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Old 08-11-2009, 07:14 PM   #26
Roy Balikpapan
 
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

For me, aikido is a mean for a resolution to a conflict, bring peace to surroundings and showing true path of the way of harmony.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:46 PM   #27
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Brian Northrup wrote: View Post
It has been my experience in watching people transform over the years in Aikido, that has lead me to ask this question. I have seen some harden martial artist wanting to break people apart, transform into softer, gentler, more spiritual martial artist through there training, though they may not admit it.
But why place the label "spiritual" on this transformation? From Webster:

spiritual:

1 : of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit : incorporeal <spiritual needs>
2 a : of or relating to sacred matters <spiritual songs> b : ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal <spiritual authority> <lords spiritual>
3 : concerned with religious values
4 : related or joined in spirit <our spiritual home> <his spiritual heir>
5 a : of or relating to supernatural beings or phenomena b : of, relating to, or involving spiritualism : spiritualistic

So where's the "spiritual" part of the transformation? Did these people you're talking about develop a concern for the sacred or the divine? Is that the only way that anyone becomes "softer" and "gentler"? How about a simple pragmatic realization that being a hammerhead is just plain no fun and shortens the lifespan? No higher power needed for that one...
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:00 PM   #28
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Talking Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
But why place the label "spiritual" on this transformation? From Webster:

spiritual:

1 : of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit : incorporeal
2 a : of or relating to sacred matters b : ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal
3 : concerned with religious values
4 : related or joined in spirit
5 a : of or relating to supernatural beings or phenomena b : of, relating to, or involving spiritualism : spiritualistic

So where's the "spiritual" part of the transformation? Did these people you're talking about develop a concern for the sacred or the divine? Is that the only way that anyone becomes "softer" and "gentler"? How about a simple pragmatic realization that being a hammerhead is just plain no fun and shortens the lifespan? No higher power needed for that one...
I think you like to be confrontational. Everything i have ever posted on here that you have responded to has been in opposition to what i think, have you noticed that

webster may have its definition of spiritual, but my definition has to do with working on my inner most self, to be a better person, and not by means of a higher power. As i stated in an earlier post spirituality can be completely separate from being religious. IMHO
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Old 08-12-2009, 08:01 AM   #29
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

I use that label because to me that is exactly what it is. I have had lots and lots of the religious kind but to me this is far beyond the limitations of religious spirituality. I suppose definition 4 in your post comes closest to what I mean. Spirit/energy/ki.... what is ai-ki-do without it? Again form my personal point of view. I can understand yours is not the same.

Quote:
webster may have its definition of spiritual, but my definition has to do with working on my inner most self, to be a better person, and not by means of a higher power. As i stated in an earlier post spirituality can be completely separate from being religious. IMHO
Brian and I are on the same page.

I came to aikido looking to explore and get to understand and improve me more not to have the ability to beat the snot out of someone.(not to say anyone here has come to aikido for that reason) I have the good fortune to have the influence of people who see martial arts as a way to improve the self. And to me, and to my knowledge to at least one of them, that is a spiritual journey.

Last edited by Shadowfax : 08-12-2009 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 08-12-2009, 08:29 AM   #30
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
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I think you like to be confrontational. Everything i have ever posted on here that you have responded to has been in opposition to what i think, have you noticed that
I think putting a smiley on a statement like that doesn't make it any "softer" or "gentler".

Quote:
Brian Northrup wrote: View Post
webster may have its definition of spiritual, but my definition has to do with working on my inner most self, to be a better person, and not by means of a higher power. As i stated in an earlier post spirituality can be completely separate from being religious. IMHO
Sure, and that's what Webster says (or implies) too. Your definition of "spiritual", however, doesn't quite seem to be the consensus definition (which, I'm sure you'll admit, is fairly well represented by a mainstream dictionary). You're defining the word "spiritual" to mean anything having to do with your "inner most self". I think that's a bit broader than the consensus definition, and that there are any number of ways of "working on [one's] inner most self" that aren't necessarily "spiritual". I don't mean by this that your personal changes aren't spiritual changes, only that speaking generically, striving for self-improvement isn't always a process of spiritual transformation.

Also, as I pointed out using your example of the former hammerhead who becomes "softer" and "gentler", there are any number of ways that that transformation can come about that don't fall under the "spiritual" umbrella -- unless you're being very, very broad in your definition.

