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Old 04-04-2005, 04:25 AM   #26
Paul
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causing no (serious) harm

How can we say that an aikido technique doesn't count as violence as long as it is executed in the way of aikido?
I am sure the recipient of your technique with a fractured limb and a few bruises would disagree with you.

Besides why does violence carry such a negative connotation? Actions can be violent with Mal intent. Combat of any kind is always going to be violent. We cannot escape this fact.
The first time a beginner see Tobi ukemi they are often shocked by the violence of aikido. Are they wrong to think aikido is violent? I don't think so, I think we as students have become immune to this fact.

Regards Paul Finn
Edinburgh
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Old 04-04-2005, 05:55 AM   #27
ruthmc
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Paul Finn wrote:
How can we say that an aikido technique doesn't count as violence as long as it is executed in the way of aikido?
I am sure the recipient of your technique with a fractured limb and a few bruises would disagree with you.
If I executed my technique without intent to cause harm, using my skills and abilities to deal with an unprovoked attack outside the dojo (where the attacker intended me harm), then any damage that occurred to the attacker as a consequence would be as a result of his own violence, not my Aikido.

Quote:
Paul Finn wrote:
Besides why does violence carry such a negative connotation?
Because violence means to do intentional harm. You can't be accidentally violent! At some level you have given yourself permission to deliberately attempt to inflict harm upon another human being if you choose to be violent.

Quote:
Paul Finn wrote:
The first time a beginner see Tobi ukemi they are often shocked by the violence of aikido. Are they wrong to think aikido is violent? I don't think so, I think we as students have become immune to this fact.
As a beginner I never saw Aikido as violent. Impressive, physical, sometimes hard, and very mysterious, yes. A beginner would indeed be wrong to think Aikido is violent, unless what they witnessed was an act of violence carried out in the name of Aikido, which regrettably does happen sometimes.

Perhaps I am fortunate that I could tell the difference between hard Aikido and violent technique from near the beginning of my training. Perhaps I'm just a good observer of human beings.

It's all in the intention, this hard vs violent training, empowered by self-control.

Ruth
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Old 04-04-2005, 06:27 AM   #28
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

david, i hope this is considered enough for you!!!! well its a good rant anyway..........

I will give a perspective of someone who came to aikido largely attracted conceptually. You should note that I am quite new to the art. To me the kind of conflict one is likely to encounter is dominance behavior. One needs to consider the motivation behind an attack, not just the specifics of the attack……nothing is ever that simple……an aikidoka has tremendous potential to display physical superiority to an adversary. However, the cause of an attack is never based on physicality, if someone has "something to prove" or feels that they need to physically assault you, no doubt there are issues behind that. My point is that by merely defeating someone physically we do not resolve the conflict. By not hurting your adversary in a physical confrontation you make the physicality a mute point. Effectively you say "we cant hurt each other". This is how I interpret harmony. If you hurt them you say "I can hurt you, can you do worse?"…..it makes the physicality the issue. Naturally to illustrate your superiority to your attacker may involve breaking their arm, the issue is grey, the difference here is that you are putting the responsibility of the action ( harm) back upon the attacker. ie I only hurt you because you made me….. i am not sure if this is possible with a striking art…but perhaps…it would take more maturity from the uke that is certain…so my point is that harming and intent to harm are two different things and the way this is perceived by uke is the difference between harmony and continued conflict.

all akidoka know that they could put their training partner in hospital many times each training session….but we never (almost) do….we learn to control power as a routine…I have no doubt that years of training this way has a deep psychological effect… consider boxing for an alternative, where you spar and really think about hurting the opponent…this I hope is where aikido can find me harmony…violence is the intent to harm, if you know how to defend yourself and you don't you are issuing violence on yourself,, and your family…..and the next poor sod who will become a victim …..….

Last edited by JamesDavid : 04-04-2005 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 04-04-2005, 06:49 AM   #29
Keith_k
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Ruth McWilliam wrote:
If I executed my technique without intent to cause harm, using my skills and abilities to deal with an unprovoked attack outside the dojo (where the attacker intended me harm), then any damage that occurred to the attacker as a consequence would be as a result of his own violence, not my Aikido.


