Saturday, December 24, 2016

Grab My Wrist!

Some of the most unfortunate 'aikido fail' videos feature a black belt sparring (so to speak) with another martial art, say BJJ, and requests the BJJ partner "grab my wrist" or shoulder or whatever.  I note the BJJ fellow usually complies and then proceeds to trash the aikido fellow.

Pride before the fall. Too many practice without a thought to application.

The fact is aikido depends on the other's force, and one of the most difficult attacks is when one simply comes up to you slowly and then latches on with a grab.  Now what.  The force is just a lockdown, and it there is no force directed at you.  And there you are, looking silly as someone has grabbed you, wrist or elbow or shoulder.  And maybe just cussing you out to threatening you, but no force.  What to do?

Of course you can counter by grabbing the wrist on the same side, drop your weight, irimi, then whatever.  Except not in this day and age.  If someone "only grabbed you" and you in turn hurt him (and assuming the cops show up, always bad news), then the cops are obliged to arrest someone, given the "domestic violence" laws, which require someone be arrested if there is an altercation gone physical.

These laws began to show up in the 1980s, with a view to curbing men beating up women, but lo and behold! It turns out far more often women are the ones doing the beatings!  The laws feminists pushed through seemed to backfire.  Amendments were effected, and now a person with bruises is assumed to be the victim, and if in doubt, arrest both parties.  Well, when being assaulted today, it's a good idea to get a bruise or two, to prove you were defending yourself.  Yes, that's right, take a hit.

We live in strange times. Adjust.  Just grin while they have you grabbed, and take a smack, a bruise maker.  Then you can get to work.

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Aikido For Police and Schools

Of my three original instructors, the only one still alive, Bernie Lau is famous for having a crisis experience regarding the efficacy of aikido in real life.  The crisis involved an encounter trying to arrest a drunk lumberjack.  Lau Sensei felt his actions led to two police officers getting injured, plus the lumberjack winning a excessive force lawsuit against the city.  For a young cop that would be a crisis.

Lau Sensei is legendary for his many martial arts exploits, starting with being recruited into aikido off the beach in Hawaii in 1954 by aikido Chief Instructor Tohei Sensei himself.  He was physically formidable, and for someone in his 70s, still is.  When aikido did not work, he switched to his Goju Kai karate and began delivering punishing blows.  That doesn't work on a drunk lumberjack either.

The crisis story is much longer, but the point is aikido is not designed to be an aggressive, offensive art.  As Lau Sensei himself notes.

Here is an article on aikido gone wrong in application:
It appears the use of Aikido began around 2012 at Buechel after the principal hired Ron Boyd, the Richmond martial arts instructor, to train some staff members at the school, according to JCPS records. Boyd has told the CJ that when properly used, the Aikido method shouldn't result in injuries.
In February 2016, JCPS' director of security and investigations, Stan Mullen, suggested that another look at the use of Aikido Control Training in schools may be warranted.
Mullen pointed to the broken wrist at Buechel as well as the head injury and the broken collarbone at Breckinridge Metro as "three significant injuries directly connected to Aikido," saying the injuries may have been due to improper uses of the technique.
At least three Jefferson County Public School students suffered serious injuries in the last three years after staff reported using a method of physical restraint known as Aikido Control Training, a technique the state Department of Education banned last month from all public schools amid concerns about potential injuries.
You can google the aikido instructor behind the program. I've never met him, he seems a typical aikido instructor, so how could aikido application go so wrong?

In my time I have taught in K-12 schools, usually in inner city rough neighborhoods.  Indeed, in some schools we were given hazard pay.  Yes, most states allow kids to stay in K-12 schools until they are 21 (not sure anyone ever takes advantage of that opportunity) and I have met elementary kids bigger and stronger than I am.  High school kids can be Goliaths.  Lesson #1 in K-12 education: never get into a power struggle with a student.  You'll lose.  There are no exceptions to this rule.  Yes school districts have their own fully trained and armed cops, and yes, they will come in and handcuff a first grader and take him away, let alone a high school senior.  And I have also taught in Juvie, where the kids are already under arrest.  But when the cops have to be called, it is generally assumed an adult got into a power struggle with the kid, and failed to de-escalate.  (So even if the cops take the kid away, you lost. And the kid knows that too.  He knows he'll be back, you may not.)

Most school districts offer training on how to restrain a child who is about to commit serious property damage (is a student dropping your cell phone in the classroom fish tank serious property damage?) or physically harm another.  But that training is more to protect the school district from a lawsuit than protect the teacher. Most teachers will not intervene in a fight, they just let the students beat each other, mostly because the pugilists' friends end to break it up.  For my part I was able to simple step in between kids and they simply backed off.  Who knows what would happen if one of the kids came after me?

(An interesting lesson from the school self-defense training:  If you are restraining a kid, you are usually safe as long as the target of the kid is out of range.  The kids rage is focussed on his target.  Once the kids attention turns from the target of his rage, to your restraint, then you are in trouble. The kid will now fight you.  You can spot this transference when the kid starts looking at how you have him pinned, when he starts probing how to get away from you.  At this point the advice is ask the kid if it is ok to release him, and do so anyway after say 3 seconds.  This gives the kid power, and shows him respect, which might translate into working with you, instead of fighting.  To me a fascinating tidbit.)

Although many kids want to destroy teachers, a common tactic among teachers is if a kid is getting into it with one teacher, another teacher will walk up and take over as the first teacher simply turns and leaves. The first teacher will get a barrage of insults but if you cannot take that, then you do not belong in a school. What kids do is offer their best effort at all times.  If throwing things and cussing and stealing from you is what they are doing, that is simply their best effort, given their background.  You don't beat up a kid for doing his best.

Teachers do get cold-cocked, as well as administrators.  But given the amount of interaction between civilized teachers and yet-to-be civilized impoverished youth, the ratio of assault to interaction is near nil in schools.

