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Old 04-10-2003, 05:51 PM   #76
Paul Schweer
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 41
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All was stillness and desolation, each corpse
in its usual place... war had turned the
water babies into little ghouls that danced
around the dead... but you must struggle,
and will carry the memories all your life.
-- E. B. Sledge

I don't know much about violence and fear. I've prepared and practiced, studied, trained for killing -- "commitment to violence" is what the man said, talking to us about hand-to-hand -- but no more than that. Never seen the elephant.

I've been afraid and I've been hurt... but not much. Been nowhere near my breaking point, and can't say I know just where that might be. Don't want to know.

It's tempting to say that fear and violence have no power over us beyond their potential for preventing appropriate action. Feelings pass, even blinding terror and pain, and don't exist beyond ourselves. What we do remains. Our actions have real effect on others, consequences rippling through generations.

But fear and violence can change someone. If that someone is one I love, and if the change means my someone comes home, then a good change it is. But they are changed. Nearer dead.

I believe Aikido can help resurrect one's deadened humanity. It is my duty to train in a manner facilitating your struggle with whatever demons you happen to bring. (I expect you'll lose the struggle. I sometimes suspect you're not even struggling.) In helping you, my fears fade.

Respect for our art's deadly potential does not require its exploration. There is violence enough too easily found. There is fear enough in us.

I asked my teacher if Aikido hurts.

"No, of course not. Doesn't hurt at all. But when you screw it up," he said, "it hurts like hell."

That's what I'm afraid of.

Paul Schweer
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Old 04-11-2003, 09:22 AM   #77
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Baltimore
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Quote:
"I believe it is possible to kill with compassion and in a non-violent way. An example would be a police officer that does so to protect another's life. Does this meet the definition of violence?" Kevin Leavitt

This does get tricky doesn't it? Compassion for the attacker or the people affected?
I agree with you, John, that Kevin's example is not exactly what I'd call killing with compassion. I'd agree, with Kevin, though, that such a thing can exist. I've seen plenty of compassion in people who decided they needed to put their dog down. I think that there is real danger in legalizing euthanasia, but I also think there are many examples where the overwhelming emotion is, in fact, compassion.

This doesn't lessen the issue of karmic consequences. It just complicates it.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 04-11-2003, 10:22 AM   #78
happysod
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
Location: London
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Hold up lads, this is getting silly... Witches were burned at the stake with compasion for their souls, the Inquisition had nothing but compassion for the "possessed" when torturing them - all compasionate and in most cases these people were true believers, but I'd put this down as violent.

Ok, I agree you all can hold sweetness, love and compassion for me while eviscerating my mortal remains, but damned if you're going to get me to agree you're not commiting violence - did anyone ask the dog whether the lethal injection was violent?

Off-topic: Not to say I wouldn't kill the mutt myself, I believe in quality of life, not quantity
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Old 04-11-2003, 11:28 AM   #79
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
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Quote:
Daniel Linden (DGLinden) wrote:
Drew,

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I do feel that when one trains to break arms, dislocate shoulders and fracture necks and backs - learn hundreds of ways to accomplish this - and actually practice doing it with live human beings, well, if it quacks like a duck...
Daniel, I missed this response until today. Thanks for your comments.

I'm not sure how I feel about the statement above. I've always been taught that while we can break arms, and dislocate joints, it's a better idea not to as that leads to broken or dislocated connections.
Quote:
---snip---

Are we just jerking around with semantics?
Most likely.
Quote:
Violence appears to me to be doing anything that harms another person, I just don't care about your intent - it doesn't matter. If one was truly of a perfect aiki mind one would emulate those perfect Indian masters who would rather die than hurt another being.
Maybe it's a bit of both intention and harm. I believe there can be harm without violence (due to lack of intent), and violence without harm (because of intent). I disagree that a "perfect aiki mind" would be totally pacifist. I understand aiki to mean joining with energy (or intention). I don't think aiki implies non-action -- just the opposite in fact.
Quote:
I think I should stipulate here that I have no problem at all with violence. I hunt and fish and practice a martial art - I would be a hypocrite to deny it.
And I would be a hypocrite if I didn't say that I recognize how aikido can be violent. I just believe that our highest aim is non-violence and peaceful resolution of a conflict with no harm to either party. I also believe that this can include physical technique.

