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Old 06-16-2002, 11:11 PM   #1
Suru
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Do symbol Disadvantage?

Does the pure aikidoka's nature of protecting all life and changing the enemy's heart during conflict put him/her at a disadvantage when faced with a destructive opponent bent at crushing and destroying?

Or does the "high path" of true budo always reign victorious?

In a fair world, it should. But I have this nagging memory of myself telling my second grade teacher that something wasn't fair. She immediately replied, "life isn't fair."

Drew
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Old 06-17-2002, 02:45 AM   #2
Tim Griffiths
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Re: Disadvantage?

Quote:
Originally posted by Suru
Does the pure aikidoka's nature of protecting all life and changing the enemy's heart during conflict put him/her at a disadvantage when faced with a destructive opponent bent at crushing and destroying?

Or does the "high path" of true budo always reign victorious?

In a fair world, it should. But I have this nagging memory of myself telling my second grade teacher that something wasn't fair. She immediately replied, "life isn't fair."

Drew
I belive that the aim of aikido in a fight is to resolve the conflict with as little damage as possible. The attacker, or uke in practice, decides (albeit unknowingly) what that level of damage is. I have no wish to hurt anyone, but if that is what the attacker demands, that is what will happen (assuming I don't fall flat on my face ).

Perhaps a good collary is in medicine. Some diseases will cure themselves with time, some with rest and massage, but sometimes you have to get in there and cut a tumor out. Surgeons don't do it with anger or violence, but they must cut positively and clearly. Their aim is the same - to cure the patient. I think in 'battle' then aikido needs the same attitude.

Tim "Hasn't been a pure aikidoka in years" Griffiths

If one makes a distinction between the dojo and the battlefield, or being in your bedroom or in public, then when the time comes there will be no opportunity to make amends. (Hagakure)
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Old 06-17-2002, 05:47 AM   #3
Brian H
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Life isn't fair

Being of "pure heart" does have some distinct advantages. Criminal types are narrow interests. They want what you have or they want to be entertained by you (your humiliation and suffering that is). The only question is what price they are willing to pay for that. If they are a stranger than they are probably not willing to pay much of a price at all. When confronted with danger they will attempt to escape (the danger being if they are willing/able to use deadly force to escape). Aikido allows you to confront "evil intent" and take the person down quickly and cleanly. So instead of closing my eyes and saying "god will provide," instead I get off the line and enter deeply with atemi.
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Old 06-25-2002, 06:35 AM   #4
Genex
 
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Cool

Here's my two pence worth(i'm english)
Basicaly as far as i know all aikido moves are originated from sword fighting yes?
Morihei ueshiba (THE MAN) was one of the last of the great samari<sp?> the intention there was to lead your apponent offguard then either disable them or lop off their head, think about it when you do most of your moves if you have a bokken try it and see where you end up, many of them basicaly allow you to disembowel your opponent etc...
although we know from ueshiba's teachings that this is not really what aikido is intended for you do find that this is what is possible with most of the moves, with the exception of a few armlocks etc..
pete
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Old 06-25-2002, 07:43 AM   #5
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Sometimes its all in how you define victorious.

Just because you come from a mental and emotional state of love and harmony does not necessarily mean you will win over a bigger, better trained, blade wheeling, high on coke, maniac that seriously just wants to do you bodily harm. IMHO, asking for that is fantasy land. To win over others means to train harder and want it more. Always use intelligence and good manners as you first line of defense.

Victory also means over one's self. Have you faced your fears in training so that you can remain in harmony/relaxed/centered/balanced when confronted by confusion, chaos, and conflict? Did you handle yourself in such a way that later you can look back and feel proud of yourself? Facing our own personal fears (future) and regrets (past) is truly a victory worthy of respect and honor.

BTW, the two (over others and over self) are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I tend to be selfish, I want them both.

Until again,

Lynn

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 06-25-2002, 12:27 PM   #6
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Re: Disadvantage?

Hi !
It seems to me that a lot of discussion is going on about hypothesis of fight situations,
I think you must trust the training you have done,I believe that if you act naturally you will find situations turning out in surprising ways,I will state this with some caution -
if you take a step in the will of God ,he surely will be by your side.
Yours - Chr.B.
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Old 06-25-2002, 12:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Does the pure aikidoka's nature of protecting all life
Your life falls into the category of "all life" too.

