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Old 05-29-2007, 10:55 PM   #151
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Interestingly enough the paradigm that Tiago is using to counteract the value of competition in Aikido (i.e. that competition is bad for Aikido because of the definition he chooses to believe) would also negate Ueshiba M.'s re-interpretation of in modern times that allowed him to create what we identify as Aikido. Both concepts have evolved over time and deeper understanding.

If we decided to stick with the original Edo era Kenjutsu definitions of Aiki taken from Ittoryu Heiho Toho Kigenko (A Study on the Origin of Ittoryu's Freestyle Practice) in 1822 - "When facing an enemy, this gets to the point of Aiki, waiting and seeing how one beats the other", the concept of Aiki originally had a negative connotation from a Kenjutsu perspective since the above situation is one where mutual kill would be the probable outcome. Aiki was something to be avoided as much as possible in sword combat in the Edo era.

Later, in Jujutsu schools in the Meiji and Taisho periods, the definition of Aiki started to change and adopt a positive connotation. The book Aiki no Jutsu by Bokutsu in 1892, indicated that "tekijin dokushin no jutsu (techniques of reading an opponent's mind) and kiai (yelling) are the most important parts of Aiki."

Even later on we have Sokaku Takeda and Ueshiba M. linked to this account regarding the definition or Aiki on Aikidojournal -
Quote:
Aikidojournal-http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=626 wrote:
Takeda's failure to leave a clear-cut definition of aiki led to ambiguity in Ueshiba's interpretation, although Takeda still appointed Ueshiba to the important post of acting instructor. Later, as Ueshiba's school grew, his disciples and followers added some new meanings to aiki to compensate for the ambiguity. Since the term is composed of a combination of two Chinese characters-ai (unification) and ki (spirit or mind: they decided that aikido is a way to become one with the universe or harmonize with the movement and rhythm of nature.
So Ueshiba M. and his students radically redefined the original concept to forumlate what we hold today as "Aiki" in Aikido. The thing is the definition evolved and changed over time, depending one the understanding and influences encountered by different masters. The same thing applies to the ancient Greeks and the Olympic ideal of sportsmanship in competition and even Kenji Tomiki and Jigoro Kano's view of competition's place in Budo training. What may have been seen as a negative once was reformulated to become a positive, provided the human being involved in competition was strong enough to ward off his baser instincts to win at any cost and degrade competition into another method of ego gratification and one-upmanship.

If we follow Tiago's reasoning, then Aiki should be taken at the original Kenjutsu definition which alludes that it is something to be avoided and is a negative element in training and combat. If this reasoning were to hold then Aikido as we know it today would not exist and we should stop and re-evaluate whether what we are doing really embodies Aiki in the original context.

The truth is that concepts and definition change and evolve over time. If we do not reconcile these developments with our own understanding and evolve accordingly we become informational relics and a hindrance to human evolution.

Imho.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 05-29-2007 at 10:58 PM.

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Old 05-30-2007, 12:52 AM   #152
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
Interestingly enough the paradigm that Tiago is using to counteract the value of competition in Aikido (i.e. that competition is bad for Aikido because of the definition he chooses to believe) would also negate Ueshiba M.'s re-interpretation of in modern times that allowed him to create what we identify as Aikido. Both concepts have evolved over time and deeper understanding.

If we decided to stick with the original Edo era Kenjutsu definitions of Aiki taken from Ittoryu Heiho Toho Kigenko (A Study on the Origin of Ittoryu's Freestyle Practice) in 1822 - "When facing an enemy, this gets to the point of Aiki, waiting and seeing how one beats the other", the concept of Aiki originally had a negative connotation from a Kenjutsu perspective since the above situation is one where mutual kill would be the probable outcome. Aiki was something to be avoided as much as possible in sword combat in the Edo era.

Later, in Jujutsu schools in the Meiji and Taisho periods, the definition of Aiki started to change and adopt a positive connotation. The book Aiki no Jutsu by Bokutsu in 1892, indicated that "tekijin dokushin no jutsu (techniques of reading an opponent's mind) and kiai (yelling) are the most important parts of Aiki."

Even later on we have Sokaku Takeda and Ueshiba M. linked to this account regarding the definition or Aiki on Aikidojournal - So Ueshiba M. and his students radically redefined the original concept to forumlate what we hold today as "Aiki" in Aikido. The thing is the definition evolved and changed over time, depending one the understanding and influences encountered by different masters. The same thing applies to the ancient Greeks and the Olympic ideal of sportsmanship in competition and even Kenji Tomiki and Jigoro Kano's view of competition's place in Budo training. What may have been seen as a negative once was reformulated to become a positive, provided the human being involved in competition was strong enough to ward off his baser instincts to win at any cost and degrade competition into another method of ego gratification and one-upmanship.

