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Old 05-21-2010, 03:19 AM   #1
CurtisK
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Why fight? Just Finish.

Many people question Aikido as a fighting art. There are valid arguments on both sides, but I wonder if it is the right question. If it is a typical fight we all have to admit that any person who is comfortable in managing their center and effecting the center of those that enter their space, will have a huge advantage over the average person.

To help visualize something more intricate, let's view the battle/bully/confrontation as ball of chaos in empty space. We are an object outside of that ball and the two approach. To fight it is to dive into it and pull it a part, piece by piece, exchange blows and overwhelm with superior force over time. Our preferred option should be to bounce off of it once (or avoid completely) and continue on our way. If forced to continue the exchange, rather than diving into it, we bounce off of it in a controlled fashion. We orbit and bounce at our pleasure, maybe just once, or perhaps for many cycles as a superior force tires itself, watching for an opportunity to escape orbit or if necessary a weakness; then BAM... we eliminate the chaos. No fighting. Just finishing.

Overly simplified? Sure, but the principle is sound imo.
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Old 05-21-2010, 03:48 AM   #2
dps
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Sounds like good strategery.

David
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Old 05-21-2010, 05:32 PM   #3
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

For me, I make it even simpler. I am either in the fight or I am not. If I am in the fight, it is important for me to realize that their is a fight going on and that I am in it.

So either I am in or out. If I am in the fight, then I enter and enter and enter until it is over.

If there is no fight, then there is nothing to bounce off of, or avoid as there was nothing there to begin with.

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Old 05-21-2010, 07:43 PM   #4
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

I lean more towards Kevin.

I believe that Aikido is in it of itself a definite statement. Its see a fight and make a definite choice to not participate. It views the fight and refuses to accept it as part of itself. I don't think Aikido can exist where there is a struggle.

God can't have sin, a fish can't play poker... Aikido can't fight.

MM
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:40 PM   #5
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
I lean more towards Kevin.

I believe that Aikido is in it of itself a definite statement. Its see a fight and make a definite choice to not participate. It views the fight and refuses to accept it as part of itself. I don't think Aikido can exist where there is a struggle.

God can't have sin, a fish can't play poker... Aikido can't fight.
God hath sinned (He loves violence and killing en mass), A swordfish can play poker, and an Aikidoka can fight because the technique opens up any possibilty.

______________________________________________

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Old 05-21-2010, 10:07 PM   #6
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

"In Aikido the fight is over at the moment of first contact." Shoji Nishio Shihan

Some folks take this to mean that it's necessary to end the fight right away...What Nishio Sensei meant was that as an Aikidoka the very moment you are attacked you MUST commit and blend with your attacker to have any chance to express Aikido and "protect" them...

O'Sensei said the much same thing about a half a dozen different ways...

Aikido as a Martial Art requires the utmost in commitment to any attack and you're fooling yourself if you feel otherwise...The attack need not start with a physical exchange mind you... but it can start with a look or someone having a bad day taking it out on you. When I practice off the mat "commitment" requires that I control Uke by making a connection with them... or not....Terry Dobson's book "Akido in everyday life" is very helpful in explaining this paradigm..

So to me "Why fight? Just Finish" makes perfect sense.

William Hazen
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:20 AM   #7
CurtisK
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

We agree on the avoidance Kevin, but I am not with you on once its started we should "enter and enter and enter until it is over"

My first option was continue on your way; avoiding completely is best.

When I said "watching for an opportunity to escape orbit" I imply even after the confrontation is initiated, the best option to to get out of there if you can with no need to "finish" anything. Your ego must be checked to walk away after they landed a couple slaps, but it sure beats breaking their arm (remember, they likely dont know about natural-angle/unbendable arms, never mind how to fall). However once the only choice left is to finish, you do just that; there never really was a fight as most people think of it. You should not need to "enter, enter, enter", you pick your moment and enter only once. It's all you need.

Edit: If I had the skill & confidence of the masters, I can only presume I would handle it differently than I have descibed here. Would a great one let someone smack him (or her) around while they looked for escape, probabaly not. I am a humble student with a long way to go before I can handle any person in any situation ensuring neither of us are seriously injured.

Last edited by CurtisK : 05-22-2010 at 01:27 AM.
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:40 AM   #8
CurtisK
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
Terry Dobson's book "Akido in everyday life" is very helpful in explaining this paradigm..
Thank you for this tip. I will pick it up when I get the chance. The Sprit of Aikido (Kisshomaru Ueshiba) touches on it quite a bit, as do many Zen related topics and various present day "managing confrontation" teachings. With some of those as a background it is interesting to look at the topics with an "aiki lens" so to speak.
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Old 05-22-2010, 05:55 PM   #9
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
Michael McNamara wrote: View Post
God hath sinned (He loves violence and killing en mass), A swordfish can play poker, and an Aikidoka can fight because the technique opens up any possibilty.
Well first off, having a degree in theology and being a former missionary, I just plan take offense at the biblical misconception to the first statement... but I digress from that topic.

An actual fish does not have a nervous system let alone can play a card game.

And,
an Aikidoka can not participate in a fight. Aikido sees where ballance is missing, and restores ballance. To fight, there has to be a winner and a loser. In Aikido you have neither a winner and a loser, you have reconciliation.
Either you are in the fight or not! Aikido is a conscious statement that evil and violence is incorrect, and an even more conscious statement that it will not partake in it. Don't get me wrong, Aikido is not passive. Budo is not passive. Aikido's first and foremost goal is in defense of the 7 virtues of Budo...those are virtues worth warring over. However Aikido takes a very clear statement that if you are to stand firmly in the name of those virtues then "conflict"or "fighting" isn't part of it. Because O'Sensei had a firm opinion that conflict, competition, and fighting was the exact opposite of the 7 virtues.


Frankly it is more about defending those virtues, those things that are redeemable in humanity than it is about defending yourself. I take the personal opinion that if you are in it to just learn a means of defending yourself, then you are selfish .Selfishness is in direct conflict to the 7 virtues. The goal is to protect your attacker, then yourself! By doing so you are defending the 7 virtues.

Last edited by RED : 05-22-2010 at 05:58 PM.

MM
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Old 05-22-2010, 07:51 PM   #10
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Curtis wrote:

Quote:
When I said "watching for an opportunity to escape orbit" I imply even after the confrontation is initiated, the best option to to get out of there if you can with no need to "finish" anything
Finishing means that you have achieved dominance and can control the situation. I think we are saying the same thing. However, IMEs many times people will back out of a fight mentally believing that the fight is over because they really want to believe it is over and they do so without actually physically or even mentally/emotionally controlling the fight.

When doing so, it provides the other person the space/time he needs to regroup and come back at you.

Watch any number of youtube videos and you can typically pick up the points in a fight where the person stops entering and controlling and gives back the fight to the other guy.

"finishing" does not mean you have to hit, strike or hurt your opponent necessarily. It can also mean controlling the fight, which I think this is fundamentally what we study in aikido, the dynamics and flow of force from beginning until end.

I think we are probably saying the same thing in a different way.

Quote:
You should not need to "enter, enter, enter", you pick your moment and enter only once. It's all you need.
What I mean by enter, enter, enter is that you keep following through. I see many students, say in iriminage, enter initially then fail to continue to enter and close down the space. They enter, then as soon as proprioceptive contact is made the stop entering then the begin to try and manipulate uke, or the simply exit because they feel they have hit a wall and that they should not continue in..so they back out and proceed to enter again or choose a different angle rather than continuing along the same irimi but changing it slightly to move around the road block.


In my mind, when I hear the word "bounce" this is what I visualize. Hitting a roadblock, bouncing back off of it, (Exiting), then trying to re-enter, or waiting to see what uke does.

IMO, this is what I mean by "knowing and recognizing you are in a fight". IMO, if you give that space back to your opponent, you will probably never be able to take it back and you have given him valuable real estate that he will exploit.

So yes, I agree, enter once, and keep moving into the center until it is complete and only then do you give space back.

Last edited by Kevin Leavitt : 05-22-2010 at 07:58 PM.

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Old 05-22-2010, 09:04 PM   #11
RED
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Curtis wrote:

What I mean by enter, enter, enter is that you keep following through. I see many students, say in iriminage, enter initially then fail to continue to enter and close down the space. They enter, then as soon as proprioceptive contact is made the stop entering then the begin to try and manipulate uke, or the simply exit because they feel they have hit a wall and that they should not continue in..so they back out and proceed to enter again or choose a different angle rather than continuing along the same irimi but changing it slightly to move around the road block.

