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Old 12-05-2012, 09:51 PM   #1
Dalaran1991
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Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Greetings all,

I'm still young (21 years old) so I have to say beforehand I don't have a lot of real life experience in violence yet, that's why I want to ask about the reality of violence.

I love Aikido and yes in training we like to think "oh yes if we get attack we will do this and that", but seriously how often do you get into a fight that you can not foresee or back down from?

I live in Richmond where there is a decent crime rates and spent 5 months in Paris, a huge city that can get quite chaotic. I generally find that most people are really nice, and the people who are not, well I did not get myself in a situation where I have to fight.

Unless you do things like walking alone in the Bronx at midnight, get really drunk and start chatting up someone's girlfriend, or stare at somebody on the street (in all of these cases frankly you are messing up and you got it coming), just how likely is it that somebody is just gonna walk up and tries to beat us up?

There are times when shady people push and threaten me in the subway, I simply move away to a more crowded area and don't say anything or look back at them. Most of the time they leave me alone. In the clubs you have the bouncers if something goes wrong. And the fact that it's modern day, you can't kill someone without having the police up your butt, I think it's pretty safe to live.

But again I might simply been lucky enough that I haven't seen violence directed against me. I hear about talk of violence all the time though. Do you think it's possible to avoid violence altogether if we are a bit careful, which is the goal of aikido anyway?

Of course, if you work in a job that faces danger on a regular basis then that changes the story.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:59 PM   #2
Janet Rosen
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

It's like what I, as a geriatric nurse case manager, say when well-intentioned professionals want to discuss "fall prevention" : no such thing. Let's talk "risk reduction."

Some places are inherently riskier and some behaviors are inherently riskier and for most of us learning to survive falling is probably the greater benefit in terms of percentages of occurrance of aikido training than surviving being attacked.

But random things can and do happen.

Janet Rosen
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:05 PM   #3
Guillaume Erard
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

That is a great question and I have recently asked myself the very same one! I actually just finished writing an article that might interest you on the topic: No, the world is not becoming a more violent place so what are you getting out of Aikido?
Would love to hear your opinion on it!
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:42 PM   #4
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

I think you are right. I've never been in a fight, and the only time I was physically threatened, I avoided fighting by remaining calm and keeping a barrier between us until security guards arrived. I don't think this is unusual.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:47 PM   #5
Dalaran1991
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Quote:
Guillaume Erard wrote: View Post
That is a great question and I have recently asked myself the very same one! I actually just finished writing an article that might interest you on the topic: No, the world is not becoming a more violent place so what are you getting out of Aikido?
Would love to hear your opinion on it!
Very well written and an overall thorough view of the declined state of violence (not counting war and armed conflict of course). As a sociologist I'm interested in this issue.

Your statistics seem persuasive although I haven't checked the source (just my annoying habit ^^) I do agree with you that violence is becoming less and less VISIBLE, which is exactly the point we're missing here.

Just because we don't see something, doesn't mean that it does not exist. That's why I started the thread. I know there's violence out there, but I personally haven't seen it.

We know that a lot of crimes go unreported, especially domestic and sexual violence crimes. I can't recall the data, but about half the victims of sexual assault do not report it. Similarly with domestic violence. Not counting the types of crimes that police "allows" in some certain areas, but that's not a topic to be discussed here.

I think it's exactly here that Aikido falls in. Well, the most basic and most underrated attack against women is a slap -Yokomenuchi!!!!!!! Or dragging her to a hidden place to commit rape etc. That's katatori and katatetori right there.

But I think overall it's the idea of situational awareness that Aikido promotes. Don't go out alone to the club... Don't go to a date with a stranger in an unpopulated area etc. And seriously, be NICE to people! Most people I meet out there are really nice, unless you are staring them down like breakfast. All of that is the spirit of Aikido that I think O'Sensei wanted to promote.

Overall I agree with you, we live in a safer world today and unless we go out to look for violence, violence won't find us.

