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Old 08-28-2012, 12:55 AM   #51
Janet Rosen
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Re: talking and listening

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
True, but I think we're getting away from the kind of communication that was being discussed in the OP.

Best,

Chris
Are we? To me the essence of the Crum story as related by Mary is that clarity in communication (each person defining what they wanted the orange for) would have led to a better outcome.

Is that also the essence of what Mary followed with in her take on uke/nage? Not really. The essence as I read that paragraph is that training is best when uke and nage share the same traits (intent, commitment). This is different from the Crum story in which two parties' traits (goals, desires) are different but woukd have been solved by clear communication.

So I hadn't realized it until formulating my reply to Chris, but now it appears to me the OP is sort of a non sequiter in that the upper part does not logically connect to the lower part. And maybe that's contributing to some of the oddness of much of the ensuing discussion! :-)

Janet Rosen
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:59 AM   #52
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Re: talking and listening

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Are we? To me the essence of the Crum story as related by Mary is that clarity in communication (each person defining what they wanted the orange for) would have led to a better outcome.

Is that also the essence of what Mary followed with in her take on uke/nage? Not really. The essence as I read that paragraph is that training is best when uke and nage share the same traits (intent, commitment). This is different from the Crum story in which two parties' traits (goals, desires) are different but woukd have been solved by clear communication.

So I hadn't realized it until formulating my reply to Chris, but now it appears to me the OP is sort of a non sequiter in that the upper part does not logically connect to the lower part. And maybe that's contributing to some of the oddness of much of the ensuing discussion! :-)
Well, a smack in the face with no pre-amble is communication too - and very clear. I don't think, however, that it's the kind of communication that she had in mind...

I don't think it's that much of a non-sequitur, the communication in the Crum story would have been solved by clear communication - but, sadly, that isn't always the case.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-28-2012, 05:08 AM   #53
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Re: talking and listening

looking back at the OP after what Janet wrote above...yea I think Janet nailed the issue.

Mary E wrote:

Quote:
When uke attacks with intention and commitment and nage responds with the same we can both have all that we want. It takes work and the willingness to be truthful but the results are good.
seeking to understand is always a trait that we can improve upon, especially when have room and time to do so. I think the orange story demonstrates this very well.

Translating this into budo I think is possible, but we have to consider much more than the clinical and neat/clean philosophical aspects of the situations we encounter many times.

Using the words "attack" in conjunction the orange story brings up different elements that I think complicate things. I think there is a big difference between conflict over an orange and conflict over the intent to actually attack someone.

I think it is more than the level of intent or the emotional investment too, although there is intent and emotion over an orange.

I think when we are discussing issues over true and physical harm it is very difficult to speak in terms of win/win...and we need to be pragmatic about it,

That said, as far as a model for conflict resolution and yes, I also agree that expanding our skills in order to create space and seeking to better understand allows us to make better choices and can go along way in creating win/win.

However, not every fairy tale has a happy ending. I think as budoka we need to study this and embrace it more so than focusing on the happy endings only as can be the case.

However, this should not take away from the message that Mary is conveying as I think it is a good example giving the context in which it was offered. Save removing the linkage to attack as I don't think it translates well or directly in this respect.

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Old 08-28-2012, 06:44 AM   #54
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Re: talking and listening

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
True, but I think we're getting away from the kind of communication that was being discussed in the OP.
Oh, that happened some time ago. Ironically, it illustrates OP's point.

The story in the OP is about a situation in which two people's communication is stunted and constrained by their assumptions about what the other wants. That same assumption pervades most of the stunted communication on aikiweb, unfortunately. Worse still is the way we need to add an icing of judgment on top of the case: I'm going to make assumptions about what you want/are trying to do, slap my labels on it, and hold it up to ridicule. But I digress.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:30 AM   #55
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Re: talking and listening

Well, honestly I think it is a lovely parable. And like all parables the lesson it teaches isn't intended to be some super deep universal truth that is always applicable to all situations. I think that's what finally set Fred off on his critique. I will admit I had a somewhat negative reaction to Mark's post given the history of posts here. The parable has a "truth" of sorts it is trying to communicate. And it is a lovely sentiment as others have commented upon already, expanding and looking at some of the subtle meanings of the story. Sure, once you then take that parable and start dissecting it from any number of particular perspectives "it ain't necessarily so" comes to mind. But that doesn't negate the value of the parable. My earlier comment about extremes talks to this sort of thing. Those who are seeing things through a very focused lens (meaning both very clear but also a very constrained view) will immediately see fault in various places. But again, that doesn't negate the value of parable in communicating meaning and ideas.

