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Old 03-05-2009, 08:44 PM   #26
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

I always keep coming back to this video of Saotome Sensei for some reason. I think it displays what I see is the best example of the spectrum of aikido. Look at :26 sec in particular. We see very direct and violent action to that of hand shake. I feel very fortunate to have spent my time under Saotome Sensei and his senior students. It has been made very clear to me what we are doing (or should be).

Steve brings up some very good points I think and it is worth thinking about, maybe not necessarily worrying about answering directly, but at least thinking about it is important for sure.

As a Soldier this is a subject very near and dear to my heart. I practice a full spectrum of force when I am doing my "operational" job. It can be anything from building meaningful relationships with people in small villages, showing compassion to a child, to at a split second turning lethal force on an enemy combatant.

I understand that many (most) folks out there do not have a need or situation for this type of training, but I think it is valuable to understand and the core level what it is that we are indeed practicing, if we expect to truely understand violence, the application of it, and how to control it when things get really bad for us, if nothing else, to learn to identify it within ourselves, how to deal with the stress and emotion that rises in those situations.

I think it requires a certain amount of honesty of what violence really is and looking it in the eye at face value. Not some reframing of it to make it easier to swallow or to sweep under the rug.

This is not budo, imo. Budo is about dealing with it, looking it in the eye understanding things we may not like and learning how to correctly respond to them.

How do you learn that by learning to avoid violence, or forming a preconcieved notion about how we might respond, or studying a limited spectrum of responses such as studying "only those things which will resolve the situation with out harming our enemy"?

I personally think this is a narrow way to study, an incomplete way, and a way that may result in someone getting seriously hurt or killed if they ever do get involved in a physically violent encounter. I don't think from the time I have spent with Saotome Sensei and from watching the video above, that O'Sensei meant for us to study in such a narrow way.

Again, I understand that many study martial arts for many different reasons and alot out there are not concerned with the physicality of violence, but only the mental or spiritual aspects of it.

I appologize for being so blunt, but I think if you are sugar coating or reframing what it is that budo or aikido is meant to dissect and be about by not looking deep or honestly about what we are studying (violence) then you are simply going through the motions simply to feel good about yourself, and if you are an instructor, well I think you are failing your students by having them study something that is not budo.

Again, as a soldier, I take my study of budo very seriously. I have found that because I am physically, mentally, and spiritually strong, that I am able to present a formidible, strong, and confident presence when I deal with people that I am not really sure if they want to be my friend or to kill me. (the line can be very narrow sometime). I feel in my heart that because I have a good martial ability, the confidence gives me much room to open up and be compassionate, to give them room to expand, to talk and express. It allows me to listen and be sincere, and I hope it allows me to gain trust when I deal with people.

I feel if I did not understand so much how to handle myself martially it would show, I would feel it in the situation and I would have to "pull back" some to "protect" myself and it would prevent relationships from having as much meaning as they might otherwise.

It is only through learning how to fight, how to use the various "tools", how they work, the damage they can cause, when it is appropriate to use them, and when not, that allows me to skillfully engage in situations from meetings in the Pentagon, to meetings in some third world country, to walking into situations in which someone might be my enemy and I may not know it.

I do not want to tell anyone what Aikido should be to them, or how to train. I only hope though, that many of you will reflect upon this topic and seriously consider, honestly what it is that we do when we do what we do, and maybe consider that aikido and/or budo should not be limited by your own perconceptions or paradigms about what you view as ideal or "comfortable".

Budo should study the full spectrum from the ugly to the beautiful and everything in between. It is from that study that we can form our own understanding about how to apply the lessons that we learn.

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Old 03-05-2009, 08:50 PM   #27
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
FWIW. To be consistent in a very well "summing it up" way. I would use the word practice. When using "theatre play" that is a bit narrow. I don't disagree. I am sure there are some dojos out that where "theatre play" fits, but not all. You got to give credit to those Aikidoka that do seriously train. Not all dojos are stages.
By the same token UFC is also theater play, stage drama with real blood for scene dressing. WWF also (WWE now, I guess), as a specific case in point. Romans had some rather elaborate plays in the Colosseum -- where the players died in the scene. Very definitely fighting and stage craft -- they are not exclusive.

But acknowledging the general validity of the observation in our current taste for theater, what sort of work is aikido? -- There is some worthwhile analogizing to indulge.

