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Fight or flight.  Stay the course or precipitous withdrawal.  Our public discussion is confined to various versions of these supposed opposites but there are other ways to deal with violence, other ways to think about conflict.

Terry Dobson was one of the first Western students of the founder of aikido,  Ueshiba Osensei, and a gifted teacher himself.  Aikido in Everyday Life:  Giving in to Get Your Way by Terry Dobson and Victor Miller
(Berkeley, CA:  North Atlantic Books, 1978, 1993  ISBN 1-55643-151-1) is his attempt to adapt the physical techniques of aikido to the psychology of our daily struggles.  The core idea Dobson and Miller explain is that there are more options.

(33-34) any conflict situation we have the following options open to us:

  1.  Fighting Back
  1.  Withdrawal
  1.  Parley
  1.  Doing Nothing
  1.  Deception
  1.  Aiki (Confluence)

Of course, they like aiki/confluence the best but it also the most difficult to recognize, achieve, and explain within our current culture.

(xii)  One, conflict is neither bad not good, it simply is;  two, conflict is absolutely necessary to almost every life process;  three, people need training in how to respond effectively and appropriately to conflict situations.  For far too long we've had a single view of conflict:  that it is bad and that it demands a winner and a loser.

This is a concept which I've also seen examined in Macedonia:  What Does It Take to Stop a War? but it is not an idea that has wide provenance in our present public debate.

(6)  ...over the years, we've let the win/lose frame of reference shift into areas of our lives that are not contests.  Tennis, football, hockey, and volleyball are contests;  they have rules and scores.  Sex, fame, love, appreciation, maturity, and child-raising (to name a few areas of human behavior) are not contests, do not have uniform rules, and never did have scores until we began keeping them.

(23)  The next time you sense that your attacker is disguising the real issue, calmly ask "Is this what's really bothering you, or is there something else?"  Our experience shows us that, at the very least, the attacker will stop dead in his or her tracks for a few seconds.  The more reasonable, self-aware attacker will concede your point.  The less self-aware will charge forward on the trivial point but without as much determination as before.

A great example of this is the crux of Terry Dobson's most famous story, the subway story.

(38)  Fighting Back is your last resort...  Fight Back when it is a question of life or death (yours or someone else's) and you have no other options open to you.

Our culture is one where fighting has become our first resort.

(40)  Never Fight Back against anyone who has nothing to lose.

Republicans these days always fight as if they have nothing to lose or as if they are willing to lose everything.  They proclaim it is principle but I believe it is a tactic, a front to scare their opponents, the Democrats.

One thing to remember when engaged with a partner who seems to have nothing to lose is probably Sun Tzu's advice that a wise general always leaves the opposing force an apparent escape route.  This fits the proverbial idea that a rat is most dangerous when cornered.

Al Qaeda also fight as if they have nothing to lose but, in their case, it may be true or, at least, truer.

(43)  ...every vanquished foe is a potential adversary.

“The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” Abraham Lincoln

(46)  ...the restoration of harmony is the goal of all conflict.

Not death.  Not destruction.  Not surrender.

(52)  Withdrawal is an appropriate response in the following kinds of situations:
When all else fails and an escape route is open to you.
(53)  When time and place are wrong.

There should be no shame in refusing to fight, especially on terms and ground that are obviously disadvantageous to you.  However, we have a culture that prides itself on not backing down, whatever that means.  

(59)  Parley is most effective when you are involved in a no-win situation.

Recognizing a no-win situation in a culture that sees only win/lose is a fundamental problem.

(67)  Doing Nothing is appropriate when you need time...  In short, the attacker has chosen the time and place and also dictates the rhythm of the conflict.  Attackers count on your dancing to their metronome, so your refusal to do that can be a highly effective response.

Doing Nothing is an appropriate response when you want to find out what's really going on behind the attack...  Attackers find it hard to stop.

(68)  Doing Nothing is one of the best responses of all when an attack makes no sense, when it is totally absurd.  Rather than dignify that attack by reacting, you Do Nothing.

Our culture abhors stillness and silence.  With our hysterical news channels screaming 24/7, the idea of doing nothing is infuriating anathema.

(71)  Deception (and its partner, surprise) is for buying time, not for solving problems.

Time is intimately related to rhythm.  One of my teachers has taught me that in sparring you have to mix up your rhythm, change your timing.  If you don't, you become predictable and will get hit.  He also taught me the importance of moving when your partner blinks.  It then seems as if you've got superhuman speed.  [Thanks, Arthur.]

