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Old 02-11-2005, 05:55 PM   #1
akiy
 
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"Nage" to "Release" - Article

Here's an article I just found on the Aiki-Extensions site called "The Effect of Language and Intention on Aikido Practice" by Beth Shibata in California:

http://www.aiki-extensions.org/pubs/tvrelease.doc
(Microsoft Word document format)

The gist of it is that we should get rid of the term "nage" and replace it with the term "release" as the author believes that there is a "mismatch between aikido's goal of harmony and the action of throwing one's partner."

Thoughts?

-- Jun

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Old 02-11-2005, 06:59 PM   #2
senshincenter
 
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

I am sorry to say this -- but it is only my opinion and as such really carries no weight beyond that. So in the freedom of being so near to meaningless, I would like to say that I felt that there is so much wrong with this piece, that if someone is not seeing it, it is because they do not want to see it. The whole thing smells of delusion. This, I feel, can be said from its basic definitions, to its supporting assumptions, to its historical interpretations, and, of course, to its conclusions.

Even its philosophy of language is totally challenged by its own cause. After all, if Aikido is the way of peace, love, harmony, non-injury, reconciliation, etc., which the author accepts, does not the fact that the art's history has for the most part made total use of the word "nage" dampen the strength of the article's main suggestion (i.e. that we should replace the word "nage" with "release" for the sake of better understanding and becoming more consistent with Aikido's uniqueness, philosophy, goals, etc.)? Of course it does. If the word "nage" has gotten in the way of so much, Aikido would not be that thing that is thought to need a new word in order for it to continue forward. That is so obvious, whether or not one was up to date on all the key debates concerning the extremely complex relationships between language and/or other types of cultural systems. If one is not seeing that, then one just does not want to. If it is not delusion behind this kind of "blindness," then it has to be agenda.

I am generally one to say "let everyone do their own Aikido." And I'm sure there are some very insightful folks over at Aiki-Extensions, but what I always find so hard to swallow is when that organization publishes, and thus endorses, points of view that are so obviously absent of self-reflection. I cannot see how any movement toward peace, harmony, and universal love, can ever come from something where self-reflection is not held up in higher regard. The positions of Aiki-Extensions, which may be varied to some degree, do generally reflect some very common ideas in the Aikido world -- to be sure. However, commonality does not make correctness. The idea that it is an art that can make one non-violent, or even that an art can actually be non-violent, as opposed to the idea that only a person's own heart/mind can do such a thing, is certainly below the level of sophisticated thought I know some of those folks are very capable of performing. A point to this fact, the paper offered here is extremely well written. The author is obviously very intelligent.

However, for example, when it is not obvious to them that their view of Aikido is merely just the standard Western and Modern notion of the "benevolent use of power," and not the alternative they claim it to be, folks really into reconciling their own will to power (by whatever means) are going to say, "Hey, what are you thinking?!"
I offer this:

"…as well as to respond with counters (Jap. atemi) for protection, if necessary."

The catchall, "if necessary," is behind the use of power in Iraq, and a million other places all over the world, and in countless homes and on countless streets. The use of the negative concept, "unnecessarily injuring," implies that force can be not only justified but also necessary. Fine, I can accept that. But what I find hard to accept is why an organization that claims to be about an alternative to the current modes of power cannot see that non-violence, peace, harmony, etc., as they present it, does not then lie in the art per se but rather in reconciling Man's capacity to justify his/her own violence (which I would say, is and always has been the mark of Budo and thus Aikido).

Folks have managed to kill folks just fine with "non-violent" artifacts -- just fine. Folks always will. For me, this presents a serious question for the various agendas of Aiki-Extensions and the various manners by which they use the social and human sciences to support those agendas.

Last edited by senshincenter : 02-11-2005 at 07:02 PM.

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Old 02-11-2005, 07:26 PM   #3
Qatana
 
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Like I said on another list, she probably uses the word "herstory" as well. Lets just change our entire language to make it softer & fluffier.

Release to me implies letting go, letting go of uke strikes me as Dropping them rather than guiding them into a fall.

yeah, thats it, "guide" instead of nage. if we Have to get fluffy.

Q
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Old 02-11-2005, 07:31 PM   #4
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote:
Here's an article I just found on the Aiki-Extensions site called "The Effect of Language and Intention on Aikido Practice" by Beth Shibata in California:

http://www.aiki-extensions.org/pubs/tvrelease.doc
(Microsoft Word document format)

The gist of it is that we should get rid of the term "nage" and replace it with the term "release" as the author believes that there is a "mismatch between aikido's goal of harmony and the action of throwing one's partner."

