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Old 03-04-2009, 06:28 PM   #45
graham's Avatar
Dojo: Northampton Ki Aikido Club
Location: Northampton
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 134
United Kingdom
Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art


Thanks for such a thoughtful response. I'm afraid that time-restraints may limit my reply, but here goes.

Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Certainly, each of us has our own experiences and we draw from them and find meaning in many ways and I am sure Aikido has served that purpose for you and for many.
Absolutely. I'm glad you saw that, because the rest of what I said was basically just filler!

Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Maybe it is semantics, but I do tend to be a little be very precise in my definition of martial art and like to make people think hard about and answer the question when the say "well, our martial art actually teaches people how not to fight."
That's fine, but I can't really think of a definition of martial art that would forbid psychological elements, including training in things like relaxation and anticipation, that ultimately lead to less actual physical confrontations.

Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
If we are doing anything other than that, then I really believe we are either not qualified to be teaching what we are teaching, (because we don't know better), or we are intentionally reframing it for some philosophical reason to get an agenda or dogma across that we are trying to carry on.
I'm not sure that's accurate. In fact, I thought so much about your reply, that I ran past my Sensei the phrase 'Aikido teaches me how not to fight'. FWIW, my Sensei is a 30+ years student of Ken Williams Sensei, who is the most experienced Aikidoka in Great Britain. He completely agreed that Aikido teaches us how not to fight.

Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
We are teaching people how to fight. It is that simple at the base level.
I'm not sure it is. I think we are teaching people how to use the minimal amount of force to resolve conflicts. And if there is a way to use no force whatsoever, excellent!

Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
We are not teaching them how to avoid fights. We are not teaching them how to passively resolve conflict by moving off the line we are teaching them how to skillfully engage other people and render them unable to cause us harm through various applications and levels of force.
I couldn't agree more; apart from your first sentance. I guess I'd question your logic here. What if the level of force is none? What if part of what Aikido teaches us - at the very least, at the subconscious level and implicitly - is how to so skillfully engage other people that we can resolve the conflict with resorts to physical violence.

Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Conflict Resolution is something I am very, very interested in for both professional and philosophical reasons. (I am comtemplating gong to George Mason University to obtain my PhD in CR right now actually).
If you've written more about that anywhere, I'd genuinely love to hear it.

Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I understand what Terry Dobson is saying, and I think that is a noble goal. It is mine at least!

However, I have also heard people that have studied with Terry say he also said alot of other colorful things!

O Sensei as well, also said things that would appear to contradict that. You have to be careful with the context in which these things were said.
I don't doubt for a second that I have played fast and loose with my quotes! However, Dobson's 'Aikido in Everyday Life' leads me to think that he would agree with much of what I've written here.

Additionally, even given O Sensei's enigmatic speech, the quotes I have found would imply that it is possible to approach - and teach - Aikido in the way that I have framed it. It may not be necessary to do so, but I think it is possible. And that has been my experience.

Thanks for the dialogue.

"A true warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing." (O Sensei)
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