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Old 03-20-2003, 03:24 PM   #1
Thor's Hammer
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The Way

A couple of things have been running around in my mind, questions which have been basically centered on technique.

I study Aikido third hand (my teacher learned from one of O'Sensei's deshi) and most of the techniques we learn involve some sort of throw, either to the back or forward. I begin to wonder if this is responsible.

If someone attacks me, I do not want to put them into a forward throw and crack their skull open on the pavement! Most people do not know how to roll out of a technique.

This borders on my overall question, as follows-

Everyone in the world has some sort of feeling that their actions are what they should do, even when somebody feels that they must murder someone, they do it because they feel it is the right path. How can everybody be right if some are seen as wrongdoers? It appears to me, (Except in the instances of mental disability which should be treated by a psychiatrist) that people should have equal opportunities... I know it's utopian, but we have enough power in the world that nobody would be hungry or have to live in a shack next to a sewage pipe. In America, we have the very rich types, such as bill gates, and we also have beggars on the streets. If he shared his money with 3000 other people they would still be millionaires!

This is why I think that O'Sensei's statements of 'loving protection of all things' and 'this old man is still learning' are the truth. We are constantly learning to be more loving towards others. I bet you 90% of the time that the person who just mugged you would NOT do so if they had the same life that you do. There is no need.

Yet if there is no need, people won't work for it, as seen some cases of welfare fraud. What should we do about it? We have 6 billion people, and even if you won't admit it, they are all every bit important as you are. But if we just give some who have adapted to a life of crime and drugs they will just use it for more drugs and crime. So what should we do?

I think that if we grew up with the ideals that we should work at what we want to do because it will help the human race, and that we will be taking care of others and others will take care of us by doing so, we would not need the evils of the world- greed, war, killing, taking advantage of people, and so they wouldn't be around. I think it was good to be selfish back when we were hunter gatherers and each day was a fight for survival but we've technologically evolved past that, I think O'Sensei saw that, and that is why we must listen!

Any thoughts? Do I make any sense??
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Old 03-20-2003, 03:42 PM   #2
ikkainogakusei
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Re: The Way

Quote:
Bryan Benson (Thor&#039s Hammer) wrote:
A couple of things have been running around in my mind, questions which have been basically centered on technique.

Any thoughts? Do I make any sense??
...Any sense?...well yes and no.

I see a round-about connection to the smaller question 'is it fair to throw someone who doesn't know how to fall?' and 'Why can't we all be fair in all that we do?' but I respond to both questions differently.

With regard to the first:

You may want to ask yourself 'Is it fair to be attacked in the first place?' To me, an assault (physical) is an action that is akin to expressing rejection of one's humanity. If a person were to attack me, they've already expressed a rejection of me. Now, my response would depend on the person. Almost two years ago a woman tried to attack me, who I did not feel threatened by. I simply tried my best to block and blend, until she finally landed a grab. Being a little surprised by this, I lowered my center, and added more momentum to her pull, which caused her to fall backwards.

I tried to do no more than prevent contact, but when she got it, I felt I had to do something. If she were larger, more martially experienced, or carrying a weapon, I'd have responded with greater determination to protect myself. Had I had the legendary technique of O' Sensei or other masters, I might be more successful at preventing contact altogether. Therein lies my flaw, but I'll take that flaw over broken bones.

I'll respond to the other 'thing' in the next post so as to break things up.

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Old 03-20-2003, 03:54 PM   #3
kung fu hamster
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Bryan,

Sounds a little idealistic to me. I've been attacked before and always was minding my own business...suddenly out of the blue some nut has the nerve to attack me. Three times I can remember physically being attacked, and numerous times verbally attacked which could have escalated if I didn't just ignore it and keep walking. I'm quite sure a number of those people were much more comfortably well off than I am, so I'm sorry, I don't buy your theory. (for the curious, one of the times I was attacked was as I was walking to work downtown, I passed by some big guy who looked normal but suddenly as I walked by him he lashed out and kicked my knee. Believe me, I was as just as surprised and shocked as Nancy Kerrigan.)
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Old 03-20-2003, 04:14 PM   #4
ikkainogakusei
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Thing 2.1 the smaller stuff

Quote:
Bryan Benson (Thor&#039s Hammer) wrote:
<snip>It appears to me, <snip> that people should have equal opportunities<snip>we have enough power in the world that nobody would be hungry or have to live in a shack next to a sewage pipe. In America, we have the very rich types, such as bill gates, and we also have beggars on the streets. If he shared his money with 3000 other people they would still be millionaires!

