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Old 11-09-2012, 02:11 PM   #26
Cliff Judge
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Re: The Fear of Power

This is really getting ridiculous. Its like you people haven't watched a single one of the Star Wars movies.
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:23 PM   #27
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Re: The Fear of Power

I guess that initially "Power" is the motivator for training. Ueshiba seems mystical and powerful. This small man could defeat huge, powerful, younger martial artists. Then, as you start to get some "power" yourself, you test yourself outside of the Dojo, and you meet other very "powerful" people, you start to realize that power isn't really the goal, and never was.

The real goal is to be, for lack of a better word, okay. You want to no longer worry about who is going to take from you, who might beat you up, or who might make you feel stupid. You also realize that no matter how much "power" you have, you'll never have enough, there is always a situation bigger then you. At this point, once you feel accomplished, yet realize that your thirst for power was never really your desire at all, that you can finally get in touch with your real need; to be okay.

If you are okay, it doesn't matter how weak you are, you're still okay. It doesn't matter if anyone takes from you, or beats you, you're okay. It's not about your ability to influence others with your "power" it's about being able to accept, with great joy, any path that your life may take.

So I don't believe it's about "fear of power", it's about understanding that power was never the real goal. Easily said, but I'm sure not there yet.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:29 PM   #28
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I guess that initially "Power" is the motivator for training. Ueshiba seems mystical and powerful. This small man could defeat huge, powerful, younger martial artists. Then, as you start to get some "power" yourself, you test yourself outside of the Dojo, and you meet other very "powerful" people, you start to realize that power isn't really the goal, and never was.

The real goal is to be, for lack of a better word, okay. You want to no longer worry about who is going to take from you, who might beat you up, or who might make you feel stupid. You also realize that no matter how much "power" you have, you'll never have enough, there is always a situation bigger then you. At this point, once you feel accomplished, yet realize that your thirst for power was never really your desire at all, that you can finally get in touch with your real need; to be okay.

If you are okay, it doesn't matter how weak you are, you're still okay. It doesn't matter if anyone takes from you, or beats you, you're okay. It's not about your ability to influence others with your "power" it's about being able to accept, with great joy, any path that your life may take.

So I don't believe it's about "fear of power", it's about understanding that power was never the real goal. Easily said, but I'm sure not there yet.
It may be power was never the goal, I don't necessarily disagree. However, I certainly don't think that the goal is being "ok" even if you're beat up or abused.

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:32 PM   #29
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Re: The Fear of Power

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I guess that initially "Power" is the motivator for training. Ueshiba seems mystical and powerful. This small man could defeat huge, powerful, younger martial artists. Then, as you start to get some "power" yourself, you test yourself outside of the Dojo, and you meet other very "powerful" people, you start to realize that power isn't really the goal, and never was.

The real goal is to be, for lack of a better word, okay. You want to no longer worry about who is going to take from you, who might beat you up, or who might make you feel stupid. You also realize that no matter how much "power" you have, you'll never have enough, there is always a situation bigger then you. At this point, once you feel accomplished, yet realize that your thirst for power was never really your desire at all, that you can finally get in touch with your real need; to be okay.

If you are okay, it doesn't matter how weak you are, you're still okay. It doesn't matter if anyone takes from you, or beats you, you're okay. It's not about your ability to influence others with your "power" it's about being able to accept, with great joy, any path that your life may take.

So I don't believe it's about "fear of power", it's about understanding that power was never the real goal. Easily said, but I'm sure not there yet.
That is a nice description of the real goal. Well said.

Tom
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:38 PM   #30
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Well...who said 'power over' anything or anyone?
Well, you said it. It's in the first sentence of your first post.

Tom
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:42 PM   #31
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
It may be power was never the goal, I don't necessarily disagree. However, I certainly don't think that the goal is being "ok" even if you're beat up or abused.

