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Old 09-12-2008, 05:34 PM   #1
Erick Mead
 
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Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Lately there has been much discussion of severing the ethic of aikido from practice in the matter of aiki -- seeking aiki as a matter of achieving power, and then in a good relativist utilitarian manner simply applying that power in whatever way seems best to you.

I recoil at this in ways too complex to describe adequately -- which is why I give a root experience of mine in the practice of violence to provide some a glimpse into it the nature of my reaction as a premise to the thread.

Personal aside: the reason I went into aikido is not because I feared what others might do to me. I was picked on as the typical geeky bookish kid of only middling athletic ability in middle school. I was tolerably bright and able academically and a sci fi nut who, needless to say, operated on the fringes of the in-crowd.

One guy, a top-dog jock of middling intelligence, had picked on me as his preferred gamma-dog to abuse, and I, not being the confrontational sort at the time, put up with the typical school age crap for a significant period of time. Then, one day as I was hurrying to a test that worried me very greatly, he accosted me after gym. When I did not make the usual obligatory gestures of homage and submission -- because I was single-minded and in a hurry -- he decided to get my attention by simultaneously grabbing my arm and tripping me -- tossing all my books and papers flying across the ground. Clearly, cooly, I thought "I will be late."

But then I stopped thinking, and the next thing I know I sail into this guy taking him off his feet , knocking his head on the pavement and end up straddled on his chest pounding him with my flailing (frankly pretty ineffectual for anything other than getting a really good bloody nose going). Some coach pulls me off and that's about it, really. They suspend him two days more than me and that's that.

Except it isn't. OK you say, kid gets picked on up wants power to protect himself -- old story -- now he holds his head a high, is perceived as having greater power and gains new respect among his peer -- roll credits --- Right? Wrong. I became far more withdrawn and even less sociable. Two things occurred to me -- One -- the pathetic arrogant bastard never even saw it coming, which surprised me in his lack of ability to respond to sudden real aggression that was not for show; Two, I did not know that I could do that and it scared the living crap out of me that I could so trivially do that to another human being.

It was too easy -- precisely because I did not care about anything except getting him and hitting him until I got tired of it and not stopping to care what anyone thought about it, pretty much. Berserker mode -- and a loss of control. And -- what really scared me:: I LIKED it. Far too much. And that's why aikido -- I did not like liking it.

So. College rolls around, some dabbling in karate and then -- Aikido. A means of control for a dark joy/anger I had not, until that event, even recognized was within me. Control and grace was the point of aiki and aikido -- not the achievement of greater power.

In The Emptied Soul, Dr. Adolf Guggenbuhl (a student of Carl Jung, I swear to God that is his name) described the psychopathic tendency as more widespread in a spectrum of personality traits toward near-normal than the merely extreme clinically disordered variety. As such, he saw the nature of violence contained in the archetypal psychopathic personality traits as a crippled Eros or ability to love. "Those who cannot love want power," he wrote.

Of course violence and love strike a chord with the aikido -- so here is the question from all of the prelude:

As perhaps some further points of discussion Guggenbuhl described the symptoms of these tendencies in general terms:
Quote:
Primary Symptoms
Inability to love
Missing or absent sense of morality
Absence of psychic development (their souls seem "static")
Background depression (nihilistic, rather than romantic or "poetic" depression)
Chronic background fear (suspicious of everybody)

Secondary Symptoms
Absence of guilt feelings
Absence of any real understanding or insight (often high intelligence, but still little understanding of emotional insight)
Ability to evoke pity (women are often drawn to psychopaths and attempt to "save" them)
Charm (they succeed in bewitching those around them)
Asocial/criminal behaviour
Boredom
Social Climbing (compensates with social success; those who cannot relate through love can only relate through power) 1
So the question:

Does desire for power help or impair the learning or operation of Aiki as O Sensei understood it?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 09-12-2008, 05:55 PM   #2
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Does desire for power help or impair the learning or operation of Aiki as O Sensei understood it?
Moralisticly, desiring power over others is wrong and desiring power over one's self is right.
Whether that translates into a shorter/better learning curve I have no idea.
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Old 09-13-2008, 11:47 AM   #3
Janet Rosen
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
Moralisticly, desiring power over others is wrong and desiring power over one's self is right.
I think I know what you mean, but if so would express it differently - unless we really are meaning something different? - that is, power over myself implies an imposition that, like "fighting pain," puts a person on the wrong track. Kind of like aikido, having to fully accept the (reality of the) attack, in my experience the first step towards self-control, dealing with pain or hardship, etc, is accepting it. Again, maybe its just semantics, but I think "power over oneself" sets up the desirer and the self as separate entities in a struggle, and when its viewed that way, the integration that makes it easier to do is set up as an impossibility.

