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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 1998 7:45 pm 
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Giella Sempai,

Hope it's okay to begin a new thread on this topic - it's something I think about on occasion - more so today as I'm home from work, hungry, and supposed to be pondering all the wrongs I've done over the past year...

The question is essentially this: What are the consequences of the mindset that we try to cultivate? Or, more obviously, the results on oneself of injuring or killing another human being, regardless of the provocation or necessity. I raise the question not with an eye to debating the necessity of developing an appropriate mindset, (which I do believe is an essential aspect of self defense) but rather to challenge the notion that developing this necessary attitude comes without a cost.

Grossman, in his book, "On Killing" posits that human beings have a natural reluctance to kill one another, a reluctance which needs to be overcome by fairly sophisticated psychological means in order to develop soldiers who will be willing to kill the enemy. It is probably not unreasonably to assume that the process by which one develops the mindset appropriate to self defense may be similar (I am ignoring, for these purposes the issue of "authority" which Grossman discusses at some length), and may pose similar problems after the fact. Pretty much everyone is familiar in the wake of the Vietnam War of the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - at least in its most dramatic forms. I would be interested to hear from folks who have had to injure or kill in self defense about what, if any, the lingering after effects are. On a more subtle note, I wonder too if this same phenomenon occurs to a lesser degree just by the process of developing mindset. We are probably all familiar with the "cold, hard killer" character in the movies. It is probably only more recently that we have seen some movies portraying the seemy underside of these characters sometimes seeing them going home to empty houses, unable to get close to anyone... (they used to just 'ride off into the sunset').

After all that rambling, I suppose the question I am posing is this: at what point does one's preparation for defending oneself or one's family become "detrimental" to oneself in some way? Although I think, ultimately this will be a question each of us will answer personally, and each of us strike our own personal balance in this, I would be interested to hear from folks about this subject.

Domo Arigato,

Greg Postal


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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 1998 12:31 am 
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Greg: Let me pose the observation that 'appropriate mindset' may be a paradoxical and restrictive concept, that one does better to open the mind to a wider range of choices, options and possibilites, including walking away. Best regards...phils


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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 1998 12:03 pm 
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Location: Boston, MA
Greg,

You know where I stand on this. For most of us, there is a price to be paid. The price is higher for admission to "life taking/giving" club. I've elaborated somewhat on it in past postings so I'll spare folks.

I am glad you're "atoning". Remember to add a little "metta" -- "loving kindness" is needed for forgiveness.

Phils,

I agree with you about opening the "mindset". Again, in this regard, I like to use the term "mind state" indicating a dynamic flexibility. However, it takes a certain level of maturity and a "keenness" in perception that many of us don't have. An "enlightened one" can walk away when it is appropriate and possible. S/he can also kill when it is needed. For him/her, the price is acceptable because s/he can see clearly what needs to be done and do it.

david


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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 1998 1:47 pm 
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Location: Evansville, IN, USA
Osu!

A very good topic, Greg. Thanks for starting
it.

In my view, and others are free to disagree,
part of the development of the self defense
mindset is the preperation for the
"aftermath". Part of the reason people do
not defend themselves is fear of all those
things you mentioned at a subconscious
or maybe even a conscious level.

More importantly though, you must recognize
that you are not a "cold, hard killer" but
a normal man who is willing to defend
himself, his family and his community if
need be. As long as you remember this, the
"killer" mindset never becomes an issue or
at least shouldn't, because in truth the
"killer" mindset is in us all, if we are
willing to use it (as Sensei Van Canna
says these are primal instincts).

I think people feel stress (PTS) as part of
the aftermath because they were not prepared
before hand for the aftermath, a recognition
that martial artists should make as part
of the development of mindset. The aftermath
should not be a source of fear or concern
but of reluctance acceptance as is the choice
to use violence at all (I have been in a
few fights, and I am proud of none of them).

Sorry to ramble a bit, hopes this comes across as making some sense.

