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Old 07-01-2005, 05:56 PM   #1
Tian Dan
Location: Vienna
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Austria
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Aikido for fighting anger?

Where to start, where to start...?

I can't seem to be able to put my thoughts into words at this moment. I tried a few times but it never comes off as I intend it to. I couldn't communicate the grade of my desperation if my life depended on it. This is my fourth try. .And that's why I'm just going to type away and press the "submit" button...

I'm 23 years old and live in vienna. I suffer from depression, anxiety, low self confidence and serious anger management issues. And I'm here to hear your opinions on if Aikido can be a part of helping me become a better person. I need advice, desperately.

I'm physically weak, something that combined with my youthful look is no help in getting taken seriously, something we all want. I had people at work laugh me off while I was shouting at them for disrespecting me. And while we're on the subject. I shout a lot. Uncontrolled even. Sometimes I don't notice how hostile I am. It's just...all that anger I'm carrying around.

I had an encounter with a policeman yesterday who was talking down on me and mocking me. I wanted to kill this guy. I wanted to destroy him. And things like that are consuming and poisoning my mind. I barely can stop thinking about this incident, and this is just one example. It happens every other week. And I have feelings of hate and anger for days or weeks afterwards.

When I think about learning how to fight I...I won't lie, I think of beating the crap out of those assholes And that's why I think it's even more important for me to find the right Martial Art and even more so the right Teacher. Because I need to find a place that teaches me to deal with my (long, long, long surpressed) rage. I need spiritual guidance, "a mentor", but I'm not sure if things like this only happen in movies. Can Aikido help me spiritualy? Can it help me to get peace with myself and others? Because I feel that despise my urge to hurt people I deeply down am not this person. And I certainly don't want to.

Can Aikido help me getting self confidence and finally peace? Any recommendations on dojos in my area? Any help would be extremely appreciated.

Sincerely,

T.D.
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Old 07-01-2005, 08:13 PM   #2
Aragorn
Dojo: Aikido of Marin
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Dea T.D,

Aikido is a way of not harming the other person, but showing that you could, but you choose not to.
it may help you. It depends on if you let it help you. If it doesn't work, Move on. Explore other Martial arts. If Aikido isn't for you, then it just isn't for you......


Regards,


P.S Try it though.

All that is gold does not glitter. All those who wander are not lost.
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Old 07-01-2005, 08:23 PM   #3
sutemaker17
 
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

TD,
All I can tell you is that Aikido, my seniors examples and their tough love have been one of the best things to ever happen to me. When I really began serious study they all had a hand in not only my physical training but my development as a human. I was told regularly that I had a chip on my shoulder and that sometimes the things I said or did seemed mean or hateful.
Through training and the checks of my teachers and sempai I began to become more aware of everything I did, what others were doing and how it affected everyone involved. Of course, I was trying to learn an art I knew nothing about so I mimicked my sempai not only physically but socially because I wanted desperately to fit in and I wanted them to stop telling me I was an acting like an arse. Then I began to develop a real sense of obligation to the group partly because they accepted me unconditionally (well with some conditions LOL) but also because I realized they were obligated to me because I kept showing up.
In my personal experiences I became less and less angry because I began to view things more objectively. In other words, I was not as concerned with assigning "good" and "bad" feelings to problems and causes of those problems in my life or even why because I could never gather enough information about why "this cop was talking down to me" or "the guy in the car beside me just shot me the finger" to know. Maybe they had an argument with the boss like I did yesterday,who knows? But it can help you put yourself in their shoes long enough to logically deal with undesirable situations in your life that you see someone else as the cause of, without wanting to beat the crap out of them. You will get a chance to deal with all that stuff on the mat and keep getting up and attacking with sincerity even though you know the guy just cranked on you on purpose and you don't know why but he/she is on of your regular training partners. So you give him the benefit of the doubt that maybe he wasn't thinking or he had a bad day. You will begin to excuse people for being human because God knows others have had to excuse you. I guess what I'm trying to say is yes if you find the right group of people to train with it can help you. BTW I was one year younger than you when I started seriously training in Aikido.
Holy cow! I just read all that and I'm not sure it makes any sense. But I hope it helps. Here goes the submit button.....
Jason
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Old 07-01-2005, 08:28 PM   #4
Qatana
 