(73)  When the time and place are wrong, Deception can be your best option.
Deception can be best employed when you want to surprise an opponent, break his line of intention, or catch him off guard.

(83)  When the boss yells at you or someone insults you, you must pay primary attention to restoring your center, not to striking back or running like a dervish.

This is possibly the most important idea here.  Few of us in this culture cultivate a center, know where our point of balance is most of the time.  We are buffeted by events and fall from one incident into another, off balance and staggering.  If you have a center and can keep in touch with it, you will retain your balance even under assault.  This is what you practice when you practice aikido - keeping your center and taking your partner's.

(84)  TV's situation comedies are built around characters being off center!

Th dominant culture is decentering and addictive.  It educates us to ineptitude.  This is especially true for men.  Men are treated like complete buffoons and big babies in most situation comedies and commercials.  It is a characteristic that I have observed for the last 50 years.  I noticed it when I was seven or eight years old and it disturbed me then.  It disgusts me now.

(99)  In the physical realm of martial arts there is  always that brief moment when, because of the defender's response, the attacker loses his balance.  At that precise moment, the defender is in charge and must take care of the attacker, helping him to a new, firmer, less aggressive balance.

Sometimes that response is merely a slight shifting of the center so the intended strike continues beyond the attacker's balance.  All that is necessary then is a little encouragement and the attacker will fall.

(107)  Aiki is composed of two basic actions:  confluence - joining with the attack to empathize with the attacker and get out of his way - and lead - bringing the attacker back to balance.

(108)  Every attacker has a right to his feelings;  they may be based on an "incorrect" deduction from the facts, but the attacker is still feeling them.  You cannot lead him to a "correct" perception without first becoming confluent with the perception he is experiencing.

In short, Attack-tics demands that you respect your attacker's rights and privileges while still protecting your own.

This is another aspect of the adage "Know thy enemy."  You have to respect your enemy as well.  I knew that we were headed for deep, deep trouble as a nation when I saw the hysterical Republicans adamantly refuse to study Al Qaeda after 9/11 and denigrate as traitors those who would.  Such stupidity goes against every idea of strategy and tactics.

(115)  Destroyed people make bad enemies.

"Beware who you chose as an enemy, for you will become like them."

(133)  [Mother/Daughter Parley Scenario]  
You asked questions to hep your mother reframe what had happened so that both of you could consider the event from a common point.  Best of all, you waited to say that you were not sleeping around until the very end, because you knew that if you'd said it at the beginning your  mother would have considered the Parley over.  That's really all she wanted to hear, but you needed to have her hear the other points as well.  Most people begin by defending themselves:  "I'm not sleeping around...."  They end up losing the audience they want to address.

Defensiveness can be a signal you've lost your center.  Leading with a defense on the point of contention can result in a seesaw argument, "Yes, you did" followed by "No, I didn't" ad infinitum.

(142-143)  When you start using Aiki you begin to learn that often people's stated needs or desires are exactly the opposite of what they really want.  Often the mother who asks her children to leave her alone wants their attention.  Often the worker who talks about quitting wants more work, more recognition.  But if you argue with someone's stated feelings, telling them they really don't want to do what they say they want to do, nine times out of ten they'll go ahead and do it.  If you use Aiki instead, letting them reach their own conclusions, then the real underlying need will eventually surface.  They will turn right around and admit they want the children or they want you or they want whatever.  We'll bet that hundreds of thousands of "wrong" choices are made every day because people feel pushed into them by the opposition of friends and colleagues and lovers.

In some ways, this can be considered the flip side of projection.

(147-148)  The shortest distance between you and anything else is a straight line.  Between you and another person, this line runs from heart to heart.

(157)  [Geometry of attack]  Now all you need to do, besides practicing that feeling, is to remind yourself - right in the middle of a conflict - that you are a triangle (if that is the response you've chosen).  You'll be surprised how your body can respond to that command.  Notice that you don't talk to yourself in slogans:  "Keep your guard up!"  "Stop being such a namby-pamby!"  Your spirit can't react quickly to that kind of exhortation.  Those kinds of expressions are defeatist, complicated, and unusable.  The triangular shape contains within it all you need to function.

The symbols Dobson uses, triangle for attack, square for doing nothing, circle for aiki, are traditional teaching images in aikido.

(174)  Any serious attack moves from the attacker to the target along a straight line...

