Yeah? So what is so good bout competition??

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by Jenna, Aug 6, 2006.

  1. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Master

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,470
    Likes Received:
    713
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Location:
    Cluj
    It is ok to compete with yourself in order to push yourself through boundaries to better yourself and but what is so good bout competing with someone else in order to beat them? That is the whole point of competition it is not for the sake of betterment.. it is simply to defeat someone.. where is the benefit in that? Why is competition in MA so commonplace and prevalent? question..


    Hello friends romans countrymen citydwellers space cadets :)

    I came across a little snippet of an interview with Saito Sensei which gave the official line bout competition in Aikido not being a big or clever thing.. http://aikido-france.net/articles/saito5/

    O'Sensei would answer the question, "What is Aikido?", by saying that it is a martial art of education with the aim of creating a beautiful and good society. That means WITHOUT competition. This is the demand of O'Sensei. That is why competition is not necessary. If it should happen that you are confronted with a real situation where you have to defend yourself physically, the way you have trained in aikido is more useful than competitions. There are so many techniques of self-defense without violence. In a competition, people soon start to prefer a certain technique and wait for an opportunity to use it. That is the moment where they can be overcome


    I think sometimes we are naturally and instinctively competitive and but I hold very dearly the teachings of the founder of my art but so are the cores of O’Senseis teachings in some ways naive to reality when portraying competition as unnecessary?? I do not think so.. I believe competition with the purpose of defeating anyone from an adversary outside or on the mats to the other end of the spectrum when competing with a colleague at work over some position perhaps is detrimental to harmony in the bigger sense and I think we are too narrowly focussed on ourselves to understand or accept that.. but I would be interested to hear what you say to me anyone with a view..

    Thank you for your thoughts on this :)
    Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
    Jenna
     
  2. Ito-okita

    Ito-okita Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Location:
    Tongeren, Belgium
    Not to insult anyone or to be blunt but I think competition does have it's uses. As I've sparred with jiu jitsu, Taekwondo and Kung Fu people I could tell the difference between guys that did compete and those who didn't by 1 simple fact: those that have ever been in a competition didn't get all shook up by a blow to the head or other body part. Of course you can learn this too by just training with contact. But at least just for that competition is good, to get a "feel" for being knocked about. Just my 2 cents
     
  3. SFC JeffJ

    SFC JeffJ Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    158
    It's another great way to practice your technique under a higher stress load. That, and for some people, it's just plain fun.

    Jeff
     
  4. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

    • Founding Member
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2001
    Messages:
    4,985
    Likes Received:
    614
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Kennewick, WA
    There are alot of aspects of competition that don't have anything to do with physical technique. Now admittedly, this thread seems to focus on aikido, and given my limited time practicing or observing aikido, I can't even imagine what a competition looks like. (Well, I can, but it involves two people in ready positions looking at each other and not EVER attacking.)

    In hard competition you feel fear, fear of getting hurt, fear of not living up to expectations of others, fear of the unknown. Part of this is instict, and part of it is ego. With regard to the instinctual fears like being hurt, as a martial artist you have to face this at some point in your training (and regularly) or you will be shocked the first time someone comes at you with true intention to harm you.

    As for all the little ego games, these usually happen before the competition. Do you fear competition because you might lose, that you'll look bad in front of friends? Or the flipside, do you do it to prove something to others or yourself? Both of these teach you about your ego and should give you clues about yourself and how to improve yourself. Most people tend to grow mentally, physically, and emotionally because of challenges, competition is just one way of challenging yourself.

    Lamont
     
  5. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Master

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,470
    Likes Received:
    713
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Location:
    Cluj
    Thank yous for the two cents worth :)

    I believe competition is inherently at odds with harmony. And I know that is not cool or tough but.. well I think it is forward thinking which a competitive attitude is perhaps not. I understand competition it is at the core of some arts but to me that implies a very narrow focus meaning the art is nothing more than a system of punches and kicks with the aim of keeping you safe and destroying everybody who would get in your way.. and it is not just on the mats or on the street.. that competitive mentality crosses all borders into the workplace and even family life from what I have observed.. for me the only validation of competition is self-betterment.. everything else competitive is to the detriment of harmony in the BIGGER sense..