Regards,

-Drew

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 04-12-2003, 12:59 AM   #80
mike lee
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
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respect

When I catch a fish, I thank God for providing me with a meal. When I gut it, I apologize to the fish for taking its life. When I eat the fish, I thank it for giving its life so that I might live.

Uncle Dennis can we go fishing sometime?
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Old 04-12-2003, 10:39 AM   #81
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: So, what are your thoughts on violence and Aikido?

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote:
The Aikidoka should never harbor intent to do violence on another person. That is not to say the resulting interaction between an Aikido advocate and an aggressor will not result in some short sever repercussions to the aggressor. However it is the content of the Aikido persons mind and heart that determine if that repercussion was an act of violence. Not the outcome of the act its self. This could be said of any martial art I think.

Dennis Hooker

www.shindai.com
The were three Aikidoka, all quite senior, in an alley. They were accosted by two individuals who started an argument. One of them sucker punched one of the Aikidoka, the other made directly for a second (the third Aikido chose not to get involved). The second Aikidoka went into a low kamae, and when the assailant approached, let off with one single atemi which broke the fellows jaw and ended the fight. By this time the original Aikidoka who had been sucker punched was strangling the first assailant with his tie in order to keep him from helping his friend.

What I would like to know, Dennis, is whether you consider the single strike which broke the jaw to be a violent act? Certainly the senior practitioner was aware of the probable consequences of such a blow. It would be very hard to maintain that he didn't have the "intention" to hurt this fellow. Legally, claiming lack of intention would not hold up in court. The action of the strike to the jaw has a high likelihood of causing a certain level of physical dysfunction when executed by a trained martial artist. It would be the use of that defensive technique and not what the defender claimed his "intention" was that would determine the parameters under which decisions would be made about his liability for the Use of Force.

I would maintain that Aikido when used for self defense in a situation in which there is serious intent to injure or kill on the part of the attacker, will often, if not always, have a violent result. This result will come about, not by accident, but the by the use of techniques which are inherently dangerous. The Aikidoka might try to minimize the damage done to the attacker, he might take the attacker's well being in to account in his actions, but against an attack by someone who is technically proficient there will be injury, period. Is that violent?

It is untrue to say that the attacker "hurt himself" and that the defender was being non-violent. Legally it won't work as a justification. But also morally it leaves the responsibility of the acts to someone else. That isn't good ethics. If I am a competent practitioner and I am involved in a serious defensive situation I would use whatever techniques I deemed appropriate to the situation. If it were a stupid drunk, I would use lower level force techniques, if it was a multiple attacker situation the first person I touch isn't getting up again any time soon, if there is a weapon involved I will almost certainly break or dislocate some joints or bones, probably take out the eyes, and unless they are totally incompetent and I feel I can ease up, I won't stop until they are unconscious. If I am properly trained, none of this will happen by itself, none of it will be accidental. If I know what I am doing these acts will be intentional. If I break an arm without intending to either I am not competent or they had some predisposition to be injured.

I maintain that non-violence is in your heart. You do everything you can to avoid a conflict. When the conflict is over you let it go and harbor no ill feelings. During the conflict you do whatever is deemed necessary in your own mind to resolve that conflict. If the attacker is seriously violent then the actions you take will almost certainly be violent and intentionally so.