Osu!
Jason


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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 1998 4:27 pm 
I think the answer is found in Grossman's book. One of the factors he mentions relative to the 'reintegration' of the killer is the religious or spiritual. I think that is probably, (at least historically), the reason for the emphasis on the spiritual in the martial arts.


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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 1998 1:08 am 
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Location: Boston, MA USA
An excellent subject. I may be wrong here and don't think I've participated in this topic before so forgive me if it's out of sync... Let me explain... My understanding is that 'appropriate mindset' (as used in the forum) is a sort of mind bunkai (if I am attacked in a certain way, by a certain individual, I will try to do the following and if that doesn't work... On the other hand, if a knife is involved... and so on). Correct me here please. These 'problems' are good mental practice, indicate a certain level of understanding. and. in a way, expand the imagination necessary for someone utilizing techniques that are meant to do damage. It may or may not include 'emotionset' which is an ingredient often not separated for the purposes of discussion. Emotion is a 'wildcard', where anger and fear can change a situation markedly.... and I don't think it's easy to rule out the 'emotional' factor.

The problem I have with mindset problems is that 'thinking' is too slow and clinical for real world circumstances ... that it takes place at a level of intensity we do not experience in the safety of one's home over a cup of tea. George Mattson wrote an excellent true story about a relative's experience in combat. Heroic individuals,thrown into a situation when asked, often do not think thoughts of strategy or personal safety, nor were they skilled or practiced in mindset excercises. No-mind has a root in this and so I find that these problems are paradoxical.

Thanks for letting me participate. phils.


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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 1998 11:39 am 
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Phils,

Thanks for participating! :-)

"Mindset" as defined by most in these forums is really like your "emotionset" and has generally not been discussed with physical techniques. The old samurai saying, "You cut my skin, I cut your flesh. You cut my flesh, I cut your bone. You cut my bone, I kill you.", is an example of mindset. Another often heard of the streets is, "Touch me and you die." Most would draw on a primal rage in order to realize the mindset.

Physical techniques have been debated. Van Canna Sensei is a major proponent of KISS (keep straight and simple) with overwhelming power and speed (I tend to agree with him). Others have gone into more specifics like hitting here or there with this hand technique or that foot, etc. Whatever... I think most generally agree with you that the action taken should be programmed into the body's memory and executed with minimal or no thought.

I think the Greg is asking how do we train with that mindset? What price do we pay mentally/emotionally to do that. And, should we ever have to really effect our practice in real life, what is the price of that?

In my experiences and those of some of my brothers (in arms) in Chinatown, I believe there is a price. Perhaps, it was our immaturity. But, the mindset can permeate into other aspects and relationships of our lives. It permeated into my sleep and dreams/nightmares. I've largely worked my issues out. Others are still trying.

I still have the necessary mindset (I believe). But, it doesn't rear itself as indiscriminately as it used to. This is proportionately related to the ability to see more clearly one's emotional state and that of the other. It allows one to determine whether a confrontation is at hand or whether one can walk away. If it is to be the first, then... "you cut my skin, I cut your flesh..."

peace

david


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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 1998 12:57 am 
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Gentlemen, An excellent topic for discussion! Thank you in particular to Greg. There is certainly a price to be paid for having spent one's life constantly "on guard", constantly worried, constantly scanning the environment for the next threat. One even, with enough practice, can learn to see a threat that isn't really there.The debate is endless; everyone can cite stories of people who were hurt because they did not fully prepare for the surprise attack. But, as Greg indicates, there is a price to be paid for going through life checking one's back at every turn. In its most pronounced cases, we are talking about frank paranoia... and no one I know would describe a paranoid individual as happy or relaxed. Wouldn't it be better to learn to perceive a threat when it really exists, and learn to relax when one is able to perceive that one is safe? I don't think the karate dojo is the best place to learn the difference, since it is, by definition and intent, the place to learn to deal with real threats.And I suspect that Greg is right when he implies that karate training may actually have the potential to work counter to efforts to appreciate and enjoy a feeling of safety and relaxation. Isn't it ironic that some of the most accomplished martial artists, with many, many years of training and practice, who are among the strongest and most capable people we know,are also among the least able to feel truly safe.People who can kill with a lightning strike or two who spend so much of their physical and mental energy preparing for some fantasized image of the "Mother of all street battles"? It is good of you to bring this up for discussion... I look forward to an illuminating interchange of thoughts.


