and the soldier....)
And what about UKE? How should attacks be made? Is Aikido Nage alone?
We are trained very systematically at the Jiyushinkan, and uke learns to attack in a very systematic way. I noticed through my own training that I went through (and continue to go through) several stages as an "attacker". The first was being uncomfortable, because we put our hands in the faces of our targets. Then there was over-exertion, because I didn't think it really worked, then there was over-cooperation, then aggression, then relaxation, and now it's honesty. I don't know how many more stages I will go through, and I don't care, they are all neat. Working up to the aggression stage required me to think up all sorts of wierd emotional stimuli in order to put my hand in someone's face and push them down in a way that is at once very effective and at the same time very gentle. I was releasing all sorts of pent up crap through this practice, and coupling that with the fear/adrenaline/release of ukemi makes for very life-changing stuff.
My perception of violence is led by my experience as uke; it is proven and tested during my experience as tori. These are not titles, they are simply relationships in the pattern of Aikido practice. My goal now is to be as effective as I can while doing as little harm as possible. I want that feel of "clean violence" that Mike illustrated in Howie Long.