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Old 08-16-2002, 12:05 AM   #1
Neil Mick
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Aikido and the politics of violence

I posted this forum in another thread, but it may merit a topic all its own, so here you go!

Recently I have given much thought to the U.S. involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (really the US-Israeli/Palestinian conflict, because we are as much a participant in Palestinian suffering, as is Israel).

Until last March, I was largely ignorant of the details of the situation: I believed that the peace process was delayed because of the intransigence of the leaders involved.

What got me interested was the reports of Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed Palestinians using weapons supplied by the U.S. I also heard about the effect the international observers had in lessening the violence. I resolved to go to Palestine (with a group) as an international observer.

I also wanted to go to dojos in Jerusalem (the dojo web search lists 6 of them) and ask the members there how they felt about the violence perpetrated in their name...what was their approach to lessening the violence, when they had to deal with it on a daily basis (not to mention the constant fear of being blown to bits)? How does Aikido change the way they think about the conflict, and their role in it?

To make a long story short: I never made it to the first Israeli dojo. I was detained at the airport in Tel Aviv, held in a cell for 21 hours, labeled a supporter of Arafat and the PLO (by both Israeli customs and the American consul; a false accusation) and shipped back on the first plane.

The action was a failure, but the question remains: what role do we, as practitioners of an art of harmony and peace, have in ending violence committed in our name? What role do we, as seekers of peace, play in stopping the violence...even as that violence occurs when we do nothing?
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Old 08-16-2002, 08:09 AM   #2
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Re: Aikido and the politics of violence

Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
but the question remains: what role do we, as practitioners of an art of harmony and peace, have in ending violence committed in our name? What role do we, as seekers of peace, play in stopping the violence...even as that violence occurs when we do nothing?
IMHO, one of the things I like about Aikido is its active acceptance and confrontation of violence. Aikido does not run away or freeze. Aikido recognizes it, and attempts to stop and control it.

Passificism is what bullies depend on. Its what keeps many people psychologically victims. Violence is often perpetuated by those who only spectate and criticize rather than partcipate in the process.

Warriors do not necessarily fight because they hate the enemy but because they love the people they stand watch over.

If ever time you let your uke up, they go and rape/murder your family, ultimately the most loving thing you can do is stop them.

Violence and control are always fear based. What is it we are afraid of?

Until again,

Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 08-16-2002, 08:38 AM   #3
Abasan
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If we practice dilligently and gain mastery of ourselves. Thus elevating our spirit to be in harmony with the world. We have then taken the first step to helping it become a better place.

And then, we have the responsibility to teach this onto our children and spouse till they to achieve self mastery. They then should try to help others such as their friends who would then perpetuate this motion.

The best thing about aikido is you can't go around telling everyone you are a master of aikido. It isn't the kind of thing which you can brag about. People will know when you've mastered aikido. The way you carry yourself will show it. And hopefully, by becoming a good example, others will follow suit.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 08-16-2002, 02:35 PM   #4
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The nice thing about living in the US: we can all have different political opinion, express them ore or less freely, and four to six years do something concrete to change the situation. Unhappy with what is happening? Write your Representatives and Senators; organize others to do so. Circulate petitions, organize letter writing, meeting, etc. Campaign for those who share your views. Talk/wite to those who don't, to see if you can share your views, perhaps change theirs.

Those who set our foreign policy and enter us into wars are ELECTED by us. ANd they want to keep getting elected. If enough of their consituency makes it clear they will not vote for them due to an issue, most politicians will find a way to give the people what they want.
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Old 08-16-2002, 08:00 PM   #5
virginia_kyu
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The Palestinians are suffering because of their own leadership. As soon as they realize this and do something about then they may have a brighter future.

