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

Quote:
...even when that violence is in the guise of cold calculating sadism.
This might be a bit pedantic and a little OCD and sorry for that, but I realize I mispoke here: I meant even when the violence is in the guise of calm cool and collected "altruism."

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Old 07-20-2008, 11:24 PM   #52
John Matsushima
 
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Mark Uttech wrote: View Post
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
I think this is an excellent point. One way is to look at this problem as an opportunity. If I am uke, and now nage is purposely trying to hurt me, then I think he just reversed our roles. Here we have a real attack with real intention behind it. Isn't this the perfect situation to practice Aikido? In my experience, kaeshi waza have been an excellent response, and sometimes just escaping the technique. The less experienced jerk usually unconsciously gives some telltale sign, such as a windup, that he is about to attempt to put the hurt on me. With the more experienced jerk, the opposite is true, where he will suddenly attempt to slow everything down, almost stopping right at the point of kuzushi, attempting to get me to relax so that he can blindside me with his "superior" technique. So, in someways, someone who is trying to hurt me with a shihonage is no different than him standing in front of me attacking me with a yokomen uchi. Of course, easier said than done, but that's why I go to practice.

I wouldn't recommend this approach for beginner, it would be better to avoid these people in the first place.

In regards to the balance between budo and love, I think if one looks at many of Ueshiba's writings and poems, it seems that he redefined budo to be more compassionate. So, when he said that "Aikido is budo", I don't think it was a contradiction.

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Old 07-21-2008, 12:15 AM   #53
Michael Hackett
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

A line I've heard several times goes something like this, "I won't get even with you, but I will get my turn."

Michael
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Old 07-21-2008, 04:44 AM   #54
lifeafter2am
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
A line I've heard several times goes something like this, "I won't get even with you, but I will get my turn."
LOL!

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." - Siddhattha Gotama Buddha
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Old 07-21-2008, 06:08 AM   #55
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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?
Actually, this has suddenly made sense to me. When I think about it. Combat sports are sports. They don't talk about killing people, warfare, being a battle system, and they especially do not claim to be not for the ring, but for the street! If you were a bully, you would not want to train a wimpy sport, you want something with two core components:

1) Your ego can not be challenged (you need to always win).
2) You need to be as deadly as possible.

If you went to my bjj gym, you would be told that while what you are learning will help you in self defense, it is not a self defense art and we focus on sport bjj and mma. If you go to the japanese jujutsu guy in the same building, he will tell you that they are about killing people. This is not a sport and if you tried that crap on the street they would rip your throat out and shatter your spine (well a slight exaggeration). My aikido instructor would tell you the same thing, that what they are learning is about life and death and what they are learning will kill people and is not a sport.

Now which one do you want to train in?

Now lets look at the training paradim in my experience in jujutsu,aikido and bjj/judo/mma. In my aikido class there are no winners or losers, there is uke/tori. You are taught uke teaches nage, but nage is in control at all times. He is allowed to dictate what is going on and can change at a whim. It is ukes job to just accept it (I may be wrong, but this is how I feel it is where I have trained). So no ego can be bruised here. Now on top of this, you see people smiling and enjoying, almost glorifying the type of pain a new student goes though. This develops a 'rite of passage' that that student will want to hand down. If he is a bully, it is going to be even worse. Combine that will the ego buffing that goes on in some schools (We are invincible type stuff) and you can see how this quickly gets out of hand.

In the jujutsu I've practiced, this was even worse. They are encouraged to strike uke and he is not allowed to defend. He throws an attack, gets punched, thrown, locked and can do nothing about it. This is said to improve their ability to use ki to take a punch, but it seems it makes the uke more prone to beat up those weaker then him because he is afraid to beat up those in higher rank as they may hurt him more. Now you have the system basically officially condoning bullying.

Let's contrast that with what I have experienced in bjj/judo/mma. The first day you walk in, you are going to lose. You are going to lose every single day you walk in. You are going to fight your hardest against everyone in that gym and you are going to lose. You eventually become faced with a choice:
1) Quit.
2) Stop trying to win and learn.

