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Reciprocity
Reciprocity
by Lynn Seiser
02-15-2011
Reciprocity

Breathe in, react and repeat
Breathe out, respond and resolve
Reciprocity

There was a time when I believed in the normal and natural, constant and continual, momentum and inertia of simple reciprocity. I was able to blame my reactions on other people's reactions to me. I reflected back to them the same amount of distrust and hostility the dumped on me. It was only polite to give them back what they gave me, wasn't it? I had heard that we treat others the way we want them to treat us. So if someone treated me, or themselves, or others poorly than it was permission to treat them poorly back, right?

I have always been a bit of the enforcer. If someone came into the Dojo and was playing a bit too rough, I somehow heard about it and found myself in their line thinking that a taste of their own medicine would be just what they needed to mellow out. I could justify it and rationalize it because what I was doing was in the protective interest of those being treated roughly and in their best interest as a learning opportunity. And that philosophy worked until I got into Aikido.

Okay, it worked at first in Aikido too. At least I thought it did. One of my favorite statements from Einstein was that the type of thinking that creates a problem is not the type of thinking that solves it. If given violence and hostility, then more violence and hostility was not going to solve it. It may temporarily postpone further aggression, but it does not solve the problem. In fact, more of the same actually mimics and perpetuates what I am saying I am against. My reactionary reciprocity is not the solution, it is the problem. Many times, they were just reacting to me.

reaction: resistance or opposition to a force, influence, or movement

I hear this all the time from couples in counseling who are in such a reactionary defensive pattern of communication that they do not realize they are perpetuating the aggression and bringing about the demise of a relationship they should be cherishing and embracing. I see it in individuals who justify and rationalize their aggression by saying they learned it from their parents and the society they were raised in. And this is true, we learn much from the models we attach and identify with, even if we don't do it wisely. Yet, our children then learn it from us and continue our patterns in their own lives and pass it on to our grandchildren. It would appear that reciprocity only repeats and reinforces patterns, it simply does not resolve them.

response: a reply or output resulting from stimulation
responsible: to be called to answer, to explain (not excuse), accountable

Luckily the process of reciprocity is content free, meaning that whatever we put into it we should be able to get out of it. If we put in hostility we will probably get back hostility. If we put in love, we should get back love. What goes around comes around, right? Yet, it doesn't always work that way either. Many people cannot be provoked to violence because it is not who they are. Many people cannot give you love no matter how much you give them because it is not who they are.

reciprocity: mutual dependence, action, and influence, to return, shared by both sides

Perhaps other people are not creating the hostility of love in us and perhaps we are not creating it in them. Perhaps it is already there and we are just tapping into it. Perhaps we are just picking people who somehow agree with our self and world perception. When I am feeling hostile, all I see and attract is more hostility. When I feel loving, I tend to see people holding hands and being kind to others. But the hostility or love isn't always reciprocated from the person I thought it would be. Sometimes I got hostility from people I want to love and love from people I was hostile to.

In this reactionary reciprocal pattern, no one is in charge. We are all just on some unconscious automatic pilot repeating past patterns, constructive or destructive. We reciprocate and react in the same vein. Yet, another old saying is that if you always do what you have always done, we will always get what you have always gotten. Violence can only bring about more violence.

The bashing arts were easy because it was more of the same. The same I had grown up in and the same that I was trained in. When I started Aikido it was hard not to react with my usually striking. Even the drills were more competitive than cooperative. Aikido had a congruent philosophy and training methodology of non-resistance and non-violence. It meant I could not react by reciprocating more or the same. It meant that I had to stay mindful to respond with assertion (not aggression) and love (not fear). I had to make a choice in how I was to reciprocate.

As a sempai (and still somewhat of an enforcer) I have an obligation and responsibility to create a safe training environment. That means safe from my aggressive reactions no matter how protective I try to rationalize them. I must model the response I want in others rather than have them dictate to me how I will reciprocate. I must not let my past or other people decide who I am, on or off the mat. That is my decision.

The choice is, do I want to reciprocate from my reactions and repeat the pattern or do I want to respond effectively and efficiently to resolve the matter with the least amount of effort and damage/ The choice is the intent behind my training and my life. It's a choice we all have.

Breathe in, react and repeat
Breathe out, respond and resolve
Reciprocity

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Now get back to training. KWATZ!
Lynn Seiser (b. 1950 Pontiac, Michigan), Ph.D. has been a perpetual student of martial arts, CQC/H2H, FMA/JKD, and other fighting systems for 40 years. He currently holds the rank of Sandan (3rd degree Black Belt) in Tenshinkai Aikido under Sensei Dang Thong Phong at the Westminster Aikikai Dojo in Southern California. He is the co-author, with Phong Sensei, of Aikido Basics (2003), Advanced Aikido (2006), and Aikido Weapons Techniques (2006) for Tuttle Publishing. His martial art articles have appeared in Black Belt Magazine, Aikido Today Magazine, and Martial Arts and Combat Sports Magazine. He is the founder of Aiki-Solutions and IdentityTherapy and is an internationally respected psychotherapist in the clinical treatment of offenders and victims of violence, trauma, abuse, and addiction. He currently lives in Marietta, GA and trains at Roswell Budokan.
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:21 PM   #2
carina reinhardt
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Re: Reciprocity

A very thoughtful post, thank you. It is right that if you give love not always you will receive it, but if you receive hostility the best way to deal with it is trying to understand why your are receiving that, understand the motives and you will have a good chance to transform that hostility at least in calmness. And teaching our children, giving them the chance to study to become calm and educated adults, perhaps we can contribute to a more peaceful world.
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:18 AM   #3
crbateman
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Re: Reciprocity

Good stuff, Lynn-san...