There are a lot of great descriptive words in the English language. "Spiritual" is one of them, but I think it does get overused a bit in the martial arts context.
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Old 08-12-2009, 08:30 AM   #31
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Both, the martial as as a way of developing the spiritual.

David
Agreed.

But Aikido is and always has been a MARTIAL art. That is how O'Sensei tought it, and that is how it should be practiced.

"When you bow deeply to the universe, it bows back; when you call out the name of God, it echoes inside you." - O' sensei
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:42 AM   #32
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Mary wrote:

Quote:
). You're defining the word "spiritual" to mean anything having to do with your "inner most self".
I would submit that working on yourself with no attention to how you relate to the greater, however you define that. Social, Global, Universe....is...simply narcissism and not spritiuality.

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Old 08-12-2009, 12:27 PM   #33
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I would submit that working on yourself with no attention to how you relate to the greater, however you define that. Social, Global, Universe....is...simply narcissism and not spritiuality.
That's a bit of a false dichotomy though. If you're "working on yourself" in an effort to (for example) learn to master your temper, and your reason for doing so is because your temper keeps getting you into trouble, that isn't a spiritual exercise, but neither is it narcissism, really.
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Old 08-12-2009, 04:47 PM   #34
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Good point Mary...but I think it depends on your overall intent and paradigm.

If is is completely all about you..then it isn't spritiual. If it is about how to improve you relationship with others and the world and maybe a greater cause/good/concept...that is external to you..then I think it can be called spiritual.

Most folks I think want to fix things like temper because it has caused them problems with others and they want to fix that part of them.

Some might call it spirtual...some might want to label it something else...doesn't matter to me.

But I don't think it can be spiritual if it does not consider the external aspect of a relationship with something else.

That said, many of the spiritual practices such as silent retreats are by design meant to be very private and internal, which at surface value might appear to be very narrcisistic.

The Irony of it though is that I think in most cases the practice can lead to a greater understanding of self and which in turn helps you to better understand your relationship to the external world and /or ______.

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Old 08-12-2009, 05:07 PM   #35
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

The true pupose of aikido is to make positive, constructive connections and relationships to our fellow men, women, and children.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:21 AM   #36
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
The true pupose of aikido is to make positive, constructive connections and relationships to our fellow men, women, and children.
what about domesticated and non-domesticated animals? don't know about cats, but dogs should be ok, right?
what about foods and drinks? don't you want to make positive and constructive connections as well? there are times when i really like to make a good connection to a juicy steak.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:16 AM   #37
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

One of my sensei's once mentioned this... in his 30 odd years training in aikido, he's never once had to use it in a real fight. He's also never been injured in class. Nor his students. He thought it really funny that in some cases, students get more injured in the dojo than they ever would outside class. He believed that the training should improve us as human beings, that's all really.

FWIW anyway.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:10 PM   #38
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Ahmad Abas wrote: View Post
He believed that the training should improve us as human beings, that's all really.

FWIW anyway.
Just for sake of discussion...so you could really do anything in a class at any level of quality, call in aiki and be successful, and call it a day and label it mission accomplished.

So, this always begs the question for me...as asked in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance.

What is Quality? and how do we know when we achieve it?

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Old 08-14-2009, 12:36 PM   #39
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Re spirituality: to me it is not the same as "personal growth" per se. There are psychological issues, emotional issues, philosophical issues and spiritual issues; being humans, ie, being inherently sort of sloppy, of course there is going to be overlap between these things. But to me, what I wrote in an essay for the Mirror in 2004 holds true:"spirituality: that which connects me with the world." That's why I DON'T consider painting, which is in inward directed discipline that keeps me sane and helps me mediate reality, my spiritual process.

Now aikido doesn't HAVE to be a spiritual process. For some people it's a great workout, or a kinesthetic puzzle to solve, or whatever floats their boat. For me, it is. This is in no way separate from it being a martial art. It resonates for me because it is in the practice of the martial art, in refining via the regular physical training my abilities in the martial art, that I am also consciously working on how I relate to other people and how I exist in the universe.
YMMV and probably does :-)

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:48 PM   #40
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Emm, I really wouldn't call anything aiki. I mean not as I understand it. If I read your meaning well, I would assume you mean peaceful resolution?

Ok from that starting point, a peaceful resolution of a conflict properly done is what I think would be successful. Quality here would mean that the person achieved this resolution in way where he himself does not create conflict to achieve the goal.

