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Old 07-10-2000, 08:48 PM   #26
dbgard
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Cool NO!!! Don't let him drag us off topiccc, NOOO!!!

Nick,

C'mon buddy, this art is about staying lighthearted I think (though not necessarily 'flaming' as you might say hahaha).

It's time to do away with this macho "look at me I'm a samurai in a long skirt" nonsense, and for the love of God start enjoying ourselves.

If I happen to throw a quote or two in from Ace Ventura, that should be funny I think, didn't you see those movies?

Hasta la vista, baby,
Drew


hara-kiri for the fear-mongers,
sushi-waza for the peace-makers.

--The great dream shared among my friends--

--Please see [u]Aikido and the Harmony of Nature[u] [i]illustration:[i] p. 125. Mitsugi-san, I taught you aikido in my former life, and no
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Old 07-10-2000, 09:43 PM   #27
JO
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To bring this thread back to the meaning of competitive. I have to disagree on the competitive/combattive split. Maybe it was our messed up society that changed the meaning from the latin, but I can think of no one speaking english who would use the word competition to describe people striving together for something, not from a teamwork perspective anyway. To quote the Oxford dictionary under competitive "having a strong urge to win".
In ecology (my field of study), we use the word competition to describe two or more organisms striving for one common resource with the idea that if one gets it the other doesn't and this is pretty much in line with the general usage of the word. For two organisms working together for mutual gain, we use the term mutualism or symbiosis.
Using this terminology I would say that aikido is (or strives to be) a mutualistic martial art, and that this is part of what I enjoy about it.
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Old 07-10-2000, 11:13 PM   #28
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one thing- I meant Drew, not Pete, in my above post.

-Nick

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Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 07-10-2000, 11:30 PM   #29
Chuck Clark
 
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Great post, JO

This is the sort of discussion I had hoped to get going.

I agree. What I call our randori practice for example is a "managed competition based on the recognized need for a symbiotic relationship of mutual trust and growth." Similar to your biological model.

Something different about it though, is that we engage in a desensitization and resensitization process in order to transcend 'winning and losing', which is of course, paradoxical. While doing randori, each person must be trying one hundred percent to take the partner's initiative and make the best quality of technique possible while at the same time ... not really caring who throws or is thrown as long as it is a "sweet technique."

This is very hard to understand for many people and extremely difficult to learn to do. It is a process which takes perserverance and great focus of our intent. We go through various levels of attitudes which we often aren't proud of, but if we continue in the right direction, we eventually reach the goal.

Once you really don't care if someone "catches" you, the sensitivity to the process reaches very high levels and you're so relaxed that you learn that there are still many options to make kaeshiwaza, for example. A person who "fights" and is unwilling and uncomfortable being at risk lacks the sensitivity to feel the openings.

The process takes quite some time and there must be a strong motive in the practitioners to cooperate in this mutual learning exercise while using this 'competitive' attitude of trying to 'win' without caring who actually wins. Often it boils down to ... "some get it, and some don't."

Experienced judo players can tell immediately, for example, who knows the difference between randori and shiai. You can tell at first contact by the way the person responds to having their balance broken.

Well, enough for now. I am interested to know what you think about these ideas.

Thanks for your input.

Chuck Clark
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Old 07-11-2000, 04:13 AM   #30
Pete
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Wink Quoting from books and other stuff

Why does throwing in a quote from a book by a recognised Aikidoka make a persons point more acceptable to some people? Why rely on what is basically that one authors point of view on something, when even the lowliest grade, or even someone who has never done Aikido may be able to bring a fresh view point to what ostensibly could become a stagnant discussion! This world of ours, this 'democracy', and especially this FORUM is supposedly built on free speech and having the chance to air your view without fear of reprisal, or rebuke. And too often like most things it gets bogged down in petty bickering and childish ignorance (of which we are all guilty of, even me!!). Every single person, from a no kyu right up to the Doshu himself has the right to express their view and to live life how they choose. So, in the interests of democracy, the forum, and humanity in general perhaps it would be nice to 'listen' or read, digest others points of view, and then reply in a courteous AND respectful manner without resorting to name calling, or bickering!!

