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Old 05-17-2013, 02:52 PM   #51
Conrad Gus
 
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Hi Mary,
It's interesting to see what so-called "threats" people choose to focus on. 911 caused the whole country to go to war, change our concepts of individual rights and privacy, kill many tens of thousands of people and have far more of our own casualties than the original terrorist incident itself. We are far more at risk getting in our own cars every day than we have ever been from terrorist incidents.

People spend vast amounts of time and effort, spend huge sums of money, preparing for violent incidnets that may never happen. This while their environment is polluted, their diets are poisonous, our health deteriorates and medical costs soar. We are far more likely to die from cancer or heart disease than from some hypothetical violent attack (unles we are young and black and live in the ghetto... then death by violence is one of the main health risks).

Tens of thousands of people die every year in auto accidents yet you don't see people attending defensive driving classes three times a week at night in their spare time to prepare for that instant when another driver causes an accident.

The vast majority of male Aikido students wil never in their lives apply a technique in self defense. Given the ridiculous rate of violence against women in our society, it is far more likely that a female require a technique for self defense and that would be against her domestic partner, not some street thug.

Aikido is an amazing art. I hate to see it become an extension of "pub crawling'. It's not that martial effectiveness shouldn't be there. But it isn;t the point. Self defense capability is a by product of proper training and when it becomes the prime focus, it loses the depth and breadth that makes it such a deep study.
Very well put. I have been trying to articulate this for years.
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Old 05-17-2013, 04:10 PM   #52
Robert Cowham
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I was joking with one of my judo buddies and I said, "so what do you do with a old judoka? Do you take him to an open pasture with trees on the horizon..." He conceded it was hard for the older, injured judoka to continue training, especially with the younger stronger players. He then said, "if aikido got their s%$t together, we would train that.
When I was in Holland in the late 80's I studied with a guy who had done Aikido for 10 years and was san dan - he had previously spent 15 years in judo - he was pretty competent!

Another friend of mine said once "Ah yes, Aikido - old man's judo!"

More recently I had a chap come along for a few classes who has done judo for quite a few years and I think is nidan. He did say that just a few classes had influenced how he did his judo. Unfortunately for our dojo he wasn't able to stay - his kids love the judo, and he doesn't have enough time for anything else.
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Old 05-17-2013, 04:20 PM   #53
Robert Cowham
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Hi Mary,
It's interesting to see what so-called "threats" people choose to focus on. 911 caused the whole country to go to war, change our concepts of individual rights and privacy, kill many tens of thousands of people and have far more of our own casualties than the original terrorist incident itself. We are far more at risk getting in our own cars every day than we have ever been from terrorist incidents.

People spend vast amounts of time and effort, spend huge sums of money, preparing for violent incidnets that may never happen. This while their environment is polluted, their diets are poisonous, our health deteriorates and medical costs soar. We are far more likely to die from cancer or heart disease than from some hypothetical violent attack (unles we are young and black and live in the ghetto... then death by violence is one of the main health risks).
I am sure it's been quoted on the forum before:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/29/sc...isks.html?_r=0

Quote:
This calculation illustrates the biggest single lesson that I've learned from 50 years of field work on the island of New Guinea: the importance of being attentive to hazards that carry a low risk each time but are encountered frequently.
For a UK centric view on recent Boston events (and at the risk of igniting flames):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...mbs-us-gun-law

Quote:
But by letting one fugitive terrorist shut down a major American city, Boston not only bowed to outsize and irrational fears, but sent a dangerous message to every would-be terrorist -- if you want to wreak havoc in the United States, intimidate its population and disrupt public order, here's your instruction booklet.

Putting aside the economic and psychological cost, the lockdown also prevented an early capture of the alleged bomber, who was discovered after Bostonians were given the all clear and a Watertown man wandered into his backyard for a cigarette and found a bleeding terrorist on his boat.
I visited Boston 2 weeks ago for my aunt's 90th birthday and had a great time. I remember when she came to London to visit us during the time of the IRA bombs, and all her friends said how brave she was to risk going to such a dangerous place - life goes on...
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:47 PM   #54
Rob Watson
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Train like your life really depends on it and you'll be fine. The art don't matter as much as your mindset.

