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Old 05-31-2006, 12:39 AM   #926
Michael Douglas
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Justin Smith wrote ; "You've had your experiences, but so have Ueshiba and other effective martial artists, many which had/have military backgrounds, and were non-violent and non-aggressive and still effective."
I have to disagree completely here Justin. As far as I can see, Ueshiba was a violent man who trained most of his life in violence, gladly sought and accepted violent challenges, injured people and was a highly skilled and natural thug.
As he got older and became involved in a popular Japanese cult he began to promote the possibly non-violent aspect of martial arts and distilled his Aikido.
I think your views must be based on a different percieved history to mine, therefore you must have read a different selection of sources. That's OK, but to perpetuate the myth of non-violent and non-aggressive Aikido being not only effective defence but actually so efficient it takes no effort to defeat the assailant ... that's dangerous twaddle and likely to get someone killed or injured.
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Old 05-31-2006, 04:02 AM   #927
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote:
That's OK, but to perpetuate the myth of non-violent and non-aggressive Aikido being not only effective defence but actually so efficient it takes no effort to defeat the assailant ... that's dangerous twaddle and likely to get someone killed or injured.
I already addressed this when Kevin tried it.

Quote:
As he got older and became involved in a popular Japanese cult he began to promote the possibly non-violent aspect of martial arts and distilled his Aikido.
I think your views must be based on a different percieved history to mine, therefore you must have read a different selection of sources.
No "possible", "different", or "perceived" about it.

Quote:
"Aikido is nonviolence. Every human being has been entrusted with a mandate from heaven, and the victory we seek is to overcome all challenges and fight to the finish, accomplishing our goals. In Aikido we never attack. If you want to strike first, to gain advantage over someone, that is proof your training is insufficient, and it is really you yourself who has been defeated. Let your partner attack, and use his aggression against him. Do not cower from an attack; control it before it begins. Nonviolence is the true practice of Aikido."
- Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido

Last edited by statisticool : 05-31-2006 at 04:12 AM.

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Old 05-31-2006, 04:47 AM   #928
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
... Here's a source for you to read...
"Aikido is nonviolence. Every human being has been entrusted with a mandate from heaven, and the victory we seek is to overcome all challenges and fight to the finish, accomplishing our goals. In Aikido we never attack. If you want to strike first, to gain advantage over someone, that is proof your training is insufficient, and it is really you yourself who has been defeated. Let your partner attack, and use his aggression against him. Do not cower from an attack; control it before it begins. Nonviolence is the true practice of Aikido."
- Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido
First of all, saying that you shouldn't start a fight isn't saying you're non-violent. It's just saying that you shouldn't be the one to start it.

I suspect that if we knew Japanese we might not come away with precisely the same shade of meaning we glean from the translated soundbite "Nonviolence is the true practice of Aikido." Historically, a truly non-violent person would take the beating rather than fight back. Controlling the fight may be very efficiently done, but I would still say there's violence involved. It might just be a matter of definition, as we said earlier -- if by "violence" you mean "agression with bad intent" or "a hostile offensive action" then you're probably right in saying that O'Sensei wasn't violent. I don't agree with that definition, though.

Although Webster's Unabridged Dictionary's first definition is "acting with or characterized by great physical force, so as to injure or damage; rough"; so if you're using the first clause in that definition, I can see why you wouldn't characterize Aikido as "acting with or characterized by great physical force, so as to injure or damage."

Second, I think that's a post-war O'Sensei quote, from when he, as Michael Douglas said, got older and became involved in the Omoto religion and "began to promote the possibly non-violent aspect of martial arts and distilled his Aikido."

There's currently a good thread here on Aikiweb where people are discussing whether or not O'Sensei was a pacifist: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...8&page=1&pp=25

Last edited by wendyrowe : 05-31-2006 at 05:00 AM.
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Old 05-31-2006, 05:35 AM   #929
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

When you get into the whole violence/non-violence thing...you are starting to talk about ethics, a whole nother subject.

