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Old 06-05-2013, 10:10 AM   #1
Marc Abrams
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105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

It never ceases to amaze me how people can take a snapshot in time and project that moment as representative of the totality.  Too many people look at Aikido as this nice, choreographed exercise in “peaceful, conflict resolution”, thinking that this rose-covered lens enables a person create a peaceful end to a violent experience.  For those naive, idealistic people, one can only hope that they never have to confront the manifestation of the expression “you get what you pay for.”  Our techniques contain within them, “options” and “alternatives” that can emerge as strikes, breaks, and chokes (to name a few possibilities) when the occasion calls for those endings to appropriately emerge.  These options/alternatives reveal the depth of the waza/kata that we practice.  If the student is not exposed to those possibilities, then they can easily and mistakenly assume that taught form is all that there is.  That to me, is dangerous, shallow teaching.  I have seen it expressed in countless videos of “real expressions of Aikido” where the Aikidoka is trying to get the attacker to grab them…..
One of the classic areas of “misunderstanding” is with the Kokyu-Nage.  Seriously folks, do you really think that it is a bright idea to throw an attacker far away from you in a manner that allows the person to be unharmed?  Do you really think that this attacker will be overcome by a sense of harmonious awe and not want to continue attacking you?  IF, I want to throw the person to the ground, you can rest assured that the person will end up on the ground right in front me so I can continue to maintain control over the situation.  IF, I need to “eliminate” the first aggressor, the nature of the movements lend itself very nicely into breaking the person’s neck and/or spine.  Maybe that movement can end up as a strike or a really nice choke.  It certainly provides me with a nice platform in which a variety of alternative ending can be created to match the necessity of the situation.  It is very important to be able to teach the nicest outcome possible, ergo, the throw.  It is a very important lesson to not reveal the intent of the ending and remain within the secure, controlled nature of the movements.
Shiho-nage provides the person with an opportunity to break several joints, throw the person on his/her head, or simply place the person on the ground in front of you.  Once again, a seemingly innocuous technique has within it, a variety of outcomes that may be necessary based upon the situation that you are confronted with.  The list of techniques and possible outcomes is quite extensive and should be taught in a safe, controlled manner.  I believe that it is very important that a platform (waza) be initially taught with the safest, least violent ending as possible.  This platform helps to develop a calm, peaceful and secure person who can allow the platform to find it’s necessary outcome without becoming overwhelmed with anger, fear and anxiety.
This month will be a month in which we will be practicing a variety of techniques with the end of the class finishing with an “alternative” ending that allows the person to safely experience the breadth of possible endings to a technique.   The choices come increased responsibility and a greater sense of appreciation for the depth of Aikido.
Practice Safely!
Marc Abrams Sensei


(Original blog post may be found here.)
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:48 AM   #2
kumachan
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

I suggest that those folks participate in a seminar with Saotome Mitsugi sensei.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:18 PM   #3
Marc Abrams
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Quote:
Gene McGloin wrote: View Post
I suggest that those folks participate in a seminar with Saotome Mitsugi sensei.
Stop by Shin-Budo Kai in NYC. Imaizumi Sensei never has any problem demonstrating some interesting variants....

Regards,

marc abrams
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:41 PM   #4
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

This would be much easier to read with some breaks between the lines.

While I agree with some of what you wrote you seem to becoming from a place of fear. I think that the practice of Aikido creates a peacefulness within which in turn we can project to the world.

The issue of self-defense can also came from a place of self-acceptance and an acknowledgment of the conditions at hand, always alllowing room for adaptation, considering the circumstances.

Last edited by Mary Eastland : 06-05-2013 at 02:43 PM. Reason: spelling

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Old 06-05-2013, 03:33 PM   #5
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post

While I agree with some of what you wrote you seem to becoming from a place of fear. I think that the practice of Aikido creates a peacefulness within which in turn we can project to the world.

