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Old 03-05-2008, 02:27 PM   #1
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Aiki strategy outside the dojo

I love the theme of this forum section, so I have to contribute to it:
How do you apply the aiki principle to your daily life?

You might think of it differently, but to me that means joining with the attacker instead of opposing. I find that when I am able to do that, conflicts are dissolved - on the tatami as well as off it.

It is not yielding, since I can continue to advance - even more smoothly than if I resisted the aggression. Just a taisabaki evasion, and off I go.

Still, some self-control is needed, because I can sense an "animalistic" reflex to jump at any challenge. If people oppose me, something inside of me wants to escalate the conflict.
But when I manage to pass it and let it pass me, then I can move on toward my goal without any waste of time or energy. I must admit that I don't always manage that...

Please - I am not talking about self-defense, but undramatic everyday situations where I meet with opposing wills of others.

For example: in an argument, trying to find in what way we both can be right solves almost any dispute. And in a meeting where consensus is needed, there is usually a third option that solves the issues of the two seemingly contradictory ones. And so on.

Have you experienced the same? And if you have, do you feel that it is aikido you do?

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:49 PM   #2
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

I usually try and find synthesis, consensus, and work to resolve conflict. Lately however, it seems that in my work, for whatever reason, I have hit the point on several subjects where this is not working...so, I am having to take a more directive, forceful approach to affect moving in the right direction.

The trick, I think, is to use only the amount necessary to get the job done.

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Old 03-06-2008, 06:52 AM   #3
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote: View Post
How do you apply the aiki principle to your daily life?

You might think of it differently, but to me that means joining with the attacker instead of opposing. I find that when I am able to do that, conflicts are dissolved - on the tatami as well as off it.

It is not yielding, since I can continue to advance - even more smoothly than if I resisted the aggression. Just a taisabaki evasion, and off I go.

Still, some self-control is needed, because I can sense an "animalistic" reflex to jump at any challenge. If people oppose me, something inside of me wants to escalate the conflict.
But when I manage to pass it and let it pass me, then I can move on toward my goal without any waste of time or energy. I must admit that I don't always manage that...

Please - I am not talking about self-defense, but undramatic everyday situations where I meet with opposing wills of others.

For example: in an argument, trying to find in what way we both can be right solves almost any dispute. And in a meeting where consensus is needed, there is usually a third option that solves the issues of the two seemingly contradictory ones. And so on.

Have you experienced the same? And if you have, do you feel that it is aikido you do?
Stefan Sensei,

For one thing, I find the ways you practice all this on this forum rather nice, both clear and graceful - goes to show that that your (recently disputed... ) "skills" are at least easily transferred into communicative situations, which makes them very meaningful, to me at least. A fine example.

best

Nicholas
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:07 AM   #4
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Quote:
Always train in a vibrant and joyful manner.
I try to conduct my life in this manner.
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:41 AM   #5
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

When I sense conflict or anger in a patron or my boss I turn and face them squarely, extend positve energy towards them and then really listen.
When I respond... I speak respectfully from my center ...it is very interesting process.

My goal is to train always at work....I am not there yet especially if I am very tired. It makes work my other dojo.
Mary
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:55 AM   #6
tuturuhan
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

A story that taught me "Everyday mastery"

He forced himself into the old man's residence. The old man listened as the young samurai demanded that he be taken as a student of the old sword master.

"I hear that you are the best swordsmen in the land. I have come to learn from you," he said pridefully.

The old man explained, "I am retired. I no longer take students," The young samurai huffed in disgust and now tried to cajole the old man with insults.

The old man instructed his servant to show the young samurai out the door. But, before doing so he said to the young man, "regardless of your arrogance, I feel sorrow for you. As such, I am going to give you a gift." The old man then took a flower from a nearby vase and handed to the servant to give to the young man. "This is what you seek," said the old man in finality.

The young man left Yagyu's home and then immediately threw the flower to the ground. A little boy who happened to be nearby, picked up the flower and brought it back to the inn where his mother worked.

A powerful samurai was staying at the time, waiting for his opportunity to meet a great teacher that resided in the town. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the little boy playing with the flower. Immediately, he called the boy over to him. He asked the boy to let him look at the flower. He then said to the boy, "Where did you get this flower...can you show me where you got it?"

The boy took the powerful samurai around the corner in front of the house where he found the flower. The samurai knocked on the door and was greeted by a servant. He told the servant, "I've come to return this flower to its owner. The servant took the flower to his master and then returned to grant the samurai entrance.

The Old Man greeted the samurai and asked him his name, "I am Mushashi," replied the samurai. "May I ask your name sir?" I am Yagyu.

