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Old 07-20-2008, 02:00 PM   #26
Aikibu
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
with all do respect,

I simply do not understand, if aikidoka are faced belly down in a prone position while nage places a finishing lock on tbeir elbow, wrist or shoulder, why they would not hike a leg.

Give Mage your arm but hike your leg. Comiant yet pote tially in a position to reclaim what you have offered in practice.

Love means truly respecting both yourself and nage.
Some practices do this Chris... Some don't.

William Hazen
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Old 07-20-2008, 02:30 PM   #27
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Charles Hill wrote: View Post
There is a fundamental tenet is Japanese society that suffering leads to self development. This often comes out that those in teaching positions set up difficult situations for their students. In many situations this becomes abuse. Survive it, and the individual becomes proud of the experience. One can either call it abuse and admit that they were victims, or one can deny this and then must "pass it down" to those beneath them.

Charles
This idea is fundemental to all societies I know of, but I think this illustrates something central to the issue here. It is up to us as individuals to take and apply what we've experienced in new and creative ways. Specific to the topic at hand, we need to take those harsh moments we've endured and translate them into something better for those we seek to teach. It's as if when perpetuating some of these destructive habits the mind says "it was good enough for me, it should be good enough for you too." Good "enough" should never be the goal of anyone. I've seen grotesque violence, the description of which should shock all save for those who have been in war zones. Things like this have been very beneficial to me in a variety of ways too numerous to list, but I also hold that no one should ever have to experience them. As a teacher, how shall I take those terribly harsh and useful events and translate them into something more useful than harsh for my students? As was pointed out earlier, the idea is to evolve, to grow. Perpetuating severity for its own sake demonstrates only what one has left to learn about teaching.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 07-20-2008 at 02:34 PM.

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Old 07-20-2008, 03:50 PM   #28
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Cause you know in this day and age under those circumstances if we are entrapped by bullies hiding behind Aikido and find ourselves purposely injured, we can sue. No love loss on that, or love required. The pen is mightier then the sword, or sucker Aikido.
This point sort of stood out to me. Suing is an option in many cases but sometimes no amount of money or other "damages" awarded in court is enough to repair permanent physical and psychological damage that can be the result of the behaviour stated at the beginning of this thread.

A person who is cooperating in Aikido practice is freely offering another their body to practice or to demonstrate with. This is done out of a certain level of trust. In a distrusting or combative situation one would not offer ones body totally and willingly to someone who could permanently damage that body. Folks who decide to willingly injure their partner in the midst of cooperative practice are succumbing to an ego and fear-driven need to show "superiority" by beating up on someone else. This is a typical bully mindset and is akin to cutting off the hand of someone who offers it to you in friendship imho. The reverse also applies when someone claims that they could "defeat" X Sensei because they could stop their technique in the midst of a demonstration.

Interestingly enough, I train in an Aikido method that encourages live testing and competition for self improvement. Bullying is a problem we almost never see since the reality of ones actual skill is revealed regularly during free practice. Similar to the Judo premise of mutual benefit we are also taught from the first session to take care of our partner and respect his/her body and understand the difference between cooperative practice/kata and free practice/randori where cooperation is progressively removed at different levels. All members are aware of the vast gulf that exists between what one can achieve in cooperative practice as against what can be achieved when ones partner is not cooperating. There are no delusions in this regard and any ability to throw or pin someone in randori is a hard won skill that may only work that one time on that person. These folks have no need to try and show off by hurting someone during cooperative practice - they know the truth of their own ability and so does their partner.

I've attended dojo and seminars by Aikido sensei from "non-competitive" Aikido methods who tend to act as if waza executed to cause severe pain with a cooperative Uke in some way shows applied martial prowess. To me it is very sad to see sensei who do not see the reality that this can only be done if your partner allows you to do it, meaning that it in fact shows their lack of applied martial prowess and understanding of conflict resolution.

I really hope these "Instructors" are able to transcend this sort of behaviour else it propagates a dangerous culture of bullying ones partner in the false belief that this is "real, hard-core, old-school Aikido". Then their students start doing it. Very sad indeed.

LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 07-20-2008 at 03:53 PM.

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Old 07-20-2008, 04:31 PM   #29
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Larry Camejo wrote: View Post

I've attended dojo and seminars by Aikido sensei from "non-competitive" Aikido methods who tend to act as if waza executed to cause severe pain with a cooperative Uke in some way shows applied martial prowess. To me it is very sad to see sensei who do not see the reality that this can only be done if your partner allows you to do it, meaning that it in fact shows their lack of applied martial prowess and understanding of conflict resolution.

