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Old 08-22-2016, 12:05 PM   #30
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,154
Re: Reconcile the world

A couple of thoughts...

1. Martial arts is a collection of athleticism, unified with a purpose - effective combat. Look at a similar group, say baseball, and you will find a collection of athleticism unified with a purpose - winning a baseball game. You could argue that baseball teaches ethics (sportsmanship, self-discipline, etc.), yet most people would not specifically argue that baseball is an ethical pursuit. Aikido has chosen to make a point of arguing its ethical position.
2. Decisions have value. Every decision we make has a value and a consequence. The concept of perception management deals specifically in altering the perceived value of the decision. The idea the resonated with our earlier aikido generations was the potential injury they could inflict was significant and therefore their actions should be weighed accordingly. This idea generally resonates across most martial arts.

I can chose to behave in any manner when I am on the mat, but my partner can likewise choose. Etiquette is designed to create some ground rules. Seniority is designed to let seniors demonstrate to juniors the "real" value of a decision, not the perceived one. A common thread that runs through several of these issues is a generation(s) of students who don't understand the "real" value of what they are doing and therefore can't share it with juniors. So in many ways we are susceptible to perception management because we don't understand the value of what we are doing.

Pointing back to our Kentucky issue, it's not that the teaching didn't work. As reported, it appears the techniques were [too] effective. The problem was the perception of aikido did not match the outcome of the training. In reading the thread, the super-position of the ethics of aikido being impugned would seem to support our priority to preserve our appearance.

In many ways, Aikido has worked so hard to elevate the perception if its position as an ethically-driven martial art that it almost can't support the weight of its own claims. This warps our training and I think that is not necessarily a good thing.

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