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Old 01-06-2003, 05:21 AM   #1
PeterR
 
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How dou YOU incorporate Aikido in Daily life.

Ok I got a question.

I keep hearing the phrase "incorporating Aikido in daily life".

Perhaps its feeling a little worn to my ears but how exactly do individuals do this.

Personally. I pretty much am in the dojo as I am in real life and I don't think that my behaviour anywhere has changed because of my Aikido. I behave in a certain way depending on circumstance be it in the dojo, a concert hall or at work - but the underlying core remains.

In recent threads people have talked of conflict between Aiki and martial, between Aikido and fitness and frankly I don't see it. There seems to be a separation of various aspects whereas I see it all as a whole. There is no conflict, and no need to move the dojo lessons outside of the dojo. Aikido is part of my daily life because I do Aikido.

Perhaps it's time for a poll question.

I live Budo
I do Budo
I don't do Budo

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-06-2003, 07:02 AM   #2
happysod
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Thank goodness for this post, I thought it was just me.

I'd also like to add the "spiritual advancement" to the list, I'm afraid I haven't been able to separate getting older and changing from aikido and changing.
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Old 01-06-2003, 07:26 AM   #3
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I think it comes down to one's approach to Aikido and life. If Aikido is treated as Budo - a way of life so to speak, then there is no difference between life on the mat and off the mat.

But if one takes their mat time as something separate from the rest of their daily life, as an extra curricular activity or something, it can be construed as separate because the perception is one of being "In Aikido mode" when doing Aikido and "going back to normal" when out of the dojo.

Some of my students raised similar questions about this.

Personally, I regard training as Budo. I'm an Aikido Lifer The world is my mat

L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 01-06-2003, 07:26 AM   #4
MikeE
 
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I am a better person off the mat, because of my training on the mat.

I am a better Aikidoka on the mat, because of my training off the mat.

Maybe I look at Aikido as something more than an "in the dojo" thing. It has definitely effected my life in a fashion that extends to almost everything I do. The philosophy of Aikido has given me a doorway to improving myself as a person.

Peter, maybe your spirit and self were flawlessly forged through your life experiences. Me on the otherhand, I need the guidance and example of Aikido.

I apply aikido principles in my daily life. I practice to keep my one point when dealing with people or things that would take it. (Just like on the mat)

I try to convey myself to others (extend ki) in a positive friendly fashion. (Just like on the mat)

I try to stay aware of my surroundings at all times (Just like on the mat)

Etc., etc., etc.

In my meager 8 years of teaching, the students who were able to apply aikido principles were the ones who "got it" quicker on the mat.

Just my humble opinion.

Mike Ellefson
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Old 01-06-2003, 07:41 AM   #5
Ghost Fox
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Wow, Aikido has changed my life in so many ways.

Physically:

*I now walk with a more rooted gait as oppose to my previous light on my feet TKD walk.

*My posture is more relaxed and yet my overall posture has improved.

Mentally:

*I am aware of my surroundings, but not mentally beating up people in my mind.

*I am more confident in my overall ability in life, and able to take charge more.

*I'm so busy with the present (breathing, posture, movement) that I don't spend as much time dwelling on the past or future as I once did.

Spiritually:

*I'm starting to develop a natural love and empathy for people.

*I'm more willing to share my feelings more with the people I love.

*I'm more willing to confront people who need to be confronted, and I do so in a calm and reasonable manner.

*I've learned that I'm not perfect and that's okay. The most important thing is to learn from my mistakes, and be willing to make the appropriate changes.

I also:

*Tenkan during the day when moving around the copier and people.

*Open doors by either extending ki with unbendable arm or stepping back as in Katatori Ikkyo.

*Drive with the idea of blending and flowing with traffic, as opposed to racing the other cars.

*Practice my Tai Sabaki for Randori in the NYC Rush hour crowd.

*Don't carry as many weapons as I used to.