I once watched a nidan exam (nage was a police officer). The visiting sensei asked him to explain "the spirit of loving protection for all things." The officer gave a good answer (which I don't remember anymore), then sensei asked him how he would apply that principle if he were faced with three crazed or chemically altered people before back-up could arrive. Nage thought for just a second and replied "In that case sensei, in the spirit of loving protection I would have to do what is neccessary to protect myself." That's when I realized that the spirit of loving protection for all things includes me...I'm a thing

just my understanding at this time, I'm sure it'll change tomorrow.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-25-2002, 03:32 PM   #8
DaveO
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I don't remember where I heard it; but years ago when I was a kid, I heard a saying that's become something of a mantra to me; I've attempted to apply it in whatever I do. It goes like this:

Do not hurt where holding is enough
Do not injure where hurting is enough
Do not maim where injuring is enough
Do not kill where maiming is enough
The greatest warrior is one who does not need to kill.

For myself; I think that those who say "You should be peaceful and loving at all times AND those who say 'If you are attacked, peace and love are useless' are both missing the point.
The ideal should be to resolve a conflict with the minimum amount of force - and therefore energy - possible. When faced with - as SeiserL said: "a bigger, better trained, blade wheeling, high on coke, maniac that seriously just wants to do you bodily harm", your only real salvation (aside from how fast you can run, and yes, that's an effective defence, lads.) is your own calm and clarity of mind. By deliberately working to NOT injure an attacker; in other words, forcing yourself to act rationally in an unrational situation, you can and will take the advantage by removing his - i.e. power enhanced by fury.
People will say that's unrealistic; that I'm living in the clouds by not aiming to do maximum damage to an attacker but I know what I'm talking about when dealing with armed attackers; in my career as a soldier and veteran peacekeeper, I've been in some seriously rough spots that quite frankly would make anyone who considers themselves a good street-fighter curl up and whimper. I've bluffed my way through armed standoffs. I've disarmed slivovitz-soaked snipers. I once collected a potential civilian hostage from under the guns of a hostile squad. Showing - or using - deadly intent under those circumstances would have been almost instantly fatal - these guys were not armed with a knife or handgun but with Kalashnikovs. I always looked at it as 'not blowing your cool' and in many ways, that's exactly what I think the harmonious ideals of Aikido are aiming at.
Establish dominance in a situation by not responding to a hostile's bluff. "You got a problem?" "No."
Establish readiness - relax and summon ki while he charges.
Establish control while his emotions have taken him out of control.
Establish closure while he becomes one with the pavement.
How hard was that? And where, exactly in the previous 4 seconds did you require to injure him?
THAT is the viewpoint that I believe aikidoka should have in a hostile situation.
Thanks, friends.
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Old 06-28-2002, 03:43 PM   #9
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Real Fighting?

What I consistently find curious is the need to link aikido to actual fighting at all. Aikido is so stylized and ritualized - and depends so utterly on communication and connection with uke - that it lives in a completely different realm than the coked up jerky who wants to split your head open. IMHO, the question is somewhat moot - because I don't think aikido is a particularly useful fighting strategy unless you've been doing it forever - and even so, my sensei says that he certainly wouldn't rely on his aikido for self-defense.

If I wanted to know what to do in a fight, I would take an Ultimate Streetfighting class. Instead, I want to know how not to get in a fight., and I find aikido very good for that. It's a highly ritualized - and very fake - construct that allows me to examine an ideal combat situation with both my mind and my body (mostly my body). This ritualized 'combat' shows me (among countless things) my own agressive nature, and gives me something to do with it, a way to live with the paradox of being a destructive creature who also yearns for peace.

Finding this comfortable space within the paradox is really beautiful, and completely fundamental to my understanding of what I'm doing on the mat. I have never, on the other hand, thought that a tanto is a knife, or that I would pull of a decent gokkyo or kotegaishi if someone took a stab at me.

On a purely practical note, it seems dangerous to act as if aikido is fighting. But isn't it also missing the point of practice to be so literal in translating aikido into real world experience? Because rather than teaching me how to fight, I think that aikido is teaching me to stay the hell away from the coked up meanie in the first place.