I really hope these "Instructors" are able to transcend this sort of behaviour else it propagates a dangerous culture of bullying ones partner in the false belief that this is "real, hard-core, old-school Aikido". Then their students start doing it. Very sad indeed.

LC
This to me is the essence of Blackbelt Disease in Aikido. Too many times I see one or more folks applying the "Real Men of Genius" credo at a seminar; and while thier bad behaviour only lasts a moment... The effects on thier Uke/victims can linger for years.

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Old 07-20-2008, 04:51 PM   #30
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

I think Aikido is finding a balance between the violence of Budo -Aikido's wazas and training,and the discipline -mentally and physically- it takes to control that violence. That isn't talked about or valued very much over the skill of executing a waza. Larry points out some good things about competition, how it is a valve for check and balances. And he talked about how completely non-competition dojo bottle up competitive drives that turn out to be unhealthy.

If a non-competitive dojo stifles competition instead of finding the balance then they are missing a big chunk of O'Sensei. The key is that there should not be the results described by Larry for non-competitive dojo.

I see O'Sensei idea of love and his style of Budo to be a balancing act. A very difficult one because the drive for competition in ourselves is so great. If you don't feed the beast of competition, and go against it, it bites you. If you give into it, you risk going over board with it, ripping everyone apart. What you have over time is feudal conflicts.

I think the disipline of non-competition and competition ( in the context of the thread) is a balancing act that is very hard to maintain and is the most difficult waza in Aikido.
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Old 07-20-2008, 05:49 PM   #31
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

I think this kind of thing happens simply because there is no sparing. People do not respect the kind of power they hold over another person in complaint practice because they have never truly been dominated in non-compliant practice. They use their rank as a shield to protect them from breaking the rules. Anyone who steps out of line and defends themselves is the bad egg so to speak.

This does not happen as much in sparing arts because everyone really understand the damage that can happen. You understand when to stop and what your goals clearly are. You learn that showing how awesome you are is not in the dominating of your partner, but in showing compassion and letting him work and keeping him just on the edge of defeat, causing him to grow as a martial artist. This simply rarely happens outside of sparing.

I have a few personal examples of this. I know a judo player who does not compete. I'm not sure he ever has. He ducks randori a lot as well. When i have worked out with him, he will throw you during uchi komi and then go full out resisting you in your turn of uchi komi to 'teach' you how you are wrong. He has hurt guys with his antics, and I choose to no longer frequent that dojo. (Although I've heard he has sense quit after getting his ankle broke).

Another example came from a jujutsu/aikido club I visited. I was working with a black belt on a technique similar to ikkyo with a pin at the end. I allowed him to take me down on my belly and apply a pin. I tapped he kept cranking. I have had a few sessions of therapy on my shoulders and they injure easily. The pain was growing I had to make a choice, so I spun out of his pin and kicked him in the knee while standing up. (Bjj/mma technical standup). I was chastised by him for being disrespectful. I informed him he was lucky I didn't want hurt him, walked off the mat, changed, and went home.

It was then I decided I simply will not train in a art where defending myself is not allowed.

- Don
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Old 07-20-2008, 06:11 PM   #32
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

Onegaishimasu. I once brought it up at a conference that because of the existence of bullies, things like nikyo should only be taught alongside their counters. See, "bullies" is not a possibility, "bullies" is a sad reality.

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 07-20-2008, 06:33 PM   #33
Dan Rubin
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Physical abuse is the reason many come to the dojo.
When I first read your post I took it to refer, not to students fleeing abuse, but to students seeking to abuse others or to be abused.
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Old 07-20-2008, 06:36 PM   #34
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Don Magee wrote: View Post
I think this kind of thing happens simply because there is no sparing. People do not respect the kind of power they hold over another person in complaint practice because they have never truly been dominated in non-compliant practice.
I don't think it's as simple as that. Sparring doesn't preclude selfish behavior and that's what I think is at the heart of this issue. When you are truly other-regarding (ie-you truly care about them) you seek to not harm them. It's as simple as that, in my opinion. When you are self-centered, you care about feeling good, which in this context means generally feeling more powerful. I have a huge respect for the kind of power I hold over another person in my very compliant method of training. I can remember very vividly one of those moments of realization in fact when I was practicing shiho nage. This is not a matter of sparring itself, though i agree that for some people who have a very competitive attitude a lack of sparring might bottle things up. But that's a personal issue, not a pedagogical issue.
Technically speaking, competition itself is present in all forms of Aikido vis a vis "masakatsu agatsu." The question is whether or not the individual is practicing an other-regarding form of it. Whether or not I train to compete with someone at a test of skill has little to do with it in my opinion.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 07-20-2008 at 06:39 PM.