Mushashi stated, "Sir, I have been waiting at the inn to meet you. I came to this village to take instruction from you. And now, I have met you by happenstance.

Instead of replying to Mushashi's request for instruction he asked "Where did you find this flower and why did you return it to this household?"

Mushashi explained how he had seen the young boy and how he asked the boy to take him to where he had found the flower. Mushashi then stated "The ikebana, the cut of the flower could only have been made by a master swordsmen."

Yagyu thanked Mushashi and then stated "I will not take you as a student. Mushashi held back his emotions of disappointment. To which Yagyu lastly replied, "You are already a master."

(Of course this story was a fictional account. There is no record that the two actually met. Nonetheless, the story changed my life.)

Sincerely
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

Joseph T. Oliva Arriola
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:35 AM   #7
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Quote:
Joseph Arriola wrote: View Post
"The ikebana, the cut of the flower could only have been made by a master swordsmen."
Wonderful. I have also found that the greatest teachers tend to show their brilliance in almost invisible details, easy to miss for those who don't look without prejudice.

For example, I am reminded of Isoyama sensei. Have you seen him sit in seiza? It is a beautiful sight. When you see this, you know that he has a lot to teach.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 03-09-2008, 09:35 AM   #8
Connor Haberland
 
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Sorry Guys, but if a person, or rather a group of people, come up to me in the street with intentions to hurt me, I'm not gonna let them off lightly. In other words I would use aiki not only to defend myself, but also to discourage them from getting up and trying to attack again. If it came down to it, I would probably hurt them, if thats what it takes. However in the dojo I am very courteous to my Uke, and my Nage.

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Old 03-09-2008, 11:17 AM   #9
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Quote:
Connor Haberland wrote: View Post
if a person, or rather a group of people, come up to me in the street with intentions to hurt me
Not that you need to comply, but my question was not aimed at self-defense situations. No physical violence, but everyday life things.
There are enough threads about the self-defense aspects.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 03-09-2008, 12:30 PM   #10
dragonteeth
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Ai symbol Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

An unexpected lesson in ki this week completely changed my perspective on a little social crisis that had erupted in my life. I had the extraordinary pleasure of visiting Elkton Ki Aikido this weekend. The Sensei, Brian Kelley, knew that I was from a dojo that de-emphasizes ki and ki development to a large degree. He graciously decided to devote most of the class to ki training and testing. One of the topics he discussed was where to place your awareness when blending with a katate tori. If I focused my awareness only on the point of contact with uke, then blending while completely relaxed was very difficult. If my mind was allowed to be anywhere but the contact point, then movement became more fluid and effortless. Yes, uke had my wrist, but with my mind everywhere but there I could move in so many other directions and do so many other things it didn't matter.

Amazing what a different perspective can do to something as simple and elementary as blending. Entering another dojo with an empty cup can be such a wonderful thing. I often leave with something valuable that I didn't even know I was missing!

But back to our story...a person in my circle of friends is one of those people who feels that the only way to make herself look good is to make others look bad. She managed to trap myself and another friend of mine in one of her games over the past few weeks. Since I highly value the good opinion of my friends, I was really distraught over the situation and was letting it dominate my mind at the expense of many other things more worthy of my attention.

Then I thought of the blending lesson with Kelley Sensei this weekend. When I allowed my mind to be anywhere but on that situation, I didn't feel trapped anymore. I was able to look at the trap from a more objective viewpoint, and decide on the best technique to remove myself from it. In the end, I was able to appear to give in to her way while gently exiting from the situation entirely.

Perhaps there will be some in the group who will think that I was afraid to confront her. Indeed, I had enough information that I could have taken to the rest of the group to both exonerate myself and to do some serious damage to her as well. But I feel better about myself for not meeting aggression with aggression, and leaving with my own personal opinion of myself in good standing. Hopefully the rest will soon see her for what she is, or even better she will realize that she doesn't need to destroy in order to shine. In the meantime, however, I can relax comfortably out of her reach. Maybe I'll go back and re-read Dobson Sensei's book - his wisdom might help me keep from getting in those situations in the first place!
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Old 03-10-2008, 02:38 PM   #11
Connor Haberland
 
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Darn, sorry Stefan.

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Old 03-10-2008, 03:37 PM   #12
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Quote:
Connor Haberland wrote: View Post
Darn, sorry Stefan.
Please, no problem at all. And your post made a lot of sense.
I hope I only meet you in the dojo

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 03-10-2008, 05:27 PM   #13
Connor Haberland
 
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

lol

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Old 03-11-2008, 07:10 AM   #14
grondahl
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Yes, I´ve heard that he excels in "breaking compliant uke-waza", in both the "snap before tap" and "snap after tap" categories. Sometimes he even known to display the not so usual "kick and stomp the compliant uke"-technique.

