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  #51  
Old 01-22-2009, 10:48 AM
Stefan Stenudd
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The Challenge of Not Competing

Aikido is non-competitive. That's easy to say. The practice is not about defeating an opponent, but about both participants being victorious by finding a truly peaceful solution and growing as human beings in the process. That, too, is easy to say.

Still, there's a lot of competing...
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Last edited by akiy : 01-14-2009 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 07-08-2009, 04:13 AM   #50
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Kyoso and shiai

The difference between kyoso and shiai is subtle in my eyes, and I guess that what I discussed in my column is how to avoid both.

Whether competition is to win a contest or sell more cars, it has its narrow limitations. In the martial arts we know that there is none as challenging to defeat as oneself. In business, setting your standards just to better the competition is making yourself dependent on it.
Competing with others to further one's own professional or social career may bring some rewards, but at a tremendous cost to one's character.

I think it's about time we learn how to win by joining instead of competing. The win-win thing.
Actually, I think that's one of the major attractions in aikido - even to those who claim to do it for self defense or to learn the ultimate martial art. Whatever we say, we love aikido because it allows for everyone to be a winner.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:43 AM   #51
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

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Jim Cooper wrote: View Post
I think it's a mistake to evaluate sport by only looking at the very highest level. Almost nobody competes there, and in professional sports, I'm not sure that's always where you would find the best role models either :-)

Also, I think you have touched on 3 different things - military training, martial arts training, and sport. (The MAs that we practice today are no longer military, in general - IMO - although they may have that in their heritage somewhere.)

I believe that classing these pursuits as "higher" and "lower" is misleading.

I don't believe any of them necessarily make you a better (or worse) person, although they all have that potential.
Actually, I would classify them as higher to lower.

Let's take the middle one, military. The kind of training you can receive is hand-to-hand or close quarters combatives. You can get training in rifles and pistols and their tactical usages. You can get training on military tactics and strategies. Training with machine guns, rocket launchers, etc, etc, etc. Sound familiar? If not, then just replace the rifle with the sword. Replace all the current weapons with older weapons, like spear, naginata, bow, etc. Basically, it's a newer version of Japanese koryu.

The differences, however, are greater. In the military, you aren't training for the betterment of yourself, but rather for the overall organization. Your life for the U.S. In the martial arts, quite a bit of your training is about *you*. The military only cares about you in regards to you being a part of a unit, part of a command, and part of a force to use.

In terms of the betterment of *you*, the military falls far short of the martial arts.

Now, let's jump to the lowest on the list: sports. There is an overinflated sense of self that is not only trained, but bolstered. From the Olympics down to little league tee-ball. It's about winning and losing. Sportsmanship means either he has a strong striving spirit to win or that he is a gracious loser. No one wants to be the person who drops the ball and lets the other team win. That person's emotional state is not very good.

Course, I lump the McDojo Karate/Taekwondo school that has its window full of trophies in the same category as sports. But, any martial art worth its name not only teaches you to be "strong" (budo strong, not physically strong), but also has the same notions that Ueshiba had. Ueshiba embodied these ideals of strength, harmony, and self-betterment. From the few bits and pieces I've read, Kodo had it, too. I think Chuck Norris is quoted about how the ideal is to be so good that you don't *have* to fight. Might have been someone else, though.

No matter what you're doing, you train to have that base of "power" or being "strong" (again, these are from a budo definition) so that you have the options and opportunities of choosing harmony. That's what builds the better *you*.

You won't find that in the military or sports. In fact, it is directly opposed to sports ideals. You might have a chance of finding it in the military, but orders from superiors will over-rule it.

Still, after all that, none of it means that you can't have a form of "competition" in the martial arts. As Peter Goldsbury noted, Ueshiba took on challengers. There was a winner and a loser in them. Tenryu could not get the better of him. IMO, it was the aiki that had changed Ueshiba so that he didn't view these people as competitors. As Ueshiba said, "I am aiki!". Not the "win-win" view of modern day defined "aiki" or the harmony of joining view of modern day "aiki", but the complete body skill aiki that he learned from Takeda.

IMO, the aiki skills changed Ueshiba so that he did not need any form of competition because he was at a place of being "strong". Competition hindered his martial progression because it focused too much on winning and by doing so, the focus on aiki skills was diminished. Diminishing aiki skills equates to not being "strong" which then degrades the ego when coming into contact with other people (in this case, this means all the challengers). Degraded ego means aiki skills not functioning well because the mind isn't "pure". Vicious cycle that feeds upon itself. Quit focusing on competition and start focusing on building aiki skills and all that goes away.