"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 05-17-2013, 11:16 PM   #55
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
The 20-something MMA fighter could potentially be a 40-something aikido person if we do not alienate him... bringing fighting skill, energy, and the desire to embrace a new art.
This has been happening all along, but it may happen more in the future. Good point.

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Old 05-19-2013, 07:38 AM   #56
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Robert Cowham wrote: View Post
I am sure it's been quoted on the forum before:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/29/sc...isks.html?_r=0

For a UK centric view on recent Boston events (and at the risk of igniting flames):

"But by letting one fugitive terrorist shut down a major American city, Boston not only bowed to outsize and irrational fears, but sent a dangerous message to every would-be terrorist -- if you want to wreak havoc in the United States, intimidate its population and disrupt public order, here's your instruction booklet."
From a Boston-centric view: crap. Complete, total and utter crap. That's all the response that this drivel deserves.

And, in fact, this is very much on topic. The stories we tell ourselves (and others) about what's going on, what others are thinking, what their attitudes and motivations are, are the fodder of the false reality on which we base decisions about what threatens us and how to deal with it. And we see, in this case as in the large majority of "but what if some drunk guy starts grabbing my wife" scenarios, the will to believe that things are a certain way, in order to confirm our biases, far exceeds the rational impulse to not (for example) render titanically stupid judgments about what an entire city full of people were thinking and feeling.
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:14 AM   #57
Robert Cowham
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
And, in fact, this is very much on topic. The stories we tell ourselves (and others) about what's going on, what others are thinking, what their attitudes and motivations are, are the fodder of the false reality on which we base decisions about what threatens us and how to deal with it. And we see, in this case as in the large majority of "but what if some drunk guy starts grabbing my wife" scenarios, the will to believe that things are a certain way, in order to confirm our biases, far exceeds the rational impulse to not (for example) render titanically stupid judgments about what an entire city full of people were thinking and feeling.
I understand your viewpoint - though I think the article was responding more the the authorities method of response than of ordinary citizens. A couple of my aunt's friends who live fairly close to Waterstown said how it strengthened a sense of community in some way.

Perhaps this should be a new thread - but what is the best way to respond to terrorist attacks? What is the best way to respond to threats? Or indeed what are just good ways? How can you react sensibly to minimise threats while also not giving terrorists potential benefits, including publicity, disruption and inconvenience to the general population?

On a related note regarding airport security:

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/20...le_bother.html

Quote:
"I once put this question to Jacques Duchesneau (the former head of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority): say there is a bag with play-doh in it and two pens stuck in the play-doh. That is 'Bombs 101' to a screener. I asked Ducheneau, 'What would you do?' And he said, 'Evacuate the terminal.' And I said, 'Oh. My. God.'
"Take Pearson. Do you know how many people are in the terminal at all times? Many thousands. Let's say I'm (doing an evacuation) without panic — which will never happen. But let's say this is the case. How long will it take? Nobody thought about it. I said, 'Two days.'"
A screener at Ben-Gurion has a pair of better options.
First, the screening area is surrounded by contoured, blast-proof glass that can contain the detonation of up to 100 kilos of plastic explosive. Only the few dozen people within the screening area need be removed, and only to a point a few metres away.
Second, all the screening areas contain 'bomb boxes'. If a screener spots a suspect bag, he/she is trained to pick it up and place it in the box, which is blast proof. A bomb squad arrives shortly and wheels the box away for further investigation.
"This is a very small simple example of how we can simply stop a problem that would cripple one of your airports," Sela said.
I've been affected by Heathrow closures due to bomb threats myself.

More on topic:

I basically don't encounter physical threats or situations in my life. What I do encounter on a very regular basis is challenges to my personal integrity or ethics or morals - often as throw away remarks made by someone. Finding a consistent way to respond to those, and not just letting them slide is not easy and takes continual effort, thought and review, and I fail often. I do believe there is something about challenging myself physically in Aikido and related arts that benefits me mentally. It's worth being pushed outside one's comfort zone sometimes. For me, training (solo) with a live blade challenges me and forces focus - and that brings benefits, as does paired training in kenjutsu.