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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 1998 2:38 am 
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Location: Boston, MA USA
Thanks David, for the tidy summary and clarification that was needed for me to understand. It's as if there is a desire for an outcome that is played out in practice, one reinforcing the other. It is the search for the correct form in some ways instead of the search for substance with a moderate approach to practice over the long-run.

The problem with 'attitude' obsession is that it is a fragile thing, particularly under stress. It's too forward looking and, so, far better to be in the present with deliberate intention, without illusion, and without the smoke and mirrors.

Does anyone remember Tony, I can't remember his last name, but he was a brown belt at Cambridge Street? He was in a fight and got hit with a tire iron. I bring this up because the incident is somewhat instructive of someone approaching a fight with an 'attitude' and a pre-conditioned response to a threat. My recollection is somewhat hazy on the facts and so anyone out there who can relay it might do better than I to tell the story, although I'll attempt what I remember (at least the lesson I drew from it).

Thanks again ..as always in this forum a very thoughtful and knowledgeable set of responses and best regards!...phils


[This message has been edited by Phils (edited 10-02-98).]


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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 1998 1:03 pm 
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Location: Boston, MA
Phils,

Are you referring to Tony Garcia? Around 5'5", brown complexion, lean muscular, agile body? I think he was thrown out by George sensei for getting into too much fights.

Tony used to date the sister of one of my friends. Yes, he had a "streak" in him. The first fight I was in where weapons came came into play was with Tony and a couple of other guys. Somebody had a run in with a bunch of guys in the Commons. We piled into a car, got there and find the other guys. They had bats and some of our guys had hockey sticks. Lots of damage done. I was around 13, scared sh-tless, and mostly watched. Tony handled himself quite effectively without a weapon.

It's possible for Tony to take a good hit. Anyone who fights enough will eventually get "it". The question is whether one will live through it. From what I heard, Tony had more than his share of fights. From what I saw of Tony, he had a temper. It didn't show that much because he tried to keep it in check. When it did show, I can see how he could be someone one doesn't want get into something with.

I think Tony did a stint in the army. When he got back he was accepted into Harvard. Tony was actually quite an intellectual. I used to talk (listen actually) to him talk about philiosophy, religion and films. He loved films and would dissect every aspect of something he saw. I found his observations fascinating and way over my head. I think as I was heading deeper into the streets, he was coming out of it. I asked him once about karate and fighting. He said he tries not to get into that stuff anymore.

Tony eventually went on to New York and the New School of Social Research. I know he got his graduate degree and may have gone on for a doctorate. I haven't seen him in over 15 years. I think he has his demons in check.

david


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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 1998 6:46 pm 
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I don't think so, although it's close. This person was very much taller. He got into verbal tussle. The thing I recall is that his friends were urging him to come away. He had time to walk away, even when the other guy went for the tire iron.

It was a clear case of attitude preceding skill... You can adopt an attitude immediately (without skill) but it takes years to learn the martial arts. That's a big problem. Also adopting an attitude tends to stick you in a place from which you cannot move.

Lastly if you wish for something, you're likely to get your wish so you have to be somewhat selective. If you dream of getting in a fight, you surely will... better to set your sights on the day to day aquisition of martial skill... It may not be as glamorous as a well choreographed day dream but it puts things in perspective when a situation does result...

The other thing I remember about the fight was that it looked like a classic Kanshiwa Bunkai club attack except that Tony raised his arm too early (anticipation) and the attacker simply aimed the iron at his forearm and shattered it, sending him to the hospital.

