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Old 01-12-2011, 08:43 AM   #1
Janet Rosen
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Thoughts on Aikiweb

Jun, if this doesn't belong in "general" feel free to move it to a more appropriate forum area.

I have been really troubled by a recent trend on aikiweb and I'm trying to put my finger on exactly what it is. Easy to say "be polite" but harder to come up with something more articulate and meaningful (esp after an insomniac night) so please bear with me as I work on what may not be a fully reasoned essay but more my beginning exploration. OK?

First, where I'm coming from personally in terms of my views of the different styles/schools within Aikido. I've met and trained w/ folks from Ki Society and offshots thereof, Yoshinkan, the spectrum of Aikikai, plus various aikido offshoots - I guess the main one I've never had a chance to play w/ is Shodokan/Tomiki but that's purely a lack of opportunity so far - a sin of omission, not of commission :-)

The conclusion I've come to is that the major differences, rhetoric aside, are pedagogical; that is, the form the training takes. There is not necessarily ANY correlation between the style's pedagogical approach and the outcome of training.

There is no guarantee that a given teacher or dojo in a "hard style" of aikido is going to be teaching something that is martially effective, nor is there any reason to suspect that a good teacher in that style cannot transmit lessons about energy and connection. There is no guarantee that any given teacher or dojo in a "soft" style is going to be teaching proper connection and relaxation under pressure, nor is there any reason to suspect that a good teacher in that style cannot teach martially effective aikido.

Anything one considers aikido's core principles (understanding that what they are is a topic open to debate, but not in this thread please - it is not the topic here) CAN be taught within just about any pedagogical system.

So.... when folks post a video or an essay on AIkiweb asking for feedback, I figure that they are requesting a critique based on what folks consider core principles, regardless of "style," and it's fair game for honest criticism.

Some folks are giving a lot of good, concise critiques of various essays and videos. But there have recently been a lot of just plain snarky comments, probably made with they idea they are funny, but that to me smack of trying to shut down threads by putting down anybody with a different opinion.

Then there are the posts that are NOT looking for critiques, which is probably the majority of posts. When a newbie asks for information, or someone starts a thread such as Mary did, on sharing exercises, or just a general observation on their recent training, it seems to me like an opportunity to share information - sort of why we are here, neh? Instead it seems like more and more folks are reading these as challenges and turning these conversations into adversarial debates.

My two cents before I start getting ready to go to work.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:01 AM   #2
lbb
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Janet, nothing to disagree with. That does indeed seem to be the trend. I have a few thoughts about where it comes from, but whatever the source, there is a snowball effect, much like the "graffiti effect": if you see that things are in a mess, you believe that it's acceptable to leave it like that or even contribute to it. It takes someone saying "Hey, that ain't right," and others making a conscious choice to change things. I'm going to be more vigilant of my own actions in this regard. Thanks for posting this.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:18 AM   #3
AsimHanif
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

I agree Janet.
It seems lately every thread is becoming an opportunity for just a few people to let us know how great they are, how we can only get the "real" stuff from them or those they are now training, how deluded the aikido community has become, blah, blah, blah.
Some are very direct, some attempt to seem humble about it but in the end it's about self promotion and insecurity. Very boring and childish imo.
It's to the point where I know who's going to have the most posts to a thread or who's going to chime in at a certain point to promote their own interests, not really trying to connect with the OP.
We can feed into it or just ignore them and hope they go away or we can go away. I often wondered why the teachers I deeply respect don't engage in forums....
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:25 AM   #4
SeiserL
 
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Where ever we go, there we are.

IMHO, this is not about Aikido or respect. This is about people taking their personal problems and expressing them through the content of an Aikido discussion.

By saying something isn't right it just means its not right according to them. I tend to include the referential indexing into accont so I can take everything with a grain of salt while still hearing what they may have to offer and not take it as a personal statement about me.

My posts are a personal statement about me and how I see things. They are not right or wrong, good or bad. Nor, IMHO is anyone elses.

