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Old 11-22-2011, 07:45 PM   #1
graham christian
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Violence and Aikido

I see there have been a couple of threads on violence recently so thought I'd give an Aikido perspective on violence in my own 'unique' way. Ha, ha.

People say it depends on what you call violence, it depends on intent, or quote a past saying of someone.

O.K. Well I'll give you a Ki perspective, an energy perspective, a spiritual perspective on the matter for your inspection.

Chaos. Violence contains chaotic Ki, chaotic energy. It is indeed preceded by mal intent or chaotic confused intent.

Now Aikido is meant to be the path of peace. Aikido , as Ueshiba kept pointing out is nothing to do with combat or fighting or enemies or opponents etc.

So what does Aikido do to violence? It dissipates it. Aikido could be from that viewpoint called a martial art that dissipates violence. It doesn't use it, it doesn't deflect it and do clever things with it, (except along the path to learning) it vanquishes it. Without harm and thus returns to peace.

There is no violence in love, none in kindness, none in compassion, none in goodness, none in Ki. In their purity that is.

Thus Aikido is separated from most all other martial arts.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-22-2011, 08:26 PM   #2
Gorgeous George
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Aikido has everything to do with combat; that's why it's a martial art.

Violence doesn't have to be 'preceded' by malintent, or 'chaotic confused intent': it can be a surgical, precise thing - it frequently is, in fact.
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:13 PM   #3
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Re: Violence and Aikido

I sense a circular definition here. Aikido is non-violent, therefore an act of violence committed by an aikidoka must be either (a) not aikido or (b) not really violent.

But that position, I think, gives aikidoka too much credit, and students of other arts too little. There are plenty of peaceful students of other arts. There are plenty of not-so-peaceful aikidoka.

Aikido is a martial art. Like a sword, it has the ability to do great damage. But like a sword, the violence is in the hand that wields it, not the sword itself.

Katherine
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:40 PM   #4
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Quote:
Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
Aikido has everything to do with combat; that's why it's a martial art.

Violence doesn't have to be 'preceded' by malintent, or 'chaotic confused intent': it can be a surgical, precise thing - it frequently is, in fact.
Ditto.

Also what Katherine said as well.

Life is a series of conflicts and paradoxes. There is a duality that exist. In order to have love, or understand the concept of love we must conceive or know of the opposite. Understanding peace is understanding the nature of violence. Aikido and bud can give us a way to understand and reconcile these things without necesaaryily having to have first hand knowledge of these things.

Aikido IMO does not dissipate violence or chaos, it balances it or reconciles it. It is always there and we must constantly be aware of its nature.

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Old 11-23-2011, 01:49 AM   #5
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Violence and Aikido

...I responded to Stefan Stenudd in Pas de Deux for Peace which also fits here I guess

As I always say in class: the sword is not dangerous, the persons who wields it can be...

When you say "do not rock the boat, there is bound to be at least one that wants to know what happens when you do". When you strive for peace, there is also always someone that disagrees with your take on exactly what is 'peace'. Good vs evil, the balance constantly shifts, none will ever prevail.
Someone stated humoursly that when you fight with a gorilla you cannot stop when you get tired, you can only rest when the gorilla gets tired. This one (finding balance) is an angry silverback...
So live in the moment, enjoy the moment...

Aikido is but a tool, the user decides its use....

I am not so sure if Aikido, as is, actually dissipates violence. Again, Aikido is a tool, one can be very very aggressive using Aikido; even be violent. You can literally destroy someone. Now how is that dissipating violence? Aikido is not supposed to be used as such, sure. One can use the tool Aikido to 'counter' violence and change the situation to one in which violence can no longer exist.

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 11-23-2011, 05:09 AM   #6
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Using aikido "successfully" does control the movements of a person, breaks the balance, disturbs the structure/organisation of the body, makes him or her go to the ground. ...

Even if nothing is destroyed - which I can't imagine if the person has no typical uke skills - the person experiences being "dominated" by another person. Iisn't this already violence? In my eyes even the smoothest ikkyo omote is only non-violent in a setting where uke agrees being a uke.

So isn't aikido just another form of violence?
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Old 11-23-2011, 05:14 AM   #7
graham christian
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
I sense a circular definition here. Aikido is non-violent, therefore an act of violence committed by an aikidoka must be either (a) not aikido or (b) not really violent.

But that position, I think, gives aikidoka too much credit, and students of other arts too little. There are plenty of peaceful students of other arts. There are plenty of not-so-peaceful aikidoka.

Aikido is a martial art. Like a sword, it has the ability to do great damage. But like a sword, the violence is in the hand that wields it, not the sword itself.

Katherine
Yes, I would say an act of violence is not Aikido.

I don't see it has anything really to do with giving credit. It's a totally different art in essence. The purpose is Harmony rather than control, being at one with rather than against etc, etc.

Of course many can and indeed do take what they can from it and use it as a means of combat, defeating the opponent, or any other purpose employed by other martial arts. Thus Aikido gets denigrated in my opinion.

Aikido is like a sword? I would say it is like the healing sword yes and thus needs a person of right mind to wield it properly. So yes, it's the person who needs to change in order to do so. Hence the path of self development rather than self defence. Self defence in Aikido is merely a powerful by product.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-23-2011, 05:25 AM   #8
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Re: Violence and Aikido

i've always wondered about the Healing Sword. What does that concept mean? How does a sword heal?

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Old 11-23-2011, 05:29 AM   #9
graham christian
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Using aikido "successfully" does control the movements of a person, breaks the balance, disturbs the structure/organisation of the body, makes him or her go to the ground. ...

Even if nothing is destroyed - which I can't imagine if the person has no typical uke skills - the person experiences being "dominated" by another person. Iisn't this already violence? In my eyes even the smoothest ikkyo omote is only non-violent in a setting where uke agrees being a uke.

So isn't aikido just another form of violence?
Ultimately no. There is no chaotic Ki or mal intent in good Aikido. So there is no violence. When you pick up a baby and put him down in a cot is your energy violent? Or is it non-violent and filled with the spirit of loving protection?

The only question really is can you do ikkyo or even nikkyo with this non-violence? Have you ever felt it done so? Thus for me I would say have you ever felt Aikido?

A person or uke feeling this Aikido does not feel dominated. When going for a ride on a train do you feel dominated? When treated with love and kindness do you feel dominated?

Violence doesn't exist in the principles given in Aikido so it's a matter of finding out why and learning how.

Or we can not change and then justify why we must have violence in it but then it's not true Aikido anymore. Alas.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-23-2011, 05:43 AM   #10
graham christian
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Re: Violence and Aikido

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Ditto.

Also what Katherine said as well.

Life is a series of conflicts and paradoxes. There is a duality that exist. In order to have love, or understand the concept of love we must conceive or know of the opposite. Understanding peace is understanding the nature of violence. Aikido and bud can give us a way to understand and reconcile these things without necesaaryily having to have first hand knowledge of these things.

Aikido IMO does not dissipate violence or chaos, it balances it or reconciles it. It is always there and we must constantly be aware of its nature.
Life can be a series or paradoxes, especially if you want to understand it, but the paradoxes are to be worked out and realized and then they to you are no longer paradoxes. Such is the way. Thus the paradoxes are not in life but in our own selves.

This we must know the opposite theory is not true. You know love when you feel it. You can experience anything and know it. Then you give it a label. It's absolutely nothing to do with what it's opposite feels like. If you then want to go and experience it's opposite then you are free to do so and then you can know both.

Aikido was borne from one man's enlightenment and thus a new way, a new martial art, a new budo, free of the duelistic usual approach to martial arts. Looks similar, but there again charlie chaplin looked similar to hitler.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-23-2011, 05:46 AM   #11
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Violence and Aikido

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charlie chaplin looked similar to hitler.
Great movie.

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Old 11-23-2011, 05:57 AM   #12
graham christian
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
...I responded to Stefan Stenudd in Pas de Deux for Peace which also fits here I guess

As I always say in class: the sword is not dangerous, the persons who wields it can be...

When you say "do not rock the boat, there is bound to be at least one that wants to know what happens when you do". When you strive for peace, there is also always someone that disagrees with your take on exactly what is 'peace'. Good vs evil, the balance constantly shifts, none will ever prevail.
Someone stated humoursly that when you fight with a gorilla you cannot stop when you get tired, you can only rest when the gorilla gets tired. This one (finding balance) is an angry silverback...
So live in the moment, enjoy the moment...

Aikido is but a tool, the user decides its use....

I am not so sure if Aikido, as is, actually dissipates violence. Again, Aikido is a tool, one can be very very aggressive using Aikido; even be violent. You can literally destroy someone. Now how is that dissipating violence? Aikido is not supposed to be used as such, sure. One can use the tool Aikido to 'counter' violence and change the situation to one in which violence can no longer exist.
Is Aikido a tool? For me it is a way. Those techniques within it may be tools as expressions of the way. The motions of Aikido are not tools but natural pathways. If anything I would rather say I am a tool of Aikido.

You can be aggressive if you like and destroy someone but that's not Aikido. Those who think it is are misguided in my opinion.

Peace rules, it is infinite. How long can you keep angry? How long can a raging fire last? How long can a storm last? They all return to peace, nature always takes over. People like to think war or violence desroys peace. Impossible. Peace is always there and violence has to dissipate after it's brief appearance.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-23-2011, 06:00 AM   #13
graham christian
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Re: Violence and Aikido

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Great movie.
Ha, ha. Sehr gut!
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Old 11-23-2011, 06:05 AM   #14
graham christian
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
i've always wondered about the Healing Sword. What does that concept mean? How does a sword heal?
Ever done Ki atsu? It's to do with Ki and what true Ki actually does. I'll show you one day.

But I suppose people thinking it's just a saying could play with it and translate it as an aspirin or something. Ha.ha.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-23-2011, 06:17 AM   #15
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Is Aikido a tool? For me it is a way. Those techniques within it may be tools as expressions of the way. The motions of Aikido are not tools but natural pathways. If anything I would rather say I am a tool of Aikido.

You can be aggressive if you like and destroy someone but that's not Aikido. Those who think it is are misguided in my opinion.

Peace rules, it is infinite. How long can you keep angry? How long can a raging fire last? How long can a storm last? They all return to peace, nature always takes over. People like to think war or violence desroys peace. Impossible. Peace is always there and violence has to dissipate after it's brief appearance.

Regards.G.
If I understand you correctly you say that peace is the normal level that nature resides in and violence etc are the disturbances of the normal mirror like water?

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:48 AM   #16
graham christian
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Re: Violence and Aikido

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Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
If I understand you correctly you say that peace is the normal level that nature resides in and violence etc are the disturbances of the normal mirror like water?
Yes. That's right.

G.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:31 AM   #17
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Dear All,
Aikido is neither violent or non violent. Depending on the situation one must apply aikido prInciples. Now regarding the sword ,again a sword can remain in its scabbard or be drawn in battle.As an aikidoka I believe that while peaceful resolution is to be sought one must if need be be willing to engage in violent confrontation.Gandhi was an exponent of peaceful means of resistance against perceived oppressors.I do not think his approach would have been too successful against the Third Reich.It needed force of arms to resolve that situation.The philosophy of Aikido is good but in practical terms possibly flawed.Human nature being what it is has etc.We have yet to find solutions to mayor problems.Even if one applies non violent methods eg sanctions against countries ,the usual victims are the plebs.The bigshots still maintain the cushy lifestyle.Cheers, Joe.
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:01 AM   #18
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
... chaotic Ki or mal intent in good Aikido. So there is no violence. ...
Maybe it depends on language, but I understand violance as to force or control someone, using authority, power, might, knowledge, aikido waza ... .
Violence just means do make someone do something against his own intention or will or wish. It is not about good or mal intent.

Brutality or bestiality is something different.

Quote:
When you pick up a baby and put him down in a cot is your energy violent?
To do the same with a six year old child against it's will, is violence.
To make an inmate I work with calm down by bringing him to the ground an fixing him there until he relaxes is violence. But not mal intent.
Loving protection may use violence if needed. (Indeed exactly that is one of the reasons that made me start with aikido.)

Quote:
The only question really is can you do ikkyo or even nikkyo with this non-violence? Have you ever felt it done so?
I can do ikkyo or even nikyo without using pain. (On good days ...) And maybe you know that the aikido Endo teaches allways tries to use open hands, no gabbing, no muscle power, very gentle and open and "friendly". We are sometimes mocked as to "fondle uke to the ground".
But still this means to bring someone to the ground who wants to stay upright. And to guide someone on a way he doesn't want to go.
Quote:
When going for a ride on a train do you feel dominated?
I make him ride on the same train I travel with. He doesn't ride on the train, leading to the destination he had in mind.
So this is kind of "kidnapping".

Quote:
Thus for me I would say have you ever felt Aikido?
Maybe I sometimes felt a way of aikido you seem to describe. But it didn't convince me.

Quote:
A person or uke feeling this Aikido does not feel dominated. ... When treated with love and kindness do you feel dominated?
It didn't convince me, precisely because I didn't feel "dominated" by tori: I was allways free to do what I wanted to. To fall, to just go away, to punch tori into the face ... I had to be told how to behave as uke.
So I felt dominated not by tori, but by the teacher who told me what to do as uke, how to attack and when to fall. I had to restrain myself instead of being lead by tori. I didn't like that.

I don't think that aikido is different from other budo in this concern: For it is a budo, there is violance included. And on the other hand other budo also have ethics included like aikido has.

... well, I right walked into the trap ... had this discussion over and over ...

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 11-23-2011 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:04 AM   #19
graham christian
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Maybe it depends on language, but I understand violance as to force or control someone, using authority, power, might, knowledge, aikido waza ... .
Violence just means do make someone do something against his own intention or will or wish. It is not about good or mal intent.

Brutality or bestiality is something different.

To do the same with a six year old child against it's will, is violence.
To make an inmate I work with calm down by bringing him to the ground an fixing him there until he relaxes is violence. But not mal intent.
Loving protection may use violence if needed. (Indeed exactly that is one of the reasons that made me start with aikido.)

I can do ikkyo or even nikyo without using pain. (On good days ...) And maybe you know that the aikido Endo teaches allways tries to use open hands, no gabbing, no muscle power, very gentle and open and "friendly". We are sometimes mocked as to "fondle uke to the ground".
But still this means to bring someone to the ground who wants to stay upright. And to guide someone on a way he doesn't want to go.

I make him ride on the same train I travel with. He doesn't ride on the train, leading to the destination he had in mind.
So this is kind of "kidnapping".

Maybe I sometimes felt a way of aikido you seem to describe. But it didn't convince me.

It didn't convince me, precisely because I didn't feel "dominated" by tori: I was allways free to do what I wanted to. To fall, to just go away, to punch tori into the face ... I had to be told how to behave as uke.
So I felt dominated not by tori, but by the teacher who told me what to do as uke, how to attack and when to fall. I had to restrain myself instead of being lead by tori. I didn't like that.

I don't think that aikido is different from other budo in this concern: For it is a budo, there is violance included. And on the other hand other budo also have ethics included like aikido has.

... well, I right walked into the trap ... had this discussion over and over ...
So what is force? It is violence. You may need to force a door open but if you do you are liable to cause some damage. Force by it's own nature is desrtuctive. So you can use it for many things, you can even harness it and direct it it to drive some kind of motor or something but then you come to the question of when is applied effort different to force.

Study takes effort, work is effort, effort is necessary in most all things. But force is different, and thus has an added quality of too much of something unnecessary. That something is violence.

Force violates. Aikido energy joins.

The inmate example you give is not one of you being violent as far as I can see. You see to understand what I am saying you need to understand basic human nature, true nature, not the meaning banded about. That inmate in truth didn't want to be violent and actually wanted someone to stop him being so and thus you acted in accordance with his true nature. He thus returned to a calm state. He could be himself again thanks to you. No damage done to him and your action prevented him doing damage to himself or others. Aikido in action.

Now if you could do the same thing without force, calmly and efficiently yet definitely then that would be pure Aikido. Or as I say Aikido.

All bullies for example underneath, in their hearts want to be stopped. They actually want to be helped. That's why when a person stands up to one they then want to be that persons friend.

Hitler with his armies wanted to dominate and bully etc. In response other countries stood up to him and much force was used and much violence and many lives lost. That situation is something that had been arrived at and ended up as war. Bottom of the scale situation. Many many situations prior to that had been gone through without being handled before it got to that final one.

These can all be looked at as examples of need for violence but it merely shows how ignorant we as human beings are to allow things to get to that point in the first place. We are not wise yet think we are and thus think violence is normal for use.

If on the other hand you studied the ways and means wars have been prevented you would find yourself studying such thins as diplomacy (real, not the usual wheeling and dealing) the art of peacemaking and thus the way of peace. If history books were filled with this history then people would be educated in a much better way of living and war would be seen in it's true colours. Stupidity.

The history of peacemaking far outstrips the history of wars by number and victory. Those who do not see this do not see what Ueshiba was saying either in my opinion. But then again how can many understand such enlightened views when they are not.

Can an unenlightened person understand fully an enlightened one? Thus it is a path and thus the first step is realizing that when such things as non-resistance and no enemies and no competition are spoken of they are real and it is up to us to find out how and why rather than translate it as yeah but it depends.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:04 PM   #20
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Re: Violence and Aikido

I agree with the idea that Aikido is non-violent and that violence can not be true aikido.

Central to Osensei's message is the concept in his quote "Aiki is not a technique to fight or defeat an enemy. It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family."

The tendency to use physical aikido principles in furtherance of self-defense is coming from a fear-based place. When we can transcend fear and the limbic system responses that arise from it we are able to connect with our partner (attacker) in a way that supports him while his intention brings him to the ground. This is not throwing, nor is it "winning," it is a process of being compassionately involved in what the attacker is doing physically without interfering with it. It is equally not opposing the will of the attacker, it is the active embodiment of "the loving protection of all things."

In our practice at my dojo, we do not teach from an technique emulation model, so we never know how our partner is going to attack. As ukes we never go along with our partner's "technique" so unless they really harmonize in the truest sense of the word, then what we call an "aiki resolution" (uke coming to rest on the mat or rolling) will not manifest. As ukes, we learn to authentically maintain an attacker's intention to destroy or control nage's center throughout the movement, so any response other than true harmonizing will not result in an aiki resolution.

We have found in this kind of practice that unless we can embody qualities that transcend fear (compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, understanding, etc), we resort to lower brain responses (resistance, locking up, or withdrawal) and aikido is impossible. But when we can embody those qualities and transcend our lower brain responses, it is uke's intention that leads him to the floor rather than nage putting him there.

When we practice like this we allow our uke's to roll, but we also learn at the advanced levels how to stay connected with our partner so that uke's final movement to the mat is soft and he is supported in such a way to eliminate harm to him from contacting the ground. In this way we are assured that our non-aikidoka partners (real life attackers) really receive the benefits of our practice of "loving protection of all things."

So while it is possible to use the movements that make up the physical aspects of aikido in a way that causes injury, pain, or even mild discomfort, it is ultimately a thousand times more effective to use them in a way to support our attacker in the "completion of his mission" as self-defense comes to be more a by-product of the interaction than the primary goal.
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:18 PM   #21
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Life can be a series or paradoxes, especially if you want to understand it, but the paradoxes are to be worked out and realized and then they to you are no longer paradoxes. Such is the way. Thus the paradoxes are not in life but in our own selves.

This we must know the opposite theory is not true. You know love when you feel it. You can experience anything and know it. Then you give it a label. It's absolutely nothing to do with what it's opposite feels like. If you then want to go and experience it's opposite then you are free to do so and then you can know both.

Aikido was borne from one man's enlightenment and thus a new way, a new martial art, a new budo, free of the duelistic usual approach to martial arts. Looks similar, but there again charlie chaplin looked similar to hitler.

Regards.G.
It was born from his enlightenment. what were the experiences that led to his enlightenment?

The story of Buddha is clear. How did he reach his enlightenment? what was the main force that drove him to head down the path?

How about Jesus? What were the experiences he had that led him to take the actions he took?

I see a common thread among all great persons. Oh...Ghandi too? Mother Teresa?

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Old 11-23-2011, 01:30 PM   #22
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Violence and Aikido

I don't believe Hitler was a bully that was crying out to have someone stop him.

All good diplomacy has been backed by a strong infrastructure to include military power or the will of the people. You could call this the life giving sword. Walk softly and carry a big stick comes to mind. Name one country that did not use the will of the people to back up diplomacy. India under Ghandi's leadership did so without a strong military, however, it was the will of the people and the ultimate threat that. However you could argue that this technique worked given that there were unique conditions in place polictically with Britain that enabled this to work. It didn't go so well for Tibet and I have heard the Dali Lama relent his position and decision knowing what he knows today about the suffering his people have incurred.

It boils down to the "lesser evil" in all cases unfortunately. So, IMO, it is always about compromise mostly. Again, what worked for India did not work for Tibet based on the differences in the Diplomatic and Political conditions. Idealism is fine, but at what cost?

"The history of peacemaking far outstrips the history of wars by number and victory. Those who do not see this do not see what Ueshiba was saying either in my opinion. But then again how can many understand such enlightened views when they are not. "

Please explain this further and quantify it, because I really do not understand it. I see it the other way around. the Majority of peacemaking situations have followed periods of war and the war certainly influenced and dictated the terms of peace and reconciliation.

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Old 11-23-2011, 01:36 PM   #23
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Here is a concept to ponder. What if I got a bunch of my friends and we decided to simply walk into your dojo, take it over and refused to leave and cooperate. I decided that I was now in charge and I was going to run things my way or you would have to fight me and all my friends.

Every class we come back and do the same thing to the point that you no longer can train in the ideals and spirit that you embody in Aikido.

What would you do? Turn the other cheek? Stop coming? call the police? what?

What if I don't care to reason with you at all? What if I and my friends simply want to taunt you and bully you every class? do you yield to us and go find another place to train and let us take over the dojo?

What happens if we decide to follow you there and do the same thing? When do you stand your ground? What do you do from an "aikido philosophical/ethical" construct? How do you resolve this?

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Old 11-23-2011, 01:55 PM   #24
genin
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Peace and war both serve in bringing about change. Usually when one fails, the other takes over and gets the required results.
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Old 11-23-2011, 03:50 PM   #25
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Re: Violence and Aikido

Non-violent political resistance only works if there is an effective appeal to a third party. Compare the situations of the demonstrators at UC Davis vs. those demonstrating against the regime in Syria. At UC Davis, a police officer pepper-sprayed peaceful demonstrators at point blank range, leading to his own suspension from the force and a university-wide review of protest-related policies. In Syria, demonstrators are routinely subjected to beatings and tear gas, not to mention having the secret police kick their doors down in the middle of the night, but the perpetrators have the full support of the regime. A sufficiently well-armed and amoral regime will always be able to suppress dissent.

Katherine
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