Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-15-2011, 06:02 AM   #1
RonRagusa
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 637
United_States
Offline
Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Before you can be benevolent and spare people from pain /punishment/retribution you have to be in a position whereby you have the power to exercise your authority to inflict punishment in the first place.
The idea expressed by the above quote is often accepted as axiomatic when any discussion comparing soft vs hard Aikido is undertaken. So the purpose of this thread is to question and examine the underlying assumption, namely that the ability to express benevolence must necessarily be predicated upon the ability to inflict pain and punishment, as it relates to Aikido.

Ron

  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 06:28 AM   #2
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,742
United_States
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
The idea expressed by the above quote is often accepted as axiomatic when any discussion comparing soft vs hard Aikido is undertaken. So the purpose of this thread is to question and examine the underlying assumption, namely that the ability to express benevolence must necessarily be predicated upon the ability to inflict pain and punishment, as it relates to Aikido.

Ron
I don't want to derail your thread, Ron, but the question that you're posing does not follow from the quote that you started the thread with. The essence of that quote is simple: if you do not have the power to do something, you are not refraining from doing it, you are simply incapable of doing it. Your argument is completely different, but in this context, it's a strawman: I don't see anyone arguing that ability to express X is predicated upon ability to do Y, merely that ability to do X is necessary in order to refrain from doing X. If you can simply set that quote aside, I think you've got the start of a good discussion, but if you want to argue against that quote, I think that argument is simply and conclusively dismissed.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 06:37 AM   #3
RonRagusa
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 637
United_States
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I don't see anyone arguing that ability to express X is predicated upon ability to do Y, merely that ability to do X is necessary in order to refrain from doing X.
Hi Mary -

Fair enough. Let's move the discussion forward from your point and set the quote aside as you suggested.

Best,

Ron

Last edited by akiy : 06-15-2011 at 12:30 PM. Reason: Fixed quote tag

  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 06:44 AM   #4
Dazzler
Dojo: Templegate Dojo, bristol & Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 638
England
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Hey Ron

I'll have first dibs at this then...

I believe I see where Joe is coming from and tend to agree with him.

While it is lovely to aspire to turn the other cheek, for a martial artist I see this more as a choice that comes with ability and knowledge.

One can only choose not to use force or power...if you have it in the first place.

Choosing not to fight back is only really a choice if you actually posess the power to fight back.

If you don't...then for me its not really a choice.

I've always bracketted this line of thinking along with the phrase 'nuclear deterrent'...possession of power so devastating that the application of such force really needs extremely careful consideration.

In line with this I've heard my betters in Aikido say that you cannot just choose harmony...first you must learn to fight.

Kind of like if you want peace...have a strong army!

Perhaps train hard, fight easy is also an appropriate line of though....

In relation to Aikido..if ones practice lacks the potential to destroy uke and is undertaken purely for the joy of the movement then for me personally it lacks something important.

When it posesses that dangerous potential no matter how hidden it is behind layers of care and consideration for partner and practice objectives then it is a beast with teeth.

FWIW

Kind regards

Daren
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 06:45 AM   #5
Dazzler
Dojo: Templegate Dojo, bristol & Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 638
England
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

bugger ...have you moved the goalposts already?
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 06:57 AM   #6
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,742
United_States
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
bugger ...have you moved the goalposts already?
That was my suggestion, Daren. He threw you a softball

So, I guess the question would be more like "Do you have to have the power to harm before you can develop benevolence?"
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 07:03 AM   #7
sakumeikan
Dojo: Sakumeikan N.E. Aikkai .Newcastle upon Tyne.
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,119
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
Hey Ron

I'll have first dibs at this then...

I believe I see where Joe is coming from and tend to agree with him.

While it is lovely to aspire to turn the other cheek, for a martial artist I see this more as a choice that comes with ability and knowledge.

One can only choose not to use force or power...if you have it in the first place.

Choosing not to fight back is only really a choice if you actually posess the power to fight back.

