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Old 03-29-2009, 05:29 PM   #26
ChrisHein
 
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Re: Groupthink Problems in Training ?

I'm not trying to argue that MMA, or Aikido, or Kendo or any other martial art is superior or inferior to another.

I'm sorry if I gave that impression.

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Old 03-29-2009, 05:48 PM   #27
Michael Varin
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Re: Groupthink Problems in Training ?

Nice post, Dan.

I like it.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 03-29-2009, 05:53 PM   #28
DH
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Re: Groupthink Problems in Training ?

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I'm not trying to argue that MMA, or Aikido, or Kendo or any other martial art is superior or inferior to another.

I'm sorry if I gave that impression.
Nor am I
I was discussing it in a martial context in that there are various ways to affect a foundational shift in "group think" by outside stimulus antithetical to the model created and fostered by a group-maybe created in isolation.
On a basic level "group think" is a result of training and believing in the veracity of a model agreed to by any one group. We can try analogy and metaphor, and dig into the many tributaries it can lead us down for discussion sake, but in the end, in MA it is really rather simple.

I was trying to outline that the outside stimulus has problems of credibility all its own-and in many respects the source or origin of the outside stimulus- looked at as a model all its own- might be as suspectable to "group think" as the group it is trying to affect. Hence the "idea" of a broader discussion.
Whether discussing effectiveness, or better training models to produce greater results in a given model. Whether it is martially effective, sport, or cooperative-movement as a hobby doesn't matter. Its training methodologies and a means to whatever ends you may be looking for.
Case in point:
On the effectivess end I have seen a lot of weapons work intorduced to "break group think" that was not worth the effort for either party and led to false assumption, which created a whole new group think model.
On the spiritual end I have seen groups meditating and giving lectures more akin to new age animist beliefs all while openly stating they were fostering the training of the founder. They really didn't have one single clue what they were doing or talking about. That "group" was working under and within the authority of an 8th dan Aikido teacher. Thus creating a group think model that was authorized and yet was contained materials that were misunderstood, misdirected, or made up entirely out of whole cloth.
In both cases it becomes a challenge for an outside source to introduce valuable information that is
a) accurate
b) usable by the group
c) gets accepted in the first place.
None of which is an easy task.

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 03-29-2009 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 03-29-2009, 07:13 PM   #29
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Groupthink Problems in Training ?

Sometimes the only thing you can do with group think is to leave it. This recently got impressed upon me once again.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 03-29-2009, 07:22 PM   #30
Marc Abrams
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Re: Groupthink Problems in Training ?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Sometimes the only thing you can do with group think is to leave it. This recently got impressed upon me once again.

Best,
Ron
Ron:

Sadly, that is sometimes true. Dan made good points as to how hard it is to change the group think process. There are two very entrenched factors at play. One is related to Cognitive Dissonance Theory and the other is related to the propensity of any system to maintain dynamic equilibrium in order to remain an active, self-sustaining system.

I think that we are truly lucky if we can train in, or create a safe training atmosphere that allows us to not get "stuck" in a group think process. There are certainly enough good teachers and open-minded individuals in the Aikido world to keep me optimistic.

Marc Abrams
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Old 03-29-2009, 10:25 PM   #31
jason jordan
 
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Re: Groupthink Problems in Training ?

This is a great post, in which for once I actually read each post and argument. I posted a topic a day or so ago and I think this is basically the underlying thought of what I was trying to get across. I think if we watch enough "Youtube" and other clips out there, that we will see "Groupthink" in action.

I won't elaborate tonight, I'll just say great post.
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Old 03-30-2009, 03:30 AM   #32
Michael Varin
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Re: Groupthink Problems in Training ?

Compare this:
Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote:
If you cannot find a way to address "groupthink" within a group and simply have to leave it, then I would suggest that this is a problem that you might want to consider addressing at some point in time.
And:
Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote:
There are plenty of ways to work out interaction issues within a group structure without having to leave the group structure. If a person does not have the "life skills" to go about and address this common issue within a group structure, then this is an area of significant potential growth.
To:
Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote:
Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Sometimes the only thing you can do with group think is to leave it. This recently got impressed upon me once again.
Ron:

Sadly, that is sometimes true. Dan made good points as to how hard it is to change the group think process.
Is lack of consistency a symptom of groupthink or in-group bias? I didn't see it on the list.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 03-30-2009, 07:40 AM   #33
Marc Abrams
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Re: Groupthink Problems in Training ?