One other factor brought to my attention is that building aiki skills in oneself, possibly causes a change in one's demeanor. The better you get at aiki skills, the more "strong" you get, the less you view the world in a fearful manner.

Competition? In certain defining terms, yeah. In a sports-like venue, no.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:28 AM   #52
jonreading
 
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Quote:
Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
Actually, having a winner and a loser is the definition of a competitve interaction. Without those "classes", it is not a competition. By definition for it to be a competiton, there has to be something you are competing for, food, a mate, a job, a trophy, bragging rights, whatever.

If I am doing some jiyu waza training and I ask my partner to attack strongly and try to counter my techniques, that doesn't mean I am competing with him. If I am sucessful at keeping him off or controlling him, I haven't won anything and he hasn't lost anything. Competition might make it possible to formalize and structure these interactions in some good ways, but it would also change the nature of the interaction, and in my opinion, the nature of that art itself.

BTW. This is not a value judgement of you or your dojo. The training you describe honestly sounds like a lot of fun.
Then according to the the definition above, would "haves" and "have nots" be more appropriate competitive classifications? Erick has a good point - I think we want to differentiate dualism from competition. Competency is a singular evaulation of a qualitative ability. Competition is a hierarchy of competency.

For example: In high school, I participated in a spelling B. Did I win against the word if I spelled it correctly? Of course not, spelling the word qualified my spelling skill as competent; the number of words that I spelled correctly ranked my competency against other competent spellers in a hierarchy.

In aikido, I may engage in jiyuwaza. If I cannot control my partner, I nave not demonstrated comptency. If I can successfully control my partner I demonstrate a minimum level of competency. If I can control and pin my partner I demonstrate an advanced level of compentency. If I can control multiple partners, I demonstrate a high competency level and so on.

As a side note: Competition already exists in aikido - we call it the belt system. The ranking system was designed to allow strangers to evaluate the [relative] expected skill level of their partner. I don't remember fighting anyone for my belts, but I sure remember tests that pushed me to the limit of my skill. The belt I was given placed me within a hierarchy of aikido people. Unfortunately, poor instruction, microtesting environments, nepotism, and other factors have degraded the reliability of the skill level of the individual as represented by the belt.

TANGENT
I remember a seminar where I overheard two black belts training. Technique got physical and as nage was preparing to throw uke koshinage, uke said, "I don't take breakfalls." Nage said, "Are you injured? would you prefer ukemi?" uke said, "I don't like to fall." After a second of bewilderment nage looked at uke and said, "I understand. Thank you." and chose another partner. After class I approached the black belt (nage) and asked him what was the deal. He said (tongue and cheek), "Anyone would is so good they don't have to fall if they don't wanna is way outta my league so I chose a different partner." Brilliant. The truth of the situation was that the other black belt was senior and did not want to be thrown because he took poor ukemi.
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:09 PM   #53
aikilouis
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Re: Kyoso and shiai

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Stefan Stenudd wrote: View Post
The difference between kyoso and shiai is subtle in my eyes, and I guess that what I discussed in my column is how to avoid both.
As described by Prof. Goldsbury, the difference is very clear.
Shiai gives a frame to the opposition between contestants, for the benefit of one and the defeat of the other. Success is relative to the other's strength, it isn't measured by how well you performed in the absolute. There is also another fundamental aspect : modern sports always include an element of publicity. A sporting event is a show with spectators. Without them it becomes meaningless in the strict sense of shiai. This is why, the way I interpret O Sensei's thought as explained by Prof. Goldsbury, it detracts people from the more essential goal of striving for excellence, improving oneself, pushing one's personal limits (not just according to the rules), and achieving an improved connection with the world.

Quote:
Whether competition is to win a contest or sell more cars, it has its narrow limitations. In the martial arts we know that there is none as challenging to defeat as oneself. In business, setting your standards just to better the competition is making yourself dependent on it.
The way I see it, kyoso is a trick of the mind. One uses consciously the human impulse to measure up with others, keeping in mind that it is only a way to push oneself further towards excellence. If you don't like the car industry analogy, imagine musicians from the same era, reaching summits of their art, motivated by the challenge of the other's excellence.

