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Old 05-24-2007, 09:07 PM   #126
Janet Rosen
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Thanks Larry <rei>

Janet Rosen
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:30 PM   #127
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Tiago,

Let me directly answer to your question. I assume you are continuing the cookie analogy from my earlier post. So we have a competition that requires me to outrun my brother to get the cookie first. You posed the hypothetical posture that by running faster than my brother and obtaining the cookie first, I am depriving my brother of the cookie. To this scenario I must first clarify this point - if I can outrun my brother to the cookie, then my brother was never in a position to possess the cookie. If my brother never could possess the cookie, then I certainly could not deprive him of a thing he never possessed. If my brother can run me, then it would be presumptuous to claim that I could deprive him of something I do not possess. Competition is not depravation, the words are not interchangeable.

I want to be very careful to say that I believe competition is not compassion. You are posing a question of compassion. I would not look to competition to answer a question of compassion. To answer a question of compassion I would look to society, culture, religion, or other factors that influence compassion. These congnitive influences will determine my compassion towards others.

Last edited by jonreading : 05-24-2007 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 05-24-2007, 11:43 PM   #128
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Tiago,

Let me directly answer to your question. I assume you are continuing the cookie analogy from my earlier post. So we have a competition that requires me to outrun my brother to get the cookie first. You posed the hypothetical posture that by running faster than my brother and obtaining the cookie first, I am depriving my brother of the cookie. To this scenario I must first clarify this point - if I can outrun my brother to the cookie, then my brother was never in a position to possess the cookie. If my brother never could possess the cookie, then I certainly could not deprive him of a thing he never possessed. If my brother can run me, then it would be presumptuous to claim that I could deprive him of something I do not possess. Competition is not depravation, the words are not interchangeable.

I want to be very careful to say that I believe competition is not compassion. You are posing a question of compassion. I would not look to competition to answer a question of compassion. To answer a question of compassion I would look to society, culture, religion, or other factors that influence compassion. These congnitive influences will determine my compassion towards others.
A Flintstones episode had Wilma bringing in two pieces of cake to Fred and Barney that were hugely mismatched in size (the cake not the protagonists). Barney immediately scarfs down the massive piece leaving Fred the other. Fred, naturally, is a bit put out. Barney asks what he would have done and Fred replies that he would have been polite and taken the smaller piece. Barney points out that the end result is the same.

I guess Barney was compasionately helping Fred avoid the competition for the bigger cake.

Whether you are talking about people who use competion as a training mechanism or those where winning the competition is the goal itself I think it is a major errror to assume that the transient nature of victory is not understood. Both sets of people have experienced wins and losses on any number of occasions and know they will do so again.

It is a false characture to assume that anyone is so one-dimensional.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-25-2007, 01:06 AM   #129
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Hello,

First of all I've got to say to Chuck Clark that I really appreciate your thoughts and musings in this thread. How is it we don't get together more often?

On the subject at hand I must admit to being rather mystified by the difficulty people have with discerning the difference between a beneficial competitive element that challenges ones technique and psyche, leading to a deeper understanding of budo and one's proper context in it, and a detrimental competitive obsession that manifests itself in self aggrandizement and ego gratification.

I have always understood the difference between these very different facets of "competition" because the differences were strictly imprinted on me by my teachers, especially Takamura Yukiyoshi. Furthermore consider this. If aikido's most noble purpose is to neutralize violence thru the implimentation of physical and mental awase, don't you think genuine conflict is required in the training model? Does anyone actually believe that a training model without genuine conflict or a watered down version of conflict can effectively prepare you to successfully address such a powerful adversary?

Takamura Sensei had a makimono hanging in his dojo that said:

"Conflict is the anvil of shugyo"

When asked about this he stated that training only in a cooperative passive state was not real budo. That conflict was what defined budo, what made a martial art, martial. He reiterated that without genuine physical conflict in your training paradigm you reduce budo to ballroom dancing. He likewise stated that without the challenge of internal conflict or psychological strife, how can we expect to confront that demon that is our most base animal tendencies and emerge as truly enlightened human beings?

This topic is universal in budo regardless of what path we follow as martial artists.

Respectfully,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Last edited by Toby Threadgill : 05-25-2007 at 01:09 AM.
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Old 05-25-2007, 01:31 AM   #130
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
But if I improve myself by depriving others of what they want or need (a job, a cookie, or whatever) I don't feel I'm getting better, but worse.
Go back and read the posts by Chuck Clark on this thread. I am not advocating depriving anyone of anything what they want or need. Quite the opposite.

