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Old 09-10-2005, 11:54 AM   #26
SeiserL
 
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

IMHO, we can use the tools and opportunity to change our mental map of the world and how to relate to it.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-10-2005, 01:20 PM   #27
markwalsh
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

Glad this thread has sparked some thought, thanks for sharing your views everyone

Camilla - To clarify, I wasn't suggesting that aikido was unique, only that it has a long list of features that make it highly likely that it will be of some benefit.

I found the chicken egg part very stimulating - I feel some people come to aikido because it already "fits" them a you say, but many come because they need what it offers. Gotta think about this some more...

Starting the thread I was most interested with moving on from,does to how? Which of these factors are most important in personal change in aikido. What is the mechanism?

Jozer - Nice quote. I'd say that aikido explores and develops character.

Larry - I used the terms form classical behaviorist psych, but they are off you're right. On the other hand, when Sensei punches you in the face because you take ukemi "wrong"...

Lynn - You're "mental map" comment is a nice tease, go on...

I feel that aikido breaks changes the way we view the world as we realize on a physical level that many of our assumptions are wrong (eg, soft=weak) - Terry Dobson was the first to write about this I think. I also find aikido a good attitude to the overly competitive society we live in, though like Camilla I've met plenty of people who haven't seen that side.
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Old 09-10-2005, 01:38 PM   #28
theflyingheadbuttsuplex
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Red face Re: HOW does aikido change us?

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
What is the mechanism by which personal change/growth occurs in aikido practitioners?



I would like to start this thread from the assumption that, that aikido does in some way change us as people, and to ask how this transformation occurs? Is it for example the result of simple physical exercise, increased social support or of other spiritual factors.

Thoughts?
I've only been at aikido for a year, and haven't noticed much spirital change, but the biggest change for me is ukemi skills and reflexes. I nearly fell out of a truck while holding hay hooks, but ukemi had me accustomed to the mechanics of falling, and landed in the truck bed with relatively no harm. You can picture this incedent looking as humorous as you like, I dont mind!

If there is no wind, row!
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Old 09-11-2005, 10:30 AM   #29
Ketsan
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

People don't always change in positive ways either.
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Old 09-11-2005, 10:35 AM   #30
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote:
People don't always change in positive ways either.
Hi Alex,
as you posted this directly after Mark's post about ukemi, do you really think aikido training would worsen someones ability to fall safely?

Dirk
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Old 09-11-2005, 12:03 PM   #31
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

OK, just playing devil's advocate here a bit...

It could well do. Try falling on hard concrete from, say, a high kotegaeshi or koshinage and slapping out to break the fall. Not good.

Paul Kerr
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Old 09-11-2005, 04:26 PM   #32
markwalsh
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

Several people have mentioned aikido changing people for the worse. While I think that the nature of aikido usually nudges people in the right direction, I too have seen negative change happen. (its possible to get bogged down in a relativist swamp re what is "positive" or "negative", perhaps healthy and unhealthy is a better model.

The most common kind of unhealthy pattern one see is ego INFLATION For instructors in particular this seems to be a problem. One very senior UK Sensei warned me, "Don't believe your own advertising."

I routinely see the same thing happening with colleagues who work with children. There are several definite phrases that outdoor sports instructors go through in about a year. These could be labeled:

Open (learning)
Innocent Hero (semi capable, loves kids)
Ego freak (thinks fully capable, loves being loved)
Cynic (capable but closed, loves kids)
Open again (loves kids, learning again)

Not everyone makes it through the whole process of course, and it is just that - a process, not purely negative change.

Perhaps aikido is particularly prone to ego issues as there is no winning and hence no loosing. The dojo oasis has few reality checks.

The ego problem is essentially a symptom of a wider issue, that of aikidoka wrestling with power issues. I've observed that in general aikido balances people's personalities, but that sometime the process can go badly wrong. For example, sometimes the experience of vulnerability in aikido can make people more compassionate, but can lead to an unhealthy desire never to be dominated. Similarly some start to get a kick out of the feeling of power over their dojo mates, and need to be reminded of th O'Sensei quote, "Aikido is not for correcting others, it is for correcting oneself."

....................

