Location: Rochester, NY
Join Date: Jul 2004
Re: How do you explain it..
I had a thought on this last night during a slow bit of practice. It was on why aikidoka seem to enjoy it so much, and so I could only form it on my own impression, the one that surfaced at the moment was a memory of childhood, running wild either from or after siblings and friends, and, if need be, crashing over fences and bushes in the process.
Now consider the ukemi displayed in a children's class. I tend to shudder a bit at the way they hit the ground, but they bounce out of it. I used to bounce out of the same stuff, but we know we can't anymore, due more to weight than ability. Not without reliable ukemi. So, I wonder, do we love it for the ukemi? The experience of receiving technique, and the big wham we make, or choose not to make (for the skilled) (unlike me) and afterward getting up and doing it again?
I wonder if there is some sort of endorphin released, or some palatable amount of adrenaline released that makes it exciting, and only on the fringe of being consciously reminiscent of childhood hi-jinx. Dunno.
On the idea that this excitement is hard to convey to others, I wonder if it has to do with the process that a martial artist must go through to become interested in self-defense. A person has to consciously realize the possibility that unexpected harm may be visited upon their persons without seeming cause and in great contradiction to the law and culture. This can be a frightening prospect, one that is comfortably easy to ignore, and experience in general serves to assuage the fright, too, because the odds are generally against it. Even with that in mind, during practice I have had 'what-if's' come to mind. Some days I think that 'what-if' would turn out ok, other times it makes me think I haven't got a chance. Once a person no longer has an easy time of ignoring the possibility of personal violence, they start looking around for ways to minimize the possibility. Some consider hand-guns, some consider martial arts.
An old girlfriend, when I first started Aikido, came to one class, and watched a few, her interest dwindled, until one night when I wanted to show her something from class she just blew up and demanded dinner. She didn't want to hear about self-defense, and in fact found it insulting to think that she should even have to consider defending herself in what she termed civilized society. This was a progressive and fairly practical woman (notice she demanded that I make dinner), but that she could be in danger of personal attack seemed dangerous just to think about, so she didn't think about it.
One time we were returning to our apartment in college park, MD, and we saw three enterprising young men / older boys working on a bike chain on a semi tree covered and secluded section of fence. She stopped to watch them concluded they were stealing the bike, and started walking over. I corralled her, brought her out of earshot while she righteously claimed they shouldn't be allowed to steal that bike. They noticed us several times and just kept working on the lock. She wanted to at least call the police, but as I had made eye contact with at least two of them, I figured since our apartment was across the lane from them, front door and all, if a cop rolled up in the next 5 minutes they'd be idiots to not connect the two.
She fumed, and decided to call up our friend who was low-level management for a security firm on the west side of D.C.. He was of the guns persuasion of self defense (once answere the door for pizza delivery with a revolver, out of sight but placed in easy reach). She expected complete agreement and commiseration, but instead got "definitely you should not interact with these people, and if the cops stop to ask what's going on or worse, they'll remember it, if not, they'll forget about it in a matter of days.
Unfortunately, only most of the bike was taken, they gave up on the lock and the front wheel. It served as a reminder to both of us, to me of what could have happened, and to her of what should have happened. Should is almost invariably a less likely outcome than could.
wow, long post, haven't had a bomber like that in a while.