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Old 04-18-2005, 08:11 AM   #76
jss
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote:
Moreover, one has to consider that attacks are rarely physical. The probability is greater that you will be attacked non-physically far more often than you will be physically assaulted. I don't see "beingassaultedbybadlanguage shihonage" as a particularly appropriate technique.
Then isn't it ironic that all aikido techniques ARE physical?
Aikido may change us so that we are not easily verbally assaulted, but still aikido does not directly teach us verbal responses to a verbal attack. So aikido does not teach us the best non-injurous response to a conflict (or to an invitation to conflict).
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Old 04-18-2005, 08:22 AM   #77
Ron Tisdale
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

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For example, do you move away from the abstract ballistic strikes of kihon waza training to the varied angled and timed strikes of left hook or the right cross or the uppercut on a weekly or daily basis? How often? How often does one need to allow the ground-fighting option or the inclusion of kicks and/or hidden weapons in order to bring some purifying efficacy to the training? Etc.
This is a good question, and if using your art in a contemporary setting is important to you, a very important question. I don't have anwer...but I find it interesting that some early students of aikido found it possible to translate their training in the the contemporary context of say boxing attacks...Shioda Kancho tells a story of dealing with a boxer (rather harshly in my opinion) that is good food for thought. Perhaps it is not necessary to see every attack used today before hand if the riai is properly understood.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:48 PM   #78
rob_liberti
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

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How or why does training toward the gaining of a non-violent (or less injurious) technology purify our will to violence?
To constantly practice "do minimal damage" under increasingly difficult situations in an increasingly effective and minimized way forces me to constantly practice reconciling self and other in a physical way -- as I started describing in my last post. I think that if I constantly practice reconciling self and other in a physical way, it will slowly have a strong impact on my psychology which in turn will be invaluable in my pursuit of purifying my will to violence.

I base this opinion on my other experiences with aikido in how physical practice has helped me change on a mental/emotional level.

I can say for certain that the constant physical practice of almost endlessly taking highly reflexive, reactive, and responsive ukemi by someone like my teacher that can throw powerfully and without ego firmly tied together the idea that physical power grows with physical humility. Over time, I would say that physical practice has been more helpful to my emotional maturity and my psychology than anything else.

For one example in particular, once I was convinced that no matter how many times I was thrown to the ground I could keep getting up, I found that translated into a new sense of emotional security. I could take chances with my emotions that I had previously been unwilling/unable(?) to make because now I *knew* that no matter how hard an emotional fall I took I would be able to pick myself up again.

For a second example, to take better and better physical ukemi, I had to (try to!) completely give up my resisting with tightness so I could pay much better attention and respond/react much more quickly and efficiently to the seemingly random places my teacher would throw me. Over time, I developed some ability to pay attention to my partner so I could continually move with them (I continue to develop this one as well). I was shocked when I realized that I was also getting a sense of the nage's "mood". I was further shocked when I realized that this connection could be bi-directional provided both people are open to each other. I started getting a better sense of just how truly intimate this martial art is. It occurred to me that there is nowhere to hide. If I felt something negative about someone they were going to know about it. With the responsibility of teaching my own classes, I had to make some big changes on myself. I spent a lot of time trying to take ukemi from some senior aikido people I thought I might want my internal feeling to be more like. I could compare and contrast my feeling with theirs and get quite a bit of insight. I also realized that when I was taking ukemi from someone who was good at sharing that happened to be in a bad mood, I could generally get them smiling by taking their ukemi only a couple times while concentrating on my own joy of the practice.

I suppose I cannot prove any of this; I can only offer that some other people I have spoken to about this kind of thing have had similar perceptions.

My point is that such physical practice combined with intent has helped me make some big changes. I see no reason why this wouldn't also work towards the goal of purifying the will to violence.

Quote:
Can we not, as always, find ways of disregarding our ideals, no matter how virtuous they may be?
I still say then when pressed, you will do what you practice. You question reminds me of "who will guard the guard?". Of course, we find ways of disregarding our ideals. That's why we need partners -- many partners -- with this kind of practice.

Quote:
A will to violence is only partially born out of an ignorance to do or be otherwise, just as it is also only partially born out of a lack of effort to do or be otherwise. Hence, for me, simply supplying a kind of "wisdom" or a kind of "non-injurious technology," or simply providing a kind of meta-practical outlet for people to mundanely explore the already pre-existent social ideal of non-violence one to a few hours a week, is going to leave a lot unturned and/or unpurified.
I think a will to violence is also born out of a lack of ability to do anything else. "Time in" maybe not the answer, but I think it is a good fundamental step in you ask me.

