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Old 12-09-2007, 03:35 PM   #101
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Interesting thread.

Roman: Glad to hear that all turned out ok and that you got out without physical injury.

This thread shows that a lot of folks are unable to separate self defence/self protection from martial arts. They are two very different things.

Regarding the thread in general I agree with Chris Moses, Sensei Ledyard and Marc Abrams among others. Imho Roman exhibited some good self defence skills (escaping an unfavourable, dangerous encounter alive by whatever means he had), but I don't think it was an exhibition of Aiki or Aikido at all.

In self defence and Aikido situational awareness is a critical, foundational element. Initially, this was lacking by Roman, giving the attackers their avenue to strike, but he soon recovered well enough to find himself out of the situation which was good imho. An Aiki/Aikido response imho would have resulted in the situation being averted from the outset imho, similar to David Skaggs' example above.

Just some thoughts.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 12-09-2007, 06:12 PM   #102
Mattias Bengtsson
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

As I'm currently reading the book Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa..
Even the renowned Miyamoto Musashi knew when to back away from a fight he couldnt win.

Uke Iacta Est
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Old 12-09-2007, 07:30 PM   #103
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Musashi also talked alot about being prepared for the fight and recognizing it very early on before even the first physical action took place.

This is what Roman is pointing out, that he let his guard down in that manner and learned a lesson about not doing it in the future.

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Old 12-10-2007, 08:03 AM   #104
Amir Krause
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Here's where I think Chris is coming from.

I assume many have read this story by Terry Dobson? Or read a similar account in Ellis Amdur's Dueling with Osensei? In both cases, I would say the old man (in Dobson's story) and Amdur (in his story) demonstrated aikido, even though neither performed a technique, or even used the threat of a technique. The distinction I would make between those stories, and the stories of Roman and David is that in Dobson's and Amdur's stories, the "practioner" engages the threat. Not in a fight, or in physical contact, but on a human, emotional level. And through that engagement, they bring the conflict to resolution.

Had Roman turned the tables on his opponents by good-naturedly joking with them, making friends with them, and possibly even getting his headphones back, I for one would call it an exemplary example of aikido. I'm not saying he should have done that, mind you. In this case, walking away may indeed have been the best option. But knowing "when to walk away, and know when to run" is not just a trait of all martial arts traditional and modern, it's even in a Kenny Rogers song. I like to think that there's something else that needs to be there, something distinctive about aikido, particularly if we're going to use "aiki" as an adjective. Matching, blending, engaging with the physical/emotional/spiritual energy of the opponent in order to restore the harmony of the universe fits the bill for me.
I agree.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Well, yes, but sometimes walking away quickly is one very good means of resolution of a conflict among many. And having gone to a rather, um, less than pleasant high school I would say that trying to pull the thing Dobson saw on a train when surrounded by a group of young men out looking for trouble would be a good solid beating (or worse) waiting to happen. So would attacking. So would posturing. So would most anything *other than* walking away and letting it go.
As can be seen in the Terri Dobson story quated above, doing AiKi in such a situation is finding the right way to do something which is above and beyond the common sense.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
FWIW I understood what the OP meant when he wrote it. Not terribly precise, but I got it. What if he had written "Lessons learned from Aikido" instead. And said he took the aikido approach of diffusing the situation by simply walking away. Of course that isn't exclusive to aikido, but it *is* part of the philosophical discussions that usually go on within it. Shodo-o-seisu is sometimes taking the initiative by walking away. That becomes controlling the situation. Masakatsu agatsu can be simply letting it go and realizing that a cheap set of headphones isn't worth a physical confrontation with a gang of young men no matter how your pride is hurt or offended you may be.
I don't see the big deal.
That is the common sense.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Musashi also talked alot about being prepared for the fight and recognizing it very early on before even the first physical action took place.

This is what Roman is pointing out, that he let his guard down in that manner and learned a lesson about not doing it in the future.
True, yet Roman himself knew his errors. And I am sure none here is not aware of his surounding 100% of the time (just caught myself in a similar state on my way to work this morning, luckily to me, there was no aggressor around).