Thoughts?

-- Jun
Hello Jun,

I have just downloaded the article and printed it. I will go through it more closely when I have the time (it is thesis-reading time here at the moment). I am presently going through a very interesting PhD thesis on sociolinguistics & cross-cultural pragmatics (in Italian, English and Japanese), which is right in the area being discussed by Ms. Shibata.

My initial reaction is similar to that of Mr Valadez. First of all the Founder used the commonly accepted terms of 'ikkajo', 'nikajo', 'sankajo' to name techniques and the common Japanese nomenclature was gradually adopted by the deshi and especially by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Thus, '-nage' is used in Japanese as a suffix for a certain type of technique, but it does not follow that (1) all such techniques are 'thows' in the commonly accepted English sense (if there is one), or that (2) calling a technique 'nani-nani nage' makes any significant statement about the dimensions of aikido, if any, that might be expressed in so-called 'spiritual' terms, understood in a Western sense (e.g., as used by authors such as Yasuo Yuasa).

That said, I will read the article with interest and perhaps make some further comments later.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 02-14-2005, 06:10 PM   #5
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

It's a good thing I could keep my lunch down. And I only read the first three paragraphs. I'm stopping there. If I can find multiple faults in the first three paragraphs, then I really don't need to read the rest.

I don't know where the authors have studied, but in my experience words in a martial art are closely scrutinized and they are issues examined in great detail. The effects of the words are very easy to see, especially if you attend another school of Aikido.

"Accepting the argument" phrase has nothing to to with the latter half of that sentence, "the terms that direct". That last part should be replaced with "how the teacher explains the techniques affect the manner in which ...". You see, if you don't have a full grasp of the Japanese language, then you are merely translating words using a little bit of knowledge. You can say to a student, do nage, do nage, all day long and they'll never ever know what you mean. They'll look around and see what everyone else is doing. They'll give you a lost look. Some will say what's nage? Some will just do something. Until that teacher explains what nage is to the student.

Words are words. Until both parties involved understand the meaning of the words, neither will comprehend nor will they be influenced. If I just stood in front of someone and said, "ajula taetemo mashudo habila", what are they going to do? They aren't going to be influenced by my words, but rather the influence will be from themselves in not comprehending or understanding what's being said. And you get five teachers to explain a technique and I can guarantee you'll get five different explanations.

Then we get to, ". In some cases, the end result is consistent with the art's goal of creating harmony; however, in other instances the final move undermines whatever harmony had been intended." Nice to have examples of just what was meant by end result being "consistent" and "undermines".

The action throw? Um, is this like a softball "throw" or a baseball "throw" or a football "throw" or a judo "throw" or what? Because "throw" encompasses a whole lot of definitions. Just like nage does in Japanese. There should be concrete examples of what kind of physical "throw" the author is talking about. If the author means to push a body away from you kind of throw, then I'd have to say that they are not doing the proper aikido I've been taught. If the author means to add more energy and "throw" a person away from you, then they aren't doing the proper aikido I've been taught. But if you've blended with someone and moved so that they are redirected elsewhere, then that qualifies as aikido and "nage" and "throw". Just because one person has a concrete definition for the word "nage" or "throw" doesn't mean everyone else in the world will have that same meaning.

No matter what Japanese term you use, the word itself won't mean anything. It's what the instructor/teacher/sensei teaches and shows that will matter immensely. How good the teacher is and how good you are at learning are the core and that is what will influence the most.

Do you think that the early students understood what "nage" meant? O'sensei showed them the technique, named it, and then they did it over and over again until one day, someone got it nearly right and his/her eyes opened and O'sensei smiled and they both silently mouthed the word, "nage" in understanding.

Mark
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Old 02-14-2005, 06:27 PM   #6
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

I read a couple pages into the article and gave up. It struck me as self-congratulatory, mental masturbation. I'll stick with throw. And even go so far as toss, slam, and smash. I've gotten, and given all three, (although mostly gotten) and seem to be the better for it.