Incidentally, before any of my friends post - I have a big fat ego and I know it
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Old 09-11-2005, 06:58 PM   #33
Mark Uttech
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

Aikido changes us if we study nature. It is that simple. Talks about ukemi and loving kindness aside, nature will kill you if you are not careful.
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Old 09-11-2005, 08:47 PM   #34
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

Quote:
Dirk Hanss wrote:
Hi Alex,
as you posted this directly after Mark's post about ukemi, do you really think aikido training would worsen someones ability to fall safely?

Dirk
Since we've just had our backward ukemi changed to the way I to do it in Ju-jitsu....yes
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Old 09-12-2005, 07:03 AM   #35
Mats Alritzson
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

I feel a bit nervous when someone is holding a knife or any other sharp object carelessly in front of me. I'm more fit than I were when I started taking Aikido. Other than that? I don't know.
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Old 09-12-2005, 09:26 AM   #36
markwalsh
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Triangle Re: HOW does aikido change us?

"nature will kill you if you are not careful"

Nature's gonna kill us all in the long run anyway

Cheerful jokes aside, I've done enough stupid things on a snowboard for nature to be pick me up by the scruff of the neck and say, "Take it easy son, I'm in charge here. BTW, like my avalanche kid?"

PS - This is kinda sliding off topic.
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Old 09-12-2005, 11:17 AM   #37
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

Okay, so how:

For someone like me who does not easily believe in things I can't experience (see, hear, touch etc.), aikido works by giving weak spots a physical manifestation. As I mentioned, the drawbacks of impatience is very well demonstrated in the dojo. However, I examine it as an influence on other aspects of my life only because I am willing to make the inference that it is not just a charateristic I display on the mat and that it might benefit me to make sure I'm not ahead of myself and all others off the mat, too. I came to aikido with that mindset, though (hence the chicken and the egg).

If you go looking for something you need in aikido, you might be disappointed (can't see the forest for all the trees), or see only what you're looking for - who knows if you've really diagnosed your need correctly? Some people are so darned insisting on whatever weakness they perceive that they are unwilling to hear advice on anything else. Granted, aikido can be a real boost for an inferiority complex - getting a roll to where you don't hurt yourself is a major acomplishment. And you can definitely grow from there. Yes, maybe confidence is the greatest motivator/catalyst for change?

We don't usually focus much on our bodies (except for its flaws), so aikido can definitely give a sense of physical confidence when you start to be able to coordinate all those flailing limbs and propel other people off in different directions. You affect people in a very real, physical way. That confidence will carry over into other aspects of life. And granted, the insistence on aikido being non-competitive is a great benefit - it is much more roomy. But for this to really have an influence, the dojo has to actually be non-competitive...

In my dojo I don't really see specific behaviours encouraged or discouraged. The fact that someone tells me something about myself (like impatience) is an honest exchange, and I accept the advice because I have complete respect for and trust in the person giving it - which is another aspect of the dojo experience that might be unusual to a lot of people. The way authority is exercised characterizes the dojo, and determines what type of student it attracts. Demonstrated authority always suggests to me that the demonstrator has severe doubts about its validity - so yes, I do have some issues with certain types of authority! For others, that is the most comfortable setting to learn.

I came to aikido thinking I'd want to learn to defend myself (very angry young female). I came back to aikido because I just love it (very happy older female). Aikido is a very real contributor to that happiness. Why? I honestly don't know and I have no real desire to figure it out/name it. I am just glad to accept it.
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Old 09-12-2005, 03:00 PM   #38
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

I think aikido is a good methodology or a physical model/allegory for personal change. It has worked for me I suppose. It is difficult for me to say because of all my life's experiences...it is hard to point to which ones came from aikido and which ones did not. I am the sum of my life's experiences.

For my wife, who got started with me in MA years ago and practiced aikido for 5 years...in the end it was Yoga that worked for her, not aikido.

One thing we have discussed is the comparision between yoga, aikido, and other comtemplative practices. What I find different about MA/aikido is that most other comtemplative/philsophical practices are more individual in nature. What I think is key and important about aikido is that it requires you to interact in the practice...which is key to acheiving happines and peace.

That is not to over simplify something like yoga that is somewhat individualistic in nature, because in the ashram environment, you still are part of a community and you must interact with other yogini in order to develop and grow.

I just think aikido is more upfront and primal about the whole interdependence thing.

I also think aikido and MA in general helps us learn more about anger, emotions, and control during stress..Again, other arts like yoga can also do these things.