If you don't...then for me its not really a choice.

I've always bracketted this line of thinking along with the phrase 'nuclear deterrent'...possession of power so devastating that the application of such force really needs extremely careful consideration.

In line with this I've heard my betters in Aikido say that you cannot just choose harmony...first you must learn to fight.

Kind of like if you want peace...have a strong army!

Perhaps train hard, fight easy is also an appropriate line of though....

In relation to Aikido..if ones practice lacks the potential to destroy uke and is undertaken purely for the joy of the movement then for me personally it lacks something important.

When it posesses that dangerous potential no matter how hidden it is behind layers of care and consideration for partner and practice objectives then it is a beast with teeth.

FWIW

Kind regards

Daren
Hi Daren ,
How are you my old mukka?Hows life down in Bristol?
Daren. remember the old adage , walk quietly /softly but carry a big stick.Say Hi to old Kenny for me.
Cheers, Joe.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 07:14 AM   #8
Dazzler
Dojo: Templegate Dojo, bristol & Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 638
England
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
That was my suggestion, Daren. He threw you a softball

So, I guess the question would be more like "Do you have to have the power to harm before you can develop benevolence?"
I'll have to learn to type faster...thats a different question entirely.

I'll think about that one.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 07:15 AM   #9
Dazzler
Dojo: Templegate Dojo, bristol & Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 638
England
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Hi Daren ,
How are you my old mukka?Hows life down in Bristol?
Daren. remember the old adage , walk quietly /softly but carry a big stick.Say Hi to old Kenny for me.
Cheers, Joe.
PM on its way Joe.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 07:49 AM   #10
mrlizard123
Dojo: Templegate Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 128
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
That was my suggestion, Daren. He threw you a softball

So, I guess the question would be more like "Do you have to have the power to harm before you can develop benevolence?"
Reading it as it pertains to aikido I'm not completely clear on the benevolence side of things...

If we mean simply to act charitable or in a good fashion I think the answer is no; we can offer to train with a new person even though we were really looking forward to training with that person who really tests us, lend someone a belt as they forgot theirs, give away a hakama we no longer use for someone who needs one etc etc.

Or is the benevolence in question with reference to the actual execution of our aikido practice/technique/principal in action?

Ars longa, vita brevis, occasio praeceps, experimentum periculosum, iudicium difficile
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 09:34 AM   #11
RonRagusa
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 637
United_States
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Rich Hobbs wrote: View Post
Reading it as it pertains to aikido I'm not completely clear on the benevolence side of things...

If we mean simply to act charitable or in a good fashion I think the answer is no; we can offer to train with a new person even though we were really looking forward to training with that person who really tests us, lend someone a belt as they forgot theirs, give away a hakama we no longer use for someone who needs one etc etc.

Or is the benevolence in question with reference to the actual execution of our aikido practice/technique/principal in action?
Hi Rich -

As in the latter.

Best,

Ron

  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 09:41 AM   #12
RonRagusa
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 637
United_States
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
Kind of like if you want peace...have a strong army!
Hi Daren -

But do you really? The Swiss come to mind as an example of another way. They have no army to speak of yet have managed to stay out ot two World Wars and a bunch of regional skirmishes.

On the other hand, we in America have an armed forces that are second to no one's in terms of capability, yet we have no peace.

Go figure...

Best,

Ron

  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 09:54 AM   #13
Dazzler
Dojo: Templegate Dojo, bristol & Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 638
England
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Hi Daren -

But do you really? The Swiss come to mind as an example of another way. They have no army to speak of yet have managed to stay out ot two World Wars and a bunch of regional skirmishes.

On the other hand, we in America have an armed forces that are second to no one's in terms of capability, yet we have no peace.

Go figure...

Best,

Ron
Not wishing to make this about the swiss...lovely people, nice clocks & chocolate...

But really ...choosing to abstain may not be an option when the war machine knocks on your front door ....

Likewise choosing to be submissive is not really a choice if its the only position you have eh?