Peace people. After all as Aikido is 'The Art of Peace'.

Pete
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Old 07-11-2000, 07:39 AM   #31
George S. Ledyard
 
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Tough Love

It was suggested earlier that we look to the great Senseis for our inspiration and essentially stop spouting our own ideas. Well, I must say that I have read every book in English on Aikido, some more than once. I go back over and over to the best ones. There is a point in which you have to take the concepts and great ideas and make them your own. The reason I submit my ideas to the forum is to practice putting them in coherent form and checking to see if what I am saying seems to make sense to others. Not only that, but without your own personal training to illuminate the words of the teachers with such a depth of experience you won't necessarily understand what they mean anyway.

The whole issue of what is competition is an interesting one. If my partner does not allow me to throw him when my technique isn't adequate, is that competition? I once attended an Aikido seminar and was training with a student from a different dojo. We were doing katate tori related techniques. I grabbed the wrist of my partner in the way that I do when I am out at someone else's place (not the way I would with my own students or as I would with my training buddies). In other words I was being polite about it but trying to give good energy. The person was completely unable to move. Normally I would have immediately backed off because clearly the person wasn't up to training at even that reduced level. But before I could make the adjustment the training partner said to me "You're very resistant! Your energy body isn't very sensitive." I was flabbergasted to realize that as a partner I was expected to make their technique work for them. That in pointing out the complete lack of understanding which my partner had (even though I hadn't been intending to do so) I was considered at fault. I am sure that that person would say that I was being competitive. But at the point where it is the uke's fault that you can't do your own technique, does anyone have any idea what is going on in the training? Is there even training going on at that point? I don't think so.

I have had the experience many times of doing a whole two-hour class with Ikeda Sensei as my partner. On a number of occasions I hardly did a technique the whole time. His turn to throw I fall down, my turn to throw, I fall down. You get the picture. When you stand across from someone like Ikeda sensei and look in his eyes you see implacable partner. There is no doubt in your mind that one way or another he will do whatever it takes for you to go to the ground (and I mean he'll do it with skill and precision, without injuring you at all). His martial intention is something to behold. In my younger days I would defeat myself before he even had to do a technique just do to the strength of his intention. I finally got to the point where I would at least endeavor to make him work for it. I would shoot for a small grunt or something that would act as a sign that he actually had to devote some small effort before I went flying. Very occasionally I would get it; most of the time, not. I know that many people in Aikido would look at what we were doing as competition. It is in a sense. in a sense. But I would say that they misunderstand the nature of the competition. When Ikeda Sensei is training like that with me he is being the grindstone on which I polish myself. I can't say that it's always fun because of course we all really are attached to success and it's not so reinforcing to have to face the fact that you can't do something. But it's extremely valuable. Talk about having to deal with your ego. That kind of training is a form of tough love. But Ikeda Sensei is also a very "clean" gentleman. You can train that way with him precisely because you can trust that on the rare occasion that you get the better of him on a technique, he won't make you "pay" the next time as many teachers I've encountered will do. I trained for fifteen years before I ever managed to hit one of my teachers. When I finally pulled it off I went home to tell my wife "I did it, I finally got him!" Saotome Sensei's response when I was able to strike him was a smile and the simple comment "good" and them I went flying as usual on my next attempt. He was genuinely pleased that I had been able to land one.

That kind of training you can only do with a small number of people. It requires an agreement between you that honesty in your technique is what you are looking for. If I don't have it, I don't want my students falling down. How can I get better if they are giving it to me? If my partner stops my technique I say "Thank you" (as long as the arrangement is mutual). People can give each other a very hard time on the mat and look very competitive. But it's the attitude behind the competition that counts. You can have a competition of sorts both with yourself and your partner as long as it is not trying to make yourself bigger at the expense of someone else. When you give your partner a hard time out of respect for him because he deserves your best efforts as uke and you expect the same from him that may have some elements of competition in it but its a positive version.

