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Old 01-28-2010, 03:52 PM   #26
mathewjgano
 
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Re: My dark side and aikido

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I found it to be an extremely disturbing book, although perhaps it is somewhat less so if you're male.
Could you give an example? Not to go off-topic: Perhaps it would relate to the "dark side" aspect of the topic?
I've thought about reading it, but the title is off-putting for me somehow. I view fear as a natural thing and all, but I'd be fine if it were kept at a minimum. No more a gift than the time I fell out of a tree: they both promote careful behavior, sure, but at what cost? I can be careful without being afraid...in fact I usually am more so.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 01-28-2010, 03:55 PM   #27
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Re: My dark side and aikido

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I recall a conversation here on Aikiweb where a fellow described an aspect of aggression as being the product of manifested behavior. In other words, the more you express aggression, the more likely you are to express aggression further. I believe his example was that in many cases people are given an object to transfer their aggression on as way of channeling the behavior into more appropriate settings (e.g. hitting a pillow instead of a person), but that in many folks this reinforces the initial spark of anger...much like scratching an itch, something which actually reinforces the itchy feeling. I've noticed this tendancy to form from my more aggressive activities.
Well, in my case it came from the activity of fighting specifically. Fighting is fun, especially in a sport fashion, of course it's not for everyone. But as you can imagine, having the urge to fight in the ring transfers quite well to have the urge to fight on the street.
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Old 01-28-2010, 04:56 PM   #28
mathewjgano
 
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Re: My dark side and aikido

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Dexter Thomas wrote: View Post
Well, in my case it came from the activity of fighting specifically. Fighting is fun, especially in a sport fashion, of course it's not for everyone. But as you can imagine, having the urge to fight in the ring transfers quite well to have the urge to fight on the street.
Absolutely! And I imagine having that visceral experience hardwired into your muscle memory has an additive affect, not to mention the feeling that might come from being fairly good at it. The folks I've known who were good at fighting really liked doing it and were much quicker to fight because of it...not to mention how "cool" it is in most societies (Eazy-E fan here).

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:27 PM   #29
FightFireWithPeace
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Re: My dark side and aikido

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Absolutely! And I imagine having that visceral experience hardwired into your muscle memory has an additive affect, not to mention the feeling that might come from being fairly good at it. The folks I've known who were good at fighting really liked doing it and were much quicker to fight because of it...not to mention how "cool" it is in most societies (Eazy-E fan here).
I have the opposite experience with my fighter friends. It's fun to fight people of your level. It's not fun to slaughter some untrained meat head. Anyone that I know that is a high level fighter is slower to fight, but they commit to it more. If they're going to fight, you deserve the knock out you're going to get.
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:10 PM   #30
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Re: My dark side and aikido

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Could you give an example? Not to go off-topic: Perhaps it would relate to the "dark side" aspect of the topic?
It had a number of absolutely horrible anecdotes filled with truly sickening violence and victimization. They weren't gratuitous, and they were used in aid of the author's point...but they were nevertheless so disturbing that I just had to put the book down, and I'm not easily rattled.

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I've thought about reading it, but the title is off-putting for me somehow. I view fear as a natural thing and all, but I'd be fine if it were kept at a minimum. No more a gift than the time I fell out of a tree: they both promote careful behavior, sure, but at what cost? I can be careful without being afraid...in fact I usually am more so.
Well, the title is (perhaps) a bit misleading. As I interpret it, the "gift" that de Becker is talking about comes from fear, but fear itself isn't the gift. The gift is information, and fear is the clue, the symptom, that lets you know that on some level, you realize that there's something badly wrong with this situation. Fear is like the noise that the attacker makes as he walks up behind you: it isn't a good thing, and you'd really rather that the situation was such that you didn't hear that noise at all...but given that the attacker is there, that that's the reality, the ability to hear it (as opposed to not hearing it and getting coshed on the head), and the information that hearing that noise gives you, is a gift.

I dunno, I will have to go back and try and reread that book again. It just really disturbed me.
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Old 01-29-2010, 01:18 AM   #31
eyrie
 
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Re: My dark side and aikido

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I wonder how common this is. It's a widely-held belief among non-martial artists -- I'm sure we've all heard some version of, "Oh, you do martial arts, I bet that's a really great way to get your aggressions/frustrations out." But I've never felt anything remotely like this, and I've always thought that it was a misconception. Am I wrong about this?
Seeing as how I've never heard that one before, it can't be too common... it's usually (coming from the fairer sex) "Oh, so you do martial arts? So, I wouldn't want to be in a dark alley with you then?"