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote: View Post
For example, I am reminded of Isoyama sensei. Have you seen him sit in seiza? It is a beautiful sight. When you see this, you know that he has a lot to teach.
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Old 03-11-2008, 06:11 PM   #15
ayu cicada
 
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

I once read an article on how aikido philosphy and practice can be used in everyday life. The article really helped my understanding of Aikido a leap forward. It was an article written by Dr. James Loeser entitled "Using Aikido as an Effective Copiong Mechanism". The author is also an Aikidoka and was still in med school at the time it was written, Y 1999, though I saw it from the web just two years ago.

The doctor explained in the ways and thinking of an Aikido practitioner an earlier work of the psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' Five Coping Mechanisms. According to Dr. Loeser, he interprets these stages into a typical coping mechanism and explain how Aikido can be used to forgo this method and serves as an effective strategy.

As I read through his work, Kubler-Ross five stages of coping mechanism are identified as 1. denial, 2. anger, 3. bargaining, 4. depression, and 5. acceptance. This pattern is very evident on situations like news of terminal illness, pending death, loss of love ones and the likes. I'd like to explain it on my own understanding. First, people tend to deny the situation or ignore its existence. One good example is a doctor's report that you might live for only another year since the cancer has already gone up your system. The victim might either challenge the findings or just brush off the idea. One just wants to preserve a status quo and preserve his own worldview. But the fact of having an illness or a bad situation angers us. We tend to blame others, the people around us and even ourself. The second stage usually put someone into asking the question "Why did that have to happen?"

Bargaining makes someone asks for any divine intervention or forms of outside help after the fact has sink in that he can not do anything to avert its effect. One might say "Please take away this burden and I'll do anything you wish." A kind of appeal to a higher power which could be a sign of helplessness and desperation.

When nothing is happening according to our liking, the situation leads to depression. The victim usually resort to drinking, disassociating from friends, and other extreme measures. When the smoke clears, and the dust has settled, reality bites. We have nothing else to do but recognize and accept the fact.

This is where Dr. Loeser's adaptation really kicks in. In Aikido, he said, the five stages mentioned above do not necessarily have to come into the picture. "When the trained Aikidoka meets a personal struggle or situational conflict, he jumps directly to acceptance, and, by doing so, he eliminates struggle, resolves the issue spontaneously, receives a revivifying charge of self-existence, and carries on with the positive aspects of our life." Loeser is trying to show the philosophy of Aikido in this regard, harmonious blending of energy.

I say when a trained Aikodoist is attacked, he doesn't deny but accept and reacts right away. Like in the mat, a beginner might need an extra two or three seconds to figure out what technique to execute when attacked by a Shomenuchi.

"The trained Aikidoka is aware of his surroundings at all times, never dumbfounded by unanticipated situations, and while the situation may be completely unfamiliar, the equanimity of the Aikidoka is omnipresent," Loeser explains.

Furthermore, he expounds how an enlightened Aikidoka would behave in such situations. "The trained Aikidoka translates his prudent reaction to an attack and blending into an extension of universal energy to everyday situations, including worldview altering predicaments, such as learning of a debilitation, degenerative illness. By doing so, he responds to the attack on his worldview expediently."

The underlying message of the article helps me cope with everyday stuff. At work, home, personal relationships, I am trying to understand Aikido's real meaning. We all suffer from different factors everyday, everyminute, but learning how to cope with it in the most effective way gives a lot of sense why we train on the mat. Not just for the techniques I can use when confronted in a dark alley but for spiritual (readersonal) application in everyday life.
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Old 01-08-2009, 03:21 AM   #16
Jacqueline von Arb
 
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Hi Stefan! Real pleasure to train at your seminar in Malmö!

I wrote a little story of how we (me and my then 10 yr-old) dealt with bullying by training a bully-situation as if it were tsuki attack (with words), doing mental taisabaki and let the words and their energy fly by without hitting their target. By doing a mental tenkan, my son also learned to look in the same way direction as the attacker, developping compassion (or perhaps it is pity?) at the poor bully who can't feel better about himself but by attacking others.

I guess it would apply in this thread as well. It's post nr 10 in the bullying-thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14408

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Old 01-08-2009, 04:38 AM   #17
Eva Antonia
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Dear Stefan,

what you describe as "aiki strategy outside the dojo" is something I discovered in my work life, when I was in my early twenties and had a very bullying boss in my (his!) company. I found out that it worked very well, just accepting, blending and using his energy, even if I never ever had heard of aikido at that time...