The issue of self-defense can also came from a place of self-acceptance and an acknowledgment of the conditions at hand, always allowing room for adaptation, considering the circumstances.
I think it comes from a place of fear in the same way looking both ways before you cross the street does. It's not fear, it's awareness of possibilities that exist in reality, not fantasy

"Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men" - Thomas Henry Huxley
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:17 PM   #6
Marc Abrams
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
This would be much easier to read with some breaks between the lines.

While I agree with some of what you wrote you seem to becoming from a place of fear. I think that the practice of Aikido creates a peacefulness within which in turn we can project to the world.

The issue of self-defense can also came from a place of self-acceptance and an acknowledgment of the conditions at hand, always alllowing room for adaptation, considering the circumstances.
Mary:

I would suggest that you leave psychological interpretations of where other people are coming from to the pro's. If you genuinely knew me or could accurately read where I am coming from, then it would simply be impossible for you to conclude that I seemed to be coming from a place of fear. Did you not read this part of my blog?
" I believe that it is very important that a platform (waza) be initially taught with the safest, least violent ending as possible. This platform helps to develop a calm, peaceful and secure person who can allow the platform to find it's necessary outcome without becoming overwhelmed with anger, fear and anxiety."

Projection onto the world is nice sounding idea as long as the attacker is willing to buy YOUR projection (good luck finding attackers who are willing to do so). If you move from a calm, secure center, you can acknowledge the conditions at hand and respond according to the needs that are created by the situation. If you cannot do what is necessary, based on the needs of the situation, then you are in for a lot of trouble. All of that person's projections will do precious little to help if that person is not capable of adapting the techniques to fit the needs of the situation. What does help is to be taught a variety of different expressions from our compendium of techniques that represent the spectrum of possible, necessary outcomes. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that few dojos allow students to experience to possibilities contained with our waza.

As to the paragraph spacing, they exist on my blog site. The transfer to this site seems to eat up the spacing.

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:14 PM   #7
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

@Marc: You said:

I would suggest that you leave psychological interpretations of where other people are coming from to the pro's."

I am free to state my opinion. If my opinion is not in accord with what you see as the facts just state the facts and move on. There is no need to try to suppress other opinions by appealing to authority.

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Old 06-05-2013, 07:26 PM   #8
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
@Marc: You said:

I would suggest that you leave psychological interpretations of where other people are coming from to the pro's."

I am free to state my opinion. If my opinion is not in accord with what you see as the facts just state the facts and move on. There is no need to try to suppress other opinions by appealing to authority.
You are free to state your opinion, of course. But in this case you attempted a diagnosis while not being qualified for that. Not sure if 1st ammendment protects that.

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Old 06-05-2013, 09:10 PM   #9
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Fear is a diagnosis...give me a break.

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Old 06-05-2013, 09:16 PM   #10
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Stop by Shin-Budo Kai in NYC. Imaizumi Sensei never has any problem demonstrating some interesting variants....

Regards,

marc abrams
Thanks, Abrams sensei, I used to stop by at Imaizumi sensei's old dojo to watch class, 20 years ago!
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:52 PM   #11
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
You are free to state your opinion, of course. But in this case you attempted a diagnosis while not being qualified for that. Not sure if 1st ammendment protects that.
Fear is not classified as a disease and therefore cannot be considered a diagnosis (which is defined as: Noun, The identification of the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms.) in the context that you are trying to cast it. Your assertion that Mary was diagnosing anything is incorrect.

She ventured an opinion (which is defined as: Noun, A view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.), in this case based on something that Marc himself wrote. Publishing on the internet for public consumption implicitly invites opinionated responses unless comments are explicitly forbidden or otherwise limited by the author.

Ron

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Old 06-06-2013, 07:40 AM   #12
Marc Abrams
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
@Marc: You said:

I would suggest that you leave psychological interpretations of where other people are coming from to the pro's."