I won't participate in the Aikido Vs MMA argument here. I do not train MMA, yet I pointed out my disagreement with the first poster who tried being "Pro-Aikido".
This is just fulish. The discussion here is about typical human failure (people get tired and lose focus, machines don't until it breaks), which ended without any injuries (escept for the headphones). I am sure no MA could claim non of its students would ever fail this way.

Amir
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:27 AM   #105
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
Do you really believe that????

Somehow I bllieve every sensible person would have acted the same way once he realized the situation.Amir
Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
Many started out with snapping the arm holding my backpack,
Wit all due respect to you, I don't think every sensible person after realizing the situation would have started with this thought.

David

Last edited by dps : 12-10-2007 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 12-10-2007, 09:00 AM   #106
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Wit all due respect to you, I don't think every sensible person after realizing the situation would have started with this thought.

David
I agree, these kind of thougts only happen to those who have seen a lot of Steven Seagal Sensei flicks.
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Old 12-10-2007, 09:40 AM   #107
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

At the risk of appearing to pick nits and beat dead horses...

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Musashi also talked alot about being prepared for the fight and recognizing it very early on before even the first physical action took place.
I don't think anyone here has a problem with this idea, that it's foolish to enter into a fight you have little chance of winning, particularly if you have a chance of avoiding one. But Musashi wasn't doing Aikido or discussing Aiki either.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
This is what Roman is pointing out, that he let his guard down in that manner and learned a lesson about not doing it in the future.
Actually, I don't think that was his point at all. I would not have a single problem with that. I do not however feel that he's saying, "Hey guys, I let my guard down and it almost really cost me..." Rather, I feel he is presenting his choice not to engage an overwhelming force that already had the drop on him as "Aikido". Thus the title of the thread. I think Aiki and Aikido are often mis-understood as an alternative to conflict, rather than an alternative kind of conflict. Even if one were to accept some of the more esoteric lines of thought (such as, "Through aiKi, I am one with the universe and therefore there is no conflict") this does not imply that one goes with the flow even to their own detriment. The universe is unmoved by external forces because there are no external forces to itself, therefore the idea of yielding becomes absurd. I take exception to the presentation of Roman's scenario as an example of Aikido, not Roman's choices. Again, to be perfectly clear, I am discussing the use of the term Aikido and the concepts of aiki, not the wisdom or correctness of Roman's actions/decisions.

Last edited by ChrisMoses : 12-10-2007 at 09:44 AM.

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Old 12-10-2007, 09:59 AM   #108
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

I didn't say I intended on doing it, what I saw were opportunities for various techniques practiced on the mat. I am sure anyone who has trained diligently would see these same opportunities. Going through with it is a totally different game.
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:04 AM   #109
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Actually, I don't think that was his point at all. I would not have a single problem with that. I do not however feel that he's saying, "Hey guys, I let my guard down and it almost really cost me..." Rather, I feel he is presenting his choice not to engage an overwhelming force that already had the drop on him as "Aikido". Thus the title of the thread. I think Aiki and Aikido are often mis-understood as an alternative to conflict, rather than an alternative kind of conflict. Even if one were to accept some of the more esoteric lines of thought (such as, "Through aiKi, I am one with the universe and therefore there is no conflict") this does not imply that one goes with the flow even to their own detriment. The universe is unmoved by external forces because there are no external forces to itself, therefore the idea of yielding becomes absurd. I take exception to the presentation of Roman's scenario as an example of Aikido, not Roman's choices. Again, to be perfectly clear, I am discussing the use of the term Aikido and the concepts of aiki, not the wisdom or correctness of Roman's actions/decisions.
I find myself agreeing with the above.

Mark
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:08 AM   #110
Amir Krause
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
Do you really believe that????
Somehow I believe every sensible person would have acted the same way once he realized the situation.

Amir
Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
...Many started out with snapping the arm holding my backpack...
Wit all due respect to you, I don't think every sensible person after realizing the situation would have started with this thought.

David
Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
I agree, these kind of thougts only happen to those who have seen a lot of Steven Seagal Sensei flicks.
Wow, talking of misunderstandings.
I thought it was obvious I meant to the response Roman has actually taken -- walk away. Not to the bizarre idea of engaging multiple enemies for something worth 20$
I believed my intention was obvious given the first post I wrote about survival.

I also think your taking such a partial quote of Roman is unfair. He did continue the sentence about the scenario and explained he expected it to get him in trouble.

Amir
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:27 AM   #111
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Personally I think part of the real issue here is that there is an attempt to focus on naming what is and isn't aikido.

This is...that isn't.

That is really not what should be discussed IMO.

Nothing is aikido...and all is aikido on the philosophical side of the house. Aikido encompasses ALL.

However, to me, on a reality side. Aikido is a methodology and a philosophy so to speak.

You learn things from it which allow you to make skillfull choices, hopefully!

Those choices you make are simply choices...good or bad. Just like in practice!

However it really is pointless to argue which choice was an "Aiki" choice and which one was not!

Sure, we can discuss and debate the quality of the choice, or other options (which Roman very honestly pointed out!)

Again, they are all simply choices..just like in the dojo..some are good, some are bad....but they are all choices within the sphere of aikido!

This also goes along with my contention that you never fight with aikido...you fight with your mind, body, spirit, and environment around you...but never with aikido...

Because Aikido is a methodolgy...something that cannot be used except in concept!

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Old 12-10-2007, 11:45 AM   #112
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Personally I think part of the real issue here is that there is an attempt to focus on naming what is and isn't aikido.

This is...that isn't.

That is really not what should be discussed IMO.
Given the level of confusion about what Aikido is or isn't, this actually seems like one of the most appropriate uses for forums like these. I can't tell someone why their kotegaeshi doesn't feel right over the internet, and no matter how many times a beginner asks about ukemi, they still need to get on the mat with someone who can help them.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Nothing is aikido...and all is aikido on the philosophical side of the house. Aikido encompasses ALL.
Hmm, I can't go with you there. Aikido has to be something. If Aikido was everything and everywhere, then OSensei would not have needed to show his students how their kenjutsu kata (from other ryuha) would be done 'in aikido'. That implies that there are valid martial systems that are not in keeping with Aikido, at least in the view of the founder. Honestly, if OSensei found it worth his time to analyze things and if they are Aikido and how, if they weren't, they could be adjusted to fit into the paradigm of Aikido, I think it's perfectly reasonable for us to do the same.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
However, to me, on a reality side. Aikido is a methodology and a philosophy so to speak.
So I'll pose the same question to you as I have to Larry. What aspects of Aikido's methodology and philosophy do you feel were exemplified by Roman's *actions*? How are these identifying fingerprints indicative of Aikido's philosophy and methodology and what makes it unique? What physical clues to these principles can we find in the waza of Aikido?

Chris Moses
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:38 PM   #113
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Mine is a more macroscopic vice microscopic view of the situation.

He had a problem, he identified it, he learned from the situation, put it in his bag of "experience", and will probably adopt the lessons he learned from it in his life.

To me, this is aikido and if you take this view toward aikido..there is nothing that can lay outside of the boundaries of the methodolgy of aikido.

I think the problem we have many times in aikido training is we get too focused on the little bits and pieces instead of looking at the whole of the situation, increasing our awareness of a bigger scope.

We worry about hand position or focusing on the wrist during kotegaeshi and discussing if it is a D.R. Kotegaeshi, or BJJ Wrist lock, or if it was done in an aiki manner.

What is important from an aikido or budo standpoint is what we take away from the encounter/experience...not so much what we actually did. That is, the overall endstate.

In this case, of Roman's experience, it was not how he responded or engaged them in the moment...but the fact that he walked away and said..."hey I learned something today!" About myself!

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Old 12-10-2007, 12:41 PM   #114
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Yikes....sorry Kevin. Way too broad for me.

Best,
Ron

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Old 12-10-2007, 12:45 PM   #115
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Chris,

I agree that this is the purpose of these forums, to discuss various aspects and concepts of aikido. I don't mean to imply that the conversation or your point of view is invalid. Mine is simply another view point of what I think is another way of looking at things. the 100,000 foot view vice the 1 foot view.

I will rarely discuss technique on the forums for the very reasons you mention. I agree.

I see the whole "this is aiki" and this is "not aiki" disussion in the same light as discussion of technique.

I think we can discuss philosophy, ethics, norms, values, or clarify perspectives on things for sure.

Again, no issue with the discussion of this issue...just think that there is a bigger picture that often gets lost in the emotion of a particular situation!

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Old 12-10-2007, 01:03 PM   #116
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

I understand Roman's feeling of frustration because he failed to be aware of his surrounding, but we are all humans, and he ultimately made the right decision by deciding that his life was more valuable than a pair of headphones.
But this story reminds me of what happened to the mother of one of our young students. Let's call her Jane.
One fine day, our Jane was stepping out of a store, in her summer blouse and her hight heels shoes, and, at the same time, she was fishing for her car key in her purse. She was thinking happy thoughts, totally unaware of her surrounding. In other words, she was the perfect prey. As she was about to reach her car, she raised her head to see a guy running toward her. Before she knew what she was doing, she raise the hand holding the car key in front of her, and the guy's adam apple made a bee line te the tip of the key. Next thing she knew, she was alone on the sidewalk, still holding her key in front of her, and wondering what in the world had just happened. She has never practiced any martial art in her life.
Maybe, without knowing it, Jane had achieved the "no mind" state Sensei always urges us to have during randori. Or was she just lucky? Or did her gut feeling suddenly snapped open at the right time? Did any of you have an experience like that?
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Old 12-10-2007, 01:05 PM   #117
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I think we can discuss philosophy, ethics, norms, values, or clarify perspectives on things for sure.
That's all I'm trying to do. Draw out what philosophy it is that is represented by the encounter. So far, a number of people have talked about how the specifics of what Roman did may not be considered "Aikido", but that it somehow fit within the philosophy of Aikido. I don't recognize the particular philosophy or principle that would be demonstrated by his actions. So far, no one has really been able to offer a principle or philosophy that it represents. I find that curios that a number of people feel that his actions were in keeping with the philosophy of Aikido, but can't or won't actually say what that philosophy is. If someone could do that, I think we could have a fairly interesting discussion, because we could say something a bit more specific than, "Yes it is,", "No it isn't". I've offered a few principles that I feel are central to the identity of Aikido (entry/irimi, awareness of the environment, meeting/connecting with a threat (aiki) and ownership of an interaction) that I feel are specifically not exemplified by Roman's description. Contrary to some poster's comments, I'm not implying these are the only possible principles relevant, but so far no one has really offered any others that might support the premise that what was described was Aikido.

Chris Moses
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Old 12-10-2007, 01:33 PM   #118
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Nicely stated Chris!
Best,
Ron

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Old 12-10-2007, 03:09 PM   #119
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

I was quote mining one of my favorite Osensei Interviews earlier for an email with a former student/training partner. Found this and thought it was interesting given this thread:

Quote:
B (interviewer): I have heard a story about how you were involved with a fight with about 150 workers.

O Sensei: I was? As I remember. . . Deguchi Sensei went to Mongolia in 1924 in order to accomplish his goal of a greater Asian community in line with the national policy. I accompanied him on his request even though I was asked to enter the Army. We traveled in Mongolia and Manchuria. While in the latter country, we encountered a group of mounted bandits and heavy shooting broke out. I returned their fire with a Mauser and then proceeded to run into the midst of the bandits, attacking them fiercely, and they dispersed. I succeeded in escaping danger.

Chris Moses
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:13 PM   #120
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
I've offered a few principles that I feel are central to the identity of Aikido (entry/irimi, awareness of the environment, meeting/connecting with a threat (aiki) and ownership of an interaction) that I feel are specifically not exemplified by Roman's description.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately because quite a few people who I've come to look at as being considerably more knowledgeable than me seem to be disagreeing with my assessment. I thought the idea that Roman followed the path of least resistance was in keeping with the concept of Aiki as I think I understand it. I also didn't think his quick departure necessarily equated to inaction or a disengagement from the situation. In my mind, the ability to walk through a group of hostile people implies something more than ordinary. Granted, my application of the aiki label is very broad, too. Having read Terry Dobson's book, I've come to view aikido as being present in any interaction which has conflict, but which resolves itself relatively well. In this case, the conflict was several dudes taking property and possibly threatening Roman's wellfare. The aiki was in his going with the flow and more or less calmly walking away. Assuming for a moment the "attackers" weren't willing to harm Roman, I'm not sure I could call it Aikido. My use of the label assumes the guys were willing to do more, but his decisive action didn't give them the time to collectively deliberate or act on it. Sometimes a good look is all that's need to stop an attack.
In other words, my perception of the "aiki-ness" of this situation is based on certain assumptions, including that of an alive mindset by Roman (after a certain point in time). In my understanding, a situation like his was bad bad bad. He was wide open; they baited him; he fell for it. The people I've known who did things like this would have in all likelihood not been content with headphones and a backpack. They wouldn't have let him simply walk away; they would have demanded his wallet and maybe still tried to beat him down for fun. If his manner in any way prevented something like this, then it seems it was an "aiki moment"...if for no other reason than by not resisting their efforts. Engaging the moment could very well have necessitated complete acceptance of their superior position and a departure from the "attackers" and their new-found spoils...seemed analogous to good ukemi to me.
So if I had to guess at some principles of aikido I would start off with non-resistance. Perhaps the irimi was simply moving resolutely forward, out of the sphere of their influence. Or, perhaps a mental irimi tenkan occured when the "attacker" saw his angry desire to respond turn into total acceptance and yielding.
Again, my view of this being "Aikido" is based on certain assumptions which are in turn based on my own preconceptions about the likelihood of the mindframe of those "attackers," but walking away as opposed to outrunning them seems to imply ownership of the situation, even if it included their allowance (a blending of wills?). He made a choice in actions which wasn't exactly evasive...walking away is easy to counteract, particularly when you've got 6 of your buddies around to give chase. It seems to me there was more present than simply evading a situation...and he certainly didn't freeze up.
The thought I had when I first read it was "what if the guys were playing a bad joke and intended to give everything back?" In that case their intention wouldn't have been to harm Roman and his leaving wouldn't have solved anything other than making him feel safer...so much of what is aiki here is subject to conjecture because it's the kind of aikido which is applied to intangibles like intention...it's all one big "what-if" when it comes to guessing at intentions, but in situations like this, it seems to me that's the point around which the issue of whether or not this was aiki or not hinges.
I dunno...i can't claim authority on knowing what Aikido is beyond the kind of training I try to do. At my dojo Aikido is about searching for a way to reconcile things meaningfully. This expands the concept into some very ambiguous and metaphysical territory and I know not everyone views Aikido or "aiki" to apply to such things, but that's how it still seems to me.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 12-10-2007 at 03:17 PM.

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Old 12-10-2007, 03:14 PM   #121
Keith Larman
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Principle: Masakatsu Agatsu -- self-victory is true victory.

Once he realized the full scope of the situation he kept his wits about him, didn't react instinctively with a technique, didn't stand there like a deer in the headlights (which many do in these cases), but quickly realized that he was in a bad situation and got out of there. He didn't react automatically to the theft of his material goods but instead maintained a degree of calm that allowed him to find a quick and efficient means of getting out of danger. His reaction was measured and appropriate given the overwhelming odds he faced. He kept control of his emotions, his pride, and his natural instinct to react to having his property stolen. He didn't freeze. He didn't strike out in anger. He didn't break down and cry. He didn't scream and run in a panic. He controlled himself and solved the situation. Self-victory. Self-control. He sized up the situation quickly and realized he had made a mistake and was in the wrong place. And he got out.

Good for him.