Best,

Chris
If you are happy with any path your life takes, why is that a bad thing? I'm not saying that you want to be abused, I'm saying that it's impossible to make you feel abused, you accept what happens to you with joy. That sounds like the best life anyone could live, if you ask me.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:46 PM   #32
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Re: The Fear of Power

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If you are happy with any path your life takes, why is that a bad thing? I'm not saying that you want to be abused, I'm saying that it's impossible to make you feel abused, you accept what happens to you with joy. That sounds like the best life anyone could live, if you ask me.
Well, if somebody puts out cigarettes on my arm, then I'm abused, whether I feel that way or not. I suppose that I could be OK with not "feeling" abused, and I suppose that it's OK if somebody wants to go that way - but I don't think for a moment that's what Ueshiba was pointing towards.

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:55 PM   #33
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Well, if somebody puts out cigarettes on my arm, then I'm abused, whether I feel that way or not. I suppose that I could be OK with not "feeling" abused, and I suppose that it's OK if somebody wants to go that way - but I don't think for a moment that's what Ueshiba was pointing towards.

Best,

Chris
I don't agree. Let's look at some extreme examples.

If everything always goes my way, I'm young, strong, rich, admired, I have every kind of "power" one could wish for (except, acceptance). Any slight to me would feel like an abuse. If someone flipped me off in traffic, I would feel like the whole world was upturned, and poor me.

The other end of this, is the kid who has no arms, no legs, and yet is happy as he can be to be alive. Even though he should be totally pissed that something took his arms and legs, he's happy, smiling and helping others deal with things like a "bad hair day".

It's not about getting what you want, it's about wanting what you got- some cheesy song lyric, but it fits. I think this is what the Buddha was getting at, the ability to accept life as it comes, joyfully. You don't need any "power" if you can do that. I think Ueshiba realized this. But even if he didn't it's still the path I'm trying to work towards.

Last edited by ChrisHein : 11-09-2012 at 02:58 PM.

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Old 11-09-2012, 03:11 PM   #34
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Re: The Fear of Power

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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.

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.
For a horse it is quite natural to lift up its hoof. Just like it is natural to stand on three legs.
Making a horse lift up a hoof is not an easy task. If you try to use power to lift the hoof or to force the horse in any way (rope, chain, pully, whip, etc) the horse will only resist more and more. And next time he will remember what you did last time. He will have figured out new ways to resist you.

The true way to go with horses is what I practice in Aikido as well; connect with the other without fear and without exerting power.

Tom
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:19 PM   #35
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Re: The Fear of Power

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The true way to go with horses is what I practice in Aikido as well; connect with the other without fear and without exerting power.

Tom
Nicely said!

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Old 11-09-2012, 03:22 PM   #36
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I don't agree. Let's look at some extreme examples.

If everything always goes my way, I'm young, strong, rich, admired, I have every kind of "power" one could wish for (except, acceptance). Any slight to me would feel like an abuse. If someone flipped me off in traffic, I would feel like the whole world was upturned, and poor me.

The other end of this, is the kid who has no arms, no legs, and yet is happy as he can be to be alive. Even though he should be totally pissed that something took his arms and legs, he's happy, smiling and helping others deal with things like a "bad hair day".

It's not about getting what you want, it's about wanting what you got- some cheesy song lyric, but it fits. I think this is what the Buddha was getting at, the ability to accept life as it comes, joyfully. You don't need any "power" if you can do that. I think Ueshiba realized this. But even if he didn't it's still the path I'm trying to work towards.
Accepting life as it comes is great - but I don't think Ueshiba meant that you ought to let people put out cigarettes on your arms and be "OK" with it.

In the abstract, maybe, but in reality - Ueshiba was a pragmatist.

I'd note that Kisshomaru maintained that his father was not a pacifist, and neither was he.

I also have in mind a number of situations in which Ueshiba specifically told students to be proactive and not "allow those cigarettes to be put out on their arms".

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-09-2012, 03:29 PM   #37
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Re: The Fear of Power

I don't think you understand, I'm not talking about pacifism. I'm not a pacifist, and can't ever see myself being one.