O-Sensei once did a demonstration in which one of his ukes pulled his attack; he didn't attack with real intention because he feared that O-sensei (who had been very ill) couldn't handle the attack. O-Sensei broke his arm because he hadn't come in cleanly (not intentionally so but as the result of a attack that had incorrect energy). He expected that he would be attacked all out and in fact that was the only way to really be safe when you took the ukemi.

I think there is a large component of competition in our practice but it is a competition that doesn't have winners and losers. Winners and losers happen in sport and combat. In our form of competition there aren't any winners and losers, the participants all win because they all get better through the efforts they put in.

[Edited by George S. Ledyard on July 11, 2000 at 06:48am]

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Old 07-11-2000, 07:58 AM   #32
JO
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I agree that intent has a lot to do with whether or not you are being competitive in aikido. There are no competitions in our practice in the conventional sense (say as in most sports). However, if when practicing you resist a technique to prove to yourself or to your partner that you are better than him you are competing with him. If you resist his technique because he is missing something, I find it helps if you give him an idea about what is missing both when I am resisiting and when being resisted against, then you may actually be helping that person improve.
If I go back to my biological model, it is only competition if you take something away from the other to give yourself (or in this case you ego) a boost. But if you give something back to the person and help them reach their goal (of a better technique) how can you be seen as competing with them.
I do find it tricky to know how much to resist a technique though. Some partners seem to like a strong resistance to see if they can still do the technique while others get quickly frustrated, hopefully with experience I will learn to read which is which more quickly.
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Old 07-11-2000, 08:41 AM   #33
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George,

What you're describing is very much what we do in randori except we have a method for teaching people to do it. Of course, we start very slow but committed to full movements full of intention. If you start a movement, you have to complete that movement to it's natural finish (ie. when going slow it's easy to realize you have made a mistake. You must understand that if you were going regular speed, it wouldn't be possible to stop and change your movement, so you continue and learn what the outcome is).

Eventually after quite a few years of this practice, we can go full speed and power at times. This is very strong and difficult practice and isn't done very often. We prefer to go about 1/3 speed or so. It's a very powerful learning tool. Your brain is picking up information whether you're doing the technique or end up taking the ukemi.

Chuck Clark
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Old 07-11-2000, 11:19 AM   #34
dbgard
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Cool Re: Tough Love

Ledyard Sensei,

Yes it is sometimes tough love, a very samurai love. My congrats on connecting a punch to Mr. Saotome I've seen him "live in concert" and I don't think he gets hit too often. My home dojo is affiliated with the ASU, so Saotome Shihan is our...well....our shihan. 8). I went to a seminar of his in Orlando not too long ago. After the seminar, a few nidans were testing for sandan, which certainly was exciting and quite humbling to watch.

One of the nidans was called out to do a randori with three shinai wielding "ninjas" attacking. He kept on trying to use their own shinai against each other, execute textbook techniques, and I think, just all-around look cool. He kind of reminded me of Johnny Ringo in Tombstone[.

After getting smacked in thr forehead full-force by at least 2 shinai, "Ringo" ended up getting his promotion.

Shihan decided he'd let us know a slightly better way of accomplishing randori. Well, A MUCH BETTER WAY. Saotome M. Shihan asked the "ninjas" to take positions on the mat, and yelled ATTACK!!!! I don't think he even had to touch one attacker or one shinai, he just moved through it all. He was taking a walk through the park, and the attackers were only helping Shihan's breath circulation my mixing the air molecules around him with their missed slashes.

Some Amaebi Heads for the Recycle Bin,
Drew

hara-kiri for the fear-mongers,
sushi-waza for the peace-makers.

--The great dream shared among my friends--

--Please see [u]Aikido and the Harmony of Nature[u] [i]illustration:[i] p. 125. Mitsugi-san, I taught you aikido in my former life, and no
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Old 07-11-2000, 01:51 PM   #35
Erik
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We all compete

You see an attractive member of your desired sex you....

a) let your internal feeling of love attract him/her to you.

b) rely on the harmony of the universe to put the 2 of you together.

c) express your interest whilst highlighting what makes you a better partner than all the others doing the same thing. In other words, you compete with them.