I've always like Diane Skoss's article:

http://www.koryu.com/library/dskoss4.html
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:20 AM   #58
lbb
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Robert Cowham wrote: View Post
I understand your viewpoint - though I think the article was responding more the the authorities method of response than of ordinary citizens. A couple of my aunt's friends who live fairly close to Waterstown said how it strengthened a sense of community in some way.
I think there's probably widespread misunderstanding elsewhere about exactly what the authorities' response was (as evidenced by use of the term "lockdown").

Quote:
Robert Cowham wrote: View Post
Perhaps this should be a new thread - but what is the best way to respond to terrorist attacks? What is the best way to respond to threats? Or indeed what are just good ways? How can you react sensibly to minimise threats while also not giving terrorists potential benefits, including publicity, disruption and inconvenience to the general population?
...which brings us right back to "Is aikido good for self-defense?" Self-defense against WHAT? What kind of "terrorist attack"?

I'm not sure that not benefiting terrorists should be the primary goal; in fact, I'm reasonably sure it shouldn't be. Empathy means having a sense for what other people are feeling, and that's good, but it's a mistake to believe you know how they're feeling, what they're thinking, what their motives are, and thus that you also know what they will do. Maybe the most helpful kind of empathy consists simply in knowing that other people do feel, that they may feel the same as you would in similar circumstances, or they may feel differently. On a purely personal level, or on a broader level (dealing with "terrorists"), it seems best to focus on taking care of yourself and engaging honestly with those who will engage with you. After the Boston bombing, there were of course those in the media who said that soft targets like a public crowd will always be a relatively easy target. But I don't think we're going to see any shying away from public gatherings here. For that matter, I could point you at half a dozen locations within a few blocks of my office, and give you the time of day on every single workday when you'd have a crowd as big as the crowd at the Marathon finish line - just in the course of normal daily activities.

So again, I keep coming back to the same point: "imagining the bad guy" is a fun game to play for some, but as soon as you start with the premise of, "So, there are these bad guys, and they want to GET ME", you're already off telling your story. You've already veered away from the truth. And while you're fighting the bogeyman, the real problem is sneaking up behind you (if it's not already inside your own head).
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:35 AM   #59
Robert Cowham
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
So again, I keep coming back to the same point: "imagining the bad guy" is a fun game to play for some, but as soon as you start with the premise of, "So, there are these bad guys, and they want to GET ME", you're already off telling your story. You've already veered away from the truth. And while you're fighting the bogeyman, the real problem is sneaking up behind you (if it's not already inside your own head).
I think there is value in considering potential risks ahead of time and determining possible responses. Considering such risks includes a measure of their likelihood of happening. Thus the reference to Jared Diamond's article (and book).

If your point is that this can be exagerated and lead to creating alternative realities according to your own psychological tendencies, then sure I agree - but it's still a useful exercise.

On a related note, I was interested to see this about the value of reading and thinking about issues before encountering them.

http://strifeblog.org/2013/05/07/wit...ional-reading/

Quote:
The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience (or by your men's
experience), i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others' experiences, generally a
better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of
incompetence are so final for young men.
:
Ultimately, a real understanding of history means that we face NOTHING new under the sun.
For all the "4th Generation of War" intellectuals running around today saying that the nature of
war has fundamentally changed, the tactics are wholly new, etc, I must respectfully say… "Not
really": Alex the Great would not be in the least bit perplexed by the enemy that we face right
now in Iraq, and our leaders going into this fight do their troops a disservice by not studying
(studying, vice just reading) the men who have gone before us.
Not just applicable to those in the military.
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:56 AM   #60
jonreading
 
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Since we are back at effective self-defense...

While I agree that the risk of being targeted for battery and/or assault is not particularly high for mostof us, I do not think that we are acting irresponsibley in our preparation. I personally believe that we are constantly bombarded with acts of bullyism in our daily life. We won't call them that because only kids are bullied, but we are. That guy that eyed you and then cut you off on the highway? What about the skeezy guy that just steppped in front of you while waiting to check out. The cat call from across the street? The inexcusibly high phone bill... the DMV...

Everyday we experience some form of intimidation. Sometimes we do something, sometimes we don't. We are presented with these judgment calls. Ultimately you either capitulate to the intimidation or you do not. I am not sure judging another's decisions gets anywhere... This is why the life skill of a budo is so important over the physical skill of kata. We need kata, but we can do so much with budo.