Of course if students came into class and just danced with each other, then they really haven't done any peaceful resolution of conflict. The idea that they cooperate from the get-go means that neither has invested anytime in learning anything. I don't think my sensei means that.

But from a teacher's point of view, his goal is to create better people. Teaching people that harmony can be achieved in the face of violence. That strength does not equate to power. That 'winning' over others is not a goal to strive for, but winning over ourselves is. I don't think he set out to teach people how to kick ass or prove anything. There's enough of that going around don't you think? So wouldn't it be great that just a few hundred of people didn't come to class to fight better but to be better human beings?

Martial arts everywhere is showing the best punch, the immovable body, the force field ki, the fastest kick, the quickest knock out and so on so forth. All in the neverending quest of what? Finding a bad guy to destroy? Protecting innocents against a pack of evil ninjas?

Truth to be told, I've only encountered violence on the street thrice. In all the circumstances I avoided a fight, a mugging and a gang fight without once throwing a strike. It is unfortunate that I found myself in that situation at all. But sometimes you're just unlucky I guess. However, I was taught calmness. Calmness is not a technique. Yet I didn't need techniques in those situations, all I needed was calmness. Because I was calm, my body was relaxed. Because I was relaxed, I moved naturally and without aggression. My aggressors could not respond properly against this. (on hindsight mind you. I didn't analyse this as it happened).

During a fight (which I broke up by the way), the attacker just couldn't commit to the attack anymore. And all I did was just hold him calmly. During the mugging, the muggers just let me go as I released myself from their hold and walk across the street. Will this happen everytime I meet disaster on the road? I don't think so. But so far so good. I've not had to contend with breaking someone's neck and wounding my soul yet.

I'll be the first to admit, teaching no techniques and just meditating in class is a recipe for disaster. Pretty soon everyone is going to think its all a bed of roses out there and thinking happy thoughts is going to stop that guy with the baseball bat. But you can do all that fancy stuff like taisabaki, learning kuzushi, maai (or positional dominance as you like to call it) etc etc, and it won't really decide what's going to happen in a real situation. The other guy might be better and you get your ass creamed, or vice versa.

To wrap this long winded response, (I'm sorry I just don't know how to get my point across succinctly). I understand your concern for martial effectiveness. I agree we should learn that, since Aikido is budo. But I also subscribe to my teachers belief that learning Aikido should promote self development and not self hurt. Be it spiritually, psychologically or physically. If we create a tense atmosphere in class and hurt our partners and ourselves, we are only destroying the harmony. So, that should be a primary goal I suppose.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:58 PM   #41
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Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
I use that label because to me that is exactly what it is. I have had lots and lots of the religious kind but to me this is far beyond the limitations of religious spirituality. I suppose definition 4 in your post comes closest to what I mean. Spirit/energy/ki.... what is ai-ki-do without it? Again form my personal point of view. I can understand yours is not the same.

Brian and I are on the same page.

I came to aikido looking to explore and get to understand and improve me more not to have the ability to beat the snot out of someone.(not to say anyone here has come to aikido for that reason) I have the good fortune to have the influence of people who see martial arts as a way to improve the self. And to me, and to my knowledge to at least one of them, that is a spiritual journey.
I wholeheartedly agree that the martial arts are an excellent way to improve oneself and consequently, how one relates to the larger world. I have been fortunate enough to have been involved for 25 years and still (gratefully) going strong.

However, I had not encountered the dichotomy of martial application vs. self-improvement... discovery, until I began Aikido. In so many other arts (it will certainly vary to a degree) Budo is the perspective as well, but martial application/effectiveness is a given. In Aikido it often seems like a fork in the road-if you choose one you can't have or shouldn't want the other. One can actually become a better human being and yet, also defend themselves. It continues to baffle me why the dichotomy?
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:37 PM   #42
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
what about domesticated and non-domesticated animals? don't know about cats, but dogs should be ok, right?
what about foods and drinks? don't you want to make positive and constructive connections as well? there are times when i really like to make a good connection to a juicy steak.
yes, yes! All those as well. Thanks for reminding me Phi.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:41 PM   #43
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

I think alot of the issue depends on your definition of Self Defense.

Most folks I think believe that self defense simply deals with that what you do AFTER someone attacks you.

Contrary to that, I firmly believe what is a better model is those things that you do BEFORE someone attacks.

No, that doesn't mean "pre-emptive strike" in the physical sense, but taking appropriate measures to shut down violence from even occurring.

