PDA

View Full Version : sceptic on the spiritual side of aikido


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Apoy
08-23-2006, 08:52 PM
I love the techniques

I love the subtlety of aiki

I love the art

I live by the philosophy

I just cannot get into the spiritual side of it. I dont believe in the kami and/or the gods of war. Dragons and spirits are things that I read in mythology and they all remain in the book after I read them. The universe to me consist of galaxies, interstellar dust clouds, planets, cosmic rays, space debris, comets, moons, etc. The universe to me does not have any consciousness. :hypno:

I believe in ki as intention. I cannot measure ki as energy. Ironically I sort of believe in ki. Maybe I am just running on faith on this one. :sorry:

As an aikidoka do we also have to embrace the almost religious aspect of our beloved art. Because like my teachers and my classmates I am a sceptic on the spiritual side of aikido. Because so far my aikido remained the same even though I haven't communucated with any Kami :rolleyes:

Kevin Leavitt
08-23-2006, 08:58 PM
I think the spiritual side is an individual thing. It does not require belief in the things that you state. The practice of aikido may help you understand yourself, your beliefs.... it may help you understand people, human nature, and interactions with others more closely.

I am somewhat spiritual, and my beliefs on things pretty much parallel yours...There is room in my spiritual practice for aikido.

KI, if aikido helps you be aware of it and helps you understand it some...whatever that may be to you...then I think it is somewhat spiritual in nature.

It does not require absolute belief in any thing dogmatic. It is not a black or white, or the "book says I must believe this" kinda "spirituality".

tedehara
08-23-2006, 09:35 PM
Learn from your training, not from what others tell you. Analyze beliefs and challenge them with your own thoughts and experiences.

You are not the only person who is skeptical about aikido spirituality. Perhaps they are not as vocal as the "true believers", but they are quietly practicing and figuring things out for themselves. These people will always grow.

Mike Hamer
08-23-2006, 10:04 PM
I love the techniques

I love the subtlety of aiki

I love the art

I live by the philosophy

:

Same page here Juan, I have my own spiritual beliefs, but that does not limit my spiritual growth through aikido. Aikido can mold and refine anyones spirit, regardless of which form they choose to finley polish.

Anyone get what im trying to get at here?

dps
08-23-2006, 10:31 PM
Same page here Juan, I have my own spiritual beliefs, but that does not limit my spiritual growth through aikido. Aikido can mold and refine anyones spirit, regardless of which form they choose to finley polish.

Anyone get what im trying to get at here? My spiritual beliefs are a part of my entire life that help me guide my thoughts and actions. Everything I do is a potential for spiritual growth. If Aikido is a part of my life then the practice of Aikido is an opportunity for spiritual growth. I decide what my spirituality is, not other people or what I do. I decide if other people can help me or what I do helps me.

Aristeia
08-23-2006, 10:42 PM
Spritual to me (as an atheist) occupies the sphere of how we intereact with other people and our intention toward them. I think Aikido has much to offer in this sphere.
I agree that if Aikido is to have a spiritual effect it's as a result of the physical training, as opposed to in the form of someone pontificating before or after class. Kami dragons gods, use them as a metaphor if that helps or discard them if it doesn't. To me they have nothing to do with the spiriuality of aikido other than being one man's particular mode of expression.

Erick Mead
08-23-2006, 11:08 PM
I love the techniques ... the subtlety of aiki ... the art ... I live by the philosophy

I just cannot get into the spiritual side of it. I dont believe in the kami and/or the gods of war. Dragons and spirits are things that I read in mythology and they all remain in the book after I read them. The universe to me consist of galaxies, interstellar dust clouds, planets, cosmic rays, space debris, comets, moons, etc. The universe to me does not have any consciousness. :hypno:
And yet awareness or consciousness seems to be an unavoidable element of reality at a fundamental level. Indeed, the basic incompatibility of Schrodinger's equation and the collapse of the quantum wave state, and the equally valid empirical demonstration of both approaches suggest that reality is only potential and is realized only by attention of an observer. Question is -- who is watching when we are not? Or was Bishop Berkeley right, after all?
I believe in ki as intention. I cannot measure ki as energy. Ironically I sort of believe in ki. Maybe I am just running on faith on this one. :sorry: There may also be far more demonstrable empirical foundations for ki principles, and I am no Ki Society kool-aid drinker :freaky: (and for clarification for the reflex flames: kool-aid drinkers exist in any field of endeavor). For examples of these principles and further discussion see here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=150071&postcount=1 and here for some study citaitons: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=150259&postcount=19

Chuck.Gordon
08-24-2006, 12:54 AM
As an aikidoka do we also have to embrace the almost religious aspect of our beloved art.