<snip>I bet you 90% of the time that the person who just mugged you would NOT do so if they had the same life that you do. There is no need.

Yet if there is no need, people won't work for it, as seen some cases of welfare fraud. What should we do about it? We have 6 billion people, and even if you won't admit it, they are all every bit important as you are. But if we just give some who have adapted to a life of crime and drugs they will just use it for more drugs and crime. So what should we do?

Any thoughts? Do I make any sense??
Wow, okay so it was difficult to narrow down all of the things you stated.

First the smaller picture of what you said.

I think it is difficult to assess whether a mugger might not mug if they had the life of another. We all have crossroads in our lives and our choice may not be dictated purely on our experiences. Mind you I'm not saying that we are predetermined to go down a path, but I might've chosen a darker path as easily as the path I have chosen, simply on a binomial yes/no circumstance. In addition, there are a few cases where people have had 'ordinary' lives and still chosen things which would cause one to wonder why.

Bill Gates:

Yes, he's got a lot of money. The question I would have though isoes giving this money to 3000 others make the world a better place? and: Who gets to choose who deserves the money? I'm not up on all of what the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is doing right now, but I do hear that a lot of their money is going to world health. That's a decent act in my book.

No one should live in a shack by the sewer:

You're right, though I have had my share of poverty and I am thankful for it in that it reminds me that the 'stuff' everyone else climbs for is really unrewarding anyway. I tell you, there are a few people I have been able to laugh with about bathing under a garden hose on a cold day, or trying to heat food over an oil drum, and through the smiles what we both know is that we understand the lesson it gave us in appreciation for food an warmth that many others will be blind to.

So the lesson I got was to not judge the person asking for a hand out, and not make excuses as to why I'll not give. I may sooner give them food than money for food, but I'm giving just the same.

Without need, people won't work for it:

Uh, I guess I might agree, though I'd want to look farther into all of whom have been given the proverbial 'free ticket'. My mother was on welfare for a time and she worked very hard to get off welfare. I've known of several families like this. I know that the 'lazy' ones often get the press, but success stories are more abundant than is aparent.

On to the bigger question...
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Old 03-20-2003, 04:59 PM   #5
ikkainogakusei
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Thing 2.2 the bigger question

Quote:
Bryan Benson (Thor&#039s Hammer) wrote:
How can everybody be right if some are seen as wrongdoers?

It appears to me...that people should have equal opportunities... I know it's utopian, but we have enough power in the world

This is why I think that O'Sensei's statements of 'loving protection of all things' and 'this old man is still learning' are the truth. We are constantly learning to be more loving towards others.

We have 6 billion people, and even if you won't admit it, they are all every bit important as you are.

I think that if we grew up with the ideals that we should work at what we want to do because it will help the human race, and that we will be taking care of others and others will take care of us by doing so, we would not need the evils of the world- greed, war, killing, taking advantage of people, and so they wouldn't be around. I think it was good to be selfish back when we were hunter gatherers and each day was a fight for survival but we've technologically evolved past that, I think O'Sensei saw that, and that is why we must listen!

Any thoughts? Do I make any sense??
Yes, you do make sense and Linda's right you are being idealistic. Thanks for that, keep up the good work (or thoughts) We don't have enough people with ideals like the ones you are professing. Don't stop asking yourself and others questions like that.

So I am guessing that the main thrust of your questions is why does humanity not care for all of humanity?

I've thought about this as well, and what I'm going to say does not apply to every human, but I think most.

We are not a herd animal, not a flock animal, not a school animal, and not a hive animal. Inherently, we are a troop animal and it is difficult for humans to consider humanity in the multi-billions.

