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Old 11-08-2012, 10:58 PM   #1
David Orange
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The Fear of Power

Aikido has done a strange thing to its students' minds. It has given them a sense of great power, yet it has made them afraid of power. It's so strange to see people deride the quest to attain power, knowing that they, themselves, are actually motivated by the images of Morihei Ueshiba's incredible power. Why else would they train in aikido? It's portrayed as a devastating martial art that requires no strength, yet the founder was absolutely powerful, almost beyond human limits, we would think. So people sign on with this, yet they have to deny that they're seeking "power"--especially "power over others." But....you fling people around like rag dolls. Or...you pretend to?

Let's face it: aikido is a means of attaining power to dictate to evil, rather than having evil dictate to us. It is a way to have power to stand up to "bad people".

But at the same time, it's full of Ueshiba's humane philosophy of not hurting the attacker. And by focusing on this, people forget why they came to the art: to be able to stop violent people from doing violence to them. For that, face the truth, you need to have power. So many put a blind faith in a "lightning strikes" kind of event that is supposed to happen without their intending it, without their reaching for it, without there knowing it will happen. And this is just confusion. In original aikido, you have to first face the fact that the world is full of seriously evil people who will do cruel and incredible things to very nice people if they get the chance. Next, you have to face the fact that you need to prepare yourself in some way to be able to prevent such people from effecting such cruelty on you. Now, when you consider that such people have invariably led very cruel lives and undergone much miserable suffering, you realize that they are not push-overs. They're likely the grown-up versions of the bigger, tougher, meaner kids you faced in elementary, middle and high school. Only worse. Maybe they've already killed people. Or is your aikido only meant to somehow shame people who speak too forcefully? Is it not meant to save your life from killers?

So, face it: aikido takes toughness. Approached by a would-be student once, Ueshiba said, "Aikido is very tough. Can you take it?" Why else was his dojo called "the hell gym"? Why did one of the students from that era say that people who came without excellent references were often "crunched" by the established students? You had to be tough just to get in the door, much less stay long enough to learn the actual art.

I recently read someone's tag line quoting Yamada Sensei as saying something like, "The worldwide spread of aikido is accomplished. Now we must worry about the quality."

Well, the decline in quality is largely tied to this idea that "power" and "strength" are somehow evil in this world full of evil people and that good people should entirely eschew any effort to become strong or to have intentional power. Well, frankly, that's crazy talk. It's schizophrenic. Because everyone who comes to the art comes to learn how to throw people around like rag dolls. Deny it all you want, but if you were looking for pure pacifistic love on earth you could pick Gandhi or Mother Teresa or Sai Baba or any of the multitude of other teachers who never threw anyone anywhere. You chose aikido because you wanted to be able to throw people around. In the process of learning, you got indoctrinated with the idea that the desire to throw people around like rag dolls is antithetical to the art of throwing people around like rag dolls. It is not the power we are to seek, you have been instructed, but the grace, the gracefulness, the beauty and harmony of the motions. Seeking power, you have been told, will destroy that gracefulness and ruin the beauty of the art.

But Ueshiba was incredibly powerful, by choice, by devotion, by effort and intentional development. And it in no way detracted from the grace and beauty of his movement. Morihiro Saito was likewise beautiful in the vast strength of his movement. And Mochizuki Sensei was very similar to that.

Recently, I've been reading Melville's Moby Dick and I'm just amazed at this tour de force of American fiction, the heart and soul, the knowledge of so many broad and meaningful topics, the art and craft of a master storyteller. The inherent understanding of human nature and the nature of nature itself. This whole thread, in fact, originates with the chapter of Moby Dick entitled, The Tail, in particular, this passage:

"...in the tail the confluent measureless force of the whole whale seems concentrated to a point. Could annihilation occur to matter, this were the thing to do it.