Those who pick number two have already had most of the bully beaten out of them. When they seen new people they are not targets, but more like children they want to bring into adulthood. To the guys I've spoken with, it is meaning less to beat someone with less skill then you. It is much more to finally last that round with that purple belt, or catch that slick submission on your buddy who is the same skill level as you are. So you are driven to try to raise up those newcomers, you work with them at your level, you push them to their limits. You do this by dominating them totally, showing an absolute level of control, while never hurting them, and allowing them to put up the best defend they can. Sure you could just submit them over and over again, but it is better to let them work, let them figure out how it goes together, and coach their progress afterward.

And yes, it is not all roses. I have used some white belts as test dummys for new techniques. I'm not really letting them work, I'm just trying to better myself. I realize that doing that is wrong and I try to catch myself and at least half of the sparing round I will try to help them more then learn some cool move I saw on youtube. And I have seen bullys who wore blue belts. But even those bullys were restrained, because they knew that across the mat was a purple belt, and if he really wants to get better he is going to need that purple belt to be willing to work with him during sparing, and not spend the 5 minutes perfecting his gogoplatta.

And maybe there is even more to that. When I trained traditional arts, the people I trained with were my friends and training partners. In combat sports, they are closer to brothers. We are all pushing each other, teaching each other, encouraging each other. We are bleeding together. When you are pushing like that and training like that there is a different bond made, even the coach trains us not as a school, but as a team. You go to competitions and you watch them compete you cheer and coach them, your heart is out on the mat with them and if they lose, you lose. You have a vested interest in their success.

So yes, I guess it is not a simple as sparing vs not-sparing. But it seems to be a good first step in a process that changes lives.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 07-21-2008, 08:24 AM   #56
Michael Hackett
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

Ellis Amdur covered all this ground wonderfully in Chapter Seven of his book "Dueling with O Sensei". In addition to talking about dojo bullies and the physical aspects, he also discusses intimate relationships in the dojo. Well worth reading.

Michael
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:06 AM   #57
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Andrew Hanson wrote: View Post
This is not the psychological definition of aggression.

This is the definition I am working from.
Yes, thanks. I understand.

If one takes a look down the wikipedia page where that definition came from,a person will find further definitions of aggression that deal with animal survival, evolution and its' relationship to altruism, as well as the psychological definition offered.

Thanks,
Jen

Oh Yeah.....My previous reference to Saotome Sensei's chapter in Aikido and the Harmony of Nature is called, Aggression and the
Evolution of Bujitsu.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 07-21-2008 at 09:19 AM.

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Old 07-21-2008, 09:35 AM   #58
Janet Rosen
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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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?
I honestly don't know, because I've never spent time in any of those arts, nor in any competitive sports.

I do think that it is very important to clarify that "big ego" and "bullying" are two very different things.

Bullies tend to be enormously insecure and engage in bullying as a way to exert control in a world in which they believe themselves to be powerless or potential victims. This is why they target people they perceive as vulnerable. Self-contained, secure humans are rarely troubled by bullies.

The problem with "teaching them a lesson" by punishment is it only reinforces their world view. Not acting the victim and giving them an opening (which on the mat, if you feel endangered by their practice, could include refusing to train with them and quietly firmly letting them know why) seems better to me.

"Big ego" to me means self-centered practice, which may include grandstanding, being unsafe, ignoring the instructor or disregard of the training partners needs, limits, interests. It could derive from any number of emotional/psychological places.

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Old 07-21-2008, 11:15 AM   #59
lifeafter2am
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
The problem with "teaching them a lesson" by punishment is it only reinforces their world view. Not acting the victim and giving them an opening (which on the mat, if you feel endangered by their practice, could include refusing to train with them and quietly firmly letting them know why) seems better to me.
I think this is a good point that should be emphasized. Bullying is almost never one-sided, and current research shows that the relationship changes quite frequently. While there are example of "pure-bullies" and "pure-victims" these are the exceptions to the rule, as most people will often switch back and forth in the roles of bully and victim.

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." - Siddhattha Gotama Buddha
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:42 AM   #60
Aikibu
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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I honestly don't know, because I've never spent time in any of those arts, nor in any competitive sports.
]I do think that it is very important to clarify that "big ego" and "bullying" are two very different things.
Not really so all the time. My interpretation of what I have seen in Aikido is Big Ego is a mindset... Bullying is an action of that mindset but you can parse them into two different categories. I have just never seen a real bully last in an Aikido Dojo for more than a class or two. They are too intimidated by their inability to control their environment

Quote:
Bullies tend to be enormously insecure and engage in bullying as a way to exert control in a world in which they believe themselves to be powerless or potential victims. This is why they target people they perceive as vulnerable. Self-contained, secure humans are rarely troubled by bullies.
That is a good Psyche 101 Definition for sure.... In the context of Aikido how does one make a connection with a bully?