I see it as a play of manners, sometimes tongue in cheek, sometimes Ibsenesque, in its layered revealing of a bitter reality beneath the care and courtesy of formal observance.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 03-05-2009 at 08:53 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:52 PM   #28
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
FWIW. To be consistent in a very well "summing it up" way. I would use the word practice. When using "theatre play" that is a bit narrow. I don't disagree. I am sure there are some dojos out that where "theatre play" fits, but not all. You got to give credit to those Aikidoka that do seriously train. Not all dojos are stages.

*By practice I mean within the context of learning a skill.
I'm not really sure you get what he is getting at.I'm not sure I get it either, but here's my take on the issue.

Aikido training isn't about learning a skill that you then go apply elsewhere. It's not that you don't learn skills or that they're not applicable in other contexts, you do and they are. But that really isn't the point. The point of aikido training is to work on yourself and to help your partner work on him(or her)self. As you advance, you then find that the training starts to follow you outside the dojo, it becomes part of who you are and how you live. I view it as a path of self improvement with no end or ultimate goal.

Also, if I were you I would hesitate to make too any assumptions about the seriousness of the training Szczepan is used to. And as long as "theatre play" includes forms of improv theatre, I think he has a point, even when applied to the most "martial" of aikido dojos.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 03-05-2009, 09:35 PM   #29
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

Umm. I'm confused. Might just be me, but to my way of thinking this discussion seems to be about training methods rather than about Aikido.

We talk about prearranged attacks with prearranged ukemi and no intent from the attacker and it's about developing spiritual goals yada yada and this is how we define Aikido, in contrast to say MMA which is about resistance, no spirtual goals and what not.

So if I'm going about my business tommorrow and some guy tries to hit me with the intention of doing me harm and I throw him with irimi nage learned in what I'll provisionally call an Aikido dojo, by a lot of people's defintions, I haven't used Aikido.
It wasn't prearranged, there was intention on the attackers part to do harm and the encounter wasn't for the purposes of self improvement. Ergo, no Aikido.

Aikido is the only art that defines itself by how it trains and seldom by how it's applied outside of the dojo. Of course I assume it has applications outside of the dojo.

See my dojo is all about self defence, a lot of people I know have used what we're taught for real and it's worked amazingly well. I know other people, including myself, that have used it to defeat people in sparring matches.
If Aikido i.e, the techniques we have and the physical lessons they teach, have no physical self defence application outside of the dojo then what my teacher teaches can't be called Aikido.

For me what happens in class is largely irrelevent in defining an art, just because you don't fight in class it doesn't mean the art is not about fighting. How much of koryu bujutsu does that wacky definition turn into "theatre play?"

Just a few random thoughts.
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Old 03-06-2009, 08:36 AM   #30
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

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Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
For me what happens in class is largely irrelevent in defining an art, just because you don't fight in class it doesn't mean the art is not about fighting. How much of koryu bujutsu does that wacky definition turn into "theatre play?"

Just a few random thoughts.
If you want to learn how to fight, you must actually fight, and as often as possible. Otherwise you are fooling yourself.
There is an old saying from Himalaya:
It is impossible to learn swimming in an empty pool by imitating the moves of swimmers.

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Old 03-06-2009, 08:38 AM   #31
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

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Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
If you want to learn how to fight, you must actually fight, and as often as possible. Otherwise you are fooling yourself.
If I actually fought, as often as possible, I'd be spending my life in the hospital or in jail.
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Old 03-06-2009, 08:43 AM   #32
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Hi Szczepan,
Very nicely said. I am in awe of how concisely you summed it up. Very impressive.
- George
Hello George,
This is a real disaster, you agree with me for the third time! If you continue like that, Jun will have to close this forum, from lack of discussion

Nagababa

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Old 03-06-2009, 08:48 AM   #33
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

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Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
Not that I think you should actually be fighting with me or trying to kill me, just to be clear
Of course this clarification will not help you a lot

Nagababa

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Old 03-06-2009, 09:09 AM   #34
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

I look at it this way, let's say i'm faced with someone twice my size that wants to dismember me. If I try to overcome him with force and speed, I WILL lose. He may also be trained in martial arts, so depending on his training if I try to overcome him with martial strategy, I will probably still lose. So, any attempt by me to "overcome" him will probably result in my own dismemberment. That, I consider to be fighting. However, through Aikido, I believe it is possible to survive, I won't win, but I will survive. That's not fighting. If I am proficient enough, I can execute an Aikido technique well enough so that I don't receive his attack. Consider an irimi movement. Even if you practice against someone who is REALLY REALLY trying to hit you, it is possible to just move past them without getting hit. There, no fighting. So, to sum it up, I think that one can say that Aikido is not about fighting, because the focus is not on overcoming or subduing and attacker; that's kind of bonus.