"Nor does this--its amazing strength, at all tend to cripple the graceful flexion of its motions; where infantileness of ease undulates through a Titanism of power. On the contrary, those motions derive their most appalling beauty from it. Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it; and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic. Take away the tied tendons that all over seem bursting from the marble in the carved Hercules, and its charm would be gone. As devout Eckerman lifted the linen sheet from the naked corpse of Goethe, he was overwhelmed with the massive chest of the man, that seemed as a Roman triumphal arch. When Angelo paints even God the Father in human form, mark what robustness is there. And whatever they may reveal of the divine love in the Son, the soft, curled, hermaphroditical Italian pictures, in which his idea has been most successfully embodied; these pictures, so destitute as they are of all brawniness, hint nothing of any power, but the mere negative, feminine one of submission and endurance, which on all hands it is conceded, form the peculiar practical virtues of his teachings.

"Such is the subtle elasticity of the organ I treat of, that whether wielded in sport, or in earnest, or in anger, whatever be the mood it be in, its flexions are invariably marked by exceeding grace. Therein no fairy's arm can transcend it."

So...the presence of strength does not detract from the grace of movement, but powers it. While the removal of power creates something unnatural and unappealing (not to say that even Melville intended that the "feminine" should be found unappealing, but, applied to the Son of Angelo's robust "God the Father," reduces it from dominion over the universe to "submission and endurance" even though some see Christ's teachings as just that. I don't see it that way, myself.

But I do agree with Melville that, as the multitudinous movements of the tail of the whale may express many moods and intentions, the incredible power it embodies is always expressed with gracefulness. So, to me, aikido is rather like the movements of the tail of a whale: full of grace but made of unstoppable, devastating power.

My point here is just to request that everyone return to the truth of this nature and recognize that the attraction and beauty of aikido is rooted in the effortless flinging-away of powerful people, the tossing of the merely strong and evil by the powerful and righteous. But we cannot be righteous in denying the truth. As Mochizuki said of O Sensei, "Do you think I would have followed him if he were not strong?"

He was strong as the tail of the whale is mighty. His art is mighty. It has not changed. It is only the practitioners, promoting weakness, who have lost the way of nature. They have lost touch with nature through their fear of natural power. It's time we understood that power is natural and the development of power is the development of true nature, just as Zen leads us to our true self. Fear of our true self leads only to delusion and fear of power leads far from the truth of aikido.

Gassho.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:18 AM   #2
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
... but if you were looking for pure pacifistic love on earth you could pick ...
This is one of the things that disturb me most when thinking about aikidō.

And other than historical, philosophical or techniqual question I don't have any clue how to ever get answer:
Why do people who deeply believe in pacifism practice a budō?
Why do people who do not want to hurt or injure another human being practice a martial art?
Why don't they learn one of the methods or ways that use and teach pacifistic ways to deal with aggressors or conflicts? There is so much to be learned if someone wants to. And it is really not an easy way to go. I myself think, it's much more chalenging than doing aikidō.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:38 AM   #3
phitruong
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Re: The Fear of Power

let me see if i can answer that with a story. true story. my relatives who shared the same genetics stock as I (you would thought that is so), we all have high cholesterol issue. actually, our cholesterol were high enough to kill the pig. i went and visit them. they served various food stuffs, mostly involved stuffs that make your arteries want to run for Mars. i asked them why they eat like that? they said, the doctors gave them cholesterol medicines so it's ok to eat these stuffs, because you can always drink the medicines afterward. how can you argue with such logic? so go ahead and pass the bacon over, along with the rest of the pig. i'll just drink my medicine later.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:03 AM   #4
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
This is one of the things that disturb me most when thinking about aikidō.

And other than historical, philosophical or techniqual question I don't have any clue how to ever get answer:
Why do people who deeply believe in pacifism practice a budō?
Why do people who do not want to hurt or injure another human being practice a martial art?
Why don't they learn one of the methods or ways that use and teach pacifistic ways to deal with aggressors or conflicts? There is so much to be learned if someone wants to. And it is really not an easy way to go. I myself think, it's much more chalenging than doing aikidō.
I'll add a question. What makes anyone think that a technique done on someone intent on doing you harm, who hasn't learned ukemi, will leave them unharmed?

"Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men" - Thomas Henry Huxley
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:59 AM   #5
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Aikido has done a strange thing to its students' minds. It has given them a sense of great power, yet it has made them afraid of power. It's so strange to see people deride the quest to attain power, knowing that they, themselves, are actually motivated by the images of Morihei Ueshiba's incredible power. Why else would they train in aikido?
Well...this is the premise of your argument, that aikido students are so motivated, prima facie. If you're unwilling to entertain the possibility that at least some aikido students are not so motivated, there really isn't any basis for discussion, is there? It's not that hard to build an airtight case if you can dictate the premise. But is it a castle built on sand?

I'm not trying to derail your thread, and I'll step out of it at this point, because clearly it's not something I can speak to. Nevertheless, all your "you have tos" and "you need tos" derive from a different truth than mine. In your world, all aikido students are either consciously seeking power, or are deluding themselves that they aren't (somehow struggling and failing to be anti-power, whatever). Could it not be that you're oversimplifying things into a single dimension, a linear spectrum in which everyone is somewhere along the "power" line...and that the reality of human motivations is more complex than that?
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:10 AM   #6
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Re: The Fear of Power

If I was concerned about power and the ability t handle someone who was attacking me with intent to do harm I wold buy a go and spend my time learning how to use it. It is not why I study aikido. And seeing Ueshiba's power in videos is also not why I came to aikio. My choice to take up aikio had nothing to do with wanting to learn to kick ass or become powerful or to defeat a attacker. That is just what it is. That said. I'm not really afraid of the power I have gained or that which I will gain as I continue to train. The power is just a side effect of my training which is for an entirely differnt purpose which I am happy to say I am slowly beginning to accomplish.

So I think that as Mary pointed out you first need to drop the assumption that everyone is training in aikido for the same reason that you are.

Reading the classics does tend to incite me to do some pretty deep thinking on aikido and life and my own internal struggles as well.
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:38 AM   #7
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
If I was concerned about power and the ability t handle someone who was attacking me with intent to do harm I wold buy a go and spend my time learning how to use it. It is not why I study aikido. And seeing Ueshiba's power in videos is also not why I came to aikio. My choice to take up aikio had nothing to do with wanting to learn to kick ass or become powerful or to defeat a attacker. That is just what it is. That said. I'm not really afraid of the power I have gained or that which I will gain as I continue to train. The power is just a side effect of my training which is for an entirely differnt purpose which I am happy to say I am slowly beginning to accomplish.

So I think that as Mary pointed out you first need to drop the assumption that everyone is training in aikido for the same reason that you are.

Reading the classics does tend to incite me to do some pretty deep thinking on aikido and life and my own internal struggles as well.
Hi Cherie,

But, you are training in aikido for power. You don't care to "kick ass" but you do use aikido to make a horse behave. Or to make it do what you want it to. That's power. Horse wants to do one thing and you want the horse to do something else. It's a power struggle. You want to win. It's all about power and overcoming an "attacker". In this case, a horse that is being ornery.

Now apply that to people. What if it's a drunk relative that you don't want to harm? It's still all about power. Power to stop the person from harming either himself/herself or others and you.

People in aikido aren't there to "kick ass" and take names, no. But, they are there for power, even if they don't believe it themselves. Otherwise uke in every training session would overcome you. Every time. Uke's job is to disrupt and try to make you do things his/her way. Just because that doesn't happen in a supposedly "non-violent" manner (no breaking of bones, etc) doesn't mean there was no power involved. Uke is rerouted to another direction via harmonious blending, right? Harmonious for whom? Why? How? If uke's initial phase of the encounter was to disrupt you and that did not happen, then uke's will/focus/energy was completely altered. How can that be done without power? We are talking an actual physical encounter.

Where people start drifting is equating power with some bad kung fu movie villain, like Sho Nuff.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lnsg0jDbHk4

Beyond even that, when talking IP/aiki, it is all about the power within and how it changes you. I think you are coming to realize that, right? As you become the universe, other little planets don't matter so much. If they don't matter so much, you aren't affected by their actions as much. As you aren't affected as much, you live a bit freer in the world. All from the power of IP/aiki.
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:54 AM   #8
David Orange
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
This is one of the things that disturb me most when thinking about aikidō.