I am free to state my opinion. If my opinion is not in accord with what you see as the facts just state the facts and move on. There is no need to try to suppress other opinions by appealing to authority.
Mary:

Of course you are free to express your opinions in this country. You are also free to engage in a lot of different types of behaviors that leave people shaking their heads...... Just like you stating an errant opinion, based upon inadequate knowledge. You are entitled to what ever opinion you might want to have about any subject matter out there. When you express an opinion about another person, particularly when it is so far off from reality, do not be surprised when that person expressed his/her opinion about your opinion. In this matter, I will repeat myself:

I would suggest that you leave psychological interpretations of where other people are coming from to the pro's.

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:41 AM   #13
Marc Abrams
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Quote:
Gene McGloin wrote: View Post
Thanks, Abrams sensei, I used to stop by at Imaizumi sensei's old dojo to watch class, 20 years ago!
Gene:

Glad to hear that! We are located at the corner of 8th ave. and 14th st.. You are also welcome to stop by my dojo anytime in Bedford Hills!

Regards,

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:35 AM   #14
Cliff Judge
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
While I agree with some of what you wrote you seem to becoming from a place of fear. I think that the practice of Aikido creates a peacefulness within which in turn we can project to the world.
I agree with this. You get scared of what might happen if you are walking down the street and suddenly____. You get scared that your Aikido practice is irrelevant and not valued.

Exploring the destructive aspects of Aikido seem like a fine thing to do in either case, IMO. This type of training can renew your respect for your own art and its potential, and the responsibility you have for your training partners who work with you on the mat.

There might be a danger if you manifest too much anger or will to harm another, I suppose. Though that would be because you have to deal with that anyway, in order to really find a peace within you that you can project to the world.

Worse is the danger that you may find yourself performing the harmful technique in a situation where your uke would not otherwise expect it and might not be ready for it. It is up to the instructor to teach his or her students to be respectful of what they are learning.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:18 AM   #15
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

I have heard the statement that looking at the more destructive side of Aikido is an exercise in fear before.

I reject that based solely on my own reasons which is that I find that technical aspect fascinating and really don't wander down the street thinking about who is going to jump me clutching a [name your weapon here].

Perhaps it is my inner psychopath talking. ;D

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:25 AM   #16
Chris Li
 
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
@Marc: You said:

I would suggest that you leave psychological interpretations of where other people are coming from to the pro's."

I am free to state my opinion. If my opinion is not in accord with what you see as the facts just state the facts and move on. There is no need to try to suppress other opinions by appealing to authority.
FWIW, it's not an appeal to authority - he is the authority, in this case.

Anyway, if everybody's free to state their opinion then why are you griping about Marc expressing his opinion?

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-06-2013, 11:18 AM   #17
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

While I understand completely what Marc is saying, I will say, in Mary's defense that fear is the underlying factor in much human interaction and is especially a factor in how folks get involved with martial arts. If you look at Buddhist psychology as outlined in the Vipassana system, one of the older systems of Buddhisms, most human disfunction at its base can be reduced to fear. At the most fundamental level it is fear of dying but it can often take a lot of work to get it broken down to that level.

Most martial artists started training as a result of some level of fear. Now, many folks in martial arts will claim that they aren't afraid. However, that just means they don't perceive that they are afraid of being physically injured. But that is only one kind of fear. Those same folks, tough as they are, may be quite fearful about allowing themselves to be vulnerable in their human interactions. They are quite afraid of being emotionally hurt. They can be fearful of not measuring up to some perceived notion of their own skill, fearful of being judged by others, fearful of "failing" whatever. Fear causes us to not be present, it causes us to distort the nature of our reality in order to make ourselves feel safe.

In my experience, some of the toughest people I know are quite fearful. I think that the whole purpose of Budo, and Aikido in particular, is to move the practitioner into a place in which he or she isn't fearful. Only by ceasing to be afraid can we move to a place at which we don't use agression to mask our fear. Our whole society is fear based at this point.