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
Aikido, as an example of culture, is conceived to change many of our instincts, and probably also the instinct to competition "in order to create a better, more harmonious society"...
I quite agree, but in this quote, I would change the word competition to combative competition or talk about a zero sum game. The competition I advocate for is not a zero sum game.. ever.

Precision in word choice is quite important to communication.

Tarik

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Old 05-25-2007, 01:53 AM   #131
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Hi Toby,

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
I have always understood the difference between these very different facets of "competition" because the differences were strictly imprinted on me by my teachers,
This lesson was impressed upon me by my teachers in various sports even before I began studying budo. Eventually this let to me quitting a varsity team in high school once because I was unwilling to participate in the attitude and environment endorsed by the team captain.

It has always been amazing to me the divide between people for whom "winning is the only thing" and people for whom correct attitude, personal challenge, and the process itself that is important.

In budo, conflict is essential in order to actually study 'conflict resolution'. It boggles the mind to think that people believe that one can become truly skilled at conflict resolution when they refuse to allow [appropriate] conflict into the dojo.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 05-25-2007, 07:27 AM   #132
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
First of all I've got to say to Chuck Clark that I really appreciate your thoughts and musings in this thread. How is it we don't get together more often?
Toby Threadgill / TSYR
Hey Toby,

I feel the same way my friend... the only reason I can think of is: intent, distance, timing, and opportunity. Time seems to be a commodity that everyone is always short of these days, however I don't seem to recall a rift in time continuim or anything that has taken away any time. I think we're all just "over booked" and our dance cards are always full. It's a management issue. I'm on pretty good terms with my boss, so let's work it out somehow. I often think of you and always enjoy your posts on the web. We need to lay hands on more often. We don't live that far apart. I'm getting ready to move up to the area where Phil Relnick, my son Aaron, and quite a few of our Jiyushinkai folks are now (and more will be in the near future) so maybe we can all get together and have a "budo fest" at some point. That sounds pretty good to me.

We're in the middle of our annual Shochugeiko right now so I've got to finish my coffee and get to the dojo soon.

Best regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 05-27-2007, 10:38 AM   #133
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

hi,
I have the impression I haven't been clear enough. I've felt some things were obvious, or just a matter of a little analysis.
Now, in fact, I feel I will never be clear enough.
So I'll do it for you, one last time (hopefully)

In the example of the cookie, you are getting what both want (the cookie). You can give the cookie to your brother anytime (even after the competition), you could even share the cookie. what a concept!

but that wouldn't work, right?

why? oh, why (oh, god)
well, if you look inside yourselves, just a little bit (you don't need to be a zen monk) ask yourselves why is it that competition works as a tool. How is it that this sublimation of basic killer instincts works in a modern "civilized" person. Well, it doesn't take a PhD to see that winning is pleasurable, and defeat is unpleasurable. And this is the same whether you are competing for a cookie, a million dollars, or nothing at all. What makes you strive for success (the carrot) is the plasure you receive by defeating another fellow human, and the fear you have of being defeated. The pain of the other's defeat is what motivates you.

Now you'll insult me, you'll deny it, you'll say that I don't understand, and that healthy competition is different from aggressive competition. But you just don't want to see that they're essencially the same. The denial is quite revealing indeed.

You will say that competition is necessary. I just say that winners don't compete. The only thing I want to get right is my life, my friends.

Of course, everyone is free to choose one's own hell. I just feel the obligation to point out that your hell is making everybody's life
worse.

I know, you're only concerned about improving your time recod, and decided that not getting the cookie will make me improve my time record. You are trying to decide my own hell. So you know what, you can keep the cookie. Hold on to it, because someone will come and take it. And you know they will.

And so we came back to the endless topic of Aikido and fear. You see, competition is for people who are really afraid. Any winners? Don't think so.

still the best,

tiago

PS: a clever ad that kind of illustrates my point (only in spanish, sorry)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REG3NhVYzW8
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:09 PM   #134
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
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You will say that competition is necessary. I just say that winners don't compete. The only thing I want to get right is my life, my friends.
I'll just say that competition IS. If you've compared prices between petrol/gas or ground beef you've entered into some kind of competition. Did you spend extra money on organic produce or get cheaper prices? Ever tried to get a raise? A job? A spouse? If you have children you've taken part in a race to the death of millions of cells...

