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#237386 - 08/27/06 10:46 PM Re: Real techniques versus dojo techniques [Re: kunin]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Quote:

A fight effectively begins with the intention—NOT the first blow, which might not be delivered until relatively late in the game. (Ever been stalked?) Once I discern the intention, everything I do—including what might come out of my mouth (aka kuchiwaza, "mouth technique" )—functions either to help me escape or to put my would-be attacker down.




That's correct, Nicole, but there's a caveat with that... in the effort to be "reasonable" you have to have someone (or something) that IS reasonable. Attempting to reason with a bear is a good example... and there are people out there that are just as unreasonable, so while you're correct that the fight begings with intention, negotiation is only done from weakness or using it as a "disarming tactic". The winners dictate terms, so that is why we train to remain undefeated rather than simply to win...

Quote:

Now, I’m one of those people who finds O-Sensei’s vision of budo as an expression of divine love very appealing—a seeming conundrum, in fact, with which I’ve been grappling through most of my martial arts career.



There is no conundrum with OSensei's vision, simply the idea that in the "ideal world" we would all get along and conflicts would be solved by redirection... unfortunately, that's not the way of the real world... and as a matter of course, you can't expect to deal with everyone in the manner of that vision. It's great when it works that way, but his vision hasn't changed the way the world operates. It has surely had an effect on many people, but like all ideals, they are only effective in the arena where they are observed totally by all concerned.

Quote:

I take seriously the proposition that a person’s spirituality and martial arts practice can reinforce each other.




As do I, and most other martial artists who seriously study what they're doing. We have to be realistic, however, and understand that while we attempt to find inner peace through the practice and study of violence, that the practical side of what we do is just as important. Without that understanding, we are like someone trying to read every other word in a sentence... sometimes it makes sense, and sometimes not.

Reshaping our thought process to move toward solving violence problems with "other means" was OSensei's goal, but he developed a deadly art to accomplish that purpose. To sell it short by only focusing on the "heavenly" plane of it's understanding would do it a disservice, and certainly wouldn't accomplish his vision.

By constantly working on the techniques and the interaction with and between practice partners, we can reach understandings that are tied to the technique. Why practice?.. because there is practice to do...

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#237387 - 08/28/06 09:16 AM Re: Real techniques versus dojo techniques [Re: wristtwister]
kunin Offline
hard-boiled aggression

Registered: 06/05/06
Posts: 73
Loc: - cloud-hidden in the big city
Wrist-twister wrote:

Quote:

Quote:

A fight effectively begins with the intention—NOT the first blow, which might not be delivered until relatively late in the game. (Ever been stalked?) Once I discern the intention, everything I do—including what might come out of my mouth (aka kuchiwaza, "mouth technique" )—functions either to help me escape or to put my would-be attacker down.




That's correct, Nicole, but there's a caveat with that... in the effort to be "reasonable" you have to have someone (or something) that IS reasonable. Attempting to reason with a bear is a good example... and there are people out there that are just as unreasonable, so while you're correct that the fight begings with intention, negotiation is only done from weakness or using it as a "disarming tactic". The winners dictate terms, so that is why we train to remain undefeated rather than simply to win...




I think that we're basically on the same page here. I was responding to Ronin1966's assertion that—

Quote:

... but until the first blow is landed, the battle is potentially avoidable...



—which struck me as somewhat unrealistic and not quite true to facts. Clearly, the intent underwriting an attacker's actions need have nothing to do with his/her being "reasonable" or being able to be reasoned with (as I meant to convey with my aside about being stalked). If your attacker's committed to hurting you—whether from a momentary lack of self-control or from sustained conscious bad intentions—you need to respond appropriately—in other words, according to the circumstance that presents itself.

Taking the broadest possible view to managing conflict as it appears in our world, I do think it’s useful—quoting from the subsequent paragraph of my post—to view negotiation and the use of preemptive force as "the polar ends of a single tactical continuum [italics added]," a range of available responses on which we might draw to address a wide variety of situations. In this regard, the “kuchiwaza” I was speaking of—using a slangy expression coined by one of my teachers, intended somewhat satirically here—need not be conciliatory in tone. A sharp word in the right circumstances can go a long way toward keeping the peace.

Obviously, situations can suddenly emerge where we aren’t given the luxury of time to pick and choose our responses, when we have to take immediate action based on our instincts and training. The goal is always, as you say, to emerge undefeated rather than simply to win. Still, there’s a world of difference between dealing, say, with an obnoxious relative who shows up at a family gathering with alcohol on his breath and handling a violent perp who thinks nothing of hurting you or a loved one.

Quote:

Quote:

I take seriously the proposition that a person’s spirituality and martial arts practice can reinforce each other.




As do I, and most other martial artists who seriously study what they're doing. We have to be realistic, however, and understand that while we attempt to find inner peace through the practice and study of violence, that the practical side of what we do is just as important. Without that understanding, we are like someone trying to read every other word in a sentence... sometimes it makes sense, and sometimes not.

Reshaping our thought process to move toward solving violence problems with "other means" was OSensei's goal, but he developed a deadly art to accomplish that purpose. To sell it short by only focusing on the "heavenly" plane of it's understanding would do it a disservice, and certainly wouldn't accomplish his vision.

By constantly working on the techniques and the interaction with and between practice partners, we can reach understandings that are tied to the technique. Why practice?.. because there is practice to do...



No disagreement there! I don’t believe in airy-fairy when it comes to martial arts or to spiritual discipline. Still, I think it’s profitable now and then to raise one’s eyes from the mat to express an open appreciation for the larger, deeper purposes of training.

I admit that I was writing from a very personal take on what I’ve learned over the years about Ueshiba Morihei’s life and spirituality—a perspective informed not only by my own spiritual aspirations, but by considerations of personal history, culture, and practice that place my attitudes and perceptions somewhat outside of mainstream. It seems pretty clear, from where I sit, that there was a great deal more to O-Sensei’s vision than simple idealism on his part, but the intimation of a living reality working on him at a very deep level through much of his life. This “mystical” dimension certainly didn’t make him any less of a tough guy—a rather temperamental one, at that!—nor did it render his art any less pragmatic with respect to application. But it certainly brought light to his fire!

As to what I wrote about the “seeming conundrum” of budo being an expression of divine love, I should have made clear that I wasn’t coming from merely philosophical concerns. Spirituality—as I think you’ll agree—doesn’t exist on the plane of ideas, but is a matter of embodiment. For very personal reasons rooted in my own experience of life, self, and spirit, I’ve found O-Sensei’s saying functioning as a goad—a koan, if you will—to uncover a certain potential in my relationship with myself and with the world around me. It’s certainly not as though I can expect to know what that really looks like short of doing a lifetime’s spadework! This goes back to the point you've expressed above, that we can no more separate the "heavenly" and practical aspects of training than we can the left side of a coin from the right.

– Thanking you and eyrie both for your thoughtful and thought-provoking responses ... I'll continue to think about what you've written.

_________________________
'If you have an honest mind, everywhere is a dojo.' Nicole

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#237388 - 08/28/06 11:21 AM Re: Real techniques versus dojo techniques [Re: kunin]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Kunin:



I accept-agree both are necessary. At a much higher level than I shall ever possess I suspect only one "wing" is needed. The "body of the rock", indominatable spirit, whatever metaphor, or phrase you prefer... strong enough and even the physical attack (in process) I suspect is avoidable!

I could surely be mistaken,

Jeff

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#237389 - 08/28/06 12:56 PM Re: Real techniques versus dojo techniques [Re: wristtwister]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Wristtwister:

Your lack of emoticons, of which there are many would offer helpful-meaningful context to your words I've read your words several times and been.... amused... and saddened by the dismissive (deragatory?) tone you appear to have taken towards the gist of many of my sentiments. Yet as I say often (and rightly), I could easily be mistaken...



I regret we appear to disagree. The usage of physical technique is dictated/governed by ones philsophy & those inherent to ones training I contend. If my ~attitude~ is a poor one, or I am foolish/stupid I will easily "engage" someone in a blaise & childish manner (ie gladly) when alternatives, (lots of non physical responses) are easily viable. The typical "immature" young person approach vs. the person with more life experiences.... being smarter and knowing a situation is avoidable and does so.

Practice has taught me I want to avoid any and every fight that is possible. If I can do that with words, a better approach, a philosophy if you will such that by doing so things do not BECOME physical...

I propose this is inherent & fundamental to all dojo practice. Avoiding the avoidable IS the "higher road". Singing "Kumbayah" with my voice now that might cause a fight...