Peace,
Deb

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Old 06-28-2002, 05:18 PM   #10
shihonage
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Quote:
Originally posted by Deb Fisher
. But isn't it also missing the point of practice to be so literal in translating aikido into real world experience? Because rather than teaching me how to fight, I think that aikido is teaching me to stay the hell away from the coked up meanie in the first place.
Sometimes you can't stay away from a coked up meanie. Even in adulthood, there are bullies.

For example recently I was followed by an aggressive old black guy with a boombox.
He looked "coked up", in fact.

He decided to have a problem with me, started talking shit, put his boombox down and started following me (I was a part of the crowd who marched recently down the Market street in SF to show support for Israel, and my little sister and her friend were walking nearby).

The guy followed us for a bit and then just stopped.

However he could've continued following me, and then I would've had to get rid of him.

I must admit I was looking forward to hitting him with the American flag I was carrying at the time.

Last edited by shihonage : 06-28-2002 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 06-28-2002, 05:23 PM   #11
ChristianBoddum
 
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Re: Disadvantage?

To Deb !
You don't think aikido is about real fighting ?
What kind of aikido do you do ?
I've always been told it takes 10 years of practice to use aikido in street situations,
and that's why you can't train aikido to get a quick fix,but we use formalized attacks and defences that on the surface look nothing
like streetfighting,the lesson in training varies everytime,one day you learn kicks,one day elbows and so on.The sharp observer will learn many styles of selfdefence though the moves are somewhat formalized.
Yes it takes time,but I have good teachers who are to the point,so I have never had a feeling of aikido not being the real thing.
yours - Chr.B.
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Old 06-28-2002, 09:11 PM   #12
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Re: Re: Disadvantage?

Quote:
Originally posted by ChristianBoddum
To Deb !
You don't think aikido is about real fighting ?
What kind of aikido do you do ?
I've always been told it takes 10 years of practice to use aikido in street situations,
I disagree with both of you - I can teach you in six months to use Aikido techniques very successfully in a confrontation.

Of course I would have to alter my normal training regime to a limited number of techniques and the basic principles but it could be done.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-28-2002, 11:57 PM   #13
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Why can't it be both effective self defense and spiritual path? Seems to me it depends on how you train and what your focus is. Aikido should become a part of your everyday not-on-the-mat life. Some people live with violence, or a greater potential for violence, on a day to day basis. Whether it is due to their carrer, hobbies, or where they live. They often are simply not able to just avoid it. Why shouldn't they be able to practice an aikido that would benefit them in these situations. Conversely many of us, myself included, are lucky enough to live in places where the daily threat of violence to our persons is in reality pretty slim. We have the luxury of being able to use aikido as a vehicle for more spiritual improvement while not focusing as much on the purely martial aspect (if we so choose). This is not to say that if you practice with a lean toward reality that you can't or won't grow spiritually or that if you use your practice as a method of personal growth that you might not be able to pull off a nikyo if you needed it. I just think that most of us have a NORMAL focus when we train and once in a while will delve into the other areas. I for one see nothing wrong with this. You do it your way and I'll do it mine. If I should ever come to your dojo I'll do my best to do it like you, and if you come to mine I'll ask the same...and later we'll get pizza and tell aikido "war" stories

Sorry I blathered, it's late and I'm rambling.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-29-2002, 01:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bronson Why can't it be both effective self defense and spiritual path? Seems to me it depends on how you train and what your focus is. Aikido should become a part of your everyday not-on-the-mat life.
Putting aside the self defense question for the moment Aikido is a Budo and was seen as such by Ueshiba M., his students, and his sucessors.

Budo is a michi which by definition is a spiritual path. Broadly speaking these paths are followed through the performance of various actions. Chado, Shodo are quite benign forms of this, we also have groups and individuals which practice deprivation or hard exercise to achieve the end result. Budo takes this one step further in that we face and attempt to overcome our fear. In the most extreme example is Musashi going out and facing cold steel, less extreme are the shiai of Judo, Aikido, Kendo, etc. and even in solely kata based training there is still the fear of placing total trust in nage's hands and allowing him to do a potentially harmful action to you. Once you remove this element from your training you are no longer doing budo. If your training is so safe that there is no fear to overcome than you might as well make tea (Chado).

Spiritual understanding comes through facing these fears - you may read about it in books but true understanding comes from (excuse the pun) do-ing. One of Aikido's main attractions is a well developed mental spiritual component. Although not particularily unique it's emphasis obviously strikes a chord. It should not however, replace the Budo core.