    I have tried to instil in myself and those I train with are same.. and we do certainly train and translate the philosophy into the physical techniques.. we are not seeking to compete.. nor to defeat.. that is Aikido.. everything else is not conducive to harmony.. and if I sound like a stuck record.. if I sound like a stuck record.. if I .. ha! yeah well maybe I just think there is a lot of introspection in the arts which should perhaps not be there..

    Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
    Jenna
     
  6. theletch1

    theletch1 Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Messages:
    8,073
    Likes Received:
    170
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    79 Wistful Vista
    Competition is a very big part of what it means to be human, IMHO. Certainly, we'd all like to think that we've evolved beyond the instinct to compete for food, space, a mate...what have you but the instinct to compete is just that...an instinct. It's ingrained into the very fiber of our beings as humans. I believe that aikido is not so much about anti-competition but more about creating the ability to control the urge to compete. What's so good 'bout competition? It's like chocolate mousse! Not necessary for survival but it makes living a little sweeter now and then.
     
  7. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Messages:
    16,462
    Likes Received:
    223
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    There are two kinds of competition: against oneself, and against others. The former allows you to determine your own progress, by comparing yourself to where you were when you started, or last checked your own progress; the latter allows you compare yourself to the standard of others of your own rank. Both are, in my opinion, necessary for self-improvement. In addition, when talking about a martial art, the only way to find out if some things work is to use them against an opponent - and tournament competition (as opposed to in-class practice) allows you to test things against a resisting opponent whose goal is not your improvement, but proof of his/her own improvement instead.

    One of my fondest memories from a tournament was when I came up against a IV Dan in the black belt women's division (I was a I Dan at the time) in a tournament, and I got one, good, solid point on her - and she was training for international competition, where she placed. Did I win? Nope - but I learned that I was better than I thought, that no matter how much better she was, I was still able to hit her - and while she won, it wasn't by nearly the margin I might have expected. I learned that I was better than I thought - and that was eye-opening. Never again did I go into that type of situation assuming I would get the crap beat out of me.

    And that is, in my opinion, the true purpose of competition - to learn things you can't learn any other way. The people in class with you are trying to learn along with you - going up against people you don't know, whether it's in sparring, patterns, or any other event that occurs at your MA's tournaments - is a totally different environment than being in class. When my students compete in tournaments, and place - that's great! But what I ask them when they come back to class later is what they learned, and every one of them has something different that came out of the experience. That alone makes competition worthwhile.
     
  8. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Master

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,470
    Likes Received:
    713
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Location:
    Cluj
    Hey Jeff :) yeah no argument from me I agree it is a primal instinct.. and which does not mean it is correct.. Ok let me put you on another line if you are up for it.. see I believe promiscuity is instinctual.. certainly it is.. so why are so many folk monogamous? Likewise Christianity (in the TRUE sense and not some half a$$ed piety) in my opinion is contrary to what is instinctual and yet it remains incredibly popular..

    What I am saying is that it may be instinctual in us to be competitive and but that is not conducive to furthering anything but our own self interests.. that is what I mean by narrow focus.. furthermore the techniques of Ueshiba Aikido themselves were NEVER designed to be used competitively.. yeah I have been out to the Tomiki tournaments and did not take to the mats.. the whole thing seemed contrived.. and I know if MI is here there will be a disagreement but that is my opinion.. competition and Aikido do not sit well together.. And one last point is that a competitive attitude is not necessarily the way to come out of an altercation in the best condition.. however I appreciate that this requires a 180 degree change in most folks thinking.. :) still.. it can be done no probs

    Competition is pervasive as you say everything from parking spaces to the last golden ticket in a bar of chocolate, ha! .. but I reckon Ueshiba was correct and as with all revolutionary thinkers.. more than a little too avant garde to be completely accepted.. and which is why there are so many hybrid and bastardised forms of Aikido out there because they had no stomach for the full Monty.. imho that is.. :)

    anyways to me most martial artists are simply looking to kick a$$ no matter how they dress it up.. yeah even Aikikai practitioners I have encountered over the years still want to break heads.. pffft.. anyways.. thanks for this :)

    Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
    Jenna
     
  9. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Master

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,470
    Likes Received:
    713
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Location:
    Cluj
    Hey Kacey my friend :) thank you for this post.. I wonder would you allow me to ask some questions? Can you say why you think it is "necessary for self improvement" to compete against an opponent?