Sometimes you need to leave some thoughts at the door. As Dr. Goldsbury wrote elsewhere, there is a time and place for everything. There is value in parable as evidenced by many posts here. Or we can become completely engulfed in each of our own monomania and discussion will devolve. Metaphors allow people to make deeper connections in a very rich way. Nietzsche's writings today would likely never be as popular as they are today if he wasn't just so damned quotable. Enjoy metaphor and parable. Let them roll around in your head. Find meaning. And try not to shove them in to square holes.

I like Mark. I frankly agree with much of what he's talking about too in terms of Aikido and ki and what not. But there's a lot more to talk about and sometimes, well, we can really overthink things. And going laser like to the same ideas over and over again can stifle an awful lot of very good discussions.

So... I have enjoyed a number of the discussions. The ideas about what it means to "impose one's will" evolved from the discussion, a very interesting philosophical point. Other interesting ideas evolved out as well. So my sincere suggestion for this forum is to focus on letting these things go sometimes. We don't always have to engage in a complete reduction to fundamental truths but should sometimes let the metaphors fly and see where they go. Lots of good can come from that.

FWIW my brother is an engineer. Love him dearly. But for a very long time it was *very* difficult to have philosophical discussions with him as he would almost always go in to rigid engineer mode almost instantly. So much richness missed. Nowadays as we're both older I've learned to be more relaxed about it and he's found that there's a lot more out there once you start looking up and beyond the details.

Interesting considering the title of the thread is "Talking and listening". Sometimes we need to listen more and talk less. Which I suppose means I should say... Carry on...

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Old 08-28-2012, 07:54 AM   #56
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Re: talking and listening

But I'll also say that Mark's question *is* a valid question. Just not the only thing to talk about. So I reminded myself that one way to keep these things going is to focus on the parts you are interested in and participate. I don't need to answer Mark's point because I think he is essentially right on that one aspect. All the other stuff is still there to talk about, however...

An interesting introduction to Aesop, fwiw.

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Old 08-28-2012, 08:44 AM   #57
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Re: talking and listening

Keith, thank you for your thoughts. You said it so much better than I could have.

I liked the original post very much. For me, it was a reminder that if I can set assumptions aside, I can sometimes give myself more options. Broadening your mind, reserving judgment, listening instead of talking, is for your benefit.

And as far as the limits of parable...yes, that. The OP was not a statement that every situation is a "you want the skin, I want the juicy parts" situation, just a reminder to be open to where such situations exist. I think one reason why parables are useful is that we human beings particularize, and parables have the power to break us out of that rut. But if you've really got that particularization habit ingrained, you're going to try to particularize the parable as well.

A good article relating to this whole dynamic is here:

While he was making his points on stage, I was taking an inventory of the things I didn’t agree with. And when presented with an opportunity to speak with him, I quickly pushed back at some of his ideas. I must have seemed like such an asshole.

His response changed my life. It was a simple thing. He said “Man, give it five minutes.” I asked him what he meant by that? He said, it’s fine to disagree, it’s fine to push back, it’s great to have strong opinions and beliefs, but give my ideas some time to set in before you’re sure you want to argue against them. “Five minutes” represented “think”, not react. He was totally right.
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:18 AM   #58
Janet Rosen
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Re: talking and listening

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
So... I have enjoyed a number of the discussions. The ideas about what it means to "impose one's will" evolved from the discussion, a very interesting philosophical point. Other interesting ideas evolved out as well. So my sincere suggestion for this forum is to focus on letting these things go sometimes. We don't always have to engage in a complete reduction to fundamental truths but should sometimes let the metaphors fly and see where they go. Lots of good can come from that.
Amen!

Janet Rosen
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:50 AM   #59
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Re: talking and listening

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
All the other stuff is still there to talk about, however...
Some thoughts here....perspectives in play.....some of the folks here, me included, see Aikido as fundamentally as a form of modern physical self-defense, limited in some ways, but still a form of self-defense in a physical setting. I don't see Aikido as a way to operate my daily life, it is not a way to world peace and it isn't universal love. Tools for conversation, for listening, for conflict resolution, for teaming, for getting along with others...all exist outside of Aikido and much of it before Aikido came into play. My use of distraction with my daughter when she was young didn't come out of Aikido...... Given that related principles exist here and could be touching behavior in ways I don't see......the fundamental approach I have taken to Aikido shapes the way I see the dialog.

