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Old 09-27-2002, 10:05 AM   #1
AikiWeb System
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9/27/2002 10:04am [from Jun Akiyama]
Website: http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/messisco1.html

I just put up a new article here on AikiWeb by Dan Messisco entitled, "The Importance of Receiving." regarding Dan's experience with an aggressive tae kwon do teacher while he was teaching aikido in Seoul, Korea. I think it's definitely worth the read!
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Old 09-27-2002, 10:43 AM   #2
opherdonchin
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The wonderful thing about this article was how, in the thread that it came from, it was itself an example of cutting through a situation of conflict and shifting the perspectives of the people involved. Eric Hasslehofer captured it nicely when he replied to the post by saying
Quote:
Eric Haselhofer wrote:
I like having you around these parts even if I don't exactly agree with everything you've written. It's been a long time since I've read a story like that on this forum or any Aikido forum for that matter. I'd almost forgotten there was such a thing.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in our training and in making sure our techniqus 'work' that we lose track of the idea that AiKiDo is not supposed to be about fighting better than the other guy.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 09-27-2002, 11:41 AM   #3
Tadhg Bird
 
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Ai symbol

Wow. What an excellent story... certain to be repeated until it becomes legend.

Where others would have felt a need to 'prove' the superiority of thier technique, Dan Messisco embodied "ai" and demonstrated the truth of Aikido .

"Words and letters can never adequately describe Aikido -- its meaning is revealed only to those who are enlightened through hard training." -- Ueshiba Morihei O Sensei
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http://www.AikidoStuff.com
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Old 09-27-2002, 12:13 PM   #4
johnkeya
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Question

Hi everyone! I am a newbie to Aikido (I have been training since April). I love this website and all of the very interesting and insightful posts. I have so much to learn!

Anyway.....

In reading the above mentioned article I was reminded of an interview of O'Sensei that I read recently on the AikidoJournal website. In it O'Sensei mentions a few occasions where he faces off against other martial artists in order to demonstrate the power of Aikido.

Interview

Here is a snippet from one such instance..."I invited him to come over. While we were talking Mihamahiro said, "I've also heard that you, Sensei, possess great strength. Why don't we test our strength?" "All right. Fine. I can pin you with my index finger alone," I answered. Then I let him push me while I was seated. This fellow capable of lifting huge weights huffed and puffed but could not push me over. After that, I redirected his power away from me and he went flying by. As he fell I pinned him with my index finger, and he remained totally immobilized..." There are a few other similar instances mentioned in the interview.

In order to gain a deeper understanding of Aikido I would like to ask this:

Is there a fundamental difference in these two approaches, or are they just different manifestations of the same thing? The article seems to stress a non-confrontational, almost evasive tactic, while O'Sensei seems to choose a more direct approach when challenged.

I do whatever the Rice Krispies
tell me to do....
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Old 09-27-2002, 03:19 PM   #5
daedalus
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I, of course, have no idea, but I am willing to hazard a guess. I'd say that they would be different manifestations of the same thing. It actually would make a pretty good analogy to irimi and tenkan in my opinion.

Now time for the more wise to have their say!

Brian
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Old 09-27-2002, 04:35 PM   #6
SeiserL
 
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The application of Aikido from the perspective of the uke.

Deepest compliments and appreciation.

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 09-27-2002, 09:19 PM   #7
L. Camejo
 
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Shows how the open hand overcomes the closed fist.

Beautiful example of seeing beyond the illusion and going to the heart of the matter.

all the way.

L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 09-28-2002, 04:39 AM   #8
mike lee
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don't compete!

I think Dan's story illustrates the advantages of not competing with others.

When I first started aikido, I didn't know anything about it. I just assumed that it was like most other martial arts, and that there would be some kind of competition. I didn't care -- I just wanted to learn aikido.

When I found out that there was no competition, it was kind of a new concept for me (although I now know that some styles have competition).

But over the years I've learned the value of not competing -- how it changes our attitude toward others, especially at that critical moment when someone wants to hand you your head on a platter.

It gives you a hidden edge, because you're not like that other guy (and yet you are), and he can't quite figure that out. You're cool when he's hot -- rational amid a swirl of irrationality.

Some people say that the lack of competition weakens us. I say, "it could, if you let it."

Some aikidoists still compete with each other in various ways -- but this approach to training is wrong.

The proper attitude is to simply strive to be better than you were during the last training lesson -- as a student or a teacher. Using this approach, you will always improve and excell.

Last edited by mike lee : 09-28-2002 at 04:44 AM.
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Old 09-28-2002, 08:03 AM   #9
Chuck Clark
 
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In my own experience, I had to finally stop competing with myself, as well as others. I had to stop trying to do well to please my sensei and make him proud of me. I was left with just doing the best I could at all times. Obviously some days are better than others, but just do the best in this instant that you can.