Quote:
Thus, for example, it may be the case that we can acquire a skill to subdue many kinds of attacks without injury to the attacker, but will this make us more patient, more humble, more kind, less prone to hatred, less prone to anger, less prone to desire, less prone to ignorance, less prone to fear, etc.?
In my opinion, considering training the way I am suggesting, I'd have to say: Yes.

Quote:
So what do you do to sophisticate your training, or what does one need to do to sophisticate his/her training? Or more importantly, how often does one need to sophisticate his/her training?
I don't have all of the answers, but I think that the main thing is to stick to principle. Get people moving well enough to be able to continually increase the drama and maintain some degree of safety. I have been looking towards developing some kata for common boxing combinations like jab, cross, uppercut, etc.; and some drills to make it hard on someone trying to set ups a shoot/tackle (early in the beginning phase) like moving, and working the face; and some more difficult knife attack defenses. I'm certainly not there yet, but that is what I look towards doing. I think the main thing is to always practice the kihon waza for a large percentage of class, and move on to some of the more sophisticated things for a small percentage of each class. Hopefully, the principles in focus would be the same.

I'm just working this all out. This is my approach. I'm open to all criticism, but I'm not yet convinced that it is not going to get me where I'm trying to go. I'm unaware of a better way at present.

Rob
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Old 04-18-2005, 02:22 PM   #79
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote:
Aikido may change us so that we are not easily verbally assaulted, but still aikido does not directly teach us verbal responses to a verbal attack. So aikido does not teach us the best non-injurous response to a conflict (or to an invitation to conflict).
Joep -

I have to respectively disagree with your observation above. I have learned that Aikido principles can be applied to non-physical confrontations of all sorts. For instance, when verbally attacked I can, in my mind, tenkan. Turning, I am then able to see the conflict from the position of my assailant. This helps me to identify with his position and also allows me to release the need to defend my position at all costs. I am thus better able to judge the situation from a neutral perspective and attempt to resolve the conflict so that both parties are satisfied.

I can also enter into the attack (mental irimi). Becoming part of the attack and no longer the attacked, I am able to control the nature of the conflict and attempt to bring about a resolution by cooperating with my opponent instead of fighting with him.

These are but two examples of how Aikido can be used in non-violent confrontations. If you're interested in delving into this subject further you might want to read "Leadership Aikido" by John O'Neil, "The Magic of Conflict" by Thomas Crumm and "The New Conflict Cookbook" by Thomas Crumm, Judith Warner and Christine Steerman.

Ron
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Old 04-18-2005, 03:27 PM   #80
jss
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote:
I have to respectively disagree with your observation above. I have learned that Aikido principles can be applied to non-physical confrontations of all sorts.
I think we do not disgaree, but that I need to express myself more clearly.
What I wanted to say was that although it is true aikido principles can be applied to non-physical confrontations, we only train those principles in physical confrontations. Which leads me to the question: if verbal aikido is such a good method of non-injuring self defence, why do we only train in physical aikido?
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Old 04-18-2005, 04:03 PM   #81
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Hi Rob,

First -- great post. Thanks for the reply. I also want to say that I do not mean to be critical -- and I am certainly not trying to criticize just for the sake of criticizing. In truth, I am very interested in your process. As one can tell from our own web site, we too are trying to tackle this issue. That is why, as you said earlier, we often tend to agree and/or overlap in our ideas. I think there are some parts where we diverge, and it's those parts where I am most interested in learning "how" or "why" you are doing what you are doing -- to help me reflect deeper on what it is we are doing (our own how and why). So I am very appreciative of this conversation.

You wrote:

"To constantly practice "do minimal damage" under increasingly difficult situations in an increasingly effective and minimized way forces me to constantly practice reconciling self and other in a physical way -- as I started describing in my last post. I think that if I constantly practice reconciling self and other in a physical way, it will slowly have a strong impact on my psychology which in turn will be invaluable in my pursuit of purifying my will to violence."

I do agree that we can "bridge" between the mind and the body and/or between the body and the mind. Sometimes, we may travel from one thing to the other, or vice versa, but either way, this is possible -- in large part because ultimately the distinction between the body and the mind is a false one (as you well know). Here there is much overlap between our two ways of addressing this issue. I also agree with your take on ukemi -- or your understanding of how ukemi fits into this whole process.