I agree completely that being unaware going in wasn't a great idea. But very few are constantly "on" no matter what. But once he realized the gravity of his situation he did act. And acted in a positive way to ensure his own safety and well being, a thing precious few do under stress.

Of course you can learn that skill in any number of ways outside of aikido or martial arts for that matter, but it *is* a skill we hope to instill in students in Aikido, neh?

It seems to me that it is *really* easy to second guess from a distance. That was a *really* bad situation. And I'm not going to second guess him and only congratulate him on finding some inspiration in his aikido training that allowed him to function well enough to get the heck out of it.

I know what you guys are saying. But I think you're just being too pedantic about it.

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Old 12-10-2007, 03:25 PM   #122
dps
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Question from William Prusner:

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William Prusner wrote: View Post
WWMD? (What would Morihei Do?)
Answer to question?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
I was quote mining one of my favorite Osensei Interviews earlier for an email with a former student/training partner. Found this and thought it was interesting given this thread:

Quote:
B (interviewer): I have heard a story about how you were involved with a fight with about 150 workers.

O Sensei: I was? As I remember. . . Deguchi Sensei went to Mongolia in 1924 in order to accomplish his goal of a greater Asian community in line with the national policy. I accompanied him on his request even though I was asked to enter the Army. We traveled in Mongolia and Manchuria. While in the latter country, we encountered a group of mounted bandits and heavy shooting broke out. I returned their fire with a Mauser and then proceeded to run into the midst of the bandits, attacking them fiercely, and they dispersed. I succeeded in escaping danger.
David
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:35 PM   #123
ChrisMoses
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I thought the idea that Roman followed the path of least resistance was in keeping with the concept of Aiki as I think I understand it.
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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
So if I had to guess at some principles of aikido I would start off with non-resistance.
Well, interesting you bring up that principle, that was what I was talking to my friend about when I was looking for quotes. I think that what OSensei meant by "nonresistance" is pretty generally misunderstood by Western Aikido students. Here's an excerpt from the email I mentioned above, it relates both to the idea of aikido being a path of least resistance and what nonresistance actually meant in the context of OSensei's Aikido.

Quote:
I'd like to draw your attention to a few seemingly contradictory comments.

"Interviewer: Then, in that sense, there is Aiki in Judo, too, since in Judo you synchronize yourself with the rhythm of your opponent. If he pulls, you push; if he pushes, you pull. You move him according to this principle and make him lose his balance and then apply your technique.

O Sensei: In Aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in Aikido. The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu; since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength."

OK, so that sounds about like what you hear in Aikido. "We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance…" So far sounds like what you were getting at in your blog and what most people in Aikido think of. But what was it that he meant by that? What did he mean by nonresistance? Look what he says immediately after this quote:

OSensei: "Even if you have an opponent, he becomes a part of you, a partner you control only."

What what? A partner you control only??? Ok, so that's not exactly what I think of when I hear the word "nonresistance". Let's look even further in the text for some more clues as to what he meant.

OSensei: "There was a handsome looking man at the party and many people prodding him on with such comments as, "This Sensei has tremendous strength. How about testing yourself against him?" I asked someone at my side who this person was. It was explained to me that he was the famous Tenryu who had withdrawn from the Sumo Wrestler's Association. I was then introduced to him. Finally, we ended up pitting our strength against each other. I sat down and said to Tenryu, "Please try to push me over. Push hard, there's no need to hold back." Since I knew the secret of Aikido, I could not be moved an inch. Even Tenryu seemed surprised at this. As a result of that experience he became a student of Aikido. He was a good man."

Ok, so the "secret of Aikido" prevented a championship wrestler from being able to move OSensei "an inch". It didn't prevent him from throwing him, or grabbing him, or anything that could be described as non-invasive or evasive. It enabled him to be *unmovable* against a sumotori. He goes on to recount several other similar events:

"Kisshomaru Ueshiba: Also there was an incident involving a certain Mihamahiro.

Interviewer: Was he the same Mihamahiro of Takasago Beya Sumo Wrestling Association?

