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Old 04-01-2013, 01:50 PM   #76
jonreading
 
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Hey Erick, been a while. Hope all is well.
It is always about peace IMO, even with the US Military we must use peaceful means to resolve conflict when at all possible. My current job in Africa is about this very thing. I visit many places working to promote peace, rarely carry a gun, and most of what I do is about promoting peaceful objectives, rule of law, subordination of military to civilian authority and ethics. I think this type of thing is very much within the realm of martial arts.
Where's my like button? This is such a great point. I think many conversations pigeon-hole military efforts to war-mongering we sometimes forget these things.

J

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Old 04-01-2013, 01:59 PM   #77
Erick Mead
 
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Hey Erick, been a while. Hope all is well.
Indeed. And you as well.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
With respect to your Marine's comments. I personally think that is a very limited response, today if you talked to Marines that have been involved in our current situations/wars you might find a different perspective. I think the ability needs to be there for sure. Willingness, absolutely. but intent. Well I think intent is about minimal force and about walking tall and carrying a big stick so to speak. So, I think the view point that it is all about killing to be a very limited view point that does not capture the full scope martially. ... WIth respect to your perspective on AIkido being about different from martial. I would capitalize on or refer Jon Reading's last post and say, no martially aikido is no different than other martial solutions. It is always about peace IMO, even with the US Military we must use peaceful means to resolve conflict when at all possible.So yes, I agree with you on your perspective. and we are saying essentially the same thing of course!
I think we are actually saying the same thing in different terms. Sun Tzu said that supreme skill in war is to win without fighting.

To achieve an objective that -- if opposed -- would require killing people and breaking things is a martial objective, and must pursued by martial means. Similarly, and with greater skill, the martial objective may be achieved by minimal injury or damage, though the same means. And in the ultimate degree of skill, the martial objective may be achieved by such means without any injury or damage whatsoever.

But there is a world of difference approaching the scenario of doing no harm from a martial focus and doing so from a perspective of just trying to avoid injury and damage.

Intent is indeed the key - but at a place where the two are not divided.

My grandfather said that a gentleman always smiles at his enemies -- as much to show his manners as for the baring of his teeth.

The intent, the will or mind behind an act is everything -- even when the action appears to be much the same.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I think maybe where we differ would be on the fact that aikido has a predetermined solution set. ... I am not one who subcribes to the spiritual/moral uniqueness of aikido though, so I think this is where maybe I have differences with many here that wish to establish this perspective.
I see Aikido as having a very powerful resonance with Christian teaching, perhaps explaining its uniqueness from my perspective (and this connection is not at all unsupported from the Founder's views, FWIW). Given that we are in the Easter season, perhaps this bears some expansion on how Western ideals (which is in this context to say "Christian") and specifically Aikido ideals of what is "martial" coincide.

Christ taught the entering of all conflict with a heart of loving protection -- He did not teach His disciples to enter conflict without the sword (He was explicit on that part) -- though He expected them not to "live by the sword". Nor yet did He teach by martial example in a particularly gentle manner (a few money changers would point to some bruises on that score).

AFAIK, Aikido is the only practical martial art that teaches methods and the spirit of entering into violence expressly with the spirit of loving protection -- even toward someone who just took a swing at you. Other arts teach a placidity of mind, or of calculation, or an energy drawn of retribution. Ethics are important but secondary to their martial training -- factors to be considered in its applciation. But there is nothing else quite like Aikido in trying to train for these loving qualities in the course of violent encounter, and as the driving factor behind both entering it and concluding it.

Of course, it may fail in places in achieving usefully martial effectiveness, or in consistently transmitting the spirit of loving protection. But its ideals are more or less out there to be had on both points and achieved in greater or lesser degree by many on both scores.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:00 PM   #78
ryback
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Re: how do we define martial?