Imagine having the capcity to stop a "greater harm", i.e...watching a old lady getting mugged and having a stance against violence and not interfering based on your principles of "non-violence". Where are you now. It is not that easy!

edited out..cause I wasn't being nice!!!

Last edited by Kevin Leavitt : 05-31-2006 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 05-31-2006, 06:55 AM   #930
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Quote:
Wendy Rowe wrote:
Although Webster's Unabridged Dictionary's first definition is "acting with or characterized by great physical force, so as to injure or damage; rough"; so if you're using the first clause in that definition, I can see why you wouldn't characterize Aikido as "acting with or characterized by great physical force, so as to injure or damage."
Just the silly association of my weird synapses:
Does that mean that aikidoka are not violent, because they (we) use only very little physical force to injure or damage?

Just a joke, but you might have to think about it.

Dirk
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:15 AM   #931
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Quote:
Dirk Hanss wrote:
Just the silly association of my weird synapses:
Does that mean that aikidoka are not violent, because they (we) use only very little physical force to injure or damage?

Just a joke, but you might have to think about it.

Dirk
It's that whole perspective thing: an aikidoka, I hope, would not cause more damage than the situation calls for. If you're rushed by a drunk, you control him with nikkyo -- you don't punch him in the face and stomp on his head once he's down. The first doesn't seem violent, the second does. But the aikidoka might have intercepted the drunk before observers realized the drunk was on his way to attack; in that case, it would look like the aikidoka was the aggressor, but as long as he didn't do anything really nasty to the guy people wouldn't get too upset about it.

It's like the "appropriate force continuum" used by police: you use the least force you can to control the situation, and you get in trouble (e.g. are pegged as the aggressor) if you use more than you need to.
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Old 05-31-2006, 11:13 AM   #932
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Quote:
Wendy Rowe wrote:
It's that whole perspective thing: an aikidoka, I hope, would not cause more damage than the situation calls for. If you're rushed by a drunk, you control him with nikkyo -- you don't punch him in the face and stomp on his head once he's down. The first doesn't seem violent, the second does. But the aikidoka might have intercepted the drunk before observers realized the drunk was on his way to attack; in that case, it would look like the aikidoka was the aggressor, but as long as he didn't do anything really nasty to the guy people wouldn't get too upset about it.

It's like the "appropriate force continuum" used by police: you use the least force you can to control the situation, and you get in trouble (e.g. are pegged as the aggressor) if you use more than you need to.
And by that BJJ is also extreamly non-violent. Just watch the first few UFC's. See how bloody the fights are, then watch Hoyce's fights. He takes the guys down and gets them to submit with little or no injury to them. The difference being you dont have someone telling you when you train bjj that you are non-violent, or that you should strive to be non-violent. You just train. Of course I expect that to change as more and more americans practice bjj. Because I really belive it is the nature of people in this country to take a good idea, then bastardize it and make it into something we think is deep and intellectual and eventually water down and make the whole thing nothing like what it was supose to be. Look at the state of most martial arts in this country. We will pick and choose teachings to fit our agenda.

- Don
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Old 05-31-2006, 11:58 AM   #933
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Nah I don't see that happening with BJJ Don. Aikido is that way because the founder had a mission...however, because of the nature of our country, our point in society, history etc...aikido is probably interpreted slightly different than the way it was in Japan 30 or 40 years ago.
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Old 05-31-2006, 12:00 PM   #934
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

I hope they dont, but I get worried everytime I read Helio say "Jiujitsu is a self defense art"

I'm waiting for the bjj guys who dont spar or compete because Helio was against it LOL. Of course that will be sometime after the vampire of an old man dies.

- Don
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Old 05-31-2006, 12:08 PM   #935
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Yea Good point...I have Helio's expensive book, frankly I have some issues with some of the things in his book, which is suprising as I have found BJJ to be very efficient and pretty much dead on in grappling and ground fighting. What he has in that book is very little of what I have done in BJJ.

You are probably right as Rorion, Rickson, Carlos and the rest get older....they may get more esoteric and philosophical...I see nothing wrong with it as long as they can keep there focus and not lose sight of what they have going that is really good.