Cultural anthropologists examine the differences between village folk and city folk and note the consideration of community. Desmond Morris once explained it by noting the actions of rural villagers transplanted to the busy crowded city. At home they greet everyone that they pass with a hello and possibly a how are you with the expectation that the other person will engage. In the city, they pass so many people and are overwhelmed by the possibility of saying hello and how are you to every person they pass. To city folk, everyone outside of the people they know...become less human.

Now think of being a 'World leader' and having to consider the loss of human life. Or think of being an industrialist and weight the risk/profit factor. Though you might sweat about the chance of death, many others might only care how it would affect their success in profit, or career.

There is another side to seeing others as just as important as self. Some people lose themselves in the attempt to save. I have done quite a few things in my life and have attempted to set aside my needs for the needs of others, but I have come to find a need to give some of that time to me as well. Also as much as I might give food to a stranger, or listen to them and what they have to say, I can't necessarily ensure my own safety by inviting them into my home. This won't stop me from contributing to my community.

My greatest issue is with the bystanders who have all the suggestions in the world, but are unwilling to roll up their sleeves and do the work. That's with community, politics, civil service, and other issues. Too many armchairs are too warm with too many know-it-alls unwilling to participate in life.

So Bryan, that you've stepped up and asked these questions is a very cool thing. If O'Sensei's writings impart to you a want for harmony with the rest of us, great. I hope that you can find a way to put it into action.

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Old 03-20-2003, 10:07 PM   #6
DaveForis
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Quote:
... most of the techniques we learn involve some sort of throw, either to the back or forward. I begin to wonder if this is responsible.
Okay. I'm going to massacre a quote by another martial artist (A ninjutsu master) in regards to, I think, terrorists. In any case, it deals with anyone of a hateful and destructive intent (ex. a mugger) :

"We have to be able to fight on their level, but without hatred."

Attacking someone else is not responsible. Let's not forget that we're doing Aiki, here. Harmonizing with energy. If someone attacks you, it's their own negative energy that's used against them, both physical and spiritual (or karmic). If someone really attacks you with the intent to kill you, you may just have to severely injure them or kill them. That's the intent of their energy, right? If that energy is turned against them instead of you, only through the most supreme of self control on your part will they not suffer the full effects of it.

Someone else on this site has a great signature. It says. . . Okay. I'm gonna massacre this one too. I'll admit it. That's what happens when I'm too lazy to actually look the quote up. Don't quote ME, please. . .

"A true pacifist has the ability to destroy and does not shy away from that ability, but at the moment of consequence chooses not to use it."

Some people really should die for the sake of the suffering they cause (Hitler being the obvious and hackneyed example). The simple fact is that we're not a totally enlightened society or world, and we won't be any time soon. No amount of wishing will make this false. All we can do is work on ourselves, one person at a time, instead of bemoaning that "they", that someone else, should do something or another to make things better.

You just have to ask yourself if it's responsible for YOU to throw someone that attacks you. Remember, though, that you have as much a right to life as anyone else, and maybe moreso than some people. If, in a completely black-and-white situation, someone attacks you for no reason other than hate, greed, and apathy for his fellow beings and you've done nothing to deserve this, and don't intend to do anything to deserve this, and if one of the two of you HAS to die in this encounter, it should NOT be you.

That was the black side of a black-and-white example. Yours was the white side. There IS grey.

If I were you, I'd focus less on not wanting to hurt people, and more on developing the potential to do so. . . so that you never have to use it. Once you have that power and responsibility, I think you'll find yourself in a position to better be one of the people who can change the world for the better and build understanding.
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Old 03-20-2003, 10:40 PM   #7
DaveForis
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Ahh ha! The (second) quote is on Bronson Diffin's signature...

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."

Ha! Now I'm only 50% lazy!!

Behind every flaw in technique is a flaw in the mind or spirit
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Old 03-20-2003, 10:59 PM   #8
otto
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Is Aikido safe for the opponent ?...... should be.

Aikido clearly distinguish itself from other MA's in that it let you defend effectively without seriously maim/injure or kill your opponent.