So the application of physical aikido to this setting makes no sense.  Of course tenkan and irimi, on the emotional level, is a constant event.  When a kid makes fun of your receding hairline, or worse, your shoes, he is just probing for a button to push.  If he gets near a button, you simply reply, "you are right to criticize me about my hairline" (tenkan).  Or "what would you recommend I buy when next I have enough money to buy shoes?" (Irimi).

Aikido as a physical event has no place in schools, for the threats do not warrant a martial art response.

As to aikido "not working in real life" the statement is odd. The funny thing is, as a student of Lau Sensei, we learned arrest techniques.  When Lau Sensei built his own dojo in his back yard, his students were mostly cops and military (plus some awesome visiting instructors.)

L to R Wally Jay, James Demile, John Spiers, Bernie Lau, at Lau Sensei's dojo.  Wally Jay taught Bruce Lee, James Demile was one of Bruce Lee's first ten students.
Arrest techniques were a common lesson, although I am no cop. But, having been so specifically and intensely trained,  I've personally made over a dozen arrests in my time,  what we call in the USA "citizen arrests."  It's tricky business as a legal matter, but even trickier as a practical matter.  A kidnapper, a rapist, a second story man?  (Also a chicken $#!+ dine and dasher, and other petty fools who just pissed me off).  The funny thing is, as someone ready, willing and able to mix it up hand to hand, people seem to be pacified once they are placed under arrest.   It's never happened that someone came back swinging at me when I arrested him, so who knows what would happen then?  I can think of maybe four instances of the dozen where I had to pin anyone.

But the fact is I cannot do anything to anyone who does not come at me, because if I am not attacked, aikido won't work.  I need the attacker's energy to fuel an aikido move.  On the other hand, police are obliged to initiate violence to effect an arrest.  You may say that statement is too strong, but today an arrest is an act of violence, with overwhelming force brought to an arrest event.  That is relatively new.  Back in the 1970s when I made arrests, my perpetrators tended to think I was a cop.  OK.  Now they know I am NOT a cop, because I am alone when I make an arrest.  Cops don't do that anymore.  The last two arrestees argued with me, denying my right to arrest them.  In both instances I simply said they were safer with the cops than me, and in those two instances, convincingly. The world has changed.  And again, who knows what would happen if my perpetrator comes up swinging.

Aikido works, if you are not doing police work.  Our trying to stop a kid from doing his very best in school. If "citizen's arrest" is not police work, then what is it?  I call it anarchy, escaping the chaos of failed government by being the government. Schools are chaotic, and they are a great place to practice anarchy.

If you are a martial artists, especially and aikidoist, you ought to be making arrests.

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Is Aikido Graduate School?

Aikido was sort of a graduate school for martial artists.. the study of the sublime moves.

Aikido was not so much training up new martial artists, but a migration for many martial artists from kendo and judo to aikido.

Indeed, when I was starting the dojo was heavy with judo and kendo men.  The kendo men had been studying kendo for say fifteen years and were nidan in kendo...  and the judo men were tough fighters.  And they were happy to wear yellow and blue belts after even two years of aikido.

What was new was taking scraggly kids who were terrible at anything spoirting and training then to be martial artists, lucky for me they needed my $10 a month.

It took me nine years in the 1970s to get my shodan.  never bothered me to wait, as long as I got to practice.  I got to practice, 4 times a week for 4 hour shots, the times a week for 2 hour shots.  And the instructors were exceptional.

I must say there were long stretches where I hated practice, but then I'd go try to break off the platreau by studying judo (remedial aikido) to make some progress.  My koshi nage was terrible (I tried too hard).  I practiced kendo for a while too, because the jo and ken work can get boring in an aikido dojo, since it is all forms.  I like trying to get someone who is trying to get me.  So occasionally I had to cut back my weekly aikido schedule to work in some kendo or judo time.

Aikido comes from kendo, and it was very helpful to have so many kendoka as aikidoka. And the judoka set the tone for falls, hard falls mostly.  A brief and shining moment, that decade.  Hard to find that kind of training anymore.  I am over 60, because I trained with that intensity, I still train with that intensity.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Israel Throws Girls In Jail Who Don't Want To Fight

Back when Israel was fearsome and great, before they had kings, let alone government, and went downhill fast, here is how they rolled.

4And the Lord said to Gedeon: The people are still too many, bring them to the waters, and there I will try them: and of whom I shall say to thee, This shall go with thee, let him go: whom I shall forbid to go, let him return. 5And when the people were come down to the waters, the Lord said to Gedeon: They that shall lap the water with their tongues, as dogs are wont to lap, thou shalt set apart by themselves: but they that shall drink bowing down their knees, shall be on the other side. 6And the number of them that had lapped water, casting it with the hand to their mouth, was three hundred men: and all the rest of the multitude had drunk kneeling. 7And the Lord said to Gedeon: By the three hundred men, that lapped water, I will save you, and deliver Madian into thy hand: but let all the rest of the people return to their place.

Today, Israel throws girls in jail who do not want to fight.
At the end of their current prison stint, the two will be released, after which they will be required to once again present themselves at the induction base. They will then likely declare their refusal once again, and be handed a fourth prison sentence, a cycle that can repeat itself for months on end.
I like the old Israel better.

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Drink Tea? You Can't Be a Conscientious Objector

Conscientious Objection needs be holisitic, or the mores of any given time will catch an appellant up.  In WWI, the draft board tried to catch presumed hypocrites by asking if the drank tea:

It appeared that the tribunals tried to argue that as a taxed good, drinking tea was a contribution to the war effort.
Thousands of conscientious objectors refused to perform military service, usually on moral or religious grounds, as conscription laws enlisted 2.5 million extra British troops from 1916 onwards.
By March 1916, the British Government was desperately short of soldiers, conscription was introduced and all able-bodied men, aged between 18 and 41, were ordered to join the war effort.

Conscientious objectors can drink tea even if taxed, because a tea tax is a minor violation of human rights but killing others is an existential violation.  You'll need to be holistically formed to defend your objection when the next draft comes.

They drafted 41 year olds?

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Conscientious Objector and the Pacifist

Sometimes they shoot conscientious objectors.  How to define those who are to be shot?

