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"You will never beat an opponent you respect highly."

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  • "You will never beat an opponent you respect highly."

    What does this statement mean? Do you agree or disagree with its general thrust?

    b

  • #2
    I'll have a go.

    I find that statement open to many interpretations. I am inclined towards view #2.

    Here are some of my interpretations:

    View #1:

    If I believe that I can never beat an opponent that I respect highly, then chances are, I'd most likely lose. There'd be a degradation of fighting spirit or perhaps I'd be more vulnerable to the 4 kendo evils etc etc. Mentally speaking, I have already lost: "if you think you will lose, then you have already lost". Perhaps I could have won that match if I'd applied myself fully, but I lost because I refused to believe that I could win.

    View #2:

    I so respect my opponent that I try my best to do good kendo with loads of ki - the objective is to win (by ki, by sword etc). It is only right that my opponent expects my best, given the respect I have for him/her. I do not believe that I cannot beat this opponent.

    I hope that makes sense (1.36am here).

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    • #3
      I can see two different readings as well:

      1. I respect this person highly and will show this by beating him if possible. In reality, the closest I will ever get is to be on a par with him. (Andoru's view 2)

      2. I respect this person highly - he could be a beginner who engenders respect - the best I can do is help point the way.
      Last edited by Lucien; 21st December 2004, 11:55 PM. Reason: trying to delete my asinine response, but can't

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      • #4
        "before you can conquer the enemy you must conquer yourself" - if you put too much respect in your opponent then your giving him a benefit he hasnt earned, beat him first, then respect him.. .

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        • #5
          Interesting statement ben.

          My take is that I'll do my best to score on an opponent I respect highly. There are several club mates of mine that I respect alot, but still can beat them most of the time. On the other hand, I respect alot of people who are better than I am - my senseis and sempais for example. There are also other kendoka I respect that its a toss up...they could win or I could win. So it depends on who I'm playing. I always want to get a good point of my own design, which can be very tough when I'm playing sensei ... I sometimes wonder if all the points I get they've let em take them.

          Will I beat them?...it depends. But I'm going to do my best in whatever situation I'm in.

          Just my 2 cents worth.

          Comment


          • #6
            or to look at it another way

            to look at that statement another way, I have to do my utmost to defeat the opponent, otherwise I am not showing him respect.

            but to go back to your original question, it depends how you define respect. If by respect you mean you recognise his/her skills abilities and qualities, this does not necessarily mean you are going to lose. If however you are using respect to mean 'awe' of of your opponent you have already lost, because you are already categorising yourself as inferior.
            Also, I think in Kendo, there are a lot of things you can respect about a person, their speed, their skill, their men cuts, but ultimately although you may be inferior in some aspects, it is possible (and likely amongst people of similar levels) that you have areas where you are superior to your opponent (in terms of skill, ability and your progression) Therefore it is possible for you to have immense respect in some aspects and yet stil have the confidence you will need to give a good account of yourself in a match, and hopefully win

            Sorry that was going to be a short comment, but I got carried away

            Comment


            • #7
              Why not ? I respect all the people in my dojo (and even outside ) but there's no link between victory and respect in that sense. Maybe you feel that wining against someone is showing you're better than him so that he's worse than you, etc... I tell you, you shouldn't go that far. lol

              I loose against most people...just because I'm a beginner. But i hate when my partner lowers his level just to let me score.

              Comment


              • #8
                I disagree wih the statement,

                I think it is possible to beat someone you respect highly...maybe it's just a bit harder.

                similarly it's QUITE possible to lose to someone who you don't respect
                (internet gaming is based on this fact)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ben
                  What does this statement mean? Do you agree or disagree with its general thrust?
                  Taken in the most superficial sense, it seems false. You can respect someone for their character, but perhaps they are awful at kendo. Perhaps they are tremendously educated and intelligent in kendo philosophy but are not able to compete for some reason. Perhaps they are a very strong fighter but happen to have a "blind spot" that you know about (assuming that we agree that it is possible to respect someone who is not "perfect"). There are many possibilities why someone worthy of respect might not win a match. However, I think this is only a very superficial interpretation and not particularly illuminating.

                  This kind of thought does raise one interesting question. Is it possible to "highly respect" someone that one can beat? Perhaps one can for reasons outside of kendo, but that is probably not what the comment is about. Is it possible to respect highly the kendo abilities of someone who you can defeat at kendo? If someone can be defeated half of the time, it would seem that they should be considered a peer, and how can you "highly respect" abilities that are merely the same as yours? Maybe if you can win 1/4 of the time, you can respect them, but "highly?" What is "highly" anyway? So, anyway, perhaps the statement is true by definition: it is not possible to defeat someone who you respect highly because anyone you can defeat is not respected THAT highly (if one uses a very lofty and strong definition for "highly").

                  I think one more interesting question is what does it mean to "beat" someone. For example, if someone has a very strong style, and you feel it is more powerful than your own so that you must adjust your style to adapt to theirs, then there is a sense where you have already lost the fight. Even if you defeat your opponent in the fight, they have controlled you and you gave in. Of course, we in the modern world would say that we adapted to the situation and won, not lost, because of that adaption. But, the point is that if you are too "respectful" of your opponent's skill to take them on directly, you have given into their power and looked for a different way. So, the actual conflict that was won is a different, secondary, fight from the initial battle of wills. One finds to a new style that is "better" than their opponent, so some measure of "respect" (perhaps a better word is "fear") for the style is lost. In this interpretation, I think it can be true that one can never beat an opponent that one respects highly. If you respect your opponent too highly, you will not be able to be direct with them as you are, in some sense, under their influence (and, therefore, control).