O Sensei: Yes. He was from Kishu Province. When I was staying at Shingu in Wakayama, Mihamahiro was doing well in the Sumo ranks. He had tremendous strength and could lift three rods which weighed several hundred pounds. When I learned Mihamahiro was staying in town, I invited him to come over. While we were talking Mihamahiro said, "I've also heard that you, Sensei, possess great strength. Why don't we test our strength?" "All right. Fine. I can pin you with my index finger alone," I answered. Then I let him push me while I was seated. This fellow capable of lifting huge weights huffed and puffed but could not push me over. After that, I redirected his power away from me and he went flying by. As he fell I pinned him with my index finger, and he remained totally immobilized. It was like an adult pinning a baby. Then I suggested that he try again and let him push against my forehead. However, he couldn't move me at all. Then I extended my legs forward, and, balancing myself, I lifted my legs off the floor and had him push me. Still he could not move me. He was surprised and began to study Aikido. "

So again, we have OSensei himself relating stories that he felt exemplified his mastery of Aikido that involved hugely strong accomplished wrestlers (sumotori) who were unable to move him at all, and one who was thrown across the room. Now keep in mind that in the second example, OSensei didn't send him flying across the room from a running charge (what most folks think of as how aikido works) but rather, he *accelerated* him across the room from a static interaction. I also find it interesting that he says that he redirected his opponent's power. He didn't ‘lead' him, he directed him.

These are all quotes that I feel are hugely important at really appreciating what OSensei actually meant when he said things like "nonresistance". Remember, this is not comparing interviews between ‘pre-war' and ‘post-war' aikido, this is during the same interview. *I* think that what OSensei meant by "nonresistance" was that he was not reacting against an opponent, nor was he responding to that opponent in the traditional sense. Because he could move in a manner that was nearly unstoppable it was as if he moved with the force of the universe behind him ("I am the universe" remember?) and therefore he simply directed his attackers/partners at will wherever *he* wanted them to go ("a partner you control only.").
And before anyone starts talking about 'post-war' mindsets and whatnot, the interview was published in 1957...

Chris Moses
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Old 12-10-2007, 04:33 PM   #124
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Well, interesting you bring up that principle, that was what I was talking to my friend about when I was looking for quotes. I think that what OSensei meant by "nonresistance" is pretty generally misunderstood by Western Aikido students. Here's an excerpt from the email I mentioned above, it relates both to the idea of aikido being a path of least resistance and what nonresistance actually meant in the context of OSensei's Aikido.

And before anyone starts talking about 'post-war' mindsets and whatnot, the interview was published in 1957...
I've read those and I agree they illustrate the profound nature of Aikido. As I understand it, by "harmonizing" with uke's behaviors, we can get "inside" those movements and begin to manipulate them purposefully; the homonyme "Ai" implying some mutually benificial or altruistic intention on the part of the aikidoka. I've begun to assume non-resistance means not working against the behaviors of our opponants, but rather channeling them harmlessly around you, through you, or even adding to them from some "inside" position (ie-shikaku or other entrypoint). I would have called it very good Aikido had he gotten his headphones back; or disarmed the guys and then make friends with them, perhaps even getting them to buy him a beer (super-exceptional Aikido ); while Roman's situation was "adequate" Aikido. I'm definately assuming a few things about the situation that I have no way of really knowing about though...and the behavior (specific technique or method) nage uses to generate the desired outcome almost seems moot to me, as long as nage is mentally engaging the situation and actively responding to its demands and that those behaviors generate success. Granted, my training is still quite new (5th kyu with sensei Barrish) so I have to admit I'm no expert. I know I have a lot to learn about Aikido and that makes me pretty unsure about myself on this topic, but even after reading that passage (assuming i understand it properly), Roman's encounter seems to fit as Aikido, albeit in a minimalist sort of way.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 12-10-2007 at 04:36 PM.

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Old 12-10-2007, 06:04 PM   #125
Mattias Bengtsson
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Maybe you should've called the thread "Total success with Sun Tzu on "the street" Roman.

Specifically "When your opponent are superior, evade him"

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