Conscientious Objector, or CO, generally relates to war, but can relate to anything: Romney/Obamacare, school choice, you name it.

Assuming freedom is the ether necessary for us to have free will, then the ability to choose is fundamental to being human. Conscientious objection is grounded in freedom, and freedom assumes all is voluntary.  Violence violates freedom, so conscientious objection is necessarily nonviolent.  But one confusion is the homophonic word but profoundly different meanings.

Although pacifism is what conscientious objectors are all about, that is making peace, people speak of conscientious objection as though they were passivists.

You see above in the verb and adjective form the sense, the difference, emerges.

Tohei Sensei, aikido chief instructor and the only ju-dan awarded, taught about positive non fighting, that is dealing with violence peacefully.  To pacify the violent is the work of pacifists.  Tohei contrasted positive non-fighting with negative non-fighting, for example, running away form a fight is negative non-fighting.  Passivism would be a form of negative non-fighting.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A Rainbow of Conscientious Objection

Conscientious objection is not limited to war, but all violence, defined as force to effect an injury.  Forcing people to recognize same-sex marriages is a violence, one to which there is objection.
The government will propose new protections for “conscientious objectors” to same-sex marriage which marriage equality advocates fear could allow civil celebrants, registrars and even bakers and florists to refuse to serve same-sex weddings.
There are those who conscientiously object to gay marriage.  They ought to live out their conscience.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Talk About Misogi Training

In addition to the mountain water no doubt ice cold, there is the fall.  I make a big deal about my cold water swimming...  this guy is tough...  cold water mountain waterfall diving!

True, the fall won't kill you, it's what you strike below.  Then there is the green water.  Hope that is vegetation and not pollution.

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

No Place for Moral Convictions in Conscientious Objection

Medicine is another field where willful killing is practiced, and seen as a virtue.  In Australia they are working on a CO status for doctors.
Establish medical conscientious objection review boardsRobert Card, of the University of Rochester Medical Center (US), argues in the JME that doctors need to give “public reasons” for conscientious objection. This would rule out even “effective referral” for a procedure. Their reasons need to be solidly grounded, empirically and ethically. This rules out reasons based on prejudice (sexism or racism) or sincere moral convictions.
Wait, what? Sincere moral convictions are no basis for CO status?  Well, I guess we cannot have morality in medicine.

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Splendid Essay on Anarchy

And nonviolent too.
Thus, were we to create a new government taking these ideas with us, we will simply make the same mistakes again. Why? Because one needs people that have abandoned the need to have a government that runs things and puts forth ideology and so forth. That is, once one has an ideology that needs a revolution, one has already lost that revolution. Because that ideology will become a government which then becomes a State and the State will then engage in the usual hypocrisies they all do. It is tempting to say if we only had thus-and-so take place, or this change of government, or this economic system, everything will become perfect. However, if one carefully investigates history, one can see it is littered with such utopian experiments that failed. We are living in one called the United States of America.
A good summary
Hopeless? Not so. He who frees his own mind first cannot be imprisoned by any government. They can slander him, criticize him, call him a “bad American”, or even un-American and he simply does not care. Why? Because he is no longer attached to any of those concepts. He has no ego-self invested in the State which defines itself as “American” and needs no approval from the State to feel whole or complete. The State has nothing to offer him and, therefore, nothing by which he can be ultimately controlled. If this were not so, the government would not invest vast sums in propaganda and state-sponsored peer pressure efforts to keep the illusion up and running. The State does not fear a revolution. They have enough tanks and men to put one down and enough propaganda to cause the majority to cheer the revolutionaries stood against a wall and shot. What the State fears is being ignored. That is one thing tanks cannot defeat.
But this I part company
Of course, one cannot ignore the State when they tax you. Yes, this is so. But what if you were to define value to what is not the government’s currency? Yes, create an Underground Economy with its own barter system or precious metal buy-and-sell method. This is a topic for another day. But the way to stop the government is to first excise it from your own mind. That must come first.
We need to feed the beast only because you cannor complain about the beast of you do not feed it. Religion tells us the degree to which the beast harms us is edifying.  Living abundantly and paying nearly no taxes is legal in USA, so it's not really an issue.

The advice is to escape the idea of being "American." OK, but would it not be even better, more leverage to escape the idea of "landowner?"

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Invincible Ignorance

There is a sort of flip-side to conscientious objection, and that would be invincible ignorance.  This is the person who well knows "Thou Shalt Not Kill" but will kill if killing needs be.  You can spot them, for they have killed and it bothers them not in the least.  Usually they are ex-soldiers, definitely few in number, who have killed and would not know from PTS.

Just as there is no virtue in being a conscientious objector, there is no condemnation for those who are invincibly ignorant and kill.  "You know killing is wrong, correct?"  "Sure."  "Then how come you killed that man?"  "He needed killing."

The kills are always within the bounds of law, either as soldiers or civilians in a mortal situation...  coming upon a robbery, and enemy in the field, etc.

Now we live in a world in which there is much conflict and crime.  We have experimented in the last 120 years of so with attempting to limit violence to state actors, the cops.  It has not worked out very well.  And when it works as designed, then malefactors end up in jail.  Later they are released back into society, often to offend again.  These people need killing.

Now that may sound harsh from a conscientious objector, and a bit hypocritical since I won't do the killing.  But I didn't create the conscientious objector and the invincibly ignorant.  They just are.  What we have with the invincibly ignorant, if left alone, what violence is necessary and sufficient to keep society relatively safe.  That's right, I have no objection to the invincibly ignorant killing.

Well, who decides when a killing is ok?  Now it is a jury or 12, following arbitrary rules.  Better a jury of 3000 or so, all of the people affected by a killing.  To what degree will they have truck with the killer?  Will the killer find he has no friends anymore, and can't find a store that will sell him food for the killing?  Or does everyone buy him drinks for eliminating a bad actor?