And other than historical, philosophical or techniqual question I don't have any clue how to ever get answer:
Why do people who deeply believe in pacifism practice a budō?
Carsten, I don't find that a troubling question because I am a pacifist. I was a conscientious objector to war when I had the chance to go (though the government never accepted that status for me and I remained subject to involuntary induction, had they so chosen).

Mochizuki Sensei and others have been clear that you do only as much as it takes to stop the other guy. It's just that so many in aikido seem to think that making the attacker trip and bump his knee will stop him. And you get these smarmy, superior smiles from people who clearly couldn't work their way through wet paper, yet see themselves (black belts, after all) as able to stop a Hell's Angel in his tracks, and with love, no less.

Can't remember what master said it, but it boils down to, "You have to have the ability to utterly destroy the attacker, yet choose to save him, before you can really consider yourself a pacifist." Which I believe, as well.

And that brings us to the question of IP/IS/Aiki: where one has devoted decades upon decades to developing aikido technique, only find himself slowing and weakening as he ages--not attaining greater heights as Ueshiba did. To go further, we have to go to the truly fantastic levels of power and strength that Ueshiba accessed on the floating bridge of Heaven. But the mere mention of this sends so many people into frenzies, calling us "power mad" and "wanting to be the baddest and strongest."

Well, we (at least I) don't want to be "the baddest," but I want to be just enough "badder" than my attacker that I can stop him, preferably without doing him serious harm. But, with the technique of budo, I have to develop the ability to harm him, in case I must to save my own life or my child's, or a family member or friend. I don't see budo as anything counter to pacifism, but as "empowering" pacifistic thinking with real ability to live in peace.

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Why do people who do not want to hurt or injure another human being practice a martial art?
That is a question, though. If they accepted the necessity of being able to hurt him enough to make him stop, it would make some sense, but we so often hear comments amounting almost to intentional self-weakening to the point of being literally unable to affect anyone else. The effortless and unintentional working of "aiki" is expected to do that for them, almost without their own involvement, other than pretending to throw and pretending to fall through thousands of hours in a "dojo..."

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Why don't they learn one of the methods or ways that use and teach pacifistic ways to deal with aggressors or conflicts? There is so much to be learned if someone wants to. And it is really not an easy way to go. I myself think, it's much more chalenging than doing aikidō.
Yeah, but those ways don't grant black belts, and there's something about that black belt that they won't let go, even long after they've sacrificed the heart of the art to their self image as superior people.

I'm glad that there are folks like you, and schools like Edgar Kruyning's, where the truth has always lived.

Best to you.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:05 AM   #9
David Orange
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Well...this is the premise of your argument, that aikido students are so motivated, prima facie. If you're unwilling to entertain the possibility that at least some aikido students are not so motivated, there really isn't any basis for discussion, is there? It's not that hard to build an airtight case if you can dictate the premise. But is it a castle built on sand?
Mary, I'm not stating that "all" aikido students think this way. There are plenty of people here who have clearly retained Ueshiba's motivations. But the vast majority, it seems, have bought only half the concept. They put peace above all else, but Ueshiba's entire life was an exercise in developing vast power for the purpose of living in peace. It's natural, in that sense. What is unnatural is expecting peace to be maintained by inability.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I'm not trying to derail your thread, and I'll step out of it at this point, because clearly it's not something I can speak to. Nevertheless, all your "you have tos" and "you need tos" derive from a different truth than mine.
Well, mine comes from the root of aikido. This was the way Ueshiba really thought and lived. What does your truth come from? So many follow a path based on "part" of what Ueshiba is thought to have said, when close examination of what he really said turns out to be instructions for developing fantastic physical/mental/spiritual power.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
In your world, all aikido students are either consciously seeking power, or are deluding themselves that they aren't (somehow struggling and failing to be anti-power, whatever). Could it not be that you're oversimplifying things into a single dimension, a linear spectrum in which everyone is somewhere along the "power" line...and that the reality of human motivations is more complex than that?
That's a fairly good question, but my line in no way limits the spectrum of motivations. I'm just addressing this one aspect in detail because it's like the keel of the ship of aikido, or the roofbeam of the house. Everything attaches to and branches from that single concern. All values of aikido practice are derived from how truly one adheres to that main spar. Without that, the whole thing falls apart, so I've posted to bring people's attention to focus there at least long enough to recognize its centrality.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:24 AM   #10
David Orange
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
If I was concerned about power and the ability t handle someone who was attacking me with intent to do harm I wold buy a go and spend my time learning how to use it.
I learned all that when I was a wee little fellow. I was stripping and reassembling rifles and pistols in elementary school. As an adult, I've never owned or carried any firearm except for a short stint as a detective, which I hated. I've walked through some deep, dark streets alone with nothing but the spirit of God to defend me. But I have a picture of myself at the yoseikan hombu with Minoru Mochizuki doing a technique on me and in the background, the scroll in his kamiza is seen, and directly above my head the kanji for Heaven. So I only rely on God for my life and defense, but for some reason, God seems to have sent me to Minoru Mochizuki to learn the ways of budo--Minoru Mochizuki's budo. And he told me, "Always teach my budo." And I frequently feel his urgings, from the roots of aikido's dawn, before it was even called aikido. So I speak for aikido itself and for Ueshiba as Mochizuki spoke for him.