When it's raining, you won't stay dry by fighting the clouds.

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Old 03-06-2009, 10:03 AM   #35
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I always keep coming back to this video of Saotome Sensei for some reason. I think it displays what I see is the best example of the spectrum of aikido. Look at :26 sec in particular. We see very direct and violent action to that of hand shake...
As a Soldier this is a subject very near and dear to my heart. I practice a full spectrum of force when I am doing my "operational" job. It can be anything from building meaningful relationships with people in small villages, showing compassion to a child, to at a split second turning lethal force on an enemy combatant.
...I think it requires a certain amount of honesty of what violence really is and looking it in the eye at face value. Not some reframing of it to make it easier to swallow or to sweep under the rug.

This is not budo, imo. Budo is about dealing with it, looking it in the eye understanding things we may not like and learning how to correctly respond to them.

Again, I understand that many study martial arts for many different reasons and alot out there are not concerned with the physicality of violence, but only the mental or spiritual aspects of it.

I appologize for being so blunt, but I think if you are sugar coating or reframing what it is that budo or aikido is meant to dissect and be about by not looking deep or honestly about what we are studying (violence) then you are simply going through the motions simply to feel good about yourself, and if you are an instructor, well I think you are failing your students by having them study something that is not budo.

Again, as a soldier, I take my study of budo very seriously. I have found that because I am physically, mentally, and spiritually strong, that I am able to present a formidible, strong, and confident presence when I deal with people that I am not really sure if they want to be my friend or to kill me. (the line can be very narrow sometime). I feel in my heart that because I have a good martial ability, the confidence gives me much room to open up and be compassionate, to give them room to expand, to talk and express. It allows me to listen and be sincere, and I hope it allows me to gain trust when I deal with people.

I feel if I did not understand so much how to handle myself martially it would show, I would feel it in the situation and I would have to "pull back" some to "protect" myself and it would prevent relationships from having as much meaning as they might otherwise.

It is only through learning how to fight, how to use the various "tools", how they work, the damage they can cause, when it is appropriate to use them, and when not, that allows me to skillfully engage in situations from meetings in the Pentagon, to meetings in some third world country, to walking into situations in which someone might be my enemy and I may not know it.

Budo should study the full spectrum from the ugly to the beautiful and everything in between. It is from that study that we can form our own understanding about how to apply the lessons that we learn.
Which video, Kevin? I think I know which one you're talking about, but I'm not sure.
Also, I think we need soldiers like yourself to remind us of the "blunt" nature of conflict. If I hadn't seen some of the things I've seen by happenstance, I don't think I could have much to say on violence from a practical standpoint...and I certainly couldn't appreciate the stark severity it can bring. It's the blessing of a past curse, if that makes any sense, and I value those events for those lessons of unwavering severity. Frankly they make me appreciate peaceful things so much better than your "average" dude. That said, when I describe the need/desire to avoid conflict, I'm not saying a person should live a life of avoidance; quite the opposite in fact. It's more of a pull toward peace than a push away from violence...er, sorry, no push and pull in Aikido: an irimi toward peace happens to also make you leave the conflict...usually on the ground.
I think part of the problem with this topic is that we have two camps: idealists who describe things in terms of the end/idealized goal, and pragmatists who describe the "bumpy" process, and rarely the two shall speak the same language...despite disagreeing anyway. That's obviously a simplification, but I think it holds merit.
What do you think?
Take care,
Matt

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Old 03-06-2009, 10:10 AM   #36
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
If you want to learn how to fight, you must actually fight, and as often as possible. Otherwise you are fooling yourself.
There is an old saying from Himalaya:
It is impossible to learn swimming in an empty pool by imitating the moves of swimmers.
Well said.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
If I actually fought, as often as possible, I'd be spending my life in the hospital or in jail.
Perhaps not getting into bar fights eery week-end but if you're learning martial art swith the intention of surviving an actual fight you need to train in an environment that mimic's what you would find 'on the street' as cliche as that saying is.