Uh huh... My usual response is... there could only be two possible reasons I would be in a dark alley with you.. and it ain't for rock-n-roll... so you and I in the vicinity of a dark alley would make you...??

Ignatius
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Old 01-29-2010, 07:52 AM   #32
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Re: My dark side and aikido

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
Seeing as how I've never heard that one before, it can't be too common... it's usually (coming from the fairer sex) "Oh, so you do martial arts? So, I wouldn't want to be in a dark alley with you then?"
Mmmmyeaah, well...that's really just a variant of the same misconception, I think.
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Old 01-29-2010, 12:16 PM   #33
fisher6000
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Re: My dark side and aikido

I haven't read both pages of responses, so forgive me if this has already been covered. I have two thoughts and a tangent:

1. I think that most of my own "dark side" as you call it behavior and thinking comes out of feeling like I can't take a confrontation, and that the ugliest things I have done to people in my life have been the result of me being "too nice." When I am "too nice" to people, I tend to exist in this world inside my head in which everyone is supposed to be playing by the same rules I am playing by without my need to set boundaries or otherwise shape behavior. So when people don't act as I expect them to, I put up and put up and put up until I overreact with what I feel is justified indignance, violence and fear.

Aikido has served as a fantastic metaphor for not putting myself in that position, has helped me be more capable of managing confrontation before it starts in a way that's loving and fair to both parties. Basically, aikido helps me see that when I don't protect myself, when I put up, I am not playing fair: I am setting up the situation for disaster in the first place.

2. As someone who's tended a lot of bar myself, I think it's hard to stay out of the "too nice" zone when working as a server in the restaurant industry, but it is possible. Setting boundaries with customers is a loving act, and can be done in ways that are not threatening.

I'm going to take the tangent to a new post.
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Old 01-29-2010, 04:57 PM   #34
eyrie
 
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Re: My dark side and aikido

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Jeremy Madden wrote: View Post
I work as a bartender in a restaurant....... I choose only to defend myself verbally when I'm pushed to my limit... But in this particular case I cannot walk away. I'm forced to simply remain silent and keep as much distance as possible to avoid any kind of confrontation. My issue isn't so much how do deal with the people themselves, but with my own quiet anger... But even the knowledge of this fact doesn't stop me from wanting to beat the tar out someone.
Put simply, it's not your job to police the unruly patrons - that's what bouncers are for. Even if the unruly patron somehow manages to get over the bar and launch at you, you still have to "be nice" about it - unless you fancy looking for similar work in the industry. Good luck with that. Watch Roadhouse sometime - the start at least.

Quote:
I took this to mean, at least in this case, that with practice one can control ones dark side, to acknowledge it and keep it in check. Has anyone else battled their demons, their dark side, their desire for violence? Is this something that I can overcome with practice? Or will it simply take time?
This all sounds very Luke Skywalker-ish... yes, yes, embrace the dark side, and give in to your hate... OR you can simply choose to exercise control of your emotions, or let it control you.

Ignatius
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Old 01-29-2010, 05:18 PM   #35
Janet Rosen
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Re: My dark side and aikido

I read Gift of Fear years ago and recommend it for anybody who didn't have to grow up w/ "street smarts" - because that's really what it is about, developing and trusting your intuition instead of "being polite" and meekly walking into or alongside danger.

Janet Rosen
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Old 01-29-2010, 06:00 PM   #36
Phil Ingram
 
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Re: My dark side and aikido

[quote= Has anyone else battled their demons, their dark side, their desire for violence? Is this something that I can overcome with practice? Or will it simply take time.[/QUOTE]

Hey Mate
I had to smile when i read this blog,I myself have a terrible temper which i have been trying to master all my life these are my thoughts, when i was in my 20's I studied karate my teacher at the time took 1 look at me and knew i had a anger issue so he made me punch a bag until i could not punch any more then he would say are you ready to train?,I would be like ok he seemed to redirect my energy from negative to positive martial arts for me is a release i need it like i need air it helps me keep control of my turbulent thoughts.

So now i am training in Aikido and thought these moments I find myself happier than I have been in years though pinning someone in Aikido and keeping control of them I feel centered.

You may want to take up some breathing or meditation techniques
to help you when these thought arise.

regards
Phil

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.
Matsuo Basho
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Old 01-30-2010, 12:47 AM   #37
tarik
 
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Re: My dark side and aikido

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I wonder how common this is. It's a widely-held belief among non-martial artists -- I'm sure we've all heard some version of, "Oh, you do martial arts, I bet that's a really great way to get your aggressions/frustrations out." But I've never felt anything remotely like this, and I've always thought that it was a misconception. Am I wrong about this?
I wouldn't describe it as an 'itch', which I think of as more applying to the 'fun' that Dexter mentioned, but I have certainly had the overwhelming urge on numerous occasions to use my fists to destroy people and/or things, and I'd be surprised to learn that very many men I've met haven't had it, even if they haven't expressed it.

That feeling scared me. That and witnessing other people in my life yielding to such an urge is exactly what It's what brought me to the martial arts as a teen.

I'd say that people train for many different reasons (including me), but dealing with aggression and frustration and can be a very real part of many people's training, albeit not usually all the time.

Best,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 01-30-2010, 05:45 AM   #38
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Re: My dark side and aikido

Aikido is certainly, for me, about training myself to be less aggressive. But this not like the pressure release model many people think it is. It's not about venting aggression. That type of mentality would be more likely to increase you aggression than decrease it in my opinion. Aikido helps me decrease my agressive thoughts by training me to not act agressively and by putting me in a non aggressive state of mind. That it can do so within the context of martial arts training is a big part of the beauty of aikido.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 01-30-2010, 05:55 AM   #39
fisher6000
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Re: My dark side and aikido

Quote:
Put simply, it's not your job to police the unruly patrons - that's what bouncers are for. Even if the unruly patron somehow manages to get over the bar and launch at you, you still have to "be nice" about it - unless you fancy looking for similar work in the industry. Good luck with that. Watch Roadhouse sometime - the start at least.
I can't disagree more. Most bars don't have bouncers, and anyone who's tending bar has the responsibility to manage patron behavior because the patrons are drinking.

As a bartender I have been called names by clients; propositioned for sex; physically threatened; had my ear bent and so on. The bottom line is that sometimes people go to bars when they shouldn't be out, and that sometimes people drink too much, and sometimes people behave badly when they drink. My job as a bartender was to set and enforce reasonable limits on this sort of behavior, and do so in a friendly, easy-going way that is not unlike what we learn in aikido.

When i was a bartender, I struggled a lot with this aspect of my job, just like the OP, and got in trouble a couple of times for allowing things to happen that shouldn't have because I was being too nice. It's hard to react to bad behavior in real time without being overly surprised or offended. But I once got demoted to waiter because I didn't do a good job at this.
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Old 01-30-2010, 02:05 PM   #40
Phil Ingram
 
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Re: My dark side and aikido

Quote:
Deborah Fisher wrote: View Post
I can't disagree more. Most bars don't have bouncers, and anyone who's tending bar has the responsibility to manage patron behavior because the patrons are drinking. .
Hey Deb
I totally agree with you,people seem to think they can do what ever they want when they have had a few drinks in them.

But a good bartender will join in on the fun and have a good time with their clients.

regards
Phil

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.
Matsuo Basho
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:46 AM   #41
fisher6000
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Re: My dark side and aikido

Hi Phil,

I agree with you. A good bartender goes with the flow and never escalates conflict, but at the same time is responsible for the entire bar's good time, not just the loudest DB in it, and so must manage behavior constantly.

When I lived in Arizona, there was either a law or a financial incentive for anyone who serves alcohol to take a class called TIPS training, which taught strategies for managing drunkenness in ways that de-escalate conflict. Enlist a less-drunk friend to enforce for you; get the drunk guy to admit to you that he's drunk and should get a cab, and not the other way around; frame enforcement as a personal favor to you and not as a threat. Never just tell a drunk jerk that he's being a drunk jerk. Never get into a power struggle, but do figure out what the escalator wants from you and withhold it until you've got his attention.

It took me much longer than the amount of time I was bartending to figure these skills out, but the experience and the class remains helpful. And this is why I am so drawn to aikido--I think it reinforces similar strategies.

People behave badly all the time in all sorts of contexts, and I have a strong history of letting that bad behavior get my goat and lead me to my own "justified" bad behavior. I tend to respond to conflict in an unbalanced way. But the more I can just respond to behavior in ways that protect myself and are about a constructive outcome, the less of my own "dark side" I wind up seeing.
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