Choosing to to be kind and loving ...while possessing some of that capability...now that is a choice.

But what do I know? I can barely cope with the changing subject of this thread.

Regards

D
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 10:24 AM   #14
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
England
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
The idea expressed by the above quote is often accepted as axiomatic when any discussion comparing soft vs hard Aikido is undertaken. So the purpose of this thread is to question and examine the underlying assumption, namely that the ability to express benevolence must necessarily be predicated upon the ability to inflict pain and punishment, as it relates to Aikido.

Ron
Hold on a minute here. The above is what many believe so why change it? From what I see it's what most folks call being martially effective which they believe is the main aim and thus gives you choice.

Ron, is this the type of axiomatic concept and underlying assumption you are asking to be examined or have I got it wrong?

Regards.G.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 10:47 AM   #15
Jauch
 
Jauch's Avatar
Dojo: Shinji Dojo/Curitiba, Paraná, Brasil
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 29
Portugal
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
But really ...choosing to abstain may not be an option when the war machine knocks on your front door ....

Likewise choosing to be submissive is not really a choice if its the only position you have eh?

Choosing to to be kind and loving ...while possessing some of that capability...now that is a choice.
Maybe this is a human problem. Act like if the only real option that we have is to show our teeth and hope that the other understand that if he came a bit more close to our bone, we'll bite him...

The problem is that the other has his own teeth too...

And sometimes, have big teeth is not enough to save you when the other thinks that maybe the bone that you protect with so great care is enough to both of you, or if they think that between them and you, the bone will be better with them.

To me, have the power and do not hurt is not to be "benevolent". Is to show the "teeth"

And show the teeth is not to have a choice, because sooner or later you will be caught off guard or outnumbered. Than, have big teeth will not help.

The point is, the need to "protect" yourself through the "strength" (or technique) is really inevitable, or there are other ways?

I think that there are other ways...

Last edited by Jauch : 06-15-2011 at 10:57 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 11:06 AM   #16
C. David Henderson
Location: Santa Fe New Mexico
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 606
United_States
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

The title to this thread, to me, also suggests a different topic than "Do you need to know how to be martially effective before you can exercise benevolence against an attacker."

"Hard before soft" suggests the view that in training it is better to train in a "hard" manner first, before trying to develop "softness" in technique. Which, I believe, some people would maintain is part of becoming "martially effective" when executing technique "softly."

But executing "softly" doesn't necessarily mean "benevolently." Think of a softly executed kote gaeshi...off a balcony.

Is the title also intended to define the discussion?

David Henderson
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 11:52 AM   #17
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
England
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Charles David Henderson wrote: View Post
The title to this thread, to me, also suggests a different topic than "Do you need to know how to be martially effective before you can exercise benevolence against an attacker."

"Hard before soft" suggests the view that in training it is better to train in a "hard" manner first, before trying to develop "softness" in technique. Which, I believe, some people would maintain is part of becoming "martially effective" when executing technique "softly."

But executing "softly" doesn't necessarily mean "benevolently." Think of a softly executed kote gaeshi...off a balcony.

Is the title also intended to define the discussion?
I agree that exactly which point is up for discussion?

The title? O.k. I'll go with that.

I would thus say approach soft, execution soft, result soft. No hard. Great discipline.

Regards.G.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 12:05 PM   #18
RonRagusa
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 637
United_States
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Hold on a minute here. The above is what many believe so why change it? From what I see it's what most folks call being martially effective which they believe is the main aim and thus gives you choice.

Ron, is this the type of axiomatic concept and underlying assumption you are asking to be examined or have I got it wrong?

Regards.G.
Have at it Graham.

The hard before soft title of the thread came from something I read that Tony posted awhile back. To paraphrase, before you can do soft Aikido you must first learn hard Aikido, or something along those lines.