Peace and Blessings.
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Old 01-06-2003, 07:43 AM   #6
Ghost Fox
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P.S.

Also if my wife is arguing with me, a quick Iriminage usually shuts her up.

Luv.
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Old 01-06-2003, 08:52 AM   #7
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IMHO, relax and breath more rather than being tense, blend rather than resist, flow rather than have a rigid plan, harmony in which we both win rather than a win/lose philosophy, enjoy the process/training/Keiko of living rather than the end goal, and read AikiWeb daily to keep reminding myself.

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 01-06-2003, 09:21 AM   #8
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I also find that practice, albeit short for me so far, has affected my daily life greatly. Some of the bullets Damion has mentioned apply to me as well. I'll have to try the imininage on the wife. But for the most part I'm still growing.

I have my ups and downs, like any normal person, but I find that I'm quietly slowing down my mental "beating up on people", and such. (Maybe I can't explain it right..) Just this past weekend I got in a verbal argument with the security guard at my apartment building here. The issue was regarding something as simple as moving my car so the plow can get through.. regardless of who was right, or wrong, I called him an ass and acted much louder (in words, not necessarily volum) than I should have. As soon as I hung up the phone, the 20/20 hindsight kicked in, and I promply went to apologize for shooting the messenger, shook his hand, and had quite the conversation with him about other things..

Six months ago I was a lot more confronting. Both in my head, and with my language. Flowing with traffic has replaced racing everybody to get there first.. wherever there may be. I've stopped arguing with people in my head, well maybe not stopped but I'm working on it. I've found that worrying about a possible argument leads to the argument itself.

Regardless, I think the Aikido practice has helped me become a bit more centered. I think about it a lot, think about the techniques we learn in class, and think about the day-to-day personal aspects as well. It's calmed me, indeed. It's also helped me with becoming more humbled, helped to talk about my feelings more. To do whatever will help the issue at hand, instead of mulling over it in my head. I guess I'm just less stubborn.
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Old 01-06-2003, 10:36 AM   #9
Lyle Bogin
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As important as it is to incorporate aikido into daily life, I think it is just as important to incorparate daily life into aikido.

"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 01-06-2003, 11:12 AM   #10
PhilJ
 
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Re: How dou YOU incorporate Aikido in Daily life.

Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
There is no conflict, and no need to move the dojo lessons outside of the dojo. Aikido is part of my daily life because I do Aikido.
Peter, what a great perspective. It always intrigues me to hear from people who do something similar but yet have a different viewpoint. Like, having that extra pair of eyes helping me debug the computer program I'm working on.

A historical/vocab question. If you don't apply aikido to daily life, then isn't it aikijutsu? If your aikido training end when you walk out the door, how is that "do" and not "jutsu"?

I think it's hard to not integrate aikido into daily life. It's like breathing to me, there's always an exhale to an inhale (or vice-versa). But then, I guess it depends on how you practice -- no one wants to do hard stuff off the mat, it's too tiring.

I believe for off-the-mat to work, certain criteria needs addressing:

1. The art needs to be maintainable in daily life. If it's hard, you'll tire quickly.

2. Willingness to practice and make mistakes in front of non-aikidoka

3. Realism must pervade; nothing worse than hocus-pocus that doesn't work.

4. Maintaining center is important to keep your mental/emotional balance in check.

Am I way off? Or are you all asleep by now?

...and when I reach the count of 1, you will wake up feeling fully refreshed...

*Phil

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Old 01-06-2003, 03:54 PM   #11
Bronson
 
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Quote:
If you don't apply aikido to daily life, then isn't it aikijutsu? If your aikido training end when you walk out the door, how is that "do" and not "jutsu"?
Phil, I may be wrong but I don't think this is what Peter was getting at. I think he was getting at the idea that if you consciously have to apply aikido to "daily life" then in your mind they are seperate. A fellow who used to do tai chi with me several years ago was an american indian medicine man/teacher. He once told me that the american indian languages he knew had no word for religion. The religious practices they followed were part of their everyday life. So in effect the "word" for religion would be "everyday life". That sounds really convoluted. I hope it makes sense.