To deny these facts is just as fantastic as to believe that by pitting yourself against another to *polish your waza or person* is merely forcing them into a living hell.

Oxygen is toxic, and yet we die without it... How's that for Zen?

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
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Old 05-27-2007, 03:06 PM   #135
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Hi Christian,
Of course there IS competition in this world of ours. I just don't see it as necessary or desirable. Cells don't compete, I don't participate in any price competition (because I don't decide the price of anything) petrol companies may compete, I don't. I live a simple life so I don't need a raise so badly, and my spouse and I are just happy to have found each other (I didn't need to outrun anyone to get her, mainly because I don't see her as a prize).
I won't get into every example you are giving, but I don't believe any of those competitions are necessary.

As for the second part, maybe I wasn't clear enough.
Pitting yourself against another forces them into a part in your hell only as long as they chose to practice with you. That's why I say you can keep your cookie.
But on the other hand, I've never ever seen any result from people competing on the tatami, except some seriously bad looking bruises. In my experience, it's just not the right mindset to learn Aikido, which (I believe) is something much more serious than who is stronger, or gets the best ikkyo, or can make the longest breakfall...

best,

tiago
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Old 05-27-2007, 04:34 PM   #136
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
n my experience, it's just not the right mindset to learn Aikido, which (I believe) is something much more serious than who is stronger, or gets the best ikkyo, or can make the longest breakfall...
Ah, you're still thinking about trophys and bragging rights. I'm talking about competition as a method to study conflict. They are very different in my experience. As Mifune Kyuzo said (translated in "The Canon of Judo") "Competitions are an opportunity to express expertise and knowledge on both sides. One can look at oneself critically, without burdening one's mind with thoughts on life or fear of death." and then later, "Therefore the loser will learn his weaknesses, and persue his studies further, while the victor will surely advance further to mastery of judo's mysteries." Sure sounds mutually beneficial to me...

Also, if you ever buy anything, you are helping to set the price.

Chris Moses
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Old 05-27-2007, 10:32 PM   #137
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
How is it that this sublimation of basic killer instincts works in a modern "civilized" person.
I've stayed out of this. I'm not really an aikido person anymore. And it's mostly because of things like the above statement.

That statement takes a huge assumption for granted, without trying to justify it, or even acknowledge that it is an assumption. How do you get from training in which two participants simultaneously attempt to achieve mutually exclusive goals (strike without being struck, throw without being thrown, put a ball through one hoop while preventing it from being put through a second hoop, accumulate the most fake money and little plastic houses, correctly answer the most questions) to a sublimation of killer instincts?

Kentokuseisei
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Old 05-27-2007, 11:05 PM   #138
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
well, if you look inside yourselves, just a little bit (you don't need to be a zen monk) ask yourselves why is it that competition works as a tool. How is it that this sublimation of basic killer instincts works in a modern "civilized" person. Well, it doesn't take a PhD to see that winning is pleasurable, and defeat is unpleasurable. And this is the same whether you are competing for a cookie, a million dollars, or nothing at all. What makes you strive for success (the carrot) is the plasure you receive by defeating another fellow human, and the fear you have of being defeated. The pain of the other's defeat is what motivates you.
Your model doesn't describe what's being recommended here. If you haven't figured that out yet, then you should spend a little more time reading the earlier posts in the thread, particularly from the various very senior people who posted (not me).

Quote:
Now you'll insult me, you'll deny it, you'll say that I don't understand, and that healthy competition is different from aggressive competition. But you just don't want to see that they're essencially the same.The denial is quite revealing indeed.
Indeed, it is. Thanks for sharing.

Quote:
Of course, everyone is free to choose one's own hell. I just feel the obligation to point out that your hell is making everybody's life worse.
You have again demonstrated that you have absolutely no clue what your talking about, who you're talking to, or what people here are really doing when they train 'competitively'.

Quote:
You see, competition is for people who are really afraid.
I would have said denial.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 05-29-2007, 06:38 AM   #139
tiago
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

every aikido school includes testing
every school has an examination system
every sensei has a way of correcting mistakes, and a way to show progress

yet almost no aikido school has competition

now you say that you need competition in order to understand your progress
how is this nonsense?
you say that competition is not one against another
so, competition is not competition?

all this clumsy manipulation of language, apparently trying to amount to a justification of competition, has no fundament, no reasoning, and is not an argumentation.

