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***
08-04-2001, 10:41 PM
I apologize if my manners are poor in my posting here. I don't know where else to find the information.

I am interested in studying Akido for health, mental clarity, and self-defense that can protect myself and the ones I love without seriously damaging the attacker. At the same time, I am what many people refer to as a "born-again" Christian.

Is there anyone who knows if practicing Akido would be in conflict with (Bible-based) Christianity? Perhaps people know of other Christians they study with?

Your time and efforts are appreciated

TheProdigy
08-04-2001, 10:50 PM
I could be wrong, but I do believe the founder of Aikido, O'sensei, was in fact also a Christian. Of course his beliefs also went beyond just Christianity, I have heard or read that he was one also.

Aikido is an art to help bring you back into harmony. Regardless if blend it with religious beliefs or not, it is very beneficial. And by the way, I do know of several practicing Christian aikidoka.

-Jase

Greg Jennings
08-04-2001, 11:07 PM
Originally posted by TheProdigy
I could be wrong, but I do believe the founder of Aikido, O'sensei, was in fact also a Christian. Of course his beliefs also went beyond just Christianity, I have heard or read that he was one also.

Aikido is an art to help bring you back into harmony. Regardless if blend it with religious beliefs or not, it is very beneficial. And by the way, I do know of several practicing Christian aikidoka.

-Jase

The Founder was a follower of Omotokyo. It's one of the so-called "new religions" of Japan. Definitely not Christian.

OTOH, The Founder said that Aikido was not a religion but might aid one's religion.

I'm a fairly serious Roman Catholic. I've been studying aikido for over six years. Most of that time has been at the Pentecostal church my instructor attends.

My being Catholic and my instructor being Pentecostal has never bothered our aikido or the other way around.

It might be different for you.

In short, it's all about your own beliefs.

Regards,

Anne
08-05-2001, 05:52 AM
Since this threads come up from time to time, you may want to look them up for quick information and other opinions. Just set the -show threads- line from 30 days to -from the beginning- and you can find two more threads on this topic.

yours,
Anne

guest1234
08-05-2001, 08:17 AM
There are some schools that never mention religion, spirituality, and even self-improvement in any way other than improving your technique. There are others that very heavily emphasize traditional and spiritual exercises that while not religious usually are interpreted as such and could make you uncomfortable. For about three months I attended a dojo that had a cross on the shomen, said a Judeo-Christian prayer before class, and rather than bowiing we said "peace" to each other and upon leaving and entering the dojo. Just go visit the ones in your area, and see what feels comfortable to you. I believe there is a form of Aikido out there for everyone. Good luck, hope to see you on the mat someday.

guest1234
08-05-2001, 08:22 AM
Oh, and I loved the confusion over O Sensei's religion, that might be a good thing for you to do, see if you can get a library book on his teachings or quotes, or I think bookstores might have a little pocket book of his sayings that's fairly inexpensive. I can easily see why Jason was confused, as his quotes often (not ALWAYS, you warmongers ready to quote a 'cut your opponet' saying) include encouragement to love one another, and work towards unity. I think you'd find the actual things he said perfectly acceptible to your beliefs.

aikilouis
08-05-2001, 03:20 PM
Religion must be the worst excuse for not practicing aikido. It doesn't bother too many people to see boxers beat each other senseless, or (american) footballers thank the Lord for allowing them to break necks week in and week out. Why could prevent you from practicing a non-violent art ? Is your faith shaky enough to be in contradiction with it ?

Louis R Joseph

Erik
08-05-2001, 05:13 PM
Originally posted by aikilouis
(american) footballers thank the Lord for allowing them to break necks week in and week out.

I've never heard a professional athlete thank the almighty after being trounced by 30 points. It seems that god only hangs out with athletes when they win.

Jorge Garcia
08-05-2001, 05:42 PM
Whether or not aikido is in contradiction to your Christianity depends on the dojo (there are all kinds) and on your particular style or "brand" of Christianity. For the most part, I think aikido in the US is fairly non religious in it's applications, even with regards to O Sensei's own religion since most of his students said they didn't understand it either! I am a Christian and a pastor and I have not encountered anything that affected my being a Christian but if I ever did, I just wouldn't participate in that particular thing. Always be true to your own conscience and don't ever do anything that violates that for anyone else-they won't have to answer to God for what you do-You will.
God bless and enjoy the journey!

guest1234
08-05-2001, 06:36 PM
Originally posted by aikilouis
Religion must be the worst excuse for not practicing aikido. It doesn't bother too many people to see boxers beat each other senseless, or (american) footballers thank the Lord for allowing them to break necks week in and week out. Why could prevent you from practicing a non-violent art ? Is your faith shaky enough to be in contradiction with it ?

Louis R Joseph

Many dojos start their classes with a series of bows and claps, explained usually just as a 'traditional, respectful' beginning. I believe them when they say that, but I am also aware that is the start to a prayer in another religion. How we got the 'traditional, respectful' explanation I'm not sure, probably the American observing it didn't understand it, didn't ask, and just continued the process in their own dojo. Since I believe them when they say it is not 'religious' I'm fine with it, but others who recognise the bow and claps for what it was (in it's root) might not be... but they are also not likely to be big boxing fans, either, just folks looking for a way to practice Aikido that is comfortable for them. Since my personal views allow me to attend religious ceremonies and services not in the faith of my childhood, it wouldn't be a big deal to me no matter how a lot of the 'traditional' parts of a class were meant, but I know there are many for whom this is a valid obstacle, and like I said, there are dojos out there that are probably not going to bother them, but there are some that will.

mj
08-05-2001, 07:29 PM
These are fair and valid points.
Having said that, O-senseis teachings are not always the teachings of Omoto-Kyo.... or any western religion.
'The sacred spirit' of futomani
Also his belief that he was possessed by 'Ame-no-murakamo-kuki-samuhara' which is distinctly un-Christian, probably.
Would it be fair to say that if ANY religion came up 'against' a man who could not be defeated, he would be hailed as a saint, or cast down as a devil? (In Christian terminology.) Cursed or exalted....
The masters' primary teaching was of peace and harmony. Isn't this a precept of all religion? So perhaps people gravitate towards him because of his aspirations and hopes. To watch old film of him, in his eighties, smiling and destroying the Ki of his attackers, melting the intent but not the person. An ideal that is in the essence of every (supposed) peaceful religion. A gardener. Maybe he was one of the early Humanists :eek:
Peace

***
08-06-2001, 03:25 PM
It seems that the answer to my question is really one that must be answered at the particular dojo, and that there is enough variation between dojos that a practice in one may not be espoused by another.