How do we define martial...an interesting question.
Nowadays, the access to any information has become easier due to the internet, but could it be that it has become too easy? For every question there is a number of people stating their opinions until you are lost in a sea of information that you can't sort out, but that is not the worst.
The worst is, that some of these people are believed to be leading authorities in the field, so their answer is considered more valid. Some of them are dead and their opinions and books are considered a legacy. Some of them are living and are writting books and also in forums. Some of them have already posted in this thread and some of them haven't.
I know a lot of people who take those so-called leading autorities for granted no matter what they say. I have lots of books, I am familiar with theirs too and having cross checked them with other sourses have found some of them to be an ocean of mistakes hiding behind their ranks and their wide variety of different martial arts training. In their urge to be "heretic" in order to sell more of their...goship books they are dangerously misleading the begginers or people that consider taking up martial arts and have not yet developed the ability to filter out the "rubbish" information.
Learning a martial art has nothing to do with being wide, but with fathoming deelpy in one art's principles.
It might seem that i've gotten off-topic but i haven't. We can define martial as anything related with the military, the war, firearms, guns, tanks, you name it. But how we define "martial arts"...well that's another story. So this being a martial arts forum i believe the thread itself is a little off-topic.
I agree with Graham when he said that martial arts weren't born by the need to fight. We can fight without learning the martial arts, can we not? Martial arts were born by the need to have a better chance of surviving in a battlefield or any other violent situation without having to use violence. That is something that can be accomplished only by studying the martial arts.
Of course modern weapons and learning how to press a button to blow up ten buildings are martial, but have nothing to do with martial arts. In the times where martial arts' roots are, the fighting skill and the spiritual awarness were one and the same and the one could spring by polishing the other. That is why, when those times were long gone, martial arts easily developed into self discovery and self defense systems. It is very hard for me to imagine somebody pressing a missile launch button in 200 years from now in order to achieve spiritual awareness and self defence skills.
Is Aikido a martial art? Of course it is. It is a complete training system that if one is to study it correctly, it can forge the person into a disciplined effective martial artist, but not a soldier. A martial artist is a person that has a better chance than an untrained person to survive in a hostile environment, a fight, an attack, an accident e.t.c. wherever that situation finds him. A soldier on the other hand is deliberately going to fight because it is his job. A martial artist is trained to be calm and peaceful even during a fighting situation. Documentaries show that the soldiers motivation is fanaticism and blind rage against his enemies, but you don't need martial arts for that. Anybody can get effectively out of control, the point is what does one choose.
There are a lot of people claiming that Aikido is not a martial art because it is open for anyone to learn, one person was already mentioned above. This is completely wrong! Aikido is a very difficult art to learn, so it's not open to anybody, only to people that are willing to study real hard. There are lots of people training but only a few realy know how to make aikido work. You don't need secret techiques. The techniques' secret is lots of years of dead serious study, but it remains well hidden behind everybody's hunt for ranks. So you see, the fact that somebody is concidered a leading authority on the field doesn't mean that his opinion cannot be dead wrong!
There are also people who think that aikido does not qualify as a martial art because it is not a Koryu and they think that they are doing a traditional authentic Bujutsu. But they would have to explain then who is their Shogun and if they are willing to comit sepukku for their master. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Yet people who are practicing on fake synthetic tatamis, and mix in their mind the new age trends of marijuana smoking with their martial arts training are conciderd valid when they have the nerve to refer to O' sensei or any other master badly, in order to be the ones who broke the "myth" even though older, closer to the sourse material and other teachers prove that they are the ones who are historicaly inacurate.
Such inacuracy is the misleading that Aikido doesn't work and it is not a martial art, but a spiritual path. Being an effective martial art is what makes it a spiritual path. If one's technique does not work, he has no tools to build his spiritual awarness.It doesn't have to be a stylised violence in order to be effective. You don't have to get out of control in order to make it work, quite the opposite it's all about being in control, being in harmony, hence its difficulty but also the key to its effectiveness.
So, how do we define "martial", or how do we define "martial arts"...As Kwai Chang Caine would put it: It's not about knowing the answer. It's about understanding the question.
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:02 PM   #79
graham christian
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Re: how do we define martial?

Jon, nice post may I say first. Even what you say about my response to Mr.Ellis.

I don't believe I should be more considerate although if you used a different word I would probably fully agree. For instance diplomatic. Yes I no doubt should be more diplomatic in some of my responses.

I do consider and take into account what people say and where they are coming from but as in life when someone concludes something which I believe is incorrect Out comes the sword. As you will notice only with each point and my counter point.

I have trained with and taught people from various fields of expertise and always open to learning new things and that includes those who know a lot about history. But put a historian being an expert in martial technique in my class and I have no doubt they will learn some truths they hadn't realized.

So there you are and I know you have already taken into account how I am and pointed it out so well done for that.

So yes I could be more diplomatic but it works both ways. Saying the monasteries were havens for thugs who slaughter people was hardly diplomatic and neither was telling me I am being ahistorical and a fantasist brought it into personal which again is hardly diplomatic. So over all it's just communication and differences of opinion as should be expected on a forum.

Peace.G.
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:48 PM   #80
graham christian
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Re: how do we define martial?

Thanks Yannis, I like that post very much.

When I started martial arts I had read many books on the subject and was enthralled by the stories of Musashi and zen masters and Bruce Lee and 'The Cat' and various masters and their philosophies and histories of this and that. Ghengis Khan, Templar Knights, Old English Kings etc. etc.

I was going to be a samurai, I was going to be a zen Master, I was going to be a Bruce Lee, I was going to be a warrior. Then I came across Aikido. Prior to that all I had read by the experts was true. After that I found why I was attracted to Aikido. Suddenly I found myself doing one where you had to face yourself. Woah....a whole new ball game. Suddenly Martial took on a whole new meaning. So there I was studying something that was based around weapons which had very little actually to do with weapons. Yet to learn it you had to do it as I had previously believed but from a totally different viewpoint.

That alone was like a mini enlightenment and quite astounding to me at the time. It meant all those considered experts were wrong....wow...and so was I.

So even now, so many years later, when I read certain things all it does is remind me of how I used to see it.