Oh yes, next time I fall off my bike in an accident I'll thanks the ancestors I can take ukemi ^^.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:54 PM   #6
kumachan
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

I guess, from one perspective, you've been lucky in that you have not be confronted with a situation that could not be avoided. On the other hand, you may not really don't know how you'd react in a situation where your life may well depend upon your response to an imminent threat. If you ever happen to get into a physical altercation (and I hope you don't) where you have to rely on your training, it will probably not look like anything you've practiced on a mat. Yes, one can often avoid the obviously agitated and vocal crazy who's announcing their intentions. Yes, sometimes one's awareness is operating at a high level that causes them to anticipate a bad situation and cross the street, etc., so as to avoid that possible bad situation. But, sometimes, once in a while, you just don't see it coming. That's why I train. Just the other day in Manhattan, some poor guy got pushed from a subway platform into an oncoming train and was killed. Could he have escaped the situation, maybe, maybe not. That's why I train.

Your example seriously irked me. I've lived in the Bronx for the past 22 years and have often walked alone here at midnight without any incident. I don't believe I've got anything coming to me because I get home late one night. For what it's worth, the two negative encounters I've experienced, physical altercations where I needed to rely on martial arts training, have occurred in Manhattan and on Long Island in "good", "safe" neighborhoods. Both altercations were totally unforeseen, unannounced and for a moment or two, inescapable. Only two incidents and I'm 48 years old. Pretty good numbers, I'd say.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:11 AM   #7
Tim Fong
 
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Two books:
War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning:
http://www.amazon.com/War-Force-that.../dp/1400034639

Meditations on Violence
http://www.amazon.com/Meditations-Vi.../dp/1594391181
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:44 AM   #8
SeiserL
 
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

IMHO, violence is very real. It might be a small percentage of people/places, but in those places it is very real.

Many people avoid violence, which only perpetuates it.

We need to face it and transform it. We need to find the pain/fear that creates it and heal it.

Aikido is only a tool. Perhaps rather than the usual fight, flight, or freeze reaction, we can learn to flow with violence and redirect it. It depends on have we learned our craft and how we express our art.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:39 AM   #9
Scott Harrington
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

To: Dalaran1991

I hope you continue to have a peaceful life - odds are against it. You may have an 'incident' at a family get together, you may have something stolen from you on the subway, you may have on-line fraud steal money from you, you may accidentally walk into a 7-11 while it is being robbed (this has always been my biggest fear - so unpredictable.) You may also not see the violence around you because you are 1) still young or 2) liberal as hell or unfortunately 3) stupid (I don't believe that in your case but it does cover some people.)

As to Steve Pinker saying violence is on the down swing - he is liberal as hell. Great scientist (I have his book, "How the Mind Works") but his latest book must have been written to a) stroke his liberal beliefs and 2) pay for a new vacation house. Went to a talk by Grossman, author of "On Killing" where he uses statistics (kinda like Pinker) to show violence is on a massive upswing because modern medicine is keeping people alive who would have been on the mortality list. When 500,000 people die in Africa from machete it is not a less violent Earth. Evolutionists talks about "punctuated equilibrium" - well nukes are just waiting to fill in the missing numbers on Pinker's graphs. Or Sarin gas in Syria.

As to martial arts and violence, particularly Daito ryu, everybody forgets that a large portion of the curriculum was police based training (see the individual names of the "Soden" books through Hisa) which were used to reduce or restrain violent offenders.

Even Ueshiba didn't come to a more philosophical outlook till Japan was bombed, their carriers sunk at Midway (insuring an eventual defeat in the war) and he moved to Iwama.

Violence is like fire, it must be contained or it runs wild. One way to contain it is to meet it headlong and change it like Lynn says. One of my favorite movies is "Amazing Grace" where by sheer will and hard work, England's involvement (and eventually most of the whole world) in the slave trade was ended. Not perfect (look at American Civil War), not forever (Egypt removes prohibition of slavery from new constitution), not a liberal pipe dream on a graph.

Scott Harrington
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:55 AM   #10
Belt_Up
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Quote:
but seriously how often do you get into a fight that you can not foresee or back down from?
Krystal Locke made a good post in another thread (here IIRC) about the difference between a fight and an attack. How often do you get into a fight that you can't back down from? Most situations you can just not start doing the man dance, and most others can be de-escalated. Some cannot. Sometimes someone will attack you and there will be litte to no posturing/swearing/insulting, because it's not two parties getting themselves worked up, it is one party who has already made the decision to punch your lights out. How often this happens is really difficult to answer, and I have yet to see any facts. Most people settle for vague generalities, or recount stories of their experiences. This is fair enough, as far as it goes, but the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data' and such tales cannot be used as a basis to expand your own knowledge.