Another example I use that is often taken the wrong way is this: "I am no longer excited about going to the dojo." Many people take this to mean that I don't like aikido anymore. What it really means to me is that aikido has taken a place in my life much like brushing my teeth, eating, bathing, or breathing. I don't get excited about any of these things but I do them everyday without fail. The things I get excited about are those things which are novel and not part of me or my daily life. Again, I hope that makes sense.

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 01-06-2003, 04:25 PM   #12
MikeE
 
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Bronson,

That seems to be your interpretation of what Peter meant.

Mike Ellefson
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Old 01-06-2003, 04:35 PM   #13
opherdonchin
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When I was in college, I was on the crew team. After a few years, it seemed like the metaphor of crew was everywhere in my daily life. I often thought or said things like, "this issue of focus / teamwork / intensity and relaxation / commitment / whatever reminds me a lot of the same sort of issue that we have when we row ..."

Now, after a fair number of years in AiKiDo, it is AiKiDo that keeps coming up as a metaphor. I often say, "I don't know what the answer to this is, but I know what sort of answer AiKiDo brings to mind."

One of the lessons that I started learning on the crew team and that AiKiDo has reinforced is that it's often better to notice things than to try to fix them. I would say that this lesson applies here: I get much more mileage out of noticing the ways that AiKiDo has affected my daily life than out of looking for ways to apply it.

If what you notice is that it really hasn't affected you very much, you may want to ask yourself what it is that you are getting out of all the time you put into it. I prefer to put my time into activities from which I learn and grow.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 01-06-2003, 05:45 PM   #14
PhilJ
 
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Quote:
Bronson Diffin (Bronson) wrote:
Phil, I may be wrong but I don't think this is what Peter was getting at. I think he was getting at the idea that if you consciously have to apply aikido to "daily life" then in your mind they are seperate.
I see what you're saying, I hadn't thought of that perspective. It's hard to tell, so maybe Mr. Rehse will elaborate when he gets a chance.

I agree with the idea that oft times on-the-mat and off-the-mat are often treated as separate concepts, but I don't think that is a "bad" thing at all. I have to separate them in my mind still... but that's just because my level is not 'there' yet. If it were 'there', I doubt ANYone could understand what I say.

In my youth, I was quite unruly, and as such Aikido helped me learn to control myself and stabilize -- Aikido helped me do that. If I didn't change and work on my ego, I would simply stagnate. That is my point of contention.

*Phil

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Old 01-06-2003, 08:31 PM   #15
PeterR
 
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Please forgive my initial clumsy attempt to tie a few threads togeather and articulate something that was bothering me. I was happy to find that my feelings were being addressed.

Bronson is very close to what I intended to convey. As a quick qualifier in answer to Philip.
Quote:
A historical/vocab question. If you don't apply aikido to daily life, then isn't it aikijutsu? If your aikido training end when you walk out the door, how is that "do" and not "jutsu"?
I take the "do" very seriously (its the main reason I returned to Japan) and without a doubt the practice of Aikido has changed me physically and mentally. With one exception though, these changes can best be described as passive.

And of course I was perfectly forged.

The exception was that my driving actually improved through adapting physical aikido principles and quite possibly that application improved my Aikido.

Last edited by PeterR : 01-06-2003 at 08:34 PM.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-06-2003, 09:27 PM   #16
PhilJ
 
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Peter:

I thought this seemed odd coming from you.

Since I'm writing this on my iPAQ, I'll keep it short. You certainly brought up a good point. I'm just not that capable just yet.

Phillip Johnson
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Old 01-06-2003, 10:22 PM   #17
Bronson
 
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Quote:
I get much more mileage out of noticing the ways that AiKiDo has affected my daily life than out of looking for ways to apply it.
Boy, I wish I'd said that.