Nope.

I view much of that sort of thing as cultural background for the art. It's part of the flavor, and should be studied with an eye toward how it affected the development of the art, but is simply that: part of the complex weave that is the philosphical side of aikido.

Jorge Garcia
08-24-2006, 02:18 AM
I agree that everyone has their own "spirituality" and that is not a forced stricture of Aikido. Having said that, I feel that to be a "true believers", that we need to know and have a basic understanding of what the Founder taught so that we can properly contextualize the art. Otherwise, we are just practicing an art made up from our own imagination. I don't agree with everything the Founder believed in but need to understand it so I can explain it and set the proper parameters for my own training and for what I am looking for in this art.

MikeLogan
08-24-2006, 07:39 AM
So Erick, essentially you're saying there could be beer in my fridge, I simply need to observe it. Since I don't recall putting any in there, I will instead retain the contentment of acknowledging the possibility.
And a quote from my trusty old quantum text: Ronald Knox suggested,
There was a young man who said, 'God
Must find it exceedingly odd
If he finds that this tree
Continues to be
When there's no one about in the Quad.'And Berkely replies to Knox's attackDear Sir:
Your astonishment's odd:
I am always in the Quad.
And that's why the tree
Will continue to be,
Since observed by
Yours faithfully,
God. The question is not so much what happens while the tree is unobservable, but rather what happens while the tree is unobservable. The tree can leave the quad because for a brief enough time it can have a high enough energy at it's disposal, and no experimenter has any means of knowing about it. ... You may say this is against common sense. It is, but the essential point is whether or not it violates the Laws of Nature, as we know them today. Apparently it doesn't. - p. 48 "electrical properties of materials" Solymar and Walsh, 6th edition

I love this stuff, it's like learning to use your hips, only mentally. Juan, we have consciousness, and consist of matter that is derived from the universe, and so, the universe is conscious. We are the universe looking at itself.

michael.

Erick Mead
08-24-2006, 08:02 AM
So Erick, essentially you're saying there could be beer in my fridge, I simply need to observe it. Since I don't recall putting any in there, I will instead retain the contentment of acknowledging the possibility. Yuck! -- The beer would probably not taste half so bad were it not for the undead cats in there ...

On the other hand., the only times I can remember believing myself to have been in two places at once definitely involved beer. Although, it must be admitted, I was not constituting the awareness necessary for my continued existence, except for for very brief and intermittent periods at the time ...

I say further experimenting may be required.

Luc X Saroufim
08-24-2006, 08:57 AM
what makes a martial art a way of life? all of us can agree Aikido is more than self-defense, but what makes it so?

these are questions that can only be answered inside yourself.

no matter how long you polish a tile, you will never get a mirror. you cannot discover what is not there. my advice is to find what *is* there, inside of you, and go with it.

Michael Young
08-24-2006, 09:38 AM
I just cannot get into the spiritual side of it. I dont believe in the kami and/or the gods of war. Dragons and spirits are things that I read in mythology and they all remain in the book after I read them. The universe to me consist of galaxies, interstellar dust clouds, planets, cosmic rays, space debris, comets, moons, etc.

Interestingly enough, I don't think O'Sensei believed in those things the same way you are picturing it. My interpretation of the Shinto aspect of Aikido's "cosmology" or religious side, used to be very much the same as yours. The problem is the interpretation we have of Shinto views. Just as with most things Japanese (and in many religions) there is an "Omote" and "Ura" view to be taken. Shinto actually has a very deep study and understanding of the principles of nature...the diety names (Kami) etc, and language were meant to be metaphorically used as a tool to approach the deeper concepts. Much as in other religions like Hinduism, Bhuddism, Christianity, etc, the metaphors and parables have been only understood and passed on in a shallow manner by many. In other words, the metaphors became to reality to most practioners. A deeper inquiry into the principles and concepts behind all the trappings of Shinto begin to reveal an astoundingly complex, and even scientific, view of reality and concepts of existence. I'm not a practioner of Shinto (it isn't in my cultural background) but it has some great value as a tool for understanding our world and existence and is worth some study and understanding...if nothing else for a way to begin understanding and developing our own beliefs and views. I found William Gleason's book "The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido" very interesting (thogh not easy) and infomative reading. Mitsugi Saotome Sensei's book "Aikido and the Harmony of Nature" provides an easier approach in terms that aren't cloaked in Shinto terminology.

