Re: Intent of Attack
Since this thread started with a comment I made, I should probably respond with further clarification of what I said.
The point I made was that "Violence is in the intent." Yes, I agree that the result of an act may be physical or emotional violence. Also that an act can be perceived as violent. Thus, people attacking with commitment is violent since the intent of the attack is to hurt or constrain the person if the individual does not do the counter correctly. However, a committed attack in the dojo should also be controlled such that if it becomes apparent that the nage is not ready, slips, is injured, or something else happens, the committed attack can be stopped. It seems that often, the beginner attacking who has little control over their attacks yet cannot stop the committed attack successfully even if they want to. The solution then, is to not be so committed in the attack or to attack much more slowly so that control returns.
The dojo is not the street. On the street, the intent is to work on the sword's edge so that we are doing our actions at the point just before losing control. Inevitably, under those cases, since many variables are involved, we sometimes do lose control of our attack or counter. Thus, it is inadvisable to work on the sword's edge within the dojo and our attacks and counters should be done slower than on the street or with less commitment. We need a margin of safety.
That said, I still believe violence is in the intent. A person steps on your foot. That may be an intentional attack or an accident. We try not to be hurt in either case so we try to make sure the person does not step on our foot again. If the person is truly attacking, and they missed the first time, it is advisable to make sure they do not try again. The methods used to stop the intentional attack may be somewhat "violent." On the other hand, if a person come near to stepping on your foot, then comes near again because of simple thoughtlessness or clumsiness, to stop the foot stepping using "violent" means will result in either the clumsy/thoughtless person getting hurt without them understanding why or a conflict will result that is really the effect of you intentionally attacking the person for what they will perceive as no good reason. I figure it is a lot like "road-rage." The person who goes into road-rage may have a good reason for being upset. They are often responding to a perceived attack on their person or vehicle. The person who is the victim of road-rage is often completely unaware of why the person is attacking them. Who is at fault? The road-raged subject often says that the other person started it. It does not excuse their behaviour. The difference is in their intent. Even the courts take this into consideration when determining whether a person committed murder or manslaughter. The penalties for involuntary manslaughter are often much more lenient than those for murder.
We cannot fathom a person's intent just from their behaviour. We have to intuit it from their past or continuing behaviour. If a person hits someone with their car and kills them, it might generally be called involuntary vehicular manslaughter. If the person obviously plans to run someone over and does it, or when no such evidence is available, if the person runs over someone and goes out of their way to do it, or runs over the person several times by fowarding and reversing, then we can usually say with confidence that the individual was intent on murder and can prove it to the satisfaction of a court of law.
Getting back to the dojo, if an attacking uke or nage hurts you and you ask them to stop the specific behaviour, but they continue to do it even after you ask them to stop, then there is a problem that must be resolved. If they stop, there is no problem.
That is why I say that true violence is in the intent.