What about vendettas?  It's a problem.  That is why Moses established the sanctuary cities.  If there is a killing, and someone wants revenge, the killer makes it to a sanctuary city. There is a trial at the gates, freedom within until it blows over.  The city protects the killer, it is a kind of exile.  Or of course the killer may disappear, a kind of exile.

What about a tough problem.  Under Mosaic law you needed two witnesses, no trials at night, and no executions until the next day, and the two witnesses must cast the first stones if the penalty is death.   Right there is a whole lotta cooling off time before a killing.

And with an eye for an eye, a whole lotta settlements before an execution or the loss of an eye.  it is actually a brilliant legal system.

But what about the child molester?  Often no witnesses, except what a kid says.  Kids are notorious liars, but what if they tell the truth?  Who tries the case, no two witnesses, and is the kid going to cast the first stone if execution is indicated?  Tough one.

Welcome back the invincibly ignorant, who does the killing on behalf of a kids he believes.  Back to what the community thinks about the killing, a pitch perfect sentence.

We have alternatives, and our sysem is not very good, so we ought to review these systems.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Air Force Times Ad Calls For Conscientious Objection

This was no where reported:
KnowDrones, a campaigning group working to ban drones, placed an advert in the Air Force Times on September 14, 2015, which carried a message from 54 U.S. military veterans urging U.S. drone operators to refuse orders to fly drone surveillance and attack missions.
I'd think churches should take out such ads, or at least remind these "fighter pilots" they can recover their souls by repentance.

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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Why Aikido Beats MMA

OK, that headline is click bait, but it applies.

The striking and grappling arts have contests to decide a winner.

They have weight classes within which one can fight.

They have elimination rounds to limit who can fight whom.

They have rules which must be followed.

So they are strictly limited in what they are allowed to do.

All this admits the fact when it comes to grappling and striking arts, hitting and blocking and grappling is very limited as far as defense goes. It is unlikely to be very useful in most street situations. Imagine going blow to blow with someone who outclasses you in weight, skill, speed, etc.  Ouch!  In a real fight, it is likely the one who picked it outclasses you.  The result of having such skill is a good beating.

Aikido has no restrictions.  Aikido depends on the other person's energy, so weight and class does not matter.  Yes aikido usually looks bad, for too many practitioners are pseudo-mystics, and do not pursue it as a martial art.  Further, training for the sweet spot effortless throw is much tougher than the better grab, hit or twist.  And training in aikido is, or should be, tougher than what I see in any given MMA or jiu jitsu dojo.  (Although I will say no one beats a boxers' training.)  If its not tougher, how come?

There are no weight class and skill level divisions in aikido.  You take on all sorts. There are basic moves, but after that it is improvisation. You have no idea what an aikido-ka will do next. (Well, usually tenkan or irimi first, but after that, all bets are off.)  Aikido-ka have spent their time training with all sizes and shapes.  What they meet on the street is nothing new.

Aikido gets down to hard falls.  The aikido-ka must learn those and at least a third of the throws in any given training session must require it.  So aikido is more precise.  That is hard for both sides.

On the street, aikido leads to hard falls.  As far as I know, judo is the only other martial art that teaches hard falls.  Hard falls usually end fights.  If not, the second one will.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Is Conscientious Objector Normal?

Well, not normal in the sense of "normed", that is socially conditioned to be mainstream.  But conscientious objector is standard human default position.  What is twisted is to be willing to kill others.

Now to be sure, all religions caution against killing to some degree, and our rules reveal our weaknesses, and the Ten Commandments certainly contain "Thou Shalt Not Kill."  So getting twisted into a willingness to kill is quite common, as our rules reveal.

I attended a lecture on just war offered by a priest who had been a naval officer.  His revelation came as he stepped on to a nuclear sub for the first time upon which he was to serve, and was appalled by the experience.  The destructive capacity was too great, concentrated in so small a vehicle, and his thinking and meditations led him to leave the navy as a conscientious objector.

What he had to say about that was interesting.  Now my understanding was any officer can resign his commission and leave.  I am sure that have changed.  What he related was when he informed his commanding officer of his change of heart, he was told to keep it absolutely secret.  It would take time, but they would quietly remove him from the navy. If he told anyone before he got out, then he would end up in jail.  Presumably conscientious objection is contagious.

Anyway, in his talk he happened to indicate he thought conscientious objection was something of an aberration.  I let it go during his talk, but approached him afterward to remonstrate with him on this point.  At first he doubled down, then I pointed out that a willingness to kill, although near universal is the aberration.  The conscientious objection is the image of God to which we are to aspire to strive.

Now having said that, being a conscientious objector is a gift.  There is no virtue in the gift, it just is.  But all life is a gift, and the gifts give us an insight into how we would be as obedient children.  Conscientious objection probably comes under, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, under understanding.
Understanding: In understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as followers of Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live. The gift of understanding perfects a person's speculative reason in the apprehension of truth. It is the gift whereby self-evident principles are known;
Such a gift comes with a built in faithfulness.  It would not occur to me to deny it, and no doubt I would be fearless in its defense.  Again, none of this is virtuous, any more than being born rich is virtuous.  It is just an indication to everyone else what the standard is.  And we all have such gifts in some way.

Further, failure in other ways rather overwhelms any benefit being such a torch bearer may have, even if it were some kind of virtue.

The reason I was given AO status, the most extreme form, I am not even allowed to do alternative service, is because as a genuine conscientious objector, I would convince others to be so.  Not everyone, but enough to cause a problem.  Likewise, even a johnny-come-lately as the naval officer was to keep quiet or be jailed.  (Apparently they would jail him on some other charges, in order to keep the CO thing quiet.)

If not normal, conscientious objection is standard human.  It's not for everyone, but for those to whom the gift is given, then rock that gift!

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Israel Releases Conscientious Objector

Apparently Israel has the same CO standards as the USA, but Israel drafts women....
After spending 67 days in military prison, Israeli conscientious objector Omri Baranes was officially released from IDF service on Thursday. Baranes, from the city of Rosh HaAyin in central Israel, was recognized by an IDF committee as a pacifist and was thus released on conscientious grounds. The conscientious objectors committee originally reject her request, leading Baranes to refuse to serve in the army and sit in prison.
Well, actually, with a poverty draft USA dragoons women as well, but never mind.  She is not exactly a CO, since she only objects to war partially, hence her original rejection for CO status.  The IDF probably needed the cell, so they listed her CO and sent her on her way.