It's all good. I have no complaints about others views. I believe being focused and sincere is top quality and fun but being serious is death.

Needing to be a bit more diplomatic with my views may well be the case, maybe I'm too martial with them.

Peace.G.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:09 PM   #81
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: how do we define martial?

Jon and Kevin and Ellis,
Thank you for sharing your vast expertise. I'm very tempted to simply shut up in awe. The only horse I've got left in this race is that I'm willing to learn or, if you like, my burning curiosity concerning these matters.
So, may I dare to ask you wether I'm completely wrong, when I think that the system of the principles and techniques of Aikido contains a very practical method to teach about strategy?

If so, to my mind and in contrast to very cherished common belief, though in its execution looking beautiful and, if you like peaceful - I'd prefer the term graceful - the art of aikido in spirit and intent is all offensive and martial. Think of Clausewitz. This wouldn't exclude peaceful results as an objective.

If Aikido were about tactics, it might make sense to complain about the techniques in their purest form, and doubts could arise about their applicability in tactical situations or martial H2H. But if were about teaching strategy, those complaints very likely would show misinterpretation of its formal execution and incomprehension of its essence.

Best
Bernd
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:38 PM   #82
Ellis Amdur
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Re: how do we define martial?

Bernd - As you probably know, I do think that there is/was, within aikido, a very real system of accessing principles of movement, power and control of oneself or another. I am not sure that there is really a system of "strategy" unique to aikido, particularly when it comes to people en masse. One can look at Sun Tzu and assert, that's aikido principles applied to war, but in fact, it would, in that case, be more accurate to assert regarding aikido, "that's Sun Tzu, applied to the individual"

Yannis, it seems to you were referencing me in some fashion. Most of the allusions you made, however, regarding scholars, authorities, koryu practitioners, writers of books, etc. are not positions I hold, so if you are referring to me, you are not referring to me.

Best
Ellis Amdur

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Old 04-02-2013, 06:35 AM   #83
phitruong
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
The minute we admit what we are doing is not necessarily "martial"... Bam, start handing out the ribbons and bongo drums (no offense to those of you who train with ribbons and bongo drums... Phi - I'm looking at you, man.)
sheesh! i was going to stay out of this conflict, but then you made fun of bongo drums. that means war!

this whole martial thing is kinda interesting. back in the dark age, before Al Gore invented the internet, before the bell bottom pants and bongo drums, in asia, mostly chinese and related courts of lord and emperor, you have folks that lined up both side. on the one side, you got all these folks looked like dead trees who were good with words and numbers, so they ran the country/domain in all its administrative aspects. their idea of funs included comparing their balls pickled in a jar. these dead trees referred to as the administrative lords or modern day geeks. on the other side, a bunch of mean and nasty and ugly looking bunch, who were ready to party on moment notice, who would kick ass and not even bother with name (these guys knew how to party back then), who armed to teeth, mostly armed with teeth. these party goers refered to the martial lords or the modern day of jocks.

so folks back then were conditioned to understand that the emperor is god (actually representing god who owned all the women, which opposites of jesus, who didn't even have a date), and folks can be elevated to either the administrative or the martial positions. back then they also believed in examination to determine the best person for certain position. if you can write well and good with numbers, i.e. playing with your toy abacus and talking in code like omg, lol, and so on, then you can land an administrative position. on the other hand, if you are a brute who can drink gallons of wine and beat the living day lights out of folks, then you can land in a martial position. then you have this really special position where if you read/write well and can party like 1999 and beat the living day light out of nerds, jocks, women, children, old folks, dogs, cats, sheeps (maybe the sheeps), then you are a special breed which is a very highly regarded as the warrior sage, the guy of guys, the budo man, the top of the heap. and your post would be the lord of night soil operatives.

so are we define martial as the characteristics of the lord of night soil operatives? it's a very important position which governs every aspect of our lives. it required men/women/dogs/cats/occasional sheeps of strong will and characters. it required enlightment and conflict resolution. it required strong and tough body. but most of all, it required the friggin gas mask, rubber boots and gloves.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:42 AM   #84
Ellis Amdur
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Re: how do we define martial?

Phi - you have stumbled on an interesting historical incident.

Quote:
if you can write well and good with numbers, i.e. playing with your toy abacus and talking in code like omg, lol, and so on, then you can land an administrative position.
In 1638, after intolerable depredations by the daimyo and their samurai minions, the farmers of several small realms in Kyushu revolted, bolstered by a few 100 ronin who were living as farmers. The revolt spread and eventually, around 38,000 men, women and children, poorly armed in everything but courage, sequestered themselves in the castle at Shimabara. The Shogunate was so shocked that they requested the Dutch shell the castle from the sea, but after a single bombardment, they called it off, afraid that the world would know they needed foreign help to put down a revolt by a mob of mostly Christian farmers. The peasants held off several well-armed armies of samurai, who attacked in vastly superior numbers.

The point of my note here is that the peasants, taunting the samurai from the castle walls, called them abacus counters. (yes, bean counters).


The Christians were eventually defeated - an entire nation was against them - and all but one person - if I recall correctly, a young woman - of the 38,000 were slaughtered, the last large-scale armed conflict in Japan before modern times. There were thousands of small-scale peasant revolts throughout the Edo period, mostly put down by guns - the samurai could no longer match the peasants hand-to-hand, even though it was hoe and pick against swords, so they'd simply go to the castle armory and bring out the muskets. The surviving Christians of Japan became "hidden," maintaining rituals in secret, and were only found as such in the 1920's.

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 04-02-2013 at 07:44 AM.

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Old 04-02-2013, 08:13 AM   #85
Cliff Judge
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
The point of my note here is that the peasants, taunting the samurai from the castle walls, called them abacus counters. (yes, bean counters).
I really loved how in the movie "Twilight Samurai" the lead character's job was to keep count of the beans.
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:25 AM   #86
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
The Shogunate was so shocked that they requested the Dutch shell the castle from the sea, but after a single bombardment, they called it off, afraid that the world would know they needed foreign help to put down a revolt by a mob of mostly Christian farmers.
Also the dutch cannons were not powerful enough to cause serious damage and they often overshot the castle walls causing their cannon balls to land amid the besiegers, There was a combination of inefectiveness, friendly fire and rebels taunting the samurai what ended the dutch assistance.

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Old 04-02-2013, 10:44 AM   #87
Cady Goldfield
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Re: how do we define martial?

Fascinating historical stuffs!

Although, the mention of the peasants taunting the samurai from the castle walls brought back vivid images of an iconic scene from "Monty Python's Holy Grail."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9V7zbWNznbs

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 04-02-2013 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:35 PM   #88
Robert Cowham
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Re: how do we define martial?

A very interesting discussion!

I remember reading an account of Terry Dobson's demonstration to the UN forces in New York: he worked with a high ranking Aikido teacher to put on a demo. Terry showed things including ukemi with a babe in arms - aikido as more than just pure technique. The UN were interested but wanted more information. Terry was enthused. A followup was arranged, but the high ranking Aikido teacher cut Terry out - did the demo on his own and got carried away with his own image, breaking an uke's arm in the demo. The response from a UN general was "we know how to break people's arms" - basically they lost interest - they thought there was something more than just physical technique, but then didn't see it.

Can't remember the exact source - but hope Ellis can chime in with chapter and verse!

The question of "what is Budo?" came up in a recent workshop I have done. Answers included "knowing what you would defend with your life if necessary".

There are various aspects of martial - including the "3 swords": of the ordinary soldier, of the general and of the emperor:

http://www.universal-tao-eproducts.c...Tzu30UTEP.html

What are we studying to learn? What should be included in the study of Budo? Should it include strategy and tactics? What about politics?

What is the point of studying kenjutsu - with a shinken (live blade)? It has little practical reality as I would certainly be arrested if wandering around London with a sword on my hip! And yet, in my experience, practicing with a shinken brings a depth to one's focus, perception of risk, challenge to tanden, sharpness and accuracy of movement.

Can we bring the same aspects to studying Aikido (in my case focussing on taijutsu)? I believe we can.

When are we most likely to encounter aggression and/or violence? Physical or non-physical? I encounter non-physical attacks multiple times a day! (I work and I have kids who push boundaries!)

Personally, I recall in my life a single basic instance of physical aggression - a bouncer tried to grab me, I deflected his grab in automatic mode and just controlled his hands, he moved, and nothing happened. I saw his eyes widen and from that moment on he didn't attempt anything physical - all the aggression became verbal - manager called, peaceful resolution etc.

I haven't realistically trained for an attack by a trained knife fighter - have little illusion about my ability to defend such an attack, inspite of thousands of kote gaishi's etc. And yet I have some confidence in my abilities against the most likely attacks (i.e. not from trained people). I believe the most important aspects are mental, and these are increased by some confidence in one's physical capabilities. The vast majority of attacks are non-physical anyway. Those that threaten physicality are most of the time detectable in advance and avoidable.

Sorry for any thread drift...
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:24 PM   #89
lars beyer
Dojo: Copenhagen Aikishuren Dojo
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Phi - you have stumbled on an interesting historical incident.

In 1638, after intolerable depredations by the daimyo and their samurai minions, the farmers of several small realms in Kyushu revolted, bolstered by a few 100 ronin who were living as farmers. The revolt spread and eventually, around 38,000 men, women and children, poorly armed in everything but courage, sequestered themselves in the castle at Shimabara. The Shogunate was so shocked that they requested the Dutch shell the castle from the sea, but after a single bombardment, they called it off, afraid that the world would know they needed foreign help to put down a revolt by a mob of mostly Christian farmers. The peasants held off several well-armed armies of samurai, who attacked in vastly superior numbers.

The point of my note here is that the peasants, taunting the samurai from the castle walls, called them abacus counters. (yes, bean counters).


The Christians were eventually defeated - an entire nation was against them - and all but one person - if I recall correctly, a young woman - of the 38,000 were slaughtered, the last large-scale armed conflict in Japan before modern times. There were thousands of small-scale peasant revolts throughout the Edo period, mostly put down by guns - the samurai could no longer match the peasants hand-to-hand, even though it was hoe and pick against swords, so they'd simply go to the castle armory and bring out the muskets. The surviving Christians of Japan became "hidden," maintaining rituals in secret, and were only found as such in the 1920's.

Ellis Amdur
Hello
This is maybe not relevant to the discussion, but anyway, as far as I´m informed, O´sensei had a keen interrest in the (close) relationship between farming and budo at least he was known to talk about it back in the Iwama years and he was quite involved in farming to sustain life for his family and himself as well as his uchideshis as far as I know.
I dont know much about it thoug so maybe someone with more direct knowledge on the subject can step in and explain.

Best regards
Lars
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:57 PM   #90
Fred Little
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Robert Cowham wrote: View Post
A very interesting discussion!

I remember reading an account of Terry Dobson's demonstration to the UN forces in New York: he worked with a high ranking Aikido teacher to put on a demo. Terry showed things including ukemi with a babe in arms - aikido as more than just pure technique. The UN were interested but wanted more information. Terry was enthused. A followup was arranged, but the high ranking Aikido teacher cut Terry out - did the demo on his own and got carried away with his own image, breaking an uke's arm in the demo. The response from a UN general was "we know how to break people's arms" - basically they lost interest - they thought there was something more than just physical technique, but then didn't see it.

Can't remember the exact source - but hope Ellis can chime in with chapter and verse!

The question of "what is Budo?" came up in a recent workshop I have done. Answers included "knowing what you would defend with your life if necessary".

There are various aspects of martial - including the "3 swords": of the ordinary soldier, of the general and of the emperor:

http://www.universal-tao-eproducts.c...Tzu30UTEP.html

What are we studying to learn? What should be included in the study of Budo? Should it include strategy and tactics? What about politics?

What is the point of studying kenjutsu - with a shinken (live blade)? It has little practical reality as I would certainly be arrested if wandering around London with a sword on my hip! And yet, in my experience, practicing with a shinken brings a depth to one's focus, perception of risk, challenge to tanden, sharpness and accuracy of movement.

Can we bring the same aspects to studying Aikido (in my case focussing on taijutsu)? I believe we can.

When are we most likely to encounter aggression and/or violence? Physical or non-physical? I encounter non-physical attacks multiple times a day! (I work and I have kids who push boundaries!)

Personally, I recall in my life a single basic instance of physical aggression - a bouncer tried to grab me, I deflected his grab in automatic mode and just controlled his hands, he moved, and nothing happened. I saw his eyes widen and from that moment on he didn't attempt anything physical - all the aggression became verbal - manager called, peaceful resolution etc.

I haven't realistically trained for an attack by a trained knife fighter - have little illusion about my ability to defend such an attack, inspite of thousands of kote gaishi's etc. And yet I have some confidence in my abilities against the most likely attacks (i.e. not from trained people). I believe the most important aspects are mental, and these are increased by some confidence in one's physical capabilities. The vast majority of attacks are non-physical anyway. Those that threaten physicality are most of the time detectable in advance and avoidable.

Sorry for any thread drift...
Hi Robert,

At the time, Terry WAS a high-ranking aikido teacher. The other individual was Terry's sempai. My source is not Ellis, but another individual who was close-by on both occasions. My understanding is that while no arms were broken in the second demo, the UN personnel did walk out, making the remark you cite.

The rest I'll leave to others.

Best,

FL

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Old 04-02-2013, 03:30 PM   #91
Keith Larman
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
One can look at Sun Tzu and assert, that's aikido principles applied to war, but in fact, it would, in that case, be more accurate to assert regarding aikido, "that's Sun Tzu, applied to the individual"
That just needed to be repeated.

Reading many of the posts here made me think of Teddy Roosevelt. I remember his wonderful expression -- "Tread softly but carry a big stick". Seems to me that many really like the notion of the tread softly part but likely wouldn't even know how to hold the stick let alone carry it or use it. Once you know how to use that big stick you can choose whether to use it, how to use it, and so on. But until then the stick isn't really there...

"Mongo just pawn in game of life."

Carry on.

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Old 04-02-2013, 03:30 PM   #92
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post
Jon and Kevin and Ellis,
Thank you for sharing your vast expertise. I'm very tempted to simply shut up in awe. The only horse I've got left in this race is that I'm willing to learn or, if you like, my burning curiosity concerning these matters.
So, may I dare to ask you wether I'm completely wrong, when I think that the system of the principles and techniques of Aikido contains a very practical method to teach about strategy?

If so, to my mind and in contrast to very cherished common belief, though in its execution looking beautiful and, if you like peaceful - I'd prefer the term graceful - the art of aikido in spirit and intent is all offensive and martial. Think of Clausewitz. This wouldn't exclude peaceful results as an objective.

If Aikido were about tactics, it might make sense to complain about the techniques in their purest form, and doubts could arise about their applicability in tactical situations or martial H2H. But if were about teaching strategy, those complaints very likely would show misinterpretation of its formal execution and incomprehension of its essence.

Best
Bernd
Bernd, as a Military Strategist as a profession, I am I guess supposed to be a Clausewitz scholar. Hadn't really considered how Clausewitz applies with the study of budo.

Maybe "don't ask anything that is foreign to it's nature".

War is diplomacy by other means....

Maybe the Trinity? Keeping separate and balanced the "army" and the "government" and People.

I think maybe this is appropriate. IMO budoka should only be concerned with the study of war and the means to effectively use violence. Clausewitz talks alot about limited and unlimited war. I think maybe the Budoka would be concerned with understanding the instruments of war and how to appropriately and judiciously apply them.

Cliff covered this I think above somewhat concerning "purpose". I think that budoka should be concerned with war, but not necessarily the "purpose" or the "politics" of action. I think that the budoka should be some what distance from it. Understand it, and maybe ready to enforce, but not be concerned with a influencing the situation.

I think a big difference between Graham and I would be this. I don't concern myself with the things he would such as "improving the enemy" or trying to influence things with a particular outcome be it religiously, philosophically, or politically. I think this is dangerous ground for the budoka.

yes, again, we should understand these things, and yes be would be prepared to act if necessary towards a desired endstate, but we cannot dabble in the affairs. If this makes sense. Hard to express this concept...maybe it does not translate correctly.

I think that like the trinity, the legs of the triangle are in constant tension, and the budoka must be ever mindful of keeping it in balance. Dabble to much in one area and you will have issues.

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Old 04-02-2013, 04:18 PM   #93
Robert Cowham
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
At the time, Terry WAS a high-ranking aikido teacher. The other individual was Terry's sempai. My source is not Ellis, but another individual who was close-by on both occasions. My understanding is that while no arms were broken in the second demo, the UN personnel did walk out, making the remark you cite.
Hi Fred

Thanks for the clarification. No disrespect to Terry intended.

Regards
Robert
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:19 PM   #94
Marc Abrams
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post

I think a big difference between Graham and I would be this. I don't concern myself with the things he would such as "improving the enemy" or trying to influence things with a particular outcome be it religiously, philosophically, or politically. I think this is dangerous ground for the budoka.
I like the expression "If you have to think about it, it is too late." The luxury to concern one's self with the well being of an attacker is best enjoyed on a couch as a keyboard warrior. Outside of that setting, I would not recommend it. It's a shame that you cannot invite some select people into the combative's training pits to experience a little fun and a healthy dose of reality.....

Hope all is well Kevin.

Regards,

Marc Abrams
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:48 PM   #95
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Bernd, as a Military Strategist as a profession, I am I guess supposed to be a Clausewitz scholar. Hadn't really considered how Clausewitz applies with the study of budo.

Maybe "don't ask anything that is foreign to it's nature".

War is diplomacy by other means....

Maybe the Trinity? Keeping separate and balanced the "army" and the "government" and People.

I think maybe this is appropriate. IMO budoka should only be concerned with the study of war and the means to effectively use violence. Clausewitz talks alot about limited and unlimited war. I think maybe the Budoka would be concerned with understanding the instruments of war and how to appropriately and judiciously apply them.

Cliff covered this I think above somewhat concerning "purpose". I think that budoka should be concerned with war, but not necessarily the "purpose" or the "politics" of action. I think that the budoka should be some what distance from it. Understand it, and maybe ready to enforce, but not be concerned with a influencing the situation.

I think a big difference between Graham and I would be this. I don't concern myself with the things he would such as "improving the enemy" or trying to influence things with a particular outcome be it religiously, philosophically, or politically. I think this is dangerous ground for the budoka.

yes, again, we should understand these things, and yes be would be prepared to act if necessary towards a desired endstate, but we cannot dabble in the affairs. If this makes sense. Hard to express this concept...maybe it does not translate correctly.

I think that like the trinity, the legs of the triangle are in constant tension, and the budoka must be ever mindful of keeping it in balance. Dabble to much in one area and you will have issues.
Thank you Kevin,
Very honest, hard to express and it does make sense.

Yours respectfully
Bernd
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:56 PM   #96
Erick Mead
 
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Bernd, as a Military Strategist as a profession, I am I guess supposed to be a Clausewitz scholar. Hadn't really considered how Clausewitz applies with the study of budo.

War is diplomacy by other means....
Clausewitz talks alot about limited and unlimited war. I think maybe the Budoka would be concerned with understanding the instruments of war and how to appropriately and judiciously apply them.
or as it is said "politics by other means" ... which really means that diplomacy and politics are in some sense an illusion covering the more basic essence of conflicts.

In light of the mention of Clausewitz, I cannot recommend highly enough Rene Girard's latest work on mimetic theory and violence, which is focussed on Clausewitz and the inherent vulnerability to escalations ending int total war, which Clausewitz foresaw: "Battling to the End"

An article with some summary of its points by the author is found here -- and dwelling on the apocalyptic themes -- of man's own making -- which (to my reading) is very much in keeping with O Sensei's own thinking about the purpose of Aikido in helping people prevent the dynamic that leads to total mutual annihilation.

Quote:
What happens when we reach the extremes that Clausewitz glimpses before hiding them behind his strategic considerations? He does not tell us. This is the question we have to ask today. Clausewitz had a stunning intuition about history's suddenly accelerated course, but he immediately disguised it and tried to give his book the tone of a technical, scholarly treatise. We therefore have to complete Clausewitz by taking up the route he interrupted and following it to the end.
...
... he wrote in his first chapter: "War is an act of violence, which in its application knows no bounds; as one dictates the law to the other, there arises a sort of reciprocal action, which, in the conception, must lead to an extreme." Without realizing it, Clausewitz discovered not only the apocalyptic formula but also that it is bound up with mimetic rivalry. Where can this truth be understood in a world that continues to close its eyes to the incalculable consequences of mimetic rivalry? Not only was Clausewitz right, in opposition to Hegel and all modern wisdom, but what he was right about has terrible implications for humanity. This warmonger alone saw certain things.
To my mind, a grasp of Girard's observations about the deep mimetic nature of human psychology, and its irreducibly and recurrently violent core, are something that anyone who is serious about the problems of violence ought to be exposed to. A further reference source is here.

When O Sensei -- who was not a Christian -- spoke explicitly in terms of the Logos and St. Michael -- he was not just indulging the Japanese penchant for even-handed syncretism in religion -- he was making an profound point about the nature of violence -- which he in his practical way applied to address much the same concerns that Girard discovered in the structures of human social conflict laid out in dramatic works and that Clausewitz did in studying actual wars.

Quote:
"In the same spirit as the teachings of the Bible on the return of Michael (see Daniel, 12), all the three worlds will completely admire this Great Saint [Ame no Ukihashi] and follow his words with joy. We must endeavor to perform our assigned missions to lead others in welcoming such a wise, Great Saint."
Takemusu Aiki lectures, Morihei Ueshiba (Tr. Sonoko Tanaka)
For those who do not recall, Michael in Daniel 12 is related as the protector of the Chosen -- and who will serve defend them -- but only in the final battle. In other words, the spirit of Michael is analogized or identified with Ame no Ukihashi (the mission of Aikido), and which will serve to save them [us] -- from the final imitative escalation to mutual destruction, to which we are otherwise very likely to succumb.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:42 PM   #97
graham christian
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Re: how do we define martial?

If budo is love then love is martial. To fully grasp this one would then understand why O'Sensei described his budo as unique and fundamentally different from the budo of the past.

When you finally realize love protects and realize thus it's true power you will see budo.

Peace.G.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:23 AM   #98
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: how do we define martial?

Thanks Erick, I am not familar with Gerard. I will read up on it.

Graham I don't think you can assign a value/concept such as love to budo. It would be like saying the philosophy is love. Philosophy is philosophy and certainly the concept of love is a part of philosophy. Budo is budo and certainly love is a part of budo.

I think the concept of love is a slippery one indeed. I think the problem is much more complex than simply budo is love.

to go back to the Clausewitz framework, which I am now seeing as not a bad one for this model. ...

there are several things that need to be consired. First, are people rational actors or irrational ones?

Clausewitz posed this question as an important one when he pondered the concept of unlimited or total war versus limited war. If people were not ultimately rational actors at some level then there would be no constraints. Rationality may involve the concept of love, but there are many reasons why people will constrain themselves or limit themselves from unlimited means.

IMO, budo is really concerned with understanding the rationality of people and exploring the concept of unlimited and limted means of violence. We attempt to gain skill in order to apply tools that can be used in an unlimited means appropriately to impose a limited agenda with rational actors.

It really boils down to this. There are things we are willing to do and things we are unwilling to do. However, the means to do them exisit no matter how tight we close our eyes and wish the means to go away.

What Cliff several post ago was illuding to was if you have an agenda that takes options off the table then you have constrained yourself artificially and might not have the right tools at your disposal to appropriately engage. So the irony IMO is that you may actually lose that which your were trying to preserve!

I think the budo states at the mid point and there is a difference between peace as love. Peace defined as the absence of, or cessation of violence. I don't think love has much utility in this concept, other than we may LOVE peace as we highly regard it. I think the budoka should look at it objectively as possible and have all means at his disposal for promoting peace. Compassionate acts of kindess and love as well as the ability to enforce peace using unlimited means of war in a limited/rational way.

I think the budoka says "all options are on the table".

Again, though it comes down to understanding what you are willing/able to do verses what you are unwilling/unable to do. THIS is our study of ourselves. reaching an understanding of this about ourselves.