.
I trained with some one(they were either higher ranked than me, or equal, not sure.) very recently where in iriminage they would constantly throw themselves straight down before I stepped through. They seemed annoyed by my follow through. They kept trying to block my bicep, because the first time I thew them they were hit across the chin with my shoulder/bicep. Like they didn't expect it.
And when they threw me, I would be sitting arched back, trying to be a polite uke to this person, just sort of waiting for them to follow through...they never did. I think they expected me to fall straight down without their commitment to the throw; sort of like they were doing to me.

I'm not like an Aikido master by any means here, but I do have an opinion about intent when training. I think that follow through is key. If you expect some one to just fall with out your commitment to the technique...it won't happen.

My Sensei said something important to me yesterday: "If you baby your uke forever you'll never get great at this."

MM
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Old 05-23-2010, 05:27 AM   #12
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post

An actual fish does not have a nervous system...
Huh!?! - all animals have nervous systems.
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:31 AM   #13
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

I like the ball of chaos analogy. I believe that with increasing sophistication of aiki (not just the physical aspect) comes a greater ability to recognize the order within that chaos. People are usually motivated by something, even if it's inarticulate to themselves, and the "trick" to budo is recognizing the core drives in order to cut to the chase. The "trick" to Ueshiba Aikido, per my very meager vantage, is finding mutual benificence for all involved...which is a part of bettering the overall state of the universe.

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
The goal is to protect your attacker, then yourself!
My sense of things is that there is no automatic hierarchy involved here (i.e. "[first] protect your attacker, then protect yourself").

Last edited by mathewjgano : 05-23-2010 at 09:35 AM.

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Old 05-23-2010, 01:02 PM   #14
dps
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
An actual fish does not have a nervous system.....
Yes they do.
http://www.mcwdn.org/Animals/Fish.html

" A fish has a brain and a nervous system. Its eyes are positioned on either side of its body and are quite large, with no eyelid. Their retinas have both rods and cones. They have large pupils that let in a great deal of light. They have an inner ear but no outer ear opening. Since their bodies are the same consistency as water. Sound in water travels four times as fast as in the air. The fish also has a lateral line system just under the skin of its head and the top of its body that helps it detect motion and therefore prey. Fish have a nasal sac that helps them smell. Some fish produce a low voltage electrical current that keeps prey away. "

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
....let alone can play a card game.
I have never seen a fish play a card game but maybe no one has ever asked one to play.

If your argument's premise is faulty then your conclusion is faulty.

David

Last edited by dps : 05-23-2010 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 05-23-2010, 02:57 PM   #15
RED
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Yes they do.
http://www.mcwdn.org/Animals/Fish.html

" A fish has a brain and a nervous system. Its eyes are positioned on either side of its body and are quite large, with no eyelid. Their retinas have both rods and cones. They have large pupils that let in a great deal of light. They have an inner ear but no outer ear opening. Since their bodies are the same consistency as water. Sound in water travels four times as fast as in the air. The fish also has a lateral line system just under the skin of its head and the top of its body that helps it detect motion and therefore prey. Fish have a nasal sac that helps them smell. Some fish produce a low voltage electrical current that keeps prey away. "

David
I was exaggerating

MM
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Old 05-23-2010, 02:58 PM   #16
RED
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I like the ball of chaos analogy. I believe that with increasing sophistication of aiki (not just the physical aspect) comes a greater ability to recognize the order within that chaos. People are usually motivated by something, even if it's inarticulate to themselves, and the "trick" to budo is recognizing the core drives in order to cut to the chase. The "trick" to Ueshiba Aikido, per my very meager vantage, is finding mutual benificence for all involved...which is a part of bettering the overall state of the universe.

My sense of things is that there is no automatic hierarchy involved here (i.e. "[first] protect your attacker, then protect yourself").
I agree with you now that you mention it. My main point was that the need to protect self is not the only objective.

MM
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Old 05-23-2010, 04:04 PM   #17
Gorgeous George
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
If your argument's premise is faulty then your conclusion is faulty
Not of necessity.
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Old 05-23-2010, 05:15 PM   #18
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
I agree with you now that you mention it. My main point was that the need to protect self is not the only objective.
I agree philosophically. You are fighitng for a reason though. It could be to protect yourself primarily. It could be that you are fighting to protect a "greater good"...whatever moral/ethical justification that good may be based on. It could be that your life is secondary to that greater good, and that is why you entered the fight to begin with.

I think in the situation, philosophically at least, that you are concerned with the long term outcome of the fight and that whatever it may be has the desired affect that you wanted or felt a moral/ethical obligation to protect.