There is nothing wrong with choosing, and trying to accomplish something. If we get in a fight, I'm not going to let you beat me, I'm going to do my best to stop that. However if it happens, it's okay. Everything is just as it is, including my wants and desires, these things aren't bad, but my attachment to them is regretful. My need to make everything work the way I want it, and my attachment to it being that way. I'm not saying that it's wrong to be powerful, and live your life using that power as you see fit, I'm saying that when you really understand the world, you'll realize you don't need any power.

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Old 11-09-2012, 03:29 PM   #38
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Re: The Fear of Power

I may be over simplifying this but I think everyone is talking about Masakatsu Agatsu. We are learning to control ourselves. Through this control of ourselves we can control others. e.x. you can't throw someone if you have bad posture, first you correct your posture then worry about throwing. Put in the negative you can't control others if you can't control yourself.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:42 PM   #39
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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.
Basically; because it is one path. The central theme of Taoisme, Shinto, Boeddhisme, Confucianism is about your true self and its connection with reality, the world, the universe. One way of finding that true self and that connection is through meditation, but there are other ways as well; from going on a pilgrimage to practicing the arts. One of those arts is Budo or in this case more in particular Aikido.

How could this possibly disturb you so much?

Tom
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:10 PM   #40
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Re: The Fear of Power

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I don't think you understand, I'm not talking about pacifism. I'm not a pacifist, and can't ever see myself being one.

There is nothing wrong with choosing, and trying to accomplish something. If we get in a fight, I'm not going to let you beat me, I'm going to do my best to stop that. However if it happens, it's okay. Everything is just as it is, including my wants and desires, these things aren't bad, but my attachment to them is regretful. My need to make everything work the way I want it, and my attachment to it being that way. I'm not saying that it's wrong to be powerful, and live your life using that power as you see fit, I'm saying that when you really understand the world, you'll realize you don't need any power.
Oh, I understand what you're saying - but I don't agree that it's what Ueshiba was pointing at.

As you say with the IP stuff - let's see some proof of a connection to Ueshiba.

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-09-2012, 04:15 PM   #41
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Re: The Fear of Power

I gotta admit than when I first saw the title of David's post, "The Fear of Power", I thought it was (uncharitably) stupid. Now after seeing the various posts, I find myself agreeing, in most part, with David. Other posters, for whatever reason, seem to not want to understand what David means by "power". They keep skirting around the fact that whatever you do requires "power", even if it is picking up my latte, right now (I wouldn't recommend it!).

To get technical, in physics, power is the rate at which energy is transferred, used, or transformed. To get philosophical, power is frequently defined by political scientists as the ability to influence the behavior of others with or without resistance. These definitions come from Wikipedia. Power does not have to mean using force against others, be they human or not. Of course, it can be, but it can also mean to use influence to achieve something, sometimes very subtle influence, even if it is the power to just walk away.

Martial arts come in many forms, including the proper use of firearms. So, if it is power you want, a nice machine gun pointed, or fired, at you delivers a lot of power. But, that is not the issue here. We are actually not talking just about power, per se; but, of a particular type of power in aikido, whether you want to call it IP, or whatever. But really, if someone just wanted "power", they could just use the aforementioned weapons. I personally don't think IP could protect you from a full magazine, fired up close by someone who knows what he/she is doing.

So, for me, the driving force behind this struggle (yes, a sometimes decades, life time, long struggle!), is not a struggle to achieve power, but curiosity, with the added side-effect/benefit of personal power. A so-called normal life, for some of us, for some of us, is not good enough. We want to find out, and understand, if what O'Sensei had, and others, was real. This, if so, can open up whole new realms. So we go thru the personal struggle to achieve "power", without fear.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:37 PM   #42
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Re: The Fear of Power

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For a horse it is quite natural to lift up its hoof. Just like it is natural to stand on three legs.
Making a horse lift up a hoof is not an easy task. If you try to use power to lift the hoof or to force the horse in any way (rope, chain, pully, whip, etc) the horse will only resist more and more. And next time he will remember what you did last time. He will have figured out new ways to resist you.