I guess there is nothing really special about aikido...it all boils down to what works for you and what your goals are.
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Old 09-12-2005, 03:01 PM   #39
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

Oh btw...it was good training with you last month Larrry!
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Old 09-13-2005, 03:47 AM   #40
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

Quote:
Camilla Kieliger wrote:
And granted, the insistence on aikido being non-competitive is a great benefit - it is much more roomy. But for this to really have an influence, the dojo has to actually be non-competitive...
My aikido is very competitive. I do not mean Tomiki competition or testing martial effectiveness, which we do occasionally. But while one of my schizophrenic ego always wants to fight power with power (plus some angle tricks), the other one really wants to "feel, where the power goes", as Saotome always says.
Unfortunately it is not a one-way development. While getting alittle bit stronger by training, some techniques work "the old way" and then ego one wins again, until I get a stronger partner, or Pablo, my sensei, intervenes. That's why I am only yonkyu after 18 month

This competition changes me - not only in aikido. In real life I am starting to enhance my sensibility to feel where the power/intent goes and how to act adequately. I am still a beginner. But at least aikido opened my eyes to recongnise that there is a gap. My karate experience - "step aside and punch; break the board if necessary and possible. If it is not you have to train harder" - workedsomehow but was not really satisfying.

The other change is confidence. But this is not a posititive one way, either. It is so easy being non-violent, as long as you do not feel confident in your martial abilities, or if the choice is "leave it or kill'em". While improving my abilities to fight without hurting, I had the wish to do something. Nothing really happened yet, luckily, but I had situations where I felt like Dobson in the tram (don't have the link to this story) and I wished that the would have come the old Japanese man, who could perform this great verbal and psychological tenkan.

Any way there is still a long road to go.

Dirk
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Old 09-13-2005, 04:04 AM   #41
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

Having just finished reading Leonard´s book called Mastery, I would agree with him (if I understood him correctly, that is ) that anything that gets you on the way to mastery - be it aikido, yoga, cooking or building model railways - will help you become a better person in one way or another, simply because being on a do makes you work and look at yourself, enhances self-awareness and requires the will to develop.
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Old 09-13-2005, 10:14 AM   #42
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

I notice that there have been quite a few German (based) posters on this thread. Interestingly this is the European country where "off-mat" aikido has really taken off. Winfried Wagner Sensei is one person who springs to mind, but there are many others.
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Old 09-14-2005, 01:35 AM   #43
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
I notice that there have been quite a few German (based) posters on this thread. Interestingly this is the European country where "off-mat" aikido has really taken off.
Is that your impression? That´s interesting! Personally I am quite into that, but I actually train in an organisation that is not so heavily philosophical I would say. Most books on the philosophy of aikido still haven´t been translated into German and not everyone can read them, so some people´s access to "food for thought" is limited. But I guess you are right in that there are more and more teachers who focus more on it.
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Old 09-14-2005, 03:41 AM   #44
Lee Mulgrew
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

To use an analogy, it is very hard to move a large boulder. However, with a long pole for leverage said boulder can be set rolling on an unstoppable journey with much less effort! Aikido is the lever by which your own developement (spiritual, physical, whatever!) can be set free. It is merely a tool to enhance what we already have.
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Old 09-14-2005, 04:48 AM   #45
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

Quote:
Lee Mulgrew wrote:
To use an analogy, it is very hard to move a large boulder.
For a second I thought you were talking about the developing interest in aikido philosophy in Germany


Nice analogy, Lee.
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Old 09-14-2005, 06:08 AM   #46
Lee Mulgrew
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

Quote:
Paul Kerr wrote:
OK, just playing devil's advocate here a bit...

It could well do. Try falling on hard concrete from, say, a high kotegaeshi or koshinage and slapping out to break the fall. Not good.
Yeah... but it beats not slapping the ground! (Trust me!)
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Old 09-14-2005, 07:40 AM   #47
Nick Simpson
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

Either way hurts, end of

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 09-14-2005, 04:49 PM   #48
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Re: HOW does aikido change us?

For the record...

Even though I live in Germany, I have no experience in dealing with aikido in Germany. I am an Amercian Military person. Certainly living in a foriegn country has expanded my perspective on the world, but my aikido is not influenced through my experiences here in the wonderful country of Deutschland! Tschuess!
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