That is, learning to recognize and identify threats, taking time to really understanding them. Separating irrational fear from reality, and then taking appropriate measures to mitigate things.

It begins with seeking to understand.

We do so many actions our of fear. In many ways fear is our primary motivator in life and it should not be.

Self Defense in the respect of how I like to study it comes from the basis of true strength. It allows you to reduce and eliminate fear, see things for what they really are, be strong, and to deal directly with the factors.

When we do things this way, we can embrace our enemy. Enter (Irimi) and off balance them.

I recommend reading the link that Janet gave a few days ago for a real life non-physical example.

From a Military standpoint, FWIW, I am spending two weeks going through a course on Irregular warfare which is all about this issue. That is, using non-kinetic means, from a position of authentic power and strength to solve real physical threats and to achieve peace.

Anyway, I think aikido is about this bigger picture if you want to look at it from a philosophical view, and not about the crappy little techniques that we do, which if you had to do them for real, are not trained in anyway the way we typically do in aikido necessarily. So, there must be something more than physcial self defense, as there are many more efficient ways to train this stuff.

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Old 08-14-2009, 04:18 PM   #44
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

This entire discussion seems to be a matter of semantics. I, for one, find it hard enough to speak for myself, much less the entire body of aikidoka, or the whole of humanity. We are taking issue with what our own perception of others' thoughts are, whereas even subtle differences in meaning do not mean differences of intent. An ad infinitum discussion may not lead to anything more than the realization that it may simply be better to agree to disagree.
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:58 PM   #45
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Ahmad,

Thanks for taking the time to respond!

Quote:
Ok from that starting point, a peaceful resolution of a conflict properly done is what I think would be successful. Quality here would mean that the person achieved this resolution in way where he himself does not create conflict to achieve the goal.
Just some thoughts....I think we sit folks up for failure in an unintentional way when we define what the endstate should look like. Thtat is, anything short of peaceful resolution is failure.

I think the best we can do is to properly train them to understand violence and their own shortcomings as best we can. They have to decide for themselves how much is enough. Some folks want to get very deep and very physical with training. This is fine and we should when possible allow them to explore this realm. That way they might have a better understanding, if nothing else "Oh crap, I am in big trouble if something happens!".

On the other side of the coin, as you state, they might also better understand how to avoid trouble, recognize it, have awareness of it and be able to deal with it as well.

As far as the ethics of "HOW" the situation ends, well I think that is personal and each individual has to live with the karma they create and they will know if they feel the acted in a just manner.

I believe the best we can offer them in budo is the opportunity to explore and experience. I think we'd better serve our folks if we didn't inject a perception of what is appropriate and what is not within the sphere of martial study.

Quote:
But from a teacher's point of view, his goal is to create better people. Teaching people that harmony can be achieved in the face of violence. That strength does not equate to power. That 'winning' over others is not a goal to strive for, but winning over ourselves is. I don't think he set out to teach people how to kick ass or prove anything. There's enough of that going around don't you think? So wouldn't it be great that just a few hundred of people didn't come to class to fight better but to be better human beings?
Better people? well I think we can only give them a safe place to train that is non-attributional and non-judgemental. A good teacher is able to look at a student, give them a framework in which to experience budo. Better people? Well, I am not sure how you do that, I think each individual is the judge of their own character.

Harmony in the face of violence? Maybe it is semantics, but I don't think this is a good thing to espouse personally. I think what happens again is that we set people up for failure with this. One either they think they can actually do this and get hurt or killed. Two, I don't think it is obtainable in the face of violence.

I think we do our best not to be violent, but when faced with it...well it is present if you like it or not and you are a part of it. The only thing you have is choice on how to respond...but you cannot bring harmony to a violent situation necessarily.

So, with that, again, I think we can only teach our students how to face violence, that it is real, ugly, and we need to do our best to increase our experiences and skills, which hopefully expands our choice range to deal with violence as skillfully as possible.

I submit if we really care about our students and physical violence is a real threat then we should place them in very stressful situations that are mean and ugly. That would be more compassionate and more sincere and honest than dancing around a dojo espousing that "Love is great!".

So sure, I think there is already enough violence in the world, but I also think the irony of the situation in budo is that we just might have to teach them to be better fighters!

However, I will caveat that by saying that "better fighter" is a big, big subject and it does not always mean walking around with a big club knocking the crap out of everything that seems threatening...that is low skill and what we want is high skill!

Thanks again for the response!