Best,

Mike

MikeLogan
08-24-2006, 10:22 AM
no matter how long you polish a tile, you will never get a mirror. you cannot discover what is not there. my advice is to find what *is* there, inside of you, and go with it.Could you clarify this metaphorical connection for me? I find it confusing, as you can quite easily polish a tile, even beyond the surface standards required of a mirror. This gives me a gut reaction to your advice being wrong, because as stated you did not discover the mirror in the tile, because you believed it to be absent. I imagine maybe 'polishing a sponge into a mirror' was more your point, or am I now defeating my own ability to discover?

I think I see your point, Luc,which I agree with, that being to ask and answer questions of the spiritual sense with regard to personal experience/belief? It was just the metaphor that got me.

michael.

Luc X Saroufim
08-24-2006, 10:45 AM
Interestingly enough, I don't think O'Sensei believed in those things the same way you are picturing it. My interpretation of the Shinto aspect of Aikido's "cosmology" or religious side, used to be very much the same as yours. The problem is the interpretation we have of Shinto views. Just as with most things Japanese (and in many religions) there is an "Omote" and "Ura" view to be taken. Shinto actually has a very deep study and understanding of the principles of nature...the diety names (Kami) etc, and language were meant to be metaphorically used as a tool to approach the deeper concepts. Much as in other religions like Hinduism, Bhuddism, Christianity, etc, the metaphors and parables have been only understood and passed on in a shallow manner by many. In other words, the metaphors became to reality to most practioners. A deeper inquiry into the principles and concepts behind all the trappings of Shinto begin to reveal an astoundingly complex, and even scientific, view of reality and concepts of existence. I'm not a practioner of Shinto (it isn't in my cultural background) but it has some great value as a tool for understanding our world and existence and is worth some study and understanding...if nothing else for a way to begin understanding and developing our own beliefs and views. I found William Gleason's book "The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido" very interesting (thogh not easy) and infomative reading. Mitsugi Saotome Sensei's book "Aikido and the Harmony of Nature" provides an easier approach in terms that aren't cloaked in Shinto terminology.

Best,

Mike

+6,859,456,782,123.056

i have read both of those books, and it seems like we both got the same thing out of them. a good testament to the authors, and to the effectiveness of the books' mission.

Juan, maybe you should pick one of them up?

Luc X Saroufim
08-24-2006, 10:55 AM
Could you clarify this metaphorical connection for me? I find it confusing, as you can quite easily polish a tile, even beyond the surface standards required of a mirror

i foolishly used an object that actually shines, to compare to a mirror. like you said, "polish a sponge into a mirror" or "polish a rock into a mirror" would've made more sense, and that's what i meant.

the original poster, Juan, said he couldn't "get into" some of the beliefs, and claimed that he *had* to, in order to fully understand and appreciate Aikido.

what i'm saying is that Juan should not try and understand what he cannot find in his heart.

MikeLogan
08-24-2006, 11:28 AM
What is a mirror, truly?even if it reflects better than a mirror, it will never be one. While Deconstructionism is a tricky and oft-maligned practice, it is better than too firm a grip on terms and words. The 'true mirror' mirror you speak of can hold crackers, and cheese. One could drive nails into the wall if they wanted to, if they logically perceived the possibility.
The idea of 'polishing the mirror' as I understand it is quite common to development of skill and understanding of the martial arts / budo in general. It implies that something is not what it will become. There is a different manifestation of aikido for every body and mind type on the mat. Some individuals spring to it like fish to water, both mentally and physically, they are good mirrors. Others struggle to make it to and through class, and are baffled by some of the stuff that only baffles most of us slightly less so. These are bad mirrors. It is best to be a bad mirror. The effort put forth is that much more precious. If it is impossible to reach a goal or state that is other than our present selves, then we should head to the bar, as we've reached nirvana and never yet noticed.

Juan did not claim the need to hold shinto beliefs, he inquired as to the need, as it was not in his heart as you rightly stated, and worried that he might be wasting his time in aikido if he ultimately needed to believe in shinto spirituality. But understanding the motivations behind the message will communicate knowledge, without demanding belief in the messenger. Striving outright for ignorance because one encounters something they don't want to believe is like putting the mirror in a sack, and putting the polishing tools back on the shelf.

I think I'm getting too far off track, so I will leave it at that. I'm probably just thinking too much on a thursday. So, forgive me for waxing verbose.

michael.