Constantly comparing makes us all weaker because we are fearful that we may be on the losing end of the comparison. Or the opposite, but still the same is always feeling like we're better.

"Fear is the mind killer."

Regards,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 09-29-2002, 03:19 PM   #10
Myriam Cedres
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Smile

Quote:
AikiWeb System wrote:
9/27/2002 10:04am [from Jun Akiyama]

Website: http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/messisco1.html

I just put up a new article here on AikiWeb by Dan Messisco entitled, "The Importance of Receiving." regarding Dan's experience with an aggressive tae kwon do teacher while he was teaching aikido in Seoul, Korea. I think it's definitely worth the read!
Beautiful story full of aiki spirit. I agree,

there's no need to prove anything...Myriam
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Old 09-30-2002, 08:44 PM   #11
Edward
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Well, this story makes me feel a little uneasy. Don't get me wrong, the outcome was great, an aikido principle was used successfully, but I can't help thinking that it was achieved on the expense of Dan's dignity, and that of aikido's. I am sorry, but this is truly how I feel about it. I think this is not the founder's aikido but rather our own christian western aikido.
I disagree fully with the idea of a confrontation, but I wish Dan could have found a less submissive way out of it.

Last edited by Edward : 09-30-2002 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 09-30-2002, 09:11 PM   #12
Erik
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Quote:
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
Well, this story makes me feel a little uneasy. Don't get me wrong, the outcome was great, an aikido principle was used successfully, but I can't help thinking that it was achieved on the expense of Dan's dignity, and that of aikido's. I am sorry, but this is truly how I feel about it. I think this is not the founder's aikido but rather our own christian western aikido.

I disagree fully with the idea of a confrontation, but I wish Dan could have found a less submissive way out of it.
I'll make you a bit more uncomfortable. This is a Terry Dobsen story. No, not that one.

He was going to see a movie and it was raining. I don't think Terry was ever the most nimble of guys and as he was running to get into line he slipped and bumped into a guy. As he described it, the guy looked like he had just had one of those conversation's where his girlfriend said the magic words. You know which one's. The kind that immediately make you crazy as only someone close to you can do. The guy was apparently pretty big too as Terry mentions the guy's size and Terry was not a little guy. Terry notices the guy is pissed and

drops into sieza and bows.

It completely difused the situation and as Terry put it, the guy was like "c'mon man, get up from there. What are you doing down there."
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Old 10-01-2002, 04:14 AM   #13
Jason Tonks
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There are I suppose many ways to have handled the situation in the article. I always feel intent is important in these type of situations. There is nothing wrong with walking away/talking down a situation, even being apologetic if you are in the wrong in a situation. As long as YOU are making the choice to back down from a potential conflict and it is not being made for you through someone imposing fear upon you. This can only be done if you have confidence in your own combative ability and choose non-violence. The old school way of dealing with this would be to get the teacher to come in as hard and as fast as he likes, deal with him and maybe gain a few Tae -Kwon - Do converts! Just thought I'd throw the cat among the pigeons!

All the best Jason T
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Old 10-01-2002, 06:15 AM   #14
G DiPierro
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Quote:
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
an aikido principle was used successfully, but I can't help thinking that it was achieved on the expense of Dan's dignity, and that of aikido's.
Edward, I didn't it see that way at all. How did Dan sacrifice his dignity? His perceived himself as nothing more than a low-level teacher of Aikido and his actions were consistant with that role. Had he been capable of handling the TKD man's attack, then the correct way of handling the situation would have been much different. The "aiki" principle in action here was simply that he correctly perceived his role in the situation and acted accordingly.
Quote:
I disagree fully with the idea of a confrontation, but I wish Dan could have found a less submissive way out of it.
If you disagree with the idea of a confrontation then you shouldn't be doing Aikido. Confrontation is what the martial arts are all about. As I pointed out earlier, submitting seems to have been correct for Dan in this situation. There is nothing wrong with submission when the situation calls for it. If your teacher asks you to sweep the mat, but you are tired and don't feel like it, what do you do? My guess is that you submit and sweep the mat.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 10-01-2002 at 06:17 AM.
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Old 10-01-2002, 09:27 AM   #15
aikigreg
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I don't see that he submitted at all. That was an underhanded bastardly thing to do, teaching him Aikido and making a friend like that. Shame on him!
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Old 10-01-2002, 09:31 AM   #16
opherdonchin
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Do we really need the "shouldn't be doing AiKiDo language"? I always cringe when I read that. I mean, I know there are lots of things that make me feel that someone else shouldn't be doing AiKiDo, but it is almost always covering up a more interesting and less dismissive feeling that I'm having underneath.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 10-01-2002, 09:50 AM   #17
mike lee
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Cool the art of one-upmanship