Because violence means to do intentional harm. You can't be accidentally violent! At some level you have given yourself permission to deliberately attempt to inflict harm upon another human being if you choose to be violent.
I'm sorry but your staments seem to be contradictory. To say that the injury from your technique was the attacker's fault is akin to mining my fron lawn, and when one of my mines blows someone to bits saying "It wasn't MY fault, he was trespassing..." If you know a particular technique is capable of causing injury, and you intentionally use this technique, did you not intentionally put your attacker in a state potentially harmful? How is this not violence?
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Old 04-04-2005, 08:12 AM   #30
ruthmc
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Keith Kolb wrote:
I'm sorry but your staments seem to be contradictory. To say that the injury from your technique was the attacker's fault is akin to mining my fron lawn, and when one of my mines blows someone to bits saying "It wasn't MY fault, he was trespassing..." If you know a particular technique is capable of causing injury, and you intentionally use this technique, did you not intentionally put your attacker in a state potentially harmful? How is this not violence?
My Aikido is not violent, therefore, any injury sustained by the attacker would be due to him hurting himself. I would not break a limb by any direct action of my own, but if my attacker took a swing at me, missed, and fell on concrete breaking his own arm, that would be down to him.

I wouldn't stop a punch with my face just so my attacker could avoid falling over and hurting himself.

I hope this clarifies,

Ruth
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Old 04-04-2005, 09:27 AM   #31
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Ruth McWilliam wrote:

Because violence means to do intentional harm. You can't be accidentally violent! At some level you have given yourself permission to deliberately attempt to inflict harm upon another human being if you choose to be violent.

Ruth
Is a tornado violent? Is a storm? the question of intent is only mentioned in around half of the dictionary's I looked in. Can't an action be regarded as violent with out Mal intent? One must violently strike the mat to dissipate the force when performing Tobi ukemi does that make the action wrong?

Secondly you perform a technique that results in dropping another person on the floor or manipulating a joint in an un-natural direction but you have no responsibility for the outcome of such an action? you said that you wouldn't break a limb by any direct action of your own. Don't you at least acknowledge the possibility that any of the katame waza has the possibility of injury? And if so then do you acknowledge that by merely applying them you create a situation were you through the application of such a technique would damage someone. How exactly does a person injure himself?

My final point is to James. I have been lucky enough to have boxed at competition level and from my experience I never had the intention of causing harm. It sounds strange but there it is. How often have you watched a boxing match and the two boxers hug at the end? I think this occurs because of the absence of malice. There was violence but no malice a contradiction to many I am sure.

Regards Paul Finn
Edinburgh
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Old 04-04-2005, 10:30 AM   #32
jss
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

The idea that the intent behind an action has an effect on the morality of that action is as far as I know an idea that originated from Roman Law and was adopted by Christianity. Hence, we give lighter punishment to those who show remorse.
So I have serious doubt that for O-Sensei the intent whith which you break an arm would make any difference. You broke an arm. Period. If that was without the intention to do so, you need to train harder to improve the control you have over your technique.
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Old 04-04-2005, 10:36 AM   #33
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Michael Cardwell wrote:
In Invincible Warrior, by John Stevens there is a story about this. Supposedly someone once ask O-sensei if he had any great disappointments in life. One of the things that he said was a failure on his part was an injury that he caused. He was teaching at a police training seminar when one of the students started to strongly resist a wrist technique that O-sensei was applying to him, and so his wrist was injured. O-sensei said that while this may have taught him a lesson in the old way of thinking, that it was not his way, and he resolved after that to refine his technique so that no one would ever get hurt,
But O-Sensei is clearly talking about teaching here, not about real life application.
Perhaps O-Sensei' thinking was more in line of what Alain Peyrache says: aikido should be perfectly safe to practice and when you need effective technique, you can use the principles learned in aikido training and add the things that make a technique efficient (full atemi, joint breaks and so forth). And he has shown how to break a neck, so by efficient he is talking about the full range of effectiveness.
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Old 04-04-2005, 10:40 AM   #34
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Ruth McWilliam wrote:
People are people, and sometimes they misbehave. Agreeed that they "should know better", but regrettably some of them don't. A degree of cynicism is healthy
You answered all my questions, but not the whole post, so let me rephrase:
if aikido is so big on the peace, love and understanding, how come we have so little to show for it? How come O-Sensei had so little to show for it (considering his temper among other things)?
Of course, religion doesn't do that much better in that respect, so perhaps cynicism IS the answer. (Or smaller words that sell less good. Damn, that was cynicism too...)
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Old 04-04-2005, 12:22 PM   #35
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

basically, the attacker gets the same amount of "harm" as he/she invests into it.

the harder they come, the harder they fall.

aiki is just letting the attacker deal with his own stregnth.

having aiki is to remain a neutral factor in the situation.

its obvious the attacker wants to inflict harm.

so, aikidoka make it obvious he/she isn't going to fight.

i consider it an act of compassion to be able to damage an opponent, and not do it,while essentially showing the attackers that they are really attacking themselves. (literally and figuretivly).
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Old 04-04-2005, 01:22 PM   #36
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote:
"To injure an opponent is to injure yourself. To control agression without inficting injury is the Art of Peace"
That sounds more like Master Kahn speaking to Kwai Chang Caine.

"Deal with evil from strength, but affirm the good in man through trust. In this way, we are prepared for evil, but we encourage good." -- Master Kahn

"And is good a great reward for trusting?" -- Young Caine

"In striving for an ideal, we do not seek rewards. Yet trust does sometimes bring with it a great reward, even greater than good." -- Master Kahn

"What is greater than good?" -- Young Caine

"Love." -- Master Kahn

"And what is love?" -- Young Caine

"Love is harmony, even in discord." -- Master Kahn
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Old 04-04-2005, 01:24 PM   #37
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Re: Causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Paul Finn wrote:
One can quote the bible for the devil or the lord,, forgive my blatant paraphrasing of Shakespeare but i think it is pertinent. This holds true for O'sensei too. We could quote and counter quote all night. There are quotations that tell us to strike the enemy down and there are quotes telling us to save our partner and to love the world. Are we wrong to dismiss one and follow the other. Which one do we dismiss? The one on striking and attacking because it doesn't follow with our belief system or the one on love because we are seeking a practical martial experience?

Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves - what one wants to do with History, or not do with History, is one's own business. Regardless, History exists, and this notion of minimal damage came from somewhere. Questions on the history of that notion are neither a support or a condemnation of that notion. It is what it is. Thus, we don't invalidate the history of certain things, nor our own interests in such histories, simply because we long for the legitimacy of seeking validation within our own person and/or our own time alone.

dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 04-04-2005, 01:27 PM   #38
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Michael Cardwell wrote:
In Invincible Warrior, by John Stevens there is a story about this. Supposedly someone once ask O-sensei if he had any great disappointments in life. One of the things that he said was a failure on his part was an injury that he caused. He was teaching at a police training seminar when one of the students started to strongly resist a wrist technique that O-sensei was applying to him, and so his wrist was injured. O-sensei said that while this may have taught him a lesson in the old way of thinking, that it was not his way, and he resolved after that to refine his technique so that no one would ever get hurt.

I may have gotten some of that story wrong, it's been awhile since I've read that book, but I believe that was the gist of the story. Anyway you can look it up yourself.

Assuming your citation is accurate: Again, I think this would lend support to the position of not injuring in total. One would be hard-pressed to see this as a support "minimal damage."

Can I ask a new question to everyone: Does anyone know the history of Westbrook and Ratti? Where did they train? Who were their teachers? Did they train in other arts? Under what circumstances was their book published? Etc.?

Thanks in advance.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 04-04-2005, 01:35 PM   #39
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

"If a man dwells on the past, then he robs the present; but if a man ignores the past, he may rob the future.

The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past." -- Master Po
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Old 04-04-2005, 01:57 PM   #40
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Ruth McWilliam wrote:
If I executed my technique without intent to cause harm, using my skills and abilities to deal with an unprovoked attack outside the dojo (where the attacker intended me harm), then any damage that occurred to the attacker as a consequence would be as a result of his own violence, not my Aikido.
I can understand how the issue of "intent" is relevant for today's legal notions of responsibility, etc., but, as I said earlier, such notions aren't really supported by the Osensei quotes mentioned thus far. From the point of view of a subject/object reconciliation, such issues really just look like "fancy lawyering." They are a kind of, excuse me, a kind of "weaseling" out of one's place in the suffering of the world. Again, I understand the practicality of such issues, and I understand why they speak to our modern common sense, but they represent a different take on the topic of moral behavior. As such, I hardly think they are a solution to things - certainly not a solution to what they claim to be solving, and certainly not a solution on par with the one offered by Osensei (in the quotes thus far mentioned). Come on, are you really achieving anything positive at all by telling some kid that you didn't kill his father - that his father killed himself by attacking you? Is that really the end of the story? Is your part in the story all done? Etc.?

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 04-04-2005, 02:54 PM   #41
jss
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

From the book reviews on this site,
concerning Aikido & the Dynamic Sphere:
The authors of this book studied aikido in the U.S. and Europe. Although they were only shodan when they wrote the book, the authors consulted with many of the top teachers in the states at that time, including Yoshimitsu Yamada sensei, head of New York Aikikai. (Mike Lee)

Anyone else knows more?

ps to David Valdez: thanks for keeping the thread on track.
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Old 04-04-2005, 03:25 PM   #42
Ron Tisdale
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

I recently read a post from Ellis Amdur that I really liked...it seems to me to have a place in this thread...

http://www.aikidojournal.com/forums/...ghlight=#72842

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 04-04-2005, 03:28 PM   #43
Alfonso
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Mr. Ratti and Ms. Westbrook published this book in 1970, and it has been reedited recently. I understand they started Aikido training under Yasuo Ohara in N.Y. city around 1960, before Yamada sensei arrived there. Contemporaries include Ralph Gladstein Sensei and Rick Rowell Sensei (shameless plug).

I'd say being an Aikidoka in the early 60's must have been quite different than now. O-Sensei was around, people who looked into Aikido at that time were usually alreayd interested in martial arts, no new age stuff yet, nor were there the bigger splits, and so on. The book is interesting in that regards too..

Last edited by Alfonso : 04-04-2005 at 03:30 PM.

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 04-04-2005, 03:34 PM   #44
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

I found this short bio too:

"Oscar Ratti, a friend and associate of FightingArts.com's founder, Christopher Caile, has contributed a number of his illustrations to various articles appearing on the site. He is an advocate of competition to test the self and the validity of one's training. He also believes that the study of martial arts could be enhanced by the understanding of the common principles of movement, engagement and technique that are universal to combat.

Ratti is an author and internationally acclaimed illustrator known for his action portrayals of martial arts in his best selling books, "Secrets of the Samurai" and "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere" (co-written by A. Westbrook) as well as in many martial arts magazines. He new book , "Tales of the Hermit," is scheduled for release in March, 2000. Formerly an intercollegiate Greco-Roman wrestling champion, Ratti also was a member of a champion judo team and an aikido practitioner."

David M. Valadez
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Old 04-05-2005, 05:21 AM   #45
ruthmc
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Paul Finn wrote:
Is a tornado violent? Is a storm?
Sure, but we're talking about people here, not weather. I haven't seen any tornados show up at my dojo in a gi

Quote:
Paul Finn wrote:
Can't an action be regarded as violent with out Mal intent? One must violently strike the mat to dissipate the force when performing Tobi ukemi does that make the action wrong?
An action can be violent without mal-intent - striking the mat violently may well jar your body pretty hard though! However, when it comes to an interaction between two people, one chosing to inflict violence upon the other does call intent into the equation, IMHO.

Quote:
Paul Finn wrote:
Secondly you perform a technique that results in dropping another person on the floor or manipulating a joint in an un-natural direction but you have no responsibility for the outcome of such an action?
My responsibility is to do it in such a way that no harm comes to the other person, and in the dojo that is exactly how I train. In the street, an attacker is responsible for chosing to attack me, so he choses the consequences. Have you read any Terry Pratchett? In Ankh-Morpork the guards have a few interesting definitions of suicide, such as wandering alone and unarmed into The Shades at night with a bag of money... My philosophy on what happens to attackers in the street is somewhat similar.