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

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Old 03-06-2009, 10:23 AM   #37
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp1WNUThJ9E

Sorry the link got dropped some how

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Old 03-06-2009, 10:47 AM   #38
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote: View Post
I look at it this way, let's say i'm faced with someone twice my size that wants to dismember me. If I try to overcome him with force and speed, I WILL lose. He may also be trained in martial arts, so depending on his training if I try to overcome him with martial strategy, I will probably still lose. So, any attempt by me to "overcome" him will probably result in my own dismemberment. That, I consider to be fighting. However, through Aikido, I believe it is possible to survive, I won't win, but I will survive. That's not fighting. If I am proficient enough, I can execute an Aikido technique well enough so that I don't receive his attack. Consider an irimi movement. Even if you practice against someone who is REALLY REALLY trying to hit you, it is possible to just move past them without getting hit. There, no fighting. So, to sum it up, I think that one can say that Aikido is not about fighting, because the focus is not on overcoming or subduing and attacker; that's kind of bonus.

When it's raining, you won't stay dry by fighting the clouds.
Hey John, I think I understand your definition of "fighting". thanks for defining it.

I would agree that if you are in a position of relative weakness to your opponent pushing back and pulling and trying to overpower, use strength, speed, and stress is not probably going to help you. I think that is what you define as "fighting". It is what I would call "struggling".

Semantics are always difficult on the internet.

How I look at fighting might be a little different. To me it is being involved in a situation of physical violence where someone or persons is intent on hurting or killing you physically.

We can discuss the "mental fight" and how aikido applies philosophically and conditions us to deal with the full spectrum of conflict resolution, and I sincerely believe that it does.

But, at the root of all of this martial arts really is about a physical practice of dealing with violent force...or fighting.

Absolutely, you need to develop skills and strategy to be successful.

Again, it may be semantics...you say "just survive", I say "win". IMM, "just surviving" is not a good mentality to adopt when you are concerned with fights of a physical nature...you pyschologically need to be prepared to win applying your skill as appropriate to the situation.

We can discuss the ethics of CR win/win, lose/win, lose/lose, win/lose and which one is ideal, but normally your opponent is not really concerned with the ethics of the situation (assuming that he made the choice to fight you and you are not a willing pariticipant and have no option.)

To me, you are either in a fight, or you are not. If you are not, then you are not. If you are, well then you are.

Up until the point that you have no choice you have choice. You have choice to disengage and negoitiate, walk away, are any other type of non-violent action you may choose.

However once you are in the fight, that choice has been taken from you, unless you choose to simply be a pacifist, which is an option, and continue to deal with the situation in a non-violent manner.

If you make this choice, which can be a good and noble one, then you will live or die within the will or desire of your opponent and he will make the choices concerning your well being.

If you choose to engage in the fight...then you are fighting. If you intent is to minimize damage to yourself, protect others, then they become your primary concern. You are fighting to prevail and to win...not "just to survive".

I suppose there could be an in between in which you try to control the situation to minimize damage to yourself and the other guy, but in reality I think this complicated as there are so many variables that you cannot control, and you are trying to apply ethics and "build the fight as you fight", which is not "no mind" really and puts you on the losing end, or at least I think the choice is in your opponents hands, which means you have no choice really!

So, I think it is important to strive to win.

Winning does not mean "at all cost". but I think it is more than "just surviving". Winning to me is me controlling the fight. I am calling the majority of the shots and I am protecting myself while controlling the actions of my opponent. I have a choice and an ethical responsibility to use appropriate force, but again, I am the guy making that choice....not my opponent for me.

Again, I understand it is semantics in many, many cases. I hope this explains the concepts I like to uses.

I think it is important to discuss and put in the proper perspective. Winning is not a dirty word and we don't need to relegate ourselves to "just enough to survive". I think that mentality will guarantee our choices will be taken from us.

Personally me, I WANT to overcome and overwhelm my opponent. I want to take away his options and dictate the rules of the fight. Once I am in control, I can choose to return to him whatever I deem necessary morally and ethically. Done right, we can show both strength, power, and compassion.

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Old 03-06-2009, 10:47 AM   #39
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

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Grant Wagar wrote: View Post
Perhaps not getting into bar fights eery week-end but if you're learning martial art swith the intention of surviving an actual fight you need to train in an environment that mimic's what you would find 'on the street' as cliche as that saying is.
It's an odds game. We cannot mimic "da street," so we approximate to the degree we see fit, based on a series of priorities, most of which have nothing to do with fisticuffs. Regardless of how well our physical training is, self-defense begins and ends with mind-set. An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of tested kokyu and for me that puts the physical training itself in a relatively less important light...though i don't want to diminish its relevancy. I've been in situations where prevention wasn't readily available and those moments certainly demand a lot (coincidentally i got lucky), so i understand where you're coming from I think.