Quote:
I generally find that most people are really nice
Even a cursory glance at rape/sexual assault/domestic violence statistics should firmly disabuse you of that notion. Most people, in public, are not violent. That's about as far as you can take sweeping generalities.

Quote:
well I did not get myself in a situation where I have to fight.
Good! However, one day you may glance at someone, or brush shoulders with someone, and they will use it as an excuse to lamp you. Or their girlfriend will smile at your handsome young visage and they will take offence and decide your handsome young visage needs some radical alterations. Not your fault, but how could you possibly avoid it?

Quote:
Do you think it's possible to avoid violence altogether if we are a bit careful, which is the goal of aikido anyway?
I don't think it's possible. We are a violent species.

As for the goal of aikido being to avoid violence altogether, I'm not sure. I thought the point was, when confronted with violence, to blend and neutralise it with little or no harm to the attacker and the defender? Avoiding violence altogether would simply mean running away whenever faced with violence, which is not always an option.

Quote:
you got it coming
No-one should have it coming unless they physically assault someone. Differences should be resolvable with non-physical means. The fact that they are often not tells you something important. I find it odd that on the one hand your opinion is that society is mostly safe (I happen to agree) and then you go on to say that certain people who do certain things at certain times are asking for it. Some of us live in rough areas, some of us travel at odd times, some of us have lightweight friends who go home early on nights out on the town. A lot of it is beyond our control. None of it means we deserve a kicking. It's a bit "women who wear short skirts are asking to be raped."

Looking at the crime rate for Richmond here, it says 1,530 violent crimes annually, from a population of 200,000+. It's not likely someone will, unprovoked, decide to murder you, but low-probability events happen with regularity given large enough sample sizes.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:02 AM   #11
yugen
 
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Quote:
Long Trinh wrote: View Post
Greetings all,
But again I might simply been lucky enough that I haven't seen violence directed against me. I hear about talk of violence all the time though. Do you think it's possible to avoid violence altogether if we are a bit careful, which is the goal of aikido anyway?

Of course, if you work in a job that faces danger on a regular basis then that changes the story.
Since your young and a beginner my only reply would be to work to really understand your kamae or posture. Don't allow openings, but have your offensive zanshin ready.

Seattle's a pretty quiet place for a big city, but a couple years ago I had 'misunderstanding' with a driver at an intersection here, which if you live here is really ironic cause the over-politeness at intersections can drive you nuts! He went all road rage and started following me in his car honking his horn and swerving to try and slam into me.

I was nearing my destination and didn't want an altercation there, so I pulled over. Before pulling over I had already undone my seatbelt and had my hand on the doorhandle - situational awareness - crazy people are going to leap immediately.

He did, but I was out of my car just as fast. The guy was much bigger than me started yelling how he just got out of prison and was wildly swinging his arms around and started circling me . I just stood ready, arms up, and just kept turning in the same spot to face him whichever direction he went. He said he was going to f#$k me up, I just said 'ok' and I didn't say another word. I didn't give him an opening physically, verbally or psychologically.

After a minute or two he calmed down, complimented me for standing up cause most people are 'b!tches' (his words). Then got in his car and drove away (all crazy and road rage of course).

the end

Last edited by yugen : 12-06-2012 at 09:15 AM.

Ryan Schoelerman

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Do not think or judge. Just observe and feel the way things are.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:51 AM   #12
lbb
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Quote:
Scott Harrington wrote: View Post
Violence is like fire, it must be contained or it runs wild.
Violence is like fire. It does not exist everywhere and in every time and place. The answer to every situation is not a burst of Halon gas.