My particular concerns were, of course, not that it may be too "non-violent," rather that Akido, in practice, may have involved such concepts or practices as "calling on our ancestors for strength" (my ancestors are dead; I'll call on God for strength) or praying in any way to anyone but Jesus Christ. Other concerns are things like seeing our "equality with the world" - people, birds, rocks, everything. The Bible teaches that God has a special love and desire for humans that He does not have for anything else - we are, after all, "created in [His] image."

I don't intend to offend or even challenge you if you happed to believe in any of those things, but rather to show you what the specific concern was, and the reason for it.

If you look at the book in the Bible and Hebrew Scriptures called Daniel (chap. 3), you'll see the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Aben-nago. Basically, King Nebuchadnezzar made a declaration that at a specific time, all people had to fall down and worship a golden statue. Whoever did not worship would be cast into the middle of a furnace. So at this time, Shadrach, Meshach, and Aben-nago did not worship, because to do so would have been idol worship, and thus sinful. (The 1st of the 10 commandments addresses this) In the end, with one of the greatest declarations of faith found in the Bible, they say, (I paraphrase here) "God is able to deliver us from the furnace, and He may or may not. But even if He doesn't, we won't worship your idol."

It ends with them going into the furnace but not even getting singed. But what is remarkable to me, and what ties it to Akido, is the number of ways the three could have excused their idol worship. They could have bowed down and worshipped God, but made it LOOK like they were worshipping the idol; they could have just dismissed it as just one little thing and God would forgive them; they could have said to the King, "okay, sorry, we'll worship the idol"; etc. etc. etc. But as a part of their witness, they HAD to avoid the APPEARANCE of evil.

You may see from where I'm coming. It's not just my actual practice - I know that I'll never worship an idol, or pray to ancestors, etc. I know that I will always be a Christian. But I am obliged to, and I want to, make sure that everyone who looks at me knows that I am living my life for the living God.

Was that too much? I hope not. Again, I just want to show you where I'm coming from.

Thanks

Jim23
08-06-2001, 05:32 PM
Well, you will have to bow. A lot. But that's more because of tradition rather than worship, or even respect.

I respect many people outside the dojo, but have never bowed to them as it's not my tradition. I respect my wife, but have never bowed to her (I know better than to take my eyes off her;)). I also respect the engineering that went into the car I drive, but I have no plans to bow to either the car or the manufacturer.

I think the biggest problem you'll have will be the people you train with. Meaning, what their individual (and collective) views are, how they interpret aikido and how they respect your views.

Jim23

deepsoup
08-06-2001, 05:54 PM
You may see from where I'm coming. It's not just my actual practice - I know that I'll never worship an idol, or pray to ancestors, etc. I know that I will always be a Christian. But I am obliged to, and I want to, make sure that everyone who looks at me knows that I am living my life for the living God.

Was that too much? I hope not. Again, I just want to show you where I'm coming from.

Thanks


Well, the bow to shomen is a gesture of respect (for the dojo and the art itself, as well as the founder(s) of that art). Its not an act of worship, but if you still find it bothers you, talk to the sensei about it, most won't mind if you just skip that part.

Sean
x

lt-rentaroo
08-06-2001, 05:59 PM
Hello,

I understand you are very devout in your Christian beliefs, however I personally feel you are expressing way too much concern in relation to religious conflicts with the practice of Aikido.

That said, let me explain. I've never, ever been to an Aikido dojo that performed any type of ceremony in any way remotely related to the "calling on our ancestors for strength". I've visited a dojo that performed a ceremonial class session to symbolize the beginning of a new year of training, however this was not quite the same as "praying to the ancestors".

Seeing "equality with the world" is something that I believe ties into the concept of harmony. I personally don't find myself any higher up the path of righteousness than an earthworm. My personal beliefs are such that I think all living things are equal. This may make me seem like an animal rights tree hugging hippie, but I'm not. I rationalize this belief by knowing that all living things have a certain purpose, whether it is using trees for paper or cow hides for clothing. These are by beliefs, and I don't impose them on any of my students; to do so would in my opinion be highly inappropriate. With that knowledge in hand, I would find it hard to find harmony in the world if I felt that I was better or more important than another living thing. At the same time though, I'm certain that believing otherwise would in no way affect my Aikido training.

I believe that if you follow the beliefs you have and maintain the type of relationship with God that is important to you, then all those around you will see it and understand your feelings and beliefs. I recommend visiting several dojo and finding one that fits well with what you want to accomplish.

Please understand that what I've written is in no way a challenge to your beliefs, I admire those who maintain a strong belief system and truly live their lives by it. I believe that doing so demonstrates a very strong character and willingness to succeed in all lifes adventures. Have a good day!

mj
08-06-2001, 05:59 PM
Originally posted by deepsoup


Its not an act of worship, but if you still find it bothers you, talk to the sensei about it, most won't mind if you just skip that part.

Sean
x

Without being disrespectful to anyone at all...
I certainly Would mind if someone came into a Dojo, of any type, and did not follow the same basic civilities that everyone else did.

***
08-06-2001, 07:52 PM
Thanks for the replys. I really don't have a personal problem with bowing - I understand that in Japaneese culture, bowing is simply showing respect, not an act of worship.