    I would agree wholeheartedly that there must be resistance in an opponent in order to ascertain your moves are working correctly.. however I would see no reason to engage in competition to bring that about.. personally I do this happily without competing with anyone..

    and you have suggested that only in competition can we learn certain things.. I would suggest in turn that all those things can be trained without competition.. ok so maybe a little more work would be involved in travelling to other dojos to work with different people for example but can be done or is within the realms of possibility for anyone so inclined..

    however.. in all this again the BIGGER picture I fear is missed.. and that is that we train competitively in order to DEFEAT others and which if we take that notion as wide as we are permitted then we are all merely training as little self sufficient islands.. the mentality being as long as I try to win I am ok.. and that pervades right through everything.. I mean.. two thirsty travellers and one finds a flask with one capful of water.. competitiveness says he drinks it.. we have been out here in the sun for days.. it is him or me he says to himself..

    well.. that is sort of what I am alluding to.. yeah you would say.. ahh but Jenna there is no equating a bit of fun in the dojo or in the ring with life and death harmony in society.. hmmm ok.. maybe I am completely wrong though I believe competitiveness is insidious and at the root.. directly or indirectly.. of many global situations famine poverty inequality pollution.. but well there is no equation between martial arts competition and all this..? I guess not :)

    anyways.. sorry if that sounds all shouty and ranty but well.. thank you again for taking the time.. I appreciate it :)

    Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
    Jenna
     
  10. MRE

    MRE Orange Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2006
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Aiea, HI
    Hi Jenna,

    In general, I think competition helps us improve. In the market place, technology of a product will improve exponentially when 2 or more providers compete to provide a better product more efficiently than the others. If a provider wants to compete, he/she will strive to be better than the best competitor out there. Of course, the better the competition, the better the provider will become.

    I think this is generally true in martial arts as well. Competing against others pushes one to improve. The better the competition, the better one can become (through hard work of course).

    In my experience, MA competitions have also helped in the sharing of ideas in the martial arts. When we spar/compete against MAists from other arts, we get to see what else is out there. We get to try out our techniques in adrenaline filled situations with a resisting opponent that does things a little differently. We can learn some techniques that we would like to add to our own, and we can also finally realize just why our instructors put so much emphasis on small things in our own system.

    If competition can help us improve and obtain knowledge, then I think it is a good thing. However, from observing other competitions in the past, I also think that competition can teach harmony as well. I have observed countless instances where two opponents, who just tried to beat on each other, can step out of the ring/octagon/circle of tape/grass in the backyard after competing shook hands and embraced with no ill will toward the other. That has got to be harmony. It doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen.

    Just my opinion. Have fun!
     
  11. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Messages:
    16,462
    Likes Received:
    223
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Jenna -

    Certainly, I could get the benefit of different training partners by travelling to other classes - and have done so, and will continue to do so. However, there is a different atmosphere when one is trying to win than when one is trying to train - even in the most intense training atmospheres. Perhaps that's not the way it is for you - but for myself, when I have competed in tournaments, whether in patterns, sparring, or breaking, there is an intensity present in competition, both in myself and in my observation of others, which I don't feel is present in any other situation, except, possibly, at formal testings. No matter how intense the training situation, there is something different about tournament competition that brings out the best performances in people - as with testing, the stress of the situation changes the intensity of the experience... not because of a desire to win, necessarily, but because of a desire to prove oneself better than previously and better than others. It is an incentive that works for many people.

    Can you attain this intensity without competition? Some people can; some instructors can - but I think that competition is built into the human psyche (that is, after all, the basis for survival - competition with the environment) and that competition has effects that cannot be duplicated in any other setting.
     