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Competing with others to further one's own professional or social career may bring some rewards, but at a tremendous cost to one's character.
Well, not everyone can afford to live by the principles of the high philosophers.

Quote:
I think it's about time we learn how to win by joining instead of competing. The win-win thing.
Please allow me to recommend the book Co-opetition (by A.M. Brandenburger and B.J. Nalebuff), where the authors exploit the discoveries of game theory to explain how the need for competition and cooperation between agents can be articulated in business. In one sentence : cooperation to create a bigger business pie, competition to divide it up.

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote: View Post
Actually, I think that's one of the major attractions in aikido - even to those who claim to do it for self defense or to learn the ultimate martial art. Whatever we say, we love aikido because it allows for everyone to be a winner.
I do aikido out of an insatiable curiosity, being a winner doesn't have anything to do with it.

Last edited by aikilouis : 07-08-2009 at 03:14 PM. Reason: Clarity and spelling

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Old 07-08-2009, 10:04 PM   #54
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Then according to the the definition above, would "haves" and "have nots" be more appropriate competitive classifications? Erick has a good point - I think we want to differentiate dualism from competition. Competency is a singular evaulation of a qualitative ability. Competition is a hierarchy of competency. ... TANGENT
... uke said, "I don't like to fall." ... "Anyone would is so good they don't have to fall if they don't wanna is way outta my league so I chose a different partner." Brilliant. The truth of the situation was that the other black belt was senior and did not want to be thrown because he took poor ukemi.
O Sensei loved poetic forms of truth, so I will point out this wonderful line in the theme song to Casino Royale by Chris Cornell, "You Know My Name" :

"If you think you've won
You never saw me change
The game that we have been playing ... "

That incident was a marvel of aiki and faux-aiki in action -- the game to begin was a simple training game with a throw as the programmed "win" and the fall as the "loss." The senior thought he changed to the status game to "win" by avoiding the "loss" of the fall (which is a "loss" on both games, in plain training (where there is no shame), and in the status game (where the fall is a loss of status), because his ukemi is poor, which is because of his inordinate concern on "winning" a programmed training game where the fall is an ordinary and expected element. So far, faux-aikido, and very bad training, and very shameful on many levels.

Junior guy -- good aiki, when the game changed and training could not happen, and the status game came into play, he did not "win" but instead forfeited the pointless status "win" to the senior, which of course, is no "win" at all , but a shameful "gift." He walked and neither lost the status game (which could not be won as structured), nor lost the training game as he got good training. No shame.

Underlines the proper measure of the victor in any martial engagement -- the guy walking away -- by whatever means, without shame.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:00 PM   #55
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

I think I see a lot of people here placing a lot of human failings on "competition" as if it were a sentient being unto itself.

Imho the need for publicity, myopia in training to win an event, ego-gratification, furthering ones career at another's expense etc. are all Human characteristics associated with competition.

Competition itself is without these shortcomings. It merely defines a context where one or more people meet and test particular skills which are based on a ruleset. Interestingly enough, one of the major reasons that rules in competition exist is to mitigate the lengths some Humans may go to for the the sole purpose of winning.

If one competes for a job, client or sale and wins then it is up to that person to belittle his competitors and engage in creating publicity, gratifying his own ego etc. This is a quality of the person, not the competition for a job, client or sale.

The same goes for the person who wins an event and gets a gold medal. How he or she chooses to celebrate or not celebrate that victory is a personal thing. There are many who compete and simply leave with the knowledge gained through testing the self, not overly concerned with trinkets and prizes. These people are rare, but then what is of value usually is.

So imho one can easily blame "competition" for ones own egocentric needs and drives, and convince oneself that "it's not me, it's the game" for ones behaviour after winning or losing at something...

Or one can assume responsibility for ones actions, choices and behaviours inside and outside of a contest, as a winner or loser and strive to improve behaviour and self beyond the rules of a contest or the expectations of a crowd or the demands of a public.

Imho Budo is all about taking responsibility for oneself and ones actions - one can use competition as a tool towards higher development and control of egocentric actions associated with winning and losing, or one can use competition as a scapegoat for actions and behaviours that have and will always be products of the human condition.

Just a thought.

LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 07-08-2009 at 11:10 PM.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 07-09-2009, 08:18 AM   #56
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Actually, I would classify them as higher to lower.
Then we're always going to disagree on this.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
In the military, you aren't training for the betterment of yourself
From what my brother tells me, it was an important element in his (non-US) Navy training.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Now, let's jump to the lowest on the list: sports.
It was taught to you badly then. My culture is not that of the US, so things may well have been different for me. There is nothing that MAs offer from the POV of character building that cannot potentially be found in sport as well, but team sport offers things that MA cannot.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I think Chuck Norris is quoted about how the ideal is to be so good that you don't *have* to fight. Might have been someone else, though.
Yes, it might have been quite a few people quite some time before him :-)

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
You won't find that in the military or sports. In fact, it is directly opposed to sports ideals.
Like I said, if that's the way you think, someone taught you the wrong way to play sport. If that's normal in the US, then that's great shame.
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Old 07-09-2009, 08:29 AM   #57
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Here's a thought on that point
Cricket is traditionally associated with much the same ideals that good MAs are associated with (in reality it's sometimes not that obvious). And that's how I was taught it.

BTW, that competition was in the very short (3 hour) version of the game that is somewhat controversial in that it doesn't allow the full range of subtleties inherent in the full (5 day) game.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
but also I think, in agreement with Mark, those are purposes distinct from the means or purposes of martial arts.
There are reasons to do MAs apart from building character, but sport *should*, in principle, do it just as well, and do it better if you're talking about what you can gain from team sports.

Sadly, neither MAs or sports are always taught with that in mind
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Old 07-09-2009, 08:56 AM   #58
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Ditto what Larry said.

Quote:
Competing with others to further one's own professional or social career may bring some rewards, but at a tremendous cost to one's character.
Oh? Can you describe how so? This doesn't jive with my own personal experience, at least not in every case. Can you define the "tremendous cost"?

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 07-09-2009, 09:40 AM   #59
MM
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

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Jim Cooper wrote: View Post
Then we're always going to disagree on this.
It'd be a weird world if no one ever disagreed with me.

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Jim Cooper wrote: View Post
From what my brother tells me, it was an important element in his (non-US) Navy training.
Perhaps, I didn't explain that enough. To some degree you are training for the "betterment" of yourself in the U.S. military. You do get better at a lot of things. However, that "betterment" in the end, isn't for just yourself. That "betterment" is used in the military by a chain of command. You go where you're ordered, you do what you're ordered, and if that goes against your personal inner teachings, too bad. Follow orders or get a court martial. It's really that simple.

Quote:
Jim Cooper wrote: View Post
It was taught to you badly then. My culture is not that of the US, so things may well have been different for me. There is nothing that MAs offer from the POV of character building that cannot potentially be found in sport as well, but team sport offers things that MA cannot.
Well, from the overall picture of sports to the detailed distinct reason of sports, it's different than martial arts. Overall picture of sports includes being a part of a team that competes in front of an audience. And that's not always a good thing:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Sports_riots

http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/10416

When is the last time that you saw an aikido training session break out in riots? A koryu embu break out in riots?

How about why you're actually playing that sport? What's the end goal? Isn't there always some trophy or award? There are always winners and losers. Someone always defeats someone else.

And how many sport fights have their been by team players? Way too many to count.

When was the last time you saw that kind of mentality in an aikido dojo? I really beat you with that kotegaeshi? Then uke gets up and starts fighting with nage for real? Even Tomiki competition was created with something else in mind besides win-lose.

The martial arts (at least the good ones) are there to teach you to be martially, budo strong so that you can live without fear, without doubt about effectiveness, without resorting to a crush the other person mentality, so that, like the saying goes, the highest quality is to choose not to fight.

There is no life and death in sport. There is no martially, budo strong to change/alter your mentality. Sure, you better yourself to a point and be a great sportsman, but then again, by the very definition of the word, you're still winning-losing in a non life threatening environment. There is no life-death in sport.

We can disagree on this, I'm fine with that. But, I find myself agreeing with Ueshiba. Martial Art, then Military, then Sport.

Quote:
Jim Cooper wrote: View Post
Yes, it might have been quite a few people quite some time before him :-)
Yeah, I was lazy and didn't want to look it up.

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Jim Cooper wrote: View Post
Like I said, if that's the way you think, someone taught you the wrong way to play sport. If that's normal in the US, then that's great shame.
I dunno. I see sports teams the world over with just one goal in mind, beating the other team or person. Never life-death, just a game with rules. When has one person or one team, in the history of sports, deliberately lost so that some higher ideal could be reached by the opposing person/team? That happens each and every practice in the martial arts. One person takes the "losing" side of practice, but in reality, it's never a "losing" side.