I think the popularity of BJJ has probably only showed us the basics in the U.S. There probably is quite a bit more to it than most typical BJJ students see. As it matures, and students age...it might get a little more "internal". (I hate to use that word!)

Anyway, Helio illudes to it in his book. I have not seen it in the dojo.

That said, I don't think it will be like aikido as it comes from a different culture and a different time! The current poliferation also does not support the same objectives as aikido.
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Old 05-31-2006, 04:52 PM   #936
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Quote:
Wendy Rowe wrote:
It's that whole perspective thing: an aikidoka, I hope, would not cause more damage than the situation calls for. If you're rushed by a drunk, you control him with nikkyo -- you don't punch him in the face and stomp on his head once he's down. The first doesn't seem violent, the second does. But the aikidoka might have intercepted the drunk before observers realized the drunk was on his way to attack; in that case, it would look like the aikidoka was the aggressor, but as long as he didn't do anything really nasty to the guy people wouldn't get too upset about it.

It's like the "appropriate force continuum" used by police: you use the least force you can to control the situation, and you get in trouble (e.g. are pegged as the aggressor) if you use more than you need to.
I was just kiing about the wording, but yes some aikidoka might do exactly what you propose, does the standing part of nikyo - and holds - as the drunk tries to get out of that pain, he holds faster, probably just because he is frightened. It does not need much phsical power to damage the wrist for a long time.

Well that is then not aikido any longer and we know it is violent, but Webster's definition said, it is not as he did not use great physical force. One could also argue, usin a sharp knife is not violent, because you do not need great physical force to injure or kill someone. And then we can find 100s of examples to show that Webster's definition is just not adequate.

Don't chew on this post. Turn back to (Non-)Working Aikido again.

Cheers Dirk
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Old 05-31-2006, 06:27 PM   #937
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

In this first video, you will see O-Sensei practicing Aikido as he was forming it before the Second World War:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEdsT-R9Pys

In the second video, you will see how he was practicing it just 12-15 years later in Iwama.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwQ3HZgz32Q

Which one is the 'violent' Aikido and which one is the 'peaceful' Aikido?

Which one is the 'new' Aikido, and which one is the 'old' Aikido?

Which one is the 'simple' Aikido, and which one is the 'advanced' Aikido?

The answer of course, is that neither is.

There is no 'old' or 'new' Aikido, no 'peaceful' or 'violent' Aikido. It's all Aikido.

To say you are watching a 'violent' man teaching Aikido in 1938 and then watching a 'peaceful' man teaching Aikido in 1952 is a confusion of thought.

It's true the earlier clip shows Aikido as a more practical, hard style and the later clips show it as a more graceful, soft style. But both are Aikido. To say one is 'better' than the other misses the point.

It is true that it would be best to learn both facets of Aikido, hard and soft; O-Sensei certainly did. Even in his later years in films you can see him suddenly revert to a hard technique in the midst of the beautiful, flowing graceful kind of Aikido he had been doing.

The big arguments that sprang up in Aikido after O-Sensei passed on many times had to do with which kind of Aikido was the 'real' kind: the hard kind or the soft kind?

Funny how he never made much of a distinction like that, but it sure came to matter to a lot of the people that wanted to teach it.

Aikido soft or Aikido hard?

Who said this was a either/or question anyway?

Why not Aikido both?

manofaiki
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Old 05-31-2006, 08:34 PM   #938
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Quote:
Brian Cates wrote:
In this first video, you will see O-Sensei practicing Aikido as he was forming it before the Second World War:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEdsT-R9Pys

In the second video, you will see how he was practicing it just 12-15 years later in Iwama.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwQ3HZgz32Q
Thanks for the juxtaposition, Brian. I could have just dug out my videos and watched them, but I wouldn't have gotten around to it.
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Old 06-01-2006, 02:04 PM   #939
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

aikido is aikido...it is niether violent or non-violent...it is the person behind the actions that determines ultimately what the outcome is. If you act in a compassionate manner it is one thing, if you act out of anger it is another. The same exact movements and techniques, and timing could be used...but it is the intent that makes all the difference.