The true way to go with horses is what I practice in Aikido as well; connect with the other without fear and without exerting power.

Tom
So, you see horses in this position all the time and its natural?

http://yellowcreekfarrier.com/about_us

They stand like that for hours and there are millions of pictures of horses being in that posture naturally?

Or does the horse put its leg back down on the ground when you let go of its leg? Why does anyone have to find ways of keeping a horses leg like they do to work on the hoof if its all natural to the horse?

So, again, you are making the horse do things that are not natural to its being. Power. Whether you use it or the horse gives it to you. And you are wanting the horse to put its hoof and leg in postures that it doesn't normally use. Who wins? You or the horse? Did you get the work done? You won.

And if you make the horse better then its a win-win. If you don't do the work because the horse was too much, you failed to do your job. Failure means a winner and loser. The horse won by keeping to its nature. It had the power to overcome a human trying to get it to do things it didn't want to do.

Contest between horse and man/woman playing out exactly like a contest between uke and nage in the dojo. Uke is pretending to have an aggressive nature and attack in some manner. Nage must alter that or be on the losing end of that attack. In aikido, the power is a means to appropriately match the attackers energy/attack and provide a win-win outcome. But it's still power and winning.
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:19 PM   #43
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Oh, I understand what you're saying - but I don't agree that it's what Ueshiba was pointing at.

As you say with the IP stuff - let's see some proof of a connection to Ueshiba.

Best,

Chris
Christopher,
I have no better Idea of what Ueshiba thought, then you do. I never met him. I know what training in Aikido has outlined to me, and I speak for myself. As I said earlier, I think that Ueshiba was getting at this, but even if he wasn't, it's what I'm working for. It's a part of what my Aikido is about.

Good luck to you in your training.

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Old 11-09-2012, 05:33 PM   #44
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Christopher,
I have no better Idea of what Ueshiba thought, then you do. I never met him. I know what training in Aikido has outlined to me, and I speak for myself. As I said earlier, I think that Ueshiba was getting at this, but even if he wasn't, it's what I'm working for. It's a part of what my Aikido is about.

Good luck to you in your training.
I think that we (in the generic sense) have been laying out an increasingly detailed argument (with more to come) for the Ueshiba connection.

But, that aside, why do our arguments of what Ueshiba meant bother you when you yourself can give no substantiation for your statements as to the goals of Aikido?

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-09-2012, 05:37 PM   #45
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Re: The Fear of Power

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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.
you don't need cheese for a ham sandwich. a bit of lettuce, butter, pickles and onions with a bit of humus would be fine. for a ham and cheese sandwich, then yes, you do need the cheese. have you consider some kimchee with black forest?

*sorry for side track. please resume the discussion on the nature of power and us human nature. *

"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, 05:55 PM   #46
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I think that we (in the generic sense) have been laying out an increasingly detailed argument (with more to come) for the Ueshiba connection.

But, that aside, why do our arguments of what Ueshiba meant bother you when you yourself can give no substantiation for your statements as to the goals of Aikido?

Best,

Chris
Aikido has grown way beyond Ueshiba. If you're interested only in Ueshiba that is fine, but the Aikido community has grown and changed in the last 50 years or so. What you are saying is analogous to every painter trying to copy and continue what, say, Matisse did. Matisse was great, and showed us lot's of things, but he's not the end of painting. Proving what Ueshiba said or didn't say doesn't change anything. Aikido is not a Koryu, it is a living system.

Frankly I have no idea if what you think Ueshiba was getting at was right wrong or indifferent. I'll let you and the historians hash that one out. But the Aikido community outside of the internet, that I speak with, doesn't sound like the picture you are painting (pun intended).

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Old 11-09-2012, 06:17 PM   #47
Tom Verhoeven
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
So, you see horses in this position all the time and its natural?

http://yellowcreekfarrier.com/about_us

They stand like that for hours and there are millions of pictures of horses being in that posture naturally?