If you are smart you compete based on that. If you are rich you compete on that basis. If you are good looking you compete on that basis. In nature you see this when males compete for the females affections. The strongest gets to mate and the loser doesn't. The competition helps to ensure the best mate with the best.

I remember my 8th grade math teacher fostered competition amongst 3 students and we each moved much further than we otherwise would have. Competition was a tool to get us to work harder and learn more. I'd suggest in that environment it was very much a positive thing.

Quote:
I do recall Erik Sensei mentioning one of Leonard Sensei's books, but the rest of you?
I hope there's another Erik out there. I've been fortunate (hopefully those in the class agreed with that interpretation) to have taught a fair amount and played a fairly major part in more than one school but I definitely don't fit the generally accepted usage of this term. Hell, I'm not even close to being the senior student in rank or time where I currently hang out.

Also, my suggestion would be to not use this term here at all. My understanding is that the term simply means teacher but for some reason it often seems to carry strange overtones which lead to bizarre and strange behavior. My fear is that it causes people to subordinate what might or might not be valid opinions. Maybe these are just my own personal issues but I've seen some big huge hangups around that term and they weren't fun to be around.
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Old 07-11-2000, 04:04 PM   #36
JO
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Yes we all compete at some time or another for something. This usually makes life harder although sometimes it just makes it interesting.
As for competition at school, I think that this is a perfect example oh how competition can be a problem. When in CEGEP (Quebec's junior coillege system)I was in an advanced program with a small number of students, we tended to help each other out with our school work, to everybody's advantage. In the general school population, I heard many stories where competition for grades was so high that students would avoid giving any help or even mislead their peers. This generally creates great stress.
Personnally I always aimed for high grades but not necessarily for grades higher than anyone elses. So I have helped many fellow students over the years. I once coached a friend through a stats test, she thinks she would have failed without me, instead she did better than I did (although we both got A's).
I think we can all strive for our ideals (high grades, money, great aikido technique) without competing. For myself, when it came to grades I compared myself to my ideal more than to the other students.
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Old 07-11-2000, 05:02 PM   #37
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JO, your missing the point I was making (or I made it badly). We were not competing for a scarce resource. We were competing to learn. It's different from your educational example where there are limited resources (scholarships or whatever) and winning or losing can make the difference between a good education and a job flipping burgers. It might if there are only so many opportunities for advanced education. In the latter case I'd imagine almost anything goes.
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Old 07-11-2000, 05:04 PM   #38
Chuck Clark
 
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Consider some ideas from concepts of sport from earlier times... "it isn't whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game," etc. or how about, "winners never cheat and cheaters never win."

These sayings are almost laughable now in big time pro sports, collegiate money making athletic programs, even high school programs which have become farm teams in essence for the colleges and pros. I have no problem with these programs producing good athletes who plan to try to make a living in the pros. However, the tactics and goings-on behind the scenes to succeed are not reminiscent of the sayings quoted above.

Business now is not just competition for a share of the market; it's more often "put the other guys out of business!" Sounds like lots of nasty, combative stuff to me.


Chuck Clark
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Old 07-11-2000, 05:29 PM   #39
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Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:
Consider some ideas from concepts of sport from earlier times... "it isn't whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game," etc. or how about, "winners never cheat and cheaters never win."

These sayings are almost laughable now in big time pro sports, collegiate money making athletic programs, even high school programs which have become farm teams in essence for the colleges and pros. I have no problem with these programs producing good athletes who plan to try to make a living in the pros. However, the tactics and goings-on behind the scenes to succeed are not reminiscent of the sayings quoted above.

Business now is not just competition for a share of the market; it's more often "put the other guys out of business!" Sounds like lots of nasty, combative stuff to me.
I couldn't agree more. I used to regularly play in pickup basketball games and for some of us it was good exercise and occasionally good competition. I used to like nothing better than to have someone better come out because it motivated me to play better and see how good I could be.

