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Old 04-29-2007, 07:02 PM   #51
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Sorry, that last line should have read "With our fellow humans."
Gambatte.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 04-29-2007, 07:09 PM   #52
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Good post Larry. I look forward to someday meeting you and training together. Ain't it grand!

Best regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 04-29-2007, 07:51 PM   #53
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

My partner, Genie Rivers is a beginner in Aikido but she was a national championship fencer. She has always been a bit irked by the "disrespect" shown by many Aikido people for competition and felt it didn't recognize the extent to which competition could be an essentially "spiritual' endeavor (see the discussion of "spiritual" in the other thread).

I think an essential element in the "spiritual" side of competition is losing. Of course we strive to win. But most people doing an activity are not in competition to be "the best". only a very elite group of folks ever have a shot at that. So most folks compete and their experience is a mix of wins and losses, just like everything in life.

The place where competition becomes a trap is when you hit the top. Genie found that she started to find her sense of self worth being defined by staying on top. It became about the winning, about the recognition she got by winning, about how she felt about herself when she won. She stopped competing and started doing Aikido because (as we do it) it didn't have any competition and she was a total beginner so she didn't get many strokes for her efforts as an aspiring 6th kyu (not an easy thing to wean herself away from). I think she is getting ready to get back into her fencing and I think her perspective will be totally different now.

Most folks don't run into this issue as they will most likely lose as much as they win. For most folks there is always that person who can beat them so they don't get caught by the trap of winning.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 04-29-2007, 11:16 PM   #54
tarik
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Great thread. As part of my training lately, I've been reviewing old notes, old threads, and old messages in my e-mail and re-evaluating discussions I'd read and/or participated in years ago. It's an interesting process and a revealing process how greatly our understanding changes and grows over time. It's also mildly amusing to see some of the old flames and immature behavior that comes and goes over time on these forums.

Anyway, I love the content of this thread and I'm glad to see it resurrected. I come from an educational background that tried to take back the idea of what good competition means (a school based on supposed real Greek classical thought). I've striven against the idea of zero-sum practice for a long time and at this point, in the interests of clearer communication, I'm willing to consider conceding the use of the term competition to those who think competition must mean combativeness, even though I think it describes well the training process that Chuck Clark describes.

If so many people refuse to acknowledge that competition can be appropriate and not combative, perhaps a more precise term is required.

Of course, when I tried to convey this sort of training in person, like George Ledyard, I have met resistance to the idea that a partner should offer any sort of challenge to a tori practicing a technique, so it is not just in words that we need to learn clarity.

Tarik Ghbeish
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MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 04-30-2007, 04:16 PM   #55
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

I think competition can be looked at macroscopically and microscopically, or internal verses external.

To me, there are two basic types of competition. Sports competition is one form, and then competition in which we desire to possess something that may not be possessed.

It is possible to compete in say a judo tournament and still stay focused on your internal goals of self improvement in a healthy way, using competition as a means to assess, grow, and establish a bond and cooperative spirit with your fellow judoka.

However, once your attitude becomes "win at any cost", and you become focused on winning is the only thing...it becomes unhealthy.

I think it is okay to compete in sports and maintain the right perspective on the meaning of winning. Winning and losing in sports is not the same thing as winning at all cost.

I think many lose sight of the distinctions and lump "competition" into one huge category and view it as a bad thing in any form.

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Old 05-20-2007, 05:53 AM   #56
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

the matter is simple:

Competition is only for loosers

think about it.
regards,

tiago
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Old 05-20-2007, 10:43 AM   #57
tarik
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
the matter is simple:
If it were simple, why are there so many posts and discussions about it?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
Competition is only for loosers
Pithy. Meaningless. An observation that is actually untrue.

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
think about it.
I have. The most I've ever learned has occurred because of failure, so I'll stick with 'competition', thanks.

Tarik Ghbeish
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MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 05-20-2007, 12:28 PM   #58
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Seems like we definitely talk about the simple things the most.

If you wish to align yourself with O'Senseis teachings, you will need to align yourself with nature at some point.You will (need to /choose to )abandon the model of competition that we are discussing here to surmise how nature really functions.To open your mind to a new model. If this is your training goal, as it was for the founder,to train in the model of nature, than this will break down.

Nature is simple. Re-aligning our lives and egos with it is not.

Just try competing with it.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 05-20-2007 at 12:37 PM.