  12. Yari

    Yari Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    Messages:
    1,364
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Århus, Denmark
    I dont think that competetions are bad. But I believe that they can be bad. And that really depends upon the mentallity of the fighter. So when i read or talk to people who think competetions are bad I feel it tells me more about that persons mentallity then about competitions.

    So when I rewad O'senseis words, I read then that in copmetitions were you only goal is to win, your under the risk of locking yourself to certain techniques. And that a real life situation will need you to be able to move freely. (another question is why these two things exclude each other I don't understand). He's right, if the competition is used in his sence. But if you use the competition as a means of learning (like randori), then what's wrong.

    Remember the discussion about that no martial art can be wrong? This I feel is the same. How can competition be wrong? It's a question about the mentallity you bring into it.

    /Yari
     
  13. MartialIntent

    MartialIntent Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Messages:
    516
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    UK
    Jenna,
    Me? Disagree with you? Certainly *not* after what I witnessed you and your lot doing last week!! ;) You half wrecked me! I mean certainly my own style Shodokan has those competitive aspects and I'm glad of them, as our competitions have taken me all around. And yes most definitely that single aspect of Aikido was the sore point between Ueshiba and Tomiki and so to answer your question, what's so good about the competition - well, I'm laughing here because now you've got me thinking about it with particular regard to these "bigger issues" you're alluding to, I'm actually not sure I can give an adequate reply, hehe :). I hate you! LOL, hehe :)

    Yes, competitive randori has upped my own game, though I'll admit it's a long way off *real* confrontation - the intents are way too divergent. But nonetheless has helped in its own way. For me, there's no grandiose reason for competing. I do it because I enjoy the challenge. Yeah I suppose I do like to prove I can be the best or at least better than someone else; I get a kick out of it! But of course that's your point isn't it? And so I have to agree with you [under duress!] that yes it is primarily about *me*. But ultimately I guess that's the way most folk practice their arts, with their own self-improvement and self-interests at heart and few I'd imagine would practice towards such idealistic or grand ends as Ueshiba was attempting to encourage in his students - those goals being harmony, peace etc.

    That said, I'd still recommend you stick to your guns Jenna. I know these ideals mean a lot to you so don't be dissuaded by wearied and disillusioned old farts [like me!] hehe.

    Sincere Respects!
     
  14. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Master

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,470
    Likes Received:
    713
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Location:
    Cluj
    Hey MI my worthy friend well you just rub loadsa DDJ on it and all those nasty bruises will heal up nicely, ha! and hey you do not hate me I am your friend! and I think this issue of competition is perhaps a thing to leave an aftertaste and it is difficult that then even when I try to make it a tasty meal that suddenly everybody loses their appetite!

    I know you enjoy your tournament stuff and but for me I have watched the Tomiki tournaments and they do not fit properly to my eyes.. I know bout Kenji Tomiki pushing more of Kanos instruction than Ueshibas into his creation (and which is still named Aikido!) and but still that is to veer away from O'Sensei so as to have something which is like a replica kit car.. looks fancy and prolly goes well but has something of the spirit missing in it.. hope that is not overly offensive to you.. I believe to enjoy competition for self betterment is great and but I do not think that is why folk are competitive either on mats or off.. I think it is essentially a medium for expression of a desire to defeat someone and to be better than they are.. oooh ..I am verbose today! ha!

    But do not get me wrong I think there is merit in a competitive mindset but NOT against each other instead against the antagonists that are COMMON to us all.. crime poverty disease and myriad others.. yeah I mean competition to defeat common "enemies" and but cooperation WITH EACH OTHER to defeat them.. funny though despite all the cooperation there remain those even competing within those laudible endeavours such as mapping the genome / cure for cancer.. in order to take the credit and to be the best and for me that is just plain egotism.. and this is how most do their martial art.. not to any great and laudible goal but for themselves alone which is unfortunate as martial artists whom I have met generally have great deal to give to others but yet practice for themselves only.. practice competitively to defeat everybody else.. anyways.. I am just digressing myself off into some corner somewhere maybe.. Thank you though for this..

