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#125530 - 04/09/03 11:06 AM Morality
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
Can a martial art like aikido really teach anybody anything about moral behaviour?

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#125531 - 04/09/03 06:43 PM Re: Morality
Jamoni Offline
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Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 1514
Loc: St. Louis, MO, USA
Well, it can certainly teach you that your actions have consequences.

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#125532 - 04/09/03 07:24 PM Re: Morality
raccoon Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Jamoni:
Well, it can certainly teach you that your actions have consequences. [/QUOTE]

ROFLMAO!

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#125533 - 04/10/03 01:27 AM Re: Morality
senseilou Offline
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Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
Yes!!! But other styles can teach it too. If you get beyond just physical training, there are obvious lessons to be learned. In Aikido, look at tenkan. Avoid a direct attack, and become one with your uke. try the same thing in an argument, direct encounter and it heats up the argument Don't argue, or side step the argument and it doesn't escalate. My dad use to hate my 'tenkan' work on him. Instead of arguing with him I would say, "I am not going to discuss this with you". His answer was you can't do that. But I did and in his last years of life I agreed with or side stepped any possible difference of opinion. I feel real good about not having said anything negative to my Dad for his last 3-4 years. Thats moral behaviour, not arguing with ones parents especially at a late stage in their lives. I also employ it with my wife, I just let the argument slide and try not to esclalate it.

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#125534 - 04/10/03 02:10 AM Re: Morality
raccoon Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
Great example Sensei Lou. Something similar happened to me. For the longest of time I didn't get along with my parents... until my mom decides to visit me at my dojo, and shihan just "set me straight" [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/eek.gif[/IMG] Now, I am back on the straight and narrow x__x

Honestly, I am glad. And I agree, a lot of it is just "mental aikido", and compounded with verbal judo [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG]

That said, I certainly feel you can train and become technically proficient in the art without learning any moral aspect. Like Mr. V said in another post, "discipline" is a hit-or-miss thing. It depends on the atmosphere of your dojo, the principles of your sensei, and the attitude in your own training. I am still fighting a sexual abuse case in my own aikido dojo, a fairly senior ranking student in an associated dojo had sexually taken advantage of a teenage girl whom was 2 months into the beginner program. Now, this "senior" has been in the art for a long time, he is technically ... good. So he obviously picked up something from the art, but morally? I rest my case.

Cato, you've asked many questions that seem casual at first glance, but the more I think about it the more I don't know how to answer them. I remember being told as a beginner there is nothing religious about aikido. My sensei is a christian, and she really really emphasize "spiritual aspect is optional". On club days in University, when I man the aikido club booth, I was given specific instruction to clearly state that to anyone interested. That's just how things are run in my dojo, but that's also how I was introduced to aikido. Now, I refuse to think you can take away contact and still call the tag game you play "karate". Can we just select parts of what O'Sensei teaches, and still call ourselves aikidoka? Like I've mention in some other posts, I find a lot of O'Sensei's "record" dubious at best. Dodging bullets, knocking birds down with kiais; send people flying with ki-extension; incarnating shito gods... Do I have to believe in all that to be an aikidoist? I can't answer you.

But it seems you have something you are trying to lead us to, am I correct? Why don't you tell us what you think, Cato?

yours confusedly
-raccoon

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#125535 - 04/10/03 01:56 PM Re: Morality
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
No raccoon, I'm not leading anywhere. Not from the front anyway!! I'm probably as confused as you are, which is why I want to stimulate some debate.

Martial arts are credited with a number of benefits, and often the learning of virtuous behaviour is amongst them. I'm interested to learn what peopole think of this. Most people these days train purely for self defence, which is why there are so many reality systems out there. bMy question is simply is there also an obligation to teach more than self defence upon those of us who purport to do martial arts? I think there is, but can how can we if we are teaching people how to hurt one another. where's the morality in that?

Budo [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/frown.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/confused.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/tongue.gif[/IMG]

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#125536 - 04/10/03 11:47 PM Re: Morality
raccoon Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
Ahh, I see that you are leading by following again [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]

To response to your more specific questitons... I don't think "most people" these days train purely for self defense. Especially for those who cross train and happen to be in aikido; I know a lot of them practice aikido just cos they enjoy the training. I think people whose sole purpose of training is self defense probably shouldn't be in martial arts anyway. There are specific trainings for specific purposes. martial arts is a long process of old tradition surviving into the contemporary world. Not to say that's the only purpose in MA training, but I certainly think the duty of passing on the traditions and allowing continuation of this process is a big part of MA training, and possibly more important than self defense. Preserving the martial aspects of the tradition is important, but that doesn't necessarily cover all aspects of self defense in modern world. But that's a different topic.

Is there an obligation for sensei to teach more than self defense? I am not a teacher, so I don't qualify to "tell you the truth", but I will tell you what I think...