So, aikido is not special in anyway as a collection of physical movments. Movies do not demonstrate anything in regard to this topic.

Thanks for making us think about this Brian!
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Old 06-01-2006, 03:16 PM   #940
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
aikido is aikido...it is niether violent or non-violent...it is the person behind the actions that determines ultimately what the outcome is.
Except we have quotes from Ueshiba saying, verbatim, multiple times, that aikido is non-violent.

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Old 06-01-2006, 03:49 PM   #941
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
Except we have quotes from Ueshiba saying, verbatim, multiple times, that aikido is non-violent.
He can't have said that verbatim, because it's English and he spoke Japanese. I'll be more convinced that what he actually said in Japanese has the meaning you think it does if our Japanese scholars agree. I'd like to hear from Peter Goldsbury here and from Stan Pranin on Aikido Journal, if someone could entice them to participate. (There are probably others, too, but those are the two who leap to mind.)
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:09 PM   #942
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
Except we have quotes from Ueshiba saying, verbatim, multiple times, that aikido is non-violent.
When you transcribe them here, in the originally written Japanese kanji, for the resident Japanese lenguage scholars translation, i'll start to believe you are not trolling this forum.

But until that happens, you're no more than a troll. Please, go trolling other forums (if still are forums where you are tolerated, which i doubt).

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Old 06-01-2006, 04:31 PM   #943
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Justin, what are you trying to say? That the violent founder of the Art of Aikido thought the violent art he was creating was really nonviolent? He deceived himself?
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Old 06-01-2006, 06:38 PM   #944
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
Except we have quotes from Ueshiba saying, verbatim, multiple times, that aikido is non-violent.
I think he also said budo determines life and death in an instant, and that this is why one ought not compete carelessly. In the same way a warrior can fight for peace, so can a martial art strive toward (and be) non-violent.
When someone attacks me, if I am good enough, I can subdue the attacker without causing harm to either of us. That is non-violent.
If I am less capable, I might protect myself (or others for that matter) but harm my attacker. As far as those I'm protecting, it's a non-violent experience while for the attacker, it's violent to some degree or another. Taken on the whole, there's a degree of violence in the latter scenario which, as an Aikidoka, I'm trying to minimize. Just as our technique gets better over time, so too will our ability to prevent violence, but in my view, the ideal of non-violence must give way to practical reality. I think (though of course do not know for sure) that Osensei would agree...it seems logical to my mind anyway.
Take care,
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Old 06-01-2006, 06:56 PM   #945
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote:
I think he also said budo determines life and death in an instant, and that this is why one ought not compete carelessly. In the same way a warrior can fight for peace, so can a martial art strive toward (and be) non-violent.
When someone attacks me, if I am good enough, I can subdue the attacker without causing harm to either of us. That is non-violent.
If I am less capable, I might protect myself (or others for that matter) but harm my attacker. As far as those I'm protecting, it's a non-violent experience while for the attacker, it's violent to some degree or another. Taken on the whole, there's a degree of violence in the latter scenario which, as an Aikidoka, I'm trying to minimize. Just as our technique gets better over time, so too will our ability to prevent violence, but in my view, the ideal of non-violence must give way to practical reality. I think (though of course do not know for sure) that Osensei would agree...it seems logical to my mind anyway.
Take care,
Matt
Logical to me too Matt,

regards,

Mark

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Old 06-02-2006, 12:36 AM   #946
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

O'sensei from what I understand, like most philosophers, spoke in terms of allegories and concepts, not literalizations. Eastern culture in general, especially budo, tao, and buddhism tend to be less black and white.

Jason I will give you this to chew on...see what you come up with.

"Stop Harm"

(talk amongst yourselves)!

Also, I would love to see your response directly to this, which I have already posed.

