Discussion in 'Aikido' started by Jenna, Aug 6, 2006.
damn quote text hehe
Hey Yari how are you.. To your first question .. well yes and no.. competition certainly can work for the individual I am not disputing that.. so far there are several good posts illustrating that point.. but that is all it is.. it is working to ones own ends.. You ask if Aikido works for more than that?? Well my friend Aikido is nothing but a set of techniques wrapped around a central core tenet of harmony.. Aikido can do absolutely NOTHING at all any more than the King James bible or the Koran.. No.. Aikido is impotent unless the practitioner has a desire to employ it correctly.. and but absolutely if an aikidoka practices what they preach then yes Aikido is an unparallelled vehicle to work to the greater good.. That is the whole issue that aikidoka do not care bout the philosophy but are rather concerned with technique technique technique.. oooh I can really put someone down hard if I do this.. or at best there is a desire to defend oneself regardless of what happens to the opponent.. how it is practiced is no reflection of how it was designed. Ueshiba did not design Aikido as a way of avoiding confrontation absolutely NOT.. but he designed it so that the confrontation could be concluded with no damage to either you OR your opponent.. there is no place to desire to compete with or DEFEAT anyone.. once I seek to defeat an opponent my mindset changes.. I will admit I have been caught on the wrong side of this on more than one occasion and but that was never my intention.. I do not seek to defeat nor compete..
and but you are aikidoka why am I telling this to you?
Competition only benefits the individual ..whether that be a fighter during randori or a broker on the trading floor of the LSE.. no one is competing for anything beyond themselves.. And but that is just one point.. competition itself does not assist accord and has at its core the desire to defeat.. so tell me what is so good bout wanting to defeat someone? Tell me that my friend.. you enjoy competition? You enjoy defeating an opponent perhaps? Why so?
You tell me.. I set out to compete against you in a fight and defeat yout.. I might have learned and added to some technique.. but tell me how we have really benefitted anything?? .. my company wins a contract at the expense of yours.. my company now knows how to prepare great tenders for gaining new business.. still.. your company now has to go try find work for its employees.. does the world benefit from that? No.. individuals benefit.. society condones it but no.. there is no OVERALL benefit
Thank you for your thoughts I appreciate it!!
Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
I'm fine, thank you!
Yes I enjoy any competition where my friend(s) and me can compete and walk away still being friends. Just like this argument. I might find that your argument is better than mine, or that your right og something else. But I stille go away knowing that this dispute isn't going to ruin anything, but will gain one of us, thus enrichning the whole world in the end.
It's all in the mindset. I hear what your saying is that copetition has a winner AND loser. But I'm trying to say there is a winner(whose willing to teach) and a learner(willing to learn).
I thank you for starting such a difficult thread and sticking to it. That's a good way for all of us to learn...
I need to reply this one. How does winning a competition make me feel? It makes me feel great, superior, on top of the world. I am the man. I have defeated all who opposed and I like how it feels. There is an honest answer. What happens when I lose? I hate it. I feel weak and broken. What do I do after a loss? I train harder. I study harder. I strive for perfection so I cannot be defeated. I review my pass actions and learn from them. Where as defeating an opponent makes feel good, loosing benefits me from making me strive to be better.
The Nature of animals The strong will survive and the weak will perish. This is the nature of animals and man. It has been this way since day one. In my opinion competition is based off this rule. Since in modern times we no longer need to really hunt for food or stay in packs, we use competition as our outlet for this basic instinct. Work, sports life is now the outlet for the basic instinct. It is in our nature to be the top dog.
You can talk peace, love, harmony, spirituality, balance, etc, but put humans back into any situation where survival is necessary and we will resort back to the nature of animals because it is how we were originally designed.
Just my honest answer and opinion. Also, someone who, at 36, is still happily competiting with the same freinds from high school. Just slower.