As for imposing one's will on another....it may not always be that. As I think back about the situation I related to in the Campus Pub when it was clear to me that the intent of the individual seated at the bar was to take a swing at me and my saying something to him distracted him, wiggled him....maybe imposed an idea on him rather than imposing me on him. Had I dropped him on the spot that would have been imposing me on him.... Maybe we impose ideas on folks as a condition less than imposing ourselves on them. Just a thought.

Gary

Last edited by Gary David : 08-28-2012 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:10 AM   #60
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Re: talking and listening

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Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
Some thoughts here....perspectives in play.....some of the folks here, me included, see Aikido as fundamentally as a form of modern physical self-defense, limited in some ways, but still a form of self-defense in a physical setting. I don't see Aikido as a way to operate my daily life, it is not a way to world peace and it isn't universal love.
Actually I don't disagree personally. However, many who practice Aikido today do have a vastly larger perspective on the applicability of the art to many things. Aikido went a whole lot of directions... So while I may not participate much in the discussion about how the whole orange metaphor works in terms of Aikido, I do see the metaphor as a valuable one regardless. And clearly for some they do see much of that as relevant to their practice including universal love and world peace kinda stuff. As such much of that discussion is simply not one I need to participate in. Sure, now and then there will be the discussion as to whether this is *really* what Aikido is all about or *really* what O-sensei intended, but... It is clear that it evolved that way for a whole lot of folk (hence the way many distinguish between what they see as Ueshiba's Aikido vs. modern Aikido vs. whatever). So of course now and again there will be the discussion as to what Aikido *really* is, but it doesn't have to be in *every* conversation and sometimes those with that other view of how things work like to have their own discussions. Like it or not, the world of Aikido is huge, diverse, and quite a mess of ideas. And my solid foundation is someone else's misguided mess.

I see little point in defending or asserting particular views in every conversation among those who do have a different worldview on the topic. Then again I don't think one needs to wail against it either when someone does. They should just carry on, have their conversation, and ignore the other discussion if it isn't what they want to talk about.

Last edited by Keith Larman : 08-28-2012 at 10:17 AM.

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Old 08-28-2012, 10:16 AM   #61
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Re: talking and listening

And on imposing...

My only point is that any time there is anything done, even if it is avoidance, you are shaping the situation. You are trying to change how things are going to go which in turn is taking control yourself. Even the person who tries all sorts of warm, fuzzy, even sweet talking approach to calm someone down is trying to assert some sort of control over the other person. We tend to use the word "imposing" to carry connotations of "taking over" in a sort of negative way. And often people like to say that this is a "bad" thing to do, it is about power, violence and control, etc. However, some of the most insidious examples of power grabs and controlling behavior I've seen has been by people who act like the noble person just trying to rise above the fray. Passive aggressive people who wear the garb of the peaceful, enlightened warrior who in the end are little more than potential cult figures. For them it is still about control. Imposing their will.

Whether this has anything to do with Aikido is another issue entirely. I just thought it was an interesting issue as people tend to use the terms with subtly different meanings depending on what they want to show.

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Old 08-28-2012, 10:18 AM   #62
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Re: talking and listening

Quote:
Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
Some thoughts here....perspectives in play.....some of the folks here, me included, see Aikido as fundamentally as a form of modern physical self-defense, limited in some ways, but still a form of self-defense in a physical setting. I don't see Aikido as a way to operate my daily life, it is not a way to world peace and it isn't universal love. Tools for conversation, for listening, for conflict resolution, for teaming, for getting along with others...all exist outside of Aikido and much of it before Aikido came into play. My use of distraction with my daughter when she was young didn't come out of Aikido...... Given that related principles exist here and could be touching behavior in ways I don't see......the fundamental approach I have taken to Aikido shapes the way I see the dialog.

As for imposing one's will on another....it may not always be that. As I think back about the situation I related to in the Campus Pub when it was clear to me that the intent of the individual seated at the bar was to take a swing at me and my saying something to him distracted him, wiggled him....maybe imposed an idea on him rather than imposing me on him. Had I dropped him on the spot that would have been imposing me on him.... Maybe we impose ideas on folks as a condition less than imposing ourselves on them. Just a thought.