We do seem to have a lot of arm chair critics but they are usually a temporary inconvenience.

This is where and how we can practice our enter and blending, acceptance and compassion, or just getting off the line and not adding resistance to an already conflictual personality and situation.

IOW, I agree.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:27 AM   #5
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

I share Janet's concern. Especially since some of the posters seem to be totally oblivious to polite requests to keep their minds open and stay civil. So they are actually almost impossible to engage.

It gets very ironic sometimes, as when people start bashing "breathing through your toes" - and then I remember one of the most solidly standing people I ever met told us to visualise precisely that in one exercise.

It would be sad if aikiweb got dominated by boisterous narrow-mindedness.

Last edited by Nicholas Eschenbruch : 01-12-2011 at 09:28 AM. Reason: the usual: spelling and precision
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:14 AM   #6
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Hi Janet,

I agree with you (except for the part regarding the different pedagogies leading, as if were the proverbial paths leading to Rome, to the same outcomes. But as this should deserve it's own thread, I'll refrain to ellaborate).

Thanks in any case.
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:31 AM   #7
kewms
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Besides being snarky and unhelpful, it's also pretty boring. There's no way to tell whether anyone's aikido is "real" or not unless you get on the mat with them. So claims about the excellence (or not) of any particular approach are just that: unsubstantiated claims, in some cases sinking to the level of juvenile chest pounding.

If you don't like a particular teaching approach, fine. Not everything works for everyone. But every style I've seen, from the softest to the hardest, has exponents who are undeniably effective, and exponents who couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag. Ridiculing something you don't understand just shows how full your cup is.

Katherine
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:39 AM   #8
akiy
 
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Hi folks,

First off, thank you to Janet and for others in this thread for bringing up this meta-topic.

The AikiWeb Forums is the discussion section of this website, created to encourage and foster respectful discussions about the art of aikido. Of course, with a subject as deep and broad as aikido (and, sometimes, as vaguely defined!), there is bound to be differences in opinion as well as experience. I expect those differences to be expressed here and, in fact, welcome them. Without differing viewpoints, this would be a very different and boring place, indeed!

With that said, I'll point out that two of the "Forum Rules" on AikiWeb are:
  • Treat your fellow AikiWeb Forum members with respect.
  • Contribute positively to the discussion topic.
The first rule above is to conduct yourself respectfully in the discussions. Civil discourse, I believe, is possible and available in any kind of discussion, no matter how controversial and no matter how much one may disagree with another's thoughts. My belief and hope is that one may stay impassioned about their opinions and experiences without enflaming the discussion at hand. I welcome all sorts of topics, even controversial ones, as long as the tone of the discussion remains courteous and respectful.

The second rule is to make sure that each post contributes to the discussion at-hand. Comments directed at the person(s) behind the posts only serve to derail the discussion. Similarly, comments aiming to devalue the discussion itself by putting down its importance only serves to undermine those who wish to discuss it. Neither of these are welcome. Rather, I would ask people to aim their efforts towards ignoring the thread or towards engaging in the thread by providing their thoughts in a, once again, respectful and civil manner.

With all of that said, I want to say that I appreciate the general tone of the AikiWeb community. We've become to include many diverse viewpoints from all over the world and have matured to a place where we can help each other create and support a healthy and vibrant community. For that, I thank your participation as they help support my vision and efforts for this website. I encourage each of you to take part in supporting the website in this way, as I believe that doing so only enriches this community as well as the aikido community in general.

Best,

-- Jun

Please help support AikiWeb -- become an AikiWeb Contributing Member!
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:43 AM   #9
aikishihan
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Thank you Janet Rosen, for reminding us of our mutually held responsibility, and to be grateful for the gift of Aiki Web.

Thank you Jun Akiyama, for gently but firmly reminding us of what a privilege it is to be allowed to participate in your wonderful creation

In Japanese,, the word for responsibility is “sekinin”. “Sekinin o ou beki” means to be responsible, and is a highly prized and valued characteristic of the distinguished person in society. As martial arts enthusiasts, are we not all seeking to better ourselves through daily practice, and to practice daily those principles and standards of conduct that benefit our society, both as individuals and as a group?

The moderator of any forum as ambitious, generously open, and welcoming of divergent and legitimate points of view as is Aiki Web, cannot be held responsible for the controlling of the thoughts and behavior of free people. He can only be responsible for its overall content, its accessibility to proven contributors, and its commitment to the identity and purpose of its existence.

It is up to us readers and contributors, who essentially vote with our feet, to expect and demand a higher accounting of ourselves, our thoughts and our actions. I do believe that this is a key trait of the true warrior, one committed to define and defend all that is worthy of preservation, and is accounted good.

We must do a much better job of policing ourselves, choosing to condemn and isolate disrespectful behavior, boorish thuggery, and the occasional un Aiki exchanges that appear on our forum. Yes, OUR forum, which we must maintain unsullied by the taint of human indiscretion and disrespectful dialogue. This is the forum for ideas, sincere questions, genuine curiosity and educated viewpoints for all of us to share, benefit from and to enjoy.

We deserve no less, and neither does Jun Akiyama, who has so magnanimously maintained this vehicle for honest and genuine exchange on matters Aiki related.

Let us all help him keep it that way.
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:05 PM   #10
crbateman
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

I'd also like to voice my thanks and support for Jun and his level-headed style of moderation on this site.

People will disagree; it belongs right up there with death and taxes. How they do so is the rub. I must say that there is much less vitriol on this forum than on most I've encountered, and I think Jun stands ready to deal appropriately with those who truly cross the line. That takes care of the really bad apples. As for the others who are abrasive, it's probably good advice to simply absorb whatever they offer that is of value to you, and ignore the rest. Anything more confrontational will only fan the flames.

A forum is a place where people are encouraged to express their views, and we don't all feel exactly the same about anything (except maybe we all like pie... ). Let's all just respect each other as we would expect to be treated.
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:48 PM   #11
Amassus
 
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Thank you Janet, for your courage and integrity in this matter.
It needed to be said.

To echo others, thanks, Jun for your efforts as well.

Dean.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:51 PM   #12
Walter Martindale
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Where's the "Like" button.... Oh, wait. Wrong place.

Thank you Janet.
Walter
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:16 PM   #13
Cliff Judge
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Thanks for taking the time to post this.
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:38 PM   #14
Gorgeous George
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
there have recently been a lot of just plain snarky comments, probably made with they idea they are funny, but that to me smack of trying to shut down threads by putting down anybody with a different opinion.
Yeah: i've noticed one name in particular, popping up, time after time...'trolling', I believe it's called.

I can see a lot of people ceasing to bother reading/posting, as a result of such people.
Shame there isn't an 'ignore' function, which renders a selected individual's posts invisible: it would make the forums massively more bearable - like they used to be.

Thanks for posting: you're not alone.
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:03 PM   #15
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Quote:
Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
Shame there isn't an 'ignore' function, which renders a selected individual's posts invisible
There is.

However, ostrich-do is noth a path worth pursuing, IMO.
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:07 PM   #16
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Well said, everyone! What's "sad" to me is I know a number of people who look at these kinds of reminders for civility as "touchy feely BS." Personally, I see it as the best foundation to any group project.
...Shutting up to do more listening,
Matt

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Old 01-12-2011, 03:21 PM   #17
kewms
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
There is.

However, ostrich-do is noth a path worth pursuing, IMO.
Suppose there's a road in my neighborhood that's full of potholes. Driving it is a pain in the kidneys and bad for my car's suspension. After I report it to the local road maintenance people, is it ostrich-do to choose another route? Or just plain common sense?

Just because someone is annoying, that doesn't make their posts worthwhile. In fact, the people who have legitimate, substantive critiques of the way aikido is taught generally go out of their way to *not* be annoying, as they actually want to encourage people to think.