Hey Yari thank you for following up with this..
yes I understand what you mean bout competing with your mates and have a big hug walk away afterwards.. but with regards to the likes of this here conversation of ours I would say that is mutually beneficial because it is NOT competitive.. you are seeking to put across your point as am I .. you are NOT seeking to compete with me or prove yourself better than me and nor am I .. yes we both benefit by exchange of ideas and but we are not competing.. For example.. you go look at the Study forum here where folk are beating each other over the heads with their own ideas.. that is perhaps a more appropriate comparison where a form of competition is detrimental and there are only very few glimpses of accord.. and who really benefits there where folk are just seeking their own self interests seeking to prove they are the best.. the best orators and debaters and bringing about little in the way of mutual learning and far too much in the way of enmity and dissonance.. maybe that makes more sense??
Sorry I am not the clearest .. but thank you for bearing with me on this..
yes you are saying there is room for TWO winners in competition? I would have to beg to differ.. ok let us say the loser has a philosophical disposition and is willing as you say.. to LEARN.. ok.. what would they learn? .. they would learn by their mistakes how NOT to get defeated.. and how would they employ that knowledge? They would employ it to subsequently defeat their own opponent next time around.. that is a vicious circle and is just a string of defeats through competition.. no one really moves along.. the only thing enhanced is the individual practitioners.. I do not think there is any greater benefit.. and I understand folk will say.. yeah Jenna.. so what? Well I would be sad to think the arts were only used for each individual at a time with little regard for the needs of the wider society in which they operate..
My point is that if competition is eschewed then there may be equal or greater scope for mutual learning between parties.. and sorry again if this sounds all arty farty .. it is what I believe and I am seeking no converts my friend.. just opinions.. again.. I can only thank you for yours and for your patience..
Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
Yes, when I lose I try to do better. the goal to win. But if to win is to kick somebodies teeth out, or getting somebody to feel bad. Then it's not a part of competition I want. Not saying that there isn't this part in competition, but syaing that these negativ parts are what sonsist of competition isn't correct.
It' boils down to what mindset you put into competition, and that mindset is also how you define competition.
I cann't disagree with you about the negativ parts of competition. They are not as constructive as hamonies competition. And in the extrem people /worlds get hurt, and that shouldn't happen.
Now the greatest problem is the fundamental right to choose your own philosofy. So the quesiton about competition is really not a question about competition but about how to handle competition. And therefor a question about which mindset you aproach things/people with.
yes tempus-san you have it right there in a nutshell.. that is the issue at its most primal.. we are designed this way.. and but in that situation let me ask you a contrived up hypothetical question.. say you are abandoned somewhere no resources little food.. I dunno middle of the arctic perhaps .. you and your partner wife g/f b/f whatever.. someone you love or care deeply for.... and after a time and failing of hypothermia you stumble somehow on a coat made of thick furskin.. do you pick it up wear it yourself? or give it to your partner? survival says you take it for yourself.. what is it that would make you give it up for your partner? End of hypothetical..
anyways apologies that is to take us away from competition in the arts.. and but that is just another symptom of the same ailment.. Talk to me bout any aspect of it absolutely.. and but I am still a little unswayed to the benefits of competition to anything but the individual.. Is that all there is to the martial arts.. focus on the self? Maybe..
Thank you again
Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
Thank you again Yari ok well certainly I read all what you said.. and but I want to agree with the above.. I think that is exactly right you have taken it back a step and you are saying that competition is not inherently bad but rather the intention of the competitors.. well.. I will nod my head to that certainly..
I would only add that I do not believe folk compete in whatever endeavours out of any desire for mutual betterment but simply to defeat their opponent.. that I believe is how its done and that is the whole point of competition.. to prove yourself better than others and which I would be bold to say that such a mentality is not the peak of enlightenment in the arts but it is just the way it is.. nor is it a valid interpretation of the sort of teachings of O'Sensei.. imnsvho
Thank you again my friend
Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
Simple....I would give it to my wife with out hesitation. However, if it were a stanger they were dead and I would be warm. Granted the primal need can be over turned with ones thought process, but to me its black or white.