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Charge Lt Gen Stephen Townsend with War Crimes

(CNN)In the most direct public warning to Moscow and Damascus to date, the new US commander of American troops in Iraq and Syria is vowing to defend US special operations forces in northern Syria if regime warplanes and artillery again attack in areas where troops are located.
This is so poorly worded.  Better: USA forces illegally in Syria will attack Syrian forces if Syrian forces defend their homeland, their country.  We have trespassed in someone's back yard, picked a fight, and will kill anyone who defends their home. You may not obey illegal orders.  For an American general to be conducting war inside a country with which we are not at war is a war crime.
"We've informed the Russians where we're at ... (they) tell us they've informed the Syrians, and I'd just say that we will defend ourselves if we feel threatened," Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend told CNN in a telephone interview Saturday from his Baghdad headquarters.
Clearly his job is to start WWIII, change the topic from failed economics to war.  He needs to be arrested a tried.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Aren't We Supposed to Do That?

A man was arrested for impersonating Jesus.
A man has been arrested for impersonating Jesus Christ after he was spotted walking along a road carrying a huge wooden cross on his back.
Isn't that what we are supposed to do?

We need a theology check on aisle three....
"This, of course, offends believers. Nobody has the right to try on the image of Jesus Christ, who is our sacred lord," he said.
No one could hang from that cross, so they should not have taken him seriously.

The performance artist had an interesting observation:
"This reaction proves that the Bible story was true and that after 2,000 years people have still not changed - we are still cruel and intolerant to our neighbours."
So if you act like Jesus you come to believe in Jesus?

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I Wish Gabby Had Put a Fist In the Air

Here was a delightful protest at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

Image result for protest 1968 olympics

Here is Gabby at 2016 Rio.

I hope we've grown up enough to not destroy her career for exercising nonviolent protest and free speech.  She was obviously protesting, and said she did not intend disrespect.  Good enough, she said what she was not doing.  Nonviolent protest implies a sort of respect, doesn't it?

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

War Corruption is No Secret

Wikileaks lays out how Hillary gets money from a French firm that funds and arms ISIS.
He went on to emphasize that “we are dealing with a criminal undertaking at a global level,” and that there is a war being led by the United States and its allies. He stated that “the global war on terrorism is fake . . . it’s based on fake premises” and it tells us that “somehow America and the Western world are going after a fictitious enemy, the Islamic State, when in fact the Islamic State is fully supported and financed by the Western military alliance and America’s allies in the Persian gulf.”
Now, Hillary was a young lawyer going after Nixon in the impeachment.  She learned much about corruption then married just such a man.  They knew how the world worked, and Hillary in particular wanted to pursue "more immediate, ecstatic, and penetrating modes of living..." which necessarily means being a war-maker, not a soldier.

How did the world work?
Our president’s (Ed. Note: Bush II) grandfather saw no particular problem selling oil to the Nazisin spite of the fact we were at war with Germany. Where he got caught Congress would seize theassets. Five of the Bush family companies were seized by Congress in this manner. Congressinvoked the Trading with the Enemy Act and seized the Bush-Harriman-managed Thyssen entityHamburg-American Line, under Vesting Order No. 126. Thereafter, under Order No. 248, andthen Vesting Order No. 259, and ultimately Vesting Order No. 261 various other businesses were seized. None of this is secret, it is all in public records. There is evidence there were more going on, which were not caught.
Obviously it still works that way.  Movies showing American English teachers, retailers, bakers getting slaughtered on the beach at Normandy attacking German English teachers, retailers, bakers is popular and exciting especially to teenagers who think they are both lucky and bulletproof.

A movie about a Bush family making millions selling oil to the Nazis would be as interesting as a surveillance video of a WalMart check out aisle.

That war is a racket is no secret.  Major USA leaders were naming names of miscreants at the time.  The miscreants are in charge.  So nothing happens.  Watch your movie!

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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Conscientious Objectors Replace Police in Detroit

And yield better results in the hardest neighborhoods.

The City of Detroit can no longer bother (or afford) to respond to citizen's pleas for help when they call 911.  So conscientious objectors step in and solve the problem.

If it works in Detroit, why not everywhere else, and get rid of this failed experiment of only the last 150 years or so of "police"?  (This guy reminds me very much of James DeMile. and here…)

The conscientious objectors only got their chance to outperform the police for the last 20 years because of the failure of the Hegemon's social contract.  C'est la vie.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Conscientious Objectors Help Win the Peace

Fasting is a part of martial arts training, and so there is some irony in the fact that conscientious objectors helped win the peace after WWII.
One of the greatest killers of World War II wasn't bombs or bullets, but hunger. As the conflict raged on, destroying crops and disrupting supply lines, millions starved. During the Siege of Leningrad alone, over a thousand people a day died from lack of food. But starvation also occurred in a more unlikely place: Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was here that, in 1945, thirty-six men participated in a starvation experiment conducted by Dr. Ancel Keys.
One of the elements of "just war" is the aftermath cannot be reckoned to be worse than before the war.  Knowing how to care for victims of starvation after a war is obviously important, and oddly no one had studied it.
To find subjects willing to put themselves through such prolonged deprivation, Keys recruited volunteers from among the ranks of conscientous objectors — young men who had chosen to join the Civilian Public Service as an alternative to military service. Many of these conscientous objectors, though not all, were members of the historic peace churches (Brethren, Quakers, and Mennonites).
In WWI, conscientious objectors were imprisoned, and some worked and beaten to death.  This is better.
Keys published his full report about the experiment in 1950. It was a massive, two-volume work titled The Biology of Human Starvation. To this day, it remains the most comprehensive scientific examination of the effects of famine. And given modern restrictions on research with human subjects, it seems unlikely that an experiment on a similar scale could be repeated today.
Correct, one would think.  Especially after the Tuskegee Experiments.  But fact of the matter is, in spite of the prohibitions on human subjects trials without subject notification, any president of the USA can order secret, involuntary human subject trials the president deems necessary.  The FDA summary of the rules lists no less than 71 exceptions to the "no involuntary human subjects" regulations.