If we follow Tiago's reasoning, then Aiki should be taken at the original Kenjutsu definition which alludes that it is something to be avoided and is a negative element in training and combat. If this reasoning were to hold then Aikido as we know it today would not exist and we should stop and re-evaluate whether what we are doing really embodies Aiki in the original context.

The truth is that concepts and definition change and evolve over time. If we do not reconcile these developments with our own understanding and evolve accordingly we become informational relics and a hindrance to human evolution.

Imho.
LC
This is a good point. There are different "aspects" of aiki... in training we are largely striving for "awase" or "matching". In fighting we are not.

It's like the waves on an oscilloscope. "Awase" is basically having the waves "in phase". Aikido training is largely about being in phase, at least in the kihon waza and in any weapons form practice you encounter.

But "awase" is not desirable in fighting where one desires to put the enemy "out of phase" with your actions. Being "in phase" can result in "ai-uchi" and it also gives an enemy the chance to reverse a given technique (kaeshiwaza).

Whether one is striving for "awase" or is trying to put the opponent "out of phase", both require ki musubi to be effective. In other words, controlling whether one is "in phase" or "out of phase" is just an example of different aspects of the "joining" which is aiki.

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Old 05-31-2007, 05:09 PM   #153
tarik
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
This is a good point. There are different "aspects" of aiki... in training we are largely striving for "awase" or "matching". In fighting we are not.
I've started a new thread asking about this:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12673

Tarik Ghbeish
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Old 06-02-2007, 02:24 AM   #154
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Hi,

for reasons beyond my control, some time has passed, and so I'll try to reply on a first come, first served basis.

Chuck,
whether you started this thread or not makes no difference as to the value of your arguments. Your arguments should stand by themselves. Your claim is quite similar to an ad-hominem fallacy, but we'll see that in a moment.
As for other view points, everybody would agree that it is always interesting to hear a good idea. But it should be a good idea, and not a false claim supported with mistakes. I don't find that interesting, and in many cases it can be quite harmful.

best,

tiago
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Old 06-02-2007, 02:26 AM   #155
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Jennifer,
thanks for your comment. I also liked your posts, and wish I could put my thoughts into words as nicely as you do.

all the best,

tiago
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Old 06-02-2007, 02:34 AM   #156
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Tarik,

ad-hominem, my dear dictionary reformer, is not "name calling", and you certainly don't sound wiser just by using the word "indulged" next to such a mistake.

So, ad-hominem is the attack of an argument by attacking the person who stated it. You see, when somebody shifts the focus of the argumentation from "the meaning competition" to "you are trying to win this argument", it is an ad-hominem. In fact it even has a name: ad-hominem tu quoque, which means "you too". So, even if I were trying to win a competition, that is no reason to invalidate my argument.

We can also see the relation with the argument that Chuck was trying to use, based only in the fact that the person who said it was this or that. Yes, when you go to the doctor you believe what he says because of who says it. This is based in authority, which I wouldn't say that comes from starting a thread in this forum.

Of course you can chose to believe in Chuck's authority on the meaning of competition in Aikido, but I for one am going to need some reason to back it up, and I found there is none. On the other hand, you can choose to believe in Doshu's authority, and agree with him that Aikido is not competitive.

As for the consensus, we'll see that in a moment, but it is clear that there is none even between the people you quote as agreeing. And again, even that wouldn't be a reason to believe it.

best,

tiago
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Old 06-02-2007, 02:45 AM   #157
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Larry,
Ironically, this thread was started by trying to force a new meaning of competition based on etymology. This (I've said it before) is a sophism. It's called etymological fallacy, and Wikipedia defines it as

<<a linguistical misconception based on the idea that the etymology of a word or phrase is its actual meaning. For example, the meaning of the word prevent may be thought to signify "to go before" based on its etymology: from the Latin prae + venire. This falsely deduced meaning is a fallacy due to the fact that it fails to take into account semantic changes over time.
Native and non-native speakers pick up the meaning from reflecting on contextual usage. In day-to-day usage, most speakers of a language will rely on the context of a word or phrase and deduce the meaning from it rather than an etymology which may, in any case, not be at all clear, particularly if it is based in a foreign or archaic language.>>

So, you see, you have to be very careful when you use a word with a meaning other than the usually accepted, and this thread is a good example. I've said before that the people trying to defend competition here are not only confused, but also confusing, and that is harmful.
The "new meaning" for competition that was the idea in the article quoted by Chuck, is very different from the normal, everyday, what-everybody-understands-by, meaning of competition.

You can see it by the fact that there have been people in this thread who supported the idea of competing based on darwinism, others who said it's a good way to train their families, others that good competition was taught to them in high school (by teachers who obviously didn't know of this new, revolutionary meaning of competition) and yet others who said it is the only way to check their progress in Aikido (which, as we've seen, it's nonsense). That's what Tarik calls "consensus", in another case of dictionary reform.