Having said that...to return to the original question: I find on the mat being attached to a specific outcome instead of focussing on process and structure is pretty much a guarantee I'm going to mess up. And it seems to me that seeking power or any other intangible falls under the heading of being attached to a specific outcome, so I'd say, yeah, it would impede learning.

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Old 09-13-2008, 01:39 PM   #4
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Good and timely topic Erick.

I have thought about this lately as well.

I think it is a double edge sword.

Is the quest for understanding or knowledge wrong?

What about a intense and obsessive desire to remove ignorance?

I don't think it is the quest for it that is necessarily wrong. It is when we go about it in the wrong ways or with the wrong attitudes that make make it wrong. (Not sure if that make sense)

Power for the sake of power is wrong. seeking it to control and dominate others is wrong. Pushing or cutting people down in the process is wrong. Seeking it at the expense of others and when you lose compassion is wrong.

Why do I want "power". I want it not so much to control others, but to better understand myself and how I can better interact with the world.

Moderation as in anything is important. Remaining compassionate is a requirement as it is in everything we do.

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Old 09-13-2008, 02:41 PM   #5
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Does desire for power help or impair the learning or operation of Aiki as O Sensei understood it?
Since I have not idea how O'Sensei understood it, I haven't a clue.

But, IMHO, from how I understand it, it would depend on the definition and intention of both "desire" and "power".

If "desire" is an egotistical attachment, then yes. If "desire" is a direction and a discipline, then perhaps no.

If "power" is over others, then yes. If "power" is over self, then perhaps no.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:30 PM   #6
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

isn't desire a form of power? a couple of thoughts (I can't count). "power tends to corrupt,...." is it power that corrupt or is it the human that wields power corrupt? is gun kill or the person who pulls the trigger kill? gun represents power, is the person who hold the gun has more power than the gun or less? which leads to some other thoughts, to control a power required a great power, to control a greater power, required a greater still power, and on and on. can power be control with less power? or is power an illusion?

another random thought, agatsu means (I hope) self victory. victory implies battle or fight. victory implies a winner and a loser. self victory implies a battle or a fight with yourself. so who is the loser in self victory? how many look into the mirror and like the person that look back, including all those dark, hidden corners of that person soul?

if my knowledge is correct, O Sensei was a power hungry, arrogant, vicious, and a nasty bugger in his younger years. he searched for power and got power. yet he changed in his later years. what changed a man? can a man be changed? can the core of a man be changed? to change a thing requires a power from a thing. didn't O Sensei said "I am the universe"? the universe has lots of power. or it could be that he was just an delusional old man who found a way to change his universe?

just rambling and musing on power and aiki. mind you, I only know power, and not much on aiki.
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Old 09-14-2008, 12:31 PM   #7
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

With great power comes great responsibility.

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Old 09-14-2008, 07:39 PM   #8
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Good and timely topic Erick.

I have thought about this lately as well.

I think it is a double edge sword.

Is the quest for understanding or knowledge wrong?

What about a intense and obsessive desire to remove ignorance?

I don't think it is the quest for it that is necessarily wrong. It is when we go about it in the wrong ways or with the wrong attitudes that make make it wrong. (Not sure if that make sense)

Power for the sake of power is wrong. seeking it to control and dominate others is wrong. Pushing or cutting people down in the process is wrong. Seeking it at the expense of others and when you lose compassion is wrong.

Why do I want "power". I want it not so much to control others, but to better understand myself and how I can better interact with the world.

Moderation as in anything is important. Remaining compassionate is a requirement as it is in everything we do.
I have been thinking a great deal lately about powers and desire. Contemplating how to advise teenagers in ways they are prepared to hear will do that.