Thats our ultimate goal

The responsability is all yours and it's just a matter of control on yourself.

You dont need to send your flying to the opposite side of the room for a technique to work , we choose to do so in practice, because we know is safe for the receiving end.

True Aikidoca should be able to save himself and his opponents from their stupidity, something less than this is a failure , (at least would be for myself).

Harmony is balance , and that is countering full force and speed with soft , efective controled technique.

Softness overcomes Hardness.

Now i wonder , what if you´re attacked with softness and little force? , what would be adequate answer to restore balance...?

Just a couple thoughs on a sleepless night...

Plus Ki!

"Perfection is a Process"
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Old 03-20-2003, 11:19 PM   #9
DaveForis
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I'm a big fan of the Super Secret Raised Eyebrow Technique in this case.

You stand there and raise an eyebrow as if to ask the person, "What the hell kind of attack is that?" If it isn't an attack, a "Hi. Nice to meetcha." and a handshake suffices, provided it's a stranger.

By the way. My point was that you can't rule the possibility of violence out, at least not on a global scale. On a personal scale is okay, but questions about the right/wrong nature of violence and retaliation as a whole need to be redirected to more specific (non black/white) avenues (like is it right for me?)

Plus, back to that first quote, if you have to resort to violence, at least do it without having the same (negative) intent as the attacker. Ya just have to realize that it's perfectly okay for someone's bad karma to come back and kick their butt. It's the natural order of things. Sometimes this is necessary. Sometimes people have to face the negative consequences to learn, and if you spare them from them by exerting yourself to protect them, they don't learn and grow which may just do more damage than broken bones. Always depending on the situation, of course. Mercy is without a doubt a virtue to be cultivated, but so is judiciousness.

Behind every flaw in technique is a flaw in the mind or spirit
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Old 03-20-2003, 11:27 PM   #10
otto
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Quote:
Dave Foris (DaveForis) wrote:
I'm a big fan of the Super Secret Raised Eyebrow Technique in this case.
hahaha...sensei is a big fan of it too

You know Dave , you're definitly right on the point that sometimes people need to be teached a lesson , but that doesnt necesarily involve injury for them.

I've understood with time that in those cases , people tend to learn more when you hurt their prides instead of their @$$.

Maybe my problems is , that i dont see the need to resort to violence.

Best of regards and Seeyaround!

Last edited by otto : 03-20-2003 at 11:38 PM.

"Perfection is a Process"
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Old 03-20-2003, 11:41 PM   #11
DaveForis
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Hey, I said SOME cases. I didn't actually SAY there's a specific time when it's a GOOD thing. Can't think of one actually.

I was just trying to balance out the mood here. Things were a little too heavy on the lightness. I heard somewhere once that the best way to deal with a straight line is with a curve, and the best way to deal with a curve is a straight line. It's really all about balance. Balance is all-important, which is sometimes too hard to understand if you focus only on the good or the bad.

I like the signature, by the way.

Behind every flaw in technique is a flaw in the mind or spirit
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Old 03-21-2003, 12:05 AM   #12
Bronson
 
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Quote:
Ahh ha! The (second) quote is on Bronson Diffin's signature...
It's from Yukiyoshi Takamura. I believe he was a sword art practitioner but it's been so long since I read it I can't really remember. I'd credit him in the signature but his name won't fit in the alloted space.
Quote:
You dont need to send your flying to the opposite side of the room for a technique to work ,
Exactly. With practice you should be able to control how the technique ends. Either as a throw or controling technique. Of course that's in the perfect world, sometimes you're lucky just to not get flattened yourself
Quote:
I think that O'Sensei's statements of 'loving protection of all things'
Last I checked I'm a thing. So don't I get to practice loving protection of myself too?

During a nidan exam I watched, the examiner asked the testee (who is a police officer) to explain how he would use the spirit of loving protection in a situation where he was facing four people obvioulsy under the influence of a mind altering substance bent on doing him great physical harm. The testee thought for a second then said: "Sensei, in that case I would follow the spirit of loving protection and protect myself."
Quote:
If someone really attacks you with the intent to kill you, you may just have to severely injure them or kill them.
My tai chi instructor used to say that whatever the level of violence used against you it can usually be stopped by going to the level of violence just below it. If someone is trying to hurt you, you must stop them. If they are trying to maim you, you may have to hurt them. If they are trying to kill you, you may have to maim them. In his example you should never need to kill someone.