Keith Lee
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Old 02-14-2005, 06:39 PM   #7
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

An excerpt:
Quote:
Linguistic Determinism: A Definition
Linguistic Determinism refers to the idea that the language we use to some extent determines the way in which we view and think about the world around us. The concept has generally been divided into two separate groups - 'strong' determinism and 'weak' determinism. Strong determinism is the extreme version of the theory, stating that language actually determines thought, that language and thought are identical. Although this version of the theory would attract few followers today - since it has strong evidence against it, including the possibility of translation between languages - we will see that in the past this has not always been the case. Weak determinism, however, holds that thought is merely affected by or influenced by our language, whatever that language may be. This version of determinism is widely accepted today.
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 02-15-2005, 02:22 PM   #8
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Okay, I skimmed this. Did she ever define "harmony"? My impression the working definition being used is more of "peace, love, harmony" and no one gets hurt, that we all get along, even if we are being attacked. You will often hear where I train that "aikido still IS a martial art." We harmonize with the attack. An attack is a physical affront to my well-being. If a person has ill intent am I to just keep spinning them around in circles? No, I blend with the attack, harmonize with it, and then redirect it to hopefully de-escalate or even neutralize the situation. We're talking about potential violent confrontations here. The "peacefulness", the "harmony" is that I'm not going to punch them in the face, but take them to the ground or even throw them to the ground so I can be safe, and so I don't injure them so greatly that I turn into the aggressor. The "harmony" is in my mind and the attempt to neutralize the situation, and when dealing with violence neutralization means the attacker not harming you anymore. Aikido isn't about us being doormats, but it is about us asserting ourselves and not being overly aggressive. It's not about learning to kill, but learning to defend.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 02-15-2005, 05:53 PM   #9
Eric Webber
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

My thought: it's a bit comical. Call it what you want, when technique is applied correctly to the end that the conflict is resolved with aiki harmony and energy, that's aikido. Throw, release, project, toss, bounce, let drift off like a falling cherry blossom flower in the springtime... it's all academic after the practice is done.
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:39 PM   #10
Sharon Seymour
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Shibata's questioning of the language of Aikido is understandable. I have a friend who decided to use the term "approach" rather than "attack" in her dojo, in an effort to reflect her understanding of the spirit of Aikido. The question of language has come up in a recent Aikiweb thread on competition as well. Articles on interpreting martial arts terms abound. (Which reminds me to recommend Dave Lowry's wonderful Sword and Brush: The spirit of the martial arts, which explores the etymology of martial arts concepts through their kanji.)

I agree that "throw," containing the idea of "adding propulsive force," would indicate a failure of connection in technique. The concept that the finish of the technique uses energy stored from the initial attack and then released is, in my current understanding of Aikido, accurate.

Language is powerful, in my thinking, and moving between languages poses many challenges. Why O-Sensei used the terms he did, or why his son codified Aikido terminology as he did, is beyond my knowledge. I am not fluent in Japanese, and that leaves me out of such speculations.

My main criticism is of the generalized references to "other martial arts" in the opening paragraphs. This kind of fuzziness is quite annoying ... which martial art specifically, and which specific term in the context of that art?

English is a very rich language, in which it is easy to play and explore. Thanks to Ms. Shibata for giving me something new to ponder.

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Old 02-16-2005, 04:22 AM   #11
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

I thought it was an interesting article.

Many years ago i remember being on a seminar where the instructor defined Aikido as (to paraphrase) putting uke in a position where it is easier to fall over than remain standing. In those terms techniques are an invitation to fall over.

Same concept different semantics?
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Old 02-16-2005, 08:29 AM   #12
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Quote:
Sharon Seymour wrote:
Shibata's questioning of the language of Aikido is understandable. I have a friend who decided to use the term "approach" rather than "attack" in her dojo, in an effort to reflect her understanding of the spirit of Aikido.
Seems a bit unreasonable and an overreaction to defend yourself from an approach. The term leaves out intent.

The act of releasing connotes that one was in another's grip or confined by another. I've found neither to be true in a good blend (eg. kokyunage).

If I went around "releasing" everyone that "approached" me... no wait...

