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Old 07-13-2002, 01:29 PM   #1
Diablo
Dojo: International Aikido Association
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Does intimidation work on you?

I came upon this story, and it brought up a question.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp..._eyebrows_dc_1
It is about 6 high school kids that were ejected from a judo tournament for shaving their eyebrows in a thin line "because they are intimidating to opponents and cause displeasure."
I know thay had rules in the tournament, and they were broken, but would thin eyebrows scare you?
On the street, I have seen people back down because the other guy had a loud voice, prison tatoos, or was drunk. You would think that being drunk would be a disadvantage, but I've had friends say "that guy was drunk, and you don't know if he will pull out a knife or a gun." Size is also an intimidation factor.
This may be more of a psychology question than an Aikido question, but why do you think some people lose the fight before it even begins? I know some of you will say something like "A true Akidoka would walk away from a fight and no one would get hurt" , but I believe more people walk away from a fight out of fear than of higher morals and principles.

It's all about connection.
Diablo
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Old 07-13-2002, 02:29 PM   #2
DaveO
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Whether they walk away out of fear or higher principals, the important point is they walked away, thus avoiding a fight. Unless, I suppose, one is at such a high level one can be considered a 'master' at Aikido, anyone who is not intimidated by something is nuts - no sense of survival. I stand 6'4", 205 lbs. Although I only have 2 months of Aikido, I have been training to fight most of my life. I am a retired combat soldier; I have seen action overseas. There is little a street tough - or 3 or 4, for that matter, that can do to either frighten me or hurt me, were such a thing to be attempted. This is not boasting, just a simple statememt of fact, because on the street, I've never had to use my skills and thank God for that.
Do I get intimidated? Sure - saying you're not is either foolhardiness or empty bragging. Some big, drunk gorilla swinging a beer bottle can do a lot of damage. Whether or not I can deal with him - easily - makes no difference - he intimidates me.
The question is how does that intimidation affect you? To me, not at all. Regardless of my own fear, I act according to tactical precepts laid down in my teens, first and foremost that it takes two to start a fight. I've been in that position often, and every single time, I've simply adopted a relaxed, ready position and stared silently at my antagonist. They usually froth at the mouth, spout insults, threats, trying to goad me - I don't goad very well. I just stare. Sooner or later, he'll give up and wander away, convincing himself he's won. Not once has any ever worked themselves up to attack. I'd guess, based on past experience, that if a guy takes more than 15 seconds to work himself up to attack, he won't attack at all unless you provoke him.

Sorry, got a bit off topic. To sum up, yes, I get intimidated. No, Intimidation doesn't matter in the situation. Yes, whenever possible, I'll walk away from a fight, and yes, that's a good thing, because it avoids the fight, whatever the reason for walking away.
Hope this helps.
Thanks!
Dave

Last edited by DaveO : 07-13-2002 at 07:09 PM.

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 07-13-2002, 05:32 PM   #3
Bruce Baker
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How much trouble is it?

I liked what Dave had to say, but I am reminded of those chosen few who take it upon themselves to harass, rob, humiliate, or just plain don't know when to give up.

Realize it has taken many years to grow larger and larger, at least for me, so I have gone through a number of size tranisitions that met with different results from the intimidators.

There is a difference in physical presence from someone who is five feet ten inchs at one hundred and sixty pounds, and someone at six feet tall two hundred and fifty pounds, geek or professional wrestler, which is more intimidating? When intimidation is used, it does indeed creep into the darker side of humanities baser survival instincts, but when confidence is exhibited the intimidation tends to melt into status quo, or the walk away from a bad situation happens.

Intimidation? The only intimidation I get now adays is ... what kind of trouble am I gonna get in when my wife hears I thumped somebody? Aikido has helped to turn much of my aggression into openings for simpler redirections, armbars, or even taking a dangerous situation and not making it worse.

Yeah, I am "legally" intimidated as to if I really hurt someone should I make sure they are dead, so there is only one piece of paper to fill out, or make it look like an accident so there are multiple forms to fill out.

I vote for the one piece of paper.

And that, the one piece of paper, is a true story from when I worked for the National Park Service ... one which I explain to intimidators who can't be talked to. So far, I haven't had to kill anybody, but I did get a visit from Vince McMahon from the then WWF when I worked in Connecticutt.

I really need to get to practice more often, get rid of these summertime aggressions.

So should you.
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Old 07-13-2002, 06:52 PM   #4
shihonage
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Words and the tone they're said in have been known to intimidate me ... a lot.
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Old 07-13-2002, 07:06 PM   #5
PeterR
 
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Whenever I talk about Budo's main purpose is to overcome fear (a recurring theme in my posts) I essentially mean intimidation. There are training partners and others that intimidate me. In the former case this is something I can work on, hopefully it will spill over into the latter. That said it takes a lot more to intimidate me now than when I was 15. Is that the Budo or maturity - who knows? Of course I like to think the Budo has had some positive effect.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-13-2002, 08:19 PM   #6
Diablo
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Quote:
PeterR wrote:
Whenever I talk about Budo's main purpose is to overcome fear (a recurring theme in my posts) I essentially mean intimidation. There are training partners and others that intimidate me. (snipped)
So far, I agree with many of the posts, but PeterR's post caught my attention. I am not huge by any standards, but I'm big compared to many at my dojo. I'm 5 ft. 9 in., and weigh 240 pounds. I'm mexican/american/cherokee indian, but because of my eyes, 90% of the people I run into believe I'm japanese. Many people have literally said that I am the first japanese person they have met that speaks fluent spanish. Anyways, I have my head shaved on the sides and back, and wear the rest of my hair in a single braid. This braid goes all the way down my back. It is about 19 or 20 inches long. I have only been in Aikido for a few months now, but I have trained with some ukes who are clearly more advanced than me who have told me they are intimidated by me. I tell them there is no reason to be, but they say that they don't know why, but they just are. On the downside, sankyo works easier on me than those who are more smaller and more limber.
Intimidation really doesn't work on me now that I am older, but when I was 16, there was this guy in high school, every bit of 350 pounds, who I backed down from. He used to pick on everybody until he got his butt kicked by a skinny but crazy pothead.

It's all about connection.
Diablo
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Old 07-14-2002, 12:47 AM   #7
BrokenKnees
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Intimidate: To make timid or frighten...hmmmm, not very likely. Not that its shameful or weak to be intimidated. But I was intimidated once. When I was about 13, and I was waiting at a bus stop, and 20 guys appeared out of nowhere, to ask me for money. I elbowed the guy behind me with all my might, and it felt like I had elbowed a cement wall. He hardly grunted. I ran. Ran like hell. When I got home my Dad asked my why my face had a greenish tinge. I vowed NEVER to be that scared again. I took up Shotokan karate, put in my 500 punches, 100 kicks a day on a home-made makiwara (I am paying theprice for that today) and sandbag and generally put in lots and lots of sheer training. For 4 years, I trained 5 times a week. One day, 5 guys jumped me. Literally pulled me through a hole in a wall which hid a large construction site. Poor guys. Then there was the druggie who threatened me with the machete. I ran, after I broke one arm and he picked up his machete with the other and still came at me.

So I don't get intimidated much. I'm a small guy, Asian. About 180 pounds in a 5-7 frame. I am however, VERY wary of any threat. And VERY aware that bad things might happen. After Aikido though, I wished I could turn back the clock. And maybe instead of really hurting those guys, I could've just 'controlled' them. Then again, at 18, maybe not. Bottomline, I wouldn't get intimidated. And I wouldn't run away. If he had a gun, I'd give him my money. Otherwise...probably not :-)

Man I'm one twisted individual
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Old 07-14-2002, 09:11 AM   #8
SeiserL
 
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IMHO, intimdation works because of the internal negative fantasy we create in response to them. Whether its size, tone, volume, nonverbal cues, etc. etc., their purpose is to instill fear/intimidation through controling the mind. It may be wise to take these cues in consideration that they other person may attack, but lose the catastrophic fanatsy about what they may mean, and act accordingly. Many people are simply not prepared for the reality of what is possible.

Until again,

Lynn

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 07-14-2002, 02:25 PM   #9
Deb Fisher
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Intimidated? Scared? YOUBETCHA!

I am of two minds about this thread. Peter is sitting on one shoulder - I am compelled to train because I want desparately to overcome fear. .. But dammit, fear is useful - it keeps me safe! Dave is sitting on my other shoulder, reminding me that truly fearless people are either insane or deeply, deeply stupid (regardless of stature).

So my question is: what exactly does overcoming fear mean? Who thinks of their training in terms of working toward a fearless state? Who thinks about it as controlling the effects of fear? Moving through fear? Knowing when to listen to fear and when to ignore it?

This is a question I can't answer myself right now, but I'd love to hear what ya'al have to say.
Peace,
Deb

Deb Fisher
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Old 07-14-2002, 02:46 PM   #10
Chocolateuke
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I have more fear of Waves and poison oak than a big guy trying to club me. The scary thing about waves is that they grow and grow and then crash! yes I love to swim and go under the waves tho!

Dallas Adolphsen
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Old 07-14-2002, 07:39 PM   #11
DaveO
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Quote:
Deb Fisher wrote:
Intimidated? Scared? YOUBETCHA!

I am of two minds about this thread. Peter is sitting on one shoulder - I am compelled to train because I want desparately to overcome fear. .. But dammit, fear is useful - it keeps me safe! Dave is sitting on my other shoulder, reminding me that truly fearless people are either insane or deeply, deeply stupid (regardless of stature).

So my question is: what exactly does overcoming fear mean? Who thinks of their training in terms of working toward a fearless state? Who thinks about it as controlling the effects of fear? Moving through fear? Knowing when to listen to fear and when to ignore it?

This is a question I can't answer myself right now, but I'd love to hear what ya'al have to say.
Peace,
Deb
Overcoming fear is not about the absence of fear in a fearsome situation; it's about not letting fear take control of you. We train so that when the time comes and you're in danger; when your heart is going like a Taiko drummer on coke, your skin's trying to slide off your body and (for men) whatever external genitalia you might have is trying desperately to crawl back into your body and hide, in spite of all this your mind will operate rationally in a very unrational situation. That's the idea - not to have no fear; that's suicide. To not be affected by it at the critical time - there's your goal.

Hope this helps, Deb. Now, can I please get off your shoulder now? MY BUTT IS KILLING ME!!!!! (hee hee!)

Dave
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Old 07-14-2002, 08:48 PM   #12
guest1234
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no
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Old 07-14-2002, 09:01 PM   #13
PeterR
 
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Well said Dave - it appears we are relaxing and playing cards using Deb's head as a table.

I see it as not being defeated by fear rather than absence of fear.


Quote:
DaveO wrote:
Overcoming fear is not about the absence of fear in a fearsome situation; it's about not letting fear take control of you.

Last edited by PeterR : 07-15-2002 at 12:50 AM.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-14-2002, 11:20 PM   #14
Diablo
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Quote:
DaveO wrote:
Overcoming fear is not about the absence of fear in a fearsome situation; it's about not letting fear take control of you. We train so that when the time comes and you're in danger (snipped) your mind will operate rationally in a very unrational situation. Dave
Very well said. This is kinda like if the "fight or flight" adrenaline is pumping, you will not freeze like a deer in a cars headlights. This goes into the "relax completely" section of the four basic principles of Aikido. If I may quote this site: http://unofficial.ki-society.org/Four.html , "Complete relaxation goes beyond simple muscular relaxation into mind/body relaxation. A calm mind naturally produces a calm body. Removing stress from the body greatly enhances freedom of movement, which is so necessary in aikido."

Adapt, React, Overcome, is something else that comes into mind.

It's all about connection.
Diablo
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Old 07-15-2002, 03:01 AM   #15
DaveO
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Quote:
PeterR wrote:
Well said Dave - it appears we are relaxing and playing cards using Deb's head as a table.
Hee hee - Well, I hope Deb has learned 2 things - One, some different perspectives on the nature of fear, and two - that we've got some WEIRD people on the forum!

...Anyway, back to the game. Hmmm. OK, Peter, I'll see your 4 fleas and raise you a cootie...
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Old 07-15-2002, 05:46 AM   #16
davidmartin
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My dictionary definines the word intimidate as "to frighten into submission". There are two very distinct ideas here.

Firstly to "frighten" or induce fear. I believe that for most people who have not lived an aggressive or cambative lifestyle (e.g Soldiers or street-fighting types), fear is almost inevitable when faced with potential violence.

Secondly, "submission", this may or may not be the outcome of the fear induced. At a base level our inate sense of self-preservation will govern our behaviour, but this can be replaced with learned behaviour (e.g. relax, move, blend etc..)

I just wanted to give my views on the distinction between Fear and Intimidation. ANy thoughts?
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Old 07-15-2002, 06:58 AM   #17
Ghost Fox
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Quote:
DaveO wrote:
Whether they walk away out of fear or higher principals, the important point is they walked away, thus avoiding a fight...
Hi Dave,

I pretty much agree with everything you said in your post except for the above statement. It seems to me the reason behind why you do something is just as important, if not more so, as the action itself.

To respond out of fear is to allow your emotions to control you. Whether you back down out of fear of being hurt or attack out of the fear of being seen as a coward, you have still reacted based on your emotions. Now, I'm discounting emotions, but what separate humans from the animals is the ability to act out of our intellect. You like you stated in your post.

I agree it is better to walk away out of fear than to attack out of fear. But good aikido is about being centered keeping your one point. If you are centered and choose to walk away from a fight point for you, but if for some reason you choose to fight do it from a centered position. I believe that's what you where saying when you said, "Regardless of my own fear...I've simply adopted a relaxed, ready position and stared silently at my antagonist. "

Just my two cents. Again, you pretty much said what I wanted to say in your post.

Peace and Blessings.
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Old 07-15-2002, 08:43 AM   #18
davoravo
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Despite martial training we have to be intimidated. The samurai were prepared to die, every and any day of their lives. They were prepared fight and to die as punishment even if they won the fight(Hagakure).

There are aspects of Budo training that don't apply today and this is one of them. I'm not prepared to die and I am very prepared to be intimidated.

I also think that defusing skills are essential - not just staring down (cause this won't work if you aren't 6'3 but other gaze diverting and body-language techniques. Avoiding conflict is not enough, you must resolve it (so they don't come after you tomorrow)

David McNamara
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Old 07-15-2002, 08:54 AM   #19
Chuck.Gordon
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Intimidation?

Quote:
davoravo wrote:
Despite martial training we have to be intimidated. The samurai were prepared to die, every and any day of their lives. They were prepared fight and to die as punishment even if they won the fight(Hagakure).
Probably not really. They were people, with human foibles and fears.

The Hagakure was a highly romanticized work by a samurai who'd never HAD to face death and who really hated the fact that he was never allowed the opportunity to sacrifice himself for his master. Sigh.

I know guys like that today. They pretend to be Special Forces vets and such ...

In-re intimidation, as in, do _I_ succumb to intimidation? No. I ain't intimidated. You gotta PROBLEM wit' dat?

All kidding aside, I agree with Peter that one of the primary and most valuable byproducts of budo training is NOT physical skill, but a mastery of self and tools with which to deal with fear.

The physical skills are tools -- templates maybe -- through which we can rewire, to some extent, the 'normal' human responses (fight or flight) and develop the ability to make choices, despite the external stressors we might encounter.

The true hero is still scared sh*tless, he just goes ahead and does what needs to be done.

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Old 07-15-2002, 09:25 AM   #20
ChristianBoddum
 
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Hi everybody !
In an ealier thread I mentioned that intimidation and domination really is a spirit,in my opinion of evil decent,and is really a spirit that always seems much more
frightening than really is the case.
As example the one you meet the most is intimidating drunks,they are small inside
but on the outside they crave space and
attention and however well you treat them
they never show gratitude.This is not the person but the nature of that particular beast.Their sensitivity i zero and you get hurt feelingwise because you are sober and emotionally intact.Like if someone is feeling small and cornered they are likely to behave with a dominating attitude,and though you know this,you should not try to bring it up,but strive for a calm,quiet,observing mind.
The power of the observing mind is great and as in nature stay at a distance from wounded animals.
Isn't it funny how your training has taught you that your body and movement is the most powerful when you move naturally and are allobserving,yet when being intimidated you
have to remind yourself that you can actually
still do what you done in the dojo so many times and you are part of the universe and connected.
Gotta go now - suppers getting cold.
Have a nice day !
Yours - Chr.B.
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Old 07-16-2002, 12:58 AM   #21
Chuck.Gordon
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FWIW:

One of the definitions of 'aiki' is 'to dominate the spirit' ...

Chuck

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Old 07-16-2002, 04:28 AM   #22
davoravo
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hagakure

I mentioned Hagakure for the anecdotes in it of other samurai, not the author. Several times fights are mentioned in places or times it was illegal to fight; those who run away are exiled, those who who stay and win are praised by all but get beheaded for breaking the law.

Otherwise I think I agree with you, but that's only cause you intimidate me

David McNamara
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