Sure, you can try to be above it all and be a great person, striving to do the best or be the best that you can. But, in the end, it is still in a limited venue with the mindset of winners and losers.

Ever hear or see a really good British Soccer player in a game, coming down to score a goal -- know that he can score because he is that good -- but decide to dial down his skill level so that the opposing team's goalie can learn to block better, thereby letting the opposing team win the game and the championship? Won't happen in sports. And if it ever does, it'll be so rare that it's statistically insignificant, or likely that bribes were involved.

Yet that very same mindset happens in good martial arts all the time.
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Old 07-09-2009, 10:50 AM   #60
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Re: Kyoso and shiai

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Ludwig Neveu wrote: View Post
I do aikido out of an insatiable curiosity, being a winner doesn't have anything to do with it.
So you win knowledge.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 07-09-2009, 10:56 AM   #61
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post

"Competing with others to further one's own professional or social career may bring some rewards, but at a tremendous cost to one's character."

Oh? Can you describe how so? This doesn't jive with my own personal experience, at least not in every case. Can you define the "tremendous cost"?
Certainly not in every case, but the dog-eat-dog world has its drawbacks. It is sad that in the professional world, people often advance by stepping on others.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 07-09-2009, 11:27 AM   #62
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Yes, but like Larry said, that is not competition...that's people.

Quote:
When was the last time you saw that kind of mentality in an aikido dojo? I really beat you with that kotegaeshi? Then uke gets up and starts fighting with nage for real? Even Tomiki competition was created with something else in mind besides win-lose.
Actually, I do know of places/events where that has happened. It usually follows this format:

Nage tries to throw uke with kotegaishi nage and fails. Uke says "that won't work on me if you do it like that." Nage get's upset, tries again, but harder and still fails...and maybe tries to punch uke in the mouth. Uke prevents this, but both end up on the floor rolling around. Instructors come over and separate them.

This exact scenario HAS happened. There are people on this board who witnessed it. At an aikido seminar.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:43 PM   #63
MM
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Yes, but like Larry said, that is not competition...that's people.

Actually, I do know of places/events where that has happened. It usually follows this format:

Nage tries to throw uke with kotegaishi nage and fails. Uke says "that won't work on me if you do it like that." Nage get's upset, tries again, but harder and still fails...and maybe tries to punch uke in the mouth. Uke prevents this, but both end up on the floor rolling around. Instructors come over and separate them.

This exact scenario HAS happened. There are people on this board who witnessed it. At an aikido seminar.

Best,
Ron
Hi Ron,

I believe you. However, it's a rare exception rather than common or even somewhat common. Out of all the dojos that are running (good ones, not McDojos), how often does that kind of incident happen? Yet, try googling either "sport riots" or "sport fights" and you'll find that it's somewhat common -- around the world. If a fight doesn't break out in a hockey game, it's not considered a good game. How many unsportsmanlike conduct flags in one football game? Fans rioting or throwing bottles onto the field. Etc, etc, etc.

The fact is that competition brings that out in people way, way more often than the martial arts do. That's the whole point. Sports are not even close to training the "spiritual" (I don't mean the new age kind of spiritual) component that a good martial art does. And the military has a structured training to it that rioting and fighting during games is rare.

And from what I can tell so far, I agree with Ueshiba.
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:17 PM   #64
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
When has one person or one team, in the history of sports, deliberately lost so that some higher ideal could be reached by the opposing person/team? That happens each and every practice in the martial arts. One person takes the "losing" side of practice, but in reality, it's never a "losing" side...

Ever hear or see a really good British Soccer player in a game, coming down to score a goal -- know that he can score because he is that good -- but decide to dial down his skill level so that the opposing team's goalie can learn to block better...

Yet that very same mindset happens in good martial arts all the time.
I don't completely disagree with you, but you're comparing apples and oranges here. Keiko is training, and a sports match is competition. Training vs competition has different purposes.

If you look at sports training, rather than competition, you will see similar behavior to Keiko. Athletes will tone down their plays so that the other person/team can practice and get better, and depending on how the specific sport works (like with something like wrestling for example), you will also see individuals purposely take the "losing" side so the other person can practice/experience "winning".