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
Compare this:

And:

To:

Is lack of consistency a symptom of groupthink or in-group bias? I didn't see it on the list.
Michael:

I see you come from the same dojo as Chris. Chris and I finally take this to a pm level and then look what pops up. No inconsistency on my end, just a closed mind on your end with a predisposition to come to a foregone conclusion. I simply outlined the process of first trying to address a systemic problem from within before making the decision to leave a system. I suggest you take this to a pm level as well if you want to continue as a proxy for Chris.

Marc Abrams
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:33 AM   #34
DH
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Re: Groupthink Problems in Training ?

Marc
Good post #30
It has not escaped my notice that you are putting your money where your.....thoughts are on this issue.
All the best
Dan
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:19 AM   #35
DH
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Re: Groupthink Problems in Training ?

Would anyone like to consider the Japanese "group think" and how it created the ukemi model?

How is it different from the classical grappling model of constant change of forces; receiving and giving back ?
The ICM model of constant change in pushing-receiving and giving back?
The Karate model of give and take
the boxing model of give and take

What group think mentality thought up the idea of "receiving" only, or worse of "falling down" as a viable protective mechanism in the first place, that later turned into the one sided means to train and transmit arts. Since most of the known world saw a rationale behind "change" (of incoming force) what led a whole group to see "receive" as a better way?
Cheers
Dan
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:07 PM   #36
Marc Abrams
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Re: Groupthink Problems in Training ?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Would anyone like to consider the Japanese "group think" and how it created the ukemi model?

How is it different from the classical grappling model of constant change of forces; receiving and giving back ?
The ICM model of constant change in pushing-receiving and giving back?
The Karate model of give and take
the boxing model of give and take

What group think mentality thought up the idea of "receiving" only, or worse of "falling down" as a viable protective mechanism in the first place, that later turned into the one sided means to train and transmit arts. Since most of the known world saw a rationale behind "change" (of incoming force) what led a whole group to see "receive" as a better way?
Cheers
Dan
Dan:

In my own opinion and limited experience, I think that your perception is too limiting and only part of a particular training paradigm. If it were simply limited to that description, I would concur totally with your opinion. I think that too many people train to take falls. The nage creates dangerous openings to be struck by doing so, and the uke creates dangerous conditions by simply "flying" or falling.

Ukemi is certainly the act of receiving, but I perceive that there are distinct an important stages in this process. At it's most basic level, ukemi should serve to allow a person who has been taken off balance, to be able to create a safer "space" in order to continuing to function/live. The human body marshals resources to help a body maintain dynamic equilibrium. This means that the strength that a person thinks that he/she has will actually not really be there when having to stabilize the body. In that situation, the roll, fall or "fly away fall" serves a useful purpose. Practice SHOULD be done in a manner in which the nage does not create vulnerable openings in order to allow the uke to fall, and the uke should not have the option of whether or not to fall, roll.....

To me, ukemi at the next level involves receiving the force so as to neutralize it before you are taken off balance and/or struck. This is not an easy level of practice for both parties. It can be very frustrating for a nage, if the nage is not perfectly accepting of this level of practice. It can be dangerous for an uke who mistakenly locks in place, thereby opening one's self to potentially more destructive attacks.

To me, ukemi at the highest level involved receiving the energy and immediately utilizing the energy to perform another technique. Instead of kaeshi waza, it becomes this fluid connection.

I would venture a guess that in traditional training, the teacher takes ukemi as a means of teaching technique. Since Aikido does not utilize this model very often, I think that it has become an almost stereotyped kind of ukemi practice that has developed among many. I would not necessarily say that it presents what ukemi can become or how some high level teachers do teach it to some of their students.

I may be totally off on that, but it is my 2 cents at least, and how I approach that topic.

Marc Abrams
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:33 PM   #37
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Groupthink Problems in Training ?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Would anyone like to consider the Japanese "group think" and how it created the ukemi model?