Thanks Opher that help me put some thoughts toghther about this. I rarely if ever think "ok, I'm going to apply aikido principle X in this situation." What does happen is exactly what Opher said, I do something or react to someone in some way and then later I think "hey, that's different from how I used to do it...hey! that was aikido principle X at work....COOL!" For some reason I just can't intellectually/consciously force this stuff into the way I am. I just have to wait for it seep out whenever it happens (that sounded funny but you know what I mean ). This approach takes longer but it's the one that works for me.

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 01-07-2003, 12:53 AM   #18
opherdonchin
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Quote:
I take the "do" very seriously (its the main reason I returned to Japan) and without a doubt the practice of Aikido has changed me physically and mentally. With one exception though, these changes can best be described as passive.
Either I don't understand you very well, Peter, or we are looking at this issue in very similar ways. I'm honestly not sure which it is. I have a hard time understanding how that last quote goes with the following one:
Quote:
Personally. I pretty much am in the dojo as I am in real life and I don't think that my behaviour anywhere has changed because of my Aikido.
It makes me feel like I'm missing something in what you are trying to say.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 01-07-2003, 02:23 AM   #19
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
Either I don't understand you very well, Peter, or we are looking at this issue in very similar ways. I'm honestly not sure which it is. I have a hard time understanding how that last quote goes with the following one:It makes me feel like I'm missing something in what you are trying to say.
Well I did say my expression was clumsy.

Firtly I don't see how the two quotes contradict each other. Both physically and mentally I am better at doing Aikido than when I started - this does not necessarily translate into changes of behaviour outside the dojo. Within the dojo there is a certain amount of learned behaviour but I don't think Aikido has transformed my core being. Like all experiences of which Aikido is only one - that core can be refined. I actually think the purpose of Budo is not to transform (it's not boot camp) but to refine. Moreover, the refinement may be guided but it is essentially self driven.

Secondly, let me take another stab at expressing what I was trying to say. I used the term "passive" to express the effect of my Aikido practice on my outside dojo life. Perhaps a better term would be mushin. I just don't find myself "actively" applying Aikido concepts to situations. I also don't do Aikido because of some perceived personal short comings. In the latter case there are usually much more direct paths. If Aikido practice has a long term effect fine but to take the thread full circle - I still have difficulty with the idea of taking Aikido specific concepts as practiced in the dojo and "applying" them to daily life.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-07-2003, 03:27 AM   #20
Peter Goldsbury
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It is interesting that our training histories differ in so many ways, but that I tend to see eye to eye with Peter R. on a wide variety of topics, this one included. So I am looking forward to meeting him in person this weekend.

Looking back on my own training history, I think that the question of "applying aikido in daily life", i.e., outside the dojo on occasions that one could specify, was a live issue in only one dojo. This dojo was in the USA. In that dojo there was a general feeling/ethos that (a) practice had to have tangible results on one's life, preferably the sooner the better, and (b) there were discoverable aikido 'principles' which were of value in a moral or ethical way. What is of interest is that this ethos did not originate from the (Japanese) instructor, but from some of the senior students.

I shall shortly have completed my 23rd year here and I have never come across this way of thinking among my Japanese dojo colleagues. If it exists, it is kept firmly in the private domain. I do not deny that 30-odd years of training has affected me in many ways (I cannot comment on my driving habits, but my friends in the UK say they have deteriorated: this might be because I live in Hiroshima, a city notorious in Japan for gangsters and bad driving), but it is hard to state what these effects are and to be clear that they are the effects of aikido training and of nothing else.

So, I do not say that it is wrong to look for practical applications of one's aikido "in daily life", but I would stress that not doing this does not in any way diminish the value of training. In my opinion aikido is an activity which contains its own end: in this respect it is like happiness as Aristotle conceived it.

Best regards to all,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 01-07-2003 at 03:30 AM.