-- Michael Neal
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Old 08-16-2002, 11:45 PM   #6
Neil Mick
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Quote:
Michael Neal (virginia_kyu) wrote:
The Palestinians are suffering because of their own leadership. As soon as they realize this and do something about then they may have a brighter future.
With all due respect, you are ignorant of the facts, if you truly believe this, Michael. I will be happy to counter such unsubstantiated claims with documentation if you like, but I suspect that no matter what I say, your mind is made up. But at least, let me ask you this: have you ever met someone who has lived in Palestine? If not (and I strongly suspect that this is the case), then who are you to say what is best for Palestine? (BTW, in case you're wondering, I have spoken to both Palestinians AND Israeli's, and some of the problem IS due to poor leadership, but that is not the core of the problem)

The Palestinians are suffering because of an occupying army that has no restraints upon its violations of human rights and international law. You can disagree with my opinion all you like, but you cannot disagree with the facts: the Israeli army has violated the Geneva Convention and international law...often using our weapons and with the complicity of the US government. Certainly, the US has done its best to squelch any dissent within the UN about Israel's activities in Palestine.

Colleen, I so agree with you: it IS nice that we can express our differing opinions in this country. Freedom of speech is what makes this country great. However, I do not share your faith in the political process (the President, for example, was elected by a minority, decided by a state governed by his brother, where many ballots in African-American-dominated counties were not counted). Nor do I feel that writing to my Senator (Dianne Feinstein??) will do much good.

However, being an informed citizen, questioning authority (BTW: any of you ppl enrolled in TIPPS can stop dialing the Homeland Security Office...I oppose all forms of violence as a means to political ends) and fighting to preserve these freedoms is not disloyal...it is patriotism in its most basic form.
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Old 08-17-2002, 09:53 AM   #7
Abasan
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Neil Mick, your thoughts are interesting and so are your analysis of the myriad political systems prevailing in US, Israel and Palestine.

Having basically resigned to the fact that there are no perfect political doctrine, what would be the best way to run a government then. Would it depend on the racial mix, present level of development, economic strength, cultural and educational standards?

Having read terry dobson's aikido in daily life several times, I have as yet been able to fully utilise his advise in totality. In fact, I'm almost disillusioned after reading that prime personalities of aikido are no more a figure of dignity, humbleness and rightiousness then the average joe. Without naming names, has anyone here seen a sensei who they truly revere? Someone who not only has the skills of a true aikidoka but one with the right spirit as well? I wonder if its all a dream...

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 08-17-2002, 08:59 PM   #8
virginia_kyu
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Neil, you are always underestimating me.

In fact, I grew up with two Palestinians and I have heard it all. I happen to think that there is definately blame to around for both sides but I don't see Israel intentially bombing women and children and I didn't see Isrealis cheering in the streets when thousands of Americans died on 9-11.

-- Michael Neal
-- http://www.theaikidolink.dnsdyn.net/
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Old 08-17-2002, 09:06 PM   #9
Neil Mick
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Re: Aikido and the politics of violence

Thank you, Ahmed Abas, for your response. I appreciate your questions and would like to comment. Questions are a good thing to ask about everything, in these times.

O'Sensei talked about Aikido and peace a lot. It seems natural to me that Aikidoists would abhor war, but this is not the case. I have heard Aikidoists joke about peace demonstrations, approve of our bombing Afghanistan (the richest country in the world, bombing the poorest, "...burning down the haystack to locate a needle they never found"), and close down rational thought with verbal flag-waving. Other Aikidoists I talked to disagreed with me on some points, but we had commmon areas of agreement on world affairs. A few agree with me, a few don't.

One Aikidoist listened to me, was silent for a long time, and came up to me, the next time we trained. He said I was right about Afghanistan.

I learned a lot from him: the way he thought about it, the silence he held. In his mind he was questioning, and this is very important. When we question, we are awake, our minds are alert to all possibilities.

The other thing that impressed me about his process was his job: he is a flight attendant.

But people are on all different levels, to get back to your question, Ahmed. Sensei's and students are all human, and no one is a "master" of Aikido (except O'Sensei). We are all students; sometimes the teachers and students switch roles (I get a real "kick" out of training with a beginner with an open mind; I sometimes learn a lot). We are working toward an unattainable goal, and this is fine if the process makes us better people (it certainly did, for me).