Our techniques, not variations per se, but the techniques themselves develop every time we practice them, if, if we are watching. Compairing 15 years studying Irimi vs. the first day... they look very similar but have nuances & subtleties hense develop with time was my basic point. I reget the clumsy wording, in conveying same.

<<it isn't sitting around the campfire singing "Kumbayah" and telling everybody to be friends...



Nor is charging into situations necessarily intelligent. There are alternatives to the physical fight, use when possible

Jeff

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#237390 - 08/28/06 06:40 PM Re: Real techniques versus dojo techniques [Re: Ronin1966]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Ronin,
I have no ax to grind with you. I have an opinion and you have an opinion. If you aren't satisfied with mine, too bad. If you aren't satisfied with yours, change it.

I don't think I'm being dismissive or deragatory toward anyone by stating my opinion. If you need the McDonald's menu to make it more meaningful for you (emoticons), then you have my sympathy.

I certainly have no problem avoiding a fight whenever possible, and most of the time, the people starting them couldn't hit me inside a phone booth... so I have the skills to back it up. I also don't waste time negotiating with troublemakers... the sooner they realize they are in an untenable position, the sooner the problem is resolved, and there's nothing like a good wristlock or sending someone flying across the room to get their attention.

I seriously doubt if Ueshiba Sensei ever had this kind of conversation with any of his students. They were smart enough to realize that his vision of peace, love, and harmony was based on redirecting someone's energies... not negotiating with them. His religious philosophy didn't preclude him beating the soup out of someone to give them "enlightenment"... in fact, it was his preferred method. If you think other than that, it only proves you don't know anybody that actually knew him.

And by the way... it's entirely possible to be fierce with people who fight against you, and extremely warm and comforting to others who offer no threat. I do it all the time, and before you proffer another argument, no, I do not start trouble. I don't need to prove anything to anyone, and have a low tolerance for "negotiators" who usually show up on the Soke list somewhere down the line...

Quote:

Nor is charging into situations necessarily intelligent. There are alternatives to the physical fight, use when possible




Gee, you'd think I'd have learned something in the 43 (soon to be 44) years I've been training. I should have met all you "peace, love, and harmony" guys when I was training with Toyoda. He would have loved it...

The real me...
Your impression of me...
My impression of the "peace, love and harmony crowd"...

Try the Big Mac meal... it's delicious...

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#237391 - 08/28/06 07:14 PM Re: Real techniques versus dojo techniques [Re: Ronin1966]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:

The "body of the rock", indominatable spirit, whatever metaphor, or phrase you prefer... strong enough and even the physical attack (in process) I suspect is avoidable!




The concept of fudoshin can be both physical and metaphorical i.e. "immovable" in the face of adversity. Emotionally unperturbed. The impassive state of mind with which a surgeon executes his technique with clinical precision in order to save the patient on the operating table. The calm, centeredness that a seasoned paramedic exhibits trying to stop an accident victim from bleeding to death, or moving straight into CPR if necessary.

Why would that state of mind be necessarily different in the face of an attack - physical, verbal, emotional or metaphorical? I don't think it's any different. When the mind and ego intervenes, with doubts or concerns over winning or losing, the "flow" is interrupted and the center is "lost".

It's like golf - the game that can't be won or lost, only played.

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#237392 - 08/28/06 07:46 PM Re: Real techniques versus dojo techniques [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
...What he said...

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

Top
#237393 - 08/28/06 08:16 PM Re: Real techniques versus dojo techniques [Re: eyrie]
kunin Offline
hard-boiled aggression

Registered: 06/05/06
Posts: 73
Loc: - cloud-hidden in the big city
Eyrie wrote:

Quote:

The tools of the Art of Peace are the same ones as the Art of War.



Many thanks for your reference to Sun Tzu's Art of War! I've been making a sustained study of this classic verse by verse over the summer—inspired, in part, by the very "conundrum" (koan might be the more suggestive word) that I've found in O-Sensei's saying, and by a felt need to "shape up" my own aptitudes for understanding and managing conflict in my own life. It's certainly true that Sun Tzu's central concept of "taking whole" is adaptable to the intentions of the Art of Peace. I wouldn't go so far as to say, however, that the two philosophies are functionally identical. It's more a matter that one can be mapped onto the other to a considerable degree, a fact that is certainly suggestive to the moral imagination. Still, while Sun Tzu's principles of strategy appear appropriable to Ueshiba's philosophy of aiki, I'm not sure that the reverse is as true. It seems a stretch to think of Sun Wu as being inspired by humanitarian ideals—though he might well have been moved personally by the "pity in things" that war brings to view as nothing else in human affairs. Who can say? We have only his text to go by, which to my mind expresses a ruthlessly pragmatic point of view, addressed to the brutal and highly competitive political realities of China's Spring and Autumn period.