I think that any act of violence (including War) is something to be regretted. If I had to dismantle someone in order to protect myself or another I would take no pleasure in it. I am heartsick listening to all of the talking heads and politicians joyfully carping about how we have won the War in Iraq. We have done horrible things to thousands of people, many of them innocent people we were there to help. We may have had to do this (another discussion), the innocent lives lost on both sides may have been the cost of something better and greater in the future. But it is absolutely immoral to attempt to distance ourselves from these actions. It is the same in individual combat. If I did it I intended to do it, it didn't happen because of the attacker. I should be able to justify what I chose to do by outlining the threat that I perceived. That is the way in which the legal system functions. If I hurt someone I will regret having to do it. I would probably be angry at the attacker(s) for forcing me to do it. But whatever I did was my own action. If it had violent results it was because I intended it to have violent results.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 04-12-2003, 03:31 PM   #82
jimvance
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Mesa, AZ
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Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote:
Perhaps my perspective on the question is unique and perhaps even wrong but to me violence follows intent. Now catch them in a steel trap and beat their heads in with a club while smiling now that is violence. I believe a volcano and a hurricane are awesome acts of the power of nature but not violent because there is no intent.
I still think there should be a clearer definition of the views of violence. Most of what is being talked about here takes place in the arena of violence, but could be classified as "harmful intent" or "antisocial behavior" rather than just simply as "violence". We live in a violent universe, some times beautifully so. We attach extra emotional concepts to the word "violence" that I don't believe really should be there, much in the same way we talk about the word "aggressive". Both of these words have negative connotations, implying some form of abuse or overuse of force, but I think they have gotten a bum rap. The terms start to contradict each other when we talk about a tornado not being violent because it has no intent. How do we know that it doesn't have intent? Tell the victims of tornados that it has no intent and that it is not violent. I believe that what the tornado doesn't have is a human emotion attached to its inherently violent action. The difference between a rifle aimed by a hunter and a rifle aimed by a soldier is the emotional intent we give to it; how we perceive it does not change the nature of the weapon---used in its designed purpose, it is a violent tool. Some of the best times of my life have been the most "violent", just without the negative view of being harmful (or at least balancing the harm with some perceived benefit).
Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I maintain that non-violence is in your heart. You do everything you can to avoid a conflict. When the conflict is over you let it go and harbor no ill feelings. During the conflict you do whatever is deemed necessary in your own mind to resolve that conflict. If the attacker is seriously violent then the actions you take will almost certainly be violent and intentionally so.
If we begin to talk about non-violence, we really begin to see the separation between the two ideals, violence as intent and violence as universal force. It is only possible in a purely static environment for "non-violence" as an ideal to exist; I believe what we call "non-violence" is really just having non-harmful intent. Using the concept of non-violence has been one of the most effective weapons of political leaders in the last century. But I don't think that has "stopped the violence"; the Chinese takeover of Tibet in the 1950s was violent---there really was no "non-violence". What the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people in general showed was that they were not going to respond with harmful intent, but they still allowed the violence to occur, hence my meaning of "no non-violence".

We must become comfortable with our universe, its violent nature, and the nature of violence within each one of us. An old koan I heard (and will presently butcher, methinks) goes something like this:

Q. Where do you find the exits when the house is on fire?

A. Sit down and strike a match.

We cannot escape this, we can only become aware of it. I apologize if I insist on being knitpicky, and I am not attempting to take two notable teachers to task here. The real question I would ask is "why do we insist on looking at words like violence and aggression as something we should avoid?" Help me.

Jim Vance
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Old 04-12-2003, 05:29 PM   #83
Dennis Hooker
Dojo: Shindai Dojo, Orlando Fl.
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George, I am well aware of the incident of which you speak. I have myself been involved in very serious actions. To be frank there is no time for thought. One acts out of survival and ones training and instinct take over. Was the act of which you speak violent? It was certainly injurious and the premeditated attack was planed violence. I believe violence is hostility, fighting, brutality, cruelty, sadism, and carnage among other things and I believe these things have no place in Aikido or in an Aikidoka's mind. The response I believe was instinctive self defense. I hope for the Aikidokas sake they harbor and harbored none of these things in the minds.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
https://www.createspace.com/238049

www.shindai.com
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Old 04-12-2003, 09:23 PM   #84
George S. Ledyard
 
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Violence

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote:
George, I am well aware of the incident of which you speak. I have myself been involved in very serious actions. To be frank there is no time for thought. One acts out of survival and ones training and instinct take over. Was the act of which you speak violent? It was certainly injurious and the premeditated attack was planed violence. I believe violence is hostility, fighting, brutality, cruelty, sadism, and carnage among other things and I believe these things have no place in Aikido or in an Aikidoka's mind. The response I believe was instinctive self defense. I hope for the Aikidokas sake they harbor and harbored none of these things in the minds.
Ok. I figured you knew what I was talking about. I guess I believe that violence is that which is destructive. It can be natural violence, which destroy but creates space for the new. It can be emotional which does real damage that may not heal in a single lifetime. It certainly can be physical as noted above. I viewd the incident as violent but mot unjustified. The persopns in volved may not be aware that they were in fact lucky.