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Old 03-06-2009, 12:29 PM   #40
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Sun Tzu wrote this about 30 centuries ago:

Aikido is about attacking the enemy's plan. What is the enemy's plan? --Simply speaking -- to pick a fight. What is the strategy against that plan? To funnel aggression into not letting him have one -- divide him against himself -- because he won't give up wanting the fight.
I have often thought that Aikido is an individual expression of the concepts contained in Sun Tzu's "Art of War"..

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
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Old 03-06-2009, 02:19 PM   #41
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
But, at the root of all of this martial arts really is about a physical practice of dealing with violent force...or fighting. ...

We can discuss the ethics of CR win/win, lose/win, lose/lose, win/lose and which one is ideal, but normally your opponent is not really concerned with the ethics of the situation (assuming that he made the choice to fight you and you are not a willing pariticipant and have no option.)

To me, you are either in a fight, or you are not. If you are not, then you are not. If you are, well then you are.

Up until the point that you have no choice you have choice. You have choice to disengage and negoitiate, walk away, are any other type of non-violent action you may choose.

However once you are in the fight, that choice has been taken from you, unless you choose to simply be a pacifist, which is an option, and continue to deal with the situation in a non-violent manner.
Thanks for posting the video --my earlier point about the kiriotoshi is plainly shown in the video at :30- :45.

The point that I suppose that I disagree with in your above statement is this: You still have a choice and it can never be taken away. That choice is -- whether you respond physically or not -- to destroy or to allow the mind of contention to arise in yourself. One can easily kill with or without the mind of contention arising. But if the mind of contention does not arise, then you may not need to.

It is a question of the nature of the evils at issue and how to order them in proper relation. Violence is an evil without qualification. It can produce nothing that is objectively good. Good cannot destroy evil -- for good cannot destroy. Only an evil can destroy another evil -- for that is its nature. It is not unjust that a great evil should be destroyed by the lesser. The result is a lessening of evil. In this way an evil, such as violence may serve a just and useful purpose -- to defeat a greater evil. It may serve good by destroying an opposed evil, but an evil can never achieve any positive good itself, anymore than water can make something dry.

The goal in war is to defeat the will of the enemy, to destroy in him the mind of contention. People are never evil as such, only their will may be so. If necessary, destroying this will may entail destroying his body and his means of contending, but not necessarily. By first destroying through budo the mind of contention in myself, I am more likely to destroy it in my enemy by the least contentious means possible under the circumstances. If I succeed in this, only his contention -- and not mine -- will define the level of destruction we are about to engage in.

That is why, as I see it, Aikido is not "about fighting" -- but is about engaging with violence.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-06-2009, 03:04 PM   #42
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

Thanks Erick.

It kinda reminds me of the koan. Do no harm, stop harm.

I agree that you have choice of how you respond in a situation. You always have that.

What you don't have choice over is the fact that you are in the fight, nor can you choose the actions that your opponent will take.

So, okay....Aikido is not about fighting...for you...that does not mean that you won't be in a fight or face violence.

I am only hoping that folks are not using this budo philosophy as an means to reframe things martially into such an allegory that it loses the actual meaning of what it is we do.

I think this has happened alot in aikido though.

I think in many cases to the extent that we have alot of foks out there that believe they have an understanding of things that they really do not.

However, I want to point out that it is not my place to judge anyone. I am just stating an observation of what I have seen in aikido over the years.

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Old 03-06-2009, 03:13 PM   #43
graham
 
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I do not want to tell anyone what Aikido should be to them, or how to train. I only hope though, that many of you will reflect upon this topic and seriously consider, honestly what it is that we do when we do what we do, and maybe consider that aikido and/or budo should not be limited by your own perconceptions or paradigms about what you view as ideal or "comfortable". (Emphasis added)
Kevin, with respect, I wonder if it's not actually you who has limited or reframed aikido to fit your own perconceptions / paradigms.

That may actually be fine, but it seems to me that you have applied the core of aikido to meet your own needs.

"A true warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing." (O Sensei)
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Old 03-06-2009, 03:38 PM   #44
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

Actually Graham, that is a very good point. I think everyone does this and you are correct. I think there is nothing wrong with this at all...as long as you understand that this is what you are doing.

