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Old 07-12-2001, 05:27 AM   #1
Sam
Dojo: Kyogikan Sheffield
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Responsibilities

The idea of responsibility occured to me after an incident I was invloved in recently. At a friend's party, the appearance of an uninvited and threatening person lead to people coming to find me and asking me to deal with it. I mananaged to deal with the situation (even though it was quite scary!).
In this instance it occured to me that a lot of people just assumed that I would be able to deal with this person unaided without difficulty just because of the public perception of martial arts.
My question is; do you consider yourself responsible for everybodies safety? Do you consider yourself equiped to meet this responsibility?
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Old 07-12-2001, 05:41 AM   #2
ian
 
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One of the reasons I got into Aikido is I felt a personal responsibility for other people who were being abused/picked on and it used to get me into a lot of fights.

However, I also used to think this was quite an arragant attitude to take (especially when I had mis-read situations). Now I realise its just part of who I am so I'm neither proud or ashamed of it.

In an ideal society it would be good if people were out-spoken and forthright in their condemnation of inappropriate actions and sense of duty to their fellows. However there is a vast difference between what is legal and what is right; and I'm sure everyone's sense of right and wrong are different. For me my only obligation is to do what I think is right (and this has varied as I've got older).

Ian

P.S. my moral obsessiveness has even got to the point where I've gone into people's cars to turn off their engines when they've left them running outside shops.

P.P.S. In my view you shouldn't let other people impose such a responsibility on you - they may be creating an idolised image of you which is one day likely to be dispelled, but which you may also feel compelled to fulfil.
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Old 07-12-2001, 05:46 AM   #3
ian
 
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As far as equipped to respond:
Its probably a famous (and less verbose)saying somewhere which goes something like, "You can't loose a justified fight, or win an unjustified one" (i.e. whether you win or loose physically is irrelevant, it is whether you were justified in your actions).

Ian
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Old 07-12-2001, 09:54 AM   #4
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
Location: Maplewood, Missouri
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Re: Responsibilities

Quote:
Originally posted by Sam
The idea of responsibility occured to me after an incident I was invloved in recently. At a friend's party, the appearance of an uninvited and threatening person lead to people coming to find me and asking me to deal with it. I mananaged to deal with the situation (even though it was quite scary!).
In this instance it occured to me that a lot of people just assumed that I would be able to deal with this person unaided without difficulty just because of the public perception of martial arts.
My question is; do you consider yourself responsible for everybodies safety? Do you consider yourself equiped to meet this responsibility?
Sam-
It has been years since I found myself in a similar position. At the boarding house I was living in in the early '80s, a couple of the younger people threw a party which grew quite large and featured a lot of persons 19 and younger drinking. At one point two "gang leaders" were facing off in the yard. It was at this point one of the "organizers" came to me and asked for help.

I went into the yard and found two drunk teen-agers who were approximately five feet apart shouting at each other. Since their combined weight was perhaps 200 lbs, I stepped in between them and help them "sit down. At this point I politely asked them to leave. I then went into my room and called the police only to discover that they were already setting up just down the block. I opened the front gate walked up to their command post and told them that the party was all located in the front and back yard. I invited them in.

You are responsible for your training. Whether you feel responsible for every incident of social rudeness is up to you.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 07-12-2001, 10:39 AM   #5
MikeE
 
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Since Aikido is a cure for the sick world we live in, I think we have an inherent responsibility for the well-being of all. Richard, saying that you are only responsible for your training is a little egocentric. As Aikidoka we need to have a more proactive attitude. Being a leader and an example for others is a way to spread Aikido (the philosophy anyway). Albeit, sometimes it is better to not be involved, where it may be very dangerous.

I believe being apathetic to a situation in which you can help, wouldn't make O'Sensei very proud.

Mike Ellefson
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For Movement &
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Old 07-12-2001, 12:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
I believe being apathetic to a situation in which you can help, wouldn't make O'Sensei very proud.
It is not a matter of apathy, it is a matter of restraint, i.e. minding your own business.

What did O'Sensei do about WWII? Did he run to the front lines to deliver a sermon, or did he mind his own training?
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Old 07-12-2001, 01:24 PM   #7
Jim23
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Quote:
Originally posted by MikeE
Since Aikido is a cure for the sick world we live in, I think we have an inherent responsibility for the well-being of all. Richard, saying that you are only responsible for your training is a little egocentric. As Aikidoka we need to have a more proactive attitude. Being a leader and an example for others is a way to spread Aikido (the philosophy anyway). Albeit, sometimes it is better to not be involved, where it may be very dangerous.

I believe being apathetic to a situation in which you can help, wouldn't make O'Sensei very proud.
I trust you mean if he were alive today, which he isn't. Or so I've heard.

These types of posts really bother me, "Since aikido is the cure for the sick world we live in...". How arrogant (or maybe immature).