It also works with my parents, with whom I had bitter quarrels when I was young and since then they get less and less and less. It works with my colleagues, it works with friends, it works with strangers, but there is one place where it never, never works, and that is my own family. When being with my kids I just succumb to any sort of provocation and can become aggressive over trifles like "homework" or "hurry up to go to school"...so there is still a long way to go.

Strangely, in the dojo it doesn't work too well neither. But there, I think it's just that this concept of physically relaxing to be really efficient is not so easy to learn. Even if you SEE it is efficient the body just doesn't cooperate. But I'm sure it will improve with time.

Best regards,

Eva
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:55 AM   #18
sorokod
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

and another case of Irimi tenkan outside the dojo:

Quote:
"Ueshiba Sensei's techniques are genuine, you know. They can be applied to anything, including financial, political or military matters. For example, the air strike against Pearl Harbor was a method of irimi tenkan. Because the Japanese bombers flew there in front of the American Air Force, the men at Pearl Harbor thought that they were American troops. That was irimi tenkan. I heard that the Japanese headquarters talked about applying this irimi tenkan in their tactics. "
Aikido Journal, http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=394

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Old 01-04-2011, 11:29 PM   #19
Gordon Shaw
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Aikido has helped me roll through and out of life's falls and back on my feet instinctively.
Also when I had a bicycle crash I rolled through the fall and there was no injury.
Other times when hostility was directed towards me instinctively I stepped aside and let the hostility pass by several times until the hostile energy wore itself out. Also this kept me from being considered a participant in the hostility.
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Old 01-05-2011, 10:25 AM   #20
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

I have personally used "aikido strategy" when under real pressure of impending physical violence..... sometimes it's worked sometimes it hasn't, and the violence ensues.....
Alcohol and drugs has that effect on people..... a blank look with no thought, just the desire to really take you head off!!
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Old 01-05-2011, 10:27 AM   #21
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Quote:
Eva Röben wrote: View Post
Dear Stefan,

what you describe as "aiki strategy outside the dojo" is something I discovered in my work life, when I was in my early twenties and had a very bullying boss in my (his!) company. I found out that it worked very well, just accepting, blending and using his energy, even if I never ever had heard of aikido at that time...

It also works with my parents, with whom I had bitter quarrels when I was young and since then they get less and less and less. It works with my colleagues, it works with friends, it works with strangers, but there is one place where it never, never works, and that is my own family. When being with my kids I just succumb to any sort of provocation and can become aggressive over trifles like "homework" or "hurry up to go to school"...so there is still a long way to go.

Strangely, in the dojo it doesn't work too well neither. But there, I think it's just that this concept of physically relaxing to be really efficient is not so easy to learn. Even if you SEE it is efficient the body just doesn't cooperate. But I'm sure it will improve with time.

Best regards,

Eva
I think that's part of growing up Eva..... some do, some don't, you are....
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Old 01-05-2011, 03:50 PM   #22
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

I use it every day
First to be able to recognize what is or is not a real attack/threat worth responding to. And to be able to remain calm and able to think when response is required rather then just reacting blindly.

Sometimes I just get out of the way and let them continue on their way, remove the target.

Sometimes I deliver a sharp verbal atemi

Sometimes I just ask them questions causing them to stumble and let them loose balance.

I have had a couple of opportunities to use aspects of physical aikido as well joint locks and unbalancing work rather well on uncooperative horses if you know how their bodies work.
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Old 01-05-2011, 10:35 PM   #23
mickeygelum
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Quote:
I have had a couple of opportunities to use aspects of physical aikido as well joint locks and unbalancing work rather well on uncooperative horses if you know how their bodies work.
That is absolutely inspiring....thank you for sharing!
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:39 AM   #24
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
I have had a couple of opportunities to use aspects of physical aikido as well joint locks and unbalancing work rather well on uncooperative horses if you know how their bodies work.
I also have the experience that aikido strategy works on animals, too. They immediately respect and relate to it. Cats practice it.

By the way, nice to see this old thread revived.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:38 PM   #25
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote: View Post
I also have the experience that aikido strategy works on animals, too. They immediately respect and relate to it. Cats practice it.

By the way, nice to see this old thread revived.
That's so true Stefan.... I have to admit to being a cat lover, (I have two).
I love their curiosity, canniness, fluid movement and also test my hand speed with them, that are just so fast..... I get to learn good timing from them and "think" my aikido like a cat.....
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