I also once talked to a karate instructor who said basically the same thing except that he felt you should go one level ABOVE what was being directed at you. Not too sure how you go above someone trying to kill you....maybe you REALLY kill them

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 03-21-2003, 12:12 AM   #13
DaveForis
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Hmmm. Excessively kill him? Yeah. That might be a little much. . . I like the "one step lower" thing.

Behind every flaw in technique is a flaw in the mind or spirit
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Old 03-21-2003, 03:15 AM   #14
shadow
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im with you bryan.

but you should know that the ideal we are training for is to neutralise someone without harm. and in actuality the martial application of this art is secondary to the primary aim of becoming one with the universe (enlightenment, satori) which if you dont aim for, then i dont think your life has much purpose.

anyways about neutralising an attack, it is possible (depending on the length of time training) to do this effectively without harm to the attacker. for example my friend at uni tried to tackle me to the ground today and found the result as her pinned to the floor in an ikkyo pin. it happened very easily and gently.

happiness. harmony. compassion.
--damien--
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Old 03-22-2003, 02:10 AM   #15
Thor's Hammer
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I guess my main point was, if I am attacked, I don't want to split the skull of the person who is attacking me, so is it moral to throw people who don't know ukemi? Most techniques involve a motion in which the head is pointed straight at the ground! If someone tries to attack me and I split their skull open because they haven't learned ukemi, that is *not* harmony!
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Old 03-22-2003, 06:18 AM   #16
WilliamWessel
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Bryan, I think the other posters point has been, with control and practice you should have the power to not split open the attackers skull with a throw or whatever you deside is appropriate to respond with.
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Old 03-24-2003, 02:52 PM   #17
Dave Wright
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Blush!

Quote:
Bronson Diffin (Bronson) wrote:
It's from Yukiyoshi Takamura. I believe he was a sword art practitioner but it's been so long since I read it I can't really remember. I'd credit him in the signature but his name won't fit in the alloted space.

Not too sure how you go above someone trying to kill you....maybe you REALLY kill them

Bronson


I love that quote about pacifism, it has become really relevant lately. Are you sure it was from him?

If I look back into my Neolithic Brain, the next level would be that if you try to kill me, I kill you and everyone who looks like you, or hangs out with you, or talks likes you, etc... I would be too busy to do anything else after awhile unless I had the Elliot Ness and the untouchables to help me.

Because I began studying martial arts with the noble ideal of reducing the amount of violence in the world, I think I'll go with the idea of intending for an attacker one level below what he intends for me.

However, I am getting older and may be less likely to repeatedly neutralize and repel an attacker over a long period of time. (huff puff) And I have begun to think lately that at least I have the cultivated the ability to make the choice of whether or not to harm my attacker and to what extent.

I often think of the futility of my english speaking brain trying to understand japanese terms including the all inclusive aiki. while aiki may mean "love" doesn't it also mean "same" in some context?

I think the question of necessary force is always one of the primary philosophic issues for a martial artist.

Regards,

Dave
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Old 03-24-2003, 04:03 PM   #18
DaveForis
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Hey. I found where Bronson got the quote! It is especially pertinent to this discussion. The article itself is from an interview with Yukiyoshi Takamura, and I'll give the context in which he gave the quote. Lemme warn y'all. This is a LONG post, 'cause I'm gonna throw my $.02 in with Sensei's . . .

Q: Some people observing your training might consider it unusally rough. Is this true?

Takamura: I don't think that is an accurate observation. The term "rough" implies to me frequent serious injuries. Are we more realitic in the way we approach our training? I must say yes. When we practice striking, we strike very hard. If you miss your block or technique you will get hit hard. We practice unorthodox attacks and we practice them at very high speed compared to most dojos. We intend to instill a more realistic amount of stress into our situational training. The fear of receiving hard strikes at high speed creates stress that simulates the fear response felt in a genuine confrontation. Eliminating this type of training only converts the art into calisthenics. It does nothing to prevent injuries. The false sense of security that exists in many dojos actually causes a complacent mind and increases injuries. With a complacent mind a student is allowed to relax his situational awareness. He lets his guard down and gets injured. If you want to see a lot of injuries, go to some aikido dojos. People are frequently injured because they don't feel threatened in that harmonious environment. In my dojo the techniques are not harmonious, they are threatening.

Some aikido teachers teach aikido as a martial art while others don't. This is okay as long as the teacher is honest with his students about the aim of his teaching. Some teachers claim there are teaching a martial art when they are not. I believe this is a big mistake. Other aikido teachers teach the art as a purely spiritual discipline and are honest about this with their students. This is okay by me. Aikido as a spiritual pursuit is an honorable thing and I believe this was the ultimate aim of Ueshiba Sensei. But the spiritual aspects of the art are more likely to apply when it is taught as a martial art. Martial arts are a big responsibility! Martial ability is a tool that allows spiritual discipline to flourish and work magic on the soul. The heart and mind must wrestle with demons and be victorious to find enlightenment. Without a struggle, the character never really is challenged and never matures. That is why shugyo (ascetic discipline) is so important.

Some aikido teachers talk a lot about non-violence, but fail to understand this truth. A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence. He chooses peace. He must be able to make a choice. He must have the genuine ability to destroy his enemy and then choose not to. I have heard this excuse made. "I choose to be a pacifist before learning techniques so I do not need to learn the power of destruction." This shows no comprehension of the mind of the true warrior. This is just a rationalization to cover the fear of injury or hard training. The true warrior who chooses to be a pacifist is willing to stand and die for his principles. People claiming to be pacifists who rationalize to avoid hard training or injury will flee instead of standing and dying for principle. They are just cowards. Only a warrior who has tempered his spirit in conflict and who has confronted himself and his greatest fears can in my opinion make the choice to be a true pacifist.

Years ago I saw an aikido instructor named Tadashi Abe in France. He was a true warrior in every way. He was a great example of a man with martial spirit flaming in his belly while the spirit of harmony was visible in his eye. He was a real credit to Ueshiba Sensei's technical and spiritual legacy. He is 100% samurai!

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article...ArticleID=1040

Takamura Sensei IS right. (chuckles) It's all about training the spirit, something I've been playing with lately. It doesn't sound particularly nice, but reality isn't always happy and nice either, ne? Personally, I'd soften it a bit and not make it all about being a "warrior." I'm not a warrior. HOWEVER, I DO want to learn to conquer my own fear. To not run if someone attacks me, whether in a physical conflict, or in any other encounter in life. THAT's what it's about--spiritual development. Sensei is right. It does take courage. Courage to accept the consequences. Standing your ground when someone attacks accepts that the consequence will be a fight, and you must not be afraid of it. (We can all agree on that.) To defend yourself you must accept that the consequence might be that the attacker will get hurt, and you must not be afraid of that. It does not mean you intend to harm the person, only that you accept that may happen and _act_to_the_best_of_your_ability_anyway_without_hesitation. That's the important part. Remember, if your intent and your actions aren't trying to hurt the person, you don't NEED to hesitate. You can work on not wanting to hurt others all you want, but you also need to work on having courage at the same time or when the moment of truth arrives, you WILL run.

Thus ends my commentary.

Make any sense, Bryan, Dave?

Behind every flaw in technique is a flaw in the mind or spirit
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Old 03-25-2003, 07:43 AM   #19
ian
 
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Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
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Excellent extract there Dave - for a while I thought this thread was going nowhere!

People do have different aims in aikido, just as they think aikido techniques should be done differently. To be succesful you need to have a clear idea of what the aim is, and sincerely strive for it.

My aikido is self-defence orientated, and I personally agree that without that aspect the spiritual dimension is weak. However I find this the great paradox in aikido - the more you develop the less necessary it is for you to 'beat' your opponent.

Ian

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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