How is it different from the classical grappling model of constant change of forces; receiving and giving back ?
The ICM model of constant change in pushing-receiving and giving back?
The Karate model of give and take
the boxing model of give and take

What group think mentality thought up the idea of "receiving" only, or worse of "falling down" as a viable protective mechanism in the first place, that later turned into the one sided means to train and transmit arts. Since most of the known world saw a rationale behind "change" (of incoming force) what led a whole group to see "receive" as a better way?
None. It isn't a groupthink issue, but an objective training approach. The pattern assumed is not the pattern that actually exists. The teaching is NOT simply "receive. " It is "receive first -- THEN..." The difference between "change of incoming force" and "non-resistance" in the sense given by the principle of juuji, is not merely a difference of degree but of kind.

One cannot obtain a connection without first receiving -- the opposite is simply impact of opposed forces. "Change of incoming force" can be simplistic -- overcome an incoming force with a force opposite in sign and larger in magnitude, but that is not aiki -- heck, it's not even good karate. The greater force always wins. Poor strategy in terms of conserving resources, if nothing else.

On the other hand, a vector sum, with some opposed resisting force still in the vector of attack, still has the greater force in the contending vector line controlling the resultant. This is leverage, and in opposition, counter-leverage. Leverage always creates a perpendicular shear load. That shear load diminishes the effective force in the leverage. Two increasingly opposed leverages will generally tend to break the material at the common fulcrum in a bending shear.

The application of precisely perpendicular force, on the other hand, (Aiki -- the "third hand" ) can be exceedingly minimal and yet devastate the structural stability of the attacking structure -- without (necessarily) breaking its material. This is pure shear, wihtout bending, taking the inherent and irreducible weakness of the leveraged force in opposition and applying that shear directly. Basically, in shear, if he pushes -- it goes sideways; if he pulls -- it goes sideways; if he cranks -- it goes sideways in a circle.

But -- and this is a big but -- for MOST beginners it generally only works if they first allow the leverage of the attack to create an initial shear vector to guide them. If I try to create the external leverage -- the shear works against me, rather than for me. This is why the ukemi, the receiving, lets one then "pile onto" the resulting shear in response because there can be no resisting it -- IF he wishes to maintain his attack, he simply adds to the shear that the aiki is already exploiting.

To actually initiate action in pure shear is highly counter-intuitive, to most people. Training first in the reactive form, dealing with an applied leverage allows one to see the internal effect of compensating in shear, before one can see the initiatory form of pure shear without the initiating leverage to guide them. This is, I think the majority position in terms of preferred learning styles among aikidoka. For this reason I don't think the balance of training approaches in aikido will change in the near future, if ever, for a better understanding of what the more common approach seeks to accomplish, it is useful to examine both.

Basically, an initiating shear works by inducing the internal "compensation" an applied leverage would create, but before any external load actualyl exists. Then that is "released" into the inherent shear of the attack on contact. The "no-inch punch" is a common demonstration of this in a more static form. One might accurately describe the alternate approach as "taking ukemi" just before the attacking load is applied, and then letting it go again. The result is an attack that evaporates into the applied shear.

I am not disputing that there may be several ways of teaching pure shear as aiki in a non-reactive manner initially, but the counter-intuitive aspect is no less a hurdle to overcome -- regardless of the preferred approach. That alternate approach is, I believe, a minority position in terms of learning styles in the population of aiki practitioners.

The aid of the external application creates a clearly perceptible and unambiguous internal load, and is VERY hard to duplicate or simulate accurately for the unlearned in an unloaded condition. Although one can plainly see that things like Akuzawa is teaching do precisely this, the loaded condition is also one that occurs in real situations and so it is not merely a "training wheel" scenario for the other approach.

The preference for one or the other approach is essentially one of learning style. Although a person with a learning style not suited to the majority of learners' preferred approach -- will have greater difficulty adapting, this is not groupthink -- it is simply a "lack of fit" because of a minority learning preference. The fact that this learning style issue occurs on a non-verbal, cerebellar "seat of the pants" level, makes it very hard to talk about, or even agree on terms to talk about it -- and therefore it has become the cause of far more dissension than there really should be about it.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:55 PM   #38
DH
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Re: Groupthink Problems in Training ?