In the body, a kick or punch may be more effective if there is a twist at the end of that straight line attack, a snap of the wrist or the ankle to add force to the striking surface.  Human movement can be thought of as a spiral around a vector.

(175)  ...the stronger the attack the easier it is for you to handle.

Hard to believe?

We're asking you to accept that your survival prognosis is far better if somebody really jumps all over you.  It happens to be true.  The more committed your attacker is, the easier it is for you to handle him if you're centered....  See him coming straight at you along that line [point of the triangle].  Imagine the force, will, and intention all focused along that arrow.  Know, then, that when someone attacks you along that line, you have 358 directions you can go in to deal safely and simply with the attacker - every direction, in fact, except north or south.

On the mat, we call this a committed attack.  When you are committed to the attack, the attacker is out of options.  They have decided on their line of movement and make your decision easy.

(181)  The hurricane of miracles blows perpetually.  Day and night the phenomenon surges around us on all sides, and (not least marvelous) all without disturbing the majestic tranquility of the Creation.  This tumult is harmony.   Victor Hugo, William Shakespeare

(194)  Always keep an attacker between you and another attacker.  In other words use on attacker to shield you from another.

(195)  Throughout the maneuver, you never allow yourself to believe you're surrounded.

When practicing freestyle with multiple attackers in the dojo this is literally true.  In the best practices, you become a spinning top that uses centripetal and centrifugal force to bring your attackers into your grasp and throw them away.  You can choose who attacks you and when and, sometimes, you can feel as if you are surrounding four or five attackers at once.  Unbelievable but true.  I've experienced it myself once of twice.

(208)  One of the most sensible, structured ways we've found to design a plan comes from theater practice, from a method attributed to Knostantin Stanislavski, the great Russian teacher and director.  In this method there are three points to deal with:

  1.  Objective:  what you want
  1.  Obstacle:  why you can't have it
  1.  Action:  what you do to get it

(211)  Fritz Redl, the great child psychologist, has written about children to whom love is a real threat.  They require conflict for stability.

Hmm, sound like any society you know of?

(228)  You do no one a favor by letting an important issue go unresolved.

(238)  One experiment we're especially fond of is asking people to walk forward while thinking backward.  Try it.  Walk along at your normal gait but imagine at the same time that you're going in the opposite direction.

You can also walk backward while thinking forward.  In fact, there are some aikido techniques that make use of this very quality.  It is somewhat difficult to learn, as is everything in aikido, but can be devastating when practiced correctly.

(248)  The need for revenge is gone because their reconnection with their own centers has put them back into connection with all life.  The protective spirit has to do with that union of life with life.

Spirit is also rooted in the present, a function of the intersection of time with your own energy.  Spirit is not Then or Soon;  spirit is Right This Minute.  You can't save spirit or reflect on it, because it is like Thales' [or Heraclitus'?] moving stream.

Ueshiba Osensei called aikido the art of peace (there is a book of quotations from Ueshiba Osensei edited by John Stevens of that title which is quite worth studying).  Aikido is often translated as the way of harmonizing energy, where way is the same kanji as Tao.  On the mat, there is great joy when technique becomes effortless as aikido teaches you to move to that point where there can be no resistance.  Response to an attack is relaxed and easy.  You begin to realize that a turn of the hips or an extension of an arm can allow the full power of a crushing blow to pass by without touching.  All you feel is a breeze from the movement and then you can follow that attack past its balance point and control your partner with a weightless hand.  It takes years of practice but it is well worth it.

We talk about hard power and soft power on the global stage but I wish we thought in terms of harmonizing power the way we do on the mat.  Once, I gave Joe Nye, one of the major theorists of soft power, a copy of The Art of Peace and urged him, at his advanced age, to try aikido.  He told me he read the book but I don't believe he could understand it without setting foot on the mat.  We live in a violent world.  Conflict is all around us.  Aikido, physically and theoretically, offers us tools with which we can calm some of that violence and resolve some of those conflicts.

Previous diary on Terry Dobson's Aikido Journey.  There's a story about purity of intention there that I commend to your kind attention.

Originally posted to gmoke on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 03:49 PM PST.


Any aikido in your daily life?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Absolutely Excellent! (18+ / 0-)

    Recommended highly.

    Fascism ought to more properly be called Corporatism since it is the merger of state and corporate power. - Mussolini

    by Pluto on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 03:55:36 PM PST

  •  I like Aikido (8+ / 0-)

    I was trained in a hard style by my father(Shotokan) but I found Tai Chi and it is great. I apply everything I have learned to my daily life and it works.