In the case of O'Sensei, you can say that he changed the meaning of a word, but within his cultural tradition (the concept of "aiki" outside Japan has but one generation) gained his authority by becoming the highest regarded martial artist, and then, as he made the change he was founding a new martial art based in his views. Obviously, I cannot and would not try to stop you or anybody else to start their new competitive art. Just don't use O'Sensei's authority by relating your new construct to Aikido.

And that is what I call a reason to support an argument.
Go on now, indulge in name calling and ad-hominem.
Best,

tiago
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Old 06-02-2007, 07:13 AM   #158
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
In day-to-day usage, most speakers of a language will rely on the context of a word or phrase and deduce the meaning from it rather than an etymology which may, in any case, not be at all clear, particularly if it is based in a foreign or archaic language.
So based on this concept, in time as people begin to see that competition itself is not necessarily a negative force upon ones training, but the nature of the human being whose base weaknesses are exposed by competition, the general consensus of the word's meaning will change and then all of a sudden the definition of competition will become something else. But then it will be correct because more people believe it to be so? I'm sorry but regardless of what 1 or 1 billion people believe, the truth remains the truth, regardless of perception. Language is a medium of communication, if people keep redefining words based on how they perceive things, language itself will fail in its purpose. We are starting to see the effects of this today.

What you accuse us of doing has in fact already been done with the word competition, it has just had more time to cement itself within culture. Your concept of what the word competition means and the popular meaning of the word have nothing to do with its original meaning in the true sense of the language. Think of the original meaning of the word "gay" and how it is often used now in certain "English" cultures. The interesting thing is that because this new usage of the word is still young, even though the popular expression of "gay" (homosexual) is quite prevalent, the original meaning (happy) still exists. In time this may change as the popular expression becomes more widespread, but this will mean that a colloquialism has in fact redefined the original meaning of a word without having any actual lingusitc merit.
Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
So, you see, you have to be very careful when you use a word with a meaning other than the usually accepted, and this thread is a good example. I've said before that the people trying to defend competition here are not only confused, but also confusing, and that is harmful.
Funny, the concept of the benefits of competition in Aikido has not been confusing to some of the highest ranked Shihan of the Aikikai before and after the death of Ueshiba M. It sounds to me that you are the one who is confused. Admittedly, English is not your first or native language. This may have quite an effect on your understanding of certain words.
Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
The "new meaning" for competition that was the idea in the article quoted by Chuck, is very different from the normal, everyday, what-everybody-understands-by, meaning of competition.
As indicated earlier, what you think is the common, everyday understanding is the "new" definition. Also, it is quite apparent that not "everybody" holds the view that competition is a win/lose proposition. In fact it can be said that only people whose focus is "winning at all costs" instead of "meeting and testing together" have your view of competition. The article on this link - http://www.franklincovey.com/fc/libr...gh_competition - written by a former Olympic competitor sums up the actual meaning of competition quite nicely and gives some interesting comments on those who have deluded themselves into believing that the concept is about winning at all costs, instead of playing the game to the best of your ability.

I can see how Ueshiba M. would have an issue with competition. This is because he probably defined the word the same way you do, which is incorrect. In a Meiji era Japan, coming right up to WWII many viewed "competition" in the traditional Bugei manner of a life and death struggle. In these times I'm not sure how many people would have seen any sort of cooperative testing as "mutually beneficial". This mindest showed itself quite well during WWII. Kano J. also met some resistance when he advocated Judo's new randori and shiai paradigm, coming with the understanding of competition's original meaning. Good for him, these voices got quieter after his Judoka officially challenged and routed Jujutsuka from many of the established Koryu Jujutsu schools at the time. The effectiveness of his method could not be challenged as the objective results were undeniable.

If Ueshiba M.'s Aikido is supposed to "encompass and purify all things" then why does it fail so miserably in dealing with competition? Imho it doesn't fail, but then many people don't really know what competition means to start with. In fact the word competition provides exactly the win/win sort of outcome that Ueshiba expresses as what defines his Aikido from other arts of the past. As a way of peace. I even daresay that those who do not engage in some sort of competition for true self development (to cut down the ego as it were) are actually further away from Ueshiba M.'s ideal than those who do engage in it with the correct mindset.
Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
others who said it is the only way to check their progress in Aikido (which, as we've seen, it's nonsense).
Where have we seen that this is nonsense? Please provide the proof of this allegation. How do you know that your Aikido provides what you think it provides? Where are the results of your objective tests? Gradings are subjective tests (often done in a completely collusive context) so that has very little bearing. From my own experiences the lack of competition in Aikido is what gives us the current situation where a lot of honest Budoka feel that the art is useless for self defence, has no original meaning behind the movements, only works if your partner uses no free will, allows students to create a dangerous cycle of ego-gratification and passive-aggression within their own training environments and a host of other issues.