However, I am still very curious about what "increasingly difficult situations" might actually mean in one's Aikido training -- because this is central to our own position at our own dojo. Sticking with ukemi, for example, we often progress from being allowed to lower ourselves into a fall, to being thrown into a roll, to being thrown into a breakfall, etc. When most of us use the expression of "increasingly difficult situations" in reference to ukemi, we generally mean this type of progression. If our training is somewhat intense, we often also come to mean being thrown hard, or dangerously hard, and/or being thrown "unexpectedly," etc. Yet, when I look at most ukemi -- even or especially in my own personal history -- ukemi never really moves beyond that first step of being allowed to lower ourselves.

Let me explain: To be sure, things are at various points in our training just as you described them. There are times in our ukemi when for example our attachment to Self simply lends itself to poor ukemi. So at some level it would make sense that we should seek a type of reconciliation of Self or self-attachment in order to progress in our training. It would also make sense that being allowed to lower our self into a fall requires no reconciliation of self since this is all about ego-reification and/or makes use of ego-reification. In addition, it is also true that "increasingly difficult situations" can be noted by how much reconciliation of attachment to self they require. However, I would suggest that what we see in most Aikido ukemi requires only enough reconciliation of self to ensure that one can survive by continuously being attached to self. In the same way, at the level of self, that we are allowed to remain self-centered when we are allowed to lower ourselves into a fall, so too does the usual "hard," or "intense," or "unexpected" breakfall do the same. In particular, as we are allowed to lower ourselves into a fall in the beginning of our training, putting our body wherever our pride, ignorance, or fear "requires" it to be, so too are we allowed this same way of practicing fear, pride, or ignorance in the posting of our front foot just prior to our front breakfall.

From another angle: As I said above, when we are allowed to lower ourselves into a fall, we put our body (as we use our body) in a place that is more determined by fear, pride, or ignorance -- by our attachment to self more than anything. This we often want to say, "…is what we do naturally." Such that, in the beginning, we might out of fear fall before the throw is actually executed; or we may out of pride seek to slow or resist the throw as it is happening; or we may out of ignorance try and do a cross-lateral roll over a homo-lateral roll; etc. When we first start, all of these mistakes seem like the thing that is most natural -- the least contrived. They seem this way because they are most accordant with our habitual self up until this point.

As training progresses, as we come to find a new "natural" (learned) way of moving, we start to see that our old "natural" way of moving is actually a type of enslavement -- a kind of habit that is indeed based in fear, pride, and ignorance. We see that in order to learn the new "natural" way of moving we will have to, to some degree, reconcile certain aspects of our being that are related to our fears, our pride, and our ignorance. In a way, we trade one learned way of being (habitual) for another learned way of being (Aikido tradition) -- or so it seems. What actually happens, in most cases, I would propose, is that we trade one type of response based in fear, pride, and ignorance, for another type of response that is also based in fear, pride, and ignorance.

Let us say that the highest reconciliation of Self required in ukemi or acquired via ukemi has to be the execution of what we can call the "pure" attack. It is that full engagement of oneself with no attachment to self, to the attack, the ensuing fall, the nage/uke distinction, the offense/defense distinction, etc. Let us also say that the most "impure" (the most lacking in the need for self-reconciliation) ukemi is the ukemi in which we are allowed to lower ourselves. What do we see at the "highest" levels of ukemi? Are we really all that far from lowering ourselves into our fall? I would say, "Not as I have seen it." As I said earlier, even when people speak of "increasingly difficult" ukemi, we still see such things as the posting of uke's foot -- such that as when we are allowed to lower ourselves, we fall (in the front breakfall) from a state of balance -- a state where we reify the ego and not reconcile it. Only we are so trained, into a new type of "natural" way of moving, a new habitual way of employing our fear, our pride, and our ignorance, that we do not recognize this state of balance as a state of balance. Through our culture, we come to recognize this as being "unbalanced" and/or irrelevant to being thrown "unexpectedly" -- or we may come to think of it as a safety issue, etc. It is the same way that when we are allowed to fall we believe we are not falling in a way that is slave to our attachment to self.