It's best if you don't "revere" your sensei. Respect her/his training, but accept that s/he is only human. Just as you are training to improve, so are they...its a continual process.

Regarding how government should be best run, that all depends upon the current issues facing that government. Personally, I like the idea of this democracy fine (well OK: I admit I'd rather see it all broken down into small, decentralized communities across the world, with no nations and only local economies, no NASDAQ...), but this government (via the electoral process, mass media and lobbyists) is controlled too much by money and corrution. If the forces controlling government are acting in the widest possible interest (ALL peoples, as well as the environment...I believe that the environment should be represented, rather than used), then you have a government that works, by the ppl, 4 the ppl.
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Old 08-17-2002, 09:23 PM   #10
Neil Mick
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No, Michael, you don't see Israeli's cheering in the streets, on 9-11. I doubt there were many. The Israeli leadership was sure delighted, though: this was their "green-light" to push further into Palestine.

Neither did you see the Palestinian families who prayed for Americans after 9-11...with good reason (and yes: there were some. Palestinians do not all hate Americans). The mass media has a vested interest in pushing our sympathies away from Palestine (please: don't believe me. Just go and count the pro-Palestinian stories, against the pro-Israeli stories in, say, The New York Times, over a week).

I apologize for underestimating you, Michael, that is not my intention. Some of your previous comments betray a certain tendency to be one-sided and pro-American, "right or wrong."

I think that's great, that you were raised with Palestinian kids, but have you spoken to someone from there recently? Since the Intifada? I think that things are very different there now, than when you were young.
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Old 08-18-2002, 05:46 PM   #11
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Regardless of who is at fault, or who started it, or who needs to provide the leadership....there is a problem.

The problem is hatred and misunderstanding. Until we can correct this problem (We as the world)...then we will all continue to suffer.

We must not define ourselves necessarily as Americans, British, or whatever....we must also define ourselves as world citizens. Until we accept the failures of the world as a whole, then we cannot grow as a human race.

I am not saying that the U.S. should solve everyone's problems or fight everyone's battles. But, we should also not dismiss this issue because it is "their" problem.

to answer the orignial post. I think we must work on making ourselves better people, before we can expect everyone else to follow suit. It starts with personal action.

I know, I know, how is me doing the little things going to solve the big problems. it won't, but what can you do about them directly anyway.

Educating yourself on both sides of the issues. Voting properly for the right officials. Supporting military action when warranted, but also understanding that the peacekeeping that must ensue in important too!

As the only world superpower the U.S. does have a large responsibility, if for no other purpose, to set the example for others to follow. We have a long way to go, but we need to be involved, so others in the U.N. and the rest of the world will also turn to fighting countries and ethnic cleansing etc. and say "we will tolerate this no more"

Until we start acting as a global nation and rid ourselves of Nationalistic ideals, we will never truely have peace!

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Old 08-18-2002, 05:59 PM   #12
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I hate to be geek and pull this one out, but here goes. Has anyone seen the X-files episode where Mulder finds a genie and gets three wishes? He wishes for world peace and suddenly finds himself in a world where he is the only human. When he questions the genie she says that's the way of human nature. There will always be war friends. That will never change. There must be conflict for there to be change in the world or else everything would stagnate and the human race would die. That's MHO at least.
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Old 08-18-2002, 06:04 PM   #13
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Interesting thought!

I guess you really can't have good without bad, or no conflict without conflict.

I always think the thing that would unite the people of earth together would be if we really did find out there was an alien threat that hated ALL Humans. Boy, what a paradigm shift for the world that would be.

Then all humans would unite since we would have a NEW enemy and conflict.

Maybe instead of studying aikido we should spend our time looking for aliens as a means to world peace!

Conceptually I think it is a worthwhile goal to pursue. And no, I don't think you could ever totally rid the planet of all conflict. there would still be robbers, crooks and thieves. But we have to work towards something that is a worthwhile goal...or what is the point of exsistence?

Might as well not live if we continue to suffer with no hope of things getting better?