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Ting! A Pro-Peace Phone?

I have written here many times about the way things were, and resuming those practice is a path to escaping the terrors upon us.  I was thinking small business, but here comes Ting using precisely what I am arguing to take on "too big to fail" phone companies.

Why I came across Ting, I am not kidding, is because AT&T just made it too hard to pay.  Their websites are tedious junkyards of whiz-bang coding ostensibly designed to get me to upgrade.  Trying to figure out the path to pay a bill was so onerous I took to simply paying in their stores at a payment kiosk (so it seems I am not alone) while I was running errands.  Then they required a password and login to pay, even with a debit card, at the kiosk!  I complained, and a clerk advised me to contact "customer support."  I advised the clerk I had come to make a payment, not chat with customer support.  I was miffed.

So I began to search for the phone company with the easiest payment method.  It was never about the fees, which I assume you get what you pay for, VOIP being cheap but sounding like a car radio at 3am in the High Sierras.  Ting jumped out as the easiest pay method.  Their billing system is old school benecredit, they bill you at end of month for usage, what you used...
Nope. No plans here. Rather than asking you to pre-pay for a portion of your usage, we decided to keep things simple. Just use what you need and we'll settle up at the end of your billing cycle.
Well, I don't use much at all. My bill:
Hi John Spiers,
Thanks for continuing to be a part of Ting!Here are a few details for your Ting bill, which was for Apr 20 through May 19, 2016...
-------------------------------------------------------------------Activation Fee                 2069150337                     $0.00 Plan Data Usage XS->XS plus... 1 MB                           $0.00 Plan SMS Usage S               24 messages                    $3.00 Plan Minutes Usage M           426 minutes                    $9.00 Line Fee                       2069150337                     $6.00 Apr 20 - May 19 -------------------------------------------------------------------
And here were the taxes we collected for Uncle Sam...-------------------------------------------------------------------Utility Users Tax - Wireless                                  $1.54Sales Tax                                                     $1.97E911 (Wireless)                                               $0.95Fed USF Cellular                                              $1.00FCC Regulatory Fee (Wireless)                                 $0.01-------------------------------------------------------------------Total comes to:                                              $23.47

You should see a charge for 23.47 on your card ending in 4XXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX  from Tingin the next day or so (if you don't already). That's us..

I like their humor: Uncle Sam.  Note that the taxes are more then 30% of the bill.  That is wealth transfer from me to the bankers.  There were no telephone taxes before the Vietnam War.  Then Johnson laid them on to help pay for the war, and the war ended, but the taxes never went away, they just went up.

We had a pro-peace/anti-war movement back then, and most of us just refused to pay that part of the bill.  The phone company never cut anyone off, you were just not paying Uncle Sam.  The amount, a few dimes back them, a couple of bucks in today's world, was too small for Uncle Sam to come after you.   With larger amounts, and computerization, now Uncle Sam can strike an individual quite easily.

Sadly, with the poverty draft and deep-state perpetual wars, the American people have come to accept war as a given, even if the people of Vietnam, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc, themselves have never abandoned their anti-war/pro-peace aspirations.

With all of this in mind, here is what I will do. If you have any of the biggy phone company services, dump them now and move to Ting. 

Sign up with Ting, I get $50 or $25 (at some point, depending on how much you spend). (Apparently, at this time, you get $25 off, too!) What I will do is bundle up any and all remittances to me and donate them to one of the land mine removal charities, with a request they get it to SE Asia.  (Not sure which charity yet, I'll have to check the various ones for legitimacy).  There is a symmetry that telephone revenue would be directed to remove UXO in SEAsia delivered in part with funds from telephone taxes.  I like it!

(If remittances are in the form of deduction from my phone bills, then the money I would have put on the phone will be what is bundled and remitted to the charity.  Whatever, we'll make it work.)

It will be delightful to report say quarterly how much we have directed to war reparations.  To sign up with Ting in which kickbacks are directed to me, click here:

And by the way, I've experienced zero difference in call quality.

So right now, click on the Ting link above, sign up to save money (and ease of payment!) secure your credit and mine, and let's do good while doing well.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Hegemon and the Unspeakable Horrors

It's the way of the world that any given hegemon adopts bad ideas as policy, once that aggregate power to the hegemon, and people then fall in line.  As Eisenhower warned, this leads to powers sought and unsought, and inevitably horrors unspeakable.

It's when the hegemon begins to lose his mandate of heaven, and people begin to admit those unspeakable horrors maintain, that their minds turn to violent reaction.

One of the problems of being a conscientious objector, a nonviolent pacifist, is one's reaction is expressly to reject violence in response to the unspeakable horrors.  We exercise quite effective challenges to the hegemon.  There is this strange thing, then, we conscientious objectors see all the unspeakable horror all the time,  work against it nonviolently, which is the only effective means, but then comes a time when the masses begin to accept the reality of the unspeakable horrors.

Most people will overlook the unspeakable horrors when times are good, for one reason is that they believe the only rational response to unspeakable horror is violence.

Think of all of the people who tried to assassinate Hitler.  Each was a Hitler supporter at one time, but only when Hitler was losing did they make their attempts (Canaris is an exception to this, but he never tried.)

The awakening of the masses to the unspeakable horrors is most unwelcome to the conscientious objector, since the violence of the masses just sets everything back.  Also, those who want to overthrow the system never care about making things better, they only care about being in charge.

Russian literature knows this, the Russian writers all complained the put-upon masses wanted nothing to do with the change programs of the progressives.  People who actually work for a living are the ones who suffer.