The reason is because there is no feedback mechanism for objectively testing what one thinks one knows. The result is the culture of martial mediocrity and by extension - self development mediocrity that we see today (an unwillingness to look at the honest truth of the self is fostered and replaced by empty self-coddling). Then look at the schools who do engage in some sort of "meeting and testing" and you'll find that they can readily show what they do and do not know about Aikido and there is no way of dodging the issue of having to consistently do better with ones training. Competition brings honesty and humility, which are critical to the Budoka's development. Lack of competition fosters the opposite - big, unbalanced egos.
Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
In the case of O'Sensei, you can say that he changed the meaning of a word, but within his cultural tradition (the concept of "aiki" outside Japan has but one generation) gained his authority by becoming the highest regarded martial artist
Highest regarded by whom? He was an exceptional Budoka but highest regarded is a bit of a stretch in a time when the direct students of Takeda who actually completed the entire Daito Ryu syllabus were still around, not to mention the exceptional Budoka from other systems as well. Ueshiba M. was exceptionally skilled, but "highest regarded" is a bit of a stretch imho.
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Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
Obviously, I cannot and would not try to stop you or anybody else to start their new competitive art. Just don't use O'Sensei's authority by relating your new construct to Aikido.
Well besides the fact that you cannot stop it, this is nothing new, maybe it is only to you. For many years, even while Ueshiba M. was still alive, have there been Aikido groups who have realised (like Kendo and Judo) that there is a place for competition in Aikido and it does not conflict at all with the core principles of the art. If anything it improves ones overall Aikido and Budo spirit in a very special way. Imho if Ueshiba M. did not stop it when he easily had the ability to, and was quite knowledgeable of the developments happening in competitive Aikido (may even have encouraged it at Waseda University) then imho competition in Aikido is supported by Ueshiba M.'s authority. Do some research.
Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
Go on now, indulge in name calling and ad-hominem.
No need to. My argument is totally sound and supported by people who are exemplary Budoka.
Gambatte.

Last edited by L. Camejo : 06-02-2007 at 07:27 AM.

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Old 06-02-2007, 08:13 AM   #159
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
Language is a medium of communication, if people keep redefining words based on how they perceive things, language itself will fail in its purpose. We are starting to see the effects of this today.
... and always have and always will. Language is not static or pristine. My favorite definition of English is "Bad German poorly spoken by Welshmen with a Latin inferiority complex." Some may say it has overcome its bastard lineage, but there you have it.

Words are tools, which, like other tools are often put to uses far beyond their original design or manufacture -- and old uses are not entirely forgotten even if they are not longer often seen used. Older usages become part of the halo of connotation of meaning around a word reflecting its lineage and history, which is easily demonstrable. If I say I eat "cow" it is technically correct and understandable -- but considered crude usage, whereas if I say I eat "beef" it is acceptable (to the non-vegans, anyway) because of the preserved social hierarchy of the lineages of the words that still reflect the Norman conquest and domination a thousand years later. Latinate words are considered less "touched" by these processes -- but that is in itself an affectation as is seen by the linguistic aspects of the debate here.
Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote:
The "new meaning" for competition that was the idea in the article quoted by Chuck, is very different from the normal, everyday, what-everybody-understands-by, meaning of competition.
Meaning is not a surgical thing, and those who treat it that way usually end up in trouble. As a rule of thumb in arguing -- if I cannot explain a point in at least three completely different ways in my argument I am likely to lose the point in persuading the listener.

For the record the nugget argument of the "new meaning"/"root definition" of the Latin com-petere was state in the article quoted by Chuck Clark as:
Quote:
The word compete comes from the Latin competere, which is a compound verb formed from com that means 'together', and petere that means 'to seek'. Therefore, compete originally meant 'to seek together'. Webster's defines compete as 'to come together or to strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective'. These definitions appear more closely related to aikido than my zero-sum view of life as 'winning is everything'.
In fact if you look at com-petere in the Latin it is far more ambiguous, reflecting the same poles of issues debated here.

petere -- attack, aim at, desire, beg, entreat, ask (for) reach towards, make for

com- -- with, together/along, simultaneously with, amid, supporting, attached, under command/at the head of, having/containing/ including, using/by means of

competere -- meet, coincide, agree, face (death) together, be sound/capable/applicable/relevant/sufficient/adequate

The common usage is the trope of "attack - simultaneously with" "aim at -- command (of situation)" which is also in the Latin usages, one of which founds Larry's argument for "seeking -- together."

In other words, to give the Norman French their just due:

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

The semantic debate about what we mean when we say something in one form or another is only useful to illuminate a functional point about what we actually mean to accomplish.

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
How do you know that your Aikido provides what you think it provides? Where are the results of your objective tests? Gradings are subjective tests (often done in a completely collusive context) so that has very little bearing.
OK, Back to the Latin -- ob-jacto: "I throw (it) away"; Cf. -- sub-jacto: "I throw (it) within/beneath." Interesting juxtaposition. Objective evaluation is about eliminating. Subjective evaluation is about accepting/including. Which is aikido?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
From my own experiences the lack of competition in Aikido is what gives us the current situation where a lot of honest Budoka feel that the art is useless for self defense, has no original meaning behind the movements, only works if your partner uses no free will, allows students to create a dangerous cycle of ego-gratification and passive-aggression within their own training environments and a host of other issues.
I respectfully disagree.