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    by hypnyx on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:06:49 PM PST

    •  Hard Style/Soft Style (8+ / 0-)

      I've heard that you can't really study a soft style until you're over thirty.  Youth just doesn't have the feel for the softer, gentler ideas.  Maybe true.  I know that I've run into a number of older folk who can dump me on my ass effortlessly despite my "greater" strength.

      I like tai chi too, chi kung, ba gua.  If I had the time, I'd go learn capoeira but my body may be too old for that now.

      Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

      by gmoke on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:20:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  there's a saying. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avila, gmoke

        That the power of youth is no match for the treachery of old age. :)

        Maybe young people just aren't treacherous enough.

        The measure of one's life is found not in its Length, but in its Depth- RIP Steve Gilliard

        by DawnG on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:55:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I Prefer Sneaky (0+ / 0-)

          Been unceremoniously dumped by old men in Japan, China, and the US.  The galling thing is that they do it so easily.

          Oh well, I continue to get older myself and maybe, since I've tried to pay attention, I'll get that sneaky or treacherous too.

          Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

          by gmoke on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 08:46:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Shorin Ryu, judo, and jiu jitsu here (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila, gmoke, dharmafarmer, SciVo

      I guess I'm a softy ;-)

      It is nice, though, how the principles learned in the study and practice of a martial art dovetail so nicely into every day life. I guess that's the 'art' part of it, and the zen-ness of it all.

      "When power is unchecked by accountability, injustice and atrocity become commonplace. We, the people, must demand our rights."

      by Lisa Lockwood on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:26:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Art (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avila, cfk, dharmafarmer

        The day after 9/11 I had a talk with my ba gua instructor and told him that I felt we had a special responsibility as martial artists in response to the new reality.  I probably haven't lived up to that full responsibility but I've been trying.

        We have to struggle against the popular idea of what the martial arts are in this culture to reveal the wisdom and discipline that are the foundations of any true practice.

        Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

        by gmoke on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:35:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We needed to not react with violence (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Avila, gmoke, dharmafarmer

          We needed to take the hit and say this is our energy coming back at us and we need to change.

          The odds of this were 99zillion to one.

          •  Our Energy (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Avila, JayBat, cfk

            "Our energy coming back at us" is still something that we can't talk about in reference to 9/11.  The Republican pack will bay and howl and tear anybody to pieces who actually suggests that we were not a completely innocent victim.  Remember what they did, and are still doing, to Susan Sontag?

            Of course, for somebody who is actually looking at objective reality, thinking about causes and effects, tracing motives back to inception is the way you frame  the proper response.

            I believe that war is always an admission of failure.  For the dominant culture, war is only triumph.

            Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

            by gmoke on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:55:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent gmoke! (10+ / 0-)

    There is a lot of wisdom here.  The following, in particular, needs to be heard by every American (IMHO):

    "The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend." Abraham Lincoln

    "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

    Iraq Moratorium

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:10:19 PM PST

  •  What you have posted here is brilliant. (11+ / 0-)

    The real revolution lies between your ears.

    Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

    by the fan man on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:14:00 PM PST

  •  Death by Aiki (10+ / 0-)

    My first martial arts teacher was also my philosophy professor (taught logic as well). He was an amazing man and skilled judoka.

    In the first class he made two points.

    1)You need to learn to fall down. You are going to fall in all aspects of life and you need to learn to not hurt yourself and get back up to fall the next time. Every time you hit the mat you learn something so keep getting thrown. He would make this sound "shhhooo" and you would go flying. Both would laugh and get up and do it again.

    2)If someone tries to do you harm, it is your duty, yes moral obligation, to protect yourself and at the same time teach them a lesson. If they are willing to hurt you and succeed, it will not be a one time event. They will hurt others and be emboldened by their success in injuring you.

    However, to do this ethically takes great skill. It is only ethical if you do not add energy of your own.

    Aiki is to turn the attacker's energy on their own person, without adding energy of your own.

    There is no retaliation. If I get hit, I get hit, I don't hit back.

    The key is the attacker destroys their own being.

    This is how I became a pacifist martial artist and therapist. I do not use energy of my own. I use or redirect the person's energy, amplify it if you will. So if they are aggressive and hurtful, they will injury themselves and learn a lesson and if they want to be compassionate and heal they will heal. We learn through both pleasure and pain.

