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Old 05-22-2007, 03:30 PM   #101
ChrisMoses
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
Christian,
There is no joke in post #93
although I see it sounds strong
(especially the "go think about it" part, I could have said "please, try to consider it...", but it wouldn't have had the same effect)
my point is strong
Strong points are only interesting if they're vigorously defended (meaning with a LOT of background and evidence). When Einstein offered his theory of relativity, he did so with enough evidence and logic behind his theory, that while it was initially rejected as absurd by many in the Physics community, it eventually won them over and has become the primary model for modern Science. It was only worth consideration however because of how vigorously it was defended and reasoned. I could make the statement, "Gravity pulls us away from other objects of mass!" That's a strong challenging statement, but it's also wrong and I could not offer a single thing to back up my claim. So when you claim that there is no competition in nature, I'm stuck in something of a predicament. Since I know that to be false, and you have offered no evidence to the contrary, I can either assume that you are non-credible or are defining your terms much differently than I (and others on this board) are. Either way, we can't enter into a meaningful discussion at this point based on what you've presented so far. Perhaps it's a language barrier, I don't know.

Chris Moses
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Old 05-22-2007, 03:55 PM   #102
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Hi Christian,
I am not saying that there is not competition in nature
I just say that the competition that we find in nature is a human concept (it's in the eyes of the beholder, if you like)
so, it is in fact a falacy to justify competition by saying that nature is competitive

tiago
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Old 05-22-2007, 04:50 PM   #103
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Imho competition is for winners. When done with the correct mindset one cannot lose.

I think Yann said it best here - http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...7&postcount=20
Quote:
...competition is teaching me what I need to improve on. It shows me when my techniques are weak and ineffectual. It shows me I have to work a lot more before I am ``good''. That's why I win all the time. It's a learning tool. Nothing more, nothing less.
For those who practice and compete in this manner there is no incongruency between Aikido and competition and there are no hang ups on the word as experienced by those who do not understand the paradigm. Those who experience negative effects of losing are actually experiencing the ego attempting to reconcile self perception (I think I am really good at Aikido and am hard to beat) with reality (I just lost, what could I have done better?) imho.

Gambatte.

Last edited by L. Camejo : 05-22-2007 at 04:54 PM.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 05-22-2007, 05:05 PM   #104
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

This quote came to mind while reading this thread:
Quote:
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt
"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

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Old 05-22-2007, 05:12 PM   #105
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
sorry,
and the last, I promise
Tarik,
the only competition that there is in nature
is the one you bring
if you don't understand this
you don't understand, period
go think about it
instead of assuming that people don't know what you are talking about
All belief's are assumptions and predicated upon assumptions, but I do make a sincere effort to make mine educated.

Actually, I think it would be quite fair to say that you don't know what I'm talking about. Perhaps there is indeed a language barrier.

All the irate attitude and aggressive language I've read so far has not come from my posts. If I were unkind, I might assume that you are merely a troll, but I have taken your comments as sincere and at face value and addressed them directly.

Instead of responding in kind, and asking clarifying questions or saying and offering something substantial to challenge or question my assumptions or the assumptions of those whom I have publicly stated my agreement with; you have chosen to attack and say that I'm a loser.

If I continue to take your words at face value, it would appear that you aren't interested in discussion, you merely want to provoke me or else you're agitated by my measured response and can only resort to name-calling and accusations of 'irate' behavior. Perhaps there are other options, but I currently find little of value to discuss with you about this.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

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Old 05-22-2007, 05:14 PM   #106
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Keith Lee wrote: View Post
This quote came to mind while reading this thread:

Theodore Roosevelt
"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910
Thank you, Keith.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 05-22-2007, 05:16 PM   #107
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
Thank you, Keith.
Thank you TEDDY!

Michael Hacker
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Old 05-22-2007, 05:18 PM   #108
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Very apt post Keith.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 05-22-2007, 05:22 PM   #109
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Eric Saemann wrote: View Post
"some people apparently have a problem with being a loser."

If so, I'm surprised its not more than "some". Anybody who does not, has already mastered a very difficult concept preached by (Cheng Man-Ching?) regarding Tai Chi -- "invest in loss". If so, I'm way behind in my practice. Seems in my experience that most outside the Tai Chi or Aikido community (and even some inside them, including me) have a problem with being a loser. The extent is different for each, though. Some want to have a problem with being a loser, and others are working on the problem, while others are not aware of the problem, and some don't.

Not inferring criticism from the comment, just positing my worthless thoughts.
Eric, this is in fact a key point. I've known people who dropped out of aikido because they perceived falling down as 'losing'; which I suppose it is in a sense. However, it is by letting of winning and losing; or more accurately; redefining what you and your partner want to 'win' and 'lose' or achieve, we learn and grow in our training. It is truly competition, but the competition is not to defeat our partners, and people get lost in that. I've said before that perhaps we need better word, but Webster's clearly offers competition as a legitimate word to describe this.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
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MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 05-22-2007, 05:49 PM   #110
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
Hi Christian,
I am not saying that there is not competition in nature
I just say that the competition that we find in nature is a human concept (it's in the eyes of the beholder, if you like)
so, it is in fact a falacy to justify competition by saying that nature is competitive

tiago
Gravity is also a human construct (we don't REALLY know what's going on), colors are a human construct (have you ever wondered if blue looks the same to everyone else?), I could go on...

Grow three kinds of mold on enough food for one, watch rams during mating season, kittens at play, dogs at a park, birds at song...

We may have created a word to describe it, but it existed long before we stood upright. You could I suppose say that we can stand BECAUSE it existed.

I've never been in an aikido dojo that didn't have some form of competition, even if it was just comparing ones self to those who started around the same time.

Chris Moses
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Old 05-22-2007, 08:36 PM   #111
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Eric Saemann wrote: View Post
"some people apparently have a problem with being a loser."

If so, I'm surprised its not more than "some". Anybody who does not, has already mastered a very difficult concept preached by (Cheng Man-Ching?) regarding Tai Chi -- "invest in loss". If so, I'm way behind in my practice. Seems in my experience that most outside the Tai Chi or Aikido community (and even some inside them, including me) have a problem with being a loser. The extent is different for each, though. Some want to have a problem with being a loser, and others are working on the problem, while others are not aware of the problem, and some don't.

Not inferring criticism from the comment, just positing my worthless thoughts.

Eric
Every one of us is engaged in a battle for his or her life. It's a battle none of us will win. This is a fundamental truth and it doesn't take a great depth of realization to understand it. We are all going to die...

What does take a great depth of understanding is to live ones life every day while staying conscious of this fact. We live in a culture that is almost entirely devoted to ignoring this fact.

What takes even more understanding is to realize that there never was anyone who lived and therefore there can't be anyone who dies.

The idea that there is competition in nature is based on observable fact. It is imperative of every living thing to try to work towards the continuation over time of the species. From the tiniest microbe to the most complex animal, the fundamental drive in nature is to pass on the genetic material to another generation. At this level it isn't just competition. It is an all out, fight to the death, take no prisoners, battle.

But if you step back and look at the larger picture of whole systems, one can see that what appeared to be a chaotic battle of constant victory and defeat, one can see that there is a larger balance that exists between these elements. So the larger systems are more stable than the pieces that make them up. But looking at the passage of time you see that even these larger systems have no permanence, that they are constantly changing and evolving.

If you take it out one step further, you see that the Universe as a whole is made up of constantly changing components. Systems are constantly coming into being and passing away again. Change is the only constant. Yet there is a balance there. The totality is always in balance even though it has no permanent component parts.

Human beings have the unique ability to relate to this in one of two ways. We can look at the small picture, the level upon which survival looks like a matter of defeating a never ending array of threats, whether from human enemies, disease, or natural disaster. At this level it looks like competition, everything looks like a fight. It justifies the most extreme cruelties to ones fellows, wholesale slaughter of those deemed different from ones own group. It creates the illusion of separateness that allows one individual to put his own ineterests ahead of someone else's, it makes intimacy impossible and destroys relationships, etc.

Or we can look at the larger picture... We are impermanent as individuals, here in this form only for the blink of an eye. No one gets to win, we all end up in the same place, we all have hopes and dreams that, no matter how hard we pursue them, will ultimately pass away as well. In this we are all the same. We are the same, not just as other human beings, but we are the same as every living thing. We are just components in systems that are components of larger systems, not one iota of which has any permanence.

There is nothing but the flow, the Kannagara no Michi, so to speak. If we manage to truly understand the nature of the flow, there is no competition, for there are no separate entities to compete. There is nothing to compete for. We are in this form for only a very short time and our appearance in this form only has the meaning we give it in how we choose to live our lives while we have them. As Nishioka Sensei said in the interview mentioned in another thread, Budo training is about learning to lose humbly.

Notions of competition that are based on the illusion that there is lasting victory over anything or anyone are just the products of small mind, the little picture. Big mind is understanding that in the end, all such victories are illusory, they have no essential reality. If one really gets that, then ones life becomes about how to live, how to acknowledge the connection, one develops a sense of compassion for the other impermanent entities that we are sharing this temporary world with. In my opinion, training is about developing this understanding. Notions of winning and losing are irrelevant in the end.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 05-22-2007, 11:57 PM   #112
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Another keeper George. We had a good night in the dojo tonight... sort of a warmup for Shochugeiko that starts tomorrow and goes for five days. Wish you were here.

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Old 05-23-2007, 12:56 AM   #113
Walter Martindale
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Tom Hosmanek wrote: View Post
gokyo IS a beginner, Drew!(some snipping)
As a still wet-behind-the-ears 53 year old Aikikai shodan (since January), Shodan is beginner. I've always felt that shodan is the point at which you start to understand enough to be worth training (a concept learned as a judo shodan in about 1980)

A bit OT, no?
Re: the competitive stuff - often testosterone can prove that two Aiki fellows can get competitive with each other - not a match with points or anything, but "can I throw you harder than you can throw me" or " Can I prevent you throwing me" or bilge like that. I've practiced once with a young woman who seemed to want to prove to me that she was able to bang me around - which was OK, but it was the first partnership of a 6-session weekend long seminar (ouch) , Moving very slowly on Monday.
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Old 05-23-2007, 01:00 AM   #114
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Great post George
Indeed, some people get it
best

tiago
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Old 05-23-2007, 01:36 AM   #115
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
As a still wet-behind-the-ears 53 year old Aikikai shodan (since January), Shodan is beginner. I've always felt that shodan is the point at which you start to understand enough to be worth training (a concept learned as a judo shodan in about 1980)
The post you quoted is from 2000 - I doubt the author even remembers writing it if he's still around. Just pointing out the dangers of thread resurection.

That exchange was in response to a classic passive-aggressive personallity that I feel would have real trouble in martial arts that have a competitive component no matter how you define it. At the very least requires one to lose gracefully, analyze what you can improve on, train some more and try again. If you can't manage that you will end of leaving in frustration or finding a dearth of training partners.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-23-2007, 09:22 AM   #116
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Here is a link to Masanobu Fukuoka's work online. It is free and easy to read. It is worthwhile and definitely revoltuionary in the most positive sense.

www.soilandhealth.org/copyform. asp?bookcode=010140.fukuoka - 6k

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:21 AM   #117
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
Another keeper George. We had a good night in the dojo tonight... sort of a warmup for Shochugeiko that starts tomorrow and goes for five days. Wish you were here.
Hi Chuck,
Actually, I'm off to Baltimore in the am to conduct my first East Coast Intensive. So I guess we'll both be busy... Hope to see you soon.
- George

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Old 05-23-2007, 11:08 AM   #118
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

George,

It seems I'm re-reading in your comments what I just read last night in the Taoist meditation section of a book ... strange! An idea was how to lose the focus and/or fear of death, by thinking of oneself as part of nature/system/universe (whatever you want to "define" it as) instead of as a separate entity that lives and dies -- Gee, eerily similar to your comment about never living or dying.

As a human living in society, I realize I may never understand and/or accept this idea, but hope to not be bothered by that realization some day.

Thanks,
Eric
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Old 05-23-2007, 06:47 PM   #119
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
Hi Christian,
I am not saying that there is not competition in nature
I just say that the competition that we find in nature is a human concept (it's in the eyes of the beholder, if you like)
so, it is in fact a falacy to justify competition by saying that nature is competitive

tiago
A 'wholistic system analysis' is available in the work of Fukuoka Masanobu, a name and link I mentioned above. The Concept and Practice of Green philosophy through Mu Farming; I can only encourage and reiterate that it is a worthy read for any person interested in the concepts of the cosmos, man, nature, competition,creationism and living etc. In there you will find the binding points between the nature of which Tiago is speaking and the darwinian nature of which Christian is speaking bound in the human way to which George is speaking. The nature that they all relate to is evident within . It will offer a method to evaluate this next step concretely and to see that there is a 'binding feature' in and among these theories put out today.

thanks

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 05-23-2007 at 06:52 PM.

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Old 05-24-2007, 08:03 AM   #120
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Hi Christian,
Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Gravity is also a human construct (we don't REALLY know what's going on), colors are a human construct (have you ever wondered if blue looks the same to everyone else?), I could go on...

Grow three kinds of mold on enough food for one, watch rams during mating season, kittens at play, dogs at a park, birds at song...
My point is that mold are not competing (I take mold cause it's the most obvious case for what I want to say) Mold simply grow, mechanically. They reproduce by taking the molecules in the environment and converting them into mold components. You can even reproduce the process with a computer. Now, we say that mold "compete", we can even say that "they strive for survival, in an agonic fight for resources..." and all that documentary kind of speach. But molds know nothing of it (in fact they just know nothing at all) they do not strive, not worry, they just repeat a chemical mechanism, and what you see, from your perspective, at a particular size scale, and time frame, looks pretty much like a competition, so we call it so.

It is as if, instead of talking of gravity, someone said that the mass bodies love each other, and so they tend to gather together. It's just a matter of observation...
It's true that gravity is also a human concept, but it is not confused with a human behavior.
I hope it is clear.

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
We may have created a word to describe it, but it existed long before we stood upright. You could I suppose say that we can stand BECAUSE it existed.

I've never been in an aikido dojo that didn't have some form of competition, even if it was just comparing ones self to those who started around the same time.
That's sadly true. In many cases it seems like an explicit competition would be healthier for those who need it. Although I keep thinking that the best is to get over it altogether...

best,
tiago
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:38 AM   #121
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
My point is that mold are not competing (I take mold cause it's the most obvious case for what I want to say) Mold simply grow, mechanically. They reproduce by taking the molecules in the environment and converting them into mold components.
I understand your point better, thanks. I would point out however, that certain lines of psychology would argue that while humans exist on a much more complex level, their actions are driven by the same mechanical needs as that mold: nourish the self and reproduce. All of the trappings of culture, emotion and higher thought can basically be reduced to that. Not everyone would agree with that world view, but it is a real hypothesis.

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Old 05-24-2007, 08:58 AM   #122
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
I understand your point better, thanks. I would point out however, that certain lines of psychology would argue that while humans exist on a much more complex level, their actions are driven by the same mechanical needs as that mold: nourish the self and reproduce. All of the trappings of culture, emotion and higher thought can basically be reduced to that. Not everyone would agree with that world view, but it is a real hypothesis.
Not just to stir the pot, but the personalization of the process is not part of the mechanism. The concept 'self' is human construct and imposition. I agree that many cultural phenomena can be reduced to this level of understanding. But there is again a deeper layer, further from the 'self'. I would add that when we add a quality of love or apprecition in any from of observation we are immediately closer to the truth.
Credible theorists put forward the notion that we are nurtured and natured away from our true natures by a society that no longer embraces or includes themselves as nature.Even generationally and genetically.A common argument that the process of 'aiki' training is an unnnatural process of instinct turns it's head away from the view that our nature is and was always present and training is ( or can be) acknowleging and tapping into to our 'unused' nature and generating wholey. In other words we are training ourselves away from the seperation that has been created. . This is also a fundamental 'native' viewpoint.