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
The reason is because there is no feedback mechanism for objectively testing what one thinks one knows. The result is the culture of martial mediocrity and by extension - self development mediocrity that we see today (an unwillingness to look at the honest truth of the self is fostered and replaced by empty self-coddling).
This is unfairly dismissing the subjective feed back mechansisms inherent in the art. Musicians improve in art through subjective evaluation (vice technical competence according to some (equally) arbitrary standard). Albeit anything, including objective evaluation, can be pursued dishonestly and in a ego-gratifiying manner. Subjective feedback mechnisms are not ineffective if pursued honestly and with the attention and intent. they do not fail of that purpose merely because they are no objective measures. It is like measureing the temerpature ofthe bat with a ruler. Wrong tool, for the pusporse intended. The criticism of whether adequate subjective feedback is being generally or sufficently taught may be valid in many cases -- but the categorical criticism of objective versus subjective measures is misplaced.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 06-02-2007, 08:57 AM   #160
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

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On the other hand, you can choose to believe in Doshu's authority, and agree with him that Aikido is not competitive.
For what it's worth, I decided, after about five years of Ueshiba style practice in the sixties that I didn't want to continue. I was an experienced Kokokan judo yondan and began training in Tomiki Sensei's method of training. I do not take part in the sport style shiai. I have been training in this method and teaching it for over 30 years now with over 54 years of budo training altogether. This in itself really means nothing unless you've trained with me or my students.

I have no problems with questioning and then deciding not to believe in Ueshiba Morihei's authority or anyone else's authority that uses similar training methods. I learn from them when I see something I want to "steal" as do all budoka.

Everyone is welcome to their own decisions. This is a discussion forum where it is not required, in fact, is not desired that everyone be the same.

I liked Eric's last post. I applaud his scholarship. Isn't it wonderful that we can have differing viewpoints and still get along in respectful discussion...

Santiago... I and my students will continue to train as we have been, constantly questioning and testing each other with compassion and the love of budo. Whether you train in the methods you have spoken of is up to you. Good luck to you.

For me, this subject thread seems to have come to the place where it's obvious that it is repeating and going in a circle. I have put the soapbox in storage and have learned a lot from this discussion. Thanks to all that have taken part. I look forward to training with those of you that respect our training and welcome you to our dojo.

Gambatte.

Chuck Clark
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Old 06-02-2007, 09:12 AM   #161
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

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Of course you can chose to believe in Chuck's authority on the meaning of competition in Aikido, but I for one am going to need some reason to back it up, and I found there is none.
One of the things about the modern world in which technology is causing things to change at an exponential rate is that we have lost much sense of traditional wisdom and the role of the "Elders" in carrying it forward.

In high technology world, lengthy experience isn't really positive any more. If you have been in your job too long, you are behind the times. The new folks just coming in to the job market are the ones who have the latest knowledge. You get less relevant, not more relevant as you get older in the technological world.

But martial arts training is "old knowledge". It has been going on for thousands of years and is about very core human issues. Here knowledge is gained by experience, both breadth of experience and depth of experience. This is an area that is traditional in the sense that the "Elders" carry an immense amount of wisdom forward that no amount of the confidence of youth can match.

Quote:
but I for one am going to need some reason to back it up, and I found there is none.
So how about going on fifty years of martial arts practice in multiple arts? He has done arts which are so-called competitive, he has done arts which are so-called non-competitive. He has done modern martial arts, he has done koryu. His Aikido skill is right up there with the best, his technique is effortless, I've felt it. His ability to pass on what he knows is amongst the best I have ever trained with.

If anyone qualifies as an "Elder" in Aikido it's someone like Chuck Clark Sensei. His word carries the "authority" of a lifetime of training. He has been training longer than most of the folks posting here have been alive. I ALWAYS listen to his opinion. If I find myself in disagreement with him, I double check my thoughts on the subject. If I still disagree, then I have found an area in which my own approach differs. But even then I always accord him the respect due to someone who has done more, for longer, than I am likely to ever do. That is, in my opinion, as much "backing up" as he really needs. You want to pursue your own path, go right ahead. But it's a good idea to show some respect to the "Elders", they have earned it.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-02-2007, 09:43 AM   #162
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Great posts Erick, Clark Sensei and Ledyard Sensei. Disagreement in debate is a good thing imho. It often brings great knowledge to the table as many have demonstrated here.
Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:
For me, this subject thread seems to have come to the place where it's obvious that it is repeating and going in a circle. I have put the soapbox in storage and have learned a lot from this discussion. Thanks to all that have taken part. I look forward to training with those of you that respect our training and welcome you to our dojo.
I think this sums it up for me as well and I take my leave. Hopefully one day I can make it to Arizona Clark Sensei. It will be an honour.