Ruth
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Old 04-05-2005, 07:28 PM   #46
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

The attacker may well have chosen to attack you but you have chosen to retaliate and chosen what form and how that retaliation will be carried out. Forcing someone to the ground and/or inflicting pain by choice (you could choose to simply evade or get hit) is inherently violent. By carrying out the technique in the knowlege of it's effects you are intentionally harming someone, even if you desire not to. This is violence. If you had no such intention you would not be performing the technique. You cannot choose not to halm someone and halm them at the same time.
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Old 04-05-2005, 09:10 PM   #47
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

In most conflicts either villain or victim will get harmed. The one who harms, harms his spirit as much as the victim is physically/mentally harmed. The victim of course bears the harm directly.

But in Aikido as in most martial arts, once you have mastered it beyond the rudimentary techniques, no harm has to be delivered in order for it to retain its effectiveness.

Take for example nikkyo. A lot of us balk at getting a full force nikkyo that will snap our wrists into kingdom hell for months. But a good aikidoka can bring you down to your knees in an instant with nikkyo but without the hurt at all. Somehow, my legs and body can be controlled by just the smallest of twitches coming from my fingers and wrist especially with my balance taken completely.

I think it has everything to do with your capability and not the art though. If any of us has the power to control an attacker without harming him but chooses to harm him instead willfully because of ego, anger or impatience, then spiritually we are harmed ourselves. Because we choose to do evil instead of good.

However, most of us do not have that power (or consistently have it), thus we do the next best thing. I.e. not leaving ourselves to harm because if we did, not only do we harm ourselves spiritually (for being stupid) but definitely physically as well.

IMHO I don't think there's any art our there that gives you that complete control from the outset. It has to come with mastery of the art, even in Aikido.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 04-06-2005, 03:03 AM   #48
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Ahmad Abas wrote:
...<snip>...
Take for example nikkyo. A lot of us balk at getting a full force nikkyo that will snap our wrists into kingdom hell for months. But a good aikidoka can bring you down to your knees in an instant with nikkyo but without the hurt at all. Somehow, my legs and body can be controlled by just the smallest of twitches coming from my fingers and wrist especially with my balance taken completely.
...<snip>....
Abasan,

Hey, have you been reading the Yoshinkan Manual again. You really should start reading other books e.g., Nursery Rhymes 101 etc. Just kidding... ... ... .

Sorry.

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 04-06-2005, 05:03 AM   #49
happysod
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
The one who harms, harms his spirit as much as the victim is physically/mentally harmed.
my spirit can take it, damn thing's done me less good than my nose anyway

Quote:
But in Aikido as in most martial arts, once you have mastered it beyond the rudimentary techniques, no harm has to be delivered in order for it to retain its effectiveness.
So your take on atemi is a ki-blast which doesn't actually hit? Sorry, no harm done in a real (tm) situation just doesn't happen - even if you manage to leg it first and no confrontation happens, you'll still have to deal with the dry heaves afterwards (and all the should-haves, could-haves that most peoples brains love to bring up just when you're feeling good about yourself...).

The only good situation is one that doesn't happen in the first place.
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Old 04-06-2005, 05:13 AM   #50
ian
 
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

In my perception, aikido is definately not about walking away or avoiding a fight. It is about meeting a person and cooperating with them so you both get what you want. Timidity is not a method to prevent attack (nor is aggressiveness). I believe aikidoka should have confidence, honesty and the acceptance of the aggressors desire to attack or not, whatever the case may be.

I think if aikido is done well, in a practical situation, there will be less likelyhood of damage with less aggressive attacks since you are moving with less momentum/energy. However I know Ueshiba has been known to have said (to Shioda and Yamada I think) something like, 'in a real situation you have to finish it quickly...you know what I mean by finish it don't you?' (apologies for paraphrasing).

You have to think to yourself, what is the point of disabling/killing someone. If you believe there is a point to it, well, maybe you should do that. Personally, since I don't believe my life is any more valuable than another person's life, I think killing someone is no better (or worse) than you yourself being killed.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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So, what are your thoughts on violence and Aikido? Dennis Hooker General 86 05-01-2003 06:19 AM
looking for info on fatal and serious injuries Bud General 3 11-07-2002 03:18 PM


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