Gary
Amen

"Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men" - Thomas Henry Huxley
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:34 AM   #63
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Re: talking and listening

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Is that also the essence of what Mary followed with in her take on uke/nage? Not really. The essence as I read that paragraph is that training is best when uke and nage share the same traits (intent, commitment). This is different from the Crum story in which two parties' traits (goals, desires) are different but woukd have been solved by clear communication.
Hmmm, I didn't read it this way. I was thinking of uke being fully intent and committed to the role and goals of uke, and nage being fully intent and committed to the role and goals of nage, but of those roles and goals being different. Which resulted in each focusing on a different aspect of their training but in such a way that their goals, though different, helped the other concentrate on their own goals. Though in hindsight maybe that's because I was having a couple of conversations very similar to that recently and it was in my head because someone was teaching about something kind of similar (without any orange involved) .

E.g. I was thinking of uke practicing things like how to attack, feeling clearly what nage is doing, how to keep oneself safer when at a disadvantage, perhaps how to set up a counter or at least how to be in good positions for a counter, and nage practicing how to react to attacks, and so on... Or to be more general, each practicing different aspects of feeling and blending appropriately with the other's energy and movements.

Or however you see the roles of uke and nage, but considering how differing practice goals can in fact be complementary to each other and allow both to gain more from the practice.

Last edited by Basia Halliop : 08-28-2012 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:44 AM   #64
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Re: talking and listening

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
And on imposing...

........... shaping the situation. ...........
Keith
Maybe this is a better framing word than imposing one's will...shaping may have the same effect/affect as imposing. all things considered shaping has a better sound.....

Gary

Last edited by Gary David : 08-28-2012 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:49 PM   #65
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Re: talking and listening

Imposing one's will ...

If we look to Ueshiba, he said something along the lines that if one becomes the Universe, how can anyone fight that? And then we look at Ueshiba stating "Aiki is a means of achieving harmony with another person so that you can make them do what you want."

But, if we look to the latter statement, it's from Takeshita. Could Ueshiba have been restating Takeda's views on aiki? It could have been from a time frame when Takeda was a large influence on Ueshiba. And yet, Takeda, Ueshiba, etc viewed their art as defensive, so even if you look at that statement, it doesn't fit with aggressive attacking. Now, martially, it's hard to view the example of the orange in this. For example, when the swordsman attacked Ueshiba, to him, the orange meant actually hitting Ueshiba. For Ueshiba, the orange actually meant not getting hit. There can be no sharing the orange. And martially, if one is uke attacking someone with aiki, you are not getting the orange just like the swordsman also did not hit Ueshiba. The orange was fully Ueshiba's and uke did what Ueshiba wanted.

But, if we look at this spiritually, we see that Ueshiba was the Universe so that uke came to a mental/spiritual change. Uke became the Universe and as such came to understand that it was not the orange that was important after all. In aiki, this is manifest in the physical by uke being handled as if he/she was a rag doll/child. When uke can do nothing to upset nage/aiki, there is a mental change from an overwhelming sense of being outclassed, outmatched, and an unfathomable mystery on what is happening. (Normal martial arts do not create this) In this manner, the orange no longer becomes an issue at all. So, I think this is where Mary's example goes further than each person finding that they wanted different parts of the orange. I think it transcends that such that each person finds a greater truth than the orange between them.

Martially, it works only one way. An attacker wants to hurt you. You do not want to be hurt. There can be no splitting nor sharing of the orange. It must remain intact and unharmed.

Spiritually, though, aiki transcends the orange. The situation of sharing or even splitting is never created. It does not exist. One cannot fight the Universe but only accept becoming part of it.

If we overlay all that upon Aikiweb, we find that aiki is big enough to encompass those who train for just health, for just spirituality, for just martial, and for all the above. People from all walks of life have proven this and the situation where the orange must be shared or split was never created. As Ueshiba stated, aiki makes things better. There is no spoon, er orange.

Mark
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Old 08-29-2012, 05:46 PM   #66
graham christian
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Re: talking and listening

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Maybe we let uke find their own way through suggestion and encouragement. Does imposing our will on another resolve anything? Going past compromise to something better would be my choice.
I like this.

Once 'imposing will' is transcended then eyes become open.

Peace.G.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:06 PM   #67
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Re: talking and listening

Just to add to what I wrote above I would like to refer back to the o/p.

I would say it implies oneness. I would also say that Aikido is the art of the whole orange and all else therefor cannot be Aikido.

In oneness at that precise moment both have a whole orange.

Peace.G.
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