One thing that hasn't really been discussed (although Janet sort of alluded to it) is the distinction between risk and consequences. If the risk of an event is high, it calls for a response, even if the consequences are low. For example, if you've got an inconveniently placed coffee table in your living room, so that people bump into it frequently -- not enough to fall, but enough to get a bruise -- you probably want to do something about that. If the risk of an event is low, it may not call for a response, even if the consequences of the event would be quite severe. If you're confronted in your house by a polar bear, chances are you'll die, but I don't have a polar-bear-proofed house. Those people who live in that town in Canada that's on the polar bear migration route...well, they might want to make some different choices, including, y'know, moving five miles down the road or something.

The term "violence" is too generic to meaningfully assess risks and consequences. The risk of the sort of stranger attacks that make up the ludicrously stereotypical "scenarios" in the typical "self-defense" mentality: low. Consequences, if such a thing ever did happen: high. Opportunity to avoid such situations: also high. What does it add up to for you?
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:03 AM   #13
Krystal Locke
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Quote:
Scott Harrington wrote: View Post
To: Dalaran1991

I hope you continue to have a peaceful life - odds are against it. You may have an 'incident' at a family get together, you may have something stolen from you on the subway, you may have on-line fraud steal money from you, you may accidentally walk into a 7-11 while it is being robbed (this has always been my biggest fear - so unpredictable.) You may also not see the violence around you because you are 1) still young or 2) liberal as hell or unfortunately 3) stupid (I don't believe that in your case but it does cover some people.)

As to Steve Pinker saying violence is on the down swing - he is liberal as hell. Great scientist (I have his book, "How the Mind Works") but his latest book must have been written to a) stroke his liberal beliefs and 2) pay for a new vacation house. Went to a talk by Grossman, author of "On Killing" where he uses statistics (kinda like Pinker) to show violence is on a massive upswing because modern medicine is keeping people alive who would have been on the mortality list. When 500,000 people die in Africa from machete it is not a less violent Earth. Evolutionists talks about "punctuated equilibrium" - well nukes are just waiting to fill in the missing numbers on Pinker's graphs. Or Sarin gas in Syria.

As to martial arts and violence, particularly Daito ryu, everybody forgets that a large portion of the curriculum was police based training (see the individual names of the "Soden" books through Hisa) which were used to reduce or restrain violent offenders.

Even Ueshiba didn't come to a more philosophical outlook till Japan was bombed, their carriers sunk at Midway (insuring an eventual defeat in the war) and he moved to Iwama.

Violence is like fire, it must be contained or it runs wild. One way to contain it is to meet it headlong and change it like Lynn says. One of my favorite movies is "Amazing Grace" where by sheer will and hard work, England's involvement (and eventually most of the whole world) in the slave trade was ended. Not perfect (look at American Civil War), not forever (Egypt removes prohibition of slavery from new constitution), not a liberal pipe dream on a graph.

Scott Harrington
....... waiting for someone else to throw this grenade back out of the bunker.......
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:19 AM   #14
Rob Watson
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Quote:
Long Trinh wrote: View Post
There are times when shady people push and threaten me in the subway, I simply move away to a more crowded area and don't say anything or look back at them. Most of the time they leave me alone.
Yeah, them crime stats can't be real people? Maybe just those people that don't really count.

"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 12-06-2012, 03:07 PM   #15
phitruong
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

yesterday i drove to work. i saw on the other side of the highway a small car with the front crumpled. a large deer laid dead on the side of the road. ambulance flashing. day before that, a minivan and a big truck tangled, i stuck in the traffics for close to an hour and saw the cleaning up crew as i drove slowly by. here, violent is closer than you think.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:16 PM   #16
Brian Beach
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
....... waiting for someone else to throw this grenade back out of the bunker.......
http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/glance/viort.cfm

Some thrive on fear.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:27 PM   #17
Krystal Locke
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Brian, what do you think happened in 93-94 to start and maintain such a marked, long lasting downward trend?
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:11 AM   #18
James Sawers
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
Brian, what do you think happened in 93-94 to start and maintain such a marked, long lasting downward trend?
Didn't the book Freakonomics have an explanation fro this?
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:30 AM   #19
Brian Beach
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
Brian, what do you think happened in 93-94 to start and maintain such a marked, long lasting downward trend?
Dunno - The CIA got out of the cocaine business?
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:59 AM   #20
Walter Martindale
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

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James Sawers wrote: View Post
Didn't the book Freakonomics have an explanation fro this?
Are you referring to Roe v. Wade and the reduction in the number of late-teen-early-twenties who had been unwanted babies before the Roe v Wade decision?