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
It is not why I study aikido. And seeing Ueshiba's power in videos is also not why I came to aikio. My choice to take up aikio had nothing to do with wanting to learn to kick ass or become powerful or to defeat a attacker.
Well, Carsten and I (and others) have openly wondered what inspired people to begin aikido. You tell us it wasn't for the power to throw people, but you don't say what it was. So please tell us why you chose that path?

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
I'm not really afraid of the power I have gained or that which I will gain as I continue to train. The power is just a side effect of my training which is for an entirely differnt purpose which I am happy to say I am slowly beginning to accomplish.
But from this two things remain unclear: are you really developing the power that aikido was intended to develop? and What was your purpose in beginning training?

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
So I think that as Mary pointed out you first need to drop the assumption that everyone is training in aikido for the same reason that you are.
I think it should be clear that I know very well that most aikido students are not training for the same reason I train. My major point is that most people are both "schizophrenic" in their motivations and in denial of that fact. They want the black belt very seriously or they wouldn't follow all the undeniable "mickey mouse" aspects of following a teacher's (and his organization's) idiosyncratic requirements year after year. Why? The black belt is a symbol of power, call it what you want: a symbol of accomplishment? That's a type of power. But the black belt specifically implies the power to overcome strong attackers. My purpose here is specifically to bring people to an exact examination of their own motivations, to address and acknowledge them in private if not in public. So what is your motivation (what was it at the very beginning) for training in aikido and following the requirements for rank?

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Reading the classics does tend to incite me to do some pretty deep thinking on aikido and life and my own internal struggles as well.
I see now why Melville is truly a classic, not at all unlike Ueshiba, not unlike Mochizuki or Shioda. They never lost the values that our society lost long before memory.

Very interested in your response.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:35 AM   #11
David Orange
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Beyond even that, when talking IP/aiki, it is all about the power within and how it changes you. I think you are coming to realize that, right? As you become the universe, other little planets don't matter so much. If they don't matter so much, you aren't affected by their actions as much. As you aren't affected as much, you live a bit freer in the world. All from the power of IP/aiki.
The power to be free. I think that is where Ueshiba began. He saw his father beaten for his political views, according to a book I read (Kisshomaru's, I believe).

And another aspect of power, and the fear of power, is the natural necessity of it, which has been distorted by mistaken "aikido thinking".

What is power, after all, but capacity? Ability?

Many people would not wish "a more powerful car." I don't have any desire to drive a Mustang or a Porsche. I have no concern about the kind of car I drive or, really, what it looks like. I'm a poet at heart.

Yet, if my car could go further on a gallon of gas...still getting me to the same destination in the same amount of time...that's a kind of power.

I'd like my money to go further. That's a kind of power. I'd like to get more for the dollars I spend.

In IP/aiki, isn't that what we're really seeking? For our effort to achieve more?