So there is the paradox!

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Old 08-18-2002, 09:00 PM   #14
Kat.C
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Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Interesting thought!

I guess you really can't have good without bad, or no conflict without conflict.
I agree, and I wonder, do you suppose we should be grateful for some bad things as through them we appreciate the good?
Quote:
I always think the thing that would unite the people of earth together would be if we really did find out there was an alien threat that hated ALL Humans. Boy, what a paradigm shift for the world that would be.

Then all humans would unite since we would have a NEW enemy and conflict.

Maybe instead of studying aikido we should spend our time looking for aliens as a means to world peace!
It would probably unite most people, but I'm pretty damn sure that some greedy jerks would try to cut a deal with the aliens by helping them to conquer us all.

So maybe you could hold off on searching for threatening aliens for a while?

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 08-18-2002, 09:38 PM   #15
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I think for full awareness as human beings we need to meditate on things both good and bad to keep it all in perspective.

Remember, history teaches us great lessons. This is why we need to remember things such as the holocaust no matter how painful it is to face it!

Still I am thinking it might be easier to find alien life than to master Aikido as a means to world peace! Have a nice night!

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Old 08-19-2002, 08:35 AM   #16
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Quote:
I also wanted to go to dojos in Jerusalem (the dojo web search lists 6 of them) and ask the members there how they felt about the violence perpetrated in their name...what was their approach to lessening the violence, when they had to deal with it on a daily basis (not to mention the constant fear of being blown to bits)? How does Aikido change the way they think about the conflict, and their role in it?
I practiced in Jerusalem for many years. In one of the dojos I was in, we had a minority of Arab students who were an integral and healthy part of our dojo. I left before the most recent uprising, and I'm not sure if Arabs continue to practice in the dojo in the current atmosphere of tension, although I'm certain they would still be welcomed. In the other dojos, there were no Arab students. Ironically, the dojo that did have Arab students (which was the university dojo, and the Arabs were often but not always university students) was largely run by a sensai who leaned quite far to the right. He was, to a large extent, stepping in for the main Sensai who was busy being a succesful director and leaned quite far to the left. The succesful director had just made a long movie about his family that has been in Jerusalem for many generations.

In all of the dojos where I practiced we rarely talked about politics (a rare choice in Israeli society). I think our understanding was that to have a healthy influence on our surroundings, we needed to begin by creating peace within the dojo, and this meant finding better and more important things to do than bickering about the settlements. Everyone I know has plenty of experience with this bickering in the rest of their lives. I believe (and I hope) that this didn't stop people from either side from working hard for the things they believed in when they stepped out of the dojo.

I'm not sure that it makes sense to derail this thread with my own particular feelings about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and its relation to AiKiDo. Perhaps if Neil wants to discuss it with me, he can e-mail me.

Opher

Last edited by opherdonchin : 08-19-2002 at 08:39 AM.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 08-19-2002, 09:32 AM   #17
mike lee
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a time and a place, and outer space

Generally speaking, we don't talk about a lot of things in the dojo because it's not the right place to be talking about a lot of things.

The whole idea of a forum is to talk. And so we talk about a lot of things on the forum.

Regarding good and bad, war and peace, the says that before history began (which means before the time of kings, wars and politics), such things did not exist because all things were in harmony with the . Therefore, once things return to being in harmony with the , peace will become a reality once again. Keep the faith -- and don't put too much stock in TV shows.

Last edited by mike lee : 08-19-2002 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 08-19-2002, 09:12 PM   #18
Neil Mick
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
I practiced in Jerusalem for many years. In one of the dojos I was in, we had a minority of Arab students who were an integral and healthy part of our dojo. I left before the most recent uprising, and I'm not sure if Arabs continue to practice in the dojo in the current atmosphere of tension, although I'm certain they would still be welcomed. In the other dojos, there were no Arab students. Ironically, the dojo that did have Arab students (which was the university dojo, and the Arabs were often but not always university students) was largely run by a sensai who leaned quite far to the right. He was, to a large extent, stepping in for the main Sensai who was busy being a succesful director and leaned quite far to the left.