"To be sure, the legalization of abortion in the United States had myriad consequences. Infanticide fell dramatically. So did shotgun marriages, as well as the number of babies put up for adoption (which has led to the boom in the adoption of foreign babies). Conceptions rose by nearly 30 percent, but births actually fell by 6 percent, indicating that many women were using abortion as a method of birth control, a crude and drastic sort of insurance policy.
"Perhaps the most dramatic effect of legalized abortion, however, adn one that would take years to reveal itself, was its impact on crime. In the early 1990s, just as the first cohort of children born after Roe v. Wade was hitting its late teen years -- the years during which young menter their criminal prime -- the rate of crime began to fall. What this cohort was missing, of course, were the children who stood the greatest chance of becoming criminals. And the crime rate continued to fall as an entire generation came of age minus the children whose mothers had not wanted to bring a child into the world. Legalized abortion led to less unwantedness; unwantedness leads to high crime; legalized abortion, therefore, led to less crime.
"This theory is bound to provoke a variety of reactions, ranging from disbelief to revulsion, and a variety of objections, ranging from the quotidian to the moral. The likliest first objection is the most straightforward one: is the theory true? Perhaps abortion and crime are merely correlated and not causal."
in: S.D. Levitt and S. J. Dubner, (2005) FREAKONOMICS A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. Harper Collins. Where Have All the Criminals Gone? Chapter 4, pp 117-146, quoted from P.139

And there's a whole rest-of-the-chapter in the book that discusses a bunch of other factors and goes into greater depth about how different states and different countries had similar drops in crime rates a similar amount of time after legalization (or decriminalization) of abortion.

Please don't take this as me advocating for abortion - I've put the quotes here for those who may not have access to a copy of the book, and who may wish to read the rest of it for themselves.

Or not.

Last edited by Walter Martindale : 12-07-2012 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:36 AM   #21
Krystal Locke
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Hmm, interesting correlation. Corresponding decrease in children in poverty?
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:02 PM   #22
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Anytime women get effective control over their own reproduction, through whatever means, it tends to change things drastically.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:13 PM   #23
Michael Hackett
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

There has been a decrease in reported violent crimes in the Uniform Crime Reports for several years. What the statistics don't show is the level of violence or the distribution within a jurisdiction. The overall number of reported crimes in a specific city may have decreased, but the majority of those reported crimes may well be concentrated in a specific area of that city. The UCR stats are recorded as the most serious crime involved. An armed robbery will be reported to the Department of Justice as an armed robbery whether or not a physical assault was part of the crime. If a weapon was displayed or implied during a robbery, the event is reported as a robbery. If the weapon is used, it is still reported as a robbery unless the victim dies and then it is reported as a murder.

While the pure numbers of crimes are down, the degree of violence remains and has increased in some jurisdictions. Will studying a martial art protect you from violence? Maybe. Should you live in fear of some possible violent encounter? Probably not - it will depend on where you are, where you travel, what you do when you get there, how you conduct yourself, and a million other factors that we can think of. Common sense will protect you far more than studying the UCR statistics.

Michael
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:07 PM   #24
James Sawers
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

Thanks, Walter.......I read the book (Freakonomics) a while ago and couldn't find it again in my well organized book shelves........Yes, this is what I was referring to. An interesting read.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:34 AM   #25
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Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?

At this time in my life and training, I believe violence is borne out of desperation. Many of those living in first world countries no longer have to experience the desperation that comes with threats to their means of survival (air, water, food, shelter). In the first world, air may be dirty in some places, but it is surely plentiful. Water still appears by turning a faucet. Food is plentiful and available on every street corner. And for most of us, shelter is easily attained -- even if it is through a shelter. When the needs for survival are met, the reasons for real violence are dramatically reduced. I believe humans naturally avoid violence when it is an option, and one of the first world's primary offerings is options. But all it would take to elevate the level of desperation in the first world is the elimination of a few options. Perhaps a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake, or a massive food shortage, or even a prolonged power outage. I believe every human being is capable of anything when put in the right circumstances. I train for my own benefit, but also for the unexpected.
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