Quote:
The problem with "teaching them a lesson" by punishment is it only reinforces their world view. Not acting the victim and giving them an opening (which on the mat, if you feel endangered by their practice, could include refusing to train with them and quietly firmly letting them know why) seems better to me.
Perhaps but not training with does not resolve the issue of conflict in the context of Aikido either. The correct method which seems to work 95% of the time Is to give them some of their own medicine courtesy of a Sempai or the Sensei who then asks the "bully" off the mat to discuss their attitude. At least that method has worked for me for many years and after all I practice Aikido don't I LOL

Quote:
"Big ego" to me means self-centered practice, which may include grandstanding, being unsafe, ignoring the instructor or disregard of the training partners needs, limits, interests. It could derive from any number of emotional/psychological places.
In the context of Aikido it seems to be a natural part of the growth process (for most men anyway, I have not run across too many woman in Aikido who suffer from these issues) At one time or another most suffer from Blackbelt Disease to a certain degree although most do not get to the place where they express it on the mat. If they do; usually a loving Sempai or the Sensei "assists" them in getting past it, and understanding the folly of behind that kind of thinking and action.

Thanks for your insight Sempai

William Hazen

Last edited by Aikibu : 07-21-2008 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:53 PM   #61
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

I don't know William, I've seen too many bullies that can take whatever the resident tough boys dish out...they get up smiling, and wait their turn. A lot of us have an impression of a bully who is larger or stronger, but not all that tough. I've seen some that were tough as nails. They got hammered down, but kept coming back anyway. The worst cases simply had to be asked not to return.

The really bad bullies seemed to eat up anything they got on an aikido mat. Short of actually injuring them, which in my opinion, is not a responsibility I'd want to take on. Not as a senior, and not as a teacher either.

Best,
Ron

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Old 07-21-2008, 01:54 PM   #62
Allen Beebe
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

In cases such as Ellis described, ether it be in the dojo or in a seminar setting I believe the perpetrator should be summarily told to leave.

In less severe cases that occur in a seminar setting the perpetrator should be told specifically what behavior they need to change or leave, then the individual should be monitored to see that they do. In less severe cases that occur in the regular dojo setting the perpetrator should be told specifically what behavior they need to change, or leave. Or in some cases, such as insubordination, the aforementioned consequences will occur and the student may be asked to sit-out the remainder of the class or leave for the remainder of the class.

I understand that telling someone to leave may not change their behavior, but at a certain point one must put the safety of the many before the "opportunity for growth" of an individual.

In situations where one isn't in control, such as seminars, dojo visits, etc. I believe in the "bow out and don't train with the guy/gal approach." You are ultimately responsible for your own safety.

I've seen the, "You did X to me, so I'm going to do Xx2 to you!" approach many times . . . that is pretty much a game of bloody knuckles at best, and at worst evolves into an all out fight. Either way, it assumes that "might makes right." It doesn't. If one gets "put into place" in this manner (by anyone, authority or not) it only serves to reinforce the "authority of power" rather than the "supremacy of law, or morality." Unnecessary violence, regardless of the title or respect for the perpetrator, is still unnecessary violence. (BTW, don't confuse this with simply trying to protect yourself from someone physically assaulting you. Stopping an attempt at harm in a seminar or dojo is different than "payback.")

A closed pecking order that condones violence self-perpetuates as quickly as it self-justifies.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 07-21-2008, 02:05 PM   #63
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

I agree with Ron. If necessary tell them the leave. If they don't leave then that is a whole other issue. Again, I wouldn't threaten the individual with violence. I'd simply call the police . . . and I'm pretty sure that the police would prefer to be called rather than the alternative.

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Old 07-21-2008, 02:17 PM   #64
Aikibu
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
I don't know William, I've seen too many bullies that can take whatever the resident tough boys dish out...they get up smiling, and wait their turn. A lot of us have an impression of a bully who is larger or stronger, but not all that tough. I've seen some that were tough as nails. They got hammered down, but kept coming back anyway. The worst cases simply had to be asked not to return.

