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Old 02-09-2014, 10:47 PM   #1
Sojourner
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Circle Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

Greetings all, I wanted to raise this with you as I am struggling to get my head around this question and I suspect it is because the answer may lie in a more esoteric examination of Aikido.

Let us suppose you are attacked by a stranger, perhaps it is as a result of a home invasion, or on public transport or simply on the street, perhaps it is for robbery, maybe it is a sexual assault or you are simply attacked at random. As a result of your Aikido training you are able to quickly neutralize your attacker and pin them in an appropriate hold. - In modern countries where there is a police force I suspect one likely response is that the police are then called and the person is arrested and dealt with by local authorities. It is unclear to me though whether that situation existed at the founding of Aikido.

My question and the question revolves around both what O Sensei might have said and what a modern response from Aikidoa might be; - is what happens next and in the passing of time post this assault?

Whilst your attacker is placed in your Aikido hold, are you then meant to try and reason peaceful resolution with them? If your attacker is subsequently arrested, should you have a focus towards conflict resolution via counselling as opposed to having charges laid by the police? Are you meant to deal with your attacker in the court system from a place of forgiveness?

I guess some in here may remember the time that Pope John Paul was shot by a chap with a gun and wounded. He survived and was hospitalised, upon being released from hospital he went and sat inside the same jail cell as his attacker and gave him his forgiveness over what had happened. This is the picture that I get in my mind when I reflect on O'Sensei describing Aikido as the Art of Peace. Yet I would love to know what your own thought are on this type of post conflict resolution with Aikido?
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:02 PM   #2
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

One step at a time. I'm not yet good enough to make sure that I could quickly neutralise any given attacker. I'll let philosophers worry about the rest.
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:26 PM   #3
Michael Hackett
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

Wasn't the Pope's attacker subsequently convicted and sentenced to prison? It seems that was the case. While the Pontiff forgave him, as I recall he still had to face the consequences of his action.

Michael
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Old 02-10-2014, 06:37 AM   #4
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

If the attacker is willing and capable of resuming the attack, you are not in a post conflict situation.

In addition, handing the attacker over to the police is a sensible thing to do (if you are capable enough) but has nothing to with Aikido.

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Old 02-10-2014, 10:54 AM   #5
Dan Rubin
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

While holding your assailant in a pin you should maintain a calm demeanor (even though your body is full of adrenalin) and use no more than reasonable force (even though your heart is racing). After turning him over to the police, you should communicate to your assailant that you do not take his attack personally (even though you do), and consider, without emotion, how best to teach him the wrongfulness of his actions and protect his potential future victims from him. In other words, you should stay centered during and "post-" attack.

Good luck with that.
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:36 AM   #6
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

In a perfect world I would calmly resolve the situation, have a nice chat with my attacker, and fix all his problems. But in a perfect world I would never get attacked in the first place.

I have never had to use my aikido in a physical conflict so not sure how I would respond but it would likely be ugly compared to what you see in the dojo. If I am able to control the attacker then my decision to stick around and wait for the polices depends on the situation. If I am by my self and am certain there are no other attackers I may stick around. If my wife and kids are with me my first priority is to keep them safe so I am not keeping them around the attacker in that situation. And to be honest, if an attacker is coming after my family my response may not be very aikido-like so who knows what would happen.

I believe I would forgive the attacker but it may take me a while and I don't think it would happen in the moment.
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Old 02-10-2014, 01:46 PM   #7
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

1, Philosophical and practical are two different things. Only the very best aikido people can work within both realms. I think it is important to distinguish which aspect we are discussing.
2. If the social constraints of society are ignored or laws broken, your attacker should be reprimanded for violating the trust of the social contract dictating what is/is not acceptable conduct. Typically, citizens have consented to allow delegated authorities to meter judgment and punishment. Sometimes, an authority is not physically present and so the authority is temporarily vested in the citizen.
3. "post-" is relative. Just because someone thinks the conflict is over does not mean all involved parties think so.

Given these three points, I believe your primary objective in an assault situation is to eliminate the danger, however you do it. A secondary objective would be to restrain the assailant to facilitate apprehension of the suspect. I believe the heart of aikido lies in self control, not other control.

Second, forgiveness is not fair. One of my favorite parts of the musical, Les Miserables, is when the Bishop lies to relieve Jean Valjean. In doing so he does not "forgive" Valjean but rather ransoms his soul. "Forgiving" tilts the scales of balance, but the ability to forgive was socialized as to be a positive thing. Sometimes paying the consequence is the compassionate decision that affects future behavior.

Compassion and empathy are tools that allow our actions to resonate with those around us. If that resonance is strong it will effect a change and affect behavior. In the movie, Jack Reacher, Reacher solicits a promise from a murder who is released for political reasons so effective that the suspect, James Barr, has changed his behavior for the remainder of his life. So in this sense, forgiveness of the crime was paid for by the promise to never act that way again. I am not sure any of us have that kind of ethos with our assailants.

The often mis-quoted parable of turning the other cheek was not an act of absolution, but reformation - The act was intended to provoke the opportunity to change; ultimate forgiveness resting with God, not man.

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Old 02-10-2014, 04:35 PM   #8
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

I don't think the chap is going to be too receptive to my compassionate murmurings in his delicate shell-like if his arm has the same amount of right angles as an MC Escher painting.

Depending upon the situation, I may not be physically able to be gentle, or be in any way inclined to be so. Post-conflict resolution may well consist of "Can your mother sew?"
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:11 PM   #9
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

Unless I knew for sure that I just needed to immobilize the person for a brief time, putting a pin on would not be my go-to ending for a technique.
Once our confrontation has ended I am not responsible for further in person "conflict resolution" or trying to change my attacker. I do not see ANYthing in OSensei's writings that suggests I need to arrange for an ongoing relationship with an attacker to to make sure the attacker understands anything. As far as I can tell, OSensei was talking about the overall harmony of the universe, not being palsy-walsy with people who are out to hurt you.

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Old 02-10-2014, 10:59 PM   #10
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

Breaking into someones home and holding them hostage isn't stealing candy. That a VERY SERIOUS crime especially the fact it was forethougt. That will run you almost 20 years in prison not jail once all the charges add up. I dont think somone who mustered up the confidence to do something like that can be dealt with in a conflict resolution way. They have already escalated. That person would really be "neutralized" if you catch my drift.
Modern aikido has tend to brainwash people. Ive seen it. Aikido was founded as a martial art to help create inner peace not create peace. It never will. Human kind has a pretty poor track record of this. Sometimes you just have to take the world as it is. You can resolve the problem between you and the robber but i bet you that same person will go the next day and invade another home and possible kill that homeowner. Watch the news. Open your eyes to the world. Stop dreaming in the disilluison nonsense crap that is being spread in modern aikido.

If you want spirituality seek religion, if you seek magic find Houdini. If you want to learn a Martial Art to neutralize danger seek Aikido.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:26 AM   #11
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

Quote:
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Aikido was founded as a martial art to help create inner peace
Really? How so?
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:44 AM   #12
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

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1The often mis-quoted parable of turning the other cheek was not an act of absolution, but reformation - The act was intended to provoke the opportunity to change; ultimate forgiveness resting with God, not man.
Not sure I agree with this. Yeah, the attacker might take the opportunity to learn something and reform their life, but that's on them. I think the point of the instruction is that you don't get drawn into their drama--you remain unaffected by their attack.

Aiki in me, in other words, before aiki between thee and me.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:40 PM   #13
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

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Not sure I agree with this. Yeah, the attacker might take the opportunity to learn something and reform their life, but that's on them. I think the point of the instruction is that you don't get drawn into their drama--you remain unaffected by their attack.

Aiki in me, in other words, before aiki between thee and me.
I think Christianity is actually largely founded upon a principle of independence and leadership by example. The sermon on the Mount is amongst one of the most clear (and most perplexing) lectures of leadership in the New Testament. Most of us are familiar with the Beatitudes found in the Sermon. Who else better to act in such a manner as to effect a change in religion and affect the birth of a new religion, largely based upon his actions. Talk about resonance and ethos.

There is a translation of the the direction to turn that other cheek that socio-historically would have caused a problem. In other words, striking one side of the cheek would have been appropriate for a reprimand of a lesser. Striking the other side of the cheek, however, would have been considered a challenge to an equal. So turning the other cheek would have created a political problem for the assailant... striking it would have implied an equal status. I would argue that Jesus did not intend his words to be used to justify acting against someone, nor that our action would create inequity in our life. Sounds like yin and yang to me.

I am told that Moses brought down another set of tablets, the 100 Nagmandments. Oddly, these tablets were lost in the desert and never part of the Bible... And if this does not open the door for any number of Jewish jokes, I cannot throw a softer pitch. I will humbly refrain as I not of the Tribe, but c'mon people...

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Old 02-11-2014, 06:11 PM   #14
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

I find this quote from O'Sensei interesting, I am picking up on his point about defeating an adversary by making them realize the folly of their actions. What I am considering is how this might work in a post conflict situation.

"The real Art of Peace is not to sacrifice a single one of your warriors to defeat an enemy. Vanquish your foes by always keeping yourself in a safe and unassailable position; then no one will suffer any losses. The Way of a Warrior, the Art of Politics, is to stop trouble before it starts. It consists in defeating your adversaries spiritually by making them realize the folly of their actions. The Way of a Warrior is to establish harmony".

On another tangent, I did once read that Western jail or custodial sentances were in fact used by the Quakers, the point being that a person that had committed crime was isolated from society totally, no contact with other prisioners and when taken out for exersize often blindfolded. The purpose being to make that person reflect on what they had done that they might move to a point of taking responsability for what they had done and learning from it. I do wonder if our modern system is moving away from that, to the point where its about punishment and not rehabilitation?
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:59 PM   #15
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

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On another tangent, I did once read that Western jail or custodial sentances were in fact used by the Quakers, the point being that a person that had committed crime was isolated from society totally, no contact with other prisioners and when taken out for exersize often blindfolded. The purpose being to make that person reflect on what they had done that they might move to a point of taking responsability for what they had done and learning from it. I do wonder if our modern system is moving away from that, to the point where its about punishment and not rehabilitation?
Totally off topic but even a cursory awareness of the history of both criminal and mental health institutions in Europe and US points to varying philosophies being put into practice over centuries, essentially lurching between the punitive and a breathtaking variety of types of "rehabilitation" - in the case of criminals, the latter encompassing everything from Quaker isolation to breaking bricks to literacy to farming to college classes. I am not debating the merits. Just pointing out that it is not at all a matter of moving in a linear fashion from one ideology to another.

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Old 02-11-2014, 08:37 PM   #16
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

Does anyone else remember the story via Terry Dobson about him getting the Way of Peace talk from O'Sensei and a fellow aikidoka getting a quite different talk about the destruction of enemies?
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:47 PM   #17
Michael Hackett
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

As Janet mentioned, American corrections has changed focus time and time again over the years. We still call some prisons "penitentiaries", where inmates were confined alone to reflect on their crimes in an effort to rehabilitate them. We moved to more punitive styles; think of chain gangs and breaking rocks, along with corporal punishment. Now we are focusing on rehabilitation through education, job training, mental health care and so forth. Each mode has had success and failure and the pendulum will swing back and forth.

As to the original topic, were I assaulted and managed to overcome the attack, I might well forgive the individual, but you can damned well bet that I would also testify against him. Maintaining hatred and anger is, to me, just a red-hot anvil to carry around all the time. Nothing to do with aikido teaching in my mind, but just a good course for me to live my life. There must be a reason that we use the term "to BEAR a grudge".

Michael
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:11 AM   #18
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

In chess the threat of carrying out an attack can form double the importance before the moves are even conducted. It is all about risk control. What's more Jesus told his followers, I come to bring you 'not peace but a sword'. And that wasn't a Bokken, but a live blade.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:07 AM   #19
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

Quote:
John Robinson wrote: View Post
In chess the threat of carrying out an attack can form double the importance before the moves are even conducted. It is all about risk control. What's more Jesus told his followers, I come to bring you 'not peace but a sword'. And that wasn't a Bokken, but a live blade.
Perfect!
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:32 PM   #20
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

Quote:
Ben White wrote: View Post
I find this quote from O'Sensei interesting, I am picking up on his point about defeating an adversary by making them realize the folly of their actions. What I am considering is how this might work in a post conflict situation.

"The real Art of Peace is not to sacrifice a single one of your warriors to defeat an enemy. Vanquish your foes by always keeping yourself in a safe and unassailable position; then no one will suffer any losses. The Way of a Warrior, the Art of Politics, is to stop trouble before it starts. It consists in defeating your adversaries spiritually by making them realize the folly of their actions. The Way of a Warrior is to establish harmony".

On another tangent, I did once read that Western jail or custodial sentances were in fact used by the Quakers, the point being that a person that had committed crime was isolated from society totally, no contact with other prisioners and when taken out for exersize often blindfolded. The purpose being to make that person reflect on what they had done that they might move to a point of taking responsability for what they had done and learning from it. I do wonder if our modern system is moving away from that, to the point where its about punishment and not rehabilitation?
To be fair, both the point about convincing an enemy of their imminent failure in a campaign and the evaluation of campaign strategy based upon the risk of success are both common military strategies found in several texts on the subject, including the Art of War. I would not advocate what was translated as necessarily new or innovative to combat strategy. As a point of illustration, early forms of punishment were often designed to elicit as strong aversion to replicating whatever crime was the cause of the punishment.

As another note of interpretation, I have also heard the way of the warrior as stopping the weapon (naginata, etc.). Preventing war is not necessarily harmony, nor is it necessarily good. Harmony is a lion eating a gazelle; from the lion's perspective harmony is awesome, but from the gazelle's...

As a somewhat political point here in the US, I would advocate that we are moving away from punitive methodology for many of our crimes. Personally, I think the fabric that binds a society is no longer tight enough to change behavior. There are too many outlets to "get what we want" without respecting our social culture and too many constraints on our social culture to prevent prejudicial behavior that would solicit change.

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Old 02-12-2014, 04:04 PM   #21
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

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As to the original topic, were I assaulted and managed to overcome the attack, I might well forgive the individual, but you can damned well bet that I would also testify against him. Maintaining hatred and anger is, to me, just a red-hot anvil to carry around all the time. Nothing to do with aikido teaching in my mind, but just a good course for me to live my life. There must be a reason that we use the term "to BEAR a grudge".
You may forgive, but you will not forget!
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Old 02-13-2014, 12:14 AM   #22
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

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Really? How so?
Quote from the man himself:The real purpose of the martial arts must be to purge oneself of petty ambitions and desire, to obtain control of one's own character- Morhihei Ueshiba

If you want spirituality seek religion, if you seek magic find Houdini. If you want to learn a Martial Art to neutralize danger seek Aikido.
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:46 AM   #23
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

Quote:
Jared Burke wrote: View Post
Quote from the man himself:The real purpose of the martial arts must be to purge oneself of petty ambitions and desire, to obtain control of one's own character- Morhihei Ueshiba
Purely personal perspective here: I see this as distinct from "to create inner peace". Not that I want to quibble over definitions, but I am cautious about paraphrasing when speaking of the fuzzy stuff. It would seem harmless, even necessary, to paraphrase when having such conversations -- we're not talking about building a watch, here -- but over and over again, I've seen discussions where a paraphrase has the same sense and meaning in the mind of the speaker, but introduces an entirely different sense, meaning or at least connotation to the audience. I've known plenty of people with petty ambition up the wazoo, who (if asked) would have said that they had "inner peace", and who do by their definition. I've known plenty of people whose actions and attitudes are completely inconsistent with "inner peace" as I know it, but whose mental outlook allowed them to reconcile it all.

Also (heresy alert here, avert your eyes if you have a problem with that sort of thing) I don't see "the man himself" as the ultimate moral authority, or even as the ultimate authority of "the real purpose of the martial arts". I completely accept his statements about what aikido is for in the same sense that I accept General Motors' statements about what one of their vehicles is for: he created it for an intended purpose. Does that mean that we must have the same purpose in order to practice aikido? Maybe you'll argue that we should, but I'm not sure that even with the best of intentions we can. I get nothing at all from the oft-quoted "The Art of Peace" -- no more than I do from any other out-of-context translations of soundbites. Some might say that I should pursue a more in-depth, scholarly approach to understanding what O Sensei meant, but practically speaking, I don't see a way to do that except by accepting the authority of someone else's interpretation first (in the form of translation and context). And, if I were to arrive at "the truth" of what O Sensei intended for aikido -- or at least, came to an understanding that I could accept as "the truth" -- what if I found that I disagreed with it? Or what if I think I've got another way to "obtain control of one's own character" that's better and more effective than aikido? Should I stop training?

That is, of course, a rhetorical question. It's possible I might stop training in the future, but if I do, it won't be because of a philosophical difference of opinion with the presumed intentions of the founder. In the meanwhile, I train as long as my own reasons are sufficient. I won't try to figure out what O Sensei meant and hammer my own thinking into conformity with whatever I think that is. General Motors may have intended that car to drive on a paved road, but in a changed world a hundred years from now, in a situation that's yet to be, who's to say that that's its best function? It may serve better as a shelter, a work of art, a source of scrap materials to build things that are more useful in that time and place. It may serve one person best as a vehicle and another person best as something to duck behind when the rocks start flying. I think aikido's no different.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:22 PM   #24
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Purely personal perspective here: I see this as distinct from "to create inner peace". Not that I want to quibble over definitions, but I am cautious about paraphrasing when speaking of the fuzzy stuff. It would seem harmless, even necessary, to paraphrase when having such conversations -- we're not talking about building a watch, here -- but over and over again, I've seen discussions where a paraphrase has the same sense and meaning in the mind of the speaker, but introduces an entirely different sense, meaning or at least connotation to the audience. I've known plenty of people with petty ambition up the wazoo, who (if asked) would have said that they had "inner peace", and who do by their definition. I've known plenty of people whose actions and attitudes are completely inconsistent with "inner peace" as I know it, but whose mental outlook allowed them to reconcile it all.

Also (heresy alert here, avert your eyes if you have a problem with that sort of thing) I don't see "the man himself" as the ultimate moral authority, or even as the ultimate authority of "the real purpose of the martial arts". I completely accept his statements about what aikido is for in the same sense that I accept General Motors' statements about what one of their vehicles is for: he created it for an intended purpose. Does that mean that we must have the same purpose in order to practice aikido? Maybe you'll argue that we should, but I'm not sure that even with the best of intentions we can. I get nothing at all from the oft-quoted "The Art of Peace" -- no more than I do from any other out-of-context translations of soundbites. Some might say that I should pursue a more in-depth, scholarly approach to understanding what O Sensei meant, but practically speaking, I don't see a way to do that except by accepting the authority of someone else's interpretation first (in the form of translation and context). And, if I were to arrive at "the truth" of what O Sensei intended for aikido -- or at least, came to an understanding that I could accept as "the truth" -- what if I found that I disagreed with it? Or what if I think I've got another way to "obtain control of one's own character" that's better and more effective than aikido? Should I stop training?

That is, of course, a rhetorical question. It's possible I might stop training in the future, but if I do, it won't be because of a philosophical difference of opinion with the presumed intentions of the founder. In the meanwhile, I train as long as my own reasons are sufficient. I won't try to figure out what O Sensei meant and hammer my own thinking into conformity with whatever I think that is. General Motors may have intended that car to drive on a paved road, but in a changed world a hundred years from now, in a situation that's yet to be, who's to say that that's its best function? It may serve better as a shelter, a work of art, a source of scrap materials to build things that are more useful in that time and place. It may serve one person best as a vehicle and another person best as something to duck behind when the rocks start flying. I think aikido's no different.
Honestly, i really dont care about nonsense crap thats been shoved into aikido these days since its been taken over by "flower people" and "magicians".....I would just say shut up and train hard!

If you want spirituality seek religion, if you seek magic find Houdini. If you want to learn a Martial Art to neutralize danger seek Aikido.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:32 PM   #25
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Re: Post Conflict Strategies and Techniques of Aikido?

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Honestly, i really dont care about nonsense crap thats been shoved into aikido these days since its been taken over by "flower people" and "magicians".....I would just say shut up and train hard!
Cheers, I have the same thoughts, just didn't have the guts to say it!

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