YMMV

Peace,
eD

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Old 02-16-2005, 08:55 AM   #13
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Quote:
Sharon Seymour wrote:
Shibata's questioning of the language of Aikido is understandable. I have a friend who decided to use the term "approach" rather than "attack" in her dojo, in an effort to reflect her understanding of the spirit of Aikido.
I used to train in a dojo where the head instructor emphatically told me not to think about attacking as uke. What can I say, the practice reflected this very clearly.

kvaak
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Old 02-16-2005, 11:21 AM   #14
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Perhaps instead of changing the words we use to discuss Aikido and hoping that helps us understand our training better, we should train more and hope that helps us understand the words better.
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Old 02-16-2005, 01:04 PM   #15
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

I like this point very much Benjamin - thanks for saying it.
dmv

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Old 02-16-2005, 05:24 PM   #16
Qatana
 
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Why on earth would I want to defend myself against someone Approaching me? They might want to buy me dinner or something nice!

So then we change the word "defense" to "response" and we have a nice conversation.

And when the gorilla with the knife approches me in a dark alley? Guess I should just tell him he isn't harmonising.

Last edited by Qatana : 02-16-2005 at 05:27 PM.

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Old 02-16-2005, 06:16 PM   #17
Janet Rosen
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote:
And when the gorilla with the knife approches me in a dark alley? Guess I should just tell him he isn't harmonising.
Nah, that's when it's time to put the harm back in harmony!

Janet Rosen
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Old 02-16-2005, 06:27 PM   #18
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

I'm glad I didn't print the article. I would be forced to "release" it in the garbage.

I always felt we threw uke so we wouldn't have to break him. That's my take on aikido philosophy.

Saotome Sensei wrote in one of his books that using aikido preserves the attacker's karma. Basically, don't let the guy hurt you, put him on the floor without breaking or killing him, and everyone's karma is intact. Sounds harmonious to me.

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
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Old 02-18-2005, 12:47 PM   #19
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
Nah, that's when it's time to put the harm back in harmony!
Hey...that's what we do in my dojo! Some of us actually say this to remind others aikido is still a martial art, and because in the past my dojo has been known for being very tough. Things have become more moderate over the years.

I agree with the others, if we refer to an attack as "approach", a throw to "release" you are essentially taking away the whole point of what we are doing. I'm not going to be "approached" by a rapist, or crazed boyfriend. You harmonize with the attack, or blend with it. "Blending" is what the "harmony" is in aikido. I feel like people get confused that the "harmony" is about "peace, love and happiness" or just a mere absence of conflict. Conflict exists in our lives and we can't avoid it doing so would make the problem even worse. Aikido, the "harmony" of aikido is about asserting oneself and not being overly aggressive. Sometimes you have to assert strongly and irimi and sometimes you can assert softly and tenkan, and sometimes you can just let them go by you and tenshin. BUT each time we are take a step to resolve the conflict, deflect and direct to bring the attacker under control. It's not about allowing ourselves to be doormats and letting the attacker and run over us. If we only had the mentality in practice of "approach" and "release" then we are missing the point that the person "approaching" will have the intent to do harm and that when we "release" they will be able to get back up and still do us harm.

Yes, aikido is often about self-development, and for me that IS a big part of my training, but it's not the only part. I still care about the martiality behind the technique, I still strive to train the physical as well as the mental or spiritual. If we take away the martial aspect then for me you take away half of the art.

...okay...rambling...

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 02-18-2005, 03:54 PM   #20
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Taking harmony as an ideal of one's beliefs and practices is one thing - it seems to me. But to then go on to equate the ideal of harmony with the ideals of non-violence, peace, life, creation, non-aggression, etc., well, that's all one huge leap in logic. I cannot see how any viable practice of spiritual cultivation can be based upon such leaps. That's one of my big issues with the ideas presented in this paper.

Moreover, positing harmony as such is definitely a bias that is not shared by Nature. Nature, which is where East Asian ideas on harmony come from, including those of Osensei's on the matter, has no problem regaining balance and/or finding harmony by offering decay, death, extinction,violence, etc., as appropriate responses to a given set of conditions. Nature does not lose harmony becomes something dies, is hurt, or because it adopts truly hostile conditions, etc. Thus, in my opinion, I'm not so sure we should be idealizing harmony above all other virtues that should equally and rightly belong to the cultivated warrior of peace.

Harmony is not the guarantor of peace, life, non-violence, etc., rather, it is the mere reconciliation of two interrelated aspects and/or elements. Sometimes that reconciliation falls on the positive side of things, sometimes it falls on the negative side of things - but always, Nature will benefit from either way - always Nature will accomplish its dynamic state of balance. Nature uses harmony to maintain this state of dynamic balance, but harmony will make use of both life-affirming drives and life-negating drives. The ideal of harmony offers us no footing on how and why we should judge either of these things.