Then again everything is easy to answer in the hypothetical world. In reality everything changes.
The word "shiai" (tournament) actually refers to "testing yourself." This is the original spirit of competition. It has, of course, gone far beyond that noble concept but we can strive to bring it back by employing forms of competition (not necessarily formal contests, per se) for purposes of self-improvement.
It isn't about beating someone else or proving you're better than they are; it's about truly testing yourself against someone of equal or even greater skill. This needn't be done in a tournament setting - it can be achieved in the dojo from time to time...just a sort of "reality check" to see how you're doing.
A very good comment!!!!!!!!
I think your right on there. Most people do competition with the soul intent to win. Others stay away because ofthis intent. BUT...... That doesn't mean that competition can't be good. But it's difficult for a competition to be good if the intent is "wrong".
But it looks like you understand my point.
Have you ever seen ECCO challenge? A group consisting of 4 people trying to get from point A to B. The groups are competiting against each other, but there is no "I'll step on you " to win, and the teams help each other if they can.
Thank you for keeping at it Jenna.
Hehe, yeah, in the tournaments I compete at, nothing seems to "fit" either - in fact pretty much everything I care to try doesn't quite "fit" anything bar a good definition of "needs more practise" LOL I can't argue with you, and can only echo what Yari has already said and that's that folk compete with different mindsets and I don't believe there's any malice or bad intent for the most part at least [yeah I've had an opponent previously whose intent was plainly to break me and he did actually - he busted my nose in his overzealousness, hehe]. I admit I compete to win. If I could turn it round slightly though, I'd say that I compete to *win* but I don't set out with an intention to *defeat* anyone, though of course that's what happens if I do manage to win. I don't know if I can explain that adequately but I think the differences in mindset between wanting to win and wanting to defeat someone are subtle. I'm sure you can grasp that one.
Of course that just addresses one part of your question and doesn't perhaps give an answer to the title of the thread. I'm happy to admit I can't do that in the context of how the obvious competition benefits actually extend beyond the individual party, but since you've got that knack of taking in the whole panarama, let me ask you what do you think it would take to change a competitive way of thinking so radically? Could it ever be done? I don't believe so. I think as Kacey said, competitiveness is ingrained in our psyche - it's a primal thing whereby we competed for food, space and shelter in hostile environments. How would it be possible to change something so instinctual in most folk? There now - consider that "check". I await your move
Is the problem truly competition or is it conflict? I hate conflict. Don't care to be in the middle of a conflict nor do I care to be around those who are in conflict with others. Competition, to my mind, is something else all together. I guess Yari has done it again and stated so well what I was unable to voice and that is that it's all in the mindset.
Well MI now I aint rising to no challenges.. tho if you wanna meet me over on Gameknot.com well.. you know where I am, ha! OK so you are asking how to get rid of an inherent competitive mindset and which is a polar opposite of harmony in a MUCH bigger sense?? Well.. I will suggest politely to you that perhaps you are looking at this as a train driver up and down the tracks one way only and not as a Landcruiser 4x4 driver who can go all around and bouts and through the trees.. and by that I mean I do not think that we should get rid of this instinct at all.. as frankly it is a waste of time and nigh on impossible to purge true INSTINCTS.. they are hardwired and not for lobotomising off.. Instead I would suggest that our OTHER instincts should be focussed upon more stongly and consciously and built up.. and by OTHER instincts I mean primarily our instincts for tending or if you wish to call it caring or nurturing.. and there is a great deal of research to suggest that while this is primarily a female instinct it is also highly prevalent in males.. and I am certainly not referring solely to maternal and paternal instincts but yes that is a factor..