All of us have different goals and objectives and different learning abilities and learning curves.

I do think that it is a little more "honest" though to recognize that at the very core of irimi nage that we are in fact studying something that was designed to provide someone with some serious pain.

Certainly that is the far end of the spectrum. As I stated at least in one post...there is a full spectrum.

Any where from "break the wrist and walk away" to "blend with them and harmonize" If you will.

What I think is particularily dishonest and deluded is to visualize "picking flowers off the ground", or the fact that "we should always strive to not use full force or the violent end of the spectrum"

AND therefore, never study it..hence we never really understand it or possess the ability to use it AND do not really have the CHOICE to not use it...since we never could.

I can't pull up youtube at work to provide a link. But consider UFC 1 where Fred Ettish entered the ring and his only real ability to deal with what he was faced with was to go to the fetal position and protect himself.

Was that a choice he really had to use, or not use violence...or was that situation forced upon him by his opponent?

Ettish entered the ring with a paradigm and years of training as a black belt. I have to believe that he thought he would win or at the very least he had a fight plan. I don't believe it was the one he ended up invoking (Fetal fighitng).

The point is not really to discuss the UFC, or fightiing...only to use this as an example of why I think we need to be careful about the paradigms we establish for ourselves and constantly re-evaluate it.

I think aikido is particularly suspectable based on how we tend to practice and we have linked it to a philosophy as well.

There is nothing wrong with the philosophy and frankly it is why I study the art mainly.

However, it does lend us to develop a dogma that can cause us to choose to ignore certain things.

It's okay if you are not about develooping your martial skills to the point that you can enter the UFC.

Aikido has the goal of perfecting self and understanding the nature of violence I think through a very unique process.

However we have to be careful to look at the root of what it is that we are doing and to be honest as we can when we do that.

You can put lipstick on a pig.....

Kotegaeshi is about disarming and breaking. There is no way around it. It is a wonderful teaching tool to explore many principles. On one end we can practice being "martially effective" with it and uses quick force and power to break the wrist in a very brutal manner. On the other end, we can explore the principle of movement associated with uke's responses to avoid violence or to change it.

What we must do, I think is recognize the root of why we are practicing this, and to do it with no preconcieved notion of how or when we might use this in reality or not and simply explore the range of what it presents and can be.

That is all I am really saying. Don't get dogmatic and dismiss things simply because of your oaradigms...explore them.

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Old 03-06-2009, 03:45 PM   #45
graham
 
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

Thanks for your response, Kevin.

I've gotta dash, because I've got a screaming baby. But I thought I'd mention that I just read your signature. Hmmm... maybe you've got me there!

"A true warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing." (O Sensei)
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Old 03-06-2009, 03:55 PM   #46
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
What you don't have choice over is the fact that you are in the fight, nor can you choose the actions that your opponent will take.

So, okay....Aikido is not about fighting...for you...that does not mean that you won't be in a fight or face violence.
True enough. And I agree that there does seem to be a certain level of delusion among those drawn to aikido and to martial arts generally in their more contemplative aspects well outside of aikido. "Not contending" in my own mind has no bearing on what the other guy is doing or will do. I think this common delusion to the contrary that somehow one will radiate peace and calm and fuzzy-bunny affection to quell the wicked into submission, is romantic, queasily saccharine --- and very, very wrong. But it is simply a confusion of means and ends -- causes for effects.

Who says the Japanese have all the good budo lines? My ancestors had a phrase-- "Cut and be damned!" Fight or no fight, win or no win, salvation or no salvation, above all -- cut. While I train to stop contending -- I never train to stop cutting. "Fighting" is a state of mind (and is present irrespective of actual physical confrontation and just as bad or worse in non-violent settings). The passive-aggressive types may be drawn to aikido because it speaks particularly to their needed corrective, though perhaps unconsciously. Heck, I even hear tell hospitals have sick people in 'em.

The purity of simple action once engaged in violence is something else, something done, but not really to be grasped at. There is a certain kind of joy in the purity of the destructive act that is unmediated by any prospect of "success." The world's dramatic literature is replete with recognition of its terrible beauty. Psychopaths want to possess it, always and wherever they go, as we would a painting or memento, which is a poison .

What I am trying to get at in my description, (very poorly, no doubt) is that the aspect of the art that I think we are speaking of is intended to improve a perception of that actual joy we find in the precision and elegance of the act -- without provoking the lust for its possession or repetition that exists in the temporary psychopathic mode of "fighting."

