02-12-2009, 15:56 #1
I am a little late on last week's meditation...(so much for excellence)
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in this stuff, and realize there are many different approaches to this and other meditative martial arts concepts. No one is right or wrong. I think the sharing of our ideas and opinions is informative and fun. I hope you do too.
This week we are meditating on cooperation. Cooperation is the act of working together to accomplish something we could not accomplish on our own. Cooperation enables us to work with others and see their point of view. It allows people of varying opinions to find a common ground and deliver against objectives or avoid conflict. Being cooperative means we must sometimes sacrifice what is good for the individual in order to produce what is good for the group. Cooperation embodies a spirit of teamwork and an understanding of the needs of others.
Old Roman ships are great examples of the need for cooperation. These vessels were powered by oarsmen who sat row after row on benches in the belly of the boat. Each had to row in the same direction, at the same speed and simultaneously in order for the boat to be propelled with maximum efficiency. An “oar master” generally beat a drum in time to indicate the speed and timing of the rowers. An oar pulled from the water to early resulted in a loss of power. One left in the water too long placed unnecessary drag on the boat. Above decks a helmsman steered the craft. Deckhands managed various sails that were also used for propulsion but could negate the efforts of the oarsmen, or capsize the boat entirely, if not managed properly. Other shipmates, executing various tasks to keep the war craft on purpose scurried about the boat, giving way to one another, helping out in a pinch, doing double duties when storms arose and cargo needed lashing. The captain, on a military mission, relied on this carefully orchestrated activity in order to win engagements. The orchestrated activity resulted from the cooperation of every person on the boat and helped to make the Roman navy one of the most formidable foes imaginable in the ancient world. One component or person out of synch could spell disaster.
Cooperation is not always voluntary. In the above example, many oarsmen were slaves- forced to cooperate. But the principle of cooperation rises above compulsory participation. There is a difference between cooperating and being a cooperative person. That difference is what elevates cooperation from a simple action to a life principle. It is the principle of cooperation, the cooperative nature of a person, that we are meditating on this week; not the act of doing what you are told begrudgingly.
A life that is lived by a person attempting to live according to “life’s terms” is happier than one that is at constant odds with the world and its workings. Assuming this is true, much of life’s terms are dictated by the people around us who demand various things from us and others. That is why BEING cooperative is superior to simply COOPERATING. Being cooperative allows us to harmonize our satisfaction with the attainment of others’ objectives. Surrounding ourselves with cooperative individuals allows us to mutually select the goals to which we aspire and reach them together. A win-win if you will. An uncooperative spirit will always struggle to find peace unless coincidence yields similar goals in the people who surround us. More often than not, goals will not align and cooperation will be required. Having a cooperative nature in this case means I can still find natural satisfaction in doing the task. Joy can be extracted from the experience and I can easily evoke excellence from myself. On the other hand, I may cooperate because I have to, but I may not like the results or the pursuit of them. So, I do what I dislike begrudgingly and still don’t get what I really want. Seen in this light, a cooperative spirit seems very desirable.
This principle applies to almost every human interaction we have. We must learn to cooperate at work, in our sports teams, in clubs and civic organizations, in government, in our families, at church, on the highway, in the grocery store and even at Hapkido practice. The list is endless. With such a great demand for cooperation, I will have to do it constantly. Attaining a cooperative spirit will release me of the burden of simple compliance and allow me to be happy and fulfilled in almost everything I have to do with others. Of course, the opposite is true of people who are uncooperative or being forced to cooperate. The good news is that the combination of my talents and efforts are magnified and increased when combined with the talents and efforts of others. In a cooperative spirit, there is little men cannot accomplish.
How is cooperation important to the martial arts? I believe it is elemental to the martial arts and their practitioners. Every class I attend begins the same way. We line up, rank and file, standing at attention and awaiting the arrival of our instructor. When he enters the Dojang, we snap to attention and bow respectfully as we greet him. He ceremoniously returns the bow and greets us. Each class originates from the same root as Hapkido itself- military arts. Nowhere is the concept of cooperation so needed, appreciated or practiced as the military. Without cooperation the orchestration of thousands of men in the execution of war would not be possible. Lives would be lost and nations would fall. Men learn to cooperate with one another to accomplish tasks they could not complete on their own. In fact, much of the basic training a cadet is given focuses on the team work, self-sacrifice and recognition of authority necessary to enable a military to exist and accomplish its mission. One man, alone, cannot win a war. Since cooperation is so elemental to the military, which is a foundation of the martial arts, it is easy to understand why cooperation is such an esteemed martial arts principle and present in the best of the martial arts practitioners.
11-05-2009, 01:20 #2
Pitch of cooperation
"If you cooaperate with Tao, you will experience the Power of UNIVERSAL HARMONY."
11-05-2009, 05:31 #3
Have you told that to your President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
Jeff Cook"Beware of entrance to a quarrel but being in, bear't that the opposed may beware of thee." - Polonius
De inimico non loquaris sed cogites.
Do not wish ill for your enemy....plan it.
11-09-2009, 08:20 #4
11-11-2009, 15:44 #5
- Russ Ebert
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Interesting. Although I do not believe that co-operation is working together to complete something that we could not do on our own. I think a common goal is the important part of co-operation. Matter of fact, without a common goal, co-operation can go around in circles.
Incidentally, Roman Galleons were usually run by freemen, not slaves. Slaves were only used in times of emergency to free up hands. The use of slaves is actually not co-operation....at all. I think their common goal was freedom. SPARTACUS!!!
Last edited by Mekugi; 11-11-2009 at 15:47.Russ Ebert
The narcissism of small differences is especially true in the martial arts.
11-25-2009, 16:11 #6
There can also be cooperation among people or groups who don't have similar goals but want the same mutual result. For example two parents may want sole custody of their kids, however, form a cooperative joint custody because it is in the best interest of their kids.Debra A. O'Leary