For others it was different. I used to have to endure arguments, fights and generally deal with petulant children. I've been intentionally hurt, heard of knives and guns coming to play and even been in one fight myself (pre-aikido). I've watched people cheat and lie when the only reward was winning a game no one would remember playing the next day. We're talking games with nothing on the line, yet these people lied and cheated. It was amazing to behold.

One other positive aspect to this is that occasionally someone would get under my skin and piss me off. It helped make things real, was often a very good learning experience and interestingly enough the energy of the anger would often be the catalyst for an improvement in my game. It's an interesting energy and one I've not really been able to duplicate on the mat.
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Old 07-11-2000, 05:38 PM   #40
dave
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compatition

Quote:
Nick wrote:
damn... I hate it when you're right .

-Nick
NICK if any one was rightit was you,tthe point was participation and cooperation,some would justify competition and aggression if they could.

your Kindness IS your greatness
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Old 07-11-2000, 08:42 PM   #41
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Re: Tough Love

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I was flabbergasted to realize that as a partner I was expected to make their technique work for them.
I know this is off topic but...

I have seen people resist techniques in such a way that Nage is forced to pick a different technique. I can't think of any examples offhand but I do know that locking the elbow often turns a relatively painless technique into something that can become rokkyo. In cases like these, we usually have uke do something they aren't doing instinctively for the sake of the exercise, in essence, making nage technique work.
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Old 07-11-2000, 08:47 PM   #42
JO
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Erik, I think I understand your position. Comparing oneself to others and "competing" to acquire knowledge or skill can be a strong motivation for improvement but I have seen it get out of hand. If you are motivated purely by the thought of being better than the others you may try to bring them down rather than bring yourself up. You and your classmates may have been above that kind of behavior but many are not and it does not necessarily take anything as seductive as a big scholarship to bring it out (although it can help, the worst stories I have heard are from students trying to get into med school).
I think maybe the question comes down to the line between frienly competition and no holds barred competition, personnally I have found that that line is easier to cross than we like to think (I've seen enough fights in little league hockey and baseball to know that much).
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Old 07-12-2000, 01:04 AM   #43
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JO wrote:

Comparing oneself to others and "competing" to acquire knowledge or skill can be a strong motivation for improvement but I have seen it get out of hand. If you are motivated purely by the thought of being better than the others you may try to bring them down rather than bring yourself up

I agree wholeheartedly. That's exactly why we need training in a controlled learning environment monitored by a teacher who has gone through the process and has achieved some level of their own self-control.

Running away from or refusing to deal with these human problems in dealing with conflict are not the way to learn behaviors which give us the tools to resolve conflict.

Great discussion now, by the way. We all have much to learn from each other!

Thanks,

[Edited by Chuck Clark on July 12, 2000 at 04:07pm]

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Old 07-14-2000, 02:54 PM   #44
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Square socialist/capitalist aikido

People most often set their personal records when competing with others. Gold medals have that effect. It is easy to motivate one to reach for the carrot or avoid the whip. Sometimes that motivation is greater if someone else can get the carrot or whip too.

I've always played basketball by the words, "If your not trying to win, why keep score." -Worf. I love how it pushes me to perform, win or lose. Still, not long ago, in a pickup game a (football) player that was on the other team riped my shirt off my back because he was frustrated by losing. My aikido in that situation was to take off the remains of my shirt and keep playing. He taught me to blend with and channel unnecessary aggression and I taught him that being mad and voilent isn't enough to keep one from losing two more times.

Competition is not inherently evil. Cooperation is not inherently good. I happen to prefer cooperation with others towards positive goals to even competing with myself. Aikido is said to be about destroying the "competitive mind" and the "ego". During training, I try to defeat my desire to compare myself to others while being aware that everyone has various abilities that are stronger/weaker than my own. I'm not afraid of competition/conflict with others; I just try not to go looking for it.

When playing multi-player computer games, I now find it more fun to play on the same side as one of my friends and lose to the A.I. (computer player), than to beat one of my friends when playing the game against them. I look to work together if it is at all possible, if the activity has no point without competition with others (like Black Jack) then I enjoy it for what it is.