Or does the horse put its leg back down on the ground when you let go of its leg? Why does anyone have to find ways of keeping a horses leg like they do to work on the hoof if its all natural to the horse?

So, again, you are making the horse do things that are not natural to its being. Power. Whether you use it or the horse gives it to you. And you are wanting the horse to put its hoof and leg in postures that it doesn't normally use. Who wins? You or the horse? Did you get the work done? You won.

And if you make the horse better then its a win-win. If you don't do the work because the horse was too much, you failed to do your job. Failure means a winner and loser. The horse won by keeping to its nature. It had the power to overcome a human trying to get it to do things it didn't want to do.

Contest between horse and man/woman playing out exactly like a contest between uke and nage in the dojo. Uke is pretending to have an aggressive nature and attack in some manner. Nage must alter that or be on the losing end of that attack. In aikido, the power is a means to appropriately match the attackers energy/attack and provide a win-win outcome. But it's still power and winning.
Clearly you have not much experience with horses and you have never worked on the hooves of horses. It does not take hours and hours to clean a hoof. Or even to put a new shoe on.
I do not need pictures of horses - I have them all day around me in a natural environment so I see their natural behavior on a daily basis.
I already explained why there is no contest between me and the horse.

Life is not about winners and losers. Life is not an ongoing contest. If you walk your dog or feed your cat would you see that as a contest? If you go out for dinner with someone do you see this dinner as a contest with the other person?

I see your description of Aikido as incomplete. If I understand you correctly you suggest here that there are only two options in Aikido? Either uke wins or nage wins (how is this a win-win outcome?).
In my practice of Aikido there are more possible outcomes.

Tom

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Old 11-09-2012, 06:40 PM   #48
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Re: The Fear of Power

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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?
Well, if you read the whole chapter of that book, it goes into more detail as well as expanding on the subject. But in general, I understood that the strength and the grace are inseparable, as he says "Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it;"

Both the beauty and the strength are inherent in the nature of the whale. Real aikido also has both but it is possible to lose one or the other by excessive focus on the other. I think of the guy who does the "Real Aikido" videos on YouTube as an example of serious misunderstanding of the "strength" aspect, making his demonstrations not only violent but jerky and really uninteresting to me. However, we need not look outside this forum for examples of a denaturing of aikido through utter rejection of strength, resulting in something not only boring but embarrassing to watch. At least the Real Aikido guy, in wearing black belt, is consistent with that tradition. But, just as we can ask why a non-violent person would study a martial art, we have to wonder why they insist on wearing the black belt.

Thanks.

David

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Old 11-09-2012, 06:44 PM   #49
David Orange
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
If you are okay, it doesn't matter how weak you are, you're still okay. It doesn't matter if anyone takes from you, or beats you, you're okay. It's not about your ability to influence others with your "power" it's about being able to accept, with great joy, any path that your life may take.

So I don't believe it's about "fear of power", it's about understanding that power was never the real goal. Easily said, but I'm sure not there yet.
All well and good for the individual human, but not to apply to the art that came down from Ueshiba. Aikido is powerful and much of its grace comes from its power. Those who denigrate power out-and-out, then try to neuter aikido by teaching that it should have no power...to be kind, they're on a seriously mistaken path.

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Old 11-09-2012, 06:53 PM   #50
David Orange
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Re: The Fear of Power

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Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
Well, you said it. It's in the first sentence of your first post.

Tom
Not exactly, Tom. Those words are in the first paragraph, but are not posited as the purpose of aikido. I state "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?"

What I refer to here is not the purpose, but the popular image of aikido. People see Ueshiba's power and are drawn to the art, but they then have to deny that they're seeking power, especially "power over others." But at base, they have to deny that they're seeing power when most, at heart, are really seeking power over others. Aikido is no more about having power over others than the whale seeks power over others: it doesn't have to seek what it has. Aikido has power. Training in aikido is to develop one's own personal power. It's a natural pursuit, inherent in the human heart.

I hope that makes it clearer.

David

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