And if I take it too far in terms of the questioning, try to remember that I am looking at Akido from the outside, never having had the opportunity to practice or even visit a dojo. ( I will be visiting one nearby in the next couple of days ) Akido seems to have the strongest link between philosophy and the actual art of any martial arts I've looked at. For instance, American Karate is often packaged as the best way to "deliver a devistating attack on your opponent" (actual quote from a A.K. dojo info sheet. I've never been in a fistfight that I couldn't talk down, but even if I was attacked, I really don't have the heart to kick somebody in the face. From what I see, the real beauty of Akido is that there are levels of force, many of which can be applied to bring the opponent into submission without injuring.

It's really impossible to learn a martial art that has no offensive moves without a strong philosophy behind it, and in practical application, philosophy and religion are in the same ballpark.

I thank everyone for your comments - I can say that any reservations I had have been addressed, and I look foreward to visiting a dojo soon.

Tim Griffiths
08-07-2001, 06:30 AM
Hi Jerid,

As far as bowing goes, in our dojo at least its made
very clear that it's just a formal greeting. In Israel, with
a lot of orthodox Jews and Muslims (yes, we do
practice together) its an important point. For the same
reason there is no clapping at the beginning (its a
Shinto cleansing/summoning ritual). People take
their religion seriously here...:)

What may be of more concern, and no-one's mentioned
so far, is a Ki-Society dojo that explicitly talks about and
works with the existence of ki - universal energy akin to
the 'Force' from Star Wars (ducks and runs).
This seems to cause the biggest problem for Christians,
and I know of one dojo in the UK which had to move from
the Church hall it was using when the priest saw the class
and heard what was being said (he also kicked out a Tai
Chi and a Yogo class).
Other styles (Aikikai, Yoshinkan) usually either don't talk
much about it at all or use it as a metaphor for relaxed
movement. Incidently this is probably the biggest split
in modern aikido.

You may want to ask your local dojo what style they practice
and their attitude towards ki.

Also incidently, O-sensei was not a Christian, knew little
about Christian teachings but was interested in it. He was
once asked how aikido fitted with the principle of turning
the other cheek. He was at first puzzled, and when the
story was explained to him said that aikido was very similar,
but in aikido we turn the other cheek before they hit us.

Tim

guest1234
08-07-2001, 04:23 PM
Originally posted by Tim Griffiths
Hi Jerid, For the same
reason there is no clapping at the beginning (its a
Shinto cleansing/summoning ritual). People take
their religion seriously here...:)

What may be of more concern, and no-one's mentioned
so far, is a Ki-Society dojo that explicitly talks about and
works with the existence of ki - universal energy akin to
the 'Force' from Star Wars (ducks and runs).


Tim

I think it is not quite fair to refer to Ki as 'The Force' anymore than one would refer to Ein-Sof and the Sefiroth as "The Force".
I do think that the mystical branch of each religion is often closer to mystical branches of other religions than it is to its parent organization.
Just an opinion.

Kenn
08-08-2001, 01:31 PM
Originally posted by ca


I think it is not quite fair to refer to Ki as 'The Force' anymore than one would refer to Ein-Sof and the Sefiroth as "The Force".
I do think that the mystical branch of each religion is often closer to mystical branches of other religions than it is to its parent organization.
Just an opinion.

Collen,

I have to disagree. I found it actually quite interesting that someone else used "the Force" from the star wars movies to indicate what Ki is. I have studied martial arts for 5 years or so now. The first 3.5 in Kung Fu and Tai Chi Ch'uan. I found the descriptions of Chi (Ki) to be very similar, in my philisophical mind at least, to that of "the Force".

Just an opinion.

Kenn

guest1234
08-08-2001, 04:31 PM
I guess we could talk about The Force "as a creative and active nature,… a dynamic aspect of infinite life, of potencies in which the process of … creative and world-maintaining activities are realized…the undifferentiated unity, the self-contained Root of Roots in which all contradictions merge and dissolve…primarily active and creative force…charged with and emanating energy." Through this, through the ten words of Creation, everything was created. OK then, except this is not Ki, and the words of Creation are logoi, not kotodama, and this is not Oriental mysticism, but Jewish (Ein-Sof and the Sefiroth). I'm just saying that calling a belief like this 'The Force' tends to denigrate it in people's minds, reduce it to a movie plot, which it is not. This is not to pick on Jewish beliefs, but the example was given since the person I was replying to had mentioned a strong Jewish faith. There are similiar beliefs across all religions.

mj
08-08-2001, 04:43 PM
The problem is....
Aikidoka find the word 'Force' to be antithetical. (Points for a word never seen on aikiweb?)
That is, we don't relate to the word force. Or the word Force, Luke.:confused:

Kenn
08-09-2001, 12:40 PM
Originally posted by ca
I guess we could talk about The Force "as a creative and active nature,… a dynamic aspect of infinite life, of potencies in which the process of … creative and world-maintaining activities are realized…the undifferentiated unity, the self-contained Root of Roots in which all contradictions merge and dissolve…primarily active and creative force…charged with and emanating energy." Through this, through the ten words of Creation, everything was created. OK then, except this is not Ki, and the words of Creation are logoi, not kotodama, and this is not Oriental mysticism, but Jewish (Ein-Sof and the Sefiroth). I'm just saying that calling a belief like this 'The Force' tends to denigrate it in people's minds, reduce it to a movie plot, which it is not. This is not to pick on Jewish beliefs, but the example was given since the person I was replying to had mentioned a strong Jewish faith. There are similiar beliefs across all religions.

Collen,
Wow...Lots there, not sure I get it all. However, I will leave you with the fact that Star Wars creator George Lucas is heavily involved in Zen Buhdism, and that he has stated that the idea of the Force is directly related to Chi (KI). I find the idea of an infite force, power, energy, whatever you want to call, permiating all existance is exactly what is meant by universal Ki...

Check out the late Doshu Kissamoura (SP?) Ueshiba's book, the spirit of Aikido.

Peace, and may the force be with you...Kenn

mj
08-09-2001, 06:59 PM
Anyway, Lucas stole Star Wars from the Akira Kurosawa film 'Hidden Fortress'
This is only my opinion, and not necessarily the views of the owners of Aikiweb.

tedehara
08-31-2001, 04:34 PM
Originally posted by Kenn


Collen,
Wow...Lots there, not sure I get it all. However, I will leave you with the fact that Star Wars creator George Lucas is heavily involved in Zen Buhdism, and that he has stated that the idea of the Force is directly related to Chi (KI). I find the idea of an infite force, power, energy, whatever you want to call, permiating all existance is exactly what is meant by universal Ki...