Who could be against that? It's Bucky Fuller talk (less is more).

But when you describe that as "power," some people lose all perspective and think we want to be Bruce Willis in Die Hard or Bruce Lee in Fists of Fury.

Not I. I want to be like Morihei Ueshiba, who could stand effortlessly and be immovable, who could raise his hand effortlessly and the big man grabbing him would become weak while another person could strain all they wanted and still fall to the strong man.

Power, in fact, only means "capacity" or "ability." There's nothing evil except the intent of the one who gains the power. Why do they want it?

And that gets back to the motivations of those who claim that power is bad and seeking to become more efficiently powerful is somehow bad. Why are they training in a martial art and jumping through hoops to get a black belt? I just want people to examine that question honestly and comment on it here if they so desire. Because I'm interested.

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:47 AM   #12
Krystal Locke
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Tom Quinn wrote: View Post
I'll add a question. What makes anyone think that a technique done on someone intent on doing you harm, who hasn't learned ukemi, will leave them unharmed?
My experience as a bouncer makes me think that it is extremely possible to do aikido on people intent on harming me in a way that leaves them unharmed, yet somehow out of the building. Sankyo is pretty useful stuff, but I'm only bouncing drunks, tweakers, disaffected college students, and pissed off cage fighters.
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:49 AM   #13
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Hi Cherie,

But, you are training in aikido for power. You don't care to "kick ass" but you do use aikido to make a horse behave. Or to make it do what you want it to. That's power. Horse wants to do one thing and you want the horse to do something else. It's a power struggle. You want to win. It's all about power and overcoming an "attacker". In this case, a horse that is being ornery.

.
lol anyone who thinks they can MAKE a horse do anything it does not want to do is fooling themselves. My work with horses is not a power struggle and there is no wanting to win. Sometimes I want to do what I want to do and sometimes I let the horse tell me what it wants to do. Sometimes we compromise. Most ornery horses are just trying to protect themselves from a perceived threat or are responding to people based on humans having tried to use force to get what they want. Interestingly the thing I am learning the most and applying to horses that I am learning in aikido is that the less I try to make them do what I want and the less strength and power I use the more successful the outcomes. Even when the horse is standing on his hind legs trying to intimidate me into letting go of the lead rope or his foot. I work on a horse who previously took three people to get the job done using force and pain some whose previous farriers refused to come back because of how bad they were and another one whose trimmer left her sore and barely touched because she was so difficult. I get the job done with out drama and little to no stress for me or the horse or its owner. One key is to be willing to let things take as long as they take and not being in a big hurry.

[quote=David Orange;318718
Well, Carsten and I (and others) have openly wondered what inspired people to begin aikido. You tell us it wasn't for the power to throw people, but you don't say what it was. So please tell us why you chose that path?

But from this two things remain unclear: are you really developing the power that aikido was intended to develop? and What was your purpose in beginning training?

Very interested in your response.

David[/QUOTE]

I am pretty sure I have answered those questions more than once in threads that asked that particular question or at least to the extent I am willing to share publicly. Will say again that part of it does have a lot to do with wanting to improve as a horseman. Not to gain more power over horses but to have a better relationship with them but mostly to become a more calm centered individual who can respond to stresses/conflicts in life without all of the drama/fighting.

Last edited by Shadowfax : 11-09-2012 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:56 AM   #14
Krystal Locke
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Re: The Fear of Power

To the carpenter, every problem needs a hammer and a nail.

Folks come to aikido for a variety of reasons, and it isn't worth my time to worry about someone else's messed up relationship with their universe. Too busy dealing with my own.

Petitio principii.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:05 PM   #15
David Orange
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
To the carpenter, every problem needs a hammer and a nail.

Folks come to aikido for a variety of reasons, and it isn't worth my time to worry about someone else's messed up relationship with their universe. Too busy dealing with my own.

Petitio principii.
The problem is when people are teaching that aikido is this or that when, clearly, that was not Ueshiba's position at all.

Everyone, of course, has his own problems to deal with. Mine happens to be a charge from Ueshiba's uchi deshi and this happens to be the place for that.