A sensei is a "before-birth" - my interpretation is "someone entered the process of MA before me" In that sense, a sensei isn't much different from a sempai - a "before - fellow". To me, that means they are ahead of me in a long process, a "stream" that we all belong to. Even if we haven't met here, we are in some sense tied together by "something". Let me describe that "something" by quoting 'someone' (sorry, I don't know the source):


ď Those of us who maintain a dangerous life-style will experience fear and anxiety. But, to do so, allows us to join a fraternity of those who have, since the beginning of manís time, enduredÖThey endured. We Endured. It is the cost of the privilege of such company.Ē


By living a budo lifestyle, we enter our own "fraternity". So what's the "sen"[before]'s job in the frat? Of course they teach you the technical aspects of the art, that's activities that we do together. But just like a fraternity isn't just about the dope that we smoke together (I hope), I think there are more to being in budo than just technical perfection. For me, I expect those ahead in the process (including you Cato!) to give me guidance along the same path we are on; but they do NOT tell me what to do or how to walk the path. They do NOT drag me into the path, the do NOT prevent me if I want to leave. If I voluntarily stay on, they show me what it means to live budo; the rest is up to myself - it's up to me to persevere, to train with integrity, to realize my potential, to live and act in accordance to the martial tradition (hence the moral aspect). The sensei/ sempai could only do their part of guidance, they cannot make us newbies/ kouhai follow.

As with "how can we if we are teaching people how to hurt each other"... I seem to remember some senior telling me "if you want peace, prepare for war". I am saying for the 1000th time on this board budo isn't about becoming violence, it's about becoming competant in stopping violence. It's all in the word "BU" - "yari tome" - "stop spear". Being so far down the line in such a long process/ tradition, it's easy to lose sight of the needs and circumstansis of the old, uncivil days. But maybe it would help to imagine what it requires to make peace in feudal Japan, or to be in peace in stone age. If it helps, think about the trainings you put through your GSD - it's not meant to make them violent beast; it's meant to make them tools in maintaining order in our society.

Sorry for my long post again [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/tongue.gif[/IMG]

yours in aiki
-raccoon



[This message has been edited by raccoon (edited 04-11-2003).]

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#125537 - 04/11/03 11:49 AM Re: Morality
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
Okay, let me see if I've got this. It is up to our sensei to show us what moral behaviour is, and to encourage us to behave morally. Whether or not we follow their lead is a matter for us alone, and presumably depends upon our character.

Therefore if we accept their version of morality we will become as morally sound as they are. Suppose then our sensei has a distorted view of morality? Or that we reject their take on morality. Is there anything in our practice of aikido that might lead us to a more universally accepted understanding of what it is to be "moral"?

If a martial artist teaches the techniques of their art, does he/she also need to teach anything else? If so, Are sensei really just preachers with attitude?

Or is all just about fighting?

Budo [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/confused.gif[/IMG]

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#125538 - 04/11/03 03:09 PM Re: Morality
Jamoni Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 1514
Loc: St. Louis, MO, USA
Although I intended my previous post as a joke, I also meant it quite literally. The harder you attack another, the more damage is done to yourself. This is really the basis of any ethical code. If you attack someone (or steal, or cheat, etc), society will see that you are punished for your actions, because you have de-stabilised the society. It is therefore in your best interest to behave in a manner that does as little harm to others as possible, while maintaining your own safety.

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#125539 - 04/12/03 01:50 AM Re: Morality
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
I don't think a Sensei needs to instill a value system, but should instill that people have one. I can't tell someone not to fight for someone grabbing his girlfriends butt, that is his decision. But I can tell him that if he embarrases me or the dojo, we have a problem. I tell my students what I expect as far as me and my art, the rest is theirs. As a Sensei, I feel my job is also to be there when they have problems, need a shoulder, or a friends advise. I offer it if they ask. young students get lectures about school, college students get told if you need help ask, adults I'm here if you need me. I think teaching technique is one factor of Being Sensei, but there are others. Knowing when not to butt in or impose your values on them is really important. To me, the person is more important than the student, but I know other Sensei are not that way. I would be real leary of a Sensei who told me we had to follow a certain value system, based on his life experiences. I trained for about a month with a Sensei that made you sign a "code of ethics' when you joined his school. In the code it stated that instead of buying you an expensive gi, buy a cheaper one and give your Sensei the good one. I thought it was a joke, and when told that it was for real I laughed, then left. When you view this look at the values your dad taught you, you keep some, some are let go, so if people aren't going to listen to their Dad 100% why in hell will they listen to me?