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Hi Gunther

I know Very well what you are going through. I have also had a lifetime of depression and very poor anger management ability. Since aikido is not a "fighting" art, it won't help you "fight" your anger but I can promise you that practicing aikido Will help you to be able to manage, blend with and control not only how you express anger but also how you feel it inside.
I have been training for two and a half years and everybody I know has noticed a vast improvement in how I handle things that would have sent me into a rage just a few short years ago. If I notice i"m getting into arguments over stupid things, I know something is bothering me that is probably internal and am learning to not react to an external trigger that is unrelated to any kind of reality.
And also listen to Liam- if when you try aikido and decide it is not for you (and please try more than one teacher before you make that choice), do look into other martial arts. Something about mental discipline combined with heavy (and enjoyable) physical activity....
But since aikido is all about resolving the conflict before it happens, I would definitly recommend it for you. Best of luck.

Q
http://www.aikidopetaluma.com/
www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 07-01-2005, 09:23 PM   #5
xuzen
 
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Congratulation Gunther,

Admiting that you have a problem is already half the battle won. The next part of the battle is to address what way best suits you to combat this problem.

Will aikido help you? Maybe, but then aikido is not something that was created to specifically combat mental illness. Some people may benefit from it, evidently some of the posters here anecdoctally agree that it helped them. In my opinion you need someting which is more specific, something like a clinical psychologist, anger management councellor or psychiatrist. These people are trained specifically to help you combat your problem.

Aikido is a physical endeavour just like any sport or physical activity which when done frequently will help the brain to release some feel good neurotransmitter (brain chemicals). This may make you feel good about yourself; so would running, swimming etc etc...
This should not be confused with aikido being therapeutic.

Just my two cents from a member of a health care fraternity,
Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 07-01-2005, 10:28 PM   #6
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Aikido can be a good activity, for a number of reasons, in addition to therapy. But a Sensei is not a therapist, and shouldn't be expected to act as one. Its not fair to them or to you. And you will bring to Aikido everything you're carrying. What are you going to do if one of your dojomates is not sensitive to you?

Jeanne
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Old 07-02-2005, 02:50 AM   #7
Tian Dan
Location: Vienna
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Austria
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Thank you for all of your replies.

Jason, your post makes lots of sense. You had some insightful things to say. And you're right on all accounts. I hope one day I'll be able to see the same things in people like you. Flaws, not hate.

Jo, great to hear that someone already went the path. Successfully so. You bring up a good point. I was thinking too about a more heavily physical training (to let off steam so to say). Hapkido, or BJJ maybe. But I'm not sure (and how could I?) what's the right thing for me.

Xu, I'm in therapy and take medication. I'll go to a hospital in a few weeks (I'm on the waiting list) for a more focused therapy. I don't expect Aikido or any Martial Arts to solve all of my problems. But I expect it to be as much if not even more as important as seeing a therapyst. I'm in and out of seeing shrinks for 8 years now and I'm still standing at the same place...People keep saying how MA affected their life to the better. That's all I'm asking for.

Jeanne, your (last) words confuse me a bit. I know I'm bringing it all to the dojo. I hoped that I could learn there to use my negative energy and not keep surpressing it.

Again, thx for taking the time to write in.

More insights are very welcome.
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Old 07-02-2005, 09:25 AM   #8
Aiki Teacher
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland , TX
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Gunther there are some great books out there on Aikido in your daily life. Terry Dobson has a great book called Aikido in Every Day Life. Anything by Richard Strozzi Heckler is also great. Heckler, by the way, I believe is a psychiatrist or psychologist I am not sure, but he writes a lot about maintaining your center in stressful times. you may want to look into these.

Aikido is not a religion but it is a way to look and approach life. I have found as a christian that it works very well with my beliefs to help me to manage my life. It has surely helped me to manage my temper.
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Old 07-02-2005, 12:40 PM   #9
aikigirl10
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Gunther,

My self confidence sky-rocketed after my first couple years of aikido. I also think aikido helps deal with anger mainly because ,you know that after becoming at least an intermediate aikidoka, u have the confidence to think of those assholes and say to yourself "You know what, they arent even worth it" and when u get to that stage, it all just gets better and better. But , having the right teacher has ALOT to do with whether or not you get the right idea of aikido. My instructor is very compassionate and he has good morals which are important in aikido training. If you find a dojo w/a teacher who seems overly cocky or too demanding , its best to find another dojo. You'll know who the right sensei is when you meet him.

I really hope i could help
Paige
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Old 07-02-2005, 03:00 PM   #10
Aiki Teacher
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

I can't agree with you more Paige. My first "aikido" instructor was a very macho, break arms destroy type of person. I was growing leery with his instruction and started seeing that his technique and aikido did not seem to look like the Aikido in the books and the videos. My current Sensei, John Riggs came along and what he did looked like the aikido I was reading in the books and the videos.

John is very compassionate and stresses being a person of peace.

We have one aikidoka in our group in Midland where the Aikido philosophy has been lived out in full. This person when he came to Aikido was getting into bar room fights just about every weekend . In the last two years it has been amazing how much he has changed.

A lot of this change I can attribute to Sensei Rigg's teaching.

Incidentally, Our Shihan, Kato Sensei, has an interview that can be found at the following web address that addresses this very topic of non-violence

http://toitsu.dk/articles/articles2.html
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Old 07-06-2005, 05:48 AM   #11
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Gunther,
I think Aikido gives you some tool for improving your self confidence and to handle your anger.
My experience is though, that there was a point, that I felt I should not take all those offences and discrimination. I wanted to solve the problem, although my situations seems to be quite harmles compared to yours.
Well, my attempt for de-escalation failed, and it could have ended in a nice midnight rumble between me and a young drunk guy - or two or three of them as he was in a group. I was prepared, which does not mean I was trained for it or I could have taken three of them.
Luckily one of the young guys - not one of his friends, as I learned later - stepped in and although my opponent tried to kick and punch while I just moved up to then, the third guy really tried (successfully) to stop me.

Nevertheless I think Aikido is one of the best choices, while in most others you do not learn to defend yourself and -if possible- to protect your opponent as well. Most of them are not killers.

Maybe your therapist does not know much about Aikido, but I suggest to discuss each single step and your feelings with her/him. I should have known before that this situation had to occur. So watch yourself and be prepared.


Regards Dirk
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:30 AM   #12
DevinHammer
 
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Gunther,
The dojo finder here at aikiweb shows two dojo in Vienna:

http://www.aikido.or.at
http://www.aikido1.at

They are both Aikikai style, which should suit your needs. Check them both out by observing classes conducted by their chief instructor. Whichever one you choose, stick with it for at least 6 months before deciding if it's working for you or not. Good luck.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:43 AM   #13
Infamousapa
Dojo: Aikido Institute of America
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

You Need Some Serious Help Bro.
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Old 07-10-2005, 07:15 AM   #14
Chad Scott
Dojo: Hombu Aikikai
Location: Tokyo, Japan
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Hi Gunther,

I know exactly what you are talking about. I still struggle with anger and rage in my daily life. Little things about living in a foreign country really set me off sometimes. I tried medication, but I quit because I didn't want to go through life under the influence of drugs.

To tell you the truth, aikido doesn't help me with my anger; if anything, it makes me worse. It gives me confidence (which is good), but sometimes in a negative way. For example, I sometimes feel that people shouldn't mess with me because "I know aikido." I even showed my anger on the mat recently, but I don't want to get into that right now...

I don't believe there is any system, book, magic formula, etc. that will help us be totally free of anger and rage. We have to look inside of ourselves and really desire to change. I have been getting my wife to hold me accountable when I get home from work. Before I take it out on her or put a hole in the wall with my fist, I tell her what I'm feeling. She really helps me. She isn't "holding my hand" or anything like that. Basically it is up to me to make the changes, and I'm doing it little by little.