The really bad bullies seemed to eat up anything they got on an aikido mat. Short of actually injuring them, which in my opinion, is not a responsibility I'd want to take on. Not as a senior, and not as a teacher either.

Best,
Ron
I understand what you're saying Ron. To clarify... I suggested doing a technique with Sempai/Sensei and the bully once then taking him off the mat for a talking to This includes asking him to leave if he continues to act like a jerk.

If the Dojo lets a bully continue without saying anything, or lets him continue; then that is a failure of leadership IMO.

When I first started Aikido I was fired several times by Fowler Sensei for "fighting" which is to say I was exactly the kind of person I am describing having come from a very rough Judo and Karate training background. Thank God he was patient with me. Every time I forgot I got put on my head and then he would call me and remind me Aikido is not about fighting and have me take some time off to reflect.

I just simply do with bullies what Fowler Sensei did with me.

No one acts the bully at our Seminars believe me. They are too busy trying to figure out our Aikido. LOL

What Ellis is referring to Is being abusive under the color of Authority (so to speak) and this can of worms is a completely different animal than dealing with an ignorant student.

William Hazen

Last edited by Aikibu : 07-21-2008 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 07-21-2008, 02:55 PM   #65
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
I don't know William, I've seen too many bullies that can take whatever the resident tough boys dish out...they get up smiling, and wait their turn. A lot of us have an impression of a bully who is larger or stronger, but not all that tough. I've seen some that were tough as nails. They got hammered down, but kept coming back anyway. The worst cases simply had to be asked not to return.

The really bad bullies seemed to eat up anything they got on an aikido mat. Short of actually injuring them, which in my opinion, is not a responsibility I'd want to take on. Not as a senior, and not as a teacher either.

Best,
Ron
This fits much with my friends growing up. Bullies act that way because they've been shown it works for them. I would describe bullies as being physically tough and mentally weak. I've never met an aggressive person who was 90lbs. when soaking wet, if you follow my meaning.
Take care,
Matt

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Old 07-21-2008, 03:12 PM   #66
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
The problem with "teaching them a lesson" by punishment is it only reinforces their world view. Not acting the victim and giving them an opening (which on the mat, if you feel endangered by their practice, could include refusing to train with them and quietly firmly letting them know why) seems better to me.
I hope I didn't come across in my earlier post as supporting physical punishment for bullies. By teaching I mean helping to make them see the greater virtue in self control and peace than in reactionism and violence.
By best friends were bullies...and they knew I didn't support that behavior. I'd like to think that I helped to curb that behavior, even if just a little.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:52 PM   #67
Janet Rosen
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I hope I didn't come across in my earlier post as supporting physical punishment for bullies. By teaching I mean helping to make them see the greater virtue in self control and peace than in reactionism and violence.
No Mat, I was referring to something I saw in this thread (and that I've heard instructors and sempai say at various times in various dojos) about, essentially, "payback" as a way to "teach a lesson."

Janet Rosen
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:56 PM   #68
John Connolly
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

Once, when coming into town to visit family, I went to a local dojol. I waited patiently at the side, and a senior student came to talk to me. I told him that I visited from time to time, and asked if they had a schedule of workshops or seminars that may be open to outsiders. He went and got the dojo-cho (who I've since learned from others is an infamous sadist) to talk to me.

I asked again about a schedule of workshops or seminars that may be open to outsiders, explaining that I did Hapkido in Chicago, but often came through town to visit family. I was very pleasant, and did not act haughtily or aggressively. He insisted that I must become a student of Aikido, giving me the hard-sell, telling me that Hapkido and all Korean arts were "too violent and all about destruction". I reminded him that I was just visiting and wanted an opportunity to train from time to time. He seemed to want me to join his dojo super badly, and ignored my very direct and calm language. "Here, punch me in the face", he said. Umm, ok, so I did a straight vertical fist Wing Chun punch which stopped millimeters from his nose. "No no no. You have to punch with everything you've got. That Hapkido punch was not strong enough." I know he intended for me to perform a one step lunge punch so he could take my balance and perform some technique. I was not into this macho crap. I was tired of his weird posturing and attempts to get me to abandon my inferior style in favor of his uber-style (Dude, I don't live here, OK???).