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Aikido & Tai Sabaki

Tai sabaki is just the core movement skills of any martial art.  O Sensei had some role in codifying the modern versions and Tohei Sensei as aikido chief instructor emphasized it in his classes and seminars.  Indeed, for the first four or five years I was in aikido tai sabaki exercises, that is movement, silent moving, breathing, ki testing, even misogi, first aid, and I am not kidding "invisibility" along with the aikido four principles took up at least the first 1/2 hour of a ninety minute class.  I rarely see it today.

The skills are fundamental to aikido, indeed any martial art, and it may just be that people no longer know how to teach them.  Doing aikido well, especially aikido, depends on tai sabaki.

With strong tai sabaki, one can experience the something liberating in the realization you need not match punch for punch, reaction for action, as is usually taught in other arts.  Indeed, there is literally no contest, no match, you need only, more or less, avoid the damage from your opponents first move; now chaos.

At this point you are close to your opponent and you need only direct his force where he next elects to direct it, along where h wants to go anyway, and yet you at the same time have decided where he goes thereafter: down.  No match, no contest, just co-operation.

Martial arts outside of aikido wants a respectable showing, if not a decisive victory.  The ego, indeed no doubt the Id, demands at least that, in return for all that training. With aikido, your opponent fell down.  That's about it.  Not very exciting, is it?  And to get best at that, tai sabaki exercises are key.

And since I brought it up, invisibility is achieved by simply not allowing your attention to reach your target.  As your attacker approaches, you look at something else and send your energy and concentration there.  As you thrown him you are looking around, not at him. You are already dealing with what is next.  If you decide you'll take out Person B while dispatching Person A, then you are focussing on Person C or the telephone pole, not your target, Person B.  Your target never sees you coming.  This is part of tai sabaki training in ran dori.

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Friday, April 1, 2016

More on Matirossian

Much of Matirossian's credibility is his speed and power.  Striking arts depend on it.  In aikido, we use the other persons speed and power.  And old lady or little kid is met with their speed and power.  Aikido gets a bad rap from so much practice being equal to the speed and power of the attacker.

Aikido is a martial art that depends on speed and power, but only that presented by the attacker. Aikido has explosive speed and power as well, but only when warranted.  I will admit I no longer see much practice at that level, and too bad for everyone involved.

Ran dori is the opportunity for speed and matching power, and for innovation and creativity.  I rarely see ran dori, and when I do, rarely is the opportunity taken.

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Martirossian's Interesting Aikido/Jeet Kune Do

In Seattle we have probably the highest concentration of students of Bruce Lee in the world, and indeed, Bruce Lee is buried in Seattle.  I've met several and practiced with some of his ex-students, and have pictures thereof.  As I watched this fellow, who claims to have studied under a couple of Bruce Lee's Seattle students, I can believe it.  His natural talent is apparent, but he also "gets' Jeet Kune Do and Wing Chun.

His natural talent is shown in his speed, accuracy and power.  His training is shown in his technical excellence.  One of his videos is on JKD and Aikido, which has perplexed some of the viewers of his videos.  Perhaps they came hoping to see Jeet Kune Do Vs Aikido, but no, they see a JKD grand master doing aikido, as well as JKD.  And not only doing aikido, but the kind that looks most ridiculous!  "I am kneeling, grab my wrist!"  The mind boggles.  But but but... aikido is BS, and it does not work!
Juan RDZ1 month agoDoes that Aikido shiit really work ?? Or is bunch of bologna ??
why MMA/UFC don't use Aikido ??
How can this grand master be using it?!?! Commenters are openly agog.
Sifu Emil Martirossian is a talented Martial Artist, Instructor, Actor and Fight Choreographer. He specialises in street self defence training, Jeet Kune Do, unarmed combat and close quarter techniques.
And here is the video in question:

What's up with the aikido?  Is he for real here...?  Sure, why not?  It is what aikido looks like.  He is also adding it to the end of JKD moves.  Indeed, the stepping on the toes is pure Bernie Lau Sensei.

Martirossian Sifu seems to be a beginner at the aikido as aikido, but his application in JKD is world-class.  Perhaps this is merely documenting how he is weaving in what he can use from classic aikido into JKD, rather the selling point of JKD... "what works..."

Jesse Glover, who wrote a book on his training with Bruce Lee in the early days used to come by our aikido dojo at 306 S Main and watch us for hours.  Some of his students joined us, for the intensity level at which we practiced and the principles which were taught were useful.  I would never say aikido had a lot of influence on any of these people, since most of aikido, as a martial art is nothing new to most martial artists.  Just interesting differences, and maybe some clearly stated principles.

Aristotle said to be interesting you had to be different.  Just so.

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Aikido and Hard Falls: The Earth is Your Partner

What few people understand about aikido, and I am afraid too many aikidoka, is that it is not about how hard you can hit or how cleverly you can pin for submission, but how hard you are attacked.  Your defense is to simply send the attacker on his way, usually the way he was going.  The end is the ground.  The energy of the attacker misses you and becomes one with planet earth, and as much energy as your attacker has for you, it is passed on to the planet.  Those two become one, advantage planet earth.

This is not only aikido, but also judo, although judo much includes submission.  I was offered this revelation by a judoka half my size who drilled me into the mats and literally took my breath away.  (Since the top aikido teachers came out of judo, I consider judo remedial aikido especially for koshinage). Later a fellow half again my size did it as well.  I watched a young man go into convulsions who was slammed into the mats in a practice.  I much prefer submission to ippon, a clean smack to the mats.

With the ground as the end, your attacker is given condign response.  At the same time, this unique aspect makes sparring a challenge since few people in other styles have the aikidoka skill in falling.  Judo people do of course, but not the striking arts or other submission arts.

Something I see atrophying as I travel and practice is this very aspect of aikido.  Clubs more and more are very careful about anyone rolling into another or a wall.  This is the same impulse that declaws a pet cat so no one gets scratched.  Cats come with claws, so we need to learn not to piss off a cat.  One scratch ought to do it.

Aikidoka need to learn that the hard fall is a safety technique, when nage slams uke down rather than let uke hit another falling uke, or a wall.  At the same time uke needs to learn to see what is happening around him as he attacks, and take steps to preserve himself, such as grab nage's gi on the way down and take a hard fall.

