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Old 06-11-2007, 09:23 AM   #1
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Analytic Anger and Frustration in Training

Richard Fox wrote: View Post
Aikido is structured the way it is so that people can learn the movement and need uke to cooperate in order to do that, I understand. But doesn't there need to be some level where this cooperation is no longer done?
This recognizes the question of frustration and opposition and its place in training. A recent study brought me back to the above point from the "aikido attacks" thread, and I decided to make a new thread to explore this tangent.

"Thinking Straight while Seeing Red." -- The short version is that anger actually makes people think more analytically, rather than clouding their analytic reason. And yet anger seems consistently viewed as a negative in fighting arts.

Even though I find conceptual analysis of physical actions useful in reflecting on training and forms of movement, I tend to view aikido (and nearly all high level budo) in application as moving away from rational analysis (this-and-then-that linear causation reasoning) to intuitive perception and and pre-conscious motivation to action (wu-wei). There is support for this in an article about on sports perception posted in the recent discussion about "zanshin" which has strong elements of fudoshin discussed in it as well.

The "Seeing Red" study cited suggests that analytic thought is facilitated by angry, frustrated mood. Frustration and anger will occur in training. They may occur in different ways in different forms of training, and may be dealt with differently in different forms of training.

It intrigues me that not only may frustrated mood affect how we think about what we are doing, but, more importantly -- affect how we do it. One solution to the problem of frustration in training is the linear solution to the cause of it, in which analytic thinking excels The minimal linear solution to defeat an opposing force, A, is necessarily, A+1 -- but that seems unlikely to lead to what I would recognize as aikido.

I wonder whether this is dealt with in the same way in mainstream (non-competitive) forms of training in aikido as compared with those forms that use some element of competitive engagement in their training?.

Does competitive engagement increase anger or frustration as a state of perception? Should it find ways to decrease the level of frustration, or is this a necessary motivational factor in this form of training?

Should training (of whatever kind) be aimed at increasing or decreasing moods of frustration and anger?

If it should be increased, how does one avoid the "forcing" A+1 logic suggested by linear analytic thought when facing opposing force?

If it should be decreased, does working to sublimate or repress the frustration in training serve the same purpose as provoking it?

Should we deal with it in some other way?

The higher levels of martial action are intuitive and the wu-wei/fudoshin/zanshin action state is not analytic (I think this is inarguable). If competitive training is premised on raising frustration levels (which is arguable, but it is often presented that way) and with it, the disposition to analytic thought -- how is competitive training intended lead to the intuitive action state?


Erick Mead
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