And if you're talking about the "spirituality" of sports, the exact sport in question is a factor. Some sports are much more "team based" then others. Take Football, for example---you have the quarterback and the receivers who get all the glory, but their success is largely dependent on the actions of the linebackers or whoever. Those guys don't exist for their own glory, their role is totally to support the needs of the team. Or take a Nascar racer's mechanics, it's easy to forget that they even exist.

Those types of "team" sports are certainly a minority, but for this type of discussion, I think it's problematic to lump all sports together.

--Timothy Kleinert

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Old 07-09-2009, 01:43 PM   #65
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Hi Mark, well, I don't know...the rolling around on the floor only happens when someone doesn't want to do the role playing...in other words, the hierarchy in aikido often simply masks the competitive natures of the people involved. If people simply allow the rank of the parties to settle the dispute, there is no rolling around. BUT if one of the parties elects not to play by that rule...all hell breaks loose.

Point being, the competitiveness is still there...it's just being masked.

Best,
Ron

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Old 07-09-2009, 02:16 PM   #66
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Quote:
Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
I don't completely disagree with you, but you're comparing apples and oranges here. Keiko is training, and a sports match is competition. Training vs competition has different purposes.

If you look at sports training, rather than competition, you will see similar behavior to Keiko. Athletes will tone down their plays so that the other person/team can practice and get better, and depending on how the specific sport works (like with something like wrestling for example), you will also see individuals purposely take the "losing" side so the other person can practice/experience "winning".

And if you're talking about the "spirituality" of sports, the exact sport in question is a factor. Some sports are much more "team based" then others. Take Football, for example---you have the quarterback and the receivers who get all the glory, but their success is largely dependent on the actions of the linebackers or whoever. Those guys don't exist for their own glory, their role is totally to support the needs of the team. Or take a Nascar racer's mechanics, it's easy to forget that they even exist.

Those types of "team" sports are certainly a minority, but for this type of discussion, I think it's problematic to lump all sports together.
and

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hi Mark, well, I don't know...the rolling around on the floor only happens when someone doesn't want to do the role playing...in other words, the hierarchy in aikido often simply masks the competitive natures of the people involved. If people simply allow the rank of the parties to settle the dispute, there is no rolling around. BUT if one of the parties elects not to play by that rule...all hell breaks loose.

Point being, the competitiveness is still there...it's just being masked.

Best,
Ron
No matter how you look at the training, whether from beginning to end, sports has one end goal -- winning or losing. You'd rather not be the latter.

No matter how you look at the training, whether from beginning to end, the military has one end goal -- safety of the nation, even at the cost of your life.

No matter how you look at the training, whether from beginning to end, martial arts has one end goal -- how to live your life.

Throughout training in sports, that end goal of winning is always present. Training encompasses that aspect always and in all ways. Competition is the underlying bedrock of sports.

Throughout training in the military, that end goal of winning is always present. Training encompasses that aspect by drilling to follow orders without hesitation and without fail, even to the cost of your life.

Throughout training in the martial arts, that end goal of how to live your life is there in overcoming the competitive nature, to be budo strong and not live in fear, to get to a point where fighting isn't a fantasy/dream, etc, etc.

All three are very different and I find that a good martial arts school encompasses much higher ideals than the other two. And while incidents do happen because of competitive natures, the martial arts are about coming to terms with that nature.

All sports are competitive. You are that nature no matter whether you play singularly or within a team. That underlying spirit of competitive nature is oppositional to the spirit of good martial arts. Or do you think that those quality martial arts (Like Ueshiba's Aikido) didn't want competition for some personal dislike? Just didn't want to be showy? Didn't understand the nature of true sports or sportsmanship?

IMO anyway,
Mark
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Old 07-09-2009, 03:35 PM   #67
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Perhaps if you go back and read Peter's post on the different types of words used for competition, our perspective will make more sense.

I have seen good competition and bad competition...in sport and in martial art. But hey, I suck, so what do I know?
Best,
Ron

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Old 07-09-2009, 04:14 PM   #68
C. David Henderson
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Just two cents:

I don't think its necessarily true that sports are different from budo in lacking an aspect of "life or death." In some sports people risk and sometimes lose their lives in competition.

In some sports, deaths are more or less freak accidents -- like when somebody breaks their neck or dies of a heart attack playing American football.

In other sports, the risk of death is more inherently part of training and competition Take cycling:

If you've ever descended off a mountain on a road bike at speeds over 50 mph, on tires about 25 cm wide, you likely understand in your bones and in your gut that if you crash you well may die. Deaths and career-ending injuries do occur in European road racing from riders going down on the road or off the tarmac on mountain stages. Mountain biking -- lower speeds, but more dangerous terrain.