The kicker is that these are not choices we make once, and that's it... We must make the same choices constantly, and the real trick is to be consistent. I haven't mastered that one yet.
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Old 02-16-2011, 06:24 AM   #4
Susan Dalton
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Re: Reciprocity

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
Good stuff, Lynn-san...

The kicker is that these are not choices we make once, and that's it... We must make the same choices constantly, and the real trick is to be consistent. I haven't mastered that one yet.
So true. That's the hard part, for sure. I doubt any of us have mastered that one, but the concept of "little by little" gives me hope.
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:28 AM   #5
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Re: Reciprocity

Quote:
Carina Reinhardt wrote: View Post
And teaching our children, giving them the chance to study to become calm and educated adults, perhaps we can contribute to a more peaceful world.
And here, for me, is the humility.

I can be given the chance to study and the opportunity to training, but it my own choice to learn or not, to react from the past or respond from the present.

And vice versus, all I can do is offer what little I have in the hope that some one will find some part of it of value.

Thanks for reading and responding.

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 02-16-2011, 08:30 AM   #6
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Re: Reciprocity

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
The kicker is that these are not choices we make once, and that's it... We must make the same choices constantly, and the real trick is to be consistent.
Ah yes, the daily discipline.

I always laugh when people ask me if I have "got" it. I usually respond, with "No, but I am getting it".

First its a decision and a direction, then its just the daily discipline.

Its a NIKE thing.

Thanks for reading and responding.

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 02-16-2011, 08:35 AM   #7
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Re: Reciprocity

Quote:
Susan Dalton wrote: View Post
the concept of "little by little" gives me hope.
One day at a time.

I remember Ikeda Sensei would often ask me if I understood what he had just done. I usually laughed and admitted that I didn't even seen it, much less understood it. But each time I trained, I saw a little more, I understood a little more. So each time, I only look for hopefully a little bit.

I am the TURTLE (not the hare).

Thanks for reading and responding.

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 02-16-2011, 08:59 AM   #8
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Reciprocity

Good thoughts Lynn. "Uplift all beings and do as little harm as possible" It's the decisions we make each instant that matter. The rules we "follow" get easier and easier to break as we go through our daily interactions trying to get what we want. If we give each instant, the getting takes care of itself... (I seem to remember all the fortune cookies I've ever gotten. :-)

Chuck Clark
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www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 02-16-2011, 10:27 AM   #9
crbateman
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Re: Reciprocity

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
I seem to remember all the fortune cookies I've ever gotten. :-)
Fortune cookies are a scam... They're all so positive. I've often wondered what I'd do if I got one that said something like "Go home NOW and crawl under your bed..."
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Old 02-16-2011, 11:59 AM   #10
carina reinhardt
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Re: Reciprocity

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
And here, for me, is the humility.

I can be given the chance to study and the opportunity to training, but it my own choice to learn or not, to react from the past or respond from the present.

And vice versus, all I can do is offer what little I have in the hope that some one will find some part of it of value.

Thanks for reading and responding.
Of course it is always a choice, but we as parents must try to make them clear that it will be their future, not ours, to take the oportunity meanwhile they are young.
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:06 PM   #11
SeiserL
 
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Re: Reciprocity

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Carina Reinhardt wrote: View Post
but we as parents must try to make them clear that it will be their future, not ours, to take the oportunity meanwhile they are young.
Yes agreed.

When my sons were young I would tell them that I would be in their face and covering their backs for the rest of their lives so just get over it.

It is our future.

Thoughts?

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 02-16-2011, 12:18 PM   #12
carina reinhardt
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Re: Reciprocity

Lynn we already lived, of course we'll still enjoy, we still have to work, but the main things we already did, it is their future.
They must become independent to deal with everything and in this times the more they study better jobs they will get, but the most important is that they really like that what they choice.,
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:57 PM   #13
SeiserL
 
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Re: Reciprocity

Quote:
Carina Reinhardt wrote: View Post
Lynn we already lived, of course we'll still enjoy, we still have to work, but the main things we already did, it is their future.
I have not stopped living, so I do have a future.
I have not stopped loving, so we do have a future together.

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 02-16-2011, 01:59 PM   #14
SeiserL
 
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Re: Reciprocity

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
(I seem to remember all the fortune cookies I've ever gotten. :-)
I love those cookies.

I once got a blank fortune.

A true zen statement.

LOL

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 02-16-2011, 02:00 PM   #15
carina reinhardt
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Re: Reciprocity

I do too but not that kind our children have. Even I'm enjoying more than ever... I' hope they'll have at least the same..
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Old 02-16-2011, 03:51 PM   #16
SeiserL
 
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Re: Reciprocity

Quote:
Carina Reinhardt wrote: View Post
I do too but not that kind our children have. Even I'm enjoying more than ever... I' hope they'll have at least the same..
We are never done modeling, are we?

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 02-17-2011, 01:08 AM   #17
carina reinhardt
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Re: Reciprocity

No Lynn I don't think so...
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