I had a friend in college who grew up in Chicago. He was Black and got attacked by two white guys from his school simply because of that fact. He was struck from behind with a mallet. He was a karate and jiu jutsu student since the age of twelve. He turned and dropped the first assailant with a side kick that put him out of it. The second attacker then backed off. My friend then helped the disabled attacker to his feet and invited the two of them to go for a beer as he was genuinely interested to hear why they thought they should attack him. That's my idea of non-violence. He had no intent to injure beyond what was necessary, had no desire to humiliate the attackers, and took the first opportunity to try to heal the conflict. That is Budo in action in my opinion.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 04-14-2003, 02:31 AM   #85
bogglefreak20
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In my opinion an Aikidoka should never atempt to cause injury on another person. Aikido techniques are dangerous, therefore should be used only in self-defense and even then with caution and self-control (with peace of mind) in order not to hurt your "opponent".

When training in Aikido I consider those that attack not as Aikidoka for that particular moment. And when I attack, I'm not an Aikidoka for the time being. I'm just providing my partner with the necessary impulse for him/her to try and defens him-/herself with an Aikido technique.

That is also why there are no attack technique in Aikido (at least the "version" im training in). Doing e.g. shomen-uchi for me means DEFENDING from a hand/blade/whatever trying to chop you up rather than trying to chop up someone.

I read once a statement of O Sensei, who claimed that even when you perform an Aikido technique you should be careful not to hurt the person who attacked you. I belive that says it all.

Finding the border-line between doing a successful technique and hurting your partner is what Aikido is all about (for me, at least).

With Respect,

Miha

Beatus Qui Venit In Nomine Domini!
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Old 04-14-2003, 11:04 PM   #86
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
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I have a little problem with those ideas, Miha, since it seems I've always been taught (and come to believe) that uke is as important a part of Aikido as nage is, and that good Aikido leads to good uke as well as good nage.

What I'd say, instead, is that if I'm ever attacked, I hope to draw from my attacker whatever Aikidoka he/she has inside. In my head, it is the same as I try to treat beginners on the mat as though they are Aikidoka, and to find the Aikido within them. It is by learning how to draw connection from people who aren't looking to create connection that I really make Aikido 'effective.'

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 05-01-2003, 06:19 AM   #87
Jeff R.
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I've seen "run-away" show up many times in several posts. In Aikido, running away isn't suggested or implied unless facing a life threatening situation from which the only recourse is to escape. There is a large difference between running away and avoiding a situation; recall Marubashi.

As well, remember that violence is fueled by intent. When someone attacks you, it is impossible for you to be attacked personally. They are not attacking you, because you don't exist. If you take an attack personally, then you are biased and personally invested in the attack. If you exist, if there is an awareness of the self, then you cannot be part of the attacker's spirit.
The attack is just a motion, just an action in time and space, and when you dismiss self, your action is simply the response, the purest movement to counterbalance the attack. There is no anger, no life or death, no here and now, only the Universe within and around you that embraces the initial movement and resolves the issue.

The attacker should have an option. If you extend your fist, and the attacker decides to run into it, then it is his suicide. If he chooses to stop the attack, then there is no more action. If you FORCE the attacker to do anything, then you are imposing your own energy and bias upon the situation. If you are purely void of self, then the attacker will do it all on his own.

So, yes. If the attacker runs into a wall and breaks his hand, it is his own fault. But our purpose in all purity is to resolve the situation so that NOBODY is injured. Pain is useful; damage is bad.

Last edited by Jeff R. : 05-01-2003 at 06:25 AM.

Exercise and extend your Ki with conviction; feel its awesome power--just smile.
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