    I STILL do not know if there are any valid reasons beyond self-satisfaction why competition is good???

    Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
    Jenna
     
  15. Monadnock

    Monadnock 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    717
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Land-of-the-self-proclaimed-10th-Dan's
    The essence of Budo is to educate and develop the person as a whole. BuJutsu is different. The training is heavily guided to creating warriors.

    Competition today reeks of sport. But competing in the BuJutsu was to prepair for battle. There is no "need" for competition in the Budo. your largest enemy is yourself. Aikido is Budo.
     
  16. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

    • Founding Member
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2001
    Messages:
    4,985
    Likes Received:
    614
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Kennewick, WA
    So Jenna, do you believe that competition in any part of life is bad, or simply in the context of your martial art? You seem to be focusing your examples on martial arts but then expanding it to the rest of the world.
    I'm just looking to clarify your position.

    Lamont
     
  17. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Master

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,470
    Likes Received:
    713
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Location:
    Cluj
    Hey Lamont :) yes as dumb as it might sound my current belief is that competition.. while it may be beneficial to ones self interests.. precludes accord and harmony in the OVERALL sense..

    My question is what is so good bout competition as I do not see any other benefits to competition in the arts beyond that of the individial practitioner.. and I guess that is good enough for most artists.. to me the arts can be so much more than thinking of yourself..

    Yes I am doing exactly what you say and using the arts as a springboard into the big blue ocean of everything.. and but this has a particular relevance to my art which is Aikido and that is why I am asking.. Thing bout Aikido is that it was not designed with the purpose of fighting.. defence yes.. conciliation between parties yes.. conflict resolution yes.. fighting nope and nor does it condone competition between parties.. As I have quoted Saito Sensei founder of Iwama style that according to O'Sensei Aikido "..is a martial art of education with the aim of creating a beautiful and good society". It would not be any surprise that such a statement sounds corny.. that is perfectly fine.. I am not lecturing I am simply putting the point and asking for any considered thoughts either way..

    I hope that has clarified my position for you? Tho my friend it would seem to me you are actually asking me a leading question.. rest assured you need no pretext to ask me anything.. I am not here to fight with anybody no sir.. as the song said Im always willing to learn when youve got something to teach :)

    Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
    Jenna
     
  18. tempus

    tempus Green Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I believe competition is good. I love competition of the mind and body. For example softball and football as physical / Chess and Warhammer 40k for the mind. Not much competition in Aikido since it is defensive fighting. However, if you plan on countering each others moves in training, Ura's, then I would think it could be a form of competition.

    -Tempus
     
  19. Yari

    Yari Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    Messages:
    1,364
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Århus, Denmark
    Do I understand it correctly that you mean that competition can work for the individual, but Aikido works for more than that?

    It that is true how can you differ a persons actions/belifes and the influence a person has on the world.

    If a person grows to be a better human being by doing something, is it not for something that the world will benifit from?

    /Yari
     
  20. stabpunch

    stabpunch Orange Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Perth
    to the other end of the spectrum when competing with a colleague at work over some position perhaps is detrimental to harmony in the bigger sense and I think we are too narrowly focussed on ourselves to understand or accept that.. [/quote]

    This part of your observation/question is very interesting.


    I refer to a course in strategic negotiation that I attended. In the course we talked about conflict which can be substituted for competition in this sense.


    As we have progressed so too our understanding of conflict. It has been suggested that conflict in early times was viewed as bad, to be avoided at all costs. Then as we progressed conflict was viewed as bad but unable to be avoided all the time, instead a blind eye was turned. A later movement accepted that conflict was bad, however could be managed. Now in modern times the view is that conflict is necessary for an organisation to survive and perhaps is not so bad when managed correctly.


    My thought is conflict or competition pushes the human animal to strive, as in nature the stronger animal eats. Without competition would we be progressing so quickly? Possibly not. Is such aggressive progression good? Probably not. Can we stop it? No but I guess we can manage it and control its direction...

    Just a thought :idunno: 123
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

content