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Old 05-20-2007, 01:26 PM   #59
tiago
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

From the Oxford American Dictionary in my Mac:

Compete: strive to gain or win something by defeating or
establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same

Competition is only for loosers
you've chosen competition
now you know you'll never be a winner
it's a fact, but do as you like
Jennifer has been much more eloquent and I agree with what she says
and, by the way, failure does not come from competition
and life is not a competition
if the most you've learnt, you've learnt it in a competition...
I hope you see my point so I don't need to actually say it
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Old 05-20-2007, 02:36 PM   #60
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

In light of recent posts I think this link may be of some assistance, especially those interested in competition as it occurs in nature as well as "definitions" of competition.

http://globalchange.umich.edu/global...mpetition.html

An ongoing issue with this thread is that various people see competition in various ways (this issue goes all the way back to Ueshiba M and Tomiki K). Their definitions of the thing will directly affect how they view it.

Just to add a bit of confusion in the hope of bringing clarity, in this thread alone we have at least 2 dictionary definitions of competition:
Quote:
From the Oxford American Dictionary in my Mac:

Compete: strive to gain or win something by defeating or
establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same
and
Quote:
Webster's defines compete as 'to come together or to strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective'. These definitions appear more closely related to aikido than my zero-sum view of life as 'winning is everything'.
It is agreed however that both words come from the Latin root competere which is defined as follows:
to strive together, from Latin: to meet, come together, agree, from com- together + petere to seek

I think how you already feel about the concept will have much to do with the definition you prefer believe is the correct one imho. This returns us to the point that the whole issue is really one of perception and prejudice and not what the actual meaning of competition is. The Latin root is clear as to what the word means, even if English translations are somewhat varied imho.

So the real question is: "Is your interpretation of competition congruent with the practice of Aikido?"

Imho many are confusing competition with contest and combat.
Gambatte.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 05-20-2007, 03:14 PM   #61
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Good post Larry. It amazes me how many people will not budge from their own view and try to look through a wider window to achieve a broader view. Part of competition is not only with others but with ourselves so that we're able, no not only able to learn and change even though it can be frightening, but to look forward to the constant change in all things and be willing to discard some things as well as accept new things. When we can do this following universally understood values of best efficiency with mutual benefit then we will know true competition as a means of growth and sustenance over the long term.

Chuck Clark
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Old 05-20-2007, 06:13 PM   #62
tarik
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
From the Oxford American Dictionary in my Mac:

Compete: strive to gain or win something by defeating or
establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same

Competition is only for loosers,
Your dictionary contradicts you.

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
you've chosen competition
now you know you'll never be a winner
it's a fact, but do as you like
You are not a mind reader, and you clearly do not know what I have or have not chosen. It appears that you haven't read my posts and the posts of those I reference in context and thought about much what was actually said.

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
I hope you see my point so I don't need to actually say it
I am not a mind-reader, so you'll actually have to say it.

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 05-20-2007, 06:46 PM   #63
tarik
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
If you wish to align yourself with O'Senseis teachings, you will need to align yourself with nature at some point.
I'm very interested in his budo, and his humanity and his passion. Like every other human being, his foibles are what make him interesting, but why would I want to model my life after a man who did the things he did and made the choices he made? I want my children to know me and enjoy spending time with me.

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
You will (need to /choose to )abandon the model of competition that we are discussing here to surmise how nature really functions.To open your mind to a new model. If this is your training goal, as it was for the founder,to train in the model of nature, than this will break down.
I'm sorry Jen, but your comments about nature completely violate everything I've ever learned by actual observation. Nature is extremely competitive. As a gardener, you should have some idea about that.

As someone who majored in biology in college, and studied anatomy, and who is fascinated by nature and it's examples, I would offer the following current conclusions:

1) Competition is a fundamental part of nature and natural systems.

2) What we really are learning when we learn "aiki" is not natural at all. If fact, it is directly counter to our instincts of how to deal with opposing force. It works by studying nature and working WITH natural movements and responses and reaction to create a new outcome, but the chosen actions of tori are not 'natural' in any normal sense of the word, although they certainly do have to become relaxed and 'natural' movements.

What I am exploring in my training today is in fact to remove my natural responses and reactions to being attacked and to have the ability to choose something else. Hardly 'natural', IME, to change my internal responses to being hit, pushed, or otherwise attacked.

Ask me again in 10 or 20 years and we'll see if I've modified this opinion.

[quote=Jennifer Smith;178800] Nature is simple. Re-aligning our lives and egos with it is not.

Nature is the most complex system in existence. The global warming fiasco is a great example of an oversimplification of science and an understanding of how and why the world is changing.

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Just try competing with it.
I had steak for dinner last night. Mmmmmm.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 05-20-2007, 06:53 PM   #64
tarik
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
So the real question is: "Is your interpretation of competition congruent with the practice of Aikido?"

Imho many are confusing competition with contest and combat.
Gambatte.
Amen.

Larry, I agree with you and Chuck.

Regards

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 05-20-2007, 08:02 PM   #65
Janet Rosen
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

I note with a small smile and a bit of satisfaction that the linguistic root of competition is the same as for competent. How does one get to be competent?....

Janet Rosen
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Old 05-21-2007, 02:13 AM   #66
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
From the Oxford American Dictionary in my Mac:

Compete: strive to gain or win something by defeating or
establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same

Competition is only for loosers
you've chosen competition
now you know you'll never be a winner
it's a fact, but do as you like
Jennifer has been much more eloquent and I agree with what she says
and, by the way, failure does not come from competition
and life is not a competition
if the most you've learnt, you've learnt it in a competition...
I hope you see my point so I don't need to actually say it
Let me see if I understand this.

You are a winner if you don't compete and a looser if you do?

Is anyone else just overwhelmed by the irony here?

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-21-2007, 02:53 AM   #67
tiago
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

of course it is ironic!
oh, god
I will have to say it
but later, now I'm in a rush
best,
tiago
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Old 05-21-2007, 03:19 AM   #68
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Usually I hate it when long dead threads are resurected but this one had a few gems peppered througout - glad I re-read most of it.

I liked the one below - especially the comment concerning randori and shiai in the Judo context.

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.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-21-2007, 10:36 AM   #69
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Didn't O-Sensei get some of his best students (Tomiki, Shioda, etc) by allowing them to attack him so he could "prove" that his Aikido wasn't just a show? Those are probably bad word choices, but it seems to me that testing yourself and showing your technique isn't the same as competing. I'll bet that Shioda or Tomiki wouldn't say that they "lost" to O-Sensei and I'll bet O-Sensei didn't feel like he "won" against them. It was just an honest way to show the technique and the principles of Aikido.

Here is a perfect example of this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2TJoq0lPHM
This is from an old documentary and what you don't see is that Ueshiba was sitting and watching this as well. So was this "Competition" from Tohei? Did it serve to enlighten "Herman" or did it just make Herman a loser?

I don't know the answers to these questions for certain, but it seems to me that you can use honest techniques against resistance without sacrificing the ideals of aikido.

What do you all think? Is this competition in this video? Was it competition when O-Sensei did it with Shioda or Tomiki?

Thanks,

Jeff D.
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Old 05-21-2007, 11:10 AM   #70
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Jeff Davidson wrote: View Post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1T3ZG_JqqY
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Old 05-21-2007, 11:57 AM   #71
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

I hadn't seen the Tomiki/wrestler video before. That was interesting.
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Old 05-21-2007, 03:39 PM   #72
tiago
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

hi,

I will first try to respond to Tarik, and then more generally, in case somebody finds my point of view interesting.

Tarik,
I don't have to read your mind, I say you chose competition because you said so. You should read your own posts.
To understand my point you don't need to be a mind reader either, just read between lines:
Life is not a competition
if the most you've learnt you've learnt in a competition
then get a life
The most I've learnt was during the worse and the best moments in my life, none of them had anything to do with any competition.
It reminds me a strip from Mafalda (the cartoon by the genius of Quino) although it's not related to competition:
one child is working hard with a ruler and scissors, making a paper plane. Another child comes and asks what is he doing.
- I'm trying to make this plane great! - he says
- oh, I see... what I would like to make great is my life... - his friend responds, and leaves
the first one looks at the paper in his hands, throws it away, and runs to play with the other children

So, in general, what I think,
If you want to talk about competition, then talk about competition. Don't tell me that competition, in fact, means something else, which happens to be almost the opposite of what we understand by competition, and which is in accordance with Aikido theory. Please, be honest. Try the following exercise if you like:
A - last night, my family and I competed for my glasses

what is the sentence with the closest meaning to A:
1- last night, my family and I joined efforts to find my glasses
2- last night, my family and I tried to determine who was the best at something, and the winner got the glasses

So you see the meaning of competition, which is close to what we understand when we talk about competition in nature. Or nobody else sees that some are trying to find "competition" not aggressive, and then talk about "how natural" it is, in fact, to compete, when we could say that competition in nature is probably the most aggressive of all.
People are trying (consciously or unconsciously) to bend the meanings.
In fact, what we call "competition" in nature is what humans see as competition. I'm sure that the lion trying to get some food for its cubs, or the zebra, trying to survive, don't see it as a competition. It is the same with aggression. You have to be very careful not to humanize animals' behaviors. I think it is confusing because it is called "competition" in the biological sciences, but it is just a name.