I wish you the best of luck. Like someone said, it starts with your acknowledging the problem.
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Old 07-10-2005, 04:27 PM   #15
justin
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

i would suggest you take up boxing or the likes, aikido is very hard for someone to just start you almost have to un-learn everything you have learnt in life up to now silly things like sitting breathing its a complete life change well was for me when i started two months ago, and i found myself getting very angry because i couldnt get the moves, and i never used to get angry so if anything i would suggest you avoid it and go buy a punch bag.
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Old 07-10-2005, 05:30 PM   #16
Janet Rosen
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Quote:
Justin Thomas wrote:
its a complete life change well was for me when i started two months ago, and i found myself getting very angry because i couldnt get the moves, and i never used to get angry
heheheh. Justin, not to minimize what you are going through...it kind of proves the point.
You were not seeking something that would push your buttons in that way, but there YOU are--it is you, not the aikido; it is the frustration of your limitations that is evoking stuff that is in you/your's. I say this as one who knows the feeling all too well (wry grin).
I think that for somebody who is going to come to the dojo already aware of a problem and already in a therapeutic relationship elsewhere, who understands that the dojo/the training is NOT the same as therapy, that the training CAN be a helpful adjunct. Training with a sensitivity to how one feels, to what the training is evoking, and being willing to stay on the mat and explore it, is a heck of a thing (and I say this as one who knows that feelig all too well too....)

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 07-10-2005, 07:17 PM   #17
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Quote:
Gunther Frank wrote:
Where to start, where to start...?

[snip]

I'm 23 years old and live in vienna.
Start in crowded Europe. The denser any animal population, the greater the stress on the individual animals. Walk down an urban street in Wien and see how many psychotherapists there are.
Quote:
I suffer from depression, anxiety, low self confidence and serious anger management issues.

I'm physically weak, something that combined with my youthful look is no help in getting taken seriously, something we all want. I had people at work laugh me off while I was shouting at them for disrespecting me. And while we're on the subject. I shout a lot. Uncontrolled even. Sometimes I don't notice how hostile I am. It's just...all that anger I'm carrying around.[snip]
When I think about learning how to fight I...I won't lie, I think of beating the crap out of those assholes And that's why I think it's even more important for me to find the right Martial Art and even more so the right Teacher. Because I need to find a place that teaches me to deal with my (long, long, long surpressed) rage. I need spiritual guidance, "a mentor", but I'm not sure if things like this only happen in movies. Can Aikido help me spiritualy? Can it help me to get peace with myself and others? Because I feel that despise my urge to hurt people I deeply down am not this person. And I certainly don't want to.
I remember there was a guy from a "soft" Tai Chi school who came and joined us for our Sunday morning "push hands" group. At first he was very quiet and he objected to the way we pushed hands. Gradually, he learned some skills and how to move people without using much muscle. Then he got fairly good. Then, once he could win most of the time, he turned into exactly the same kind of asshole that he originally professed to despise. It's mostly about power, Gunther. When you can kick butt, it's easy to be "spiritual". When you can't kick butt, you keep trying to level the playing field by trying to convince people to become "spiritual" and not kick your butt. Naturally, I am being a little flippant, but what I'm saying is generally true... either devote the time and learn to kick butt or don't devote the time, but learn to face life for what it really is and quit worrying about it.

Mike
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Old 07-11-2005, 08:54 PM   #18
Camille Lore
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

I have some experience in this area- I has a very bad anger problem when I was younger. I think that Aikikai AIkido helped me calm down some, but I don't think I can really attribute a great deal to it. I can tell you that time, therapy and the right diagnosis for me has helped. Now, I practice a more martial aikido and jujitsu. I was scared to do it at first, because I know my temper, and I was scared I would flake out one day and hurt someone. I did notice that the more jujitsu I did, the more agressive I felt. However, I have reconcentrated on my spirituality in other areas of my life and feel that agression fading away.
The exercise from aikido, especially during the winter, has definitely helped my mood though. Try it, keep trying it... I think it may be the best martial art for someone with anger issues...
Good luck.
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Old 07-12-2005, 10:00 AM   #19
Justin Gaar
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Ki Symbol Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Gunther,
Speaking as a teenager who is still going through self-confidence problems and feelings of inferiority, i can say that sympathize with your situation. In 7th grade, which really doesn't seem like that long ago (junior in high school now), i used to be so scrawny and weak. and would submit to anything anybody said just because i felt so inferior and intellectually primitive. Since then, i've done alot of growing, but i cannot attribute all of that to aikido. I can however, give credit to the self-confidence and comfort in my own skin to aikido. In the dojo, i am not just another kid who is different and doesn't dress in jerseys or listen to hardcore rap music. I am just another nage or another uke. But we are not all bound by conformity and trying to be like everyone else. In the dojo I can say i am just as dedicated to the art as my partner. I can also say that, living in the area i live in (gang problems and what not) that aikido has given me a since of safety and letting me know that i can defend myself. However, aikido is not a solve all solution to every confrontation. If someone pulls out a gun, theres not much you can do but run. But what I have learned now gives me a sense that if need be, i am not all helpless. I hope this helps in some way or another. Good luck, and have a great day.

If you arrest a mime, do you have tell him he has the right to remain silent?
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Old 07-12-2005, 11:59 AM   #20
Roy
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Dear Gunther Frank,
What if I could give you the power to make you physically strong, would you use it? I'm 6'4",and I weight about 340 pounds. Even though I can be imposing, I get hassled allot!! I have to admit that sometimes I also loose control of my temper/rage. Just last year I went downtown for a fireworks (Canada day)celebration with my girlfriend and her friend. There was an obnoxious group of "homey" style tuff-guy types (3guys, 4 girls). One of the guys kept baking up into me, causing me to spill some of my hot chocolate. I asked him to be more careful, but he just shrugged me off. He continued to shove me and eventually he shoved my girlfriend. I shoved him back by pushing the back of his head. He retaliated and pushed me back with all his strength. At that point I was in "Neanderthal battle mode!!" I punched (later I found out I had broken three of his ribs) his ribs, and threw him to the ground from (spraining his wrist) with Niko. One of his buddies ran up to me, but stepped dead in his tracks and sort of backed down. I walked right up and mashed my face in his face, and said, "watch it f#%ker." He quickly backed off. So, what did my use of strength get me? Let me tell you, aside from being ashamed once I cooled down, "I was charged." My point here is this, I don't think that having more power will keep you from being be-littled/harassed. And if you do become potent at aikido and use it in rage, well? you will only cause yourself more problems.
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Old 07-12-2005, 12:13 PM   #21
Qatana
 
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

I don't think the idea is to be ablke to "use aikido in rage'. The ideais to be able to blend with Your Own Anger, and redirect it so you don't end up getting into the situation that you just described. The longer I train, the longer my fuse has gotten, and now sometimes I can cut the fuse before it ignites the powder.

Q
http://www.aikidopetaluma.com/
www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 07-13-2005, 02:46 PM   #22
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

I tend to agree with Jo. Years ago I might have done the same thing as Roy. the stronger my martial skills and more confident I get...the more my ego can handle it seems. Not judging you situation as being right or wrong...but I would have moved off to another area to difuse the situation. (Irimi if you will! )
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Old 07-13-2005, 06:06 PM   #23
Roy
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Dear Kevin,

I truly believe the way I handled that Canada day situation should be judged as wrong, really wrong! Like I said, I was charged, and $sued$ etc... And you can bet your booty's that, that judge would not be impressed if I ever used, and hurt someone with aikido again! I also would like to say I agree with you on the idea that the better/refined your aikido is, the better one is able to "neutralize" the attack harmoniously. Perhaps a reason for this is confidence etc...
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Old 07-13-2005, 06:18 PM   #24
Roy
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

Oops, sorry for the double post! The main point I was trying to get across to Gunther Franks thread is, just because someone has brute strength or potent martial art skills, does not mean they wont be hassled or be spoken down too. The reason why I feel this point is pertinent here is because, and this may seem ironic, I joined aikido for the same reasons/treatment.
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Old 07-15-2005, 06:50 PM   #25
Dunadan
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Re: Aikido for fighting anger?

I agree that Aikido isn't therapy, and your Sensei isn't your therapist. Nonetheless, based on my own limited experience, I do think that sustained Aikido practice can help rein in those more volatile elements of our personalities. Also, due to the personal history of my own training, I believe that zazen can form a powerful part of this process, particularly when it comes to confronting deeply-seated rage.
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