On the topic of desire -- desire is a product of our nature. We are told and enticed to find "what we want" -- but experience and many traditions teach that desire leads astray. The solution is therefore to understand the nature that in a given situation leads to a particular desire -- and thus to be able to see if the desire, like light necessary for the nature of vision, becomes like glare interfering with that vision -- an excess that desire per se cannot deal with unless the nature that it proceeds from is first grasped. So, rather than seeking to find out "what I want" I am better advised to discover "who and what I am" that gives rise to such a desire.

But while I premised the issue as "desire for power," I have the intuition that power is like desire in this way also, but in a way that I have not yet put my mind on as firmly. The question of desire is "what do I want.;" The parallel question of power is "what can I do."

So what is the aspect of our nature from which that inquiry springs?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 09-14-2008, 08:24 PM   #9
Ketsan
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Worryingly that list of symptoms remind me of me, especially in my teenage years.

I too found out that I could beat people up and that I liked it, but it never really bothered me. For years I studied martial arts purely as systems for more efficiently beating people up.
The only real saving grace I had was that I was too anti-social to start fights, I didn't understand other people, I didn't like or trust them and pretty much everyone picked on me, so I kept myself to myself.
The thing that changed all that, or rather is changing all that, is the desire for power. What started as purely a desire for power over others has given way to a desire for self mastery.
I think whether or not the desire for power impares Aiki depends on an individuals defintion of power. I had reached a point where physically I had all the power I needed but I still felt fear around people, I still felt weak. Being able to beat up just about anyone wasn't enough for me, I needed more strength, more power. Being and becoming ever more destructive wasn't getting me what I wanted and so I began to feel powerless.

Of course the only path to the power I now seek is internal. I became concious of the fact that becoming more powerful internally meant changing who I was and so I was forced into asking just what power was and what this new Alex would be like.
To me it seemed logical that fear, or maybe the lack of control of fear, was the basis of weakness and that all actions and thoughts based in fear were essentially weak.
The opposite of that, as I see it, is love. Love is the bravest thing you can do because it almost invariably involves leaving yourself open.
So seeking to become brave and fearless I started working on becoming more sociable and compassionate. In so doing I'm loosing my desire to control others, I have no fear of people and so I do not need to control them to control my fear.

So actually I think the desire for power is probably essential to developing Aiki because Aiki is power. That said I think that what is also essential, and I do not claim to have it, (but then I don't deny I do either) is wisdom.
With wisdom you can seperate healthy desires from destructive ones, it's wisdom that keeps you on the path that leads to power and desire that pushes you along it.
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Old 09-14-2008, 08:36 PM   #10
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
I have been thinking a great deal lately about powers and desire. Contemplating how to advise teenagers in ways they are prepared to hear will do that.

On the topic of desire -- desire is a product of our nature. We are told and enticed to find "what we want" -- but experience and many traditions teach that desire leads astray. The solution is therefore to understand the nature that in a given situation leads to a particular desire -- and thus to be able to see if the desire, like light necessary for the nature of vision, becomes like glare interfering with that vision -- an excess that desire per se cannot deal with unless the nature that it proceeds from is first grasped. So, rather than seeking to find out "what I want" I am better advised to discover "who and what I am" that gives rise to such a desire.

But while I premised the issue as "desire for power," I have the intuition that power is like desire in this way also, but in a way that I have not yet put my mind on as firmly. The question of desire is "what do I want.;" The parallel question of power is "what can I do."

So what is the aspect of our nature from which that inquiry springs?
Desire (IMO) is the natural human tendancy to move away from fear and towards security, so the question that really needs to be asked is "What am I afraid of?" If that can be answered and resolved then desire will cease.
Fear itself is natural and inbuilt, we fear things in order to motivate us to survive. Some fears are healthy, some aren't, likewise some fears are rational and some aren't. Either way IMO the root cause of all desire is fear of some kind.
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Old 09-14-2008, 09:38 PM   #11
John Matsushima
 
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

I think absolutely that not only does desiring power impair Aiki, but reliance, possession, and use of power is an obstacle to aiki. Of course, there is a minimal level of power needed, but only the amount needed to do the action; anything more is wasted. The phrase "To do Aikido, all you need is the power to raise your arm" comes to mind. Efficiency is the key word.

