Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-27-2002, 01:41 PM   #1
Jonathan
Dojo: North Winnipeg Aikikai
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 265
Offline
Ego

I've come to realize that ego, that part of us that seeks to be seen always in the best light possible, that part of us that produces a fear of failure and a desire to win, is one of the greatest hindrances to success as a martial artist. I've seen ego in Aikido training paralyze some people with fear, cause deep frustration in others, and even enrage a few. I've noticed that it clouds thinking, limits spontaneity, and reduces relaxation. Ego guards the boundaries of one's comfort zone, often barring the way to the growth that comes from stepping into unfamiliar territory. Consequently, I don't think the deepest aspects of Aikido will ever be discovered by someone who doesn't abandon their ego.

But, how does one set aside one's ego? I'd be very interested in hearing the thoughts of others on this.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2002, 02:13 PM   #2
shihonage
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 890
United_States
Offline
By not being judgmental about other people's egos.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2002, 05:12 PM   #3
Erik
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
Offline
Jonathon, just for thought.

Michael Jordan, who was the best basketball player in the world for a significant portion of his career is absolutely possessed of a WHOPPING HUGE BIG GIANT HUMONGUOUS MUST WIN EVERY DAMN TIME EGO. His ego is huge.

It was this ego that gave him the drive to become who he is. Before we talk about throwing away the ego, perhaps we should ask if sometimes carries value as well because I think it does.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2002, 05:41 PM   #4
Chuck Clark
 
Chuck Clark's Avatar
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,134
United_States
Offline
Many people talk about "getting rid of the EGO" and use such phrases as "muga" translating it as selfless or no self. This may be a literal translation into English, but not the true meaning of the term in the Japanese language.

I have been chasing my "self" around Zen circles now for over 40 years. I don't see how anyone can (or ever has) become EGO-LESS or any thing close to it. I sense very strong egos in all of the strong zenrin I have been around. They just aren't "attached" to it in ways many of us are.

They have dealt with the fearful aspects of the ego such as insecurities, lack of confidence, fear of death, etc. in ways that "seem to others" as though they have NO EGO.

Possibly, we have all been identifying the negative aspects of the ego as the thing itself. How can we be human without a sense of ourself?

Regards,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2002, 05:43 PM   #5
Jonathan
Dojo: North Winnipeg Aikikai
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 265
Offline
Aleksey: Thanks -- for nothing. Smart-ass remarks are the refuge of the shallow.

Erik: The last time I checked, basketball wasn't generally considered a martial art.

Having a strong drive to attain excellence and the confidence to believe it will come to pass does not necessarily require a humongous ego. M. Jordan's "must win" mindset, while useful in the sports world, would, I believe, be potentially dangerous to a martial artist. Certainly, to an aikidoka seeking harmony it would be problematic.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2002, 06:47 PM   #6
mle
Dojo: The Dojo (www.the-dojo.com
Location: Bavaria
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 78
Offline
Quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan
Aleksey: Thanks -- for nothing. Smart-ass remarks are the refuge of the shallow.
Oh come on. Humor is enlightened. ;-)
(sorry I missed his remark!)

Quote:
[i]
Certainly, to an aikidoka seeking harmony it would be problematic. [/b]
And who would be so bold as to seek harmony, and why?

One must have Ego to take Action.
The bigger the Ego, the bigger the battle.

mle
(herself)

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2002, 08:32 PM   #7
Mares
Location: Australia
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 89
Offline
Chuck,

I'm not exactly sure what you meant, but I think I agree with you. I think the jist of it was, ego can/is good but in moderation. I don't think anyone has no ego, some people just control it better than others.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2002, 08:35 PM   #8
Mares
Location: Australia
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 89
Offline
As an afterthough, isn't this what the Yin and Yang is about. I know someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but the Yang is the "masculine" side of things and the Yin is the "feminine". Therefore if you have too much yang i.e. a big ego you are out of balance. However if you have too much Yin i.e no ego it's just a bad. We must seek a balance.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2002, 08:41 PM   #9
mle
Dojo: The Dojo (www.the-dojo.com
Location: Bavaria
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 78
Offline
Re: Ego

Quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan
But, how does one set aside one's ego? I'd be very interested in hearing the thoughts of others on this.
Don't. Embrace the ego, make it a part of a functional whole. So MANY of the problems we have in this culture come from the wilfull attmepts to seperate and compartmentalize ourselves. We are not mind (splint into id an dego and whatever else) seperate from body seperate from spirit. We ARE.