And my point is that improper aikido teaching breeds an improper and unnatural fear of power that has spread throughout the sphere so that aikido leads further from nature and further from Ueshiba as we go. Of course, it's hopeless to expect that to change. Ueshiba himself was disappointed in where he saw things headed, as was Mochizuki. So it's just too bad, I suppose.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 11-09-2012, 12:07 PM   #16
David Orange
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Not to gain more power over horses but to have a better relationship with them but mostly to become a more calm centered individual who can respond to stresses/conflicts in life without all of the drama/fighting.
Well...who said 'power over' anything or anyone? Power (especially in the IP/aiki sense) is power within oneself--capacity, ability. Misunderstanding of aikido leads to fear of nature, itself. Power over fear, however...that's another thing.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 11-09-2012, 12:16 PM   #17
Rob Watson
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Can't remember what master said it, but it boils down to, "You have to have the ability to utterly destroy the attacker, yet choose to save him, before you can really consider yourself a pacifist." Which I believe, as well.
http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/0...ink-of-an-eye/

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

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Old 11-09-2012, 12:27 PM   #18
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
lol anyone who thinks they can MAKE a horse do anything it does not want to do is fooling themselves. My work with horses is not a power struggle and there is no wanting to win.
You "make" a horse do something every time you work on its hoof. Ever see a horse stand on three legs with its fourth one lifted and bent? Do they do that naturally? So, when you make the horse lift it's foot, you are, in essence, exerting a power over the horse to behave in a manner that is not natural to its being. It only takes that position because you make it do so. That is power. You accomplished the task (no matter how you did it) of getting that horse in a position it naturally does not use. (Yes, the natural function of the leg is such that it can be put into that posture, but the horse does not naturally stand on three legs with one bent back, upwards.) That is winning.

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Sometimes I want to do what I want to do and sometimes I let the horse tell me what it wants to do. Sometimes we compromise. Most ornery horses are just trying to protect themselves from a perceived threat or are responding to people based on humans having tried to use force to get what they want. Interestingly the thing I am learning the most and applying to horses that I am learning in aikido is that the less I try to make them do what I want and the less strength and power I use the more successful the outcomes.
So, you are successful in your outcomes. Why is that? Did the horse stand on four legs and not let you do anything to it? You were successful in the outcome that you desired. That's the definition of winning. And you got the horse to do something which it does not naturally do (hold one leg bent with hoof upwards). That's power. Your successful outcome over the natural nature of the horse.

Now, *how* you accomplish that, as you stated, can make a world of difference.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:34 PM   #19
Rob Watson
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Re: The Fear of Power

Does the dali lama have power? Where is the evil (corruption of power) to enter under the lamas guidance? What are the attributes of a corrupted dali lama?

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:06 PM   #20
Krystal Locke
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Re: The Fear of Power

Osensei himself said his aikido would die with him and that his students' mission was to spread the art of aikido through the world. I dont think he was actually all that hung up on making people be like him, and he clearly changed his spiel over time as he grew and developed. His reasons were not his deshis' reasons are not my reasons are not your reasons. Are you sure you're not projecting and using the projection as a springboard for judgement?

Oh, you are creating the problem of the ham sandwich with your highly flexible use of the word power. Hmmm, I have some nice black forest in the fridge. Too bad I am out of cheese.
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:09 PM   #21
lars beyer
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
Does the dali lama have power? Where is the evil (corruption of power) to enter under the lamas guidance? What are the attributes of a corrupted dali lama?
A close friend of mine interviewed the Dalai Lama and asked him whether or not there is one or several ways to Bhuddahood. The reply was simple: "That´s the 1000 dollar question".

I´m not making a comment on "being corrucpted", because I have no authority in such matters,
but I guess the story tells it´s own secrets as such.

Regards
Lars
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:21 PM   #22
Chris Li
 
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
Osensei himself said his aikido would die with him and that his students' mission was to spread the art of aikido through the world. I dont think he was actually all that hung up on making people be like him, and he clearly changed his spiel over time as he grew and developed. His reasons were not his deshis' reasons are not my reasons are not your reasons. Are you sure you're not projecting and using the projection as a springboard for judgement?