                  That brings up a second interesting question. What does it mean to "respect" a person? If you think of "respect" as thinking that someone has admirable qualities, then it doesn't necessarily have any impact on your behavior. Just because someone is admirable doesn't mean you have to treat them well, or even fairly. Indeed, if you think that someone posseses an admirable amount of skill, perhaps it is motivation to treat them quite unfairly in a competition. This is exactly the sense of the word I used in the beginning. It makes the statement seem trivially false, becuase my opinions have little connection with my abilities.

                  However, often when we say "respect" we really mean "deferential." That is, when it is said that one should respect their sempai, it is not generally meant that one should feel a sense of awe in their sempai's abilities-- it means that one should defer to their sempai's judgement. In that sense, of course one will never defeat someone they respect highly. One obviously cannot simultaneously defer to someone while defeating them. Even if you think that it is their wish for you to defeat them, if you think of winning in kendo as killing them, how can you kill your mentor/teacher? If nothing else, it means you cannot learn from them the future. One might be tempted to ask what about an enemy one respects? Well, that is confounding these two interpretations again -- in terms of admiring the skills of your enemy, that kind of "respect" doesn't change your behavior; in terms of being deferential to your enemy, well, why would you do that? So, here is another sense where it is indeed impossible to defeat someone one "respects highly."

                  That is what went through my head when I read that sentence...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Louis X
                    Why not ? I respect all the people in my dojo (and even outside ) but there's no link between victory and respect in that sense. Maybe you feel that wining against someone is showing you're better than him so that he's worse than you, etc... I tell you, you shouldn't go that far. lol

                    I loose against most people...just because I'm a beginner. But i hate when my partner lowers his level just to let me score.
                    Actually the opposite is more true, if you do not respect your opponent you will be blind to his/her abilities. I would say respect your opponent, learn from and about him, because he's the one you'll be fighting. Don't let your smugness be your defeat.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Personally I find two terms being ambigious - "Beat" and "An opponent you respect highly"...

                      First of all, as mentioned by other posters, there are a lot of respectable people in a dojo. Despite most sensei and senpai, there are enthusiatic beginners, young kids, girls, handicapped, etc. etc. worth looking up to, even though their skill is not as good as myself.

                      Secondly, what is "beat"? One Ippon, or completely trashing them? Some of the senpai fight only half a level higher than me, some always try to show me openings that I can see. Now, if I do get the Ippon, both sides should be quit happy. They teach I learn, as simple as that.

                      IMHO I think the statement should be rephrased into:-
                      "You should always try your best to beat an opponent you respect highly."

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                      • #12
                        Ehm actually the phrase that's excactly what I wanted to say was to be before the whole post, somehow it was deleted. I disagreed with the original post not with what Louis said.




                        Originally posted by Wout
                        Actually the opposite is more true, if you do not respect your opponent you will be blind to his/her abilities. I would say respect your opponent, learn from and about him, because he's the one you'll be fighting. Don't let your smugness be your defeat.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Context

                          When I sit down at the chess board I know that I provide each of my opponents enough respect to assume that a mistake may simply be a trap, yet not so much respect to assume they could not have made a mistake. To me that is the correct level of respect of your opponent.


                          While this may be a reasonable answer to a vague statement I wonder who made that said it, in what context and in what language.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mingshi
                            IMHO I think the statement should be rephrased into:-
                            "You should always try your best to beat an opponent you respect highly."
                            that strikes me as quite the opposite meaning of the original sentence.

                            to say that "one can never defeat someone that one respects highly" suggests, to me, the idea that respect for one's opponent is a personal weakness, and that one should not respect the enemy.

                            however, like you said, "respect" is rather ambiguous. i think virtually everyone would agree that it is a critical error to not respect (in the sense of underestimating) one's opponent, so presumably "respect" is intended to mean something different from a simple sense of admiration of ability.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Some great posts. I agree the statement and its terms are vague, that is why I asked to respond to its "general thrust" i.e. your own first interpretation. Sometimes to desire clarification is to procrastinate from grasping the matter at hand. However I took "respect" to mean in terms of kendo ability and stature. Not warm-hearted fellow feeling, but a kind of respect that you can't run away from. Perhaps you even dislike them as a person, but their kendo forces you to respect them. I took "beat" to mean a single decisive ippon, the kind that can change the feeling between two kendoka. Many people made good replies based on their own interpretation. It doesn't matter so much.

                              It is interesting the different personalities of each poster comes out in the way they respond. Munnin I really like your definition of respect for your opponent. This is a great baseline statement I feel. I suppose though that kendo doesn't allow the time for reflection during the match that chess does.

                              Mingshi I really like how you turned the statement around to be a positive kind of kendo aphorism. It works well like that. At the same time however, in terms of considering the question at hand, it lets you off the hook without having to face it.

                              I personally feel that I can never beat someone whom I respect highly and that I'm frustrated by the fact that I can never be sure if it's my respect for them or their greater skill that is the difference. Not ever beating them is a wall, and like a wall, it hides what lies behind it. I therefore feel that I cannot truly perceive my opponent when I have too much respect for them. I cannot beat them because I lack the information or the insight to do so. This issue is the crux for me of the mental side of kendo.

                              b

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