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Old 07-20-2008, 08:12 PM   #35
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I don't think it's as simple as that. Sparring doesn't preclude selfish behavior and that's what I think is at the heart of this issue. When you are truly other-regarding (ie-you truly care about them) you seek to not harm them. It's as simple as that, in my opinion. When you are self-centered, you care about feeling good, which in this context means generally feeling more powerful. I have a huge respect for the kind of power I hold over another person in my very compliant method of training. I can remember very vividly one of those moments of realization in fact when I was practicing shiho nage. This is not a matter of sparring itself, though i agree that for some people who have a very competitive attitude a lack of sparring might bottle things up. But that's a personal issue, not a pedagogical issue.
Technically speaking, competition itself is present in all forms of Aikido vis a vis "masakatsu agatsu." The question is whether or not the individual is practicing an other-regarding form of it. Whether or not I train to compete with someone at a test of skill has little to do with it in my opinion.
I agree with this. Bullying at the dojo does not happen because there is no sparing. It is not that simple. People are people, and if they have huge ego's to begin with then that is going to transfer to the mat.

One cannot make the argument that because there is no sparing abuse occurs, this is an illusory correlation. Plus, one of the first things you learn in psychological research, correlation is not causation.


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Old 07-20-2008, 08:47 PM   #36
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

and yet when you talk to people that have trained in both Aikido and live arts they will pretty much to a man (or woman) tell you this type of thing is much more prevelant in Aikido than it is in live arts.

Correlation may not always be the same as causation, but it is usually a sign to start looking more carefully.

Otherwise we're saying what? Aikido attracts more bullies that are more interested in self than other? That seems - unlikely?

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Old 07-20-2008, 09:01 PM   #37
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Michael Fooks wrote: View Post
and yet when you talk to people that have trained in both Aikido and live arts they will pretty much to a man (or woman) tell you this type of thing is much more prevelant in Aikido than it is in live arts.

Correlation may not always be the same as causation, but it is usually a sign to start looking more carefully.

Otherwise we're saying what? Aikido attracts more bullies that are more interested in self than other? That seems - unlikely?
Well if you want to start really talking about psychology I can bring up multiple biases such as availability heuristic, which basically states that people recall information that more easily comes to mind, especially when being primed by others asking specific questions. Basically I am stating that without looking at this objectively, you basically can't go based on simply what people say. This is called anecdotal evidence and is one of the classic signs of pseudoscience.

Yes, correlation can be a reason to look at something more carefully, but that still doesn't mean causation. For instance there is a correlation between the number of churches and the instances of violence. Does that mean that churches cause violence? No, there are just more of both cases in cities, which causes the correlation.

No, what I am saying is that Aikido not having competition does not CAUSE bullying behavior, but it can make it worse. Its like having a latent psychological disorder, unless something brings it out, it is just that, latent.


*Totally not trying to be a dick, just in case that is how I am coming off. I just don't trust subjective "measurement", as there are too many cognitive problems with this. Our brains are lazy and use heuristics and schemas and such to keep the cognitive load at a minimum.


Last edited by lifeafter2am : 07-20-2008 at 09:12 PM. Reason: Clarification

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Old 07-20-2008, 09:32 PM   #38
Janet Rosen
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

Hard to believe its been three years...a couple of us writing in The Mirror column explored some of the reasons this happens in aikido:
http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2005_05.html

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Old 07-20-2008, 09:37 PM   #39
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Michael Fooks wrote: View Post
Correlation may not always be the same as causation, but it is usually a sign to start looking more carefully.
I agree completely. Hearing so many people describe this as an "Aikido" problem is very compelling to me. It flies in the face of what I understand Ueshiba Aikido to be about.
Quote:
Otherwise we're saying what? Aikido attracts more bullies that are more interested in self than other? That seems - unlikely?
Isn't that what's being said though? ...That Aikido attracts more bullies than, say, MMA...or whatever other arts you might define as alive? And that competition somehow removes bullying more effectively?