While I wouldn't presume to second guess a mental health professional about diagnosis or treatment in a medical context, I do think we all have to sense and deal with the fact that the folks we deal with are quite often coming from a position of fear when they are interacting with us in ways that we don't like. I think that understanding basic human fearfulness is the basis for why we even strive for a less than destructive outcome in our martial interactions. I think it is the whole basis for what the Buddhists would call Karuna" or compassion. And that is the reason we might choose to do Aikido as opposed to some other simpler, more easily learned, and in the short run, more "effective" martial art. Aikido provides us a way to protect ourselves at the same time it potentially provides us with options that also protect others against the outcomes of their aggressive behavior. We would choose to do this precisely because we understand that their aggression is misguided and comes from an underlying vulnerability that we all share as human beings.

Budo training should allow us to react to these thing in a way that is not motivated by fear. The outcome could still be destructive for an aggressor depending on the circumstance but ones own reactions are no longer coming from the same base level of fearfulness that the aggressor's actions are coming from.

So, I think discussions of fear and what makes people fearful and how training might take people past those fears (which I happen to think much Aikido training in particular fails to do) are just about always relevant and we can't leave those discussions just to the mental health professionals. I see myself as a "professional" in dealing with fear... it's just not a medical approach.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 06-06-2013 at 11:23 AM.

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Old 06-06-2013, 01:05 PM   #18
Marc Abrams
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
While I understand completely what Marc is saying, I will say, in Mary's defense that fear is the underlying factor in much human interaction and is especially a factor in how folks get involved with martial arts. If you look at Buddhist psychology as outlined in the Vipassana system, one of the older systems of Buddhisms, most human disfunction at its base can be reduced to fear. At the most fundamental level it is fear of dying but it can often take a lot of work to get it broken down to that level.

Most martial artists started training as a result of some level of fear. Now, many folks in martial arts will claim that they aren't afraid. However, that just means they don't perceive that they are afraid of being physically injured. But that is only one kind of fear. Those same folks, tough as they are, may be quite fearful about allowing themselves to be vulnerable in their human interactions. They are quite afraid of being emotionally hurt. They can be fearful of not measuring up to some perceived notion of their own skill, fearful of being judged by others, fearful of "failing" whatever. Fear causes us to not be present, it causes us to distort the nature of our reality in order to make ourselves feel safe.

In my experience, some of the toughest people I know are quite fearful. I think that the whole purpose of Budo, and Aikido in particular, is to move the practitioner into a place in which he or she isn't fearful. Only by ceasing to be afraid can we move to a place at which we don't use agression to mask our fear. Our whole society is fear based at this point.

While I wouldn't presume to second guess a mental health professional about diagnosis or treatment in a medical context, I do think we all have to sense and deal with the fact that the folks we deal with are quite often coming from a position of fear when they are interacting with us in ways that we don't like. I think that understanding basic human fearfulness is the basis for why we even strive for a less than destructive outcome in our martial interactions. I think it is the whole basis for what the Buddhists would call Karuna" or compassion. And that is the reason we might choose to do Aikido as opposed to some other simpler, more easily learned, and in the short run, more "effective" martial art. Aikido provides us a way to protect ourselves at the same time it potentially provides us with options that also protect others against the outcomes of their aggressive behavior. We would choose to do this precisely because we understand that their aggression is misguided and comes from an underlying vulnerability that we all share as human beings.

Budo training should allow us to react to these thing in a way that is not motivated by fear. The outcome could still be destructive for an aggressor depending on the circumstance but ones own reactions are no longer coming from the same base level of fearfulness that the aggressor's actions are coming from.

So, I think discussions of fear and what makes people fearful and how training might take people past those fears (which I happen to think much Aikido training in particular fails to do) are just about always relevant and we can't leave those discussions just to the mental health professionals. I see myself as a "professional" in dealing with fear... it's just not a medical approach.
George raises excellent points. The specific reason for the nature of how I teach is to help people NOT react from a place of fear. As a psychologist and martial arts instructor, I make a conscious and concerted effort to address the issues of fear, safety, anger, etc. in how I structure my classes and teach. My students can all talk about instances where I address these issues directly, when they emerge in class. This topic is certainly worthy of a thread.