Boiling it all down: do others agree that it is the craving of conflict aspect of competition with others that must by eliminated?

Can competition (or lack thereof) with oneself be just as destructive?

"One does not find wisdom in another's words." -James D. Chye
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Old 07-14-2000, 05:15 PM   #45
Chuck Clark
 
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Welcome to the AikiWeb forum,

Of course competition with yourself can be bad, any competition CAN be bad.

"Ultimately Master Ueshiba concluded that the true spirit of budo is not to be formed in a competitive and combative atmosphere where brute strength dominates and victory at any cost is the paramount objective."

K. Ueshiba


From the quote above I sense that M. Ueshiba sensei was "qualifying" those attitudes. What if we can be competitive without using brute strength and we've actually gotten to the point where we don't really care who makes the technique because we've realized that we both learn from both sides of the experience.

If we have no competitive sense in our intent, how can we care about "self-defense," how can we really be motivated to take the initiative and be the one who is making the quality decisions about where all this energy is going?

I think what it comes down to is - do we practice aikido as an artful exercise or do we include the aspect of aiki (bu) do? Both have value. We should just make sure which we really want to do and then be sure we're practicing in a manner that actualizes our intent.

Regards,


Chuck Clark
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Old 04-29-2007, 07:27 AM   #46
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Meaning of Competitive?

Thread Resurrection

Sensei Clark,

With respect, these are the first thoughts that occured to me when (past the interruptions) I read this thread;

- Our environment has intertwined the concept of winning and losing with the idea of success and failure. To be successful in 'life', you have to 'compete' for the good job (and continue to compete for the job in respect to job security and promotion), 'compete' for the house and car (there is an element of competition derived in your finances in the form of your credit unless you bought your house with cash), and even in some religiously spiritual aspects there is 'competition'.

- How can one apply this change in mentality to their environment, not just on the mat?

I felt your words on this subject merited its reintroduction for further discussion.

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
Great post, JO

This is the sort of discussion I had hoped to get going.

I agree. What I call our randori practice for example is a "managed competition based on the recognized need for a symbiotic relationship of mutual trust and growth." Similar to your biological model.

Something different about it though, is that we engage in a desensitization and resensitization process in order to transcend 'winning and losing', which is of course, paradoxical. While doing randori, each person must be trying one hundred percent to take the partner's initiative and make the best quality of technique possible while at the same time ... not really caring who throws or is thrown as long as it is a "sweet technique."

This is very hard to understand for many people and extremely difficult to learn to do. It is a process which takes perserverance and great focus of our intent. We go through various levels of attitudes which we often aren't proud of, but if we continue in the right direction, we eventually reach the goal.

Once you really don't care if someone "catches" you, the sensitivity to the process reaches very high levels and you're so relaxed that you learn that there are still many options to make kaeshiwaza, for example. A person who "fights" and is unwilling and uncomfortable being at risk lacks the sensitivity to feel the openings.

The process takes quite some time and there must be a strong motive in the practitioners to cooperate in this mutual learning exercise while using this 'competitive' attitude of trying to 'win' without caring who actually wins. Often it boils down to ... "some get it, and some don't."

Experienced judo players can tell immediately, for example, who knows the difference between randori and shiai. You can tell at first contact by the way the person responds to having their balance broken.

Well, enough for now. I am interested to know what you think about these ideas.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 04-29-2007, 08:17 AM   #47
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Barry Clemons wrote: View Post
Thread Resurrection

Sensei Clark,

- How can one apply this change in mentality to their environment, not just on the mat?
It's about truly understanding your original nature and then making your "outsides match your insides" with the goal of uplifting all beings and doing as little harm as possible.

It's about learning to share appropriately (you have to make it "fit" each instant... the real meaning of takemusu aiki in my opinion). It's about the quality and long term vialbility of a simbiotic managed competition with each of us trying to do our best and taking care of each other.