When I teach self-defense, I often use the analogy of a fear of spiders and the dangers of a spider bite. While we are very low risk to die from a spider bite (or be seriously injured), the condition of Arachnophobia will cause indivudals to go to extreme measures to insure they are not in contact with spiders. In a previous post there was mention that often self-defense measures are not taken out of the real danger of occurance, but rather a sense of empowerment over a fear. This is a driving motivation in the purchase of insurance - that the liklihood of a thing happening is so great that we should prepare for it.

Last edited by jonreading : 05-20-2013 at 11:01 AM.

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Old 05-20-2013, 12:08 PM   #61
KEM
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
From my view point (narrow minded and ancient as it is) one either does Aikido budo or one does Aikidance. I have found over the years Aikido to be extremely effective as a bubo art and if necessary a excellent form of self defiance.
Well said. "Getting out of the way" is a high expression of Budo. Calm in the face of aggression is Budo. When it gets 'dirty' being able to apply strong, effective techniques is essential. The basic techniques law enforcement uses in FL were developed from Aikido and standardized for all state law enforcement officers as early as the late 1970's-1983 (maybe earlier but that is what I recall). I was recently told that 'Aikido can't be used for self defense, that isn't what O Sensei intended it to be about...when you teach aikido for self defense you are really teaching jiujitsu and that is the way OSensei did things before the war, not how Aikido is today." I deeply disagree with that statement...but it is an attitude some teach. Don't let that kind of thinking spoil your confidence. Honest, regular Aikido training under experienced Sensei's and their sempai will give you skills for self defense. Can someone be effective at Aikido defense if they have never been in the military or law enforcement? Sure. I have a bias towards those backgrounds; they bring a pragmatic experience base and Budo to the application of Aikido.
I've read that Scientific American (don't know the exact ref) called Aikido the most effective, complex and obsessive-compulsive of the martial arts. I think there is truth in that!http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/images/smilies/ki.gif
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Old 05-20-2013, 04:36 PM   #62
sakumeikan
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Matthew Story wrote: View Post
This. Aikido is not realistic combat training and the primary duty of an aikido instructor is not to make students into effective fighters. There are much better ways to learn self-defense than aikido.
Dear Matthew,
If aikido is not a realistic combat art why call it Martial? The primary duty of an instructor is to teach aikido .This does not mean the instructor has to do aikido in a manner akin to Fred and Ginger doing a waltz. I dont know about you but I come from a ryu where I was subjected to hard training.No flouncing around doing twirly stuff.
I found my early training in Aikido harder than Judo.By the way I was no slouch at that game either.As far as Aikido being complicated and hard to understand, I think this is nonsense.Dead simple , first neutralise the attack, get into a position where the attacker cannot hit you, then do the guy with whatever is at hand.Simple. No need for fancy stuff, who would try shiho nage for example in a real?situation?? Hope you are well, Cheers, Joe.
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:09 PM   #63
graham christian
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Or you could do a nice twirl, sit them down and have a cup of tea. Mmmm, iriminage is much like a waltz come to think of it.

By the way you lot could have at least beaten Arsenal for us

Peace.G.
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:17 PM   #64
sakumeikan
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Or you could do a nice twirl, sit them down and have a cup of tea. Mmmm, iriminage is much like a waltz come to think of it.

By the way you lot could have at least beaten Arsenal for us

Peace.G.
Graham,
I am a Scot not a Geordie.Hate to say this I doubt if N.U.F.C could beat an egg.Keep on dancing,you might get selected for Brucies show.Maybe Flavia would twirl you around the floor? Oh what joy!! Joe.
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:40 PM   #65
graham christian
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Graham,
I am a Scot not a Geordie.Hate to say this I doubt if N.U.F.C could beat an egg.Keep on dancing,you might get selected for Brucies show.Maybe Flavia would twirl you around the floor? Oh what joy!! Joe.
Oh a scot eh? Best not mention footie then. Maybe that's what makes it take so long for some to learn because they can't see the dance. A deadly dance.

Peace.G.
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:39 AM   #66
lbb
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Since we are back at effective self-defense...