There's a REASON you developed an ego. It's an integral part ot YOU. To deny or divest oneself of ego is to deny an essential part of who you really and truly are.

IMNSHO, most of the folks who CLAIM to have control of the ego, who claim to have left it on the wayside or have destroyed it are, in fact, speaking FROM ego. "Oh, look at me, I am SO enlightened!"

Pardon my anglo-saxon -- that's bullshite.

Ego in moderation? Huh. what a concept. I believe we must integrate and not seperate. Being a whole, functional being is so much more important than chasing after elaborate and unattainable goals.

Leanr to live with, embrace, deal with and balance ego. Be one with you and someday, you might be one with the universe.

Chuck
Why do I smell hot dogs here???

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2002, 09:05 PM   #10
Brian Crowley
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 52
Offline
Jonathan,

I agree with you 100% - especially your point regarding ego guarding comfort zones and the resulting inability to step into the unfamiliar.

I think Dale Carnegie (or someone ?) said that the only way to get anyone to do anything is to make them want to do it. Therefore, students must be made to believe that it is in their best interest long-term to not worry about whether they look good all the time in class.

Tell students, and remind them, that the dojo is the place to try new things, see what works, what doesn't, to make mistakes, to look awkward or silly sometimes. Looking cool all the time in the dojo means nothing.

Ecourage the non-ego behaviors with praise, and discourage the ego-centered behaviors with humor and gentle reminders. Battling the desire to look good and get past your comfort zone is an uphill battle for all of us.

And I, for one, don't believe that these concepts are limited to the martial arts. A competitive athlete will often not "win" in practise situations because he is working on a new move or trying to improve a weakness. If the athlete is only concerned with looking good during practise, he can't move on from what he is already good at. Our days at the dojo are our practise. Hopefully, we don't have many days where we have to really use what we learn.

Brian
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2002, 09:49 PM   #11
Jonathan
Dojo: North Winnipeg Aikikai
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 265
Offline
Yeah, I was rude toward Aleksey. Aleksey, I apologize for my sharp words toward you. I have a brutal head cold and it makes me kinda' irritable. Again, sorry for my rudeness.

Chuck, I'm not suggesting one lose one's sense of self; just the part that renders us arrogant, fearful, and myopic. I have met some astounding martial artists who demonstrate unconsciously what I am talking about. They are self-effacing, mild, good-humoured people who never let on by word or deed that they are as skilled as they are. It seems as if their power/skill gives them the freedom to release the negative aspects of ego I have described.

Thanks to those who have weighed in on this topic. Some good comments.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2002, 10:58 PM   #12
Chuck Clark
 
Chuck Clark's Avatar
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,134
United_States
Offline
Hi Emily,

If you're selling hot dogs... please, make me one with everything.

Your post and mine are saying the same thing.

None of the folks I was describing seem to be "attached" to what anyone thinks of their ego or anything else. (anyone includes them as well) I haven't heard any of them make any claims about "enlightenment" of any kind. The ones I really like say that enlightenment is a strong brand of that bull hockey you spoke of.

By the way, I prefer kraut, mustard, and peppers.

What's up with the news of Southern California?

Take care,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2002, 12:22 AM   #13
Erik
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
Offline
Quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan
Erik: The last time I checked, basketball wasn't generally considered a martial art.
Jonathon, his abilities and skills are more battle-tested than any martial artist on the planet. I can't imagine anyone in the context of the martial arts who would even come close in terms of putting their skills on the line every night under the microscope he did and still does. Not even the NHB guys face the best in the world every time they fight. The man absolutely dominated his sport and his ego and desire to win is what led him to being that good.