Tarik says "what is being recommended here", as if there was some kind of consensus. And as if that would be a logic argument. But I've given up on him long ago. He takes everything too personally.

I've been descriptive and logical in explaining my inferences (btw, Kent, the key word is "sublimation", it has a positive meaning, it is related to the argument about competition in nature, and I am, in fact, trying to give competition some credit)
and all I found as reply was negation and ad-hominems, mixed with some common sophisms (like the use of etymology as an argument, a sophism already recognized and categorized by ancient greeks, sorry Janet, but it's true).

I have no other possibility but to think that (at least some) are doing this on purpose.
They say one shouldn't attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. But I can no longer attribute this to stupidity.

In the end, I hope the beginner aikidoka reading this can be aware that competition is the wrong way to try your progress in aikido. Progress in aikido is not the same for everybody, and it is not linear. As simple as that. And for sure, the lack of competition is in no way an obstacle to achieving the best from oneself.

The inconvenient truth, some are still avoiding, is that competition works as an incentive because you enjoy feeling superior to somebody else. But with that poison in your mind, the best aikido is simply not achievable. The Mifune Kyuzo quote is bringing a quiet mind even in the event of competition. It's trying to avoid competing even through competition, and not the other way around. And if what you want is conflict, you don't need to go anywhere. Conflict happens in life every day, and in the dojo, every day. Without any competition.

Santiago
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Old 05-29-2007, 09:03 AM   #140
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

If I didn't know better, I would say you were trying to win this argument...

Chris Moses
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Old 05-29-2007, 09:48 AM   #141
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
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If I didn't know better, I would say you were trying to win this argument...
This is why, in my training, I like to practice conflict resolution with real (managed) conflict in a way that does not end in argument and gives us all a chance to transcend caring about who wins and who loses in the end ... until it's not practice. There comes a time in human relations when it actually does matter who "wins." There are many people that preach peace and love while, at the same time, taking advantage in harmful ways and doing great violence. Many people do the same while preaching that competition is good. It seems to me that it would be a good thing to learn how to share in an endeavor that helps resolve our conflicts in compassionate and appropriate ways with the intent to uplift all beings and do as little harm as possible while learning to love each other.

I have taken part with and seen many people make this journey and find it a useful part of their life. It is difficult and takes time... every time we make a critical evaluation of anything and make a choice, there are conflicts and choices must be made. This type of practice is a form of de-sensitizing and re-sensitizing our buttons that get pushed during conflict and can give us tools to help us make better and more creative solutions to problems. Plus, many of us find it great fun and a way to help each other get both a mental and physical massage/adjustment.

Last edited by Chuck Clark : 05-29-2007 at 09:51 AM.

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Old 05-29-2007, 10:33 AM   #142
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Chris,
I do like your sense of humour
tiago
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Old 05-29-2007, 10:47 AM   #143
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Tiago posted:
"Well, it doesn't take a PhD to see that winning is pleasurable, and defeat is unpleasurable. And this is the same whether you are competing for a cookie, a million dollars, or nothing at all. What makes you strive for success (the carrot) is the plasure you receive by defeating another fellow human, and the fear you have of being defeated. The pain of the other's defeat is what motivates you."

I can honestly say I have never heard anyone ever define motivation as the pain of another's defeat. I think I have heard all that I need to for this thread. In reading some of these posts, I think I understand the fear of competition and the aversion to the concept of competition that Tiago has posted. I do not think this is either a definition of competition, nor a healthy attitude towards competition on which to base a debate.

Competition is a tool for me to use to make myself better at aikido. I do not hope for others to fail, I do not depend on others to praise my devotion. I rely on myself to develop my skills. My partners challenge my study, push the limits of my physical and mental training, and force me to become better on the mat. Without the support from my dojo and my friends to provide a foundation on which to test my skills, I would not be able to excel in my training. I compete with my friends who wish me to succeed, almost as much as they wish to succeed themselves.

I am motivated to train aikido because I see great spiritual wealth in my contemporaries and those who precede me, and I also want to obtain that wealth. For those individuals successful in training who precede me, I do not harbor shame or anger for accomplishing something I have not. I only see someone who may help me also to succeed...

Last edited by jonreading : 05-29-2007 at 10:53 AM. Reason: spellin'
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:22 AM   #144
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Chuck,

All you are saying sounds great, I agree with most of it. I just don't see the relation with this thread.