His last plea was for me to grab is wrist. I knew what was coming, and although I though he was a complete ass, I volunteered my hand (because I was hoping that complying would lead to the off chance of attending a seminar or 2 w/ visiting sensei -not this jerk- when I was in town). Fine, here's my hand. Nikkyo! He had a pretty good nikkyo, and I dropped to one knee to mitigate the pain. "See how Aikido is great. All the pain you're feeling, you're doing it to yourself. You're doing it to yourself. In Hapkido, you would try to break the wrist, but Aikido is about harmony with the attacker. The Attacker does it to themselves" I replied,"Yes, in that I foolishly volunteered my hand for you to apply a joint-lock, I am doing it to myself. However, YOU are applying pressure against my wrist. YOU are the attacker here. I just wanted to know if there was a chance to train from time to time when I visit my family." and with that I stood up, pushing up and into him against the nikkyo, releasing it. I shook my hand out at the wrist, red-faced, and looked him up and down. His "love" almost caused some real violence that day. I walked out disgusted, angry, and disappointed.

Lesson learned: don't trust people with your limbs unless you are sure of their morals and lack of ego problems.

Last edited by akiy : 07-24-2008 at 02:55 PM.

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Old 07-21-2008, 04:01 PM   #69
ChrisMoses
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

He was only trying to help you John... If only you could see that...

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Old 07-21-2008, 04:04 PM   #70
John Connolly
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

Heh heh. Yes. I do need help!

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Old 07-21-2008, 06:25 PM   #71
Janet Rosen
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

John, that is a GREAT story.

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Old 07-21-2008, 08:20 PM   #72
rob_liberti
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

I have now heard of 2 separate cases in recent times where a very senior instructor punches someone in the intermediate ranks (4-6th dan) off the mat to teach some lesson. In both cases the junior was not out of line - just walloped. WTF?! I don't get it. 2 different sets of people. Are we starting to see a pattern of very high level to middle level abuse? I'm not liking it!!! I want the seniors to be the most responsible.

All I can think of is that once someone shows you who they are, listen to them the first time.

Rob
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:59 PM   #73
Buck
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

With all the talk about boundaries of physical contact that is acceptable including mine, how are these jerk Aikidoka (sensei or sempai) being any different then say those hard-nose butt busting (highly regarded sadistic totalitarian) coaches. Whose team weeds out the weak by hard contact, and performance levels are of the highest caliber. You walk into their world, their field and either you make it or you don't. If you get hurt, you just can't hack it, your not good enough. Survival of the best?
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:42 PM   #74
Aikibu
Dojo: West Wind Dojo Santa Monica California
Location: Malibu, California
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
With all the talk about boundaries of physical contact that is acceptable including mine, how are these jerk Aikidoka (sensei or sempai) being any different then say those hard-nose butt busting (highly regarded sadistic totalitarian) coaches. Whose team weeds out the weak by hard contact, and performance levels are of the highest caliber. You walk into their world, their field and either you make it or you don't. If you get hurt, you just can't hack it, your not good enough. Survival of the best?
Been there done that in spades...In High School The Army and some Martial Arts...

Aikido for me goes beyond that training paradigm....It's not about fighting your way to the top or prevailing or beating the other guy...

It's surrendering to win... Ponder that for a bit.

William Hazen
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:57 PM   #75
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
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Re: Violence Under the Pretext of Love

Quote:
John Connolly wrote: View Post
Once, when coming into town to visit family, I went to a local dojo. I waited patiently at the side, and a senior student came to talk to me. I told him that I visited from time to time, and asked if they had a schedule of workshops or seminars that may be open to outsiders. He went and got the dojo-cho (who I've since learned from others is an infamous sadist) to talk to me.
Hi John,

I believe you are talking about Eliot Freeman, no? I attended a two day seminar of his in Chicago severl years ago. I certainly don't know him well but he taught an excellent seminar. He worked very hard to make sure each participant understood and then was able to do what he was teaching. I was especially impressed with how much the beginners developed in only 2 days. He did very much have a kind of "amway" feeling to his personality which was not attractive to me. He also had some "Seagal" type characteristics which I thought are not effective nor helpful. However, I have never before nor after attended an Aikido seminar in that was so helpful to some many people in a specific manner.

If your post was not about Eliot, please disregard the above

Charles

Last edited by akiy : 07-24-2008 at 02:56 PM.
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