It ain't no different in these parts.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2002, 01:55 PM   #14
Jonathan
Dojo: North Winnipeg Aikikai
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 265
Offline
Hmmm...Well, Erik, I am tempted to say "apples and oranges" with this M. Jordan idea but I'm not sure that would be fair to the martial arts. Your statement that Jordan is more "battle tested than any martial artist on the planet" requires that you have an extraordinarily thorough knowledge of every martial artist presently living on this planet. Somehow I think that is unlikely...

I think you give too much credit for Jordan's sports success to his ego. I suspect his motivations for playing basketball and the reasons for his success are more varied than you suggest. I'm not denying his ego has played a part in his success, but I think far less than you believe.

I appreciate your thoughts on this, though. Perhaps our differences stem from semantics. I think arrogance, a preoccupation with not wanting to look foolish, and a "must win" attitude are negative influences on training. Confidence, on the other hand, is vital to martial success. Maybe what I would call confidence you would call ego.

Emily, the few people I know who I might suggest have attained some kind of enlightenment never point to it. They simply are enlightened. Those whom you describe as claiming enlightenment are, as you say, full of it. I think "embracing the ego" is quite natural for human beings. We embrace it so thoroughly I think we sometimes lose sight of it. And this is problematic because the ego can be a source of bad things (as I have already described) as well as good. Anyway, thanks for your comments.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2002, 08:16 AM   #15
Chuck.Gordon
Location: Frederick, MD
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 509
United_States
Offline
[quote]Originally posted by Erik
/QUOTE]

(M Jordon) his abilities and skills are more battle-tested than any martial artist on the planet.

I'll grant that with a qualification. Say many martial artists. Some folks who study budo have also been 'battle-tested' (survived getting flung into a shitestorm), either on the street or on the battlefield. I know several.

Reminds me of a tale, and I trust the source AND know the individual it involved.

There's a fairly well-known American aikidoka who's also a Vietnam vet. He's a gentle bear of a man now, but when he was younger, he was known to rock and roll a bit.

A few years back, in Japan, he was attaneding a gathering of several senior aikido and budo folks who were basically sort of ingnoring him and occcasionally even making less-than-favorable comments.

Another American there, however, one who was well-known and respected amongst the Japanese, spoke up.

He asked the Japanese in attendance how many of them studied the arts of the blade. Several indicated that they did, of course.

He then asked how many of them had actually killed another human being in combat. And how many had done so with a knife. None of them could so attest.

The speaker then indicated my friend and said, look at this man. He has. The Japanese promptly shushed the snide comments and the exclusionary behavior. The American aikidoka had done what none of them could. He'd tested his spirit in battle and survived.

It's easy, living in the prosperous west, in the 21st century to think that all martial artists are dojo-rats who have never been put to the fire. Truth is, many have ... I number among my budo acquaintences today and through the years, police, firefighters, soldiers (and Marines, my teacher was a Vietnam vet, too) and survivors of rape, mugging, home invasion and carjacking.

I cannot in any context consider any athlete to be inferior, for they exhibit great personal discipline and fortitude, as you say, almost daily and under great scrutiny.

However, they know there are limitations and rules and that there's a 99.99 percent chance they will not be facing death as they step onto the court.

Another story: I know fellow up in Canada who does kendo and iai (and dabbles in just about any sword or stick art he can get his hands on as well). Some years back, he lost (whilst in military service) one leg and hip.

And he kicks some serious butt, too.

For him, going to the dojo, training and going home is probably a greater challenge than anything Jordan has ever faced.

Now, truth be told, the greater mass of budo addicts out there are ordinary, everyday guys and gals -- get up, go to work or school, go to the dojo, go get a beer and go home. Safe, sane, quiet lives. But be aware that there are amongst our ranks those who have stood in the line of danger, who have experienced the exquisite kime of life at the point of blade or muzzle of gun, who are still coming to the dojo, quietly and sanely, and who practice their art every day bearing the scars of the experience and walking with the specters of that violence at their sides.

God know,s I wish some of the folks I have known were still alive and whole.

I can't imagine anyone in the context of the martial arts who would even come close in terms of putting their skills on the line

Good budo training (IMNSHO) should take you to that edge sometimes. The old guys in Japan used to say the only way to truly learn heiho (strategy, used to be a catch-all term for martial training) was at the point of a sword.