Gambatte.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 06-02-2007, 09:49 AM   #163
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

A discussion on an internet forum is going to have a different tone than a discussion in a dojo. The interaction is completely different and IMO not very effective at transmitting the principles and concepts of budo.

Heck, I don't bow to George, Chuck, or anyone else in this forum before attempting to engage them in converstation. (They usually ignore me anyway) But I certainly would if I were training with them.

It's just so different in a forum.
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Old 06-02-2007, 10:35 AM   #164
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
A discussion on an internet forum is going to have a different tone than a discussion in a dojo. The interaction is completely different and IMO not very effective at transmitting the principles and concepts of budo.
Hi Ricky,
It usually is, but should it be? Why should someone be less respectful or more confrontational here on the forum than they would be in person. It's so easy to lose the sense of the tone your posts take. As I often try to remind folks, there are people reading these threads from all over the English speaking world. People should present their ideas with a mind to the impression they are making. It seems like it doesn't matter but this is a relatively small community and you have no idea when you might actually meet the folks who have been reading your posts.

Quote:
Heck, I don't bow to George, Chuck, or anyone else in this forum before attempting to engage them in converstation. (They usually ignore me anyway) But I certainly would if I were training with them.

It's just so different in a forum.
I actually have a slightly different view on this... Once we are in person, then we deal with each other based on the reality of what we each know. I don't mean being disrespectful, but someone's skill will speak for itself in person. I am always respectful, but deference is earned.

But it is precisely in the area of discourse that people think they can act any way they please with no consequences. Often you see a very junior person with little experience arguing with a VERY senior person with vast experience using a tone that they would NEVER consider using in person. In my opinion, people should post with the same tone they would use in person.

As human beings we all have equal value. But when it comes to our opinions, everyone wants to feel as if their opinions carry the same weight as everyone else's. They don't. Folks with little experience and strongly held ideas end up looking silly. With the advent of the Internet, you can now look silly on an international basis. Never before has the ability to look silly been truly global in scope.

When someone with vastly less experience decides to go up against someone who is pretty universally respected by the folks who really do have the experience, they not only have a conflict with that one person but the whole community of experienced people, who largely know one another, gets alienated. No one expects people to "bow" before greater experience. But it is a good idea to post as if you understand that that experience counts for something.

Discourse on the forums should use the same model we have in training. This is an exchange for mutual benefit. I don't necessarily concede to the other person but I try to be respectful, just the way that I always try to take care of my partner in practice.

We have such a confrontational media style these days. People forget sometimes how to conduct civilized discourse. Discussion too often devolves in to the screaming heads model we see on TV.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 06-02-2007 at 10:38 AM.

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Old 06-02-2007, 11:25 AM   #165
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Thank you for those thoughts George. I always enjoy your perspective on things.
This has been a point of confusion for me since I began my path of American aikido. In Japan the "rules" are quite clear and people rarely challenge them but it is different here in America and even more different on a forum.

Your point:
"Once we are in person, then we deal with each other based on the reality of what we each know. I don't mean being disrespectful, but someone's skill will speak for itself in person. I am always respectful, but deference is earned."
is well taken.
Let me ask you some questions. Should we show the same deference and respect to you while we are socializing in a bar after class as we would while in the dojo? Should I respect or defer to someone simply because of their rank or the number of years training? Very individual and situational if you ask me. Let's imagine someone with exquisite aikido technique, many years of experience and high rank, yet they treat me like garbage? Am I obligated to respect/defer to them? I don't feel that way.

Regarding "opinions," I don't take any of them too seriously and most importantly not my own. After all, "One man's folly is another man's wife." If I was worried about looking silly I would never have taken up aikido. I sometimes feel silly and I'm sure I look silly on regular basis. I don't mind. I think it's very much a part of learning aikido.
In the end though, I agree with you in that we could all show each other more respect. The world as a whole would be better off.
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Old 06-02-2007, 12:28 PM   #166
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
Should we show the same deference and respect to you while we are socializing in a bar after class as we would while in the dojo?
I'm obviously not George, but I am on the shortlist of people slated to play him in an off-off-Broadway version of "Aikido: WOW!" [Fingers crossed!]

My take is simple: treat me with at least as much respect as you would like in return. If you are disrespectful to me, my nature is becoming such that I'm less and less likely to choose to be disrespectful in return... I'll just ignore you as I would any other fool.

Before I continue, allow me to define my terms:

defer -- "to yield respectfully in judgment or opinion" [dictionary.com]

Fortunately, we all have to decide that one for ourselves.

Do I "defer" to my teacher in my day-to-day life? No, but I always consider his advice. He not only has a lot more mileage than I do, he also has a perspective on me that I value. But ultimately, advice aside, all decisions in my life are by fiat. I'm respectful to his opinion, but I don't yield. Responsibility for my words and deeds is mine and mine alone.