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Old 07-20-2008, 09:48 PM   #40
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I agree completely. Hearing so many people describe this as an "Aikido" problem is very compelling to me. It flies in the face of what I understand Ueshiba Aikido to be about.

Isn't that what's being said though? ...That Aikido attracts more bullies than, say, MMA...or whatever other arts you might define as alive? And that competition somehow removes bullying more effectively?
Would you not call MMA or other arts being part of a group that is "tougher" than Aikido? That is the essential question here. If people see Aikido as tougher than according to psychological research on bullying, then yes, we should have more bullies. Besides trying to hold power over others, one of the common attributes of bullying that is found consistently among research is being part of a "tough" group.

The problem with competition removing bullying is that it is counter to research on aggression. There are no safe forms of aggression. For instance, I think everyone has seen the classic, or heard, about beating a pillow instead of a person. This has been statistically shown to INCREASE aggression though, and in turn increases aggression against people as well. Because it enforces aggressive behavior .... there is no such thing as "getting out of your system" ..... at least not with aggression.

This is actually what my research focuses on, social psychology, which studies aggression among other things.

My point is that there is no such thing as a simple answer.

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Old 07-20-2008, 10:06 PM   #41
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Hard to believe its been three years...a couple of us writing in The Mirror column explored some of the reasons this happens in aikido:
http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2005_05.html
Great article, Janet, thank you for posting it!
Do you think competition-oriented arts are less prone to bullying, be it passive-agressive or active-agressive in form?

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Old 07-20-2008, 10:28 PM   #42
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Would you not call MMA or other arts being part of a group that is "tougher" than Aikido? That is the essential question here. If people see Aikido as tougher than according to psychological research on bullying, then yes, we should have more bullies. Besides trying to hold power over others, one of the common attributes of bullying that is found consistently among research is being part of a "tough" group.
My take on Aikido is that it is not what most people would call tough. That's a slippery concept though in that I feel like Aikido is tough. The ability to remove the ego and let things slide (as opposed to forcing some "lesson" by injuring someone, for example) is far tougher than reacting violently...even when that violence is in the guise of cold calculating sadism. Self control is the toughest thing a human can practice, in my opinion, but all too often dominance is seen as equal to toughness.

Quote:
The problem with competition removing bullying is that it is counter to research on aggression. There are no safe forms of aggression. For instance, I think everyone has seen the classic, or heard, about beating a pillow instead of a person. This has been statistically shown to INCREASE aggression though, and in turn increases aggression against people as well. Because it enforces aggressive behavior .... there is no such thing as "getting out of your system" ..... at least not with aggression.
That makes sense to me. I would view the pillow beating option as a band-aid option, temporary at best. It makes sense that acting on those feelings of aggression would actually strengthen the neurological connections which propogate them.

Quote:
My point is that there is no such thing as a simple answer.
Amen to that! You and I are of like minds on this as far as I can tell. My observations in everyday life fit perfectly with what you're describing here about agression and competition.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 07-20-2008 at 10:31 PM.

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Old 07-20-2008, 10:41 PM   #43
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

[QUOTE

I wonder, has any of the jerks that we speak of suffered any consequences from their actions?[/quote]

In general, they suffer all of the consequences of generating mistrust in their lives everyday. You don't trust them or share openly with them and others don't either. In specific, it is certain that they will play that game on the wrong person, maybe you, on the wrong day. They are training to receive injury and they most certaily will. Not just kharmically, but in 'real time'.
My question, for the saavy or semi-enlightened would be, If you could prevent them from bringing this certain injury upon themself, how could you do it?
jen

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Old 07-20-2008, 10:42 PM   #44
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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There are no safe forms of aggression.
After thinking about this a bit more I think I might take exception with this idea. Sports, for example, are something I've personally loved for a long time and even as non-competitive as I've been (before Aikido came along in my life), I've loved the aggression of game. In chess, in soccer, in playing the guitar, etc. I've always loved the feeling of opening the throttle wide and letting my energy blast into whatever I'm doing. Is this the same kind of aggression you're refering to? Or do you mean the assertion of dominance over someone? Or maybe a better question is, what is the difference?

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Old 07-20-2008, 10:51 PM   #45
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

"I wonder, has any of the jerks that we speak of suffered any consequences from their actions?"