We try very hard to get rid of this posted foot and this misrecognized state of balance in our own practice at our dojo for the very reasons you have mentioned -- having to do with the reconciliation of self. As a dojo open to visitors, we often see great uke from elsewhere suffer all the slings and arrows of their beginner days when they are not allowed that posted foot anymore. More commonly, we see it in all of our own members as their ukemi is pressured from having the posted foot to not having the posted foot in the front breakfall. What this says to me is that no true reconciliation of self takes place up until now -- that no "hard" or "unexpected" fall can do the purifying. Rather, without an actual reconciliation taking place, what happened is that one was simply cultured from one type of habitual self to another type of habitual self. One traded the lowering of oneself for the culturally acceptable way of lowering oneself (into the front breakfall via the front foot posting) -- in both cases, one is quite far from "pure" ukemi, from reconciling fear, pride, or ignorance.

As I said, the same thing can be said about having "increasingly difficult attacks." I agree, this is a necessary element when it comes to purifying our will to violence. Yet, tn most cases, in Aikido, when people speak of "increasingly difficult attacks" they are not really doing anything that would actually necessitate a reconciliation of self. They are, as with ukemi, simply trading one type of habitual (cultured) self for another more "acceptable" type of self (soon to be habitual). For example, when most Aikidoka speak of increasingly difficult attacks, in their training, they are generally referring to grabbing very hard (vs. grabbing very lightly), or they are talking about striking very quickly (as oppose to striking very lightly). Etc. There is not really a continuous progression in the sophistication of the attacks one is training with or against. There are, at most, only variations on the same Aikido curriculum or theme -- which means that one's attacks remain quite far from sophistication and thus quite far from truly needing a reconciliation of self. Seldom do you see timing changes, direction changes, set-ups, barrages, etc. One just goes from grabbing lightly to grabbing hard -- for example -- and as a result a nage just needs to learn that it is basically the same thing -- and hence that one can act basically the same (no reconciliation of self required). Or, one simply takes things like timing changes, direction changes, set-ups, barrages, etc., and puts them inside the same basic teaching model -- e.g. making forms of them (in which cases they are not really advancements or sophistications in the attacks one is training with or against). All of this is revealed when such a practitioner actually comes up against such things via their training and/or via a real life encounter. Again -- we see this every time in our own members as their training "progresses," and/or in visitors that come to our dojo for this type of training. The progress of their training -- to this state -- shows that progress along these lines has not occurred. Again, I would like to suggest that you read that article I posted on our web site and/or that you at least look at the third video clip -- as it shows the lack of progress in self-reconciliation as the training progresses in attack sophistication (which means that "attack sophistication" of the usual kind does not at all lend itself to self-reconciliation).

Here is the link for the article and the total four clips. You will find the clips at the bottom the page (just scroll down) -- I am pointing out the third clip as an example of what I see at our dojo as students come face to face with the progress and the lack of progress of and in their training. Please see "Clip Three."

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/v...eflection.html

thanks again,
d

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 04-18-2005, 07:17 PM   #82
RonRagusa
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote:
Which leads me to the question: if verbal aikido is such a good method of non-injuring self defence, why do we only train in physical aikido?
Good question. What you are calling verbal Aikido I am seeing as the achievement of a particular feeling of centeredness when confronted by a non-violent attack. As long as I "move" from my center, as with physical technique, I can avoid getting caught up in the emotional component of the confrontation. What makes this possible is the knowledge that if the conflict esclates to the physical plane I am able to take care of myself. This enables me to react without fear or anger. Because I hold the view that mind and body are inseparable, I believe that our physical training educates mindbody in such a way that we are able to deal with physical and non-physical attacks.

As for practical training for students looking for self-defense, my wife, Mary, has incorporated Aikido principles learned on the mat into the system of self-defense she devised and teaches in workshops and at a local college as a PE course. In addition to teaching physical techniques, she makes extensive use of role plays that teach students to employ Aikido in a non-physical way when confronting just the type of situation we are discussing here.

Ron
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Old 04-19-2005, 02:35 AM   #83
ruthmc
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote:
Tenkan - Turning, I am then able to see the conflict from the position of my assailant.
Irimi - Becoming part of the attack and no longer the attacked, I am able to control the nature of the conflict and attempt to bring about a resolution by cooperating with my opponent instead of fighting with him.
Ron,

Thank you for posting - I have written these down to keep as they are great definitions to use as the basis for a class

Many thanks,

Ruth
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Old 04-19-2005, 10:16 AM   #84
rob_liberti
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

David,
Quote:
However, I am still very curious about what "increasingly difficult situations" might actually mean in one's Aikido training -- because this is central to our own position at our own dojo.
I checked out the page and the videos on your web site and I'd agree that you and I are both working towards more sophistocated attacks and how to deal with them. I'll comment more on that later.

Quote:
If our training is somewhat intense, we often also come to mean being thrown hard, or dangerously hard, and/or being thrown "unexpectedly," etc.
My experience with Gleason sensei was that I was continually thrown "unexpectedly" and he would help me manage it a bit based on my level. I'm much more tuned in to what he is doing now, and much more able to manage to protect myself while dealing with the results of comming in at him hard and fast - and I still have to laugh at how I end up getting unexpectedly unbalanced and thrown. He's generally showing me what he is doing and I still have trouble expecting the results. That kind of experience is invaluable. It is VERY difficult for me to give to my students since he is MUCH better than I am.

About "what we do naturally" in ukemi: I do always give up balance for the sake of safety and/or honesty in the context of the martial situation. I think it that is only as natural as a child deciding to avoid a hot stove the "second" time. Someone told me about how there are 3 kinds of horses. There is the horse you have to whip over and over again, there is the horse you have to whip once, and there is the horse that you merely have to show the whip to. I'd perfer to be the unwhipped horse when I take ukemi.

With the constraint of that "rule" in place, I would say that taking Gleason sensei's ukemi (or anyone like him) is the best way to develop what I want to do naturally into what I do naturally. I do not believe too much in the "artificial ukemi" approach where people do comepletely scripted things - which does go on in some classes at the aikikai hombu.

Quote:
Let us say that the highest reconciliation of Self required in ukemi or acquired via ukemi has to be the execution of what we can call the "pure" attack. It is that full engagement of oneself with no attachment to self, to the attack, the ensuing fall, the nage/uke distinction, the offense/defense distinction, etc.
I think that once you feel that you can protect yourself more reflexively you can start to push the "safety" envelope in a level appropriate way with your partner.

As far as the videos go, I liked what I saw. I am looking to develop something like that except I think I would want to incorporate a few other guiding rules:
-never (okay almost never) back up
-maintain your angle to keep the attacker out of 100% center vision
-actively take them in as you enter
(and as always don't play their game)

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 04-19-2005 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 04-19-2005, 12:55 PM   #85
senshincenter
 
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Hi Rob,

Another great reply - thanks so much for the time and effort.

Well, as you read, it is a beginner drill - which does not necessarily mean that it is easy but rather that it is keyed toward developing some vital elements that are necessary to improving and/or progressing in one's training (i.e. without these "things" you can't move on). The things we left out - that you would want to add in - are things that we would add in later. We leave those things out now by design - and by discipline - so that things like an unfettered metsuke and/or an unfettered angle of deviation are stressed to the point of failure. At this stage, we want them to fail.

For example, by backing up more than going lateral, a practitioner puts way more strain on their capacity to deflect things and/or to see things that are coming toward you. In an actual encounter this is the very reason why you would want to deviate more and/or angle off the line of the attack more. However, in a training situation, I feel it is important to stress key elements to the point of failure. That way, those elements are more guaranteed to function when you enhance them with other redundant tactics and/or reduce the tactical stress upon them by combining them with things like movement, weapons, environment, etc. Right now, we back up and/or stay still so that we get ourselves stuck in a barrage of strikes and/or a "flurry" - then from there we see how well our tactics do - how well we have acquired the necessary martial attributes and the body/mind that supports those attributes. This is also why the training partner is restricted to strikes - no grappling, which would take advantage of the going backwards and/or the standing still.

What I found, when training is not broken up this way, when people are allowed to do "everything at once" (e.g. deflect and have complete freedom to seek the angle), is that they still tend to specialize (i.e. not develop everything they are supposed to develop). For example, a person who is not skilled at angle of deflection (e.g. blocking/parrying/checking, etc.) but is skilled at angle of deviation (e.g. clearing the line of attack/establishing an angle) will still tend to only develop one thing (i.e. the former - what they are skilled at already). By simplifying drills in this way, I have found that we can amplify the work done and the work still needing to be done - which is valuable thing to gain from any drill. That's why, we also, for example, do the same drill where we work only on angle of deviation - no angle of deflection is allowed (i.e. no blocking, no checking, no parrying). To be sure, one's training partner is also restricted in such a way that these drills are also not subverted but where the drilling practitioners tactic will ultimately fail. Etc.

Anyway, if you are heading down this direction, as always, I would love to stay in touch and see if we can maybe share insights and mistakes along the way. Best to you with your own practice.

Thanks again,
dmv

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 04-20-2005, 07:29 AM   #86
rob_liberti
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

David,

I appreciate discussions with you as well. No one forces me to be quite as thoughtful in my reply as you. If I'm ever in the area you can be sure that I'll let you know and try to set up a visit! And the invitation is extended right back at you.

I meant not criticism on your drill. I understand that it was a beginner drill meant to show a point. I guess I like to only set my students up to fail if I know I can show them exactly what they need to change in order to succeed immediately after. That's just my opinion of how to keep the dojo feeling positive.

I am of the opinion that my worst fault as a teacher (student-teacher) is that I do not pull the rug out from under my students as often as it was done to me. I know that was very valuable trianing. My opinion on that is that I am not yet qualified to judge how to most effectively do such a thing. I am concerned that I am failing to train my students in how to deal with that common practice, but I do tell them that this is my faiuling and I think they have to accept me for my own limitations. Maybe in 20 more years, I'll start feeling more qualified to do that kind of thing.

Rob
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Old 04-28-2005, 01:11 PM   #87
Jeremy Young
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

i wonder if that idea of leaving the person unharmed has to do with what "style" of aikido you are training. for example, aikido taught through the Yoshinkan is considered "hard-style". If I remember correctly it is because Gozo Shioda was studying with O'sensei in his younger years. Even O'sensei had this hard background (daito-ryu aikijujutsu??) since these were originally combat techniques. Granted, this is me speaking from the Very small amount of knowledge i have on the subject, but those are my ideas. What i like about aikido and particularly harder-styles like Yoshinkan, is that you can vary your the technique applied to fit the situation. I mean you can lower the intensity of the technique to say control the person without causing them any harm or even maim or kill say if the person is a drugged attacker coming with the purpose of killing you. Anyways, these are my scattered thoughts on the subject...hope i was easy to understand!
Jeremy Young
Tatsumaki Dojo
Springdale, AR
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Old 04-28-2005, 03:14 PM   #88
Bronson
 
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Quote:
Jeremy Young wrote:
What i like about aikido and particularly harder-styles like Yoshinkan, is that you can vary your the technique applied to fit the situation.
We should be able to adjust our techniques to be anything from simple evasions/escapes to breaks & hardcore throws....regardless of style.

Quote:
Jeremy Young wrote:
I mean you can lower the intensity of the technique to say control the person without causing them any harm or even maim or kill say if the person is a drugged attacker coming with the purpose of killing you.
I agree but it has been my experience, and the experience of the people I've trained under (others will disagree), that it is easier and more natural to ADD intentsity to baseline technique that is softer* and less prone to injuring uke than it is to SUBTRACT intensity from baseline technique that is harder* and more prone to injuring uke.

*I use softer and harder for lack of better terminology...I do not really care for those distinctions.

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 05-02-2005, 08:38 AM   #89
Jeremy Young
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

That is a very good point! Arigatou gozaimasu.
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Old 05-04-2005, 03:02 PM   #90
feck
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Freaky! Re: causing no (serious) harm

Hi,

I'm fairly new to Aikido, and yet I think that my understanding of the non-violent approach to attackers boils down to this. I would ultimately like to reach a stage in Aikido, that when confronted with violence, that my reactions would be so fast using blending that my attacker(s) would be unable to touch me and at the highest levels of training these attackers would ultimateley give up.

feck
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Old 05-04-2005, 08:29 PM   #91
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

I would not at all want to stifle anyone's reflections, since they will forever remain vital to one's Aikido training, but upon reading this last post, I am reminded of one thing: When I was younger, us kids all noted one day that whenever we wished or hoped for something, we often wished or hoped for something that was almost impossible to occur, YET, for some strange reason, we nevertheless had some kind of limit to what we were wishing for. While we were free to wish for anything, and though what we were wishing for was never going to occur, we always stopped ourselves from wishing to our full capacity. For example, when we were all boys of around 16, and we were talking about what kind of cars we wanted to have as our "first car," someone always managed to bring up Ferrari or Porsche, etc., and being children from poorer families, "first cars" was something that was never going to happen, period. So, one day we all realized, "Heck, why stop at Ferrari? Why not wish for the Bat Mobile or James Bond's Lotus, or a Helicopter or a Submarine?" We never had an answer for that - something about human nature I guess.

On the one hand, I wonder why wish for an Aikido so skilled that attackers would give up upon facing it - why not wish for them to reach Awakening right then and there upon looking into your eyes; why not wish for them to upon sensing your aura start a non-profit organization for children without homes and/or who are victims of parental abuse; etc. On the other hand, and in all seriousness, I wish that your wish comes true - I wish you do reach a level of skill so awesome that it alone will lead others down the path of non-violence.

dmv

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 05-06-2005, 03:57 AM   #92
feck
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Hi

I'm sorry if my last post seemed to cause confusion, but now I am confused. I thought that the art of awase or blending practice was to gain an advantage in a violent situation, by gaining the advantage the attacker would realise to continue would be folly.
Is it not possible to blend so fully with an attack as to completely give you the victim the upper hand in a situation? If then the attacker tries again you again blend to their rear or slide back so the force of the attack is neutralised. Yes I know this is a high idealised view of aikido, but I also thought that the key was to neutralise and/or redirect force, can this not be achieved without sensile touch?. How would a man or woman, with no arms from the shoulders down, react in a fight? , is the only option for them to ram opponents and hope for the best?.
What did our founder mean with qoutes like these; "Seeing me before him, the enemy attacks, but by that time I am already standing safely behind him" and "Left and right, avoid all cuts and parries. Seize your opponents' minds and scatter them all!" ?. Are these not ideals to strive for?

I also as a child played games where we bragged about what cars we would own or riches we would attain as all of us came from working class backgrounds, and yet a few now own ferraris and such like. And yet also as a child I can remember playing a form of close quartes tag where the person who was it would try and touch the other person to make them it. Some were so good at this they could almost never be touched.

I think that to learn every technique as a goal would not get you anywhere, apart the ability to hurt people, including yourself. By this I mean that I mind full of techniques could get in the way of just blending and avoiding, two simple ideals that can save your life.

I have been in situations where violence or the threat of violence has reared its ugly head, and in some i am sorry to say i have returned that violence with the same or even worse. Other situations I have gotten into where I have walked away, because I was afraid of hurting someone, where my abilities where always to attack back. These last situations have at times made me look foolish and severly bruised my ego, but should I resort to hurting someone just because I can. I would have much preferred to avoid there attacks without the ultimate avoidance of just walking away. Although walking away, some would say is always the best option, why should I let the attacker walk away without bruising their ego completly non violently.

I think somewhere that I read once that Ueshiba was challenged to a fight with swords that amounted to him completly avoiding the challenger and he soon gave up his futile attacks. In fact this same challenger became a student of O'sensei.

Also the stories i have read of our founder dodging bullets, are these false? If they are not then did he touch the bullet and guide its energy or completly avoid them. If these are false then are we carrying on a tradition set by a man who lied? I for one hope not.

Why is it such a high ideal to completly avoid confrontation while standing and moving completly in the middle of this chaos? Does the outcome of every fight have to resort to someone being hurt, just to boost the ego of either side? Remember a proficient Aikidoka could have the ability to complety humiliate their opponent if not kill them, should we choose either path? Would it not be better to keep giving them openings in your defence and then stand where they stood after they have moved or even just enter fully to the rear of the opponent?

Im sorry if alot of this sounds like inane babble, but that's just the way I feel.

Anyway enlightenment is a long way off, and although the road can be painful, 'god' its fun.

feck
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Old 05-06-2005, 10:16 AM   #93
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Re: causing no (serious) harm

Hi Darren,

In truth, I loved this last post of yours. As I said, reflection should be a big part of one's training and if you will allow me to say, by the questions you have asked of yourself and of me, you seem capable and most willing to do this. Though my opinion should count as nothing in your training, I can say that I admire that kind of investment in one's practice. Moreover, like I said, there is a huge part of me that does hope you get your wish - that you do realize your ideal. So, I wouldn't ever want to set out to shutdown your efforts. More power to you. I also agree, to some degree historically but to a full degree personally, one should aim to train for such a level of skill - one should be oriented in a way at least similar to what you describe (whether or not one ever attains it). You are right, at least as far as I am concerned.

My comparison to a moment in my younger days comes when you wish the attacker to see the folly of his/her attempt at violence because of your great skill. That is, for me, a lot to ask of one's art and of one's skill in that art. After all, I am not so sure that violence ever happens from a place of wisdom, so I am not so sure that a realization of folly is ever going to cause it to cease. Nor does the chance for victory or the guarantee for victory ever really support all violent intentions, hence why I am not so sure that "immanent defeat" will quell all attempts at hostility. For example, using your example of a person with no arms and no legs, and pursuing these attempts at bringing reflection into our training, should we not ask, "Are you saying that amputees have no capacity for violence and/or violent urges within them simply because they do not have at their disposal the limbs that make up most of the attacks of the martial arts?" Is our capacity to fulfill violence physically and/or to fulfill violence via one particular way (i.e. fighting with our limbs) really the root of our will to harm another (physically, spiritually, emotionally)? If our answer is "no" to these questions, then why should we expect our skill in the art to turn someone away from violence? Why, instead of assuming that high skill will quell another's violence, should we not assume that high skill will just inspire someone to accept that he or she cannot defeat us unarmed and go home and get a firearm to "equalize" things a bit more? Why can't we assume that high skill has the potential to actually escalate violence? Why should we accept an inevitable connection between high technical skill and peace on Earth? Etc.

For me, the issue is not whether we should seek high or even miraculous levels of skill, the issue is over what we should expect are the inevitable results (i.e. causal relationships) of such skill. While I wish you get your wish, I remain skeptical of connecting high skill in any sort of causal way with quelling the will to violence in someone else. For me, the best way of quelling another's violence, such that one can speak of inevitable relationships or at least of plausible relationships, is never going to include fighting them. If you want to reduce violence in the world, as we know, we must begin with ourselves. From there or in there, we cultivate the virtues necessary to serve others at the level of the spirit and at the level of the heart/mind - where diseases that support violence are born and can actually be purified out through our daily work, our daily support, and our daily commitment to others in possession of such diseases. For me, therein lies the true victory over violence, and I wonder how much of that victory can be ours when we feel that we can achieve such things simply be easily defeating another in combat and/or by making combative victory against us impossible.

No doubt, there are those times when the realization of defeat and/or the impossibility of victory play a part in the reduction of one's violent intentions. However, is this causal or is this like the fox that waits at the tree for another rabbit to run into it? Were there other factors present that are the real catalyst for why skill level obtained such potency? Things like, "not really wanting to commit violence," "just wanting to not lose face," "only felt like 'scapping'," - are these the things that possibly made skill level relevant to peace? I feel these things have to be asked, and other things like them, if one is going to take seriously the position of skill level being related to quelling violence in others.

Take this example: A fellow instructor's student just had an altercation. It happened in front of his house -- a few days after he moved in, into what is considered a relatively nice neighborhood. The altercation was with his neighbor. The deshi being trained in and being proficient in all ranges of combat, etc., easily handled the situation martially - such that violence did not escalate and did cease eventually at a constant and relatively non-violent level in anticipation of police showing up. This happened though the aggressor had at least 50 pounds on the student and had stated and shown himself to be skilled in street tactics. (The student probably weighs about 220 lbs or 250 lbs.)

What has happened since then? As it turns out, the person he was "fighting" is a convicted serial rapist and a criminal set for life imprisonment (due to violent crimes), should he again come up against California's "three strikes" law. The man, as well as the rest of his family, has continued to confront the student (even when his family is present -- wife and new baby girl of one year old) with attempts at violence at various places (at home in the front yard, at gas station on the corner, etc.). The student is now in constant fear of retaliation or at least of attempts at further violence that if are not aimed at him are aimed at those more vulnerable than he (i.e. his family). Today, he is fearful for his elderly parents that live at the home with him, and now he even opts to take his wife and baby to work with him (rather than leaving them home). As for his martial art skill level, training time now is greatly reduced since he would rather be home with his family that be at the dojo when it is night. Etc.

Why is this happening? That's the question. Again, for me, anyone that is going to take seriously the question of how "impossible victory" will work to quell another's violence is also going to take seriously the question of how it may only inspire it more. Somewhere in there middle of all that, should one find their answer, such things can stop seeming like (poor) boyhood wishes for high performance cars (referencing my comparison again).

So I say "go for it!" Do it - do it for all of us. Long way off or not, continue to aim for your own enlightenment. We will all be the better for it. And, I for one, am thankful for your reflections and for the efforts that are supporting those efforts and that will follow from those efforts.

Peace be with you,
david

David M. Valadez
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