And people say and have said here also ..oooh.. if there was no competition we would still be swinging from the trees and but I would only say if there was no instinctive NURTURING and caring for each other we would all be as abandoned orphans swaying back and forward in squalid cribs for dearth of care or attention.. and that is what lack of nurturing does and leaves people either children OR adults in a highly fragile state.. and I think there is a certain parallel between too much of the one instinct ie. .competitiveness leading to defeat of a person and that same person being subject to too little of the other instincts nurturing and caring.. anyways.. just a tuppence theory and which is not to say it is relevant..
And ok we are asking so what has all this to do with our precious fighting? well.. instead of having as our goal victory and defeating others on or off mats .. if we worked on having our instinctual caring and tending for our compatriates and opponents as the primary focus instead of a far distant afterthought then maybe things would be a little different.. yeah I am even naive enough you would say to claim that this would be to the better of society as a whole if there was just the littlest move in attitude from a competitive getting on moving on up climbing the ladders mentality to one of non competitiveness and harmonisation.. Yeah so you are gonna say oooh but what about when I am attacked.. Well someone comes to you with the intention of harming you that does not mean you put your arms around them and give them a hug and but at the same time it does not mean you would have the desire to smash defeat and destroy them.. there is a place for peaceable conflict resolution for ALL parties and that is the essence of Aikido.. I think it is unfortunate that to me anyways.. most martial artists and certainly aikidoka.. act in this competitive way and then subsequently hide behind a sort of double effect argument.. I destroyed and killed him and but I didnt really mean to.. honest.. pffft.. sorry.. I mean this for anyone needing reminded..
Well anyways.. I think I am just talking backwards at myself and so I just want to genuinely and sincerely thank everyone again for all contributions I am grateful time to climb back in the sarcophagus drag across the lid I think
Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
Only the Aikikai style has explicitly stated its opposition to competition. Other styles started by Uyeshiba sensei's senior prewar students such as the Yoseikan of Mochizuki sensei (http://www.yoseikan-budo.org/), the Tomiki/Shodokan-ryu Aikido of Tomiki sensei (http://www.tomiki.org/) and maybe some others has competitions.
I think competition can enhance the skill levels of Aikidoka, as long as it is kept as only one of the training methods, not as the main goal of training.
It is better to be lousy in competitions, but has the right mind of an aikidoka (the peaceful, loving and harmonious mind), rather than become very good at winning, but has the wrong attitude.
I am sure you are right about the value of competition, but I am not sure that this is the base meaning of shiai. As far as I understand matters, shiai (試合 means a match or tournament, something that happens in a stadium, while 競争 (kyousou) means rivalry, or competition, in a more abstract sense.
I have in front of me Takemusu Aiki, the lectures given in Japanese by Morihei Ueshiba to the Byakko Shinko-kai and published in 1986. On pages 49 and 50 he explains why Japanese Budo is not sport. He uses two terms: sport, written in katakana as スポーツ, and kyousou. He stresses that the kyousou in sports, especially western-style sports, is the wrong kind of kyousou, since it is not proper kyousou of the spirit.
It is unfortunate that these lectures have not been translated into English, though there is a partial translation by Sonoko Tanaka and Stanley Pranin, which appeared in the print issue of Aikido Journal and can be found somewhere on the AJ website. Thus, to translate the terms used by Saito Morihiro Sensei in the interview given in Jenna's first post as competition is somewhat misleading, since both shiai and kyousou can be translated in this way.
When I first read Takemusu Aiki, I felt that Morihei Ueshiba misunderstood what sport is all about, since it is pretty clear that sport has great value, physically and spiritually. However, all he is actually saying is that Japanese budo is not like western-style sport and Jigoro Kano, who was Japan's first member of the International Olympic Committee, also expressed similar misgivings about the developments of his own brainchild, judo. On the other hand, Kano strongly believed in the educational value of judo and Kenji Tomiki, his student, strongly believed in the educational value of a limited form of competitive randori in aikido. At Waseda University, where he was a teacher, he introduced 'competition' aikido as an academic subject, in order to satisfy the rules set out by the judo 'establishment' at the university.
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