Now back to self-defense. The biggest road block (yes - another michi pun) is fear. The reason that you have quotes of ten years or more for effective self defense with respect to Aikido is not the complexity of techniques, there are after all many simple and direct techniques available, but the lack of challenge. A karate student might only face pulled punches but he still has to face those punches. A judo man or boxer knows that his eyes wont be gouged out but he still has to overcome the fear of injury and pain. The less you challenge your fear in training the less effective you will be anywhere. Master your fear and your techniques will become effective.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-29-2002, 03:21 AM   #15
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Hi again !
Peter I agree a lot ,but regarding the ten
year rule of thumb ,I think it is to let you know that aikido is not an easy art which for
a long time occupies your upper half (head)
so,karate is effective after a much shorter
training period,but when aikido comes together
after continuous training it is a very effective and a most surprising art.
I have a taste of Arnis now and again,and
know that your "street-uke" seldomly thrust a knife like in the dojo,however there is good reason not to try to disarm a two-edged knife
but grab the underarm (right word ?)and having the right pressure get the same effect - as we learn in the dojo.
and good morning to you by the way
yours - Chr.B.
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Old 06-29-2002, 05:26 AM   #16
Peter Goldsbury
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I am speculating here, but perhaps the matter has much to do with the way aikido is taught, which I think is what Peter Rehse was alluding to in his earlier post about a six-month training programme.

We have all heard stories of uchi-deshi spending 2 years on ukemi before being allowed to do any techniques, but I do not think this was the way Morihei Ueshiba learned from Sokaku Takeda, or the way he taught his earlier students. The sumo wrestler Tenryu, for example, trained at the Kobukan Dojo for precisely 70 days. He was told by Ueshiba that "three month of practice would be enough" (Stanley Pranin, "Aikido Masters", p.280).

I believe that Sokaku Takeda used to charge for instruction so much per technique, and would issue 'menkyo' on the basis that so-and-so "understood / was proficient in" such-and-such techniques. I have no idea about Sokaku Takeda's teaching methods, but I do believe that he thought his techniques worked, for real, and occasionally proved it. As did his students.

Thus, if I were a latter-day Takeda and set up a dojo (Takeda actually never had a dojo), with fees set on the basis of techniques taught, I think I could do this only on the assumption that the techniques taught would work in any situation. I think if I had to qualify ("Congratulations! You have learned a lethal aikido technique, but the technique is actually lethal only if the following conditions are fulfilled: the attack must be in daylight and must follow one of eight specified forms..."; "The technique you have learned actually works, but only as part of a sustained spiritual programme to Find the Way... And thank you for flying Aikikai"), I would have no students.

Of course, I have been speculating, and with tongue firmly in cheek, but I think the majority of my own teachers (Chiba, Yamaguchi, Tada, Arikawa) believed / believe that proficiency in aikido techniques really enables one to kill people, despite all the peace and harmony, and that this should be one of the aims of training.

So, the idea that it takes five years to get a black belt (and that you really cannot use aikido for real until after many years of serious training) is a postwar phenomenon, more suited to aikido as a 'peaceful' martial art.

Perhaps this issue is also related to the debate about the value of 'atemi' in aikido.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 06-30-2002, 06:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Goldsbury
I am speculating here, but perhaps the matter has much to do with the way aikido is taught, which I think is what Peter Rehse was alluding to in his earlier post about a six-month training programme.
Exactly. Try also to look at it as a simple math problem. 10 X 360days / 2663 techniques. Really a very short time per training per technique. My premis is that you don't need all Aikido techniques (above was a random high number) to be doing Aikido and more to the point to mount an effective self defense using Aikido.