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-06-2009, 04:11 PM   #47
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

Good post Erick! LOL, yes indeed hospitals do have sick people in them!

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Old 03-06-2009, 09:29 PM   #48
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

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By the same token UFC is also theater play, stage drama with real blood for scene dressing. WWF also (WWE now, I guess), as a specific case in point. Romans had some rather elaborate plays in the Colosseum -- where the players died in the scene. Very definitely fighting and stage craft -- they are not exclusive.

But acknowledging the general validity of the observation in our current taste for theater, what sort of work is aikido? -- There is some worthwhile analogizing to indulge.

I see it as a play of manners, sometimes tongue in cheek, sometimes Ibsenesque, in its layered revealing of a bitter reality beneath the care and courtesy of formal observance.
I agree. UFC and no insult intended is entertainment for the masses. I am just glad we are not like the Romans.

FWIW, Rolling around in my head while I was responding back to Szczepan Janczuk was maybe people didn't understand that I did know what he meant by "theater play." I think I do, anyway. I mean its rehearsing scenarios of attacks and responses to those attacks. While this is true, it is also true that there are Aikido dojo's that practice for the art its self. Their goal is like any craftsmen or artist and that is to refine their skill to the highest level of ability. They don't care about fighting scenarios or that stuff at all. I am one of those types of people. Aikido isn't a combat art. Yea, sure it comes from that and if changes where made it could that again. I ask, then what is the point of that? You might as well take others arts that would fit the purpose just fine.

I don't particularly care personally to have a fighters lifestyle or mentality. I see Aikido as an art in life style and practice in my life. I do appreciate (of what I understand ) the philosophy. I am intrigued by all the stuff that gave birth to Aikido and all that of what brought O'Sensei to be the person he was. I make him a study. That is want interests me, and not fighting in a ring or a bar etc. to prove something. It isn't what I want out of life, or want to be. I have only one life. I don't want to live it proving that I can defeat another man in a human cock fight. Any way that type of life has a very small window with high risks. I don't want to spend my life fighting and being challenged to fights. It isn't what I want to do with my time personally.

Do I want to add other skills to my Aikido? No. I think Aikido is complete in the area of skills. Aikido techniques are based in techniques born out of some pretty fierce life and death combat. Aikido is an art that can be developed. Aikido is a plastic art. If I need to fight on the ground all I have to do is look at Aikido for that, because it is there. That isn't to say if I neglected that area of ground fighting then my Aikido would would fail if I found myself in a ground fight on the street with a person who wanted to wrestle me rather than stand there and kick the hell out of me with steel toed boots. More than likely most people I would face are not people who have wrestling skills. Instead it would be those who don't have such skill and make quick of the situation by kicking me, if they didn't shoot me first.

That would be true also if I neglect any other area of Aikido. All arts have soft areas, to cover those areas I would have to train in a dozen different sports, systems and arts. That isn't realistic for me. And isn't my philosophy of a well-rounded fighter. A well rounded fighter isn't just skilled in physical arts but the mental arts too. Such a person would put allot of effort in avoiding a fight, or not-fighting to win a fight- with a look, carries themselves etc. Street fighting also is an art. It is also a mental game.

For self-defense, Aikido is better than nothing , even if I am realistic about it or not. I take responsibility for my own skill and abilities. And there are other things that work for self-defense and self-protection, that are more current and specific to self-defense than Aikido. Aikido is good for self-defense technique wise, but it is how it is practiced etc. that is out-dated. Point is there are other systems that address the current issues and stuff, so Aikido doesn't have to something just for self-defense.

Aikido for me is an art. An art I practice as an art. I have no interest in using it to fight or use it as self-defense. My interest is in the process and benefits that result in all arts when you take them seriously.
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:37 AM   #49
Ketsan
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

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Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
If you want to learn how to fight, you must actually fight, and as often as possible. Otherwise you are fooling yourself.
There is an old saying from Himalaya:
It is impossible to learn swimming in an empty pool by imitating the moves of swimmers.
So basically if it works in a fight then it's not Aikido.
Which solves my problem because I now know I'm not studying Aikido.
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:02 AM   #50
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Re: Aikido is not about fighting

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Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
So basically if it works in a fight then it's not Aikido.
Which solves my problem because I now know I'm not studying Aikido.
As you wish.
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