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  #26  
Old 04-27-2014, 07:38 AM
Susan Dalton
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Effective Technique

This month's "The Mirror" column was written by Susan Dalton 2014, all rights reserved.
Lately I was reading comments under a blog about the ineffectiveness of aikido. One person talked about "deadwood and less than compelling practitioners." Deadwood! That's...

Last edited by akiy : 04-27-2014 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:09 AM   #25
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Re: Effective Technique

I've used it. For me, "Aikibunny" is a light pejorative towards those who would take a pacifistic attitude towards their application of aiki. It is not gender based, it philosophically based. For me, I think "meek" is the term about which we are talking. For me, this is far more serious because meekness can be a personality trait or it can be learned behavior. I personally do not think this trait is gender-based, but I can appreciate that it is gender-biased.

I think the idea is to understand that Aikido should clarify and refine extreme positions. Training is an opportunity for the extreme position to be normalized. The most courageous thing someone can do is walk into a dojo knowing that they will change their perspective. After all, if you were satisfied with who you are, why would you change that?

Sometimes a lexicon helps us compartmentalize complex, sensitive topics. Humor lets us laugh at ourselves, instead of cry. These are tools that allow me to deal with a very personal and critical task of improving aspects of me. For me, effective aikido is about making me more effective. My partner is just a tool that helps me with a metric of success.

That's my peeve with the terminology. Real aikibunnies have no problem telling you about what they think or how you should act. Aikibunnies have a philosophical perspective and "Me" is not an issue for them. But for people who act in a manner specifically to be unnoticed, "me" is a real challenge. If you have ever had that feeling of, "maybe if I just be still, he won't notice me," you know that you are doing everything you can to not be noticed. This article did a great job of sharing an intimate experience of that nature.

Yes, it is possible to be a collection of terms. Imagine how much gumption is took for Susan to accurately call herself a "fearful, intimidated, little aikibunny." I bet money she's striped off a few of those terms over the years.

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Old 04-30-2014, 09:24 AM   #26
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Re: Effective Technique

The way you are defining it, Jon, is not how Susan is describing herself.(As I understand it) So in this column the word has been used to describe at least 3 different ways of being.

That is why labels are not helpful.

Last edited by Mary Eastland : 04-30-2014 at 09:33 AM. Reason: number change

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Old 04-30-2014, 09:31 AM   #27
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Re: Effective Technique

Susan, thank you for this column. I think you handled the self-defense situation very well. You did your very best and you were not physically harmed. You listened to your inner voice. No one could possibly know what to do in that situation except you because you were there.

Second guessing self-defense situations afterward is counter productive. A successful self-defense situation is when the person is alive at the end of it. Conflict is very scary, frustrating and confusing.

I read in your column that what happened was traumatic for you. I am sure you reported him as soon as you could. We can only do our best. He is responsible for the wrong he has done, not you.

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Old 04-30-2014, 12:51 PM   #28
Susan Dalton
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Re: Effective Technique

Mary M said: "I think this is a common fallacy even among those who know better: to assume that by virtue of his gender, a man is likely to have fighting skills or experiences. Certainly I don't think that the average man has any experience falling (where would they get that?)."

I'm old enough that I come from a time when boys got to play rough and girls didn't. My friend and I got to play football with the boys but only for one year. It wasn't "seemly" once we got to junior high. My brother got to play all sorts of rough sports where girls weren't allowed. We could watch but we couldn't participate. Maybe that's changed now. I hope so.
Susan
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:59 PM   #29
Susan Dalton
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
I read in your column that what happened was traumatic for you. I am sure you reported him as soon as you could. We can only do our best. He is responsible for the wrong he has done, not you.
Thank you, Mary. That was a long, long time ago, over 25 years. I hadn't started aikido or even imagined I would do something like it. I think I would listen to my body and report him more quickly now, but like you say, we don't really know what we would do unless we are in the situation. And I really believe that awareness and sensing what to do and say saved me from a much worse experience. That's my point really--that sensitivity is as valuable as force, sometimes more valuable.
Susan
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:10 PM   #30
Susan Dalton
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Yes, it is possible to be a collection of terms. Imagine how much gumption is took for Susan to accurately call herself a "fearful, intimidated, little aikibunny." I bet money she's striped off a few of those terms over the years.
Thanks, Jon, but it didn't take a whole lot of gumption. It's just how it was. I started in the children's class and I didn't really want people putting their hands on me. Finally after about six months I moved into the adult class, but I would still fall down way before anyone threw me. I would barely hold on to someone's wrist, and I avoided men and worked with other women on the "scary" techniques. I was afraid, afraid of all kinds of things. Luckily for me, the dojo was a very safe place to learn to trust. I am a different person now, both on and off the mat, but I am thankful the dojo had space for someone like me, just as I am glad we make room for the person who needs to bull through techniques because she hasn't learned to relax and take care of her partner.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:17 PM   #31
Susan Dalton
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Re: Effective Technique

Hey Phi!
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:29 PM   #32
Janet Rosen
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Susan Dalton wrote: View Post
I am a different person now, both on and off the mat, but I am thankful the dojo had space for someone like me, just as I am glad we make room for the person who needs to bull through techniques because she hasn't learned to relax and take care of her partner.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 04-30-2014, 07:06 PM   #33
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Susan Dalton wrote: View Post
Luckily for me, the dojo was a very safe place to learn to trust. I am a different person now, both on and off the mat, but I am thankful the dojo had space for someone like me, just as I am glad we make room for the person who needs to bull through techniques because she hasn't learned to relax and take care of her partner.
This, I think, is the (potential) value of martial arts training for a kid who's being bullied: not because it will teach them fighting skills to defeat the bully, but because it puts them, for a short time at least, in an environment where other kids treat them with respect and care. It's a sanity check that says, "It doesn't have to be like that."
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:15 PM   #34
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
This, I think, is the (potential) value of martial arts training for a kid who's being bullied: not because it will teach them fighting skills to defeat the bully, but because it puts them, for a short time at least, in an environment where other kids treat them with respect and care. It's a sanity check that says, "It doesn't have to be like that."
No, the value of martial arts training for a kid being bullied is the martial arts skills to stop the bullying.
I was bullied in grade school until my Dad taught me how to box (boxed in the Navy, Golden gloves amateur heavyweight boxer after the Navy). It was a sanity check for the bully when he learned I had effective martial skills and I earned his respect to where he left me alone, a process repeated periodically throughout my life. You show the bully '' It isn't going to be like that''.

dps
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:12 AM   #35
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Re: Effective Technique

I think you missed my point, David. Your experience with your father notwithstanding, signing a kid up for martial arts classes and expecting that 1)this will result in the development of fighting skills and 2)these skills, all by themselves, will be adequate to stop the bullying situation and fix all the problems, strikes me as much more likely to end in failure than in success.
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:01 AM   #36
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
No, the value of martial arts training for a kid being bullied is the martial arts skills to stop the bullying.
I was bullied in grade school until my Dad taught me how to box (boxed in the Navy, Golden gloves amateur heavyweight boxer after the Navy). It was a sanity check for the bully when he learned I had effective martial skills and I earned his respect to where he left me alone, a process repeated periodically throughout my life. You show the bully '' It isn't going to be like that''.

dps
David, you have probably seen this, but here is a recent study that tackled some of the issues with school bully programs. To your point, I agree; rationalizing bad behavior is not the same as stopping bad behavior.

http://www.uta.edu/news/releases/201...g-bullying.php

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Old 05-01-2014, 08:40 AM   #37
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Re: Effective Technique

As usual, great article, compliments and appreciation.
I tend to look for the frame of reference: effective for who, effective for what purpose, and effective in what context?
Perhaps the people who complain that Aikido is not effective (for them) just haven't trained hard enough with the right people?
Thanks again ...

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:24 PM   #38
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
David, you have probably seen this, but here is a recent study that tackled some of the issues with school bully programs.
It sounds like someone may be confusing correlation with causation.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:42 PM   #39
Susan Dalton
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
This, I think, is the (potential) value of martial arts training for a kid who's being bullied: not because it will teach them fighting skills to defeat the bully, but because it puts them, for a short time at least, in an environment where other kids treat them with respect and care. It's a sanity check that says, "It doesn't have to be like that."
Too, I think taking a martial art teaches kids to carry themselves in such a way that they are not obvious targets. When my son was in kindergarten, all the mothers were calling around about one child who was bullying most of the boys. I had heard nothing about it. When I asked my son, he said, "He doesn't bother me. I take aikido."
Susan
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:47 PM   #40
Susan Dalton
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Re: Effective Technique

Thanks, Lynn!
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:05 AM   #41
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
I disagree with your assertion. Historically it was and is often used disparagingly towards Ki Society-based training methods AND in our not so distant Aikiweb history was almost exclusively used to disparage a man posting very non-martial (and non-accurate!) techniques. Never have I ever seen it, heard it or used it as a gender-based term.
I've seen "aikibunny" used as a code word for female.... but not by anyone who's ever trained with good female students or instructors.

In my experience, dojos that encourage aikibunny-ness do so in a gender-neutral manner. The guys at such dojos do tend to be more martial than the women, but are still pretty bunny-like in the grand scheme of things.

Katherine
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:12 AM   #42
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I think this is a common fallacy even among those who know better: to assume that by virtue of his gender, a man is likely to have fighting skills or experiences. Certainly I don't think that the average man has any experience falling (where would they get that?).
Boys do tend to play differently than girls. So it might be plausible to say that an average twelve year-old boy might have more physical skills than an average twelve year-old girl. But translating that to a population of post-college adults with mostly sedentary jobs? Risky at best.

Katherine
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:17 AM   #43
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Susan Dalton wrote: View Post
I am a different person now, both on and off the mat, but I am thankful the dojo had space for someone like me, just as I am glad we make room for the person who needs to bull through techniques because she hasn't learned to relax and take care of her partner.
As my teacher puts it, for some people, walking in the door is one of the hardest things they've ever done.

I think we do our own training, and the art, a disservice if we dismiss those people as "insufficiently martial."

Katherine
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:25 AM   #44
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Susan Dalton wrote: View Post
Too, I think taking a martial art teaches kids to carry themselves in such a way that they are not obvious targets. When my son was in kindergarten, all the mothers were calling around about one child who was bullying most of the boys. I had heard nothing about it. When I asked my son, he said, "He doesn't bother me. I take aikido."
Susan
I think this is part of what makes evaluating the "effectiveness" of aikido (or any martial art) difficult. How do you measure the situations that don't happen? If you're walking through a bad neighborhood, and nine bad actors look at you and decide to bother someone else, but the tenth is such a vicious SOB (or so chemically addled) that he tries to attack you, is the outcome of that one encounter the only measure of whether your aikido "worked?"

Katherine
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Old 05-03-2014, 03:13 PM   #45
Susan Dalton
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
As my teacher puts it, for some people, walking in the door is one of the hardest things they've ever done.

I think we do our own training, and the art, a disservice if we dismiss those people as "insufficiently martial."

Katherine
I agree. If they already knew what they were doing, why they would need aikido?
Susan
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:05 PM   #46
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
It sounds like someone may be confusing correlation with causation.
Who's the someone? Who's claiming a causal link? My reference was in agreement that I believe anti-bully behavior starts with personal deterrence. The study pointed to strong indications of personal traits affecting bully behavior.

To Katherine's point, deterrence is a difficult thing to quantify. I remember reading an article that summarized some FBI statistics from the 90s. In the summary, the author claimed that women who carried weapons in open and obvious display were much less at risk to be the victim of an assault than women who did not. Do you think I care why carrying pepper spray deters assault when I advocate carry pepper spray?

To Susan's point, I think personal behavior traits like posture and confidence are important to creating a non-victim vibe.

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Old 05-05-2014, 04:45 PM   #47
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I think personal behavior traits like posture and confidence are important to creating a non-victim vibe.
Yes agreed.
Working with predators always reminds me of a National Geographic show. They tend to go after the easy prey that is isolated and vulnerable already. They recognize their prey by the level of fear. They tend not to pick on those who will fight back. They come from their own place of pain, fear, and insecurity.
Perhaps a part of what makes a technique effective is know who to apply it to?
Facing our own fears (walking in the door, taking a fall, or standing our ground) is an important overlooked part of the training.
Any thoughts anyone?

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:53 PM   #48
Susan Dalton
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Yes agreed.
They come from their own place of pain, fear, and insecurity.
Perhaps a part of what makes a technique effective is know who to apply it to?
Facing our own fears (walking in the door, taking a fall, or standing our ground) is an important overlooked part of the training.
Any thoughts anyone?
Yes, and also to learn to know when we don't need to apply anything, just remain calm.
Susan
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:14 AM   #49
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Re: Effective Technique

Quote:
Susan Dalton wrote: View Post
Yes, and also to learn to know when we don't need to apply anything, just remain calm.
So totally agree ...
Staying calm really scares these punks who feed on one of us being afraid ... make it them ...

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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