    Obama is displaying a verbal interpersonal Aiki better than anyone that has ever been on the public stage.

    •  Verbal Aiki (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila, taonow, JayBat, Lisa Lockwood, SciVo

      I agree that Obama seems to have a natural grasp of this concept.  Working on this piece, I thought a lot about Obama.

      I hope that he can govern in this way but have yet to see real evidence of that.  It worries me that he reminds me so much of my present Governor, Deval Patrick, who ran so well and has governed with mediocrity.

      Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

      by gmoke on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:25:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  why say Patrick has goverened with mediocrity (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avila, gmoke

        I was elated when he won, and I haven't heard news since. Why is he only a mediocre governor?

        •  Patrick (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          His only job creation commitment seems to be to casinos.  He's violated his own environmental policies to support a coal power plant.  He's acted like amateur hour with the legislature.  The organizing brilliance and openness of his campaign has not resulted in the open, responsive government that it seemed to portend.  He seems to be dedicated only to the next campaign.

          I hope he can pull out of this downward spiral but I haven't seen any evidence of it yet.  So far he's been same old same old.  Better than our string of do-nothing Republican governors but not by much.

          Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

          by gmoke on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:43:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  thanks for the info (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It is sad if Patrick was corrupted by the system. Maybe, it's inevitable for politicians to succumb to the heavy-handed influence of money.

            •  Corruption (0+ / 0-)

              I don't think he's been corrupted by the system.  He was, after all, a corporate lawyer before he entered politics.  It is more like he doesn't know how to manipulate the levers of governmental power and doesn't have a clear idea of exactly what he wants to accomplish.

              He may pull it out yet but the track record so far is not good.  

              The saddest thing is that if he governed the way he ran - an open, populist, empowering campaign - he could accomplish so very much.  I hope Obama is not built in the same mold.

              Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

              by gmoke on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 12:40:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Big chi... (5+ / 0-)

    Now, back to the dojo where all of your ideas matter!

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -Mohandas Gandhi

    by ezdidit on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:21:19 PM PST

  •  Speaking of which... (7+ / 0-)

    Delivering younger son to aikido lesson in one half hour.  His teacher is my long-ago teacher's student.

    Small world.

    "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

    by ogre on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:24:13 PM PST

  •  I read your subway story (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, gmoke, Lisa Lockwood, dharmafarmer

    with a tear in my eye...

  •  Son (7+ / 0-)

    My 15 year old son loves his aikido, done at a small dojo (less than 10 people) and he is the only youngster. He first picked it up in Taiwan then continued here. I think it has really helped his teenage years so far...a very good way to look at our existence.

    As for me it is tai-chi...I'm too old to go flying all over the place.

    I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

    by taonow on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:32:51 PM PST

  •  My Aikdo training was years ago (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, gmoke, cfk, Pluto, dharmafarmer, Scubaval

    but I use it every day in my work.
    I teach special education and have the daily opportunity to enter into  conflict and harmonize with the outcome  of a teaching.

    Aikido has been my bedrock of sanity in working with emotionally disturbed children.

    It is also useful in everyday survival awareness.  Sensing danger ahead and crossing the street is often the best self-defense technique.  My teacher called using awareness to detect  harmful intent,  "turning on your lights".

    "Denounce and Reject" is the new double dog dare of presidential debates.

    by crystal eyes on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:40:28 PM PST

  •  News for McCain (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, gmoke

    this is excellent verbal Aiki

    The tone and inflection is even blended and similar with the sarcasm of McCain

    <iframe height="339" width="425" src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>

  •  I wish I had Aikido in my daily life (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, gmoke

    What a fascinating diary--thanks, gsmoke.  I think Aikido would be excellent for women to use as self-defense, but I don't know any studio that teaches that.

    Aikido has always fascinated me because it seems like a system of philosophical and intellectual training as much as physical--although I'm sure it can get quite physical, if what I've read about Aikido training camps is to be believed.

    What I'd like to see is someone trying to attack an Aikido-trained expert and watching the expert turn away the attack without ever touching the other person, because of the flow of chi, or whatever it's called.

    There is a peculiar beauty in this form of martial art, the beauty of controlled movement and complete mastery of reaction and emotions.

    "Most women have no idea how much men hate them."--Germaine Greer

    by Diana in NoVa on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 05:00:15 PM PST

    •  Model Mugging (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nancy in Berkeley, Avila

      Have you tried that?  Many of the attackers are highly trained (and padded) martial artists and the muggee gets to do something you can't do on the mat - strike with full power (hence the heavy padding).  I've had a few friends who've gone through the program and it has changed them.