While I agree that the risk of being targeted for battery and/or assault is not particularly high for mostof us, I do not think that we are acting irresponsibley in our preparation. I personally believe that we are constantly bombarded with acts of bullyism in our daily life. We won't call them that because only kids are bullied, but we are. That guy that eyed you and then cut you off on the highway? What about the skeezy guy that just steppped in front of you while waiting to check out. The cat call from across the street? The inexcusibly high phone bill... the DMV...

Everyday we experience some form of intimidation. Sometimes we do something, sometimes we don't. We are presented with these judgment calls. Ultimately you either capitulate to the intimidation or you do not. I am not sure judging another's decisions gets anywhere... This is why the life skill of a budo is so important over the physical skill of kata. We need kata, but we can do so much with budo.
But (and I realize I'm not saying this very well) what makes it "intimidation"? That tango takes two, and sometimes there's a choice about whether you want to dance. The guy that eyed you and then cut you off on the highway is playing a game that he wants to play; it's called "I show you who's boss of this road", and he believes he can win at it. Maybe he's wrong; maybe you and your car can win. Maybe you choose not to play, but instead just shrug and let him have the lane. Can someone beat you at a game you're not playing?

I realize that the choice to not play doesn't always exist. On the other hand, you know that saying about when your only tool is a hammer, every problem has to be a nail. When someone asks "is aikido good for self-defense?" we know what they're asking - if we're not being disingenuous, we know that they mean as a physical response to a physical attack, not using ki to redirect the bad energy at the DMV. So we enter into that discussion, but in so doing, we need to remind ourselves that this is a tiny slice of self-defense. If you want to defend yourself, you'll use many more tools than just the physical responses of aikido - and that, to be honest, those are probably the last tools you should ever use.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
When I teach self-defense, I often use the analogy of a fear of spiders and the dangers of a spider bite. While we are very low risk to die from a spider bite (or be seriously injured), the condition of Arachnophobia will cause indivudals to go to extreme measures to insure they are not in contact with spiders. In a previous post there was mention that often self-defense measures are not taken out of the real danger of occurance, but rather a sense of empowerment over a fear. This is a driving motivation in the purchase of insurance - that the liklihood of a thing happening is so great that we should prepare for it.
Sure. But, while I can see how self-defense measures can lead to a sense of empowerment, when taken past a certain point, the measures themselves have a deleterious effect on a person's quality of life. You mention arachnophobia - as it happens, I have a very good friend who has a completely outsized freakout factor with insects of all kinds. This leads to behaviors such as drenching herself with deet, throwing out everything in her pantry and spending days bleaching every surface if she ever sees a grain moth, not wanting to visit my house which is out in the country and surrounded by gardens where I encourage some types of beneficial insects, etc. I keep my mouth firmly shut on the topic, but I see another choice: to attempt to address the fear itself, rather than to try to eliminate everything that provokes it from one's life.

There's a quote from Pema Chodron that I think is really relevant here, where she's talking about Shantideva's teachings about how we respond to the difficulties of life in the most counterproductive way. You can watch it on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buTrsK_ZkvA:

Quote:
"This lousy world, this lousy people, this lousy government, this lousy everything. Lousy weather, lousy blah blah blah blah. Pissed off, you know, it's too hot in here, it's too cold, I don't like the smell and, the person is too tall in front, and -- too fat next to me, and they're wearing perfume and I'm allergic, and just -- unnnh!"

So he says, the analogy is that you're barefooted, it's like being barefooted and walking across blazing-hot sand or across cut glass. Or in a field with thorns. And your feet are bare, and you say, this is just, you know, it's really hurting, it's terrible, it's too sharp, it's too painful, it's too hot. Do I have a great idea! I am just going to cover the whole, everywhere I go, I'm going to cover it with leather. And then it won't hurt my feet anymore. That's like saying, "I'm going to get rid of her and get rid of him and get the temperature right, and I'm going to ban perfume in the world and, you know, there will be no, nothing that bothers me anywhere. There -- I am going to get rid of everything, including mosquitoes, that bothers me, anywhere in the world, and then I will be a very happy, content person."