In all of the dojos where I practiced we rarely talked about politics (a rare choice in Israeli society). I think our understanding was that to have a healthy influence on our surroundings, we needed to begin by creating peace within the dojo, and this meant finding better and more important things to do than bickering about the settlements. Everyone I know has plenty of experience with this bickering in the rest of their lives. I believe (and I hope) that this didn't stop people from either side from working hard for the things they believed in when they stepped out of the dojo.

I'm not sure that it makes sense to derail this thread with my own particular feelings about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and its relation to AiKiDo. Perhaps if Neil wants to discuss it with me, he can e-mail me.

Opher
Thank you for your insightful post, Opher. Please feel free to offer your views either here or via email.

As you might imagine (see my original post), I've been thinking about the role of Aikidoists and world peace quite a lot, recently. I don't think that Aikidoists should all go on rampages, carry signs, or do anything they don't normally do in their lives...except to constantly question our role in how this world is shaping, because we are the central shapers.

It's all well and good to utter platitudes like: "change comes from within" or "there will always be conflict" and go about your spiritual growth if the country and world are in a (relatively) stable state.

But not only is the world in a fever-pitch of war, the US is largely responsible for getting us there.

How have I heard several Aikidoists respond to the aggression against the Third World? They cheer(!) They make fun of peace demonstrations! This, from the practictioners of an art of peace!

Now I am not looking for an Aikidoists-for-Peace-Glee-Club, as my girlfriend put it. It simply astounds me that so many Aikidoists fail to see the correlation between training in a martial art of harmony, and questioning the status quo that endorses such violence...worse: in a few cases, they actually endorse the violence, as well.

P.S. When I say "question:" I'm referring to the silent listening and thoughtful introspection that precedes it, as well: not a political discussion during class. Like the sign says on the wall of Aikido West (Redwood City): "Shut up and train."
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Old 08-19-2002, 10:32 PM   #19
Edward
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It always amuses me how aikido plays the role of religion for some people, and how Osensei is mistaken for Jesus Christ, and how aikidoists are supposed to work for world peace and harmony and become involved in world ecology and preserving nature and global warming and endangered species, and in this case endangered palestinians.

Well every coin has 2 faces, and so is the truth. No matter how you look at it, there is no right or wrong, every thing is relative. Israelis shoot unarmed Palestinians, Palestinians bomb innocent Israelis, and the question is who occupies whom. Israelis have been there since the beginning of the first millenium BC, Palestinians came around the end of the 7th century AD. And they are fighting for this piece of land ever since.

It is also very interesting to know that these same innocent Palestinians did exterminate whole innocent unarmed villages and towns in neighboring Lebanon, and did slaughter babies and women and elderlies in the 70's. They were at the origin of a 17 year long civil war in Lebanon which destroyed the coutry's entire infra-structure and resulted in the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent Lebanese.

The conclusion: do not involve aikido in your personal crusades. aikido is a martial art. Truth is much too complicated and nobody will agree on anything, so do not bring your wars to the dojo. Just shut up and practice.
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Old 08-20-2002, 01:49 AM   #20
Neil Mick
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Ah. An apologist. Well, at least you got the intention of my last paragraph right...but not the rest.



This is not about religion, crusades, or getting everyone to hold hands and sing "Kumbaya." Nor is this about pointing fingers ("Israeli's bad; Palestine good").

I must, however, respectfully disagree: there IS a right and wrong (even as there are more than 2 sides to an issue, or even a coin).

No matter how many people die in a conflict, more death does not make it right. No matter how much evil the IDF does, there are still good Israeli's, just as there are good Palestinians, no matter how many bombers there are.

It's absurd to say that this is an issue between 2 armies, or governments. Israel is our #1 recipient of military aid: we send them attack helicopters, weapons, and even build the bulldozers that knock down the houses of ppl who did nothing. Tanks and copters, versus rocks and suicide bombers? Please!