Quote:
Dan:

In my own opinion and limited experience, I think that your perception is too limiting and only part of a particular training paradigm. If it were simply limited to that description, I would concur totally with your opinion. I think that too many people train to take falls. The nage creates dangerous openings to be struck by doing so, and the uke creates dangerous conditions by simply "flying" or falling.
Hello Marc
I think you are actually agreeing with my example!
As your opening paragraph re-states my point "too many train to take falls"..etc etc.. Did you think I was stating it as an absolute? Nope! Just a common group think hence the reply.

Far too many people train to receive and take waza as a fall as "the receiving" instead of changing it and nuetralizing it and remain standing to deliver back. It has become the overwhelming "norm" in group think as displayed in what now amounts to tens of thousands of hours of video to that effect. Were it not so the result would not look like the model demonstrated everywhere. it would look more like grappling or push hands.
My opinion and your own do not really matter much when they stand in the face of all that evidence of old and current aikido training. The method and the choices are obvious.
Quote:
To me, ukemi at the next level involves receiving the force so as to neutralize it before you are taken off balance and/or struck. This is not an easy level of practice for both parties. It can be very frustrating for a nage, if the nage is not perfectly accepting of this level of practice. It can be dangerous for an uke who mistakenly locks in place, thereby opening one's self to potentially more destructive attacks.
I have always disagreed with this in the fact that it assumes a greater power differential that results in harm or a throw. When in fact the goal in aiki arts is that the greatest force doesn't win-it loses. The aiki ball warding or Fure aiki or the Chinese four oz to move a thousand pounds holds true. There is a safer model of long term health in NOT taking repeated throws and in softening and toughening the body to change forces.
Even with broad ranging (rudimentary to excellent) grappling scenarios of men going at each other full bore in a controlled environment it produce LESS injuries then the cooperative environment of aikido. *Note Stan P's excellent work and comparative statistics. And equally trained people can learn to neutralize and counter in a safe-or even saf(er) manner, I would even speculate that training in aiki could and should produce a body type that allows an extremely safer manner to practice in that most of the waza will never complete to cause harm in the first place. That would culminate in a new "group think" causing a foundational shift and help to create more effective, free thinking, and free moving body that can maintain balance, neutralize forces without even starting to ever think about an offence yet. It is safer for the nage...and the uke.

At any rate it seems we agree in that it is very clear that the method used in vast majority of training is taking a fall; as I described, and you outlined in your opening rebuttal. Where can we find this energy "change" you mentioned? Where? What is it comprised of? How does it work in action that fits into a grappling or push hand model I described later. Any video you know of or sources I could see? Even with that if we were to find it, and examine that- I think the percentages would support my points all the more.
As a topic I am aware of it continually being denied on the net- then we all get to watch tens of thousands of hours of evidence contradicting that denial. Again, I was not addressing Ukemi as an absolute anyway. Just a question and observation of receving and falling and it becoming a "group think" model in that it is practiced by so many.

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 03-31-2009 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 03-31-2009, 01:24 PM   #39
Marc Abrams
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Re: Groupthink Problems in Training ?

Dan:

I think that we are actually talking about the same thing (love fest or what...). I totally agree with what you said about how things should be. I am likely not as articulate as I would like to be. My point was not one of the greater force wins. My point is that unless people are aware of working towards those goals, a lot of people take the receiving as "a difficult uke"............ There are certainly enough uke's that do act to thwart someone else out of ego. These people typically move in a way that they would never do under realistic conditions. These people typically create openings in which a good fighter would simply "fill in the blanks..." Training properly should be safer. Having been in fighting sports & marital arts previous to my entry into Aikido, I can fully attest to my experience being that I have observed far more injuries in Aikido (including the ones I received due to my own stupidity and/or the sadistic actions of others).

I agree with your analysis of percentages. I think that this has a lot to due with the great growth in an art that came from a tradition of transmission to only small groups of people at a time for a substantial period of time. Then again, life is a bell-shaped curve. I prefer to aim for the top percent! I can say that the way I train and teach is one in which I try and live up to my words. I employ this model with strikers and with grapplers. To me, if it is a principle-based movement system then it needs to be tested so as to see if it really works under any situation. I learn from my failures so as to learn how to better understand and utilize those principles.

Marc Abrams
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