The issue that I had with Mary's response (which I immediately and directly addressed) was in her errant assertion that I was somehow "coming from a place of fear." I work very hard in helping to teach students NOT to come from a place of fear. This is something that I am always addressing in my own training as well. My blog had absolutely NOTHING to do with me coming from a place of fear. This blog was addressing the issue of fear, anger, anxiety, and other negative emotional states that can emerge in training, particularly when the techniques are done in a manner that can result in grievous injury and death. Fear and anger in the students can easily result in people getting injured when training with potent techniques. As a responsible teacher, I am vigilant for signs of these problematic indicators, more so, when I teach very dangerous techniques.

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-08-2013, 08:19 AM   #19
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Interesting points, George.

The original blog contains words like dangerous, naive, idealistic, aggressor, breaking the spine, etc....words that lend to angry, fear based approach.

There is nothing wrong with this.

My approach is different....I tend to use words like connection, lose balance, Patience, tolerance...these words create a more peaceful approach.

A peaceful approach can address the core issue of Aikido which is self -defense just as a fear based approach does. Many paths...we all know... lead to the same place.

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Old 06-08-2013, 08:40 AM   #20
Marc Abrams
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Interesting points, George.

The original blog contains words like dangerous, naive, idealistic, aggressor, breaking the spine, etc....words that lend to angry, fear based approach.

There is nothing wrong with this.

My approach is different....I tend to use words like connection, lose balance, Patience, tolerance...these words create a more peaceful approach.

A peaceful approach can address the core issue of Aikido which is self -defense just as a fear based approach does. Many paths...we all know... lead to the same place.
Mary:

How many times do you have to hear that you are far off base before the message begins to sink in?

If words like dangerous, naive, idealistic, aggressor, breaking the spine, etc... LEAD YOU to ASSUME INCORRECTLY that this is an angry, fear based approach, then that issue rests solely with you.

At the end of the day, the words we use provide precious little as to how a person can or cannot defend themselves if that person were to be physically assaulted by another person (s). At the end of the day, it is the skill sets that a person has been taught to utilize (including how one manages one's own internal space) that will help to possibly make a difference. Even then, there are no guarantees.

I am happy that you are satisfied with "Mary's approach" towards teaching Aikido. Problems arise when you make inaccurate assumptions as to "other people's" approaches towards teaching Aikido that do not resonate with your approach. You might want to consider how your way of viewing things might distort your perceptions and conclusions regarding other people's ways. Then again, you might not.....

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-08-2013, 11:09 AM   #21
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

"am happy that you are satisfied with "Marc's approach" towards teaching Aikido. Problems arise when you make inaccurate assumptions as to "other people's" approaches towards teaching Aikido that do not resonate with your approach. You might want to consider how your way of viewing things might distort your perceptions and conclusions regarding other people's ways. Then again, you might not....."



I doubt you are really happy....because you seem so angry when you respond....maybe you could listen and just maybe you might hear that what you think you sound like may not be coming across.

Now I will bow out.

Last edited by Mary Eastland : 06-08-2013 at 11:10 AM. Reason: slight change to Marc's quote

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Old 06-08-2013, 03:27 PM   #22
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Just to muddy the waters a bit, it's been my experience that those using words like "connection, , patience, tolerance" can easily be as fear-based and aggressive as those using words like "break, strike, kill." "Patience" = "You are so unreasonable that I have to demonstrate my great patience to deal with you." "Tolerance" = "It's a good thing that I'm so tolerant because otherwise I'd tear you a new one."

NOT applying this to anyone here, obviously--I don't know Mary and I'm certainly not going to offer a psychoanalysis of her. :-) But I do think that those who use words like like "strike, kill" know they are playing with fire, whereas those who use softer language may have fewer triggers to remind themselves to examine the attitude beneath the language. On the flip side, don't assume that those who use stronger language aren't totally aware of what they're doing and what the implications are.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 06-08-2013, 05:56 PM   #23
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

So.......I should stay out of this because nothing will change........ In any case at my age I have had enough years around any number of types of people that it is not the words that spike my anger or my fear ( both anger and fear should be friends and part of your tool kit) rather the tone and presentation of the words that flavor the real meaning of the usage. I have been around the use of the work "patience" when it has meant that and when it has not. I have had folks tell me what I am doing is so marvelous when I can tell that they don't. I have been around people talking to another about a balanced life, about getting together, about working together while sticking the knife in the others back with one arm around their shoulders. If I feel anger or fear...they are indicators and I ask myself why....I look around to see why...to close the loop before acting...tools to be used as part of a complete set....coming from a full and connected self .