I will not get into a silly debate over who was there first. What concerns me is what is going on now; and right now we support a violent invading army (thankfully beginning withdrawal, if all goes well) with no checks on its brutality. If the IDF is so guilt-free, then why did they fight so hard to keep out observers? The UN?

I'm sorry that you do not see the dichotomy of training in a martial art of harmony, while not seeing the paradox of supporting such casual brutality. I think its fine that you do not support anything I believe in...I never asked you to. I did ask, however, for ppl to question, not to blindly accept, and to take responsibility for the actions of their government.

Please read my other posts before you start slinging around the R-word (for religion). Aikido is not my religion or crusade. It is my Way (Do), and my Way is unique, as is everyone's.
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Old 08-20-2002, 05:13 AM   #21
Kevin Leavitt
 
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There is always right and wrong...good or evil, etc.

Sometimes it becomes hard to define it. Especially in situations such as ethnic fighting where it is possible for both sides to be right and be fighting over a differences of perspective. Which seems to be the crux of the equation with israel and palestine-both sides are right.

I have seen an exercise that illustrates this point clearly. I went to my search engine and found this link which will show you what I am talking about. (I no nothing about the site other than it demonstrates my point!)

Paradigm Demonstration

I think it is very short sighted to state the aikido is only a martial art and should be practiced in the dojo. In would be very unfortunate for Aikido and all martial arts to have it compartmentalized into the confines of that limited environment.

Aikido is a way of life for many of us. It is a dynamic philosophy which at it's base provides a wonderful foundation for building your personal principles upon. Yes, in many ways Aikido can be an answer to solve big problems!
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Old 08-20-2002, 05:15 AM   #22
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On another philosophical note. Aikido can be defined as a religion. It meets the basic criteria for many people. and for many (as I believe in O'Sensei's case and many, many of his direct students, it is a religion.

But it can also be looked at as a religion of non-religion since it is for most part non-dogmatic.

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Old 08-20-2002, 07:34 AM   #23
Bruce Baker
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Stop yanking my chain

Humanity is more suseptable to the taking the easy path of violence than most people suspect.

Before the evolvement of the atomic bomb age, we have all out war and conflict, but after the development of atomic bombs, we have conflicts that aren't called war until twenty years after the fact. Are we using semantics to disguise the use of war tactics for power or preservation of power?

It is difficult to understand the world picture of economic's, political power, and control of human populations through government, but within my context of understanding it is as much disorganized as it is organized.

The same examples of human beings with foibles, characteristics, and agenda's not only reach across the world, but are easily identified within the ranks of Aikido's practitioners as we see minor conflicts, social faux pas, and other structural political snubs or patches to breach harsh words or bad feelings between our own leaders in aikido.

Some people just have a need to leave a mark so deep, they forget that all fame is fading with the movement of time. So too, the maneuvering of governments, despots, and power hungry wanna be's.

There will always be some cultural disparity as human nature takes hold over educated minds, such is the sight of those who would take from others what they desire rather than work for it or earn it.

The dark side of our humanity is killing, stealing, war, noncaring human beings with dark and clouded minds. So too, do I consider those who constantly urge us to "Shut up ane train" a threat to the stability of peace...

For it is the ignorance of brutality that turns off the mind to peaceful resolution in favor of brute force to resolve a situation.

Sure, "Shut up and train" might work for a while, but then the ignorance of physical brute force is accepted without question in this type of forum.

This is the mentality of fighting with bombings, killing women and children, and the continuance of perpetual war to maintain poverty for the masses while the leaders maintain power and wealth. Somewhere, sometime, human faces will appear, and then we will find a middle ground to co-exist in relative peace ... barring the usual family squabbles and arguments now and them. At least there will be some peaceful lifestyle.

If you don't understand the people of the United States, then you don't understand that the internal support of the lifestyle, the somewhat comfortable industrial way of life, and the support mechanisms, no matter how good or bad they appear worldwide, depend upon the stuctural integrity of the general population having a somewhat open ended economy with a lifestyle that maintains the comfort of living.