Why does power impair Aiki? Well, I look at it this way, the stronger one's muscles are, the less effective one's technique has to be. One could have terrible form, sloppy technique, bad posture, bad timing, but consider themselves good in aikido if they are still able to slam a few people to the mat with their power (and I've seen it) But there are all kinds of power; muscle, internal, speed, mental (strategy), and my point is that the more focused one is on power, the less that one is on discovering, using, and developing higher levels in aikido.

By letting go of whatever it is that gives us power, only then we can truly grow.

力を抜く

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Old 09-15-2008, 11:47 AM   #12
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Like someone else said, I really (even after many years of reading translations and listening to people like Peter Goldsbury) have only a little idea of what Ueshiba Sensei would say about this topic. I let that little idea influence some of my own perspectives...but hey, he wasn't god, I don't worship him, and I have to find my own way, any how. I have had experiences like Erick's, though, and have also struggled with the "beast within". I guess for me, there are a few issues here as well...

Desire...Power...Aiki.

Desire...I often see as the "I want" voice in my head. I want a new car, I want to make more money, I want a beautiful, sexy girlfriend who does all the things that turn me on. I think it occured to me several years ago that the "I want" voice needs to be strictly controlled, and that the desires it goes after are not always the best things for me. Some of that figuring out came through aikido, a lot of it did not.

Power...comes in many forms, shapes sizes. Words can have power, ideas can have power, objects can have power, people can have power. On top of that, there are different types of power. Physical power, spiritual power, etc. Sometimes power is used negatively, sometimes positively. Too many variations for me to be concerned with all of them.

For me, if there is are kinds of power that I seek, some would be the power to influence others without being physical (words, sounds, actions that do not encroach on physical bounderies). Or the power to sustain an assualt, absorb the power directed toward me, and then transmit that power back into a person. Or even to establish my own physical power in a situation that demands it.

So I don't see a neccesarily negative or positive connotation for the word power. If I am doing judo, a nice powerfull sweep is just fine. If I am trying to isolate the power behind a particular aikido throw, I may want to look at power a little differently. It really becomes an "it depends" situation...and those "it depends" situations require constant vigilence.

Aiki...I tend to think of more and more as a set of physical skills which may, or may not, lead someone to what may also be something more than the physical skills. YMMV.

So I tend to be carefull about the "I Want" where power is concerned...just because of the nature of the "I Want" and the nature of power. And if I apply those things to Aiki, again, I think being vigilent about your own integrity is paramount. If you lose that integrity, even for a moment, there may be a very high price to pay.

But then, very few things worth doing are easy, right?

Best,
Ron

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Old 09-15-2008, 03:57 PM   #13
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Good and timely topic Erick.

I have thought about this lately as well.

I think it is a double edge sword.

Is the quest for understanding or knowledge wrong?

What about a intense and obsessive desire to remove ignorance?

I don't think it is the quest for it that is necessarily wrong. It is when we go about it in the wrong ways or with the wrong attitudes that make make it wrong. (Not sure if that make sense)

Power for the sake of power is wrong. seeking it to control and dominate others is wrong. Pushing or cutting people down in the process is wrong. Seeking it at the expense of others and when you lose compassion is wrong.

Why do I want "power". I want it not so much to control others, but to better understand myself and how I can better interact with the world.

Moderation as in anything is important. Remaining compassionate is a requirement as it is in everything we do.
Nicely put! I think the knowledge as power relate puts this question in a great light.
As a smaller guy with relatively few monitary resources, I often desire greater power. I want to be able to do things for the people around me (and afar) who need help and deserve more than they have. In this sense I think desire for power is crucial for aiki...and the ai of love for that matter. The world is full of mountains to be dealt with and it takes power, either to move those mountains or to simply move around them.
My understanding of desire is that it is something which stems from instinct and as such is tied deeply to the pleasure principle. Junkies can tell you a lot about the nature of desire...or at least a lot of the behavioral manifestations. Similarly,like Erick, I've experienced moments where I didn't like what I liked...many of them actually. The trick with desire, in my view, has everything to do with balancing them with each other (e.g. my desire to be lazy is balanced by my desire to keep my wife happy). How we mentally feed in to our desires shapes their relative strength so like most things that's a matter of practice.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:20 AM   #14
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
With great power comes great responsibility.
Is that an original thought? Maybe you should use quotation marks?