There is nothing wrong with an afinity toward certain ideals, lifestyles, choices or actions. We should "be the change we want to see in the world". however, we should also clearly understand what we are williing and able to do if we must. A budoka has or should not take options off the table. If you do, then it is not martial and you are not practicing a martial art, but some bastardization of it and while maybe not wrong...it is NOT budo and NOT martial.

For example, I am a devote vegetarian bordering on a Vegan most days. I am not willing to eat meat or kill animals. I do this out of love and compassion. However I am still able and capable of eating meat and killiing animals. I also understand and recognize that there are conditions in which I will do this if necessary. Thus, I while I practice vegetarianism, I have not taken the option of killing or eating meat off the table completely.

The Budoka has a unique role in society I think. As a promoter of peace he/she sits at the crossroads and enately understands his/her role in this process.

The slippery slope with love is that much violence and zealotry and irrational passion has been spurred by the concept of "TOTAL LOVE". that is, I love something so much that I am willing and able to do X for it. or converse, I love something so much that I am unwilling or unable to do X for it. Both IMO lead to bad endings.

Ghandi was not a fool. In fact, I would argue that he was very astute and understood his position at the crossroads. He didn't avoid violence, he skillfully worked second and third order effects and artfully employed Clausewitz's trinity in a most skillfull manner. He understood that he was at the midpoint and skillfully balanced the means of power. What gave him that power was the understanding by all that he could summon the power of the people to take action...whatever that action may be. I think if you had a conversation with Ghandi, while he was passionately a non-violentist, he would most likely, and rationally conclude that unllimited and violent means have there place and was an option on the table. He found nonviolent means to be more effective.

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Old 04-03-2013, 04:24 AM   #99
graham christian
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Re: how do we define martial?

Kevin,
this clausewitz fella seems like an intelligent guy and the one thing I like was that he remembered to keep in the equation the basic reasonableness of folk rather than just the usual macro view where people are just numbers.

But still, True Budo is love and there's no getting away from it. That is the type of Budo Aikido is about given from source repeatedly. Slippery slope? more of an uphill battle to come to terms with it and fully understand it. Anyway all slopes gets slippery at some point so nothing to fear there.

Read your view on extreme and extremeties of love and found them, well let's say far from the mark. The concept of extreme love is rather amusing. Complete or 100% love would be pure, universal, whereas zealotism is a hate thing, a mind thing, a crazy thing as with all crazy things based on fear not love.

So I also like the part about ruling nothing out, all options on the table. Yet you rule out love by saying it takes away options. Love does quite the opposite so here we have an example of what I said originally, peoples failure to understand Budo is love is the problem.

Love actually is all inclusive, that's one quality of it. That should tell you something quite different to limiting options.

Love is part and parcel of reason so that should tell yo something too.

Peace is another powerful thing not understood. The nearest you come to it above was saying it's an absence of something else. Well that just tells you we are aware of it when there is no war but nothing about it.

Anyway I look at war and could just as easily say war is just an absence of peace. A temporary madness that happens from time to time.

There is no war in the budo of love. Mmmmm, sounds like something worth understanding.

Peace.G.
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:49 AM   #100
Erick Mead
 
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Thanks Erick, I am not familar with Gerard. I will read up on it.
It is eye-opening, IMO on the subject of the source of conflicts, recurring social crises and their resolution. An excellent interview of Girard introduces the scope of his thinking:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNkSBy5wWDk

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
... to go back to the Clausewitz framework, which I am now seeing as not a bad one for this model.
...
Clausewitz posed this question as an important one when he pondered the concept of unlimited or total war versus limited war. If people were not ultimately rational actors at some level then there would be no constraints. Rationality may involve the concept of love, but there are many reasons why people will constrain themselves or limit themselves from unlimited means.

IMO, budo is really concerned with understanding the rationality of people and exploring the concept of unlimited and limted means of violence. We attempt to gain skill in order to apply tools that can be used in an unlimited means appropriately to impose a limited agenda with rational actors.

It really boils down to this. There are things we are willing to do and things we are unwilling to do. However, the means to do them exisit no matter how tight we close our eyes and wish the means to go away.
If Girard is correct, we are not entirely in control of what we desire or why, and our desires -- and thus our conflicts -- are powerfully - and mostly unconsciously-- mediated by both models and rivals that we imitate from a deep part of our minds. Neurology has since proposed a mechanism for Girard's observational analysis in what are called "mirror neurons" that have a deep role in our learning and empathic modelling of the desires and emotional states of others.

Rationality is a thin reed to rely on in this context.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Again, though it comes down to understanding what you are willing/able to do verses what you are unwilling/unable to do. THIS is our study of ourselves. reaching an understanding of this about ourselves.
It is that understanding that the study of budo is geared to -- to understand myself when I enter into violence -- and by understanding gain command of myself -- not always rationally -- but to assure that it is -- I -- that commands my engagement -- and not something else that I am unaware of of or become hostage to.

And if I can command myself -- then -- as an explicitly military application -- I can better command others by the same mechanism that I have learned to override in gaining command of myself.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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