Please don't misunderstand - I enjoy training in the full richness of the art just that I reject the notion that it takes 10 years to become effective in the street if that is indeed your goal.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-25-2002, 02:12 PM   #18
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Indeed friends it is a matter of how we train. If you want your Aikido to be street effective, you have to train with that mindset, and as close to that reality as you can. Talk to your sensei about class set aside just for street defense. I've heard of dojo's that have a class once a week where everyone shows up dressed in street clothes (read: the clothes they'd be wearing if attacked) and really practice situational self defense.
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Old 07-25-2002, 11:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
Does the pure aikidoka's nature of protecting all life and changing the enemy's heart during conflict put him/her at a disadvantage when faced with a destructive opponent bent at crushing and destroying?
No, I don't believe that aikido put us at odds with and attacker bent on destroying us. I don't believe aikido dictates that no harm is done to an attacker, but rather calls upon us not to become an attacker bent on destruction. I can still defend my life using deadly force (If and only if my life is threatened) and it still can be aikido as long as in my mind I did not subvert to becoming another attacker bent on destruction. I see no contradiction.
Quote:
Or does the "high path" of true budo always reign victorious?
I'm not too sure what you mean by "high path" of true budo. But I'm sure if we practiced true budo we wouldn't find ourselves with the mindset of destruction. The hard physical practice of aikido diminishes my inner demons, and keeps me from becoming that infamous attacker/stranger hiding in the shadows of that infamous dark alley.

I think people are concerned about that stranger in the dark alley (i.e. the effectiveness of aikido) because what we see reflected in that dark alley is not someone else but just our own inner demons (and are not willing to see that). That dark alley or street fight is just a representation of our own inner darkness.

In this case, if we pursue aikido, yes, it will win out in the end because as we practice we learn to face our own inner darkness and defeat it.

The street fight or the potential stranger attack is more of an illusion as most of us, at least me, will hardly have the need to come in contact with the real non-metaphorical kind.

There is nothing more harmonizing to the world than to diminish our own inner demons.

...okay enough of my philosophizing diatribe...

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 08-17-2002, 06:43 PM   #20
Wiley_Allard
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as i see it

as i understand it akkido ends a fight very quickly with little harm done. In my style primaly a mixture of TKD and judo the strikes iam taught to use are quick and brutal. Though simplex if I apply them to end a fight quickly that means at the least a broke limb at worse a crippling wound. My tatics are brutal and simple while akkidos teaching allow one to end the fight with control of dame i on the other hand cant control how much damage i do entirely. The most gentle tech i can use is a choke and that takes quiet a bit of tricky movement for a yellow belt like me. To sum it up it akkido had MUCH more control then my art. All arts come from the same place we need only understand that each takes a differing path.
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Old 08-31-2002, 08:00 AM   #21
Jeanine Perron
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As a pserson who trains in Tae Kwon Do and Aikido, I feel more self assured to use my training in TKD for self defense and Aikido for Inner Self training. In a defense situation, I believe I would use mostly TKD beacuse of the endorphins running loose. But, I train deeper in Aikido so that later in life, I can use Aikido for any defense (life conflicts or defending myself from an attack).

To leave and walk away from a conflict is not simple just like Aikido. The control of the ego proves our level of training.

Jeanine
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Old 08-31-2002, 08:50 AM   #22
mike lee
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Big stick diplomacy

I've been in a number of altercations where my antagonist made great efforts to goad me into insulting him or making the first move. In about 80 percent of the cases, they gave up for one reason or another after I simply remained somewhat cool, but ready.

So, I would say, the philosophy of peace works, but I still need solid technique for the 20 percent of the time that philosphy is not having the desired effect.

P.S. If you don't believe that your technique will ever be street effect, you're either learning without the proper intensity or you're not being taught correctly.

Last edited by mike lee : 08-31-2002 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 08-31-2002, 09:13 AM   #23
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I agree with you, Mike.

Speak softly, carry that big stick, and be awfully good with it.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 08-31-2002, 09:24 AM   #24
ChristianBoddum
 
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Hi !

Someone ealier referred to it as

"state of potential",I believe strongly in this state ,though stressful it seems to

be very effective in changing the outcome in the situation of a possible physical encouter,I believe that higher powers will

work for you in this state ,but you don't have to agree with me on that.

I think this "no opening - no action state"

work quite deeply in the psyche of those who

are pushing you mentally.I'm struggling everyday to try to incorporate some happiness

into this kind of awareness so it's not just survival but being alive,do you know what I meen ?

yours - Chr.B.
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Old 08-31-2002, 09:33 AM   #25
mike lee
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 646
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being a believer

Quote:
I'm struggling everyday to try to incorporate some happiness
I think that will come when you reach a certain level of self confidence.

In Chinese martial arts, confidence is often emphasized by the shifu. At first, I didn't exactly understand why, and I didn't think much about it. But I gradually began to realize that confidence is absolutely vital for maintaining a strong flow of ki.
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