It's not that I don't think people should take responsibility for their actions, or care about the environment or for the sick, etc., it's the attitude that aikidoka are especially responsible for healing the world's ills and solving it's problems.

How many children in the third world do you sponser (next month's aikido fee could probably feed and school two kids)? How much time do you volunteer to the worthy causes? Do you deliver food to the elderly? Try missing one class a week and, instead, read stories to terminally ill patients.

This post is a little egocentric.

BTW, good thread Sam.

Jim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 07-12-2001, 02:04 PM   #8
MikeE
 
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Please remember that O'Sensei despised the conflict of war after being in war. He removed himself as a protest. (Sometimes what you don't say speaks volumes)

Jim,
Glad you think the quote about Aikido being a cure for a very sick world is arrogant. Most Aikidoka that have studied O' Sensei's words know this is a quote (actual paraphrase) from him.

Just shows any of us can be fallible

Have a wonderful day.

(It's good to get people going.)

Mike Ellefson
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Old 07-12-2001, 02:16 PM   #9
Jim23
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Mike

Yes, and I've read some of his other quotes too. I must admit that I didn't know, until very recently, that he also spent a lot of time pushing trees (an isometric thing?).

Oh, BTW, I hope you didn't take my comments personally, they were directed at what you said, not at you as a person.

I just felt it was my responsibility to say something.

Jim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 07-12-2001, 03:11 PM   #10
MikeE
 
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Jim,
Absolutely no offense taken. Just having a little fun.

In Aiki,

Mike

Mike Ellefson
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Old 07-12-2001, 05:52 PM   #11
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Please remember that O'Sensei despised the conflict of war after being in war. He removed himself as a protest. (Sometimes what you don't say speaks volumes)

What's your point? Must we all repeat his mistakes?

You want to talk about leadership through Aikido practice? If your neighbors are fighting, you've already failed. If you jump into the middle to restrain them, you've failed twice.

Subtle character attacks on message boards? Three strikes, you're out. Off to Taekwondo with you.
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Old 07-12-2001, 10:04 PM   #12
Nick
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jim23
Mike

Yes, and I've read some of his other quotes too. I must admit that I didn't know, until very recently, that he also spent a lot of time pushing trees (an isometric thing?).

Jim23
what exactly does that mean?

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 07-13-2001, 04:18 AM   #13
Anne
Dojo: Kiel University/VfL Fosite Helgoland
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Thumbs down

Quote:
Originally posted by Nick


what exactly does that mean?

you mean "isometric"?

There are two basic types of muscle activity and exercise:

isotonic: contraction where a muscle changes its lenght while having a constant tension.
(weightlifting etc)

isometric: contraction where a muscle changes its tension while maintaining constant lenght.
(pushing trees, pressing your palms together,etc)

Both ways are very effective to build up muscles.

yours,
Anne

"You have to do difficult things to grow." (Shoji Nishio Sensei)
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Old 07-16-2001, 04:02 PM   #14
BC
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Good topic!

I too find it somewhat distasteful when other aikidoists (or other martial artists) take on a "holier than thou" attitude. I'm just not an "aiki-bunny" and never will be.

I think this issue isn't based solely on the fact that we are martial artists, but also influenced a great deal by both our cultural and personal belief systems.

I don't think being a martial artist necessarily makes us responsible to protect others in potentially volatile situations. In the past I have often teetered between protect-the-meek mode to mind-my-own-business mode. When I was younger, it was usually more of the former than the latter. Nowadays, my attitude changes depending on the different facts and circumstances of these situations. Essentially, I prioritize my responsibilities along the spectrum of my belief system. Now that I have started a family, I will definitely give highest priority to protecting them, and two drunken strangers fighting in the street will (obviously) not be given as high a priority as my family. At least in the U.S., a martial artist could be taking on a big liability if he/she assumes responsibility to protect someone and injures another person in the process. And yes, I am aware that there can often be a big difference between what is "right" and what is legal -- please bare with me. That said, I do think that trained martial artists have the "burden" of the responsibility to more carefully, accurately and quickly assess and evaluate potentially volatile / dangerous situations, and THEN act accordingly. As a martial artist, I think that to act hastily in such situations without regard to the consequences of such action would be irresponsible. At east that's my two cents worth.

Here is a link to an interesting story by the late Terry Dobson which kind of touches on this topic:

http://www.wattstapes.com/dobson.htm

Regards,

Robert Cronin
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Old 07-17-2001, 01:47 PM   #15
aiki_what
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Jeez, Robert, I was going to bust your chops on providing that story from Terry Dobson that probably every Aikidoka in the US has read 10 times (I know I've read it 50 times)..but before I did it I decided to read it one more time........and damn if it doesn't still bring a tear to my eye.

Thanks,

Mark
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