Oh, you are creating the problem of the ham sandwich with your highly flexible use of the word power. Hmmm, I have some nice black forest in the fridge. Too bad I am out of cheese.
If it died with him than what were they spreading?

Seriously, though, one-line out-takes can be kind of tricky. Of course, reasons vary - I'm sure that, somewhere, sometime, there are people who become Navy Seals as part of a fitness regimen (I actually knew someone who considered this) - but that doesn't mean that is true is a general case, or that it's impossible to state that people have other reasons as a general rule.

A number of people seem to think that IP is about power struggles with other people - but my experience is that there is far less of that than there is in conventional Aikido.

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-09-2012, 01:23 PM   #23
C. David Henderson
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Re: The Fear of Power

I don't think I have much to add to the discussion of the larger issue, but this image resonated for me:

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
"...in the tail the confluent measureless force of the whole whale seems concentrated to a point. Could annihilation occur to matter, this were the thing to do it.

"Nor does this--its amazing strength, at all tend to cripple the graceful flexion of its motions; where infantileness of ease undulates through a Titanism of power. On the contrary, those motions derive their most appalling beauty from it. Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it; and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic.
******
[As] the multitudinous movements of the tail of the whale may express many moods and intentions, the incredible power it embodies is always expressed with gracefulness. So, to me, aikido is rather like the movements of the tail of a whale: full of grace but made of unstoppable, devastating power.
Nicely put and thought provoking.

For example: Is power, in Melville's sense, a sufficient cause of this physical grace (or martial efficacy) even if it is accepted as a necessary one? Metaphorically -- does the whale need to understand more than how to thrash its tail (powerfully) to glide through the ocean with grace and seeming effortlessness?

David Henderson
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:43 PM   #24
Krystal Locke
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
This is one of the things that disturb me most when thinking about aikidō.

And other than historical, philosophical or techniqual question I don't have any clue how to ever get answer:
Why do people who deeply believe in pacifism practice a budō?
Why do people who do not want to hurt or injure another human being practice a martial art?
Why don't they learn one of the methods or ways that use and teach pacifistic ways to deal with aggressors or conflicts? There is so much to be learned if someone wants to. And it is really not an easy way to go. I myself think, it's much more chalenging than doing aikidō.
Carsten, does your training in aikido mean that you want to hurt or injure other people? Are you certain that the pacifist aikido folks aren't actually also sitting in conflict resolution classes or mediation training?
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:48 PM   #25
David Orange
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
Osensei himself said his aikido would die with him and that his students' mission was to spread the art of aikido through the world.
Mochizuki Sensei said "No one did Ueshiba's aikido but Ueshiba." However, he was one of two people to get a teaching scroll from Ueshiba in daito ryu. So I just follow what he said and that's aikido for me.

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
I dont think he was actually all that hung up on making people be like him, and he clearly changed his spiel over time as he grew and developed. His reasons were not his deshis' reasons are not my reasons are not your reasons. Are you sure you're not projecting and using the projection as a springboard for judgement?
With a baseline of what aikido is about, you don't have to project. Mochizuki, however, was not one of those in the room when Ueshiba shouted "That's not my aiki!" He was the one Ueshiba sent Kisshomaru to live with after the war, for more training. He was one of Ueshiba's closest and longest students, so while there may have been some differences, of course, Ueshiba highly approved of his take on what aikido is. Whatever one's reasons for beginning or continuing to train, it shouldn't be hard to understand that a katana was not made for cutting toenails and aikido was not made as a ribbon dance. It was made to develop powerful people to stop violence. And the modern distortion has made power an evil idea. Yet, strangely, it retains the symbols of power in its form.

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
Oh, you are creating the problem of the ham sandwich with your highly flexible use of the word power. Hmmm, I have some nice black forest in the fridge. Too bad I am out of cheese.
Are you sure you're out?

I'm not being flexible in the use of the word power. It does mean the ability to do something. Those who oppose power are bending its meaning to be dominance over other people in general, which is a sad attitude since it leads to a preference for inability and incapacity.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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