[B}The man absolutely dominated his sport and his ego and desire to win is what led him to being that good.[/b]

And good for him. But it's a game (and one for which he is WELL paid, I might add -- pay me that much money and allow me th eluxury of spending my days training and practicing, and I'd be pretty damn good, too). Budo is about life. And death.

Chuck

  Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2002, 09:16 AM   #16
andrew
Dojo: NUI, Galway Aikido Club.
Location: Galway, Ireland.
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 334
Offline
Quote:
Originally posted by Erik
WHOPPING HUGE BIG GIANT HUMONGUOUS MUST WIN EVERY DAMN TIME EGO. His ego is huge.

It was this ego that gave him the drive to become who he is.
I disagree. Ego drives you to insist on your own brilliance. There's a difference between egotistical behaviour and self appreciation. Jordan was in a position to call himself the best any time he wanted to without being egotistical, because he simply was.

And to the actual issue of ego, as I find myself saying a lot recently....
misogi, misogi, misogi.

andrew
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2002, 12:56 PM   #17
kowey
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 10
Offline
Maybe it's not the size, but the strength of the ego that counts. In other words, big ego can be good. Big big ego can be very good, but only as long as they are strong enough not to inflated/deflated by things like how other's see you.

1) Better a big strong ego than a small weak ego
2) Better a small, weak ego than a big weak ego
3) And definitely better a big strong ego, than a big weak ego.

confindence (big strong) >= humility (small strong)> low self esteem (small weak)> arrogance (big weak)?

This, of course, is an oversimplification, and probably a hijacking on the original use of "ego", so i invite you to choose better words or re-rank them, or whatever

Last edited by kowey : 03-03-2002 at 08:40 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2002, 01:02 PM   #18
Erik
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
Offline
(M Jordon) his abilities and skills are more battle-tested than any martial artist on the planet.

Think about it this way. Night in and night out against the best in the world at his profession. We seldom even go up against the best in our city. A fighter will eventually lose and as a result take a beating. This knocks them down for a couple of months. Jordan dominated 100 times/year and in fairness could walk away from his beatings. Firemen and policemen are good examples which I didn't consider. Maybe the Gracies qualify too?

And good for him. But it's a game (and one for which he is WELL paid, I might add -- pay me that much money and allow me th eluxury of spending my days training and practicing, and I'd be pretty damn good, too). Budo is about life. And death.


Well, that doesn't work in this case. He became good enough to be paid that kind of money prior to being paid that kind of money. Worked his ass off because he was cut from his high school team. Did get a scholarship in college though.

Now, in regards to life and death, the last time someone died in your dojo was? I think it's pretty safe to say that most of us are not operating at any more of a life and death situation than a professional athlete. I appreciate the sentiment and have come damn near to getting myself killed or royally tweaked in this art but I've also had a few dicey moments on the basketball court too. Come to think about it, one place I used to play at had knives and guns come out more than once. Thankfully, I was elsewhere whenever that happened.

Last edited by Erik : 03-01-2002 at 02:06 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2002, 01:11 PM   #19
Erik
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
Offline
Quote:
Originally posted by andrew
I disagree. Ego drives you to insist on your own brilliance. There's a difference between egotistical behaviour and self appreciation. Jordan was in a position to call himself the best any time he wanted to without being egotistical, because he simply was.
Well, I think we need to define ego for this one. Jonathon has mentioned "must win" as a symptom of ego. If you've read anything about Michael Jordan you would understand that he would be pissed off losing a game of table tennis to the World Champion. That is the kind of competitive drive that led him to become what he became. Sure, he's a gifted athlete, but the NBA is filled with those. That evil "must win" competitive edge is what drives him or so it seems to me.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2002, 02:57 PM   #20
aikilouis
Location: Germany
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 219
France
Offline
"After fight club, watching football on television is like watching pornography when you could have great sex."

Seems familiar ?

Louis R Joseph
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2002, 11:03 AM   #21
erikmenzel
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
erikmenzel's Avatar
Dojo: Koshinkai Leeuwarden
Location: Leeuwarden
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 557
Netherlands
Offline
Confused

Hmm,

wanting to set aside ego in order to find ones self sure sounds like a nice and hummble mental/ego pitfall to me.