Brion Toss
08-24-2006, 12:05 PM
"Spirituality" is a very loaded term. And that's not surprising, as it deals with things we can't be utterly sure about, the way we (think we) can about physical matters. Spirituality might be seen as the means by which we try to come to terms with the glaring evidence that we don't understand everything. But it also might be the way we reach completion, assuming that whatever spriritual system we adopt does in fact help us to relate accurately to things beyond our immediate senses.
Aikido's founder had something going on that other people found hard/impossible to match, and he consistently, emphatically, endlessly told his followers that the key to what he had resided in the spiritual side of things. If this is so, if his spiritual practices did help him to bring power and peace out of the ether, and into the mundane, then it would seem like a good bet to explore that side of things further. Clearly, one does not have to be an Enligtened Being to land a good nikkyo, but that is not the same thing as saying that the best nikkyo's are available without significant spiritual practices. I am not advocating the embrace of O Sensei's particular brand of Shintoism and eclectic approaches, primarily because they are probably unavailable, to any meaningful extent, to Westerners otherwise conditioned. But I do believe that every important part of my life cannot be fully appreciated, truly realized, without stepping beyond the empirically obvious. It might be that this approach is just a trick I play on myself, to push the empirical envelope, and that one day O Sensei's work will be expressed as a simple mathematical formula. But I suspect not.

Aiki LV
08-24-2006, 02:01 PM
I love the techniques

I love the subtlety of aiki

I love the art

I live by the philosophy

I just cannot get into the spiritual side of it. I don't believe in the kami and/or the gods of war. Dragons and spirits are things that I read in mythology and they all remain in the book after I read them. The universe to me consist of galaxies, interstellar dust clouds, planets, cosmic rays, space debris, comets, moons, etc. The universe to me does not have any consciousness.

I believe in ki as intention. I cannot measure ki as energy. Ironically I sort of believe in ki. Maybe I am just running on faith on this one.

As an aikidoka do we also have to embrace the almost religious aspect of our beloved art. Because like my teachers and my classmates I am a skeptic on the spiritual side of aikido. Because so far my aikido remained the same even though I haven't communucated with any Kami

Important distinction in my opinion, spiritual does not equal religious. You can be spiritual and not religious. Religion indicates membership or association with some type of group that has a certain set of beliefs. You can have individual spiritual beliefs and not be part of an organized group.

Again I will say "in my opinion" you don't have to subscribe to shinto beliefs to do aikido. I do think that in order to really understand the art with any depth you must at least know the roots of where it comes from. If you don't know something how can you hope to understand it? I also sense a bit of mockery when you describe aspects of shinto. I don't know if this is out of ignorance or fear? No one says you have to be shinto, but you should at least understand where they are coming from.

I live by the philosophy

I just cannot get into the spiritual side of it

To me these two statements totally contradict each other. How can you live by a philosophy when you reject the very tenants it's based on?

Just some thoughts.......-Mindy- :)

statisticool
08-24-2006, 04:56 PM
I love the techniques
I love the subtlety of aiki
I love the art
I live by the philosophy


Hi Juan,

I think that sincerity is the aspect of spirituality that is the most important. It sounds like you have plenty of sincerity to go around, so I wouldn't be too concerned if others say you need to be spritual to really 'get' it.


Justin

Apoy
08-24-2006, 08:27 PM
To me these two statements totally contradict each other. How can you live by a philosophy when you reject the very tenants it's based on?

Just some thoughts.......-Mindy- :)


Hi Mindy,

Philosophy and spritualism are different to me.

Eg.

I do believe that I should be kind to animals great and small (philosophy) but I am not a buddhist (spiritualism).

So yes I believe in the Philosophy of our art, however I am struggling on the spiritual side of it.

Mark Uttech
08-24-2006, 09:35 PM
Spiritualism shouldn't bother people too much if they begin from the idea that they are a living spirit. It is not Ouija Boards and Seances and things like that. There are colorful theories with sand mandalas and prayer flags and things like that. And philosophy is tough to embody. You need a practice to do that. Irimi ho and tenkan ho. These are simple practices because anyone can do them. The aiki sword is the sword that cuts things together, for example. Every baby born is interested in movement; that is the art of aikido.

Erick Mead
08-25-2006, 10:42 AM
I do believe that I should be kind to animals great and small (philosophy) but I am not a buddhist (spiritualism). Actually the first is sentiment, not philosophy. Sentiment, in this context, is far superior