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Old 11-10-2012, 08:47 PM   #86
Tom Verhoeven
Dojo: Aikido Auvergne Kumano dojo
Location: Auvergne
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 295
Re: The Fear of Power

David Orange wrote: View Post
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.
- No, this is a contradiction that you have contrived, it is not something that the "Aikido community" experiences. And you may not see this as a circular reasoning, but you are using a premise to prove an argument that proves your premise. That is invalid reasoning.

If your premise is that people are drawn to Aikido because they seek power - could you prove that by giving some figures ? In how many schools is this happening? How many Aikido styles? How many Aikido organisations?
Referring to one person's friend is not sufficient

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?
-Now that is called cheating; I did not substitute Tissier and Seagal for Ueshiba. I mentioned their name as a counterargument to your premise on Ueshiba's power. You then went on substituting Tissier and Seagal for Ueshiba. With this kind of reasoning that you are expressing here, there is no real exchange of arguments possible.

If people are coming to Aikido with an image of Tissier or Seagal, would that not solve your issue? And therefor counter your argument? Or are they the people who are troubled with this contradiction?

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.
I have trained with students of Tissier since the eighties. Never went to any of his classes though.

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.
Yes, but can you prove that? Why are they not drawn to Aikido for the beauty of it? I know I was.

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.
Well, here at least we have something in common. I studied as well with a direct student of Mas Oyama. He was also a direct student of Sawai - Mas Oyama's teacher. At the time my teacher taught Kyokushin karate and Sawai's Taikiken. Although influenced by both Budo I had a bigger interest in Taikiken.

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.
I wound up practicing Shorinji Kempo - and I could say the same about it as you are saying about Yoseikan Budo. So your image of seeking power as a goal comes from this?

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.
Again, who is teaching that to become strong is wrong? Which teachers, which schools. Surely you cannot mean all aikido schools and all aikido teachers!

More as a general point; strength, becoming strong, having power, exerting power and over powering someone have not only different meaning, but also a different philosophical history. Not just in daily life, but also in the history of martial arts.

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".

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 is not much of a counter-argument. I gave a clear schema of how your circular reasoning works here. It is not my circular reasoning, it is yours. Even if you were to take away the image of Ueshiba's power, you still end up with the same kind of reasoning.
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