(Now that nursing school has started up again, I'm having to steal bits of time to continue my reading and reflection on Sun Tzu, but it's definitely worth the effort. As to why a newbie nurse would want to take the time to do so—well, anyone here ever work in health care? In community nursing, especially—but even on the hospital floor—you have to be very savvy about working in the face of competing interests and highly stressed, difficult personalities in order to advocate effectively for your patients, and for yourself as well. It's all about the art of the possible, and learning how to set up your opportunities within the interpersonal and institutional frameworks surrounding you.)

Quote:

I believe, given the circumstances of the time (Japan's involvement in the war) and the point at which Ueshiba was, the reference to "divine love" is within the context of one of humanitarianism.



I would certainly agree that O-sensei's response to the excesses of Japanese militarism had a great deal to do with aikido's later development. So, yes! Humanitarianism became an active concern for him in his elder years. Even so, the man was an unabashed mystic, a fact that seems to embarrass a lot of people who seem intent on minimizing it. – Whereas others of us do find some inspiration in it, a sense of the upper reaches of our own potential ... The trick, in that case, is to avoid getting too self-important or airy-fairy about it! Ueshiba himself certainly wasn't!


Edited by kunin (08/28/06 08:31 PM)

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#237394 - 08/28/06 08:38 PM Re: Real techniques versus dojo techniques [Re: eyrie]
ANDY44 Offline
Revolutionary!

Registered: 07/01/06
Posts: 814
The concept of fudoshin can be both physical and metaphorical i.e. "immovable" in the face of adversity. Emotionally unperturbed. The impassive state of mind with which a surgeon executes his technique with clinical precision in order to save the patient on the operating table. The calm, centeredness that a seasoned paramedic exhibits trying to stop an accident victim from bleeding to death, or moving straight into CPR if necessary.

Why would that state of mind be necessarily different in the face of an attack - physical, verbal, emotional or metaphorical? I don't think it's any different. When the mind and ego intervenes, with doubts or concerns over winning or losing, the "flow" is interrupted and the center is "lost".




Hi There

If Im reading this correctly then are you suggesting that there should be no difference in emotional state if a person were being attacked than a para medic keeping their cool to carry out his/her duties?

Andy


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#237395 - 08/28/06 09:42 PM Re: Real techniques versus dojo techniques [Re: kunin]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:

It's certainly true that Sun Tzu's central concept of "taking whole" is adaptable to the intentions of the Art of Peace. I wouldn't go so far as to say, however, that the two philosophies are functionally identical. It's more a matter that one can be mapped onto the other to a considerable degree, a fact that is certainly suggestive to the moral imagination. Still, while Sun Tzu's principles of strategy appear appropriable to Ueshiba's philosophy of aiki, I'm not sure that the reverse is as true. It seems a stretch to think of Sun Wu as being inspired by humanitarian ideals—though he might well have been moved personally by the "pity in things" that war brings to view as nothing else in human affairs.





I think it's important to note that the work entitled "The Art of War" had several authors - presumably for different sections, but was attributed to Sun Tzu, presumably as a result of compilation/editing such a work, and hence self-entitled as "Sun Tzu's Treatise on Military Methods" (Sun Zi Bing Fa).

So, no, I don't think Sun Tzu was pushing the humanitarian ideal anymore than Ueshiba was talking about the New-Agey connotation of "love", or that the philosophies are identical or even interchangeable or adaptable. But I would venture to go as far as to stick my neck out and say that they are both talking about the same thing - that the conduct of war and warriorship (Ueshiba's interpretation of budo) are based on the same principles and ideals, that of "nature" (the Dao) and being in accordance with the "divine will".

Ueshiba didn't just talk about kami no musubi, a lot of his sayings also revolved around warriors fighting evil and "enemies". In typical traditionalist fashion, Ueshiba was using esoteric references and language to point at what he meant. Some of it points specifically at training methods (or at least a round-a-bout way of saying to those in the know, that he "knew"), others are pointers to mental and spiritual attitudes, and mostly indications of a roadmap to the "summit" for those who would follow "the Path".

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