I think it was ...uh, Stan Lee? Either him or Spiderman.

__________________

I think we need to define "Power". That, in itself, is another thread.

I do know that adding power to techniques is detrimental in Aikido. The "blending" comes from matching the "power" of uke and using that to make a connection so we can fit without giving too much information back into the feedback loop. If we do add "power" to this loop, that "information" can be used by uke for kaeshi waza (countering techniques) and then we become uke. Now you have "randori".

Simple answer: Yes, the desire for power impairs Aiki.

Last edited by brUNO : 06-02-2009 at 10:22 AM. Reason: spelling

Bruno
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:37 AM   #15
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
So the question:

Does desire for power help or impair the learning or operation of Aiki as O Sensei understood it?
" as O Sensei understood it".

On a physical level ( body ), yes because powering a technique uses the muscles and tendons differently in a functional way then using aiki does.

On a mental (mind ) level, Maybe yes maybe no, depending on whether you are trying to help or hinder.

On a spiritual level, as goes the body and mind so goes the spirit.

David
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:10 PM   #16
Mark Peckett
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

In "The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" the author Douglas Adams says (althought he was talking about political power, but nevertheless it's an aposite aphorism):

Those who seek power are inherently unsuited to wield it

A wise saying from a funny book.
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:56 PM   #17
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Thanks for that, Ron.
Josh
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Old 06-03-2009, 04:13 AM   #18
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Does desire for power help or impair the learning or operation of Aiki as O Sensei understood it?
I'd say it helps, but (as has been mentioned in other people's posts) it greatly depends on the definitions used. So I'm just going to reply to some of the stuff said in this thread.

[Added later:] The most important point I want to make with regards to this discussion is that imo most of it stems from a naive philosphy of mind. Our intelligence (higher mental faculties) has in reality far less influence on our desires, motivations and emotions than we are comfortable with. As Janet says:
Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
"Again, maybe its just semantics, but I think "power over oneself" sets up the desirer and the self as separate entities in a struggle, and when its viewed that way, the integration that makes it easier to do is set up as an impossibility."
Trying to control the source of the dark joy/anger is dangerous, because that's a form of denial that this joy/anger is part of who you are. Incorporating it into your indentity (in a non-repessive way) is the best road to take.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Lately there has been much discussion of severing the ethic of aikido from practice in the matter of aiki -- seeking aiki as a matter of achieving power, and then in a good relativist utilitarian manner simply applying that power in whatever way seems best to you.
How can utilitarianism be relativistic? Unless you are claiming that man should not make his own ethical decisions (by estimating the utility of the options, in case of utilitarianism), but should just do as prescribed by some higher authority (God, objective moral qualities, ...)? If so, where does the ethic of aikido come from? From the kami with O-sensei as their prophet?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
One -- the pathetic arrogant bastard never even saw it coming, which surprised me in his lack of ability to respond to sudden real aggression that was not for show; Two, I did not know that I could do that and it scared the living crap out of me that I could so trivially do that to another human being.
That's 'civilisation'. We are used to all kinds of intimidation and violence, as long as it is not physical. As soon as it does get physical, both sides are freaked out by what happens. And ironically, nothing much happened: lots of flailing and pounding and a bloody nose. Sure, that's violence, but 'controlled'* violence resulting from a dominance issue within a group. Humans are animals, this kind of behaviour is normal. It's actually quite funny that most people who are appalled by 'controlled' physical violence have much less problems with non-physical forms of 'controlled' violence (giving then finger, insulting, ignoring, etc.).