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#125540 - 04/12/03 02:07 AM Re: Morality
raccoon Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
[QUOTE]Originally posted by senseilou:
look at the values your dad taught you, you keep some, some are let go, so if people aren't going to listen to their Dad 100% why in hell will they listen to me?[/QUOTE]

Oh [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/eek.gif[/IMG]

You know, sensei Lou, I've never thought about that one [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]

-raccoon

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#125541 - 04/14/03 04:49 AM Re: Morality
raccoon Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Cato:
Okay, let me see if I've got this. It is up to our sensei to show us what moral behaviour is, and to encourage us to behave morally. Whether or not we follow their lead is a matter for us alone, and presumably depends upon our character.

Therefore if we accept their version of morality we will become as morally sound as they are. Suppose then our sensei has a distorted view of morality? Or that we reject their take on morality. Is there anything in our practice of aikido that might lead us to a more universally accepted understanding of what it is to be "moral"?

If a martial artist teaches the techniques of their art, does he/she also need to teach anything else? If so, Are sensei really just preachers with attitude?

Or is all just about fighting?

Budo [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/confused.gif[/IMG]
[/QUOTE]

I guess you got what I said, but then you've also changed my thinking since then [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/rolleyes.gif[/IMG]


My understanding is, OíSensei created a martial art that has physical, mental, and spiritual aspects. Itís an art that encompasses total pacifism in all 3 of those aspects. Before, if someone picks fight with you and it has come to a point where itís too late to just walk away, you can either be a defenseless victim who gives up; or you can be a part of the fight and have a fair chance. But either way you are still wrong. It takes two to abuse; it takes two to confront/ fight. When OíSensei creates aikido, he gives people one more option: to give up, to engage, or to harmonize.

Aikido keiko is very symbolic. The ethic, the mental and spiritual natures of aikido are ingrained into the aikido katas. Donít be there; step off the line. Blend in, harmonize. Face the same way, see from the same angle. Guide gently, donít force or damage. Those are all part of the lesson. You donít initiate attack in aikido: whoever initiates an attack has already accepted the fact that he is to be defeated, he is to be the uke, the person end up crashing nose first into the mats. By committing aggression, youíve already lose your battle, at least your battle as an aikidoka.

My point is, the moral lesson are all encrypted into the katas. Sure, sensei have to be role model. They learn how to behave in dojo by watching people ahead of them, and they pass it onto us. Those are etiquette. But the essence of aikido Ė the spiritual, mental, and physical disciplines, shouldnít be left to individual sensei to explore or interpret. I agree there should be a core, universal moral code in a given art, especially in aikido, when itís often deemed as more spiritual than it is physical/ martial. And I think it lies in the katas, the things handed down by OíSensei for us to practice.

But then I am just a 5th kyu and blah blah blah. In short I donít know what I am talking about. And Cato, you are reforming me. You are going to have to deal with my sensei!

-raccoon

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#125542 - 04/14/03 09:21 AM Re: Morality
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
First let me nail one of my bugbears here and now. raccoon, where did you get the idea that as a 5th kyu you have nothing of value to say, or that your opinions are of less value than anyone else's? What you say is as valid as what anyone else has to say, so stop being so self depreciating. There is no need!!! [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/mad.gif[/IMG]

I think jamoni has a good point, it is in our own interests to look after the well being of others as well as our own. I think this is the moral message of aikido, regardless of any personal code of conduct. Aikido teaches us to defend ourselves, but to do so proportionately and reasonably. To do otherwise is to miss the point of aikido.

Budo

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#125543 - 04/14/03 05:24 PM Re: Morality
raccoon Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
eek, don't think I've seen Cato this mad before @_@

Alright, I got the idea. You won't see those again in my future posts.

-cody

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#125544 - 04/15/03 12:17 AM Re: Morality
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
Cato.........I am wondering that with an appropriate response that Aiki offers, couldn't that lead to the impression that it really doesn't work? Here is what I am getting at. Aiki responses can be done in stages. Restraint to hurt to injure to break. Karate on the other hand is not in degrees, when you hit someone it isn't 50% or 60% it always 100%. In Aiki you can apply at 50% and see if its appropriate and always add to it,(which is why I enjoy the locking arts because I don't have to break a wrist every time, but can restrain him. I think it takes much more talent to do this)But if one views this and the Aikidoka is constantly having to add or adapt could it be viewed as ineefective?

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#125545 - 04/15/03 05:34 PM Re: Morality
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
I would say that like any art aikido can only been seen as ineffective if the techniques fail, which all too often they look as if they do. Aikido often gives the impression that uke is "faking it". It really is an art only for the initiated.

Watching a demonstration of aikido technique is often very unconvincing. Taking the part of uke in one is a different matter. Aikido lacks the "big finish" of ju jutsu or karate, and it suffers because it. I don't think that applying locks by degrees is what makes aikido sometimes look ineffective, I think it is applying locks per se that makes it seem so.

Budo

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