Anyway, when I read Joe's post "Before you can be benevolent and spare people from pain /punishment/retribution you have to be in a position whereby you have the power to exercise your authority to inflict punishment in the first place.", it made me wonder about the whole soft vs hard Aikido debate and how it all relates to the idea of least possible harm when responding to a conflict and whether it's necessary to be in a position to inflict punishment (hard Aikido) in order to not do so (soft Aikido).

As you can see, I've managed, due to my mish-mash of mixed metaphors, to engender a boat load of confusion. But hey, most threads end up addressing tangential issues. I'm finding the responses interesting and informative.

So please, feel free to respond in any manner you see fit. I'm sure it'll be worth the read.

Best,

Ron

  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 12:08 PM   #19
jonreading
 
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 851
United_States
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

I'll bite, but let me first clarify some points:
1. Hard and soft aikido do not inherently possess a state of virtue.
2. The ability to act in one disposition [or another] is not dependent upon the ability to act in the converse action.
3. Inflicting pain and inflicting punishment are different concepts.

That said, I think this argument comes up often in aikido, poorly constructed as it is. I believe aikido requires a structure to properly function. When we begin training, the structure [should be] very similar to competent jujitsu; that is, a mechanically sound structure that works. As we train, the structure should soften as we improve the mechanical efficiency (moreso resembling aikido). This is actually quite common in most activities and sports; the subject acquires a grace in action related to her activity. So I believe aikido is both "hard" and "soft".
Second, benevolence is a term that describes a predisposition to act. The antonym is malevolence. While many of us may not benevolently act, few of us malevolently act. In other words, my inability to benevolently act does not predispose me to malevolent actions.
Third, predisposition inherently requires a choice of action, from which my choice may be predisposed. The omission of a choice makes predisposition irrelevant, since there is only one course of action.

In aikido, I think we often give ourselves far too much credit for our [in]ability to apply aikido upon our partners. Sure, we'll talk a big game..."I'll take the assailant's knife and hold him down until the police came"...."I'd never hurt someone trying to attack me"... blah blah blah. But then we'll also say things like "aikido doesn't need to work on the street" or "I am not interested in whether aikido works". But then we'll have conversations about how uke must collude with nage simply to make technique function in a dojo.
Very simply put, the role of competent aikido is to provide a course of action that provides an outlet for compliance. Aikido is not love; it is compassion, or probably better put, agape (I am pretty convinced the love thing is a poor translation). We must have the bravery (confidence in our ability to accomplish a task) to use aikido and the courage (action with the foreknowledge of consequence) to commit to our actions.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 12:26 PM   #20
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
England
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Have at it Graham.

The hard before soft title of the thread came from something I read that Tony posted awhile back. To paraphrase, before you can do soft Aikido you must first learn hard Aikido, or something along those lines.

Anyway, when I read Joe's post "Before you can be benevolent and spare people from pain /punishment/retribution you have to be in a position whereby you have the power to exercise your authority to inflict punishment in the first place.", it made me wonder about the whole soft vs hard Aikido debate and how it all relates to the idea of least possible harm when responding to a conflict and whether it's necessary to be in a position to inflict punishment (hard Aikido) in order to not do so (soft Aikido).

As you can see, I've managed, due to my mish-mash of mixed metaphors, to engender a boat load of confusion. But hey, most threads end up addressing tangential issues. I'm finding the responses interesting and informative.

So please, feel free to respond in any manner you see fit. I'm sure it'll be worth the read.

Best,

Ron
O.K. Ron. Statements to do with spare people punishment or pain I find amusing for some reason. It seems such an arrogant view. Like the persons secret ambition is to be judge jury and executioner and a harsh negative one at that.

I think most of history on the negative side is to do with this view of great strength and power in order to bring peace. To me that's normal thinking but not natural. It's nutty think.

Using great force or armies etc obviously brings war, death, destruction. Not doing it brings the opportunity for peace.

In that way of thinking peace can only be defined as a state of no war, hence peacetime.

To me that's not true peace, in other words peace is not a lack of something it's state of harmony. A lack of something is merely a void.