Check out the late Doshu Kissamoura (SP?) Ueshiba's book, the spirit of Aikido.

Peace, and may the force be with you...Kenn

When George Lucas began writing Star Wars®,"the notion of the Force appears in the rough draft when the king...says 'May the force of others be with you.' an obvious variation on the Christian phrase 'May the Lord be with you and with your spirit'."

In Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, Dale Pollock wrote that "Lucas's concept of the force was heavily influenced by Carlos Castaneda's Tales of Power, an account of a Mexican Indian sorcerer, Don Juan, who uses the phrase 'life force'."

However, Lucas said that he had read extensively on myth and mythology theory,"...as many as fifty books. I basically worked out a general theory for the Force, and then I played with it."

As the concept continued to evolve, Lucas would define the source of the force in the story meeting transcripts as: "The act of living generates a force field, an energy."

By the third draft of the manuscript, Lucas would have Ben Kenobi tell Luke Skywalker, "It is an energy field in oneself, a power that controls one's act yet obeys one's commands. It is nothing, yet it makes marvels appear before your very eyes. All living things generate this force...".

Lucas' development of The Force is not as clear cut as one would suspect. It is not directly from the concept of Qi/ChiKi. The above is from "May the Force be with You." : Ki in Star Wars ® (http://www.geocities.com/tokyo/ginza/3802/cks/cksessays.html#swars)

If you liked The Spirit of Aikido you'll probably like The Mysterious Power of Ki by Kouzo Kaku, where there is an essay by K. Ueshiba about Ki at the end of the book.

jimbaker
08-31-2001, 10:32 PM
And if I take it too far in terms of the questioning, try to remember that I am looking at Akido from the outside, never having had the opportunity to practice or even visit a dojo. ( I will be visiting one nearby in the next couple of days ) Akido seems to have ...


Please forgive me for asking, by why do you keep referring to the art as "Akido". At first I thought it was a typo, but it seems that this is the way you always spell it. I believe that "Akido" has no real meaning in Japanese.

Jim Baker

Kelly Cook
10-01-2001, 02:52 AM
Although I don't understand where the "force" tangent was going, I'm encouraged to see this topic here. I have studied informal Aikido under a christian instructor for a year now, and as I leave for college, am forced to part ways with him. I'm seeking a good Aikido dojo near my college, though, and was somewhat worried by this same subject. Being a severely devout christian, and being told that Aikido was in the running for the most spiritual of martial arts, I was obviously worried that I wouldn't find an appropriate place to train. If the descriptions of a more traditional Aikido training depicted here are accurate, I think I'll find my search much simpler than I orginally suspected! Thank you!

IPT (In Persuit of Truth),
Kelly

ChristianBoddum
08-18-2002, 10:39 AM
Hi !

I really know very little about the Omoto-kyo but as I understand it,it's a blended practice of christianity and shinto beliefs,the japanese seems to have been able to blend beliefs in a working manner, ex. you can marry according to christianity and be burried in a buddhist manner.

As to the practice of aikido,when you bow to shomen and O'senseis picture,as a christian you can bow to God to say thank you for the creation of man - without man there would be no O'sensei,then you thank for giving you such a great teacher to help you transform into a being that is complete, in accord with yourself and your belief.Finally,Nishio sensei has said that aikido is the Budo of forgivenes,so by training aikido you can become not just the word but also the physical expression of christianity.

The original japanese sword - the one that cuts through to new sollutions may not be the sword Jesus was the speaker of but I do see the two can act in accordance of each other.

I too have chosen Jesus as my saviour and have no trouble with the two,it's just a shame that it is so hard to get other believers to enter a dojo to try the wonderful practice of aikido.

Turn your foot from evil, prov.4 v.27 -

irimi tenkan.

yours - Chr.B.

31n13
08-18-2002, 04:28 PM
I haven't read all the posts mostly because I don't care for religion,

but how can you believe in something if it 'comes in conflict' with practicing a martial art.

It's something that frutstrates me so much that in this age of evolution people still believe in a 'godlike' being and all the other nonsense fantasized around it,

believe in yourself

Kevin Leavitt
08-18-2002, 04:48 PM
God mean different things to different people. As well as religion. It is the attachment that we personally put on it is where we all seem to disagree.

Religion is a personal thing. It is something that some people find peace and solitude in...nothing wrong with that.

Believing in yourself is a religion and philosophically that makes you your own god. So it would appear that you to believe in a god! Not that there is anything wrong with that!

We could debate all day long about the empirical evidence if god/or gods exist or not. What does it really change?

We are still all here on earth. We all agree that love and compasssion are good things and hate and greed are bad things.

Seems to me the world would be a better place if we all tried to find similarities and joy in each other as humans than trying to define concepts of god and "what is right and wrong" with believing or not believing.

In all cases I find the concept of god is all just semantics! We all believe in something!

opherdonchin
08-18-2002, 04:52 PM
Back to the issue of bowing for a second. In the dojo where I currently practice, we have an islamic student who does not bow (either to the dojo or to other students). Similarly, orthodox students in dojos in Israel where I practiced often did not bow to the shomen (but did bow to other students). Most aikido dojos that I've visited are respectful enough of one's religious needs to be considerate.

The flip side, your ability to be respectful of aikido's religious roots, is a separate question. Let's imagine for a second that I had some good friends who are from some strange branch of christianity where their regular service makes no explicit reference to god or jesus but is modelled closely on more traditional christian worship in other ways. I go with my friends to their 'group meeting' (or whatever) out of curiousity. I find that I'm enjoying it in a purely secular way (perhaps it feels like an appropriate kind of meditation to me, or maybe I find the values expressed really inspiring and uplifting). I continue to attend regularly for years, but I insist that I am not a christian.

