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Old 11-10-2012, 03:35 PM   #82
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
Re: The Fear of Power

Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
1 People see Ueshiba's power and are drawn to the art.
2 People deny that they seek power.
3 People at heart are really seeking power because they practice Aikido
That is circular reasoning.
No, it's not circular reasoning. It is a description of the mental contradiction that "the aikido community" which has replaced true standards is inflicting on its students. This was never a problem in Morihei Ueshiba's day. People knew what they wanted and Morihei taught them how to get it, but few understood what he was saying. Much of what he said that was interpreted as religious and peaceful was really direct instruction on how to harness and refine human power. And it was not primarily "power over others," but "power within oneself."

Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
That in itself is a fallacy, but I added a few counter-arguments. For some reason you just skipped them. You did respond on my counterargument that people in general do not know Ueshiba and have not seen any of his demonstrations. You tried to replace Ueshiba's name with that of others like Tissier.
No, you substituted Tissier and Seagal for Ueshiba. I elaborated on that and pointed out that neither of them is known for prayer or particular spirituality and both project quite a violent power in demonstration (and Seagal, in particular, in movies). So people who are drawn to aikido by seeing such people as that don't even have an image of an old guy in prayer to balance the images of throwing someone around. They come to aikido because they see someone throwing people around. And you say they're not coming to attain power? Why else would they come to such examples?

Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
But the core of your premise is based on what you say about Ueshiba's power. It weakens your whole premise if you are willing to accept any other name.
I only recently became aware of people like Tissier, though I have known of Seagal for decades. My only examples of real aikido, however, were Ueshiba, Mochizuki, Shioda, Saito and a few others. All known for tremendous power.

Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
It would then become something like "people are drawn to Aikido because of its great power".
I say they are drawn by its image of power--sometimes expressed rather violently. And they see that before they know of its spiritual side at all.

Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
It seems to me that a lot of other martial arts look powerful or even more powerful - why would people choose in particular for Aikido if it is only about power?
I was first attracted to aikido after some experience in kyokushin karate with a direct student of Mas Oyama, where I had a bull-killer as an exemplar. I saw an article in East/West Journal called Aikido and the Mind of the West, which focused mostly on the spiritual interests of Morihei Ueshiba and the tactic of using the attacker's energy and efforts to throw him. It was another approach to power--a trickier kind of power that also valued protecting the attacker (while kyokushin focused on knocking him out if not killing him). I wanted something that would let me not harm the attacker, but I would have considered it a waste of time if it did not pretty well guarantee the ability to completely dominate a violent attacker. So power was a major factor.

Now, I think most people see it similarly in the beginning. 1) they see an effective fighting art, then 2) hear that it uses the other person's power, then 3) hear that it values protecting the attacker. But they really want that power of an effective fighting art, first.

All this is fine and natural for human beings. In my case, I wound up in yoseikan aikido, where the naturalness of seeking strength and power have always been understood. We were taught not to use strength in technique and not to achieve technique by force; however, development of strength was natural in the process of training because much of the practice involved strength-building exercises as well as relaxation and sensitivity exercises.

However, for many people, a fourth point arises and creates the problem I am addressing here: 4) "the aikido community" teaches students that desiring to become strong is, more or less, evil and they shouldn't do it.

Now, the student is still the same person, with the same natural motivations and the same point of origin, which can never be changed. So they have to bury the motivation to develop power and express a conscious disdain for power and its development, which sets up a basic contradiction in their thinking, which is entirely as bad as the quest of attaining power. To be untrue to oneself is quite the opposite of "masakatsu agatsu".

Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
Your notion that Ueshiba's power is the only thing that draws people to Aikido and that people who have other reasons are in denial is a similar kind of reasoning.
Sorry, Tom. You have circularized that reasoning, yourself. I did specify Ueshiba as the image of power, but there are many such images and I simply say that people are first drawn to the image of power in aikido demonstrations, regardless of who projects it. Of course, it's possible that some are drawn by the ribbon-dancing guy Henry Ellis loves so much...but I don't think that's a significant percentage.


"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"
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