* Controlled may not be the best term here. Fact is that dominance fights within a group rarely lead to death or serious injury.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
So. College rolls around, some dabbling in karate and then -- Aikido. A means of control for a dark joy/anger I had not, until that event, even recognized was within me.
If you want to learn to control for a dark joy/anger, I'd say something with full-contact sparring might have been a better choice. Before you can control this joy/anger, you need to get to know it before you can learn how to control and channel it. IME, Aikido provides very little opportunity for that. Of course, the danger of the full-contact approach is that you learn to control it just enough so you can have great fun taking people apart. :-)

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Control and grace was the point of aiki and aikido -- not the achievement of greater power.
How is control not a form of power?
Do you believe aikido can be as graceful 'on the streets' as in the dojo? Or do you see the physical grace in the dojo as something to be applied in a non-physical way 'in real life'?
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Old 06-03-2009, 08:17 AM   #19
Abasan
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Desire for power is probably intrinsic in the human psyche. The ability to use power wisely comes from Knowledge, experience, principles and morals. These latter 4 are what you train or study for.
Because at the end of it, we can either choose to be good or bad.

Choosing to be good is probably the first step of achieving aiki. The power to influence something without the use of force. But to have aiki you need power. Remember, even without power man can be evil, lack love and hate. That's why things like guns are so devastating. It takes very little for anyone to achieve destructive force by having a gun. In contrast, mastering martial arts require intense training, time and energy. It is hope that in tempering our skills, we gain wisdom and compassion. The end result being, power with some moral compass.

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I don't know how relevant that is, but I love quoting it :P

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:21 AM   #20
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

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Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
I'd say it helps, but (as has been mentioned in other people's posts) it greatly depends on the definitions used. ---
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Control and grace was the point of aiki and aikido -- not the achievement of greater power.
... How is control not a form of power?
Do you believe aikido can be as graceful 'on the streets' as in the dojo? Or do you see the physical grace in the dojo as something to be applied in a non-physical way 'in real life'?
As I mean desire for power -- it is the sense of overcoming great resistance by calculated effort. That definition applies in many, many settings -- well outside of budo.

Not to prejudice the discussion -- but my sense of aiki when I work it right is effortlessness unimpeded by any resistance to speak of. Desire for power, in my way of thinking, seeks the struggle, preciselyt to gain the sense of overcoming -- as opposed to the irrelevance of anything necessary to overcome

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Erick Mead wrote:
... in a good relativist utilitarian manner simply applying that power in whatever way seems best to you.
How can utilitarianism be relativistic? Unless you are claiming that man should not make his own ethical decisions (by estimating the utility of the options, in case of utilitarianism), but should just do as prescribed by some higher authority (God, objective moral qualities, ...)?
Utilitarianism is the ethic that the maximum happiness of all concerned is the highest good. Leave aside whether happiness has any additive, commutative or transitive properties -- Fine, but who judges that maximum ? Each of us. Which involves conflicts of individual goods, or relativism. It ends up being both demeaning and self-aggrandizing. "Don't you realize that what I want is actually the best you could possibly hope for?"

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If so, where does the ethic of aikido come from? From the kami with O-sensei as their prophet?
Actually, precisely so - according to him. I don't have to apply his religious sensibility to understand that and to agree with it -- in my own terms.

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I did not know that I could do that and it scared the living crap out of me that I could so trivially do that to another human being.
Trying to control the source of the dark joy/anger is dangerous, because that's a form of denial that this joy/anger is part of who you are. Incorporating it into your indentity (in a non-repessive way) is the best road to take. ... * Controlled may not be the best term here. Fact is that dominance fights within a group rarely lead to death or serious injury. ...

If you want to learn to control for a dark joy/anger, I'd say something with full-contact sparring might have been a better choice. Before you can control this joy/anger, you need to get to know it before you can learn how to control and channel it. IME, Aikido provides very little opportunity for that. Of course, the danger of the full-contact approach is that you learn to control it just enough so you can have great fun taking people apart. :-)
You don't get it. I LIKED IT. I would not have willingly stopped at the time. I looked in the mirror and saw the eyes of the killer I now realize we all are, in one way or another. A hot tub is not the cure for the fever. I now realize that we (all of us, no matter how "weak") cannot BE any other way -- but we can BECOME something more FROM that as a foundation. On that O Sensei is a prophet of sorts.