I used to race on a pretty informal basis, and trained on mountain roads. I once had my front brake cable snap during a descent in the middle of a curve; on another occasion, a bee flew into my shoulder while descending.

Both times, I came really close to crashing, and I was afraid for my life. And my experiences in these and other situations are not that unusual.

Or consider going for a really long swim in open water without a boat to spot you.

Or take sports like hang gliding; free diving; free climbing....

Whatever benefit is to be derived from overcoming the kind of fear those situations and experiences engender is inherent in these sports.

Two cents.

regards,

cdh
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Old 07-10-2009, 12:10 AM   #69
Erick Mead
 
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I dunno. I see sports teams the world over with just one goal in mind, beating the other team or person.
WAIT! Somebody WINS at cricket ?!?... How do they tell??

I thought they just played until they ran out of tea, (... or was it gin?)

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:34 AM   #70
JimCooper
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Perhaps, I didn't explain that enough.
You did, I just have a different opinion. I really do mean they attempted to build his character, and not just so he would follow orders. Mind you, this was officer training in a very small Navy, so it was probably different to your experience.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Well, from the overall picture of sports to the detailed distinct reason of sports, it's different than martial arts.
Well, yes and no. Some MAs have drifted into being sports, really. And of course there is a difference between a MA and a sport, but that's to miss the point.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Overall picture of sports includes being a part of a team that competes in front of an audience.
Well, sometimes. There are non-team sports, and I very rarely had an audience when I played sport :-) I'm **not** talking mainly about professional sport, but that which nearly 100% of people playing sport play. (Although I have met a few top class sportspeople - representatives of their countries - and they have been the nicest people, very positive, always seeing problems as challenges to be overcome)

Of course there will always be overly-competitive people who are a PITA, both in sport and in a dojo.

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
And that's not always a good thing:
Ditto for martial arts. This is why people used to be screened before they were taught. You can learn a MA purely to be a more effective thug.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
When is the last time that you saw an aikido training session break out in riots?
I've never played in any game that broke out in riots.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
How about why you're actually playing that sport? What's the end goal? Isn't there always some trophy or award? There are always winners and losers. Someone always defeats someone else.
Well, no. There are draws and ties as well (they're actually different things in cricket).

I think this is the crux of the problem. If you were taught to play sport purely in order to win, then you were taught badly, and you've missed out on a great deal.

The point of sport is to **strive** to win.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
And how many sport fights have their been by team players?
How many wars have been fought by martial artists?

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
There is no life and death in sport.
I'm not so sure. Some sports are terrifyingly dangerous. And how much "life and death" is there in a modern dojo?

Like I said, it seems I was taught sport differently than you, and it *should* have many more benefits than you think. I'm sorry that has not been your experience
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:48 AM   #71
JimCooper
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
No matter how you look at the training, whether from beginning to end, sports has one end goal -- winning or losing.

<snip>

No matter how you look at the training, whether from beginning to end, martial arts has one end goal -- how to live your life.
You keep saying these things, but neither one is true. Sport does have more to it than that. You personally may not have experienced it, but that doesn't make it any less true.

Martial arts pay a lot of lip service (some don't even bother with that) to your supposed "one end goal", but it doesn't actually happen a whole lot, IME. And there is more to a MA than that one thing, too.

But in neither is any sort of character building going to happen automatically. It all depends on how you're taught. Professional sports people may or may not provide a good role model, ditto for martial artists - they're just less high profile. I could name some high grades who are pretty poor in that regard, as I'm sure we all could.

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Didn't understand the nature of true sports or sportsmanship?
The old masters had some different thoughts on the subject. Kano thought it was a good idea, Ueshiba didn't. AFAIK, Kano had some exposure to sport (and was a big supporter of the Olympics), Ueshiba didn't (dunno about the Olympics, but he was pretty racist up until WW2). Nobody's perfect :-)
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:53 AM   #72
JimCooper
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
WAIT! Somebody WINS at cricket ?!?... How do they tell??
Exactly the same way as they do in baseball. The only difference is that sometimes they run out of time to finish all the innings (which is a draw).