Do I defer to him in the dojo? That's harder to answer. I certainly respect his age, experience, knowledge, and skill. I respect him as a friend and mentor. I respect him as a fellow human being. I also know that this is MY training, not his. But does he know more about budo than I do? Absolutely. Smart people listen when smarter people are talking.

Did I agree with his decision to promote me to my current rank? The question is completely irrelevant. In this area, I must defer to his experience. How can I not? I've never been there... he has.

There certainly is a place in budo training where you either need to shut up and do what you're asked to do... or leave. You're always free to do either, and learning which is appropriate is just another part of the training.

Sometimes, a teacher will push your buttons just to find out if you'll take authority over them and say "NO!" or whether you'll acquiesce. It's all about learning to fit appropriately.

But every time he invites me to randori with him, it is my responsibility to make him PROVE he can still get me. I must. He's trusting me to push him to grow and to keep him honest. It is my responsibility to tell him the truth.

Does this make me a competitive bastard? You bet your ass, it does.

Michael Hacker
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Old 06-02-2007, 04:17 PM   #167
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Hi,

I'll try to summarize my conclusions as shortly as possible. I agree with Chuck that this conversation is basically closed.

Larry's post is too confused to give a short answer to it, but the main point is that he indulges (I came to like the word :-) in suppositions of what O'Sensei might have thought, which might be interesting, but might be wrong. And then he insists that competition is the only way to check progress, which goes against what most people understand and do (but Erick gave a better answer to that already)

George choses to give Chuck credit for his opinions. I find no problem with that, I just don't understand why he would demand that of me. Chuck got it right when he says that his experience shouldn't mean anything for me unless I've practiced with him or any of his students. In any case, Chuck has discarded the authority argument altogether, and that's fine for me too.

Chuck gives (I believe) a wise answer and I will respect him for that. Of course people here will continue to believe and practice as they always do. Unfortunately that answers none of my concerns about competition, and none of my concerns about the abuse of language.

My point, nobody seems to care about, is that by changing the meaning of a word that has one already understood by everyone, a lot of confussion arises. A lot of that confussion comes from people giving the word the usual meaning (which sounds logical to me). In this thread, this has amounted to a defense of competition by giving it the attributes of something different than competition (as it's usually understood). And you can see for example that there have been posts defending darwinian competition as a way of improving one's running speed.

My opinion, everybody is welcome not to care about, is that competition is ego food, and mind poison. I've explained my reasons to believe this in more than one way, but didn't get any coherent answer. So there's nothing more I can say.

I liked specially Ricky's last post about being silly (sorry, I'm not trying to discredit you by agreeing with you :-) and in any case, George is free to picture me as a teenager who started Aikido two weeks ago.

Finally, I see Michael saying that pushing somebody to grow is being competitive, and so I decide to finish this post inmediately, thinking about my family, and my child's education, about pushing her to grow and cooperate with her fellow human beings. You see, grown ups cooperate, I mean, as long as they are not afraid.

best,

tiago

------
Come and join Aikido, because "winners don't compete"

Last edited by tiago : 06-02-2007 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 06-02-2007, 06:49 PM   #168
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

I've been on the road and in the air; hence my late response.

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
Tarik,
ad-hominem, my dear dictionary reformer, is not "name calling", and you certainly don't sound wiser just by using the word "indulged" next to such a mistake.
I'm well aware of what it means, Santiago. I chose to use the term "name-calling" to point out that you, in fact, on several occasions decided to attack the person who disagreed with you instead of the argument itself by directly or indirectly calling me (and perhaps others) names, instead of addressing my points. You repeat that behavior above, when I have chosen to keep my disagreement civil.

Quote:
So, even if I were trying to win a competition, that is no reason to invalidate my argument.
Your point is not invalid, it has already been acknowledged and set aside to discuss other valid definitions (yes, that are STILL in modern dictionaries) of the term.

Quote:
Of course you can chose to believe in Chuck's authority on the meaning of competition in Aikido, but I for one am going to need some reason to back it up, and I found there is none.
I applaud your approach. It is also mine. I have already spent considerable time establishing Chuck Clark's opinion as authoritative and one that I always sit up and pay attention to when it is offered.

FWIW, I arrived at very similar opinions of competition 15-20 years before I ever encountered Chuck Clark, and I developed those opinions from my educational institutions (all the way through university) and the sporting and martial arts organizations in which I participated and learned about competition. So it is hardly a poorly educated point of view, however unpopular it appears to be.

I agree that it is an unusual point of view in most circles, but not in the ones with which I choose to associate.

Quote:
My point, nobody seems to care about, is that by changing the meaning of a word that has one already understood by everyone, a lot of confussion arises. A lot of that confussion comes from people giving the word the usual meaning (which sounds logical to me).
Actually, I already made the point that perhaps it would be more clear if we used a different word as is done in Japanese, but there is no different word available in English and if we study history, it is clear that the dichotomy of opinion about this issue of competition ranges over generations.