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
Personal:www.kuipers-menzel.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2002, 12:29 PM   #22
shihonage
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 890
United_States
Offline
Quote:
Originally posted by erikknoops
Hmm,

wanting to set aside ego in order to find ones self sure sounds like a nice and hummble mental/ego pitfall to me.
I'm glad you agree.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2002, 08:15 PM   #23
warriorwoman
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 50
Offline
ego

Ego is a term that we usually confuse with conceit or arrogance. Ego, or a sense of self however, is necessary in order to survive. This concept of self is only problemmatic when the dichotomy between what we consider self and non-self becomes an issue. That which is not "us" or "ours" has less value when we are not careful about viewing the world in a dualistic way. When cooperation is sacrificed to competition, then dualistic thinking takes precedence, thus promoting "ego". I believe this is the main reason why O-Sensei, in his wisdom, did not promote tournaments in Aikido.

This is a subject that I find interesting and have written my thoughts about it in an article which will appear in the next few months on my website. Stay tuned...
janet dtantirojanarat
www.warriorwoman.org

janet dtantirojanarat
www.warriorwoman.org
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2002, 11:55 PM   #24
Chocolateuke
Dojo: Muhu Dojo
Location: Middle of nowhere in California 14 miles from Buellton
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 238
Offline
Talking

weird my sensei is a Nam Vet too.. On the other M jordan is a great athleat and a warrior in his own right. but if you think about is there are many who are more Battle tested that him in the world even this country. People in tibet living a life torward compassion and sticking to it even though they are being thrown in jail. That is a battle which I think I would fail. What about the Kids who are dying of a termal disease and still have a smile on their face and not feeling sorry for themseves. What about the kids who come to school and have down syndrome and are called nasty names behind their backs?? that would take a lot of courage to come.

There are people who are more battle tested than thouse who have fought in war or played a game to its best. ( by the way Jordan on average made about 48% of his shots on the court.)

Ego well, stay tuned in life for that.

Dallas Adolphsen
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2002, 08:08 AM   #25
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
Offline
Wink ego

I have to agree with Chuck's story, not because I am the same as this bear of a man, but because I have almost had to kill this type of man when the rage returned during my drinking years of the the 1970s.

If you look into a mans/womans eyes, brought to the brink of killing, while knowing that you will either have to get through to this person, neutralize this person, or kill this person while trying to get through to the human side gone wild? Yeah, by the grace of the Great Spirit, I was able to reach this plateau ... yelling at the top of my lungs, do you really want to die!

Then again, there is no ego in battle, just a sense of doing the least stupid thing that will get you killed?

I don't care how much ego you have going into a contest, think about that feeling you get when you are overmatched and out gunned? Is it ego, desperation, or trust to some unknown strength that will see you alive at the end of the contest? Find I-go, you-go, she-go, E-Go ... and guess what? Ego merely becomes overconfidence.

Maybe the journey from whimpy skinny kid to bear like man has given me a few insights, but each of us considers the original reason for learning martial arts, then as we grow older we see it was to deal with our own demons, our own deficiencys? Introspect is a bitch!

Yeah, we all start to gain ego's as we gain confidence and skill. It is the kind of ego that makes you the group that snickers and comments on the guy/gal who is having trouble doing techniques, or the kind that reminds you to laugh at yourself.

My ego forces me to believe I am younger than the pains from a deteriorating disease makes me feel. So I must do some type of Martial art, Aikido when I can, to prove I am not the old sick man I should be. Many of you do the same, to prove you are equal or better to those who would overshadow you in some way, causing depression from insecurity and a feeling of worthlessness? Is it the ego that inflates the worth of us all? ABSOLUTELY!!!

So long as you know what it is, know what it will do, learn how to use it to its fullest extent without unduly hurting other human beings ... use it for all it is worth.

Otherwise, if you is a bad widdle kid ... you can expect a beating like a red headed step child, no offense intended, from someone, sometime, somewhere to put you back on planet earth.

What the old timers call ... Attitude adjustment!
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:22 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2016 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2016 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate