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Old 01-23-2011, 04:19 PM   #76
lbb
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Re: My Rope Theory

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Your cheek must be getting quite a lot of exercise.(heh, heh)
You set 'em up, I knock 'em down.
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:14 PM   #77
danielajames
 
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Re: My Rope Theory

Thanks George for the gift of continually sharing 'taboo topics' with or without answers, sometimes raw and touching. Its great encouragement for those of us a bit further down the path wondering at times if we are alone.

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
ph 0413 001 844, 1593 Logan Rd, Mt.Gravatt, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:22 PM   #78
Andrew Macdonald
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Re: My Rope Theory

Quote:
He proceeded to tell me it's none of my business and said he would now teach me a lesson.
ah when aikidokas attack

and I thought all this time that a wrist grab would never happen in a real situation, I never thoguht of using the technique of asking the guy to grab my wrist.

sigh, i guess, there is always another mountain to climb

as for the rope theroy, i think there is something in what you say, but there is a danger of strecthing the analogy too far, like saying strands of rope are deluded. i think the analogy of the tree is a little more accurate from one root come many things, becasue the tree is growing and changing just like aikido
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:51 PM   #79
graham christian
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Re: My Rope Theory

Quote:
Andrew Macdonald wrote: View Post
ah when aikidokas attack

and I thought all this time that a wrist grab would never happen in a real situation, I never thoguht of using the technique of asking the guy to grab my wrist.

sigh, i guess, there is always another mountain to climb

as for the rope theroy, i think there is something in what you say, but there is a danger of strecthing the analogy too far, like saying strands of rope are deluded. i think the analogy of the tree is a little more accurate from one root come many things, becasue the tree is growing and changing just like aikido
Hi Andrew, This may surprise you but I like that one better too. As a funny aside I'll tell you of another situation many moons ago.
A guy asked me, knowing what I did, what I would do if he smashed me over the head with the metal bar he was holding. As usual these charachters are partly sincere and partly just trying to prove something or other. I told him I didn't have a clue what I would do. To my amazement he then showed me what I would do, he said I would raise my hand up to protect myself and so he grabbed that wrist wiyh his free hand to show me how that removed my defence. A big mistake and actually amusing internally so to speak at the time, like manna from heaven.
So who knows what surprises life may bring.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:41 AM   #80
jonreading
 
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Re: My Rope Theory

While getting a little off subject... Respect is a great topic and one that I believe is central to the cultural differences between East and West.

We use the words and wear the pajamas, but I think the Western concept of dojo respect in the US is screwed up. I hope some of our Eastern friends join in on this but my observation here is that much of Eastern respect is set about establishing boundaries of class, culture and interaction. One of the Eastern uses of respect helps set boundaries for class interaction; i.e. the hierarchy of social order. Instances Like what Ledyard describe happen far too often in aikido. Very simply, we have an abuse of social order in aikido and our Western "civility" allows for that abuse, possibly because the abuser's parents did not love him enough, or too much, or in the wrong way.

What's worse, the current level of skill in aikido precludes the establishment of an "enforcer group" to keep these abusers in check. It is not appropriate for our shihan and leaders to embroil themselves in these lowly power plays. What George sensei really needed was a couple of ninja to drop from the sky and take care of business. Once upon a time, dai sempai took care of most of these individual matters before the students became accomplished martial artists; this was a trait ideally left at the door when you entered a dojo or beaten out of you soon after. Nowadays we have far too few 2, 3 and even 4 dans who cannot actually take care of business for sensei. We are also far too polite in allowing this behavior to persevere.

As that comment relates to the rope... Well these are the people making the rope bigger. I do not believe aikido needs these individuals and no, we cannot all get along. These people do not deserve respect because they do not care about respect outside of the confines of the tool used to insulate their actions. I don't want these people in my rope, do you?
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:49 AM   #81
lbb
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Re: My Rope Theory

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
A guy asked me, knowing what I did, what I would do if he smashed me over the head with the metal bar he was holding. As usual these charachters are partly sincere and partly just trying to prove something or other. I told him I didn't have a clue what I would do. To my amazement he then showed me what I would do, he said I would raise my hand up to protect myself and so he grabbed that wrist wiyh his free hand to show me how that removed my defence.
It sounds like what he actually showed you was what you would do if he didn't smash you over the head with a metal bar, but grabbed your wrist instead. If he'd smashed you over the head with a metal bar, you'd have fallen to the ground and spent some time unconscious.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:00 AM   #82
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: My Rope Theory

Well, Graham's original post triggered all this in my mind... Aikido is do identified with "conflict resolution" and "non-violence" but often in a very naive way that I think everyone doing the art should think hard about what these ideas mean in Aikido in particular and for a martial artists of any persuasion.

I sure everyone virtually anyone who has done Aikido for any length of time must have heard Terry Dobson's subway story about the aggressive drunk harassing folks on the train. Because an old man reacted to this aggressive behavior with compassion and kindness the guy ended up with his head in the old man's lap crying his eyes out.

This story is the "Gold Standard" for many Aikido folks in terms of their belief that a) man is fundamentally good and b) that if we just act nicely with each other, pretty much everything will be ok.

However, Ellis Amdur had a variation on the same story in which a predatory type approached him on the subway in Japan, showing every sign of attacking him just for the pure twisted joy of beating someone to a pulp. Ellis's response of mindful presence without an "opening" precluded the attack and this violent fellow decided Ellis was cool. Another victory for conflict resolution and non-violence, right?

Except that, in this instance we weren't talking about a drunk frustrated by his life who ends up crying like a baby. This fellow reacted to Ellis's warrior composure by inviting him to come along and find some girl to rape. Just what guys do for recreation on a Saturday night. So that left Ellis with the dilemma, did he do the right thing? Ellis actually had the skills to have removed this fellow from the gene pool. In the isolated instance, he acted impeccably. But in the larger sense would the world have actually been a substantially better place if he had just taken the guy out? This fellow was a predator. These guys don't often meet up with people who have the skills to deal with them. Predators who are successful develop the ability to find the weak prey. The amount of harm they do before their Karma catches up with them is enormous.

In another instance, the consequences of such a choice are actually known. A police friend and former student, with the King County Sherrif;s office up here in the Seattle area got a call from one of the local mental health facilities. The dispatcher said the a subject had show up and told the staff that he was feeling like going downtown and shooting people. That was all the info my friend had when he showed up. As he entered the building he found that the staff had talked the guy into giving them his car keys. Now the subject had pulled a knife and was demanding the keys back. It reaches the point at which this fellow was walking straight down a hallway towards my friend with my friend having drawn down on him.

My friend had actually gotten to the decision point and had mentally drawn a line at which he would shoot the subject who was continuing to ignore all his verbal instructions to drop the knife etc. My friend had actually stopped indexing and placed his finger on the trigger, and was one more step away from shooting when the subject sensed the shift in intention and dropped the knife and submitted. J.R. had done everything by the book, acted professionally, with clear intention and no fear. The outcome was praised by the department and the media. He did everything he should have done and the end result was a life saved.

The only problem here was that this fellow, who had been in the sights of J.R.'s gun, two months later was the guy that went into a Jewish community center in LA and shot some children. J.R. had to deal with the reality that his restraint, while totally correct in the circumstances, meant that a horrible crime was later committed. That's a hell of a dilemma.

Ellis never found out what the consequences were of his restraint. J.R. was faced with knowing that he had had it in his power to have prevented later violence perpetrated by this Neo-Nazi nut case.

So, in the Aikido case I described, after the fact, I have found that virtually everyone knew this fellow was a problem. He had gone through the whole event person by person and hardly anyone would train with him after their initial exposure. The big strong boys just decided he was a jerk and not worth working with. It was the smaller folks, especially the females who got manhandled until he finally hurt my friend.

Now one could say that those of us who chose not to take this guy out had taken the high road. That's the violence doesn't solve anything paradigm. Since there has to be a mechanism for dealing with things like this, one might maintain that the seminar organizers should act to ban this fellow from future events. Good solution for us, maybe we never see him again. But that doesn't mean he doesn't go to other events held by other organizations and hurt other people. It just means that we don't have to be aware of it. Is that really the correct thing? Isn't that just a way of passing the responsibility to deal with the problem, to protect the people who need protection, off to someone else. And how many folks get hurt before someone decides to render this guy incapable of hurting anyone else?

So, I am still ambivalent. I almost certainly have the ability to have ended this fellows aggression but chose not to. There will almost certainly be consequences for this fellow but not any that will keep him from hurting other people in the future, I just won't be seeing him do so. Is that really the correct result here? I have always believed that martial arts training was only partially about self defense. A more important responsibility was that those with the power to protect the folks who weren't empowered to protect themselves had an obligation to do so. Did I do that? I don't feel as if I did...

Saotome Sensei, who really does believe that Aikido is a trans-formative practice that really is about fostering peace on some level also is quick to point out that sometimes conflict resolution involves terminating one of the persons in the conflict, then there's no conflict. I am not saying that there is any easy answer to this issue, but it's one that I am interested in how the folks that think about Aikido as conflict resolution, as a way towards world peace, etc think about these things. I am somewhat in between on this; I do see Aikido as a transformational process which can by extension make the world a better place but at the same time, on issues like this, I tend to come down more on the "Crush your enemies, see them flee before you, hear the lamentation of their women" side of things. A tendency that I pretty much keep in check. But what are the instances in which I should not have. Is this one of them?

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:47 AM   #83
Basia Halliop
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Re: My Rope Theory

It's so hard to know...

For one thing, it's not clear to me what exactly your options were where, or rather what consequences they would have had, if we're talking about violence.

You or someone else could have beat him up or frightened him badly. Would this have stopped him from bullying or beating up on smaller people (far away from you) again once he recovered? That's a psychology question really... Honestly, I doubt it... maybe he would have learned that it's stupid to beat up on smaller people where there's a large friend close by, but I personally doubt that would change his basic attitude or behaviour towards people smaller than him.... If he learned to respect you, it would be your ability to beat him up that he respected... so I would not expect him to develop any sudden respect for people HE can beat up, if they are vulnerable (which might include relatively friendless or unlikely to ask for help). If this offered any solution, IMO it would be a short-term, narrow, one.

If you had literally killed him, OK, he would be gone. (You would be in prison for life which would probably have effects for your family and others, etc, but that's another story).
But can one person really make the decision to kill another person, without trial, on the spot, because they frighten someone or give them a broken arm? What is 'bad enough' to merit instant death? What if he WAS treatable in this case? Or might there be larger ramifications to other people? Or what if you learned things the next day that made you realize this was a totally wrong decision? To me this isn't right either.... Nor is it a precedent I'd like to see accepted.

It's a more serious possibility if he was clearly trying to murder your friend or something, but...

I don't know, it's not an easy solution either way. On the one hand, it's unrealistic to assume that love and kind words can fix every single person or situation, on the other hand, just 'dealing with them' is most often not as simple or clear-cut option an option as it seems either.

I know it's a cliche, but isn't the complexity one of the reasons societies have systems in place like the legal system, police, social services, etc? So that people can be supervised and monitored, treated where possible, restrained where necessary, etc? And so that decisions made are made fairly based on agreed-upon principles, and to limit the mistakes of one person's judgment?

They clearly don't always work, but when is it a fault of the basic premise, and when is it a question of the particulars of the system?

Last edited by Basia Halliop : 01-24-2011 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:07 PM   #84
lbb
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Re: My Rope Theory

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
The only problem here was that this fellow, who had been in the sights of J.R.'s gun, two months later was the guy that went into a Jewish community center in LA and shot some children. J.R. had to deal with the reality that his restraint, while totally correct in the circumstances, meant that a horrible crime was later committed.
No. That isn't what his restraint meant. It wasn't even something that happened because of his restraint. It is something that would likely have been prevented had he not shown that restraint, but that's not the same thing.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
So, in the Aikido case I described, after the fact, I have found that virtually everyone knew this fellow was a problem. He had gone through the whole event person by person and hardly anyone would train with him after their initial exposure. The big strong boys just decided he was a jerk and not worth working with. It was the smaller folks, especially the females who got manhandled until he finally hurt my friend.

Now one could say that those of us who chose not to take this guy out had taken the high road. That's the violence doesn't solve anything paradigm. Since there has to be a mechanism for dealing with things like this, one might maintain that the seminar organizers should act to ban this fellow from future events. Good solution for us, maybe we never see him again. But that doesn't mean he doesn't go to other events held by other organizations and hurt other people. It just means that we don't have to be aware of it. Is that really the correct thing? Isn't that just a way of passing the responsibility to deal with the problem, to protect the people who need protection, off to someone else. And how many folks get hurt before someone decides to render this guy incapable of hurting anyone else?
How would you render him incapable of hurting anyone else? By crippling him to the point where he could no longer use his arms and legs? That would probably do the trick. it would also most likely result in your going to prison for a long time.

Are you familiar with the movie "Sling Blade"? The central character is a man with mental issues who has spend most of his life in a mental institution after murdering his mother and her lover when he was still quite young. It's not made clear, but it sounds as if he was abused and neglected prior to that. After being institutionalized for decades, he is "de-institutionalized" -- put out on the street, not to put too fine a point on it. He ends up making friends and getting himself into a stable if unconventional situation. One of his friends is a single mother who is in an abusive relationship. It becomes clear throughout the movie that many people know, or can figure out, that her partner will eventually do serious harm to her or her child or both, quite likely killing them -- he's that out of control. Our main character can see this, too. He kills the abusive partner, and is sent back to the mental institution.

It is a hard, hard movie to watch, and one that I wish every person who ever gets self-righteously vengeful would be forced to watch. Everyone knew what was going to happen; nobody could act, because they knew what the consequences would be. The main character knew, too. He sacrificed himself and what had become for him a happy life, on his simple and undemanding terms. But no one would ever call him a hero for it, and he'd never see the light of day as a free man again. But there's more to be taken away from this movie than "he did the right thing". He did the best he could, with the tools that he had -- and those tools were so very, very limited. His reasoning and intellect were hampered, he had no money, no resources, no powerful friends. He didn't know how to work the social services machine. All he knew how to do was pick up a sling blade.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
So, I am still ambivalent. I almost certainly have the ability to have ended this fellows aggression but chose not to. There will almost certainly be consequences for this fellow but not any that will keep him from hurting other people in the future, I just won't be seeing him do so. Is that really the correct result here? I have always believed that martial arts training was only partially about self defense. A more important responsibility was that those with the power to protect the folks who weren't empowered to protect themselves had an obligation to do so. Did I do that? I don't feel as if I did...
Maybe not, but maybe it's not over. You chose not to use the sling blade. Do you have only one tool to use, and only one opportunity to use it?

My ideal solution, in a case like this, would be for the offender to make things right. I don't really understand why, but it seems like this is always dismissed as a possible solution...that it's so much "common wisdom" that this can't possibly work, that no one ever tries it. But I wonder what it would be like. So you've hurt someone's shoulder? Fine. They can't mow their lawn; you must go to their house and mow it for them. They can't lift heavy objects; you must do all their fetching and carrying. They can't drive their car; you must transport them anywhere they need to go. You must pay their medical costs, in full, up front. You must compensate them for lost work time. If/when they are ready to resume training, you must curtail your training to accommodate their needs. If they do not feel comfortable with you as a partner, you may not bow to anyone when it's time to choose partners. You must sit out until your victim has a partner to work with, and if that means you sit out period, then you sit out. If they do not feel comfortable in the same class as you, you may not be in the dojo when they train. You must, in short, experience their loss and inconvenience as fully as it is possible to do so, short of being in their skin. You must do whatever is possible to mend the damage.

I can't think of a better way both to help the victim mend, and help the offender really understand the magnitude of his offense -- and that experience is the only thing that can really teach someone like this not to do it again, because it shows him both sides of the consequences. If some third party tees off on the guy, it may be necessary in the situation...but it seems to me that it won't really address either of the problems I just named. It will also not solve the problem of the guy going down the road and doing harm to someone else. I'm a pragmatist too; I look on the statement "Aikido is love" with great skepticism. But I know, as a matter of fact, that we (society, the right-thinking people, the cops, the Aikido community) will never, never be able to restrain people as well as they can restrain themselves. That's where the biggest win is, teaching restraint. It won't work every time, but it's better than having your only tool be a sling blade.
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:14 PM   #85
jonreading
 
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Re: My Rope Theory

As an aside to the direction of the thread, I'll start by saying, who ever said the life-taking sword was bad? It is an ideal situation to apply the principles of katsujinken, but why did we decide taking life was bad? Isn't it situational?

We like to hide behind the morals of our society. "it's not my business", "I'd go to jail", "he'll stop soon". Isn't the truth of it that we don't value another's life above our own? By saying, "Well, I would've hurt this fellow, but I didn't want to go to jail," aren't we really saying, "this person's safety is less valuable than the chance I might be convicted of inappropriately acting?" Faced with the consequence of our actions, aren't we just a little cowardly when it comes to acting? How do we stand and talk to a battered wife (or husband)? What about seeing the fear in a child's eyes whose parents hurt her? Conflict resolution indeed. Most of use are more noble in word than we ever are in action.
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:21 PM   #86
Basia Halliop
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Re: My Rope Theory

Quote:
It is an ideal situation to apply the principles of katsujinken, but why did we decide taking life was bad?
Quote:
Isn't the truth of it that we don't value another's life above our own?
Uh, no... it's exactly the opposite. I must not be getting your point, because to me it's too obvious a statement to understand how one could come to that conclusion.

Taking life is bad because we value life.

So far in the examples I've read it wasn't even a question of choosing one life over another (i.e., protecting someone, whether ourself or another person, who was going to be killed). At least there there is a real moral question.

Even in that case, I would argue that killing a human being is not exactly 'good'. I can accept that it might be less bad than any of the other alternatives available....
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:25 PM   #87
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: My Rope Theory

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Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
Taking life is bad because we value life.
Taking life is bad because we value our own life, and we are not wired to coldly take take another human life.

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Old 01-24-2011, 05:44 PM   #88
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: My Rope Theory

What is interesting to me is looking at how complex our discussion of the one on one scenario(s) described has been, with a wide variety of viewpoints, every one of them a perfectly valid take on the issue, how is it that the discussions of use of force on the macro level, i.e. war, seem so much more simplistic?

It seems to me that human beings seem to make hold a different set of opinions when an issue is manageable like the one on one scenarios described here and tend to hold often contradictory beliefs as soon as we are talking about groups, societies, or countries. One would think that given the consequences folks would be doubly and triply resistant to larger scale conflict when actually it seems that, often, the very same person who on and individual level would praise restraint, promote the rule of law over use of violence, and be very critical of non-proportional reactions to conflicts will simultaneously be willing to use force on the macro level much more readily than at the individual level.

We went into Viet Nam simply because Kennedy was terribly embarrassed by the Bay of Pigs fiasco and was looking for someplace he could show the Right that he was tough on Communism and wasn't a whimp. The American public which largely had no idea where Viet Nam even was on a map at that time, simply went along with the whole thing. There was very little if any debate of the kind that we seem to be able to generate over responses to a one on one situation. Is it merely because the one on one seems comprehensible to people but the macro issues seem too complex?

I am not saying that no one generates this kind of discussion. But it seems like there is a huge disconnect between the way most folks in our society treat the individual and his interactions and how they think about the society, which is merely made up of lots of individuals, think about these same issues.Just something that occrred tro me while rereading the various takes on the thread.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:51 PM   #89
graham christian
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Re: My Rope Theory

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
No. That isn't what his restraint meant. It wasn't even something that happened because of his restraint. It is something that would likely have been prevented had he not shown that restraint, but that's not the same thing.

How would you render him incapable of hurting anyone else? By crippling him to the point where he could no longer use his arms and legs? That would probably do the trick. it would also most likely result in your going to prison for a long time.

Are you familiar with the movie "Sling Blade"? The central character is a man with mental issues who has spend most of his life in a mental institution after murdering his mother and her lover when he was still quite young. It's not made clear, but it sounds as if he was abused and neglected prior to that. After being institutionalized for decades, he is "de-institutionalized" -- put out on the street, not to put too fine a point on it. He ends up making friends and getting himself into a stable if unconventional situation. One of his friends is a single mother who is in an abusive relationship. It becomes clear throughout the movie that many people know, or can figure out, that her partner will eventually do serious harm to her or her child or both, quite likely killing them -- he's that out of control. Our main character can see this, too. He kills the abusive partner, and is sent back to the mental institution.

It is a hard, hard movie to watch, and one that I wish every person who ever gets self-righteously vengeful would be forced to watch. Everyone knew what was going to happen; nobody could act, because they knew what the consequences would be. The main character knew, too. He sacrificed himself and what had become for him a happy life, on his simple and undemanding terms. But no one would ever call him a hero for it, and he'd never see the light of day as a free man again. But there's more to be taken away from this movie than "he did the right thing". He did the best he could, with the tools that he had -- and those tools were so very, very limited. His reasoning and intellect were hampered, he had no money, no resources, no powerful friends. He didn't know how to work the social services machine. All he knew how to do was pick up a sling blade.

Maybe not, but maybe it's not over. You chose not to use the sling blade. Do you have only one tool to use, and only one opportunity to use it?

My ideal solution, in a case like this, would be for the offender to make things right. I don't really understand why, but it seems like this is always dismissed as a possible solution...that it's so much "common wisdom" that this can't possibly work, that no one ever tries it. But I wonder what it would be like. So you've hurt someone's shoulder? Fine. They can't mow their lawn; you must go to their house and mow it for them. They can't lift heavy objects; you must do all their fetching and carrying. They can't drive their car; you must transport them anywhere they need to go. You must pay their medical costs, in full, up front. You must compensate them for lost work time. If/when they are ready to resume training, you must curtail your training to accommodate their needs. If they do not feel comfortable with you as a partner, you may not bow to anyone when it's time to choose partners. You must sit out until your victim has a partner to work with, and if that means you sit out period, then you sit out. If they do not feel comfortable in the same class as you, you may not be in the dojo when they train. You must, in short, experience their loss and inconvenience as fully as it is possible to do so, short of being in their skin. You must do whatever is possible to mend the damage.

I can't think of a better way both to help the victim mend, and help the offender really understand the magnitude of his offense -- and that experience is the only thing that can really teach someone like this not to do it again, because it shows him both sides of the consequences. If some third party tees off on the guy, it may be necessary in the situation...but it seems to me that it won't really address either of the problems I just named. It will also not solve the problem of the guy going down the road and doing harm to someone else. I'm a pragmatist too; I look on the statement "Aikido is love" with great skepticism. But I know, as a matter of fact, that we (society, the right-thinking people, the cops, the Aikido community) will never, never be able to restrain people as well as they can restrain themselves. That's where the biggest win is, teaching restraint. It won't work every time, but it's better than having your only tool be a sling blade.
Wow! Had to comment on this Mary because it's so well put and even a touch emotional. Loved the make things right examples.
Regards.G,
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:35 PM   #90
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
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Re: My Rope Theory

Hi George. May I share some thoughts of mine with you that may or may not help in your diliberations for it is this type of looking and wondering that I have been doing since I started Aikido because I believed the answers I was looking for were in this field.
I'll start with the two analogies of the drunk in the train and the predator one.
I have been accused of being too simplistic in what I say sometimes but what I do is look at something and search for a basic simplicity to do with something and then test that simplicity to see if it works, if it applies and thus discern how near the truth that simplicity is. It is then like a seed which grows ands expands to new understandings, hence that is my general way of teaching and studying etc.
The reason I say this is because I hold one as true and that is that all people are BASICALLY good and loving. Thus to the degree they are not being so or acting so is to the degree they are not being their true self. So in the example of the drunk on the train I see the wisdom of the man reaching past the 'mask' and drama of the drunk and connecting with that basic individual.
In the second example you gave of the threatening predator I think this brings us to a new look based on the same simplicity. He not only calmly reached through to the person, it was the case of doing exactly the same thing with a more dangerous person.
This takes courage and discipline, but discipline in what?
When I look at these type of charachters be they bullies or predators or gangsters etc I once again look for the simplicity which brings more understanding and sense into the thoughts. Thus I see that they all rely on fear which brings me to an important point here. If you can reach them with no fear then they have no 'power' so to speak, no game, they get scared and back off or try to be friendly or whatever but the game has changed.
Another important point here is to look at the person who is confronting without fear in fact I would say the person who has learned to face things with no negative emotion and that to me is all part of budo and the 'no mind' concept.
So I believe that when you learn to act let's say in a martial art where you are continually put in positions representing someone trying to harm or control or dominate you then it is the perfect situation for learning bit by bit how to let go of negative emotions when the situation triggers them.
And what is left when you let go of those negative emotions? Your true self, your loving self, your good self, complete with immovable mind, Ki, connection, calmness yet a willingness and readyness to act etc. etc. This is my view and where I see it pertinent for me in Aikido.
Unfortunately in life and films we are shown that this state of being equates only with the warrior or samurai if you like ready to kill. Well to me the person who learns to suppress all feeling in order to be 'calm' and focussed in order to harm or kill is kind of at the other end of the scale, cold.
O.k. so then that leads us to understand why we don't like to see or allow harmful actions, because we are basically good. So what should we do in the situations like you were in?
The best non-harmful action possible for us at that time I believe.Thus remaining true to ourself.
Now having said that I would say that when you had that situation and did what you did most people who responded admired it for you didn't give in to the negative emotion and still carried on to try and not only make others aware or the situation but to try and get something done about it. That's all you can do.
What I believe then happens is your actions, your budo if you like has communicated and reverberated through the apathy and although the result isn't instantanious it will nonetheless have woken some others up and thus will lead to a desired result somewhere along the line.
Finally may I give you my view on how from where you are in your life, acting with budo in all that you do, without anger and fear etc, it itself is noticed, it itself brings others to want to know how you handle things so calmly, so definitely etc yet with consideration and thoughtfulness and thus it spreads out to others doing the same thing in their walks of life, organically so to speak.
Of course that is put very simplistically but think about it. If you wonder about areas out of your control like politics, war etc I ask you is it really? For if a military man or a politition or someone in charge of justice or whoever sees how you act and handle things and is drawn to learn from you then the door opens to teach them true budo and a more enlghtened way of looking at things in their area and thus......
Of course many yeah but what ifs can come up but the thing to me is do I let them take me away from my true self?
More food for thought if nothing else. Thanks for listening.
Regards. G.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:37 PM   #91
Andrew Macdonald
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Re: My Rope Theory

I remember being in a simlilar situation to the ones that are under discussion. A visiting student came to the dojo and he was doing a different more flashy style of aikido than what we were used to. he started going hard on a few of the smaller people and a few of the women. so i went to train with him for the rest of the night, not to go hard on him and teach him a lesson, but to protect others fromhim, I am a little bigger and stronger than most of the people i train with.
we trained he went strong on me so i matched his verocity, but with no aggression. if he took advantage when he was pinning me i told him it wasn;t needed and we continued.

I am quiet sure he learnt nothing from that session, but in my own little way i feel that i protected the smaller people in my dojo from an over zealous student.

of course this wasn;t the best answer to any situation, I have also seen myself step out of acceptabl;e behaviour and dropping someone in the dojo with a punch for being an ass. but every situation, needs its own answer

I like to feel that I at least learn something along the way
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:59 PM   #92
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
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Re: My Rope Theory

Mary, your post made me remember something I saw on t.v. a couple of years ago but unfortunately I don't remember the womans name or even the name of the program but it was about a woman in the U.S. (I think it was in new york) who came up with an idea and put it to work and it was actually hugely successful.
She presented her idea as a very simple thing. She said she believed many of the people in prison were the victim of their own wrong view and choices in life and said to look at it like a set of scales where the karma of their own wrongdoings far outweighed their useful good deeds and thus that's why they end up where they are.
The idea she gave to the powers that be was that she was willing to put her theory to the test that if any prisoner agreed with this point of view (I don't think this included all kinds of prisoners by the way) then she would set up what she called a second chance. A chance to redress the balance. So she got in touch with various businesses from restaurants to warehouse etc and set up a syatem whereby prisoners were given to her and she got them into work and set the rules and thus they had to work constructively for I think it was two years without straying in order to redress the balance. It was a fantastic success and I'm sure it must still be going now.
Not as direct as the idea you were saying but one that is in operation somewhere in theU.S.
Regards,G.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:17 AM   #93
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
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Re: My Rope Theory

Hi Graham,

I have heard of victim restitution, and I believe it is at least theoretically available as part of a judgment in US courts, but I can't think of an actual case where I've seen it practiced...which is a shame. I suspect the reason why it isn't practiced more is because it's messy, it's not simple, so it doesn't appeal to a bureaucracy that is just trying to get things to move along. And, to get more fuzzy about it, because it is a practice that (even in its most bureaucratized form) is done in the spirit of openness that you talk about above, it is vulnerable. People become vulnerable when they practice it, both those making restitution who must truly admit their fault, and those accepting restitution who must let go of their grudge. And the practice itself is vulnerable to attack because it is messy and the accounting is never perfect. People will always attack it, saying that the restitution does not fully measure up to the harm.

But a perfect accounting is never possible. In Rwanda, following the genocide of 1994, the new government was faced with a seemingly impossible task: hundreds of thousands of prisoners who had committed horrible crimes, and a court system that was more than decimated, as so many judges had been murdered in the genocide. Trying all these criminals by the conventional means was clearly impossible. Rather than attempt it, the Rwandan government instituted the gacaca court, a community-based system of public trials in which the victims or their survivors confront the accused, members of the community speak for or against the defendant, and a judgment is reached by a panel of judges who are also community members. The gacaca court can sentence defendants to prison terms, but also can sentence them to community service ("work in the general interest" it's called) and can fine them for restitution.

The ins and outs of the gacaca system aren't the point I'm trying to make, though -- the point is that it isn't perfect. It tries to strike a balance between making things right for the victim, helping a community that was harmed, and when necessary, removing a dangerous person from the community. It does what it can in all these areas. It does not pretend to be perfect justice. But it accomplishes more than an insistence on a perfect solution would. It accomplishes far more than would be accomplished if everyone concerned insisted on older-style formal trials.

I'm not proposing a gacaca court for the Aikido community. I'm using the gacaca court as an example of finding a third way. The more I think about George's story, the more "third ways" occur to me: none of them perfect, none of them comprehensive. But they're also mostly not mutually exclusive. If you claim that your solution offers Justice-with-a-capital-J, then it has to be the end of things: once your solution has been implemented, no further attempts at justice can be made, and if your justice turns out to not be perfect (shh, not supposed to say that), then nobody can do anything to fix the harm that is left. But if you claim instead that your partial solution is just one of many, then it can be useful. In this case, for example, you've got an injured person. We tend to focus first and foremost on the person who did the harm, and to put all the responsibility on them -- and ideally that's where the restitution would come from. But in the meanwhile...you've got an injured person. What can others in the community do to help her? How can they make it possible for her to continue training? What can they offer in the way of patience, guidance, willingness to practice, encouragement? Is there a medical professional or bodyworker in the dojo community that can help? What can the community do so that she doesn't have to go through this alone?
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:06 AM   #94
Basia Halliop
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Re: My Rope Theory

Quote:
What is interesting to me is looking at how complex our discussion of the one on one scenario(s) described has been, with a wide variety of viewpoints, every one of them a perfectly valid take on the issue, how is it that the discussions of use of force on the macro level, i.e. war, seem so much more simplistic?
For one thing, things that are further away from us just tend to seem simpler... Most of us have never actually been to the countries our countries tend to get into conflicts with. They're almost more abstract ideas than real places.

Also most of us are not personally involved in the use of force in those situations, and most of us have never personally killed someone in front of us so our imagination is not as vivid as in the more local, one-on-one scenarios. Even the military has found for some time that remote weapons have a lot of pyschological advantages in addition to the practical ones.

Of course when there are more individuals involved really it's a more complex situation, not a simpler one. But the human mind can't really comprehend such large numbers of people, I don't think... beyond a few dozen people almost any group starts to seem like a mass rather than individuals, IMO.... IMO the increased complexity overwhelms our processing power.

The other thing that makes the discussions often seem simpler, IMO, is simply that there are more people involved in the discussion... Get two people together to debate something that concerns them both and they will often (not always) have quite nuanced complicated discussions (both for and against, BTW - I'm not suggesting it's just the people who say go to war that get oversimplistic -- everyone tends to). Get a few million people together to debate something and the shared discussion often tends to get simpler and simpler until it's reduced to a few bullet points.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:13 AM   #95
Basia Halliop
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Canada
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Re: My Rope Theory

Regarding restorative justice, I don't know about the states, but here it exists in certain limited circumstances, if both parties want it... Primarily it's associated with aboriginal communities at this point.

http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/prg/co...stice-eng.aspx
http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/pcvi-cpcv/res-rep.html
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:23 AM   #96
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
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Re: My Rope Theory

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Well, Graham's original post triggered all this in my mind... Aikido is do identified with "conflict resolution" and "non-violence" but often in a very naive way that I think everyone doing the art should think hard about what these ideas mean in Aikido in particular and for a martial artists of any persuasion.

I sure everyone virtually anyone who has done Aikido for any length of time must have heard Terry Dobson's subway story about the aggressive drunk harassing folks on the train. Because an old man reacted to this aggressive behavior with compassion and kindness the guy ended up with his head in the old man's lap crying his eyes out.

This story is the "Gold Standard" for many Aikido folks in terms of their belief that a) man is fundamentally good and b) that if we just act nicely with each other, pretty much everything will be ok.

However, Ellis Amdur had a variation on the same story in which a predatory type approached him on the subway in Japan, showing every sign of attacking him just for the pure twisted joy of beating someone to a pulp. Ellis's response of mindful presence without an "opening" precluded the attack and this violent fellow decided Ellis was cool. Another victory for conflict resolution and non-violence, right?

Except that, in this instance we weren't talking about a drunk frustrated by his life who ends up crying like a baby. This fellow reacted to Ellis's warrior composure by inviting him to come along and find some girl to rape. Just what guys do for recreation on a Saturday night. So that left Ellis with the dilemma, did he do the right thing? Ellis actually had the skills to have removed this fellow from the gene pool. In the isolated instance, he acted impeccably. But in the larger sense would the world have actually been a substantially better place if he had just taken the guy out? This fellow was a predator. These guys don't often meet up with people who have the skills to deal with them. Predators who are successful develop the ability to find the weak prey. The amount of harm they do before their Karma catches up with them is enormous.

In another instance, the consequences of such a choice are actually known. A police friend and former student, with the King County Sherrif;s office up here in the Seattle area got a call from one of the local mental health facilities. The dispatcher said the a subject had show up and told the staff that he was feeling like going downtown and shooting people. That was all the info my friend had when he showed up. As he entered the building he found that the staff had talked the guy into giving them his car keys. Now the subject had pulled a knife and was demanding the keys back. It reaches the point at which this fellow was walking straight down a hallway towards my friend with my friend having drawn down on him.

My friend had actually gotten to the decision point and had mentally drawn a line at which he would shoot the subject who was continuing to ignore all his verbal instructions to drop the knife etc. My friend had actually stopped indexing and placed his finger on the trigger, and was one more step away from shooting when the subject sensed the shift in intention and dropped the knife and submitted. J.R. had done everything by the book, acted professionally, with clear intention and no fear. The outcome was praised by the department and the media. He did everything he should have done and the end result was a life saved.

The only problem here was that this fellow, who had been in the sights of J.R.'s gun, two months later was the guy that went into a Jewish community center in LA and shot some children. J.R. had to deal with the reality that his restraint, while totally correct in the circumstances, meant that a horrible crime was later committed. That's a hell of a dilemma.

Ellis never found out what the consequences were of his restraint. J.R. was faced with knowing that he had had it in his power to have prevented later violence perpetrated by this Neo-Nazi nut case.

So, in the Aikido case I described, after the fact, I have found that virtually everyone knew this fellow was a problem. He had gone through the whole event person by person and hardly anyone would train with him after their initial exposure. The big strong boys just decided he was a jerk and not worth working with. It was the smaller folks, especially the females who got manhandled until he finally hurt my friend.

Now one could say that those of us who chose not to take this guy out had taken the high road. That's the violence doesn't solve anything paradigm. Since there has to be a mechanism for dealing with things like this, one might maintain that the seminar organizers should act to ban this fellow from future events. Good solution for us, maybe we never see him again. But that doesn't mean he doesn't go to other events held by other organizations and hurt other people. It just means that we don't have to be aware of it. Is that really the correct thing? Isn't that just a way of passing the responsibility to deal with the problem, to protect the people who need protection, off to someone else. And how many folks get hurt before someone decides to render this guy incapable of hurting anyone else?

So, I am still ambivalent. I almost certainly have the ability to have ended this fellows aggression but chose not to. There will almost certainly be consequences for this fellow but not any that will keep him from hurting other people in the future, I just won't be seeing him do so. Is that really the correct result here? I have always believed that martial arts training was only partially about self defense. A more important responsibility was that those with the power to protect the folks who weren't empowered to protect themselves had an obligation to do so. Did I do that? I don't feel as if I did...

Saotome Sensei, who really does believe that Aikido is a trans-formative practice that really is about fostering peace on some level also is quick to point out that sometimes conflict resolution involves terminating one of the persons in the conflict, then there's no conflict. I am not saying that there is any easy answer to this issue, but it's one that I am interested in how the folks that think about Aikido as conflict resolution, as a way towards world peace, etc think about these things. I am somewhat in between on this; I do see Aikido as a transformational process which can by extension make the world a better place but at the same time, on issues like this, I tend to come down more on the "Crush your enemies, see them flee before you, hear the lamentation of their women" side of things. A tendency that I pretty much keep in check. But what are the instances in which I should not have. Is this one of them?
You do know there is a few additional very simple solutions for this case:
* Has anyone confronted this guy, verbally. Anyone put the mirror to his face?
* You are writing in one of the strongest tool of the modern world - social networks. You and the others could write the story of that seminar and others, with the names of all involved, in multiple places that would keep appearing whenever anyone looks around. That would make it much harder for this aggressive person to appear in almost any seminar.

Quote:
Andrew Macdonald wrote: View Post
I remember being in a simlilar situation to the ones that are under discussion. A visiting student came to the dojo and he was doing a different more flashy style of aikido than what we were used to. he started going hard on a few of the smaller people and a few of the women. so i went to train with him for the rest of the night, not to go hard on him and teach him a lesson, but to protect others fromhim, I am a little bigger and stronger than most of the people i train with.
we trained he went strong on me so i matched his verocity, but with no aggression. if he took advantage when he was pinning me i told him it wasn;t needed and we continued.

I am quiet sure he learnt nothing from that session, but in my own little way i feel that i protected the smaller people in my dojo from an over zealous student.

of course this wasn;t the best answer to any situation, I have also seen myself step out of acceptabl;e behaviour and dropping someone in the dojo with a punch for being an ass. but every situation, needs its own answer

I like to feel that I at least learn something along the way
Actually, I believe you did choose the best solution for that situation.
As you described it, your visitor was used to practice in that way, in his mind, he just acted as he would have in his regular dojo. He was not aggressive in his mind, and he did act the same way towards both you and smaller people.
This is an example of styles differing. Very far from the situation described before.

Amir
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:01 AM   #97
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 642
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Re: My Rope Theory

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
What is interesting to me is looking at how complex our discussion of the one on one scenario(s) described has been, with a wide variety of viewpoints, every one of them a perfectly valid take on the issue, how is it that the discussions of use of force on the macro level, i.e. war, seem so much more simplistic?

It seems to me that human beings seem to make hold a different set of opinions when an issue is manageable like the one on one scenarios described here and tend to hold often contradictory beliefs as soon as we are talking about groups, societies, or countries. One would think that given the consequences folks would be doubly and triply resistant to larger scale conflict when actually it seems that, often, the very same person who on and individual level would praise restraint, promote the rule of law over use of violence, and be very critical of non-proportional reactions to conflicts will simultaneously be willing to use force on the macro level much more readily than at the individual level.

We went into Viet Nam simply because Kennedy was terribly embarrassed by the Bay of Pigs fiasco and was looking for someplace he could show the Right that he was tough on Communism and wasn't a whimp. The American public which largely had no idea where Viet Nam even was on a map at that time, simply went along with the whole thing. There was very little if any debate of the kind that we seem to be able to generate over responses to a one on one situation. Is it merely because the one on one seems comprehensible to people but the macro issues seem too complex?

I am not saying that no one generates this kind of discussion. But it seems like there is a huge disconnect between the way most folks in our society treat the individual and his interactions and how they think about the society, which is merely made up of lots of individuals, think about these same issues.Just something that occrred tro me while rereading the various takes on the thread.
I have often heard people talk about the difficulty in human perception of the big-picture when more then very few people are were harmed. We can easily identify with one person, or two, but once thousands or more are involved, we loose the personal identification and sympathy.

Yet, around here, I recall lots and lots of discussions on the reactions of the Govt. with regard to "similar issues". You would be surprised at the variety of opinions suggested, even from a single person regarding very similar situations, with different history and connection.
But I think the above principle does hold, in the sense that people often discuss such issues from a logical preceptive, or from their group POV, but fail to think of the other groups feelings.

Amir
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