Katherine
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:26 PM   #18
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Suppose there's a road in my neighborhood that's full of potholes. Driving it is a pain in the kidneys and bad for my car's suspension. After I report it to the local road maintenance people, is it ostrich-do to choose another route? Or just plain common sense?

Just because someone is annoying, that doesn't make their posts worthwhile. In fact, the people who have legitimate, substantive critiques of the way aikido is taught generally go out of their way to *not* be annoying, as they actually want to encourage people to think.

Katherine
Excellence.

(...although, I do love Schopenhauer - but his writing is the most beautiful i've ever read, and he could convince me of nearly anything.)
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:02 PM   #19
Dave de Vos
 
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Quote:
Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
Yeah: i've noticed one name in particular, popping up, time after time...'trolling', I believe it's called.

I can see a lot of people ceasing to bother reading/posting, as a result of such people.
Shame there isn't an 'ignore' function, which renders a selected individual's posts invisible: it would make the forums massively more bearable - like they used to be.

Thanks for posting: you're not alone.
Indeed it becomes hard to find interesting posts between the clutter that seems to fill up some topics. It discourages me to even bother. An "ignore" button would help.

Last edited by Dave de Vos : 01-12-2011 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:11 PM   #20
Basia Halliop
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Just click on the person's name to the left of their post. A list of options will pop up including 'add ____ to your ignore list.

I have a few people on my ignore list...
It's not really a full solution though because other people respond to them so I still have to wade through all these half-conversation. And some people post both garbage AND occasionally real content. So it's harder to screen.

IMO, far more posts should just be deleted.... Some are just blatantly garbage or off-topic or just a personal insult. I haven't noticed that politely telling people to be more polite and on-topic really works all that well.

This is a huge discussion board with a lot of members. If everyone who wasn't interested in a topic posted every time to say something about how uninterested they were, there would be nothing but garbage.

I see tons of posts that I am completely not interested in, or that discuss something I don't think highly of. That's life. Move on.
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:26 PM   #21
lbb
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

The posts that are most problematic in this latest rash are the ones that are pretty much calculated to just simply derail the thread, purely for one's own gratification. If the topic is within the scope of aikiweb, there's absolutely no excuse for this.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:06 PM   #22
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Suppose there's a road in my neighborhood that's full of potholes. Driving it is a pain in the kidneys and bad for my car's suspension. After I report it to the local road maintenance people, is it ostrich-do to choose another route? Or just plain common sense?
Is chosing another route the only option available? Are you sure there are not other alternatives like complaining to higher authorities, making the community involved, organizing protests, calling the media, lawyer jutsu, etc.

Quote:
Just because someone is annoying, that doesn't make their posts worthwhile.
Nor unworthy. Annoyance, like love, is in the eyes of the beholder. Maybe what annoys you (a general you, don't take this as particularly adressed to you) is seeing how your thoughs or opinions are not validated by everybody but seen with contempt. Try to put yourself in the annoyer shoes.

Graham,

Regarding Schpenhauer, when you became convinced about what he wrote about women let me know. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:15 PM   #23
Gorgeous George
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Graham,

Regarding Schpenhauer, when you became convinced about what he wrote about women let me know. Thanks in advance.
Hahahahahahaha.
You've got me there...I mean, I am - at this very moment - burning everything that every philosopher and scientist - ever - wrote: they weren't right - in absolutely every respect - so everything they ever said about anything has been completely discredited, and should thus be completely ignored. Heidegger? He was in the Nazi party! Aristotle? Believed in slavery!
You've convinced me...let's take to the streets: we can lead a revolution!

D'oh!
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:22 PM   #24
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Godwin's Law in less than 25 posts. I'm amazed.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:27 PM   #25
Gorgeous George
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Re: Thoughts on Aikiweb

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Godwin's Law in less than 25 posts. I'm amazed.
'29. If you find that you are being beaten, you can create a
diversion -- that is, you can suddenly begin to talk of
something else, as though it had a bearing on the matter in dispute.'

http://www.forevergeek.com/2005/05/3...n_an_argument/

http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/beside+the+point

Oh dear...
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