Indeed, ran dori is effective only if nage is throwing people into each other and walls, otherwise the swarm will get you.  All practice should be dynamic in which all students are constantly adjusting to the chaotic conditions of combat.  The paradox is the less rules the more safe practice and the better the aikidoka.

At least one third of all aikido falls ought to be hard on any given practice.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Bernie Lau and The Hit

Bernie Lau is an aikido instructor of mine, going back to 1971, and I helped him confect his memoires for eight years last decade.  Here is a version of a story I know well, as told to a local radio station.
I stayed calm, but my thoughts were racing. I thought, I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Here I am sitting in a restaurant where I’ve just enjoyed a great meal. I now have a Chinese elder standing at my table, offering me $25,000 cash to “take care of Ben Ng.” Me, a white guy (but with a Chinese stepfather), being offered such a task. What an honor, really. I was blown away.
Lau is full-bred French, francophone as his native language, but was adopted into a Chinese family in Hawaii and so fluent in Hawaiian pidgen.  He is always a good time.

Note he did not do the hit.

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Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Best (anti) War Movie

This is the best war movie, that is to say anti-war movie, ever made.  I've seen all the USA war movies, and every single one is a fantasy, even such realistic movies as Full Metal jacket and Saving Ryan's Privates.  USA war movies must be fantasies to keep the Hegemon happy.

But out of nowhere, in an obscure language (with English subtitles) comes a war movie with subtlety in metaphysics matched only by realistic soldier action.  The acting is phenomenal and better than anything for which the academy issues awards, and the story timeless.  And a great story it is, as opposed to pointless fiction of USA oscar tripe.

Give it a view and tell me if I am wrong:

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Muhammad Ali's MMA Fight

Did Ali legitimate MMA back in the 1970's?
"Dunne done with, Ali spent last night getting himself and us psyched up for his next superdooper smackeroo – in a few days he ups his marquee from here to Tokyo where he takes on the gigantic Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki. Inoki will be able to run the full range of all-in wrestling moves and use ploys including karate chops, at which he is, according to Ali at his wide-eyed best, 'the most fearsome man in who-le, wi-de, wo-rld.' Anything goes apparently."
It's a fascinating story, a fight that nearly killed him from the injuries.

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sorry My Dojo is So Small

Another good thing about aikido is there is a dojo everywhere.  Last month I was in a remote town in New Mexico on business, and lo and behold, there was an aikido dojo.  Judging from the students, the instructor was quite good.  The practice was excellent, and at the end the instructor apologized for his dojo being so small.  Are you kidding?  The fact this fellow hosts a club, teaches a dozen or so students, in the middle of no where, means I get to practice while on the road.  No need to apologize!  Thank you!

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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Celebrating New Years With a Bar Fight

The likelihood of ever having to deal with a trained fighter is near nil, unless you are the aggressor, so I love to watch a bar fight, which is the kind of encounter which is more likely.  This is in England...

Happy New Year!
Now there are three players in this scene.  The one in the blue shirt, throwing the punch on the left, we'll call Uke.  The one on the right, the target of the punch, we'll call Nage.  The one in the middle, attempting to extricate himself, we'll call...  2015.

If 2015 was not in the picture, this would be a classic case of Nage to just close the distance, Uke is off balance winding up for a haymaker punch.  When the distance was closed, if Uke is still standing, just a series of kendo half-steps driving Uke backwards until his balance is off and then disengage.  The mates would arrest Uke  (and I mean in the sense of "cool his jets.")  But that is the least likely, and I am assuming no 2015, the positions would be more ideal.

Nage is already blocking, which is a mistake. Indeed his weight is more back and on one leg.  It's likely that punch sailed through, caught Nage in the face at say 80% power (given Nage's blocking left arm), and sent him staggering back, at which time the assorted mates would have arrested Uke.  Nage gets bloodied and bruised.

With 2015 in the way, there was no chance of tenkan or irimi against Uke.

Unlikely, but a good move given Nage's position and since 2015 was still around, would be for Nage to shift his right leg and arm, sweep up 2015's momentum, and spin him into Uke, in a tenkan-like move.  At once Nage would be creating distance as he improved his position, getting some good out of 2015, and give the mates a chance to arrest Uke.

Alternatively: Uke is mad, and while we don't have a video we can assume that since Nage assumed a defensive mode*, no threat to Uke, Uke readjusted given the wan arm defense. In the time 2015 slipped away, Uke would bring up his left leg parallel to the right and deliver a solid haymaker with right hand and leg working together.

A. Nage at that point might slide in and offer a kokyunage, when Uke is at about 20% power.  Uke would fairly gently fall back.

B. Nage might leave his face-target exposed (aikido style) long enough to shift his legs, bring up is right hand under Uke's elbow, and as Nage's left hand and foot slid back in time with the punch, Nage's left hand clamps on the wrist, the right on the elbow, and then Kendo-style, executes a sword cut down and to Nage's left and side.  Ouch!

At this point Nage could let go and let the mates intervene, or pin Uke.  I like pinning miscreants because you will not do any damage (aikido pins anyway) and you can't get such real life pin opportunities on the mats.  People get ticked off on the mats if you deliver actual pain compliance pins. They assume given the pain, there must be damage, so there is little actual pain compliance practice on the mats.

And as an aside, to do actual damage is to unleash a biological defense in Uke, in which dopamine (C8H11NO2) and its friends courses into the blood stream and turns Uke into superman.  It is not pain triggered, but damage triggered.  To break joints and smash noses is to strengthen your opponent, not degrade his fighting capability.  You have a better chance of letting pain compliance suffice if you do not break anything on Uke.  He'll experience amazing pain, But not get the dopamine rush, since there is no damage.

*An irony of Aikido as as purely defensive art, it has no defensive positions.  As ju-dan Tohei Sensei used to say "positive non-fighting".  Reading a book and ready for an attack are exactly the same.

Happy 2016!

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