It would be a hell of a lot cheaper to level a country and let new settlers come into the land, than all this surgical strike nonsense, but then what about the innocents?

The subject is as complex as trying to learn Aikido with "Shut up and train" mentality.

The dogs of war will raise their heads and rage, be they quiet for years, decades or centurys ... it is the human nature of humanity. The question is, will there be voices of peace strong enough to stand up the the war dogs? Will there be sensible thoughts of strength from those who train in Aikido?

Harmony is such a tough subject, it is a pity it needs its opposite named Violence to balance it in perspective.
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Old 08-20-2002, 10:13 AM   #24
Edward
Location: Bangkok
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 803
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All I can say to you is good luck on your crusade!

Aikido for me is just a way of personal improvement and character building. It is neither the art of peace nor the art of love. I do try to live according to aikido way, and try to implement it in every day life. But I don't see how aikido should help resolve a conflict which started in 1918....

No disrespect here but I think you and some of the forum members here live aikido as an Utopia.
Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
Ah. An apologist. Well, at least you got the intention of my last paragraph right...but not the rest.



This is not about religion, crusades, or getting everyone to hold hands and sing "Kumbaya." Nor is this about pointing fingers ("Israeli's bad; Palestine good").

I must, however, respectfully disagree: there IS a right and wrong (even as there are more than 2 sides to an issue, or even a coin).

No matter how many people die in a conflict, more death does not make it right. No matter how much evil the IDF does, there are still good Israeli's, just as there are good Palestinians, no matter how many bombers there are.

It's absurd to say that this is an issue between 2 armies, or governments. Israel is our #1 recipient of military aid: we send them attack helicopters, weapons, and even build the bulldozers that knock down the houses of ppl who did nothing. Tanks and copters, versus rocks and suicide bombers? Please!

I will not get into a silly debate over who was there first. What concerns me is what is going on now; and right now we support a violent invading army (thankfully beginning withdrawal, if all goes well) with no checks on its brutality. If the IDF is so guilt-free, then why did they fight so hard to keep out observers? The UN?

I'm sorry that you do not see the dichotomy of training in a martial art of harmony, while not seeing the paradox of supporting such casual brutality. I think its fine that you do not support anything I believe in...I never asked you to. I did ask, however, for ppl to question, not to blindly accept, and to take responsibility for the actions of their government.

Please read my other posts before you start slinging around the R-word (for religion). Aikido is not my religion or crusade. It is my Way (Do), and my Way is unique, as is everyone's.
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Old 08-20-2002, 10:14 AM   #25
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Baltimore
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 586
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Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
I must, however, respectfully disagree: there IS a right and wrong (even as there are more than 2 sides to an issue, or even a coin).

No matter how many people die in a conflict, more death does not make it right. No matter how much evil the IDF does, there are still good Israeli's, just as there are good Palestinians, no matter how many bombers there are.
I'm still going to scrupulously avoid getting started on Israel and Palestine, but there is one thing that I learned while practicing there that I really do want to highlight.

If AiKiDo is going to 'work' in the communal or societal sense (and not just the individual sense), it must be large enough to encompass the inevitability that people will have very different ideas of what the AiKi way in a given situation ought to be. Friends of mine who are AiKiDoka from the other side of the political spectrum really ARE, generally, applying their ideas of AiKi to the situations that they see. Maybe we will both having something to learn by discussing it, but I will have very little to offer if I assume that being AiKi implies a particular political position.

It is, I think, somewhat analogous to the attitude I try to take when I encounter an uke whose ukemi doesn't make sense to me: I try to remember that he/she is doing AiKiDo to the best of their understanding, and that that understanding may be very different, and, who knows, perhaps even deeper than mine. The point is, I have to worry about doing my AiKiDo in this strange and somewhat uncomfortable context, and let them do their AiKiDo as best as they can.

All this being said, I agree with Bruce Baker that there is a lot to be gained through discussion and understanding. I just think there is also a lot to be gained from simple acceptance. It's a tension that I often struggle with, actually.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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