Arrogance is bliss.
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Old 10-01-2002, 10:07 AM   #18
Alfonso
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Quote:
His perceived himself as nothing more than a low-level teacher of Aikido and his actions were consistant with that role. Had he been capable of handling the TKD man's attack, then the correct way of handling the situation would have been much different. The "aiki" principle in action here was simply that he correctly perceived his role in the situation and acted accordingly
that's strange, I didn't read fear into Mr. Messisco's story. I understand he's quite an accomplished aikido instructor. I think his handling of the situation is top rate instruction on the spirit of Aikido.
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Old 10-01-2002, 06:39 PM   #19
G DiPierro
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
Do we really need the "shouldn't be doing AiKiDo language"? I always cringe when I read that. I mean, I know there are lots of things that make me feel that someone else shouldn't be doing AiKiDo, but it is almost always covering up a more interesting and less dismissive feeling that I'm having underneath.
Opher, the statement you are referring to was nothing more than a rhetorical device. I don't really mean that Edward shouldn't be doing Aikido. I was just making a point about how the view he expressed is, in my view, incompatible with Aikido practice.
Quote:
Alfonso wrote:
that's strange, I didn't read fear into Mr. Messisco's story. I understand he's quite an accomplished aikido instructor. I think his handling of the situation is top rate instruction on the spirit of Aikido.
Alfonso, I never mentioned fear. Go back and reread my post. You should find that it agrees completely with your statement that he handled the situation in "the spirit of Aikido."

Last edited by G DiPierro : 10-01-2002 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 10-01-2002, 10:40 PM   #20
Suru
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Chuck,

I liked your posting of "fear is the mind-killer." I have read "Dune" myself and I agree that is the best way to put it. "Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. i will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." Messisco Sensei apparently had a similar philosophy. Congrats to a true aikidoka.

Drew
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Old 10-02-2002, 05:22 AM   #21
G DiPierro
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Submission

Quote:
Greg Gross (aikigreg) wrote:
I don't see that he submitted at all. That was an underhanded bastardly thing to do, teaching him Aikido and making a friend like that.
The TKD man demanded that Dan teach him Aikido and Dan did exactly that. Obviously, then, he submitted to the demand. The only way to avoid submitting in this situation would have been to refuse to teach the man anything at all. Dan tried this approach initially but, in the face of the man's continued insistence, soon changed his mind. Take a look at what his exact words are at that point. "Realizing there was no way out of this," Dan says, he finally engaged the man. Those sound like the words of submission to me.

In this situation, submitting to the man resolved the conflict in an effective way. Dan did not emphasize this aspect of the situation in his article, but it is as least as relevant to Aikido practice in general as the other aspects that have been discussed.
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Old 10-02-2002, 01:21 PM   #22
SimonW11
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Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro (G DiPierro) wrote:
Edward, I didn't it see that way at all. How did Dan sacrifice his dignity? His perceived himself as nothing more than a low-level teacher of Aikido and his actions were consistant with that role. Had he been capable of handling the TKD man's attack, then the correct way of handling the situation would have been much different. .
He took the ukemei he was capable of handling the attack. More than that he was capable of choosing the attack.

Choosing your opponents attack is about as good as strategy gets.

Simon

Simon
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Old 10-02-2002, 02:06 PM   #23
SimonW11
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LOL I have just read Sensei Hookers counter example.

Notice How he also dictated the terms of the encounter.

Simon

Simon
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Old 10-03-2002, 04:04 AM   #24
G DiPierro
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Quote:
Simon Watkins (SimonW11) wrote:
He took the ukemei he was capable of handling the attack. More than that he was capable of choosing the attack. Choosing your opponents attack is about as good as strategy gets.
Honestly, Simon, I don't know where you are getting these ideas. Taking ukemi is not the same thing as handling an attack. In this situation, if Dan wanted to try to handle the man's attack, he would have asked the man to do just that, attack him. The he would have tried to handle it by doing an Aikido technique.

Dan's approach, OTOH, acknowledged that he couldn't safely throw the TKD man in a confrontational situation. That is to say that he admitted that he couldn't handle the man's attack, and by doing so, released much of the tension that had built up. This is, obviously, not the same thing as "handling his attack."
Quote:
LOL I have just read Sensei Hookers counter example. Notice How he also dictated the terms of the encounter.
What are you talking about? If you mean Dennis Hooker, he hasn't even posted on this thread, much less provided a "counterexample" to anything. Moreover, it should be clear from my last post that the TKD man was the one who dictated the terms of this encounter. He demanded that Dan teach him Aikido, and that's exactly what happened.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 10-03-2002 at 04:07 AM.
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Old 10-03-2002, 06:07 AM   #25
Jason Tonks
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Absolutely Giancarlo. The inescapable fact is that he "backed down" from a potentially dangerous situation. There was a peaceful resolve to this which is always a good thing, but in essence he was overpowered by another mans will to act on his demands. Nobody has the right to mentally or physically impose their will upon you. I feel this is where the unease lies in certain peoples interpretation of the article in question.

All the best

Jason T
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