Indeed aikido has been used in several ways to practice conflict resolution.
I am not aware, though, that in any of those cases it was used through, or together with, competition.
And indeed I do know of some cases where there was no competition and very good results.

On the other hand, besides my personal experience, I have good reasons to think competition is harmful. I've explained them here.
In reply to this, what I hear from the people trying to defend competition is not only confused, but also confusing. And I know that this is harmful.

Trying to win this thread would be trying to silent oposition, without caring for what's (closer to) the truth. I could describe the behavior of some people here in those words, but I've given up on him. On the contrary, I would love to hear the reasoning behind the use of competition (real competition, not an ad hoc definition tailored by fantasy) as a tool, and why you think the incentive behind competition is not the difference between wining and losing.

You want to use competition in order to prove that competition is futile? Then why do you disagree with my statement "winners don't compete"? Yes, that would probably be the only positive idea behind competition (like, "you've won, so now what") But I believe that in Aikido the approach is different. I'm sure you can find a conflict in the lack of competition in Aikido. For competitive characters, the lack of a winer and a loser can be challenging, as we have found here. I believe that's the approach in Aikido, and that's the way to work with it within Aikido. And it seems more sensible that if you want to try the glory and misery of competition, you can play any sport you like.

best,
tiago
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:24 AM   #145
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Jon, you are talking about testing, not competition.
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Old 05-29-2007, 01:18 PM   #146
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
but I've given up on him.
Don't worry, we've given up on you, too...

Best,
Ron

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Old 05-29-2007, 01:22 PM   #147
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
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Tarik says "what is being recommended here", as if there was some kind of consensus.
There is a relative agreement amongst a certain group of individuals if you read back in the thread to the beginning. I referenced them already. I doubt anyone in that group would significantly disagree with your characterization of typical sports competition as being a net negative experience for too many people. The difference here is that no one you are arguing against is recommending that model for budo training.

Quote:
And as if that would be a logic argument.
I see little point at the moment in putting into my own words what others have already said better. But I certainly am capable of it.

Let me offer this potentially unspoken perspective concerning this conversation. Human beings are a part of nature rather than separate from it. Human constructs whether physical or conceptual are entirely a part of nature; including the value judgments we place upon those constructs. Seldom are such constructs entirely good or bad; they are merely models to help us understand what we observe and/or create.

Quote:
But I've given up on him long ago. He takes everything too personally.
LOL. Again you make statements without substance to back them up. You haven't even touched me on a personal or emotional level; except for amusing me, I suppose.

Quote:
I've been descriptive and logical in explaining my inferences ... and all I found as reply was negation and ad-hominems
The only name calling I saw was on your part, but I'll go back and see if anyone else indulged.

Quote:
I have no other possibility but to think that (at least some) are doing this on purpose. They say one shouldn't attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. But I can no longer attribute this to stupidity.
This seems to me to be another example of attacking the messenger instead of the message. You're indulging in it far more than those you argue against.

Santiago, etymology aside (which is not entirely irrelevant in this type of discussion), there is more than one single valid modern dictionary definition. You are focused on a *different* one than many people here, including Chuck Clark, Peter Goldsbury, Toby Threadgill, George Ledyard, Christian Moses, Larry Camejo, and many others are interested in and talking about.

If you insist on focusing your efforts against that specific form, more power to you; most would not disagree, although even that form has it's appropriate place.

Accusing people here who want to talk about other forms of competition as beneficial of name calling and malice when your behavior is the only one that begins to match your accusations is both sad and laughable.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 05-29-2007, 01:26 PM   #148
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Tarik, your patience is admirable. Carry on, nothing for me to do here...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 05-29-2007, 02:46 PM   #149
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
All you are saying sounds great, I agree with most of it. I just don't see the relation with this thread.

Indeed aikido has been used in several ways to practice conflict resolution.
I am not aware, though, that in any of those cases it was used through, or together with, competition.
Tiago,

Thanks for your comment. I guess one of the relative connections is that I'm the one that started this thread many years ago.

Along with your unawareness of aikido being used in such a way, I suspect that there's many other things that you're unaware of.

You might want to get out a bit more, or at least consider there may be other viewpoints than yours that have merit. Just a thought...

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 05-29-2007, 10:00 PM   #150
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Don't worry, we've given up on you, too...

Best,
Ron
Not me. I love him.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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