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Old 01-07-2003, 10:57 AM   #21
opherdonchin
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Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
Both physically and mentally I am better at doing Aikido than when I started - this does not necessarily translate into changes of behaviour outside the dojo.
Maybe we are using the word behavior differently, but at least the movement skills I pick up in the dojo translate immediately into better posture and a greater emphasis on relaxed, efficient movement in my daily physical activities.
Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
I don't think Aikido has transformed my core being. Like all experiences of which Aikido is only one - that core can be refined. ... Moreover, the refinement may be guided but it is essentially self driven.
I'm with you on this one. I'd add, just by the way, that after a certain point my AiKiDo also had a core and that it's improvement has been a matter of refinement and not transformation, and self-driven with only light guidance.
Quote:
I just don't find myself "actively" applying Aikido concepts to situations. I also don't do Aikido because of some perceived personal short comings. In the latter case there are usually much more direct paths.
I can identify with most of this. I do find value, occasionally, in actively applying ideas from AiKiDo in other places (although AiKiDo isn't unique in this and sometimes I find value in applying ideas from other places to AiKiDo). Isn't your use of mushin to describe your daily activity an example of this?
Quote:
Peter Goldsbury wrote:
In that dojo there was a general feeling/ethos that (a) practice had to have tangible results on one's life, preferably the sooner the better
In the Seidokan dojos where I trained in Israel, we were asked a 'personal question' on each of our tests from 6th kyu and up. Often, it was some form or another of 'how do you see AiKiDo being relevant to your life.' The answers to these questions were often very interesting and thought provoking.
Quote:
Peter Goldsbury wrote:
I do not deny that 30-odd years of training has affected me in many ways ... but it is hard to state what these effects are and to be clear that they are the effects of aikido training and of nothing else.
I certainly don't see any changes in myself as a product of AiKiDo and nothing else. On the other hand, AiKiDo has certainly played a role which I think is interesting and inspiring. And, of course, just because something is hard doesn't mean that it isn't worth the effort, right?
Quote:
Peter Goldsbury wrote:
So, I do not say that it is wrong to look for practical applications of one's aikido "in daily life", but I would stress that not doing this does not in any way diminish the value of training.
In some senses, each activity contains and is its own end. In other sense, not noticing what is there to be noticed is turning your back on the beauty of the world.

I'm really enjoying this discussion. I appreciate the thoughtful approach that people (especially those who disagree with me) are taking, and I hope I'm not becoming tiresome or starting to repeat myself.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 01-07-2003, 11:05 AM   #22
Chuck Clark
 
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Good discussion.

When I read Peter's question my first thought was, "I breath in and then I breath out..."

That may seem rather facetious, but it's not meant that way.

Since beginning budo practice at age six, my experience has gone through many levels. Approaching my fifty-sixth birthday next month, I find the only thing that really makes sense to me about my practice is that I breath in and breath out. My life is no different in the dojo or outside the dojo.

Life is the dojo.

Chuck Clark
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Old 01-07-2003, 11:29 AM   #23
Dennis Hooker
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I live and breath same as Chuck. There is no me and Aikido anymore. It is no longer something I do. At this stage of my life I believe Aikido defines me more than I define it.

Dennis Hooker

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Old 01-07-2003, 02:15 PM   #24
opherdonchin
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One more thing about those personal questions on the seidokan tests: I feel like one thing people really got out of them was that it helped them understand that each person's AiKiDo would be different, just as each persons answer on those questions would be different. There was no right answer and there was no right way of doing the technique. Instead, there was just your exploration and reality as your teacher.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 01-07-2003, 02:32 PM   #25
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Quote:
One more thing about those personal questions on the seidokan tests:
In our dojo, also seidokan, we have to do a pre-test interview. There are questions such as what is your best/worst aikido art or skill, why should you be considered for promotion, what's the most significant thing you've learned since your last test, have you used aikido outside the dojo-if yes give an example. The questions never change. They are the same on your nidan test as they were on your rokkyu test. But it's interesting to go back and look at your old ones and see the changes.

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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