I agree that testing is not competing. Otherwise it would be impossible to learn anything. The problem is that in Aikido there's a thin line between practicing hard, testing, and competing. And the problem is much worse because it is not explicit (except in the Tomiki-ryu) and probably nobody would admit that they're competing, although sometimes you can feel how they are competing... from little clues... or can you?
Another thing I found, is that many times what I thought was a non-cooperative uke, a competing uke, or just a bad person, where in fact my misreading of my partner, probably of a different school, or used to a different way of standing. So I've decided that, unless somebody challenges me explicitly, I will never assume there is any kind of competition (and if I get challenged, I would never compete, of course) Similarly, I've learnt not to judge others' technique as inferior or worse than mine, as I've heard too many times people saying that of each other reciprocally (both to me separately, of course)

And about the irony,
competing is only for losers
it is!
some people apparently have a problem with being a loser. They could try and think why...
the sentence was meant as a joke. To call somebody a loser, is, in some way, competing already.
but on the other hand, I also think it is true
The concept of competing is inseparable of the concepts of wining and losing (with or without aggression, that's a different issue)
once you accept competition, you accept the division of the universe in winers and losers
it's a fact!
and by that, you become yourself a loser, automatically, as nobody wins always at everything
If you want to look at it from a different perspective:
when you compete, you are placing the outcome of your success in your competitors. Therefore, you're not free anymore. You depend on your competitors to proclaim you a winer (in case you win, of course) and then, even if you win, if you're the best and everybody claims you're a hero and nobody could ever defeat you, even then, that victory is empty, because it's relative.
so there, I've said it

Sorry for the long and boring reply.
That was it, I promise.
And sorry if my english is not perfect, it's not my mother tongue.
Best,

tiago
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Old 05-21-2007, 05:43 PM   #73
miratim
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

A - last night, my family and I competed for my glasses

what is the sentence with the closest meaning to A:
1- last night, my family and I joined efforts to find my glasses
2- last night, my family and I tried to determine who was the best at something, and the winner got the glasses


Or 3, which may represent what competition can sometimes accomplish:

3- the previous few years, my family and I competed in scavenger hunt and hide and seek, honing our skills against each other to become faster and smarter. So when I lost my glasses, we competed against each other again to see who could find them first. No matter who actually found them, we all won because we found my glasses very quickly and could get back to regular family time.
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Old 05-21-2007, 06:16 PM   #74
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Tim Miranda wrote: View Post
what is the sentence with the closest meaning to A:
D. You're a blind loser with no life?

Michael Hacker
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Old 05-21-2007, 06:17 PM   #75
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
I don't have to read your mind, I say you chose competition because you said so. You should read your own posts.
What else did I say about competition and the use of the word?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
Life is not a competition
if the most you've learnt you've learnt in a competition
then get a life
I'll presume your aggression is merely a poor use of a second language.

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
If you want to talk about competition, then talk about competition. Don't tell me that competition, in fact, means something else, which happens to be almost the opposite of what we understand by competition, and which is in accordance with Aikido theory. Please, be honest.
I see significant intellectual honesty presented in the opinions in this thread.

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
People are trying (consciously or unconsciously) to bend the meanings.

I think it is confusing because it is called "competition" in the biological sciences, but it is just a name.
It's ok to 'redefine' or tweak the meaning of a word to more precisely match our intent and meaning as long in a scientific context, but not in Aikido?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
and if I get challenged, I would never compete, of course) Similarly, I've learnt not to judge others' [...] as inferior or worse than mine, as I've heard too many times people saying that of each other reciprocally (both to me separately, of course)
Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
the sentence was meant as a joke. To call somebody a loser, is, in some way, competing already.
but on the other hand, I also think it is true
<ahem> So why are you competing here?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
some people apparently have a problem with being a loser.
Not here.

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
The concept of competing is inseparable of the concepts of wining and losing (with or without aggression, that's a different issue) once you accept competition, you accept the division of the universe in winers and losers
Go study game theory.

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
If you want to look at it from a different perspective:
I DO look at it from a different perspective.

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
when you compete, you are placing the outcome of your success in your competitors. Therefore, you're not free anymore. You depend on your competitors to proclaim you a winer (in case you win, of course) and then, even if you win, if you're the best and everybody claims you're a hero and nobody could ever defeat you, even then, that victory is empty, because it's relative.
If I am defining my win-loss criterion, it really doesn't matter what my 'competitors' say or do; but I'll agree with you to the extent of saying that I choose me 'competitors' VERY carefully to be people who agree with my goals and are willing to help me achieve them. So yes, in that sense, my success depends upon their cooperation and their competition.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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