So most history books show negative history, a story of wars and conquests and voids. So no ones ever taught any difference.

Hows that for starters? Anywy got to go training now. Have fun.

G.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 12:29 PM   #21
thisisnotreal
 
thisisnotreal's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 692
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Ron, maybe this ["internal before external"] is an interesting conversation to you.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 12:39 PM   #22
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,742
United_States
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
O.K. Ron. Statements to do with spare people punishment or pain I find amusing for some reason. It seems such an arrogant view. Like the persons secret ambition is to be judge jury and executioner and a harsh negative one at that.
But it does tie back to the quote in the original post: in order to "spare" someone punishment, you must first be capable of inflicting it. But that's a digression.

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Using great force or armies etc obviously brings war, death, destruction. Not doing it brings the opportunity for peace.

In that way of thinking peace can only be defined as a state of no war, hence peacetime.

To me that's not true peace, in other words peace is not a lack of something it's state of harmony. A lack of something is merely a void.
Added emphasis mine, and I agree. In addition to peace not being defined as the absence of war, I would also say it's not a passive thing. Peace takes work: all the things that make it possible for human beings to live together harmoniously take a lot of work, and it never ends. And a lot of it is very practical, getting-your-hands-dirty work, too. Digging a garden, growing food is one of the types of work that is necessary to make peace possible, just as one example. Peace isn't possible if human beings don't have the things they need to survive and thrive.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 01:08 PM   #23
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 647
Sweden
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Anyway, when I read Joe's post "Before you can be benevolent and spare people from pain /punishment/retribution you have to be in a position whereby you have the power to exercise your authority to inflict punishment in the first place.", it made me wonder about the whole soft vs hard Aikido debate and how it all relates to the idea of least possible harm when responding to a conflict and whether it's necessary to be in a position to inflict punishment (hard Aikido) in order to not do so (soft Aikido).
I think it is quite possible to learn effective aikido through supersoft training. I used to be in a line of aikido that is super soft... one has to learn to find the structure, both in your own body and in the "body with four legs" that you create together with your partner. That is usually done by hard grips, not letting tori perform the technique so easily. But it can also be done by enhancing your sensitivity... someone who is good at aikido - or at any type of jujutsu-related art - knows there was a flaw in his or her technique without "not being able to perform the throw". With soft training, you can arrive at this sensitivity much earlier.

BUT I think a much smaller group of the people who train in this way, even of those who train for a long time, will eventually reach street effectiveness. One reason... many of them probaby won't be interested. Another, more aggressive/hard training puts you through other things that are useful in stressful situations. It probably conditions your body more. It probably makes you at least a little bit more used to adrenalin rushes.

If your training never is even the least aggressive, the chances that you'll let someone else's aggressiveness overpower will be greater. But I do know of people who were trained in this way, who still managed to use their aikido successfully in real life. They wouldn't manage every situation, of course. OTOH, who would?

(I only threw a glance at the internal/external training thread, but it seemed to contain some good reasoning somewhat along my lines.)
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 01:18 PM   #24
valjean
Dojo: Wexford Aiki
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 15
United_States
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Have at it Graham.

The hard before soft title of the thread came from something I read that Tony posted awhile back. To paraphrase, before you can do soft Aikido you must first learn hard Aikido, or something along those lines.

Anyway, when I read Joe's post "Before you can be benevolent and spare people from pain /punishment/retribution you have to be in a position whereby you have the power to exercise your authority to inflict punishment in the first place.", it made me wonder about the whole soft vs hard Aikido debate and how it all relates to the idea of least possible harm when responding to a conflict and whether it's necessary to be in a position to inflict punishment (hard Aikido) in order to not do so (soft Aikido).

As you can see, I've managed, due to my mish-mash of mixed metaphors, to engender a boat load of confusion. But hey, most threads end up addressing tangential issues. I'm finding the responses interesting and informative.

So please, feel free to respond in any manner you see fit. I'm sure it'll be worth the read.

