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Old 06-15-2006, 01:16 PM   #76
Mark Freeman
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Re: Aikido, the military and fighting

Quote:
Maybe we're all hippies. Not so bad a thing.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
we're the hippies with swords."
I feel like I'm among friends - One Love! brothers & sisters

peace

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 06-16-2006, 04:18 PM   #77
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido, the military and fighting

Justin wrote:

Quote:

Kevin Leavitt wrote:
It is not about the killing or violence of war, but about compassion and courage.

A problem is that all sides involved think in this manner (glorify war) so the killing continues
Go back and read my post carefully. I am not talking about a macroscopic view of war in which society dehumanizes the enemy and develops an emotional idealogy to keep popular opinion motivated to sustain a war effort, that happens in all wars that I can think of. I am talking about on the interpersonal level of soldiers and why they fight.

You won't find too many soldiers that when you get down to it that will fight for glory, they fight to survive the battle, avoid shame, and to protect the ones they love. They may believe in an ideal such as the U.S constitution, but in reality, it is probably not why they decide to stick it out and do their job. Patriotism is a wonderful initial motivator though, and a tool on the road to war!

I do recommend you read David Grossman's book "on Killing" if you are interested in the subject.

Psychologically, soldiers traditionally go through a "detachment" to cope with emotions. They do this in a number of ways, dehumanizing, objectifying, rationalizing, idealizing, and such. IMO, this is not WHY they fight, but HOW they cope.

Big difference.

If you've ever been to war or in battle of some kind, you don't really glorify it to much. You survive it as best you can. The glorifying thing is for the media and popular opinion back home.

Keep in mind, at least in the U.S and most western world militaries, it is the civilians that put and support the soldiers on the battlefield. Soldiers don't choose to go necessarily. Typically as soon as they are told to stop killing they do (most at least). Most of us are not sociopaths.

The killing goes on for social, economic, emotional, and ideological reasons for the most part....not for the glory of war in and of itself. The problem of war and killing is much, much more complicated than for the glory....that only occurs in John Wayne movies for the most part.

War should never be glorified. As I stated I am more impressed with those that have the courage to stand up socially against popular opinion and to push for change, than I am for my fellow soldiers that do heroic actions in battle. Soldiers don't plan or choose the circumstances they do the heroic deeds in, they are forced into the situation and must survive or take action. People like Martin Luther King had the option of choosing their course of action/inaction and that takes real courage.

That does not mean I have extreme amount of respect and honor for my fellow soldiers both past and present, but on a scale, I feel that social change heros are on a higher scale!

Okay...off topic!

It is possible to be a soldier, do your job, to be mindful, and compassionate to both your self, your fellow soldiers, and your enemy. It does not require you to hate, dehumanize, or glorify, if you develop your mind, body, and spirit properly.

Iraq and Afganistan seem to be wars of a different type, that started with the French in Vietnam. Soldiers must be "civic" on one day, and then flip and pull the trigger on the next day. I think we have learned alot of lessons over the last 50 years. I see an evolution going on that allows for compassion and yet still allows you to be strong and pull the trigger if necessary. However, I am not a expert in this area, so I have no substanial proof to support this claim...just my thoughts and observations!

Are things different today than they were in the past? How does today's environment/wars differ from say the crusades, or roman wars of the past? Maybe they are not any different?
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Old 06-16-2006, 05:43 PM   #78
statisticool
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Re: Aikido, the military and fighting

Kevi wrote:

Quote:
, they fight to survive the battle, ...
That's basically a tautology, Kevin.

Sides can attempt to justify violence on a grand scale all they want (and they do), but it is still empty, and says that sides havn't intelligently thought of better means of conflict resolution.

Last edited by statisticool : 06-16-2006 at 05:45 PM.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 06-16-2006, 08:44 PM   #79
Guilty Spark
 
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Re: Aikido, the military and fighting

Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
Grant,

I could go on about the illegality of this war: but you've probably heard it all already.

But I will comment on the "spiritual," or "great cause" that this war is being fought over.

If there really IS such a great cause to this war: then why is it so hard for the White House to articulate what it is? Cindy Sheehan hounds Bush for an answer: and he cannot give her one.
Hey Neil, you're 100% right. I've heard that illegal war thing done to death. Is a war ever legal? Who decides what's legal and whats not? Is it right to attack a country before they attack you as a sort of first strike? How about attacking a country due to the actions of one of their citizens (or a visitor who just hangs out there)

Thats a crazy debate that will go on forever. There are just way too many angles and points of view to even come close to a right answer.

I've found the peace demonstrators can be as nutty as the war mongers. Both sides need to suck back and take a breather.

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Aikido stance/posture is one of being upright, prepared, relaxed, open, focused and centered. The hands are open offering a non confrontational image ( as opposed to the closed fist ). The being in this stance must embody the principles of aikido otherwise it is just an outward show.

An example of an aikido principle is "know your partners mind". When Mr Bush used the term 'Crusade' early on in the post 9/11 tub thumping. He did not consider how much of a provocation that would be in the world outside, his sense of history only seems to go as far back as his being 're-born'. Offering to crush or annihilate, does nothing to calm the situation. Admittedly it must be hard for someone brought up in such great privilege to "know the mind" of the 'terrorists' but unless the attempt is made, the same problems will just be repeated ad infinitum.

In the same way that a smaller more skillfull aikidoka can handle a larger more powerfull opponent, the smaller enemy can negate the muscle of one with the largest 'firepower' by not fighting on the same terms. The re-emergence of the Taliban is a case in point, these people have a nearly a 1000 years of fighting history to draw on. And you can't bomb an 'ideology into extinction.
Awesome, I really like your point of views on applying aikido to this situation. I can't add too much (just starting to apply aikido principals to life) but I'm really enjoying the different points of views and way to apply aikido to present day situations.

Quote:
I look forward to the time when the dominant military force is a 'global peace keeping army'. I hesitate to suggest under the command of the UN as that body in itself is not as effective as it should be, if not them then we need to create something that is. We must move beyond 1 State having the ability to invade another country for it's own reasons, even if it does have some support from others.
All 'invasions' need to have massive global backing, and the raison d'etre needs to be to contain any 'rouges' inside their own borders.
As do I. If you can't play nice we're going to take your toys away.


Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
Now, let's act like warriors at the end of class, and let's all put the mats away together and make sure our gi's are properly hung, instead of lying about the floor."

After warmups, we had our last class for the season. They tested, bowed out, and (for once, diverging from the usual chaotic silliness) put away the mats and hung their gi's in record time.
I've done a lot of pondering on what a warrior is. I think the journey there is more important like the end result. I think your example is a good one of what I consider the beginnings of a warrior mentality.

An example of my own. I was in charge of some young soldiers. We spent monday to friday camping out in the woods getting rained on eating bad food and getting eaten alive by bugs. By friday all everyone wanted to do was go home and drink and party. I would not let them go until they cleaned their weapons and equipment so that sunday night they were prepared to hit the field just incase we got called out. the other groups all left their stuff dirty and just took care of it sunday night or fumbled around with it money.
I wasn't very popular come fridays

Regardless, I wanted them to take pride in their station as a soldier and respect the tools of their trade. I feel too many people don't respect their tools. Even more so when you're asking someone to clean and maintain something that someone else (likely unknown to them) is going to end up using. Maybe thats more a case of professionalism but I feel the whole 'warrior' thing gives someone a goal to strive for. Pride and respect in your job, equipment and for other people. Especially respect for others. I hate drawing equipment that's broken and someone was just too lazy to report it. A warrior is someone who puts mission before self in that their own personal pleasure of fun time takes a back burner. Perhaps students who remain after class to sweep the Mat's or helping newer students with problems vice everyone rushing home?

In any case I think your example of instilling a warrior mindset on your students, as young as they are, is bang on. Warrior is a scary word to some people (say parents). Easy to change it to professional or respectful, warrior just sounds cooler

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
You won't find too many soldiers that when you get down to it that will fight for glory, they fight to survive the battle, avoid shame, and to protect the ones they love. They may believe in an ideal such as the U.S constitution, but in reality, it is probably not why they decide to stick it out and do their job. Patriotism is a wonderful initial motivator though, and a tool on the road to war!
Too true! I've read a zillion quotes about generals using patriotism to get soldiers or citizens to do whatever they want.

I think there is always the glory or pride part of the job. Taking pride in your job isn't a bad thing, if more people came to work every day LIKING their job the world would be a much happier place. I don't see anything wrong with enjoying being a soldier or being the pointy end of the stick (I know you're not suggesting there is).

In the end it's always about your buddies.

Quote:
It is possible to be a soldier, do your job, to be mindful, and compassionate to both your self, your fellow soldiers, and your enemy. It does not require you to hate, dehumanize, or glorify, if you develop your mind, body, and spirit properly.
For sure. I like a quote I heard. Hate is fear turned inside out.
Regarding David Grossman's book "on Killing" he brings up a great point about how young soldiers are conditioned to hate- one of the main reasons being it's much easier to kill someone you hate.
Hating someone helps allow humans to overcome the psychological roadblocks. (killing is wrong)

I do believe conditioning soldiers is an important method of enabling us to close with and destroy the enemy. Human looking targets instead of square ones. Targets that give feed back (instant gratification) instead of holes in paper etc..
That said I'm not a big fan of the hate the enemy approach. I'm pretty subtle about it ( I figure anyways) but when someone is willing to listen I try and give them a different perspective on "the enemy".

Quote:
Are things different today than they were in the past? How does today's environment/wars differ from say the crusades, or roman wars of the past? Maybe they are not any different?
I would say yes they are different. IMHO Today we are facing an enemy who cannot be identified by wearing a uniform. They wear civilian clothes, shoot at you, blow you up and then blend back into the crowd. It gives a soldiers a feeling of being surrounded. Soldiers then treat civilians differently (perhaps more inclined to be less compassionate, they could be the enemy after all?).
Strategic soldier. We are seeing cases all the time of a single soldiers actions having HUGE ripple effects.

-A US soldier getting accused of rape in japan put the US in hot water (and beefed up anti US sentiment in japan, correct me if I'm wrong.

-A soldier shoots a very wounded enemy combatant in order to (up to argument) put him out of his misery. Mercy killing. A US drone plane caught it on tape. That officer was charged if I'm not mistaken and kicked out.

-Afghanistan 2002 Canadians working with Americans. A young officer gives into conjecture he heard from his troops and while writing a book makes a comments about Canadians committing war crimes or some such. Apparently *&%$ hit the fan, I'm not sure if there was an investigation or not but this platoon commanders unfounded accusations caused a lot of grief.

-Enemy combatants fire on our guys and then hide in religious buildings knowing full well allied soldiers have to walk on egg shells and are under constant media and political scrutiny.

I think todays wars are much much different because the actions of a single soldier (or warrior ) can have huge national ramifications.

This is why I feel cookie cutter soldiers just don't cut it. We need to give soldiers a strong sense of ethics, morales and teach them there ARE alternatives to violence in some cases. I think using aikido principals will really help towards the whole winning their hearts and minds thing.
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:12 PM   #80
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido, the military and fighting

Quote:
Grant Wagar wrote:
Hey Neil, you're 100% right. I've heard that illegal war thing done to death. Is a war ever legal? Who decides what's legal and whats not? Is it right to attack a country before they attack you as a sort of first strike? How about attacking a country due to the actions of one of their citizens (or a visitor who just hangs out there)
Thats a crazy debate that will go on forever. There are just way too many angles and points of view to even come close to a right answer.
I've found the peace demonstrators can be as nutty as the war mongers. Both sides need to suck back and take a breather.
War is beyond law, and is a reset button for many forms of law when they get out of bounds, , i.e. -- become intolerably unjust. War is neither legal nor illegal. It is simply either just or unjust according to its cause and its methods. Very old thinking this.

Quote:
grant wrote:
Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
I look forward to the time when the dominant military force is a 'global peace keeping army'.
As do I. If you can't play nice we're going to take your toys away.
No army can keep any peace. An army can aid in making peace by removing its impediments. Peace keeping is the job of the peaceful. Force is to break the peace breaker, not to keep peace or to build it up. In the current assymetrc mode of warfare, it is even less possible for any such army to be effective in establishing peace.

Military can best serve ( perhaps only serve) as the remover of impediments that ahve unjustly injured or prevented the operation of those parts of society tha do bring peace. Grocereis, kids, parks, schoool, hairdresser, commutes to work, and all the litte bits of lfie that keep people from trying to kill one another becasue they have more important things to do.

Aiki is working when such force is keep to its place, as reactive potential rather than a constitutive active component of aa society at peace, not being expressed regualrly but held in reserve and only displayed at uttermost need.

Quote:
Grant wrote:
Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Are things different today than they were in the past? How does today's environment/wars differ from say the crusades, or roman wars of the past? Maybe they are not any different?
I would say yes they are different. IMHO Today we are facing an enemy who cannot be identified by wearing a uniform. They wear civilian clothes, shoot at you, blow you up and then blend back into the crowd. It gives a soldiers a feeling of being surrounded. Soldiers then treat civilians differently (perhaps more inclined to be less compassionate, they could be the enemy after all?).
Strategic soldier. We are seeing cases all the time of a single soldiers actions having HUGE ripple effects.
[ Snip examples of soldierly misconduct-A US soldier getting accused of rape in japan etc.]
I think todays wars are much much different because the actions of a single soldier (or warrior ) can have huge national ramifications.
I think the assymetric strategies of the Salafi Jihadists are in fact returning to very old forms of warfare, with improved suites of wepaons. There is less and less distinction betweencombatant and non-combatant in their calculations, contrary to the modern trend, and which the decline of unifromed combatants reinforces. Salafi Jihadists do not honor our rules of war, they do not even honor those of their own tradition.

But the role of our individual soldiers approaches the significance of the ancient champions, standing forth from the body of the assmbled warriors for acts of honor or dishonor before their compatriots, their enemies, and the nervous populace of both sides looking on from the battlements, knowing that one misstep of that lone soldier, in skill or honor, could bring them to ruin.

For this reason, arts such as aikido may become more important in developing a critical mass of thought on these topics, especially the last one.. Aikido has one foot firmly fixed in the robust but pragmatic attitudes of koryu, and one foot firmly resting on the supple growing shoot of gendai with its exploration and idealism. (It is not the only such art, but it is preeminent in the degree to which this combination is honored and celebrated is true)

Aikido is the only art that seems to embody the resilience of the mune with the biting edge of the ha iin both its methodology and its doctrine. Having both aspects is something our soldiers and their trainers recognize they need to be trained more and more to do. In dealing with civilians in an asymmetric war situation, the enemy's role and manuever are not displayed in advance, and honor hangs by a thread on a knife blade.

This seems inherently an aspect of aiki in their training, and which aikido could therefore aid if addressed more explicitly.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 06-17-2006, 02:53 AM   #81
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido, the military and fighting

good post Erick, I do agree with your comments about the use of military and peace. Military can separate and control and ceasefire. However real peace will come when the military is not needed to keep people apart.

However, the military can do a great deal to assist and instigate the healing process through building infrastructure, everyday actions of soldiers showing compassion.

What we need to do is to provide our soldiers top notch training to have even better skills in the compassionate area that allows them to cope with violence, killing, and yet remain vigilant and strong.

Martial arts in general provide a good base to build this on. This is my platform anyway.

We lost a lot of ground in the close fight and stability operations during the cold war. The new generation we are seeing today is changing the way we approach fighting and stability operations. We still have a long way to go, and it is a conflict that will never quite go away...just as in martial arts training, you can never ignore the fact that what you are practicing, while it may be a tool of peace in your head, the yang of it is you are practicing an art based on violence.
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Old 06-19-2006, 07:56 PM   #82
Hardware
 
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Re: Aikido, the military and fighting

Grant, I've read through most of this thread - lots of good advice aside from some of the political debate...

Remember that you are part of a team and if some Taliban extremist tries to attack you (or a comrade) during a shura or in a large scale firefight, your duty is to protect yourself, your fellow soldiers and any innocents in the vicinity. That may require lethal force.

Even if part of a large operation where you "bring it to the enemy" remember that you're engaging the bad guys and you're not exactly dragging innocent people out of their beds in the middle of the night.

Stay sharp, remember you're at the pointy end of the stick, keep your head up, your powder dry and your stick on the ice (that's as Canadian as it gets).
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Old 06-27-2006, 06:26 PM   #83
Mark Freeman
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Re: Aikido, the military and fighting

Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
Yes, we can all think and express idealistic views about the military, as well. We can reverently pause and bow our heads for the security that we are granted, and ignore all of the rest of the actions of the US military, inside and out of the US.

Sometimes, those backs protecting us are turned around, the soldiers used to threaten us internally, as well. Is this the fault of the military? No, of course not (it is, as Kevin pointed out, merely a tool): but it is disingenuous to hallow an institution while ignoring its excesses.

And while I'm no expert on the subject, I believe that expressing one's views sometimes takes as much courage, as putting on a uniform and taking orders for one's country. Sure, people have died for protecting our freedoms, but people have also died for speaking truth to power.

Perhaps the bravest folks are those already in uniform, speaking truth to power. Consider this film:

Sir. No Sir
I have just finished watching this film "Sir No Sir" shown on the BBC this evening.

Without going into detail, I would strongly recommend anyone interested in the dicussion in this thread to watch this film.

I can't imagine who would not be humbled by the men featured in this film.

The only link that I can make with aikido at this point, is that for me aikido is a search for truth, and the men in this film were interested in speaking the truth of their experience. Some of them paid a heavy price for that truth. I salute their decision to do what they thought was right no matter the consequences.

regards,

Mark

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