Quote:
How is control not a form of power?
Do you believe aikido can be as graceful 'on the streets' as in the dojo? Or do you see the physical grace in the dojo as something to be applied in a non-physical way 'in real life'?
"Desire for power." That is the question. True power admits no resistance whatsoever. Desired power wishes the thrill of the opposed conquest. They are different things -- as I see it -- hence the question raised for discussion.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:45 AM   #21
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

Hi Erik,

You and I define and look at power quite differently.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:49 AM   #22
Mark Peckett
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

I've just realised - and someone's probably already pointed it out, but if they have I'll re-state it:

There's a world of difference between power and power over someone else.
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:21 AM   #23
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Desire for power, in my way of thinking, seeks the struggle, precisely to gain the sense of overcoming -- as opposed to the irrelevance of anything necessary to overcome.
Very Nietzsche.
And yes, there's a lot of fun to be had in skillfully crushing resistance. But if that is all that motivates you or if it prevents you from displaying sportsmanship, then well ... shame on you.

Quote:
Utilitarianism is the ethic that the maximum happiness of all concerned is the highest good. Leave aside whether happiness has any additive, commutative or transitive properties -- Fine, but who judges that maximum ? Each of us. Which involves conflicts of individual goods, or relativism. It ends up being both demeaning and self-aggrandizing. "Don't you realize that what I want is actually the best you could possibly hope for?"
I'm not in favor of utilitarianism for the exact same reason you stated. I am a relativist, though. But I don't think we need to solve this problem of meta-ethics to discuss desire for power and aiki.

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I looked in the mirror and saw the eyes of the killer I now realize we all are, in one way or another. A hot tub is not the cure for the fever.I now realize that we (all of us, no matter how "weak") cannot BE any other way -- but we can BECOME something more FROM that as a foundation. On that O Sensei is a prophet of sorts.
Could you explain how this works exactly? How aikido can help us to be more than this killer?
Because the only way I think one can learn to deal with one's violent side is to get to know it (under controlled circumstances). The alternative (taken to the extreme) is what they did to Alex in a Clockwork Orange. Instead of physically constraining him, they constrain him mentally, but nothing is really solved. Hence my question about how according to you aikido works in this respect. Because you sure don't seem to be in denial about the violent side of man.

Quote:
True power admits no resistance whatsoever. Desired power wishes the thrill of the opposed conquest. They are different things -- as I see it -- hence the question raised for discussion.
Don't you desire true power?
And at my most cynical, I'd argue that the only difference between desired power and true power is the eloquence of the person pursuing it.
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:39 AM   #24
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hi Erik,

You and I define and look at power quite differently.

Best,
Ron
That is your sense of it -- but how can we know that unless you give us your definition?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:59 AM   #25
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Does Desiring Power Impair Aiki ?

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Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
Very Nietzsche.
Oh, I hope not -- the abyss stared him down ...

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Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
And yes, there's a lot of fun to be had in skillfully crushing resistance. But if that is all that motivates you or if it prevents you from displaying sportsmanship, then well ... shame on you.
It isn't. But it could have. Easily. Sportsmanship, though -- what is that -- in budo terms?

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Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
Could you explain how this works exactly? How aikido can help us to be more than this killer?
Because the only way I think one can learn to deal with one's violent side is to get to know it (under controlled circumstances).
We agree -- and my sense of O Sensei is that he would be nodding affirmatively. Having said that, there is a very different approach in the competitive (even sportsman-like) contest and O Sensei's non-competitive, nonresistant budo training in aiki. It is in my opinion a difference that goes right down to a fundamental difference of the affective hormonal systems dominating one's biology in the moment of conflict.

Where adrenal-modulated effort is paramount in competitive or threat scenarios, another hormone dominance is promoted by Aikido training. Oxytocin. "True Budo is Love." It is in ways more powerful, and longer-lasting, with positive feedback in its expression that allows supreme effort in terms of hours vice mintues under adrenal surge and it can control and modulate the adrenal pathways.
Desire matters deeply, but not the desire for power for its own sake -- the desire to protect -- which is motivated only by love. The Cross of Aiki -- which one may understand in terms equally Christian, Shinto or behavioral neuropsychology. A floating bridge, we might say.
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Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
Don't you desire true power?
And at my most cynical, I'd argue that the only difference between desired power and true power is the eloquence of the person pursuing it.
Ah, the paradox -- which are really the only sort of topics worth discussing at any length ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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