As for me....while most situations we tend to get ourselves in can be talked down, not every situation can be. The intention of the individual(s) placing themselves in your way can be determined at the moment, it has to be. If the intention is to do you harm in some fashion then you have to deal with that in the moment. At my age I can't afford to throw people away from me to have them get up and come back. If there are more than one it would be in my best interests to take one or more out of play quickly. This doesn't mean I am operating out of anger or fear....just doing what is needed to keep ME safe.
Gary
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Old 06-08-2013, 08:41 PM   #24
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
"am happy that you are satisfied with "Marc's approach" towards teaching Aikido. Problems arise when you make inaccurate assumptions as to "other people's" approaches towards teaching Aikido that do not resonate with your approach. You might want to consider how your way of viewing things might distort your perceptions and conclusions regarding other people's ways. Then again, you might not....."



I doubt you are really happy....because you seem so angry when you respond....maybe you could listen and just maybe you might hear that what you think you sound like may not be coming across.

Now I will bow out.
Dear Mary,

I thought that you put me on your ignore list? As to your attempts at "interpreting" or "believing" that you understand me, I once again suggest that you leave that to the pros. I genuinely support you bowing out of the discussion about this topic. As the old saying goes... If you have nothing useful to say, say nothing at all.........

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-08-2013, 08:59 PM   #25
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
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Re: 105) Aikido- Martial Arts Hidden Within: June 2013

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Just to muddy the waters a bit, it's been my experience that those using words like "connection, , patience, tolerance" can easily be as fear-based and aggressive as those using words like "break, strike, kill." "Patience" = "You are so unreasonable that I have to demonstrate my great patience to deal with you." "Tolerance" = "It's a good thing that I'm so tolerant because otherwise I'd tear you a new one."

NOT applying this to anyone here, obviously--I don't know Mary and I'm certainly not going to offer a psychoanalysis of her. :-) But I do think that those who use words like like "strike, kill" know they are playing with fire, whereas those who use softer language may have fewer triggers to remind themselves to examine the attitude beneath the language. On the flip side, don't assume that those who use stronger language aren't totally aware of what they're doing and what the implications are.
Hugh:

Great points. Many people who hide behind "nice sounding words" tend to be the ones with the greatest degree of difficulty in managing and dealing with overt anger. They are great at projecting their difficulties onto those around them who are much more comfortable in managing overt expressions of anger.

Real physical conflicts tend to be filled with a lot of anger. Very harsh and threatening words are typically used as weapons. Learning how to recognize the signals of fear and anger and learning how to use those signals so that you can respond in a centered, collected and effective manner is a hard thing to learn how to do. Learning how to effectively end a situation and remain safe (like Gary posted) is simply a good goal. There should be no more anger expressed in using words to de-escalate a situation than should be used in choking a person into unconsciousness. Each is simply a means to a safe end; nothing more and nothing less.

My experiences in conflicts has been that I was simply focused on ending the situation as quickly as I could by doing whatever it took to stay safe and keep someone else from harming me (or stopping them from harming someone else). There was no time to think about "peaceful words", fear or anger. There was only me acting in the space that I was in. Afterwards, the adrenalin rush and flood of emotions would be dealt with. These experiences informed me, and have shaped how I teach my students so that they don't have unrealistic expectations and beliefs. I try to provide them with useful skill sets so that if the statistically improbable situation occurs of them being in a real physical conflict, the skill sets might serve them well.

Hope to see you in New Hampshire this summer!

Marc Abrams
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