      You can probably see something close to that on youtube.  Search for aikido or Ueshiba or Tohei or Saito and you might just get your wish.

      Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

      by gmoke on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 05:04:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love this! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, gmoke

    It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them. Alfred Adler

    by Quicksilver2723 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 05:26:11 PM PST

  •  Fox News is in dire need of some Aikido (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, gmoke

    Everything about their programming is designed to exploit the fear and negativity that leads to conflict escalation.

    No wonder they are the preferred network of the rightwing.

  •  "Doing Nothing" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, gmoke

    is what we've been screaming at Congress to do.

    And the House finally did it on FISA, and we're applauding them.

    This is a really excellent diary.  I think the Democrats in Congress have had trouble seeing some of these alternatives and the value of them.

    -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

    by neroden on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:04:01 PM PST

  •  hi (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, gmoke, Pluto

    My night school students often had trouble with bosses who one day praised them and the next day yelled at them and so they would quit.

    I had a circle that we made and divided into 8 pieces and I had a cover on it so we could look at the 8 different ideas one at a time.

    My first piece of pie was "prevention".  I told them if they could manage this, they didn't have all the other steps to have to follow. :)

    Prevention meant being aware of something brewing and defusing problems as much as possible.  Another one was as you said, to buy time to think things over and plan and use a different strategy.

    I didn't have quite all eight for a while and I asked my students what they would add to the chart.  One said loudly, "Party!" and I said OK and used it because there are so many people who can never do that...never relax and enjoy.  It really did make sense. :)

    Thanks for an awesome diary!!!!

    Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat Wednesday evenings 8 PM EST

    by cfk on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:05:23 PM PST

    •  Pie (0+ / 0-)

      Besides prevention, prevarication, and party what were the other slices of your options pie?  It sounds like a good teaching tool.

      Party is definitely part of the pie.  Watching the PBS show on Pete Seeger last night, it was clear that singing together can be a powerful addition to any movement.  This is one reason why I've never liked the expression "preaching to the choir."  We should be thinking about choir practice instead and keeping the door of the church open so that passers-by are invited in by the harmony of the music.

      Once upon a time I wrote a piece about the different kinds of meetings.  There are talk meetings, of course, but there can also be work meetings like the old quilting bees and barnraisings, and fun meetings like parties too.  We shouldn't confine ourselves to only the talk type of meetings.  I think the objective is to have fun, make money, and change the world for the better, not necessarily in any particular order.

      Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

      by gmoke on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 09:18:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hi gmoke (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, gmoke

    I've observed aikido technique in Obama's campaign.

    I'm in S.E. Washington - where are you?

    (PC: -5.75, -6.56) Good men through the ages, tryin' to find the sun, still I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain? -J. Fogerty

    by RichRandal on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:49:22 PM PST

    •  Where (0+ / 0-)

      I live halfway between Harvard and MIT in Cambridge, MA.

      Obama seems to be very aware of his center and maneuvers very well.  He knows that there is more than attack or retreat and has been answering the attacks on him with a lot of intelligence, usually turning them around so that the attackers look a little foolish.  Yes, there is some aikido there.

      I hope he can govern as effectively.

      Obama is also what I call an "everybody come to the table" politician.  This may be a characteristic of the present generation of black male leadership especially.  Whether he sets a place for Elijah as well as the other constituencies is another question.   The Elijah seat is for the unknown and unexpected which should always be a consideration in this uncertain world.

      I also think that Obama is personally a very conservative person.  This is different from political conservatism.  He seems to have core values that he will not deviate from.   I've known political radicals who are personally conservative which would surprise many political conservatives, some of whom seem to be libertines.

      Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

      by gmoke on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 08:57:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, Mass. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I love that Elijah metaphor. I try to do that in my project work, for sure, just never thought of it that way.

        Political conservative as personal libertine...several come to mind...thanks!

        (PC: -5.75, -6.56) Good men through the ages, tryin' to find the sun, still I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain? -J. Fogerty

        by RichRandal on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 06:14:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Libertine (0+ / 0-)

          I mean that in a wider sense than simply sex.  They are also profligate with money, our money, often penny wise and pound foolish.

          Glad you enjoyed the Elijah metaphor.  I like the image.

          Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

          by gmoke on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 12:42:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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