Putting the harm back in harmony, which is also a statement we often spout, is an important thing to realize - I feel. (I am glad Janet said that.) This is because those kind of statements speak to the dual aspects of everything for which harmony is a possibility. If we artificially eliminate a "less than desirable trait" - like injury and/or violence, etc. - then we not only lose our chance for true harmony, we become like some sort of biological engineer who with his/her craft has moved further from Nature than closer to it. And then what? What can good, wisdom, compassion, etc., mean without a true connection to the natural workings of the Universe? What are you really left with? Greenhouse Aikido.

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/w...useaikido.html

dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-18-2005, 09:27 PM   #21
Dave Himrich
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Ms. Shibata's understanding of aikido is quite different from my own. I would challenge her premises that not injuring the attacker is fundamental to the nature of aikido, and I would also challenge the premise that aikido is inherently non-violent. Moore Sensei once explained this during class by saying "There is nothing non-violent about throwing someone to the ground."
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Old 02-19-2005, 07:18 PM   #22
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Quote:
Daniel Pierson wrote:
I always felt we threw uke so we wouldn't have to break him. That's my take on aikido philosophy.
As a practitioner of Aikijitsu I've heard many times there are no throws or pins only breaks and dislocates. Uke does the Ukemi to escape the break or dislocate. So yeah, I'd have to agree with you, the throw is so you don't have to break him.
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Old 03-17-2006, 10:24 AM   #23
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Hi folks,

Here's a response from Beth Shibata, the article's author. She asked me to post this in this thread.

-- Jun

Quote:
Beth Shibata wrote:
Jun,

Many thanks for bringing my paper to the attention of a wider readership. I'm delighted that it is getting read.

I did not expect my ideas to receive universal approval, nor did I expect them to be well understood. For those who find the ideas worth pondering, they may hold some value, even if in the final analysis, one disagrees. In fact, I suspect that for many people, the notions presented are on the radical edge, hence the rather strong and, in some cases, visceral responses.

However, I was a disappointed in the personal nature of some of the responses. I have no problem with anyone disagreeing with the arguments presented. I appreciate well-reasoned arguments and reasonable criticisms. They are a part of the process. I do have a problem with people making claims and inferences on a personal level as they are likely inaccurate or simply inappropriate. My instructors encourage their students to believe that a fundamental aspect of martial arts is showing respect and courtesy to others. But it is also true that many students are still working on extending those notions beyond the formalities on the mat.

Further, I found it sad that some opted to use this forum as a platform to spread their distaste for Aiki-Extensions. To exhibit the logical fallacy of "faulty generalization," (I dislike this person's ideas, so the organization it came from must be equally awful) is disappointing. Aiki-Extensions simply provided me, as a member, an opportunity to present my ideas. I appreciate that. I bear full responsibility for all the ideas expressed as well as any errors. If there is an issue with this paper, it should be directed to me and only to me.

While much of the dialog of this thread slipped into other areas of discussion related, but not entirely relevant to the topic, I'm pleased to have gotten at least a couple of people thinking.

B. Shibata
Aikido Shin Jigen

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Old 03-17-2006, 11:15 AM   #24
Mashu
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

Strange... she didn't defend any of the points she tried to make in her article. She just went on about how she didn't like the responses that it got.
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Old 03-17-2006, 02:47 PM   #25
senshincenter
 
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Re: "Nage" to "Release" - Article

I was one who critically mentioned some views of Aiki Extensions. I did not see that as a discrediting of the entire organization - first, because I was talking about a specific position only (i.e. Aikido is an alternative to current practices of conflict resolution, etc.), and second, because I am hardly in any position to discredit an organization like Aiki Extensions.

My experience with this view goes back to the time of the Gulf War (when it was just on the horizon). One of the leading members of Aiki Extension (not sure the group was even formed back then and/or to what degree) had come to our university to speak about Aikido being an alternative to American foreign policy. Different from other lectures/presentations, this one had mats and folks dressed out in gi/hakama, acquired the help of the local Aikido dojo, and encouraged audience participation.

To be sure, the ensuring war was not a popular idea on campus. There was much debate going on. Many talks on the possible risks of such a war (concerning things we are seeing now in Iraq) were filling up both class times and lecture series. This talk on Aikido as the "great alternative" was seen then as being part of the overall discourse then occurring on campus - on American foreign policy, the limitations of diplomatic means, the changing world culture, political alliances, war as politics/politics as war, etc.