I feel like many of us (and certainly me) are in the same situation vis a vis Buddhism. I don't know if I 'believe' in Buddhism (whatever that would mean) or count myself as a Buddhist, but I sure do seem to engage regularly in what is, fundamentally, Buddhist religious practice.

Kevin Leavitt
08-18-2002, 05:00 PM
I am a buddhist, if I must choose a label. The funny thing you find about buddhist is the more you learn about buddhism, the less you really want to have a label attached to you! (At least that is my experiences!)

But my dogtags, (I am in the Army) say Buddhist for religion! so I guess that makes me so.

Buddhism to me is more about philsophy than relgion per se. There is no dogma, or requirement to renounce anything. Only that you believe in the four noble truths. (Which I think all major religions in some form or another adhere to).

So it is possible to be a buddhist, and a christian, and an Akidoka at the same time! I really is up to you personally the attachment you put on things.

BTW, I still consider myself a Christian, since I believe in the teaching of Jesus, but I am sure by many Christians I would not meet their requirements. Same goes for Buddhist, I am sure as a westerner, I would fail to meet several things they consider to be relevant.

Again, who really cares...it's all about where you find peace and comfort! For that matter Aikido can also be considered a religion. It seems to meet the basic critieria!

Pretoriano
08-18-2002, 06:18 PM
"So it is possible to be a buddhist, and a christian, and an Akidoka at the same time! I really is up to you personally the attachment you put on things". Leavitt

You got my vote.

"Again, who really cares...it's all about where you find peace and comfort! For that matter Aikido can also be considered a religion. It seems to meet the basic critieria!" Leavitt

I follow the line.

Pretorian

wanderingwriath
08-18-2002, 06:50 PM
I don't think there is a conflict with practicing Aikido so long as the person is rational. My first sensei was a Methodist Minister.

Bruce Baker
08-20-2002, 01:54 PM
Ok ... back to the religious thing.

If I was to say my saviour for the my soul was say, a rock, how would that be any less valid than the representation of someone's faith in a human being who has died.

I have the same faith in my rock. I am a good human being who tries to life a good life because I worship my rock. I even get along with others who don't believe in my faith of the rock as they pursue their own religion.

Every religion has a representation of faith that allows you to put aside your emotional stress, your fear of death, and in this belief or peaceful state of mind we are allowed to co-exist within our environment.

There are a thousand deviations to the basic goodness of Christianity, and lessons that we need to remember as we live our lives, but the most important one is get along with our fellow human beings.

There are many historians who believe Jesus traveled to India, experienced Buddhism, and then adapted it to the Jewish faith, never expecting to create a new religion, but make his own faith more alligned with the universal god of human beings. How weird is that by the Bible's writings, the doctrine of the Christian Church, and the practices of todays Christians?

I have my certificate of membership for the Methodist Church, and have spent many long hours of study in Bible study before I went looking for historical references to support my given faith. Actually, finding true answers that dispell much of "Believe what I tell you, what they tell out side of our faith is lies" mentality has spurred me on to discover the universal truths of not only Aikido, but of the twisted mentality behind most religions.

If you seek the universal truths that bring peaceful co-existence, rather than looking for the simple things that show respect and increase your knowledge by training in another cultures martial arts, you faith will grow stronger and be enlightened.

Most of the group I practice with do go to Mass in the Catholic Church. The fact that we use different types of standing or kneeling bows to show respect for O'Sensei, or a teacher becomes unimportant.

Over the picture of the masters is always the sign of our faith, be it a representation of Christianity, or any other religion, we recognize that above all learning comes the faith in a higher power, or god.

Don't be put off by superficial things that are done to enter, practice, and leave the mat.

Most importantly, you must bring the love of your faith to the mat to generate that energy into heaven for those who have passed away, those who practice today, and those who will practice tomorrow.

If that is the force of our lives for today's reality in Aikido practice, then let the force be with you my friends.

Kevin Leavitt
08-20-2002, 02:24 PM
Bruce,

I can't resist...i tried...but I can't...

What exactly do you learn from you rock?

Have a nice day :)

opherdonchin
08-20-2002, 02:39 PM
Actually, I'm with Bruce. A 'true' religion would encourage its disciples to find their own truth just like a 'true' sensai encourages his students to find their own aikido.

It does raise interesting issues of the role of community in your religion, though. While we are each meant to find our own AiKiDo / God / Enlightenment, we are often encouraged to do so in the context of a dojo / church / community. What do those other people add?

Kevin Leavitt
08-20-2002, 02:49 PM
I don't think any religion really professes anything but people finding there own path.

Albeit some religions are more faith based than others...but I really think at core level everyone must have faith in something.

I totally follow Bruce...I was just giving him a hard time!

I am buddhist. One of the things I really liked about Buddha was that one of his first things was to question his teachings!

I think Christianity as a whole at it's core has no problem with this.

Although the history of the Christian church as a institution definitely has a background of dealing in undesirable ways with those that question...believe it was called heresey. (spanish inquisition to name one example).

But a religion shouldn't be judged on the actions of misguided humans! Every religion has a few skeletons it is not proud of.

opherdonchin
08-20-2002, 02:56 PM
Just real quick before I take off:

***********

A religion shouldn't be judged on the actions of misguided humans!

***********

I would say that is the only way a religion could or should be 'judged' (if judging religions was something we want to do).

virginia_kyu
08-20-2002, 03:25 PM
I haven't read all the posts mostly because I don't care for religion,

but how can you believe in something if it 'comes in conflict' with practicing a martial art.

It's something that frutstrates me so much that in this age of evolution people still believe in a 'godlike' being and all the other nonsense fantasized around it,

believe in yourself
Wow, you are so enlightened :rolleyes:

ChristianBoddum
08-20-2002, 03:52 PM
How to believe in yourself -

the funny thing is that I used to believe in myself very much and was a hardhead ,

but now putting my belief in Jesus and knowing

if I'm alright with him ,I can believe much more in myself,actually limits disappear.

How about that ?

yours - Chr.B.

Erik
08-20-2002, 04:16 PM
It's something that frutstrates me so much that in this age of evolution people still believe in a 'godlike' being and all the other nonsense fantasized around it,
http://www.celebatheists.com/entries/atheist_4.html#6

Believe in the pumpkin.

Kevin Leavitt
08-20-2002, 08:29 PM
Opher,

Since you are from Maryland, you are a person, and my experiences in Northern VA have been that Maryland drivers can't drive...then it is safe to assume based on your reasoning...then it is safe for me to assume that you cannot drive?

A simple logic argument...but I think it follows the logic of a religion should be judged by the actions of the people.

People should be judged by their own actions.

In the case of Christianity and it's history...(and all religions) or for that matter any definable "institution" has had "issues".

While I do not consider myself a Christian, I am well versed in Christian Dogma having grown up in the Anglian sect. I choose a different path for spiritual reasons. And yes, I have criticisms of the Institution and some people that identify with it, but I stop at dismissing the Bible, Jesus, or the teaching of Judaic/Christian principles- the core religion.

At it's base, you will find that today, Christians are trying to do the right things. Albeit there are many people who profess to be Christians that are really contradicting hipocrits...(however we all do that on occasion.)

But, As a religion, No, it should not be judged on the actions of people. Cause people are people and religion is a concept.

Kevin Leavitt
08-20-2002, 08:35 PM
Erik,

Speaking of George Carlin, that great philosopher, One of my favorite movies is Dogma!

If anyone has not seen it I recommend watching it.

If you listen to the message real close, all it is really doing his poking fun at a few of the contradictions in Dogma of the church.

Might be considered blasphemous by some, but I think it is important to have a little introspection from time to time and have the ability to laugh at yourself!

Oh, that is why I like South Park to!

virginia_kyu
08-20-2002, 09:35 PM
I agree that Marylanders can't drive :)

opherdonchin
08-20-2002, 11:15 PM
Since you are from Maryland, you are a person, and my experiences in Northern VA have been that Maryland drivers can't drive...then it is safe to assume based on your reasoning...then it is safe for me to assume that you cannot drive?

A simple logic argument...but I think it follows the logic of a religion should be judged by the actions of the people.

People should be judged by their own actions.Kevin, I don't follow the analogy here. I wasn't generalizing at all about people, I was saying that there is an inalienable connection between a religion and the behavior of its adherents. In some, sort of deep, senses, a religion is the behavior of its adherents.

Think about it another way: I've rarely known a religious person who is not willing to ascribe at least some aspects of the positive behavior of religious people from their particular faith to the religion's teachings.

In the same way that I'm happy to give credit where credit is due, and I really feel that there is much to admire, I think that it is important to think seriously about the failings. Is it true that all religions fail in the same way? Are some more prone to particular 'distortions' than others? These are real and important questions that people choose not to look at when they say, "That's not REALLY XXXXX."

Let's take an example closer to home. I really and truly think that AiKiDo, properly practiced, could not lead to Sensei's with big egos and ugly complicated politics. Still, the truth is that I KNOW that it has and that it probably will again. On the one hand, I tell myself 'that is not AiKiDo.' On the other hand, I need to say to myself, 'No, Opher, that IS AiKiDo. How does that change your understanding?'

And it's true, of course, that you would be wise to give me a wide berth on the road!:)

gadsmf@aol.com
08-21-2002, 05:28 AM
just think though, as a Christian Aikidoist,

you could turn your cheek the other way so effectively that the other person would miss altogether and unbalance themselves.

Ecosamurai
08-21-2002, 06:09 AM
I haven't read all the posts mostly because I don't care for religion,

but how can you believe in something if it 'comes in conflict' with practicing a martial art.

It's something that frutstrates me so much that in this age of evolution people still believe in a 'godlike' being and all the other nonsense fantasized around it,

believe in yourself
I have to say that as someone who devoutly believes in and studies evolution and science for a living, I hope this wasn't a serious post.

Most of if not all of the best scientists have believed in God in one way or another. Einstein's famous quote: "He does not play dice" being a good example. Michael Faraday was a devout christian who believed his work as a scientist was to better understand the mind of god as it is in nature. Charles Darwin was also the Rev. Darwin, though he lost his faith big time when one of his children died.

There is nothing in science that is in conflict with god if god is indeed truth.

The philosophy of modern science is that of Popperian science, Karl Popper said effectively that science doesn't ever proove anything, it only disproves what is demonstrably false. If however you can find only two options and disprove one, then the other being left over is by default the truth.

In essence this leaves plenty of room for belief in god or any form of religious practice so long as you do not interpret many of the things written in holy texts literally (i.e. the garden of eden is directly at odds with current scientific knowledge), instead treat them as allegory or whatever.

A good scientist does not dismiss anything simply because they think they know better, this leads to mistakes in the form of assumptions that can mislead an earnest researcher.

Sincerely

Mike Haft

Kevin Leavitt
08-21-2002, 06:32 AM
Opher,

As it is with most cases in threads...we are probably talking around the same issue.

I agree there is a connection between peoples actions and religion...no question about it.

But I tend to look at it as people use the concept and principles of religion to justify there actions. Therefore, judge people based on their actions, not the religion!

We should not judge islam as a bad religion because terrorist bastardize the concepts to justify their actions. Judget the terrorist.

It is very true that most religions how written scripture condoning the use of violence. Well that said aikido also condones the use of force and violence. It cannot be taken fundamentally or literally as it is lifted out of the scripture. You must consider such actions based on the totality of the situation.

Life, religion and even aikido is a paradox.

That is why I like the zen koan. "Do not harm, but stop harm".

Kevin Leavitt
08-21-2002, 06:37 AM
God is a huge concept.

Some relate to God as a bearded diety sitting on a cloud.

Some believe that god is the life force that permeates all living things.

Some people only believe in themselves and that they exisit.

Whatever you call it, philosophically we all believe in something bigger than ourselves.

Even if Science is our god.

We can debate this concept forever and never reach a solution.

I say life is too short to waste debating the exsistence of such a paradox. we should get on with living and practice the things we should all do regardless of our belief.