Best regards...phils


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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 1998 1:23 am 
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Phil, I think I missed the connection to the discussion about the effects, and aftereffects of living a life of hypervigilance, unless you were suggesting that a person who goes around always expecting a fight may actually, and inadvertantly, cause to happen the very thing he fears.If this is what you meant, then you are on to a fairly well-accepted psychodynamic principle... people may not see in themselves that their 'attitude' of being keyed-up, tense, constantly defended and defensive can convey a kind of 'challenge' to someone looking for trouble. I have been told by men who fight alot,and like it, that they can tell instantly upon entering a room (or a bar, or a restaurant, etc.)who would be willing to give them a fight... there is a certain mutual and instantaneous recognition, a locking-on of eyes, a set of body-language signals and postures that leads to the inevitable end. I have also been told by these people that they can recognize those who are not looking for trouble, and for the most part, they are not interested in bothering them.


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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 1998 2:37 am 
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Paul: Yes, exactly! I believe it too, in the same way that people hold to 'the power of positive thought', that it attracts elements of success and leads to one's goals and desires... only in this case, it's negative thought. Whether it be showing off or 'testing' ones skill, there is step by step process toward that goal.

I'm guilty of skipping around but the departures are sometimes helpful for me. In a way, this may be similar to another inference of mine, that many 'accidents', are indeed the result of intentional, perhaps self-destructive tendencies.

I couldn't prove any of it..

Which brings to mind the story of the bar in Boston where the new owners announced their exceptional martial arts skill (lest anyone be so bold as to start a fight in their place). From that day on, there were so many fights and brawls, and the owners were so bruised and battered, they had to close the place to save their lives.

I suppose on the one hand, they could excused, perhaps naive to think their announcement would dissuade disruptive types who drink in a bars on the rouph side of town to refrain from fighting. Somehow, however, I think we set the pattern, make the choices, move in the direction and ultimately seal our fate.

Hope you are well! Karen sends regards... phils


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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 1998 2:16 am 
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Just to take a different point of view regarding this very interesting discussion, the aftermath of learning Uechi technique and its application is the destruction of ones "self". Although the imput has been about the result of violent conflict upon others and is reality based what about the ultimate goal of Sanchin active-meditation,no mind? My introduction to Uechiryu was in 1966. Back then it was pronounced ooochiryu. Harry Brawley was the instructor at Mattson Academy in Norwood MA. At that time there were no women,children and they didn't want new students who wouldn't tough it out. I lasted about six months and made sichikyu. Having learned how to block,punch and kick well enough to defend myself I quit. In the early 70's ,after being married a short time,I was basically lost in the world. Thankfully, George opened a dojo in Newton,my home town, and I joined. We used to ask lots of questions regarding enlightenment and the Zen of Uechiryu. George would only point us in the direction of kata for the answers. Apparently he knew then that"those who talk do not know,those who know do not talk". In 1976 the test for Dan ratings was in Rhode Island. I made Shodan that day but the true significance wasn't external,as many reading this truly know. What George brought back from Okinawa and transmitted to us was a way of life,a freedom to be and become ourselves alive without excuse. The violence done was to our fascade,the aftermath, OM. david s.

[This message has been edited by DMS1050 (edited 10-14-98).]


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 Post subject: The aftermath
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 1998 3:15 am 
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OM, I'd say your observations are very closely in line with the discussion, that there is an odd symmetry to the learning that is developmental, the essence of which must come from within,... that quietly argues against external trappings, flamboyance, etc.

If a person cannot appreciate the martial arts at the intrinsic level, it's like a bad farce, where instead of the comedy coming from the depth of the character and careful plot development, the gags are intentional and forced on the situation to get a quick laugh. The results are equally unsatisfying.

Best regards...phils

[This message has been edited by Phils (edited 10-13-98).]


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