The Olympics are an excellent example of how competitive intent has grown into uglier forms of competition where only winning has become the important definition; overwhelming and distorting the original intent and purpose of the organization.

Rather than bemoaning it, I choose to embrace it and study the paradox; much like seems to occur in the rest of my training.

Quote:
On the other hand, you can choose to believe in Doshu's authority, and agree with him that Aikido is not competitive.
I agree with you that Aikido is not competitive in the manner in which you choose to limit the definition of competition, and do not believe it ever should encompass that type of definition.

But I ask you this in response, which might make an interesting and different thread, but that has largely also already been done.

1) What authority does the Doshu have to define my Aikido which is not recognized by him and not directly or even indirectly under his direction or instruction?

2) Where did he state such a thing specifically concerning the other perfectly valid types of competition, because I have certainly not read it anywhere?

3) How is it more authoritative than what the Founder of Aikido said, which were statements concerning a specific form of competition? See post number 15 in this thread. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=998

Of course, this comes full course, resurrecting old threads and old opinions again and again. I fully expect to see this thread again in another 3-5 years or something much like it.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 06-02-2007, 11:40 PM   #169
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
This is unfairly dismissing the subjective feed back mechansisms inherent in the art. Musicians improve in art through subjective evaluation (vice technical competence according to some (equally) arbitrary standard). Albeit anything, including objective evaluation, can be pursued dishonestly and in a ego-gratifiying manner. Subjective feedback mechnisms are not ineffective if pursued honestly and with the attention and intent. they do not fail of that purpose merely because they are no objective measures. It is like measureing the temerpature ofthe bat with a ruler. Wrong tool, for the pusporse intended. The criticism of whether adequate subjective feedback is being generally or sufficently taught may be valid in many cases -- but the categorical criticism of objective versus subjective measures is misplaced.
This is a good point. I would say that the presence of objective measures make the process much easier but it also has to be pointed out that such measures don't necessarily cover all aspects of the art or are entirely independent of subjectivity in their own right.

Judo or Shodokan shiai have rules and referees. The former interpreted by the latter. In other words not totally objective although the aim is to be. Using the musician example it is much easier to measure the technical skill of a violinist using a number of scientific gadgets.

However, the ability to perform well in shiai or play perfectly in tune is not the final arbitrator of your overall skill in the art but one aspect of it. In both cases, there are several that can not be easily measured but are usually observed and graded during a performance (enbu).

We all do enbu competitions, if not officially than practically. Any time one gets up to do an enbu you are striving to do the best you can either for yourself or the acknowledgment of your peers. This, in my opinion, differs from shiai only in the degree of objectivity.

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Old 06-03-2007, 08:22 PM   #170
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Integrity in individuals is not to ask, What will others think of me, and my actions? but, What do I think of myself if I do this or fail to that? Is it proper? Is it right?
Integrity in man should bring inner peace, sureness of purpose, and security in action. Lack of it brings the reverse: disunity, fear, sorrow, unsureness.
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Old 07-16-2007, 02:09 AM   #171
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Probably many people have seen this already. But I thought the quote belonged here somehow. Even if it is not strictly about the meaning of competition, it is about the meaning of competition in martial arts.

The quote is by Taisen Deshimaru:

"People who do not want to follow the teaching of Zen, the true foundation of Bushido, do not have to do so. They're simply using the martial arts as playthings; to them they are sports like any others.

But people who want to live their lives on a higher dimension do have to understand.

Nobody can be compelled and nobody can be criticized. The first lot are like children playing with toy cars, while the second drive real automobiles. I have nothing against sports; they train the body and develop stamina and endurance. But the spirit of competition and power that presides over them is not good, it reflects a distorted vision of life. The root of the martial arts is not there."

Now, even being a teenager who started Aikido two weeks ago I see some value here.

bye

Last edited by tiago : 07-16-2007 at 02:13 AM.
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Old 07-16-2007, 02:40 AM   #172
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
"People who do not want to follow the teaching of Zen, the true foundation of Bushido, do not have to do so. They're simply using the martial arts as playthings; to them they are sports like any others.
Ah but many would argue that Zen is not the foundation of Bushido or Budo for that matter.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-16-2007, 05:12 AM   #173
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Ah but many would argue that Zen is not the foundation of Bushido or Budo for that matter.
And one of those would be O-Sensei..

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:46 AM   #174
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Cito Maramba wrote: View Post
And one of those would be O-Sensei..
What would say O'Sensei believed to be the fundation of Budo or Bushido? In a word.

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 07-16-2007, 10:46 AM   #175
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Maybe the answer can be found in his writings:
Quote:
At that moment I was enlightened: the source of budo is god's love - the spirit of loving protection for all beings... Budo is not the felling of an opponent by force; nor is it a tool to lead the world to destruction with arms. True Budo is to accept the spirit of the universe, keep the peace of the world, correctly produce, protect and cultivate all beings in nature.

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
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