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Old 05-24-2007, 10:56 AM   #123
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

To me, competeion is a defined term, so I will not re-post another definition of what we all know is sematically the definition of competition.

However, I believe competition has two elements:
1. A stated goal or achievement that concludes an event
2. Mulitple participants intent upon accomplishing the stated goal first or best.

Competition is part of nature, and part of life. We hear highschool biology terms like, "natural selection," "survival of the fittest," and "natural competition." To deny that competition exists in our lives, or exist conditionally seems odd given our education. Every day, we compete in somethings. For example, I see competition in rush-hour traffic.

If I am not faster than my brother, he will outrun me to the cookie jar and get the last cookie. If I am not the better employee at work, then I will be fired.

Competition is a tool that makes us better at a given task. If we compete enough, we learn how to become better at that task. If I run enough my legs become strong and my body mechanics become efficient, then I will outrun my brother to the cookie jar. If I work harder than my colleagues, then I will be rewarded with a raise or promotion.

I think competition is a resourceful tool that makes use better at aikido. I think those who choose not to use competition miss out on a useful tool.

I think sometimes we mistakenly apply "competition" to the budo of aikido. I have no one against whom to compete to make myself better. Therefore, I don't consider budo to be competition. To me, budo is the acculumation of competitions, an evolutional process.
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:39 PM   #124
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Jon,
I understand your point about competition as a tool (which I would call the "carrot theory")
But if I improve myself by depriving others of what they want or need (a job, a cookie, or whatever) I don't feel I'm getting better, but worse.

Continuing the idea about competition in nature, maybe you could say that all living things have two main instincts: survival and reproduction. Competition in humans can be seen as a sublimation of these two powerful instincts, and that explains why it's such a powerful tool. But I think that doesn't mean that competition is not something to be overcome by culture.

Aikido, as an example of culture, is conceived to change many of our instincts, and probably also the instinct to competition "in order to create a better, more harmonious society"...

tiago

Last edited by tiago : 05-24-2007 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 05-24-2007, 01:45 PM   #125
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Meaning of Competitive?

Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
But if I improve myself by depriving others of what they want or need (a job, a cookie, or whatever) I don't feel I'm getting better, but worse.
The thing is though, there are forms of competition where someone else is not deprived of what they think they want or need. When someone does not win a match in shiai one is supposed to learn from the lesson and use it towards development. If one instead reacts negatively because they have not won a medal, did not get fame or glory or other similar reason then competition is doing its job in an Aikido context, it is assisting with the destruction of the ego, since quite often the only reason one would feel negatively about losing a competition imho is when the ego is bruised by a sense of "loss" as a particular ego/self-induced illusion gives way to reality. Not all competitions are zero sum games, hence there are competitions that create win/win situations instead of win/lose situations.
Quote:
Santiago Torres wrote: View Post
Aikido, as an example of culture, is conceived to change many of our instincts, and probably also the instinct to competition "in order to create a better, more harmonious society"...
I agree with this somewhat. However how does one change these instincts through Aikido training? How does one measure progress in changing these instincts? How does one know when one is deluding oneself that change is happening when in fact it is not?

Imho Aikido operates using a process where the human self is forged over time through correct training, testing and correct mindset. The ability to transcend the negative, win/lose, one upmanship, anti-unity concepts that can be experienced via competition are not forged in Aikido via osmosis, but through serious, hard, focused training by looking at oneself and willingly creating change over time. The same goes for technique, one cannot have sound technique if it is not tested, else what we have is delusion, just like many of those who preach that they don't "compete" yet are passive/aggressively competitive at every turn. Imho one cannot transcend something without first fully and truly understanding the thing and through that understanding find a way to be truly above it. Iow one cannot transcend competition without first seriously subjecting oneself to it and seeing which inner demons come out when one is honestly tested. It is only then can we start to really deal with the issues that we have regarding competition and hope to transcend. Transcendence requires honesty.
Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
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?....
I think Janet's post may have been missed by some, but imho it is highly appropriate. How many people do you know who are competent at anything who have not competed either externally with an opponent or internally with the self, to achieve competency?

Just some ramblings.
Gambatte.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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