We're laughing, but it's what we all do. That is how we do approach things. We think, if we could just get rid of them or cover it with leather, then our pain would go away. Well, sure, because, you know, then it wouldn't be cutting our feet anymore -- I mean, it's just logical, isn't it? But it doesn't make any sense, really. So he said, "but if you simply wrap the leather around your feet" -- in other words, shoes -- then you could walk across the boiling sand and the cut glass and the thorns, and it wouldn't bother you. So the analogy is, if you work with your mind, instead of trying to change everything on the outside, that's how your temper will cool down.
It's not to say that the problems on the outside aren't real. Generally they are (although this quote is a great example of how we tend to magnify them). But our ability to control these outside problems is limited. So, the choices are, as I see it: 1)Respond to the "provocations" of life's daily problems as if to an aggressive, conscious threat or attack on your self (which indeed they may very well not be...the guy who cut you off may be distracted or may have just seen his exit; the insect is simply trying to live), 2)Try to "cover the world with leather", by eliminating all the insects and bad drivers and people standing in line in front of you at the DMV (which of course you can't do), or 3)Respond to threats that really are threats, and "wear shoes" when dealing with the stuff that's just life being life.
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:01 AM   #67
jonreading
 
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
But (and I realize I'm not saying this very well) what makes it "intimidation"? That tango takes two, and sometimes there's a choice about whether you want to dance. The guy that eyed you and then cut you off on the highway is playing a game that he wants to play; it's called "I show you who's boss of this road", and he believes he can win at it. Maybe he's wrong; maybe you and your car can win. Maybe you choose not to play, but instead just shrug and let him have the lane. Can someone beat you at a game you're not playing?

I realize that the choice to not play doesn't always exist. On the other hand, you know that saying about when your only tool is a hammer, every problem has to be a nail. When someone asks "is aikido good for self-defense?" we know what they're asking - if we're not being disingenuous, we know that they mean as a physical response to a physical attack, not using ki to redirect the bad energy at the DMV. So we enter into that discussion, but in so doing, we need to remind ourselves that this is a tiny slice of self-defense. If you want to defend yourself, you'll use many more tools than just the physical responses of aikido - and that, to be honest, those are probably the last tools you should ever use.

Sure. But, while I can see how self-defense measures can lead to a sense of empowerment, when taken past a certain point, the measures themselves have a deleterious effect on a person's quality of life. You mention arachnophobia - as it happens, I have a very good friend who has a completely outsized freakout factor with insects of all kinds. This leads to behaviors such as drenching herself with deet, throwing out everything in her pantry and spending days bleaching every surface if she ever sees a grain moth, not wanting to visit my house which is out in the country and surrounded by gardens where I encourage some types of beneficial insects, etc. I keep my mouth firmly shut on the topic, but I see another choice: to attempt to address the fear itself, rather than to try to eliminate everything that provokes it from one's life.

There's a quote from Pema Chodron that I think is really relevant here, where she's talking about Shantideva's teachings about how we respond to the difficulties of life in the most counterproductive way. You can watch it on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buTrsK_ZkvA:

It's not to say that the problems on the outside aren't real. Generally they are (although this quote is a great example of how we tend to magnify them). But our ability to control these outside problems is limited. So, the choices are, as I see it: 1)Respond to the "provocations" of life's daily problems as if to an aggressive, conscious threat or attack on your self (which indeed they may very well not be...the guy who cut you off may be distracted or may have just seen his exit; the insect is simply trying to live), 2)Try to "cover the world with leather", by eliminating all the insects and bad drivers and people standing in line in front of you at the DMV (which of course you can't do), or 3)Respond to threats that really are threats, and "wear shoes" when dealing with the stuff that's just life being life.
For me, intimidation is simply the prioritization of needs and actions. That's the rub - it is not a game. Allowing yourself to be intimidated is simply means that you are allowing another to satifsy her needs and actions before yours. For example, the driver that you just allowed into you lane has already shown poor driving habits. Is it a wise decision to allow a poor driver to be in front of your vehicle?

When I teach self-defense, physical reponses are actually fairly low on the list. I cover many more options the precede physical contact. Again, this is why I think aikido as a budo is superior than aikido as kata. I also make a point to specifiy what is being asked. As stupid as it seems, I receive far more inquiries about self-defense from indivudals who are not capable of physical response... asking about learning physical response.

While I understand your words, I think your numerical sequence in somewhat biased against option 1. It seems like you really are advocating a path of moderation, illustrating an extreme fear response (phobia) and an extreme hostile response... I am not sure either is a normal state of activity.

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