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
I thought they just played until they ran out of tea, (... or was it gin?)
At least it's not chewing tobacco :-)

And anyway, it's beer. Gin is strictly for those (English) spectators who want something stronger than Pimms. And we never run out of beer. Preparation is the key here.
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Old 07-25-2009, 06:06 AM   #73
Dusko Bojic
 
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Re: The Challenge of Not Competing

I didn't even start Aikido yet so I would like to apologise in advance to all which might take me for a wise-guy

Correct me if I am wrong please

The reason I am to join my local Aikido Dojo is to help me develop my own discipline.
At this stage of my life I became very aware of my Ego and what powers my Ego has over my life. I became aware of how Ego talks through me via Fear, Anger, Procrastination, Doubt, Competition, Pride, etc ... I became aware of me being owned by my Monkey Mind.
I realised the importance of silencing my Ego Monkey Mind and teaching it Humility.
I need a Teacher to help me during this break in period of change since my Ego is resisting and trying to put me back into the status quo. I need consistency and Dojo will help me with this.

In my every day life I find that Ego has many faces in order to deceive me and stay in the "protected" status quo. Ego doesn't like changes. Ego loves to compete and to win, to be the best of them all. Some Egos love to loose to punish them selves and these Egos usually tend to self-sabotage. I have a good friend of mine which is very good at achieving things, but he tends to self-sabotage at the end of each (almost) successful realisation (catch that).

I am yet to see someone winning a gold medal and refusing to take it Someone so humble "knowing" the real truth of the Universe which Is that I am unable to win by crushing down my opponent/enemy, I am part of the One Ki and my opponent/enemy is also the part of the One Ki, how can I be the winner if my opponent/enemy Is Down.

There is One thing which I wish to achieve and that is the real reason behind me willing to practice the art of Aikido; According to the founder, true victory is the victory one achieves over oneself!
And that Oneself is entangled most of the time in Ego based Monkey Mind schemes and one of them is Pride and Competition, proving to oneself and others that I AM the best or among the best.
I AM is our worse opponent and the best Teacher (I believe)

I see Aikido as being a Spiritual Mirror in which the attacker can see it self and learn the truth. I attack (to compete, to be better than ... ) and my own Ki is joining the Aikidokas Ki and suddenly my Ki is working against my intent of bringing down my opponent. I continue in a stubborn way to attack again and again until I fall down physically exhausted and this is the part when Ego falls a sleep and I realise the truth ... I was never attacking the Aikidoka but my own self.
Aikidoka's purpose was/Is to help me realise this truth (this is how I "see" Aikido)

In my belief Aikido is there to help us realise that we all are part of the One Ki. Meaning if I am to attack another being I am disturbing the peaceful flow of the Universal Ki which is in all of us.
Native Americans believed that there is no true happiness if even one of our relatives/relations is suffering.
Hence the Lakota saying Mitakuye Oyasin (all of creation Is my relatives).

I know it is difficult to live Spiritually in a Ego-based world where "I want For Me" is accepted readily than "I want For All of Us". How do I know this, well, I am in the middle of the battle where my Ego is constantly competing with my Spirit (even though an exhausting experience at least I became aware of it which is a "half way there")
Through Aikido practise I am willing to become my Ego's Mirror and let my Ego "see" the absurdness of the self. Ego will attack and my Spirit (Ki) will pin it or throw it (but gently) ... and again, and again ... and again if necessary for the rest of my life.

Here is where I apply the Samurai saying "Cry in the Dojo - Laugh in the battlefield" just the battlefield is within my self.

Once again, very helpful column and discussion and I apologise in advance to all which might take me for a wise-guy, it was not my intent.
Just in a case I sound strange please understand that I started discovering Ki through Reiki and Aikido is to become my extended Path.

p.s. my wife and her family can not play any game without putting some money in or just making the looser go and wash the dishes after the dinner (just so the game would be interesting they say). My wife sais that it is boring playing against me since I don't express competitive attitude like acting with triumph if I win or score or being disappointed if I loose or miss. That is why I prefer fishing without a hook ... just focusing on the red top of the floater on the wavy water surface. Pointless you might say ... we all have different experiences which make us believe what we believe and only time might change that believe or maybe it will be an Aikidoka which I as Ego will attack again and again and again and again ... until I as Ego collapse in this absurd competitive pursuit.

Thank you for reading

Kind regards, Dusko

"Accepting what Is. You don't try to change it. You don't run from it and you don't try to fight with it. You just accept it and embrace it."Aikido
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