You see an old lady being assaulted. You say aikido is about non-violence. So do you intervene with force or not? A passive, non-violent approach would say it is wrong to cause harm. So what is the more ethical choice?

Again...:stop harm."
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Old 06-02-2006, 12:51 AM   #947
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
O'sensei from what I understand, like most philosophers, spoke in terms of allegories and concepts, not literalizations. Eastern culture in general, especially budo, tao, and buddhism tend to be less black and white.
Jason I will give you this to chew on...see what you come up with.
"Stop Harm"
(talk amongst yourselves)!
Also, I would love to see your response directly to this, which I have already posed.
You see an old lady being assaulted. You say aikido is about non-violence. So do you intervene with force or not? A passive, non-violent approach would say it is wrong to cause harm. So what is the more ethical choice?
Again...:stop harm."

It depends on what you mean by "force." In its most basic definition, yeah, I'd intervene with force. I have to use force to move my own body, for example. I would try not to harm anyone as much as possible. If the old lady is being assaulted by unarmed 15 year olds, for example, I would likely be able to accomplish that goal simply by making my presence felt...though obviously one can insert any number of variables to the situation. If there were 5, 23 year old men with weapons, i'd have to approach the situation differently, and I'd more likely than not be practicing something more akin to aikijujutsu (assuming I made contact with any of them to begin with). Is it possible to stop 5, 23 year old, weapon-wielding thugs from harming an old lady without harming them? I'd say "yes" it's possible, but would put it in one of those <1% categories. I'd have to be damned good and creative to do such a thing.
To me, the "do" in Aikido speaks toward a constant attempt toward an ideal: non-violence and mutual benificence. It would be great if somehow I was able to apply my creativity and make those 5 thugs into law-abiding citizens who would then be able to take their understanding of what it means to be a thug and teach others to be better people. Am I now capable? In theory, sure; would it happen if I experienced that tomorrow? Probably not. I'd try and distract them from their task without letting them know where I was and call the cops, or some similar approach.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 06-02-2006, 04:28 AM   #948
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

I love the paradox, Kevin. Good thought point.

Matthew: if you've broken down the example into two extremes and you say that with one attacker you could stop it just by your presence but with 5 you'd probably fight but lose ... what about two? Two would think they could take you, so they wouldn't be intimidated by the mere fact that you were there as a witness/defender. By saying you'd fight 5 armed 23 year olds, you've admitted to one point where you'd be willing to abandon non-violence; I'd just like you (and others) to examine the edges more to consider where your own boundaries really are.
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Old 06-02-2006, 05:36 AM   #949
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Absolutely Matthew! I agree with your examples.

The point is, as you point out, that non-violence cannot be summed up in black and white as "this is what it is!"

There is a spectrum of violence and a spectrum of responses that vary based on many factors.

I think our goal of budo is as you speak to follow the way and to attempt to be able to skillfully deal with violence as possible.
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Old 06-02-2006, 08:59 AM   #950
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Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Quote:
Wendy Rowe wrote:
I love the paradox, Kevin. Good thought point.

Matthew: if you've broken down the example into two extremes and you say that with one attacker you could stop it just by your presence but with 5 you'd probably fight but lose ... what about two? Two would think they could take you, so they wouldn't be intimidated by the mere fact that you were there as a witness/defender. By saying you'd fight 5 armed 23 year olds, you've admitted to one point where you'd be willing to abandon non-violence; I'd just like you (and others) to examine the edges more to consider where your own boundaries really are.
Hi Wendy,
It's not so much that I'd choose to behave violently, as much as I'd be less able to protect the attacker. I was trying to describe a gradient of relative ability. After X amount of training, i might only be able to help that proverbial old lady by harming one or all of those armed attackers; maybe after Y amount of time I could do it without harming a soul, even the line of ants at their feet. My intentions are certainly to avoid harming anyone...it makes it easier to change an enemy to a friend if you haven't bruised that person, let alone nearly or totally crippled them, so I'll always opt for peacefull resolutions if I can see a way to that (and I'll try as hard as I know how if I ever find myself in such a situation).
Take care,
Matt

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