If we did that then "God" would be happy! :)

opherdonchin
08-21-2002, 10:29 AM
I agree there is a connection between peoples actions and religion...no question about it.

But I tend to look at it as people use the concept and principles of religion to justify there actions. Therefore, judge people based on their actions, not the religion!

We should not judge islam as a bad religion because terrorist bastardize the concepts to justify their actions. Judget the terrorist.
Well, you know, who are we to be judging Islam (or any religion) in the first place. Still, if it's ok to say, with some admiration in my voice, "Islam produced a highly enlightened civilization that allowed many, very different people to live in peace for hundreds of years," then it is just as 'ok' to say, 'Islam produced an intolerant and violent fanatical offshoot that has led to a great deal of suffering in this world."

Actually, when I think about it again, maybe those two aren't equivalent. For instance, I feel like it is my right to admire beauty or strenght in others but it is not my right to deride or condemn their flaws. Maybe I should extend the same generosity to religions and judge them by what they have achieved and not where they have failed.

Ah, it's all about learning not to judge, isn't it?

And one more point:The philosophy of modern science is that of Popperian science, Karl Popper said effectively that science doesn't ever proove anything, it only disproves what is demonstrably false. If however you can find only two options and disprove one, then the other being left over is by default the truth.I'm afraid I can't agree with that last sentence. The law of the excluded middle is a fine game in the world of logic or science, but it is not wise to confuse it for real life.

Genex
08-22-2002, 05:27 AM
there is an easy solution to all your problems

CONVERT!

hehehe

seriously tho if your religion says you shouldnt harm others and your obaying that then i guess thats good morally but if you cant practice aikido because your religion says so or any other sport for that matter, then to be honest your not really living your own life are you? your living a dictated set of rules made a long time ago by some really dead ppl, i guess we all are in some ways but your allowing yourself to be Bound by them i couldnt follow something that bound me like that i'm too much of a free spirit i like to be able to touch women i like to eat beef in a roast or a nice juicy barely cooked steak, i will eat pork because its nice, and i have no qualms about catching and cooking something for food, i'll talk to who i want and do what i want (within the country's legal system ish) and generaly live my life.

sometimes religion is an ar$e!

pete

mike lee
08-22-2002, 05:44 AM
One of the purposes of aikido training is to make us better members of the community -- kind of like Guardian Angels in the flesh. I see no conflict with religion unless you train under a sensei who delights in the use of violence or makes light of those who promote peace, peace, peace.

Dennis Hooker
08-23-2002, 08:51 AM
This is posted to the original question and I originally posted it on another forum. It is long winded. The early part of my life had a lot to do with the person I became and the way I teach and relate to others. Perhaps the reasons I sought out, and have stayed with Aikido is because of the kinds of interpersonal relationships I had early on in my life. Thank God (or who ever want) that I had these early lessons and relationships to balance out the horrific and really bad things that came into my life. These relationships taught me the value of following good people. I do not preach religion but teach Aikido. Although I have preached in church. I hope that some of the early lessons and ideals I developed have influenced in a positive way my teaching. I hope they have brought into my Aikido that which I believe the founder intended to be there. Honesty, sincerity, charity, love, hope, strength, and the physical ability and martial skill to make them possible, practical and believable. The follow is every word the truth. The manner of talking is as close to a nine year old Indiana boy growing up on Wabash River as I can remember.

Now Them Was Christians That Seeded My Faith

Sometimes on a Sunday morning when I was about eight or nine years old I would wake up and polish my shoes. Then I would go through the old beaten up dresser and find my best pair of slacks. I only had two pair of dress slacks and they was mostly for school. I laid them out on the bed and then went about polishing my old shoes and then I would go to the sheet used as a closet door and pull it back and find a button up the front shirt. I didn’t often wear such cloths in the summer or on weekends but I was fixing to go to church and I laid out my very best. I would wash my face and hands before dressing in my finery and then I would comb my hair. Regardless of how hard I tried I still looked like a scruffy nine year old. I could never get that polished look I so admired in some of the church kids. Perhaps my slacks were little to and the shirt a little to faded, I don’t know but I sure lacked that glimmer I longed for. I would walk out the front door turn right and go one block to the old church. I would marvel at the shinny cars parked around it. The men were dressed in suites with ties and the ladies all wore fine dresses with flowers and such on them and most had on hats. The boys wore new slacks with sharp creases in them, and crisp starched shirts with button down collars. The girls wore frilly dresses and had ribbons in their hair and every Sunday I went to church it felt like Easter to me.

Some of the men would line the steps going up to the church and shake hands with everyone going in. They’d say things like “how you today Brother, or Good Morning Sister” and they would all smile. When I walked up the steps they would say things like good morning and good to see you again and where you been. They treated me just like I was somebody. Just like I was one of them. You know what I mean? Like a regular person and just as good as they was. The preacher, he would be at top of the steps and he would tell me go right in an grab a seat. You know them Evangelical United Brethren folks let me set anywhere I wanted. Why I could go right up front if I wanted to and take a seat right there in the very first row. Not like the Baptist up the hill from my house that told me to set in the back and be quite. Oh them EUB Christians was some nice church folks. Those polished kids in their finery would treat me like I was welcome and never said nasty things to me, or as far as I know about me, or anyone else. Now them was some Christians I reckon.

Now I missed more church than I attended, a lot more. So one Sunday morning I was skipping church and headed down to my swimming spot at the Little Sugar Creek. When I got there what do you reckon I saw? There were folks all lined up and the a preacher was standing about waste deep in water and be was baptizing them. There was picnic tables set up with all manner of food. It was a most glorious sight with that sunshine and white robes and singing and the smell of fried chicken. I was standing there on that little grassy levee looking down and feeling like I been there before. Did you ever have that feeling? It’s way down in your belly and it makes you feel all tingly and good. That preacher looked up at me and waved for me to come on down. I did and them lined up people put me right there in the front. The water was cool and it was a mighty hot day and the cool water running over my feet and past my knees and the warm air was blowing against my face and hair was something I will never forget. Then that preacher said a few words and dipped me under. I have had educated folks tell me about sensual reaction to external stimuli. They explain how the warm air and cool water combine to stimulate feelings which are based purely on physical principles That may be well and true but what I felt that morning was something spiritual and entirely different. You see me and that Little Sugar Creek were quite well acquainted with warn summer Sunday mornings. I had often felt something washed off me but never out of me. Plus I got to eat some of that good food. To be honest I got to eat a lot of that good food.