It could be your own life if attacked by someone wanting to cause you harm.

It could be your child.

It could be a ideology/concept/political goal.

It could be to stop a greater harm of some sort.

I think there are many reasons...but whatever the reason is...one, know that you are in the fight. Have a clear understanding of why you are fighting, and a clear understanding of what your desired outcome should be.

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Old 05-23-2010, 09:28 PM   #19
CurtisK
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

As I re-read, again, my OP, I still like the metaphor. It can represent many situations. However, I missed an option, perhaps the best one if we are to contribute to making the world a better place. As some responses have alluded to, rather than escaping or destroying, if possible we can try to bring order to the chaos. Calm the situation in a fashion that no one gets hurt, and doesn't leave the chaos waiting for the next "victim" to happen by.

This isn't just bullies on the street, it could be any confrontation, like an angry coworker. Rather than simply finding your way out of their focus, if you can help them find order in themselves the whole workplace will be better off. Do you owe it to them to care enough? No. Do you owe it to your employer? Probably not. Do you owe it to yourself? If you're asking me your asking the wrong person.
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Old 05-24-2010, 12:44 AM   #20
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
"In Aikido the fight is over at the moment of first contact." Shoji Nishio Shihan

O'Sensei said the much same thing about a half a dozen different ways...

Aikido as a Martial Art requires the utmost in commitment to any attack and you're fooling yourself if you feel otherwise...The attack need not start with a physical exchange mind you... but it can start with a look or someone having a bad day taking it out on you. When I practice off the mat "commitment" requires that I control Uke by making a connection with them... or not....Terry Dobson's book "Akido in everyday life" is very helpful in explaining this paradigm..

So to me "Why fight? Just Finish" makes perfect sense.
I agree with William and the OP.

I think many forget that Aikido deals with confrontation at a very very early stage, well in advance of any physical exchange. Defensive measures such as leading, unbalancing, positional dominance etc. therefore, are also applied at that very early stage and are quite subtle... even moreso in an actual conflict.

Borrowing from Matthew G's post a bit -
Quote:
the "trick" to budo is recognizing the core drives in order to cut to the chase
I think what he said is absolutely correct when dealing with the concept of a "fight", defined as the give and take, back and forth of a prolonged engagement in conflict.

In Jujutsu we close distance, make physical contact with the attacker and then engage in a physical give and take to achieve dominance and end the encounter. It is most times not instantaneous because we enter the encounter planning to "fight" or have a battle which involves a give and take with our partner.

In my AIkido, since the engagement and manipulation is done well in advance of physical contact, if the conflict does exists long enough to reach the physical (i.e. non-physical measures were insufficient to prevent the conflict), the physical response should be something that would "cut to the chase" and end the conflict in one step, not lose the psychological ground already gained by restarting the back and forth of the engagement now at a physical level.

I've actually proven this repeatedly using our competition-based randori framework. When I have a "fight" mindset on, there is this constant game of give and take between my attacker with a tanto and I, unarmed. He attacks, I avoid or block without executing a clean technique, closing distance or getting kuzushi... and so the exchange repeats itself until someone gets lucky.

However when I remove the "fight" mindset and "cut to the chase" I actually move less, present myself as an "easy" target to my partner who gives me a dedicated attack because he is led to believe that it is impossible for me to evade his strike. This gives me all the energy and positioning I need to throw or pin him in one move as I have already setup this outcome by ma ai manipulation and a host of other things that makes him believe he will be successful in his attack if he commits to it.

If we are not leading the mind before the physical attack it is very difficult to execute Aikido waza imho and fighting is the result. When the attacker's mind is under your control it is easier to protect him because "fighting" you is not as high an immediate priority as regaining psychological and physical balance so that he can continue his attack.

Imho.

LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 05-24-2010 at 12:48 AM.

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Old 05-24-2010, 08:10 AM   #21
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.



Very nice! Easy to say but difficult to do... until it isn't. But then, that's the nature of just about everything isn't it? We must all find our real, true, deepest motivation for doing what we do. It usually becomes simple, straight forward, and very powerful. Techniques, strategy, etc. are just the tools. They are but a very small part of the real practice.

Best regards,

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Old 05-24-2010, 09:14 AM   #22
Aikibu
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
I agree with William and the OP.

I think many forget that Aikido deals with confrontation at a very very early stage, well in advance of any physical exchange. Defensive measures such as leading, unbalancing, positional dominance etc. therefore, are also applied at that very early stage and are quite subtle... even moreso in an actual conflict.

Borrowing from Matthew G's post a bit -

I think what he said is absolutely correct when dealing with the concept of a "fight", defined as the give and take, back and forth of a prolonged engagement in conflict.

In Jujutsu we close distance, make physical contact with the attacker and then engage in a physical give and take to achieve dominance and end the encounter. It is most times not instantaneous because we enter the encounter planning to "fight" or have a battle which involves a give and take with our partner.

In my AIkido, since the engagement and manipulation is done well in advance of physical contact, if the conflict does exists long enough to reach the physical (i.e. non-physical measures were insufficient to prevent the conflict), the physical response should be something that would "cut to the chase" and end the conflict in one step, not lose the psychological ground already gained by restarting the back and forth of the engagement now at a physical level.

I've actually proven this repeatedly using our competition-based randori framework. When I have a "fight" mindset on, there is this constant game of give and take between my attacker with a tanto and I, unarmed. He attacks, I avoid or block without executing a clean technique, closing distance or getting kuzushi... and so the exchange repeats itself until someone gets lucky.

However when I remove the "fight" mindset and "cut to the chase" I actually move less, present myself as an "easy" target to my partner who gives me a dedicated attack because he is led to believe that it is impossible for me to evade his strike. This gives me all the energy and positioning I need to throw or pin him in one move as I have already setup this outcome by ma ai manipulation and a host of other things that makes him believe he will be successful in his attack if he commits to it.

If we are not leading the mind before the physical attack it is very difficult to execute Aikido waza imho and fighting is the result. When the attacker's mind is under your control it is easier to protect him because "fighting" you is not as high an immediate priority as regaining psychological and physical balance so that he can continue his attack.

Imho.

LC
A perfect description of Aikido and the way I was "raised". Thanks Larry.

William Hazen
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:20 AM   #23
dps
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
..... "fighting" you is not as high an immediate priority as regaining psychological and physical balance so that he can continue his attack.
Good point.

Real life experiences makes you see how invaluable this is.

All confrontations from a simple disagreement to a physical fight is about psychological control of your mind (by you or them) and your opponents mind (by you or them).

David

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Old 05-24-2010, 12:22 PM   #24
RED
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I agree philosophically. You are fighitng for a reason though. It could be to protect yourself primarily. It could be that you are fighting to protect a "greater good"...whatever moral/ethical justification that good may be based on. It could be that your life is secondary to that greater good, and that is why you entered the fight to begin with.

I think in the situation, philosophically at least, that you are concerned with the long term outcome of the fight and that whatever it may be has the desired affect that you wanted or felt a moral/ethical obligation to protect.

It could be your own life if attacked by someone wanting to cause you harm.

It could be your child.

It could be a ideology/concept/political goal.

It could be to stop a greater harm of some sort.

I think there are many reasons...but whatever the reason is...one, know that you are in the fight. Have a clear understanding of why you are fighting, and a clear understanding of what your desired outcome should be.
I agree. I think the sticky part is when you confuse "fighting for the greater good, for protection etc" with fighting the human being in front of you. You got to keep stuff in perspective.

MM
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Old 05-24-2010, 05:24 PM   #25
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Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,423
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Re: Why fight? Just Finish.

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
I agree. I think the sticky part is when you confuse "fighting for the greater good, for protection etc" with fighting the human being in front of you. You got to keep stuff in perspective.
Is it different really? Or is it just another example of human beings using degrees of violence to make one more palatable than another?

In "fighting" for philosophies, ideologies, loved ones or a greater good we still have the problem of subjectivity and relativity. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Who deserves to live more in a life and death struggle - my child or yours? It depends on which side of the fence you are on. Often an equal case can be made for each side of a situation, if that side alone is taken into perspective. Personally I think Ueshiba's global concept of Aikido was designed to do away with this sort of dualism.

The question is - are you able to engage in a conflict situation with the skill, desire and mindset to allow the other element or elements of the conflict to leave the encounter with a sense of dignity and a win/win feeling instead of a win/lose feeling? Imho Aikido offers the option to employ superior psychological and physical tactics and strategies to bring about a win/win out of what becomes a win/lose situation in most cases. Otherwise there is no prolonged harmony among forces, just a perpetuation of violence and the winner/loser dichotomy.

On another note - the definition of "fight" being used here is not precisely the same one we are using to explain the concept of "finishing" or instant victory above.

Best.

LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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