Quote:
My question, for the saavy or semi-enlightened would be, If you could prevent them from bringing this certain injury upon themself, how could you do it?
jen
I'm not saying I'm saavy here, but my best attempt at answering this question involves an attempt at making a connection with the person and beginning a sort of dialogue...not always with words. Teaching things which are already held in contempt or presumed to be already understood is an art in which success seems more accidental than by design. Like a horse to water...
Here's an interesting question: how many who have experienced this sort of thing have made any effort to teach the offending party?

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Old 07-20-2008, 10:52 PM   #46
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

Safety isn't really the be all end all. Creative or constructive might be more reflexive verbage when discussing positive aggression ( I would recommend reading the chapter in Saotomes Sensei's book Aikido and the Harmony of Nature entitled Agression, er something close to it). Aggression is necessary for creation in many forms,breaking through surfaces and penetrating depths requires degrees of agression, let's say pro-creation and the drama of the sperm and the egg. the most aggressive, well you get it. But the end and the purpose are in harmony and consistent with natural drive to positive means. Not violence, like rape, which occurs on many sexual and non-sexual levels. But the natural aggression to move forward.
That isn't abuse, it is consensual and instinctual; an agreement of purpose mutually entered into.

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Old 07-20-2008, 10:53 PM   #47
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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After thinking about this a bit more I think I might take exception with this idea. Sports, for example, are something I've personally loved for a long time and even as non-competitive as I've been (before Aikido came along in my life), I've loved the aggression of game. In chess, in soccer, in playing the guitar, etc. I've always loved the feeling of opening the throttle wide and letting my energy blast into whatever I'm doing. Is this the same kind of aggression you're refering to? Or do you mean the assertion of dominance over someone? Or maybe a better question is, what is the difference?
Look at the incidences of domestic violence among football players, or hockey players, typically "aggressive" sports. I definitely would not lump chess in there my friend, but typically aggressive sports have higher incidences of aggression outside of those sports arenas.

You have to remember too, that there are certain personalities that gravitate towards those types of sports, so there are extraneous variables that are difficult to control for. But, aggression on the field does, as you put it, enforce the neuropsychological link for aggression.

It sounds like you are describing healthy competition, not aggression. There doesn't necessarily have to be overt aggression with competition.

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." - Siddhattha Gotama Buddha
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Old 07-20-2008, 10:57 PM   #48
lifeafter2am
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Safety isn't really the be all end all. Creative or constructive might be more reflexive verbage when discussing positive aggression ( I would recommend reading the chapter in Saotomes Sensei's book Aikido and the Harmony of Nature entitled Agression, er something close to it). Aggression is necessary for creation in many forms,breaking through surfaces and penetrating depths requires degrees of agression, let's say pro-creation and the drama of the sperm and the egg. the most aggressive, well you get it. But the end and the purpose are in harmony and consistent with natural drive to positive means. Not violence, like rape, which occurs on many sexual and non-sexual levels. But the natural aggression to move forward.
That isn't abuse, it is consensual and instinctual; an agreement of purpose mutually entered into.
This is not the psychological definition of aggression.

Quote:
Aggression - Behavior directed toward the goal of harming another living being, who is motivated to avoid such treatment.
This is the definition I am working from.

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." - Siddhattha Gotama Buddha
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Old 07-20-2008, 11:00 PM   #49
Aikibu
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Michael Fooks wrote: View Post
and yet when you talk to people that have trained in both Aikido and live arts they will pretty much to a man (or woman) tell you this type of thing is much more prevelant in Aikido than it is in live arts.
Hmmm...I would be wary of using "talking to people" as a statistical baseline...and I respectfully disagree. I have years of experiance and I don't think Aikido has a corner on bullies. Some of the harshest teachers and students I've experianced were in Karate and Tai Kwon Do... where physical abuse are "signposts" for austure practice supposedly.

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Correlation may not always be the same as causation, but it is usually a sign to start looking more carefully.
Perhaps but then you run into some very obvious fallacies.

If a Police Officer in New York shoots an unarmed man does that mean That Police Officers in New York have a reputation for shooting unarmed men? What about if three cops do it??? Or ten? Does the statement still hold water?

I don't think so

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Otherwise we're saying what? Aikido attracts more bullies that are more interested in self than other? That seems - unlikely?
Nope I don't think thats true at all. bullies in Aikido are dealt with as swiftly as in any other Martial Art and I have found that Yudansha who have a rep as being jerks run out of students very quickly.

William Hazen
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Old 07-20-2008, 11:06 PM   #50
lifeafter2am
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

Excellent points William!

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." - Siddhattha Gotama Buddha
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