Before folks went hands-on, a talk was given. I remember it well -- as it went on to form much of my own Aikido understanding. The talk presented that very common Aikido position: non-violence, harmony, blending, mutual welfare, having the aggressor see the error of his/her/their ways, etc. Folks, not just martial artists mind you (in fact, few where martial artists -- maybe there were three of us out of something like 40, if you are not counting the visiting Aikido group), quickly saw the loopholes.

Questions arose: Can non-violence remove an invading army if it does not want to move? Does not non-violence aim at the will of the attacker and not the attack? If so, how can you employ non-violence against an attack that has already completed its agenda? Can you blend with an aggressor that has already captured what it wanted? Doesn't harmony have to occur in light of three elements -- not two? Doesn't harmony involve two unique aspects plus a third unique aspect upon which the first two can re-organize their relationship? If so, what is the third aspect by which the U.S. and Iraq can harmonize? Who is to decide what that third aspect is? What would make an aggressive nation see the error if its ways? If it is a matter of futility and/or self-preservation, why should violence be automatically cancelled out when few things can bring home the truth of futility and/or self-preservation like violence? If violence is cancelled out for moral reasons, can futility and/or self-preservation be manifested in such a large and hardly unified world/global economy? Etc.

As you can imagine, the answers were not quick in coming, or clear in coming. This is of course no fault of the speaker -- not in total at least -- these are difficult, if not impossible, questions to answer. However, that was the climate at that time -- folks wanted answers, and they wanted them to be well thought out. War was on the horizon.

We were told we'd better understand how Aikido was an alternative to American foreign policy once we did some Aikido. I suppose in a dojo this would pass as a legitimate way of answering questions. On campus, however, and even in some dojo, it only meant that one could not answer the questions. As a result, only a few audience members went on the mats. I was not one of them. Many folks walked out. I do not think it takes much imagination to figure out what folks were asked to do: tai no henkan: "Someone wants to push at you, someone appears to be against you -- do not push back -- there's no need to get aggressive in return. Do not seek to be resistant. Simply blend, and turn, adopting their point of view -- looking at what they are looking at -- they looking at what you are looking at. When you do this, aggressive energy ceases. Resolution is present and possible." Etc.

Questions: Are you saying that we should turn from our stance and adopt the point of view of Iraq? Are you saying that we should see that Iraq does have claim to Kuwait? Of course, this would mean an end to the conflict, but is this a wise foreign policy? How much adopting of another's foreign policy can a nation do in the name of non-resistance before it has no foreign policy of its own at all?

More tai-no-henko practice: "We should not assume that we are now in a weak position simply because we did not resist the aggressor head on. In fact, we can from here be quite aggressive if we need to (going from tai-no-henko to kote-gaeshi). Should the attack continue, we can continue with the defense until the aggressor loses his/her will to attack."

My turn to ask a question: "I think it is the "need to" that is at issue here. This "need to" is not an alternative to U.S. foreign policy; this is U.S. foreign policy. All of the debates on campus, in a way, are centered on this "need to." These are the same debates raging in Washington. Aikido, as you understand it, is no alternative to this. You have an attacker, you determine your response according to your sense of need, and if need be, you justify your own violence by labeling your attacker as an aggressor that would not stop if you did not make him. This is no different from what Bush is saying about Saddam Hussein."

At this point, the local Aikido instructor said something like, "Well, you won't understand it, won't know you like it or that you are better off for knowing it, if you don't try it." The instructor was in the back of the audience, so him speaking out got a lot of other folks in the audience to just start speaking out -- they not knowing he was the instructor of the Aikido group present. As you can imagine, that kind of "folk wisdom" did not fly well with the remaining audience. Most of us left at that time -- leaving a handful of folks only -- probably folks that came with the Aikido group.

I am sure we were all seen as folks that "just don't get it" by the Aikido group present -- even by the presenter, maybe. To be sure, that was a rough climate to be attempting to deliver on such huge promises -- so one has to consider that as part of the difficulty the presenter was surely facing. However, positions that claim to be well thought out, which is going to be assumed whenever it is part of lecture series on a university campus, or whenever they are written up as an essay or an article, well, they should be well thought out -- my opinion. For me, the essay in question raised the same issues as my first exposure to these positions did -- "Why are the obvious questions not being asked and answered?"

dmv

David M. Valadez
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