Jigoro Kano said it simply: Seiryoku Zenyo Jita Kyoei. Best Use of Energy with Mutual Benefit.

Budo practice in this philosophical model is a training method and demonstration of a way to achieve this in our whole life.

I had forgotten about this thread from years ago. It is still the heart and meaning of my practice and what I try to pass on to others. Thanks for bringing it back.

Chuck Clark
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Old 04-29-2007, 09:41 AM   #48
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

I like alot of the work of Stephen Covey. He covers it best with the concept of creating a Win/Win society or mentality.

Win/lose is short sighted and eventually (at least philosophically), it catches up with us. Sometimes in ways we don't even realize!

I think much or the suffering we experience in life is due to the fact that much of what we do is based on the concept that in order to "Gain" someone else has to lose.

I don't think it necessarily has to be this way and I try and strive for creating synergy and win/win where ever I come.

Aikido is a good allegory and practice for this type of philosophy and mentality as it seeks to create synergy, heal, and to find options other than win/lose.

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Old 04-29-2007, 12:51 PM   #49
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
Nick,

You're missing the point.

The "construct" you're using for competitive is skewed and slanted towards aggression and combative behavior which is destructive and does not contribute to learning aikido.

Combative training relationships do not form trust and intimacy between partners.

Training in a way that leads to transcendence of winning and losing must have a true "competitive" intent but without aggression and the zero sum attitude of a combative intent.
I'm really enjoying this discussion and I have some experience with both sides of the competition equation, as do many of us here.

I come from a sports competitive background and the environment was really powerful in stimulating me to do my best, to seek together, as Mr. Clark defined so nicely, and to grow in our skills as a team. What it didn't do was move my mind beyond the human construct toward the flowing power of NATURES WHOLISTIC MODEL which doesn't stop or begin with competition, as sports do. (even darwinian posits are fragmented in juxtaposition to natures fullness). The trap of competition is that it appears to be complete. The ultimate test, if you will.
Someone in sports said "it isn't wether you win or lose, but how you play the game." To me, the larger aspect of aikido is 'how you play the game'. O'Sensi tried to play it like nature, it seems.
He spoke of the the 'body level' of practice and the 'spirit level' of practice; nature being the model of spirit.
I recently wrote an article for the Federal Government in which I stated "competion has no place in the pursuit of harmony". I was challenged by my own convictions after I saw the article published and I felt less certain about my assertion that it was 'useless'. On a level, I agree with my own understanding. On another I know competition in appropriate context is healthy. So I continue to dance the dance of context and look beyond my own incomplete human terms for life. Sometimes competing, sometimes harmonizing, sometimes doing both. Always looking beyond.
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Old 04-29-2007, 02:20 PM   #50
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Chuck,

This is a brilliant thread. Apparently it existed a long time before I joined aikiweb so I never saw it.

My personal view is inline with Chuck's, but then again this view is also Tomiki's view of what can be accomplished through competition and is in line with the original olympic ideal of human beings coming together "to meet and to test" which is also a translation of shiai if I am not mistaken.

The negative impressions many get from the word competition I think is unfortunate since what happens in reality is that competition forces us to dig deep into ourselves and try our best to succeed. The problem is since we are dealing with human beings who all possess weakness and fear, digging deep brings out stuff that is not all peaceful, harmony-seeking or a positive influence on those around us or ourselves. When we focus on winning alone we lose sight of the true purpose of competition.

Imho the definition of competition has never changed but the weakness and base elements of humankind, when forced to the surface as a result of the pressures and challenges of competition, have over time changed our general perception of what defines competition. In effect many are blaming the mirror (in this case competition) for what it reflects (mankind's general tendency to resort to base/life or death survival instincts when placed under extreme and severe pressure).

To me competition is critical if one is practicing Budo since it does not take the aloof road of denying that the baser elements of humanity exist, but it confronts those baser instincts and forces us to cut deeply at the true enemy, which is the self and our need to win at any cost and be combative (not competitive) with out fellow humans.

Just my 2 cents.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 04-29-2007 at 02:22 PM.

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