Best,

Ron
Hi Ron. As a relative newcomer to the art (~ 2 years), I'm struck that my instructor will often take the time, when reviewing aikido technique with us, to point out minor modifications that would transform the technique into something really nasty and "hard." I think the aim is to make some of the martial meanings of the movements clear. For someone who is really capable (i.e., not me), benevolence flows from not applying brutal or lethal force, despite the fact that aikido proficiency certainly creates openings for this.

It strikes me though, that this may be a different kind of "hardness" or "strength" in training than what is sometimes discussed in forum. Just based on reading other threads, sometimes "hardness" seems like it may be associated with the direct use of muscular strength in the performance of techniques, as an aid to overcome the balance of an aggressive and actively resisting opponent.

I don't think I've ever seen my instructor do the latter, although maybe I'm not competent to judge. And maybe I'm just misunderstanding what I've read elsewhere in the forum. But that kind of "hardness" (which perhaps is also connected to adjectives like "full force" and "high speed") seems like a somewhat different variation than what comes to my mind when I think of my own instructor.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 01:44 PM   #25
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Hard before Soft???

This argument/discussion about "hard" and "soft" ("go" and "ju", ju as in jujitsu) seems to miss what "hard" and "soft" originally referred to.

From:

http://www.judoamerica.com/coachingc...ano-kata.shtml

Quote:
In passing, Gleeson introduces Shao's cosmological structure, making a point of the dichotomy of the static universe into ju (soft) and go (hard) elements. Historically, from the martial arts perspective, this turned out to be less important than the holistic mind-body relationship emphasized by Shao's successor Wang Yang Ming, especially his notion of ju as making the body "soft" or "pliant" to the will 5. This concept was one of the many faces of ju perceived and embraced by Kano. Gleeson makes this allusion, but never offers these details, and to the extent that it does succeed, it misleads. Having introduced the subject, Gleeson fails to offer more critical, more relevant information from Kano's own martial arts lineage. So the reader is left with a shaded, incomplete picture.

Kano extensively studied the Tenjin Shinyo Ryu Jujutsu which is a fusion of Shin no Shindo Ryu and Yoshin Ryu. Yoshin Ryu (Yo, meaning "willow tree," and Shin, meaning "heart or spirit") was de-vised by a doctor from Nagasaki named Shirobei Yoshitoki Akiyama. Akiyama had studied battlefield and healing arts in Japan, and is thought to have been accomplished in Jujutsu. Wishing to extend his knowl-edge, Akiyama went to China to study in the 1600s. There he studied medicine, katsu (life-restoring tech-niques), and various martial arts, especially striking arts and their use as applied to vital areas (kyusho-jutsu). He also studied Taoism, Taoist healing and martial arts, and acu-punc-ture. The centerpiece of the art he created by incorpor-ating his training in China with Japanese methods was a syllabus of 300 techniques. This represented an infusion of the "soft" or "internal" martial arts of China into Japan 6.

The soft or internal arts were known popularly in China as jou-chuan, the characters for which are read in Japanese as "ju-ken," meaning "soft fist." It was common throughout that period to refer to all internal arts by this name. This may have played some role in the eventual popularity of the term jujutsu for these rough-and-tumble martial arts. Kano and others argued that there was nothing "gentle" or "soft" about Jujutsu, and that ju was hardly the over-riding principle of the arts. The arts were called "ju-arts" or jujutsu because they were based on internal methods and ki (internal energy), not because they employed no strength or force 7.
FWIW

Mike Sigman
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale: Books, Bujin Gi, SDK Bokken Arianah Marketplace 4 08-28-2013 08:06 AM
Why is Easy So Hard to Learn? SeiserL Columns 27 09-11-2011 04:57 AM
The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines senshincenter General 47 02-20-2006 05:20 PM
Practice soft to fight hard? Ian Williams General 28 07-09-2004 11:39 AM
Training hard then soft. Chocolateuke Training 5 07-03-2000 08:35 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:45 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate