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K: Kick-Ass, Kindness, and Kindred-Spirits
K: Kick-Ass, Kindness, and Kindred-Spirits
by Lynn Seiser
K: Kick-Ass, Kindness, and Kindred-Spirits

Breathe in, kick-ass
Breathe out, kindness

I certainly remember my first interest in the martial arts. I know it was during my hormonal intoxication of adolescence. I am not sure if it was to kick-ass on others or stop them from kicking mine. Somehow, I don't think this is an unusual fear-based place to start.
Kick: (1) using a specific part of anatomy, with a specific amount of force, on a specific object, aimed in a specific direction, usually for a specific purpose, (2) to move or strike with the foot, (3) a temporary stimulant effect of thrill, power, focus, and interest, (4) the recoil of a gun, (5) to give up a habit or tendency, (6) a heavy repetitive beat in music or as a final note
Ass: (1) another specific part of anatomy used best for sitting on not thinking or speaking from, (2) a negative character trait though often an accurate and offensive description, (3) an animal resembling a horse with long ears, (4) what needs to be covered to protect one's self, (5) what need to be hauled to pick up the pace, (6) what is in a sling when you are in trouble
A kick-in-the-ass can also be to reprimand and motivate which is better than a kick-in the-teeth meant to insult or being kicked-when-you-are-down to abuse and exploit, but not as good as getting kicked-upstairs as a promotion.

Being the kickee and the kicker is no easy task. Many times these are life positions and schema/scripts that we learn early in life. Both the kickee and kicker are fear-based.

Remember when it seemed funny to secretly tape a sign on someone's back that said "Kick Me"? Some people would. When you are kicked enough, you believe that this is your position and purpose in life, to be kicked about. This creates a victim mentality. Those who are kicked too much never end up on the dojo mat or the counselor's office; they are too damaged and accept this position as their true purpose and karma in life. Yet, every once in a while, hopefully before they give up and hit rock bottom, they want to find a way to stop being kicked about. This is a great opportunity. It may be easy to teach them to move correctly in a safe environment, but seldom can they actually apply the techniques they learn in an actual encounter or relationship. While they think they want to stop being kicked, their thinking keeps them there. Why is learning how to move the mind so much more difficult and complex than learning how to move the body? (It's a reflective rhetorical question, a Zen koan.)

Some people find it difficult to accept being kicked around. They often become the next generation of kickers. They become bullies, offenders, and predators. They were made that way by being on the receiving end of the treatment they now dish out on others. The kickers also don't tend to show up on the dojo mat or counselor's office because they do not want to be found out. While on one level they believe it's their place and position in life with the entitled rights of taking their insecurities and inadequacies out on other, they also have cut themselves off from any empathy with their victims because then they would have to relive their own pain. Yet, every once in a while, hopefully before they really hurt someone and are locked away or before everyone they love leaves them, they decide to try to learn to control themselves rather than control (and hurt others). Like their reciprocal partner, the kickee/victim, it is easier to control the body than to control the aggressive mind.
Whether one is kicking someone else's ass (offender), getting their ass kicked (victim), or kicking someone's ass to prevent them from kicking someone's ass (rescuer), these are often fear based roles and positions and actually perpetuate the problem.
Kindness: a positive thought, feeling, or behavior of (1) empathy, (2) compassion, (3) gentleness, (4) thoughtfulness, (5) helpfulness, and (6) humanity
I often tell people that true kindness comes from being able to kick-ass, and choosing not to do so. If I truly cannot kick-ass, then perhaps it is more about my incompetence. How do we cultivate, facilitate, and perpetuate an attitude of kindness to everyone equally so we do not stay fear based and we provide them the opportunity to overcome theirs?

The victims of the world, the kickees, need to learn to overcome their own fears and rescue themselves. To do this, they must have a safe supportive environment to progressively experience and experiment with new attitudes and behaviors. We must accept that kindness is not accepting that they cannot apply the techniques by being too compliant or pushing too hard. Both reinforce the position they are trying to change. This is a gradual process taking courage and compassion, kindness.

The offender/perpetrators of the world, the kickers, need to overcome their own fears and memories of being victims and reconnect to their empathy and their pain. Kindness is not turning the tables, putting them in their place, by re-introducing them to re-experiencing what is it to be kicked. Rather than reinforcing their life position, we need to provide the context and opportunity for them to experience their own growth.

The rescuers use the same fear based means of expression (kicking). As martial arts instructors, we must accept our limited position of not being professional counselors with an education, experience, or expertise in the transformation of victims (kickee) or offenders/predators (kicker). We are only the guardians of providing the kindness of a safe environment for the individual's exploration and experience.
Kindred: (1) of the same kind, (2) similar, (3) an affinity, (4) a sense of belonging, (5) associated with

Spirit: (1) anything beyond the physical (2) life force, (3) enthusiasm, (4) disposition, personality, and temperament, (5) attitude or state of mind, (6) group loyalty, (7) important influence, (8) real meaning, (9) shared outlook, (10) soul
Beneath the explicitly demonstrated fear of the victim (kickee) or the implied hidden fear of the offender/predator (kicker), they are the same people who have pain and suffering, hopes and drive. They are tied together in the reciprocal mutually destructive relationship. They perpetuate each other's fears and prevent each other's kindness. They evolve together and they will grow together in whichever direction they choose. If one quits being a kickee, they will quit attracting kickers. When one quits being a kicker, they will quit looking for kickees. When we see the fear in both, we quit aggressively playing into the cycle of abuse and violence and foster kindness to and from others.

Many of us started our journey and our training on opposite sides of the dichotomy. There was a separation, not sameness. Now we find we are all the same kind of spirits with the same directions and goals. We are all in this together. We all win or we all lose. Let's not waste this temporary opportunity. We are kindred spirits.

Breathe in, kick-ass
Breathe out, kindness

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Now get back to training. KWATZ!
Lynn Seiser (b. 1950 Pontiac, Michigan), Ph.D. has been a perpetual student of martial arts, CQC/H2H, FMA/JKD, and other fighting systems for over 40 years. He currently holds the rank of Yondan (4th degree black belt) from Sensei Andrew Sato of the Aikido World Alliance and Sandan (3rd degree Black Belt) from Sensei Dang Thong Phong of the International Tenshinkai Aikido Federation. He is the co-author of three books on Aikido (with Phong Sensei) and his martial art articles have appeared in Black Belt Magazine, Aikido Today Magazine, and Martial Arts and Combat Sports Magazine. He is the founder of Aiki-Solutions and IdentityTherapy and is an internationally respected psychotherapist in the clinical treatment of offenders, victims, and families of violence, trauma, abuse, and addiction. He is a professor of clinical and forensic psychology with an expertise in family violence and treatment. He currently lives in Marietta, GA and trains and teaches at Kyushinkan Dojo, Roswell Budokan.
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Old 07-27-2012, 02:11 AM   #2
crbateman's Avatar
Location: Orlando, FL
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,502
Re: K: Kick-Ass, Kindness, and Kindred-Spirits

More good stuff this month, Lynn-san. Interesting choices in both contrast and concert. Thanks for putting it out there...
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:20 AM   #3
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,902
Re: K: Kick-Ass, Kindness, and Kindred-Spirits

Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
Interesting choices in both contrast and concert.
Thanks my friend.

Guess I am on this Taoist inclusive utilization of opposites (transcending duality) as transformative and generative change.

Most people want to breathe in the good and let out the bad, which appears a bit selfish to me.

To help others, we have to breathe in the bad, transform it and generate a positive through correct concentration, contemplation, and compassion.

Thanks for reading and responding.

BTW: looks like a few trips south coming.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:29 AM   #4
crbateman's Avatar
Location: Orlando, FL
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,502
Re: K: Kick-Ass, Kindness, and Kindred-Spirits

Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
BTW: looks like a few trips south coming.
Great! Door's always open...
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