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Old 08-14-2009, 05:03 PM   #46
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
This entire discussion seems to be a matter of semantics. I, for one, find it hard enough to speak for myself, much less the entire body of aikidoka, or the whole of humanity. We are taking issue with what our own perception of others' thoughts are, whereas even subtle differences in meaning do not mean differences of intent. An ad infinitum discussion may not lead to anything more than the realization that it may simply be better to agree to disagree.
Chuck,

I agree, but also these semantics also begin to turn into perceptions, which become paradigms, which become predjudices which can also turn into "clutter" that lead us from being able to see what is really going on.

It really sucks to be on one end of the stick thinking one thing and have your opposition not agreeing to yours...and then find out that your perception of reality is on the losing reality!

So I really think it is good to have ad infinitum discussions if it leads people to consider other perspectives. Agreeing to disagree is simply being polite and "PC" and we then go on about our business.

I think budo is really about having the same discussion over and over. If we learned ikkyo on the first night of aikido practice, then why do it again?

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Old 08-14-2009, 07:21 PM   #47
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
So I really think it is good to have ad infinitum discussions if it leads people to consider other perspectives. Agreeing to disagree is simply being polite and "PC" and we then go on about our business.
Some might be doing this, while others are simply arguing a point. Agreeing to disagree is not necessarily an attempt to placate or patronize, but possibly an earnest attempt by one or more of the participants to recognize that opposing views may exist, and be unresolvable by further beating of the horse. "What is Aikido?" is one of those paradoxical questions that always results in this very same discussion.

Last edited by crbateman : 08-14-2009 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:47 PM   #48
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
Some might be doing this, while others are simply arguing a point. Agreeing to disagree is not necessarily an attempt to placate or patronize, but possibly an earnest attempt by one or more of the participants to recognize that opposing views may exist, and be unresolvable by further beating of the horse. "What is Aikido?" is one of those paradoxical questions that always results in this very same discussion.
I agree!

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Old 08-14-2009, 07:57 PM   #49
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Kevin,

I think you're right in that we should not define what is the 'right way' or the 'only way' to solve something. Life is a puzzle that has many ways about it. So we shouldn't say do this and do that to someone. I believe Aikido is one way of doing things. Perhaps, that is in itself framing Aikido into one aspect. But surely, if Aikido is everything and anything, it no longer can be categorised or understood?

Maybe I just understand it a bit too simply at times. If Aikido is meant to strive for harmony and love, than what we do with it reflects our skill in it. Don't you think?

As to how someone deals with violence happening to him. I totally agree it is up to him. No teacher can teach every single response to an encounter. Ultimately, the teacher guides 20% (or thereabouts) of the students knowledge into the art and the student achieves the balance through his own training, experience and understanding. So in this, I believe teachers are responsible for getting the students to be aware of the principles behind aikido's philosophy and techniques. Not only to be aware, but the teacher must demonstrate it so that the students may feel it working or happening. Its no use saying, yes there is a way out of this situation without giving in to the conflict or creating your own, but also to be able to do it at that point in time. Definitely and most assuredly, the student wouldn't be able to achieve that level of sophistication overnight but he now knows that the possibility exists should he maintain his dedication to train and achieve that level of skill and knowledge.

In the meantime, should he encounter violence, then what should he do? Then, I fully subscribe to what you have stated as well. The student whilst aware that there are better ways to resolve this, should first and foremost respond to his best ability in ensuring that him and his loved ones are protected first. The essence of budo is to protect something you love or are responsible for. Be this is achieved by using a gun or a conversation, at the end of the day the objective is what it is. As his level of skill develop, his ability to resolve conflict increases. However, the frame of mind he has is important. We hope that he understands violence in itself is not desirable. We hope that his training makes him a better person by teaching him not to be attracted to violence but also to not shirk his responsibility if forced into it. An example is this. A fight is about to happen because some bullies are forcing you into a corner and insulting you. They are not harming you physically yet but are gagging for a fight. Do you give in and let em have it or do you swallow that wounded pride and try to placate them the best way you can? I believe Terry Dobson related a nice story about the drunken man in Tokyo who created a ruckus in the train he was riding in. Terry wanted to use his aikido skills to take care of this guy, yet at the end, an old man brought the drunken man to tears just by his use of kind words. Can we say that this will bring down anyone who stands in our way? Well, I don't know the answer to that. Perhaps, and perhaps not but our mentality should have that as part of our arsenal anyway. We shouldn't just gear up for a physical fight. Even if it escalates into a physical fight, mentally we should frame our minds that we can be better than this.