This was my first baptism. Oh, I was baptized more that once you see. At nine years old I thought anything that felt that good was worth overdoing. I didn’t think Jesus would mind and besides he probably thought I could use a extra cleaning now and again.

I do believe the seed of my Christian faith was planted on such an occasion as these. Planted by tolerant people who didn’t mind a small dirty boy hanging around. People who didn’t mind giving more than getting. Now them was some Christians . Now I have often times neglected that seed and for long periods failed to water and fertilize it but it never died and with each true expression of faith it sprouted new roots. Now I will be the first to admit that for years those roots that went out to my heart and my mind, to my feelings and my compassion were barley covered in the soil of the Word, but that seed put out a tap root than went all the way to the core of my soul. You couldn’t rip it out with a hoe. Regardless of my personal actions I believe the kindness of Christians and the promise of Christ shaped me. I believe those sun drenched Sunday mornings in the sanctuary and those snow covered evenings in the church basement at youth service, that so often fill my memory, are the gardeners of my life.

One evening in late summer I was invited by the man that conducted the Sunday youth service to a cookout at his house. It was only a block or so from where I lived but it was in another world altogether. Well I can tell you I was excited. I was going to have a hot dog and maybe even a humbugger and a Coca Cola. Maybe even two if no one was looking. I got much more than I bargained for that evening. That one evening I gained a new insight to life. There were lots of other kids there and even a few more grown up men. It was nearly nine o’clock at night and there was a big bonfire going and marshmallows roasting on sticks and not one of them men was drunk. Not only that but none of those men had been drinking beer or whisky. I thought all men got drunk on Saturday night. All my remembering life I could not remember a Saturday when it had not happened. Not only were they sober but they was having a good time. At that moment I realized how other people lived. I was happy that it could be that way. Folks at that church shared with me, ate with me and prayed with me. Finer people I have never known and more honest people were never born. I believe this with all my heart. These were people that rejoiced in their faith and were not to afraid or to timid to express it. These were people not beaten down and repressed by life, but let their joy and their faith and their testimony flow out. These were the people that planted the seed of faith in me. Yes that was when the seed was planted. Now the sprouting of the shoot was something else again. That tender sprout that eventually came up to face the world and the sun had to push it’s way through some mighty rocky soil. Why it was stopped entirely sometimes for years. But it never died because it was seeded well. The tap root ran deep. I am near 60 years old now and I believe that sprout turned into a fairly strong stalk a few years ago. It evened flowered with the birth of my granddaughter. I sure hope it bears good fruit and if I’m lucky I can plant a few seeds of faith my own self before I die.

Now I been gone most of twenty five years and I no longer attend Church regularly but my family does. My sister Karin and her husband Mike still attends that same church. Some people say Dennis why don’t come to this church or attend that one? My wife never prods me but often invites me to her church and I sometimes go. You see, I am not a man to keep his mouth shut. If I think a good Amen praise the lord and halleluiah brother needs saying I apt to say it. That turns some folks right off, makes them look at you funny. So I set there stiff and wordless. Now I can set on my porch Sunday morning playing the banjo and sing Walking In Jerusalem Just Like John or I’ll Fly Way or some other praiseful song as loud and off key as I want and I don’t embarrass anyone. I can talk right out loud to Jesus if I want and I can get mad at him for some of his decisions. Oh yes, sometimes I get mad at him and tell him off and you know some folks just don’t like that. You see I believe that there are some things God is willing to talk about. I think he just wants to see how much “You” really believe in your request. Of course I most often loose the argument but I feel better because he was willing to talk about it. Sometimes though I am a sore looser and stay mad for a long time. I suppose that is why after the planting of the Christian seed the sprouting of the Christian shoot, the growing of the Christian stalk, the flowering of the Christian devotion the producing of the Christian seed is taking so long.

So what has this long winded tirade got to do with Aikido? Just to show that there are some good Christians people, some good Aikido people, some good black people, some good white people, some good can be found it most every group. Of course some folks just look for the bad people and point them out as examples. Religion is not a bad thing but people can be. Once in Pensacola at the University of West Florida I had two young men form the middle east join the Aikido club at different times. They were both of the Islamic faith and sworn enemies. They would never work out together and entered the dojo through different doors. Two years latter they were friends and when they went home each left me their prayer rug. Aikido can be a good thing for your faith.

Dennis Hooker www.shindai.com

akiy
08-23-2002, 09:55 AM
So what has this long winded tirade got to do with Aikido? Just to show that there are some good Christians people, some good Aikido people, some good black people, some good white people, some good can be found it most every group.
Even though I'm not religious, I'm moved to say "Amen!" here.

Good stuff, Dennis. Thank you.

-- Jun

memyselfandi
08-23-2002, 06:11 PM
i'll talk to who i want and do what i want (within the country's legal system ish)And that is exactly what anyone who follows religious laws is doing, except they are following the laws not because their worried about being punnished by the government, but because they believe the laws are sanctioned by a G-d they believe in and that he will deal out the punishment.(And/Or their moral code matches their religious code and their just doing what they believe is right.)

Besides, who are you to judge someone elses morals? Who's to say that your's (based on those of the people that you grew up around) are better than those of someone who bases theirs on the laws of a religion that has been around for thousands of years. In fact, most of that moral code that you follow is probably based on the morals of those religious peoples who have been passing them on generation to generation since the birth of the religion.

Just my $.02 :D

Bruce Baker
08-26-2002, 01:00 PM
If Mr. Dennis Hooker didn't make the point of living life with a good spirit will make your life better, then come over here ... I have a lightning rod for you to hold.

The light is coming ... and don't let go of the lightning rod!