Most of us here probably have learned something else besides Aikido. I still do actually. The other art I'm learning is really really violent. Of course the teacher forbids us to go look for a fight, but when it comes to defending ourselves, we have to let everything go. Its something I learned that really opened my eyes. I've done 7 years of taekwondo and about 11 years of aikido. I didn't have an answer to what this guy showed me 3 years ago. But I never became comfortable with the results. At the end of it, using this art will ultimately injure seriously or kill the attacker. Although preferable to your own injury or death, and at that time I thought (well they asked for it anyway), at the end of it all causing them hurt will hurt me in the end if not physically, psychologically. No matter how much I hate the thugs out there who hurt others weaker than they are, if we hurt them when we don't have to, we will become something like them. I don't want that. I don't want my kid to see that happen either.

That is why after learning the other art, I actually turn back to look at aikido from a different perspective. Could this art give me a better answer. And this is after I deduced that aikido couldn't offer me a better fighting technique compared to the other art I was learning. In the end, it wasn't technique that I was looking for. It was a 'way'. And that 'way' can be used through any means, even in the art I loosely called ultra violent. I found the way from Aikido after looking at it the 2nd time. But I don't have to use Aikido 'techniques' to apply it.

I hope that clarifies my position in this. Its personal. And I do believe, what we make out of aikido is also personal. Osensei may have wanted his students to achieve something with Aikido, but he certainly didn't force them to be like him. Make aikido your own, and look at all the different teachers of aikido out there. His first generation students who do things so differently from each other. If Osensei had the wisdom to allow this, why should any younger teachers feel that they can define what is and what is not the only way of doing things?

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:24 PM   #50
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: The true purpose of Aikido?

Ahmad wrote:
Quote:
But surely, if Aikido is everything and anything, it no longer can be categorised or understood?

Maybe I just understand it a bit too simply at times. If Aikido is meant to strive for harmony and love, than what we do with it reflects our skill in it. Don't you think?
I think this is a tough one to answer. I think the best we can do is offer the framework of what we consider to be appropriate and good practice to foster the environment we would like to create for ourselves and others. (I know, not much of an answer!)

Quote:
That is why after learning the other art, I actually turn back to look at aikido from a different perspective. Could this art give me a better answer. And this is after I deduced that aikido couldn't offer me a better fighting technique compared to the other art I was learning. In the end, it wasn't technique that I was looking for. It was a 'way'. And that 'way' can be used through any means, even in the art I loosely called ultra violent. I found the way from Aikido after looking at it the 2nd time. But I don't have to use Aikido 'techniques' to apply it.
I understand what you mean. I spent yesterday learning some new Training, Tactics and Procedures (TTPs) for using a knife in military combatives and for "effective fighting". Very enlightening and very specific for engaging and killing in the heat of a close quarters battle. Applicable in self defense. Most definitely, but also I think you'd have some hard explaining to do if you did what I learned yesterday in a civilian setting! That and the scenarios are very agressive and "forward". Not something I believe really would be very appropriate in a "civilian" setting for self defense really.

So, I think when you are looking at techniques there are alot of factors that must be considered.

Aikido I think offers a good framework for teaching martial principles, which actually apply to what I was doing yesterday, but applied in a much different way than might normally be done.

So as long as aikido is taught with the correct martial principles (physical) minus the TTPs, then that is good for a framework.

From there you can open it up to add military applications, police applications, or self defense applications..all of which may have their own flavor of timing, use of force etc.

I think sometimes we get this aspect confused. that is, confusing the study of AIKI with the study of TTPs.

In studying military tactics for close quarters fighitng, we operate on a much narrower set of parameters of skill. In aikido we have a much larger set of parameters when we study the principles.

So do we venture into the realm of scenario based training? Well I think that depends on the dojo and the individuals.

What I don't like is when we try to synthesize the two. That is, teach principles of aiki then proceed to then say "well this is how you would use it in self defense." When in all actuality it probably is not, the students are never exposed to the level of stress and non-cooperation, nor are the use of force rules or situational conditions ever discussed.

The instructor may understand the distinction, but what the student sees and hears is "Oh cool, I can use this in a real situation and I can blend with my attacker to neutralize it".

I think it is better to stick to the princple based framework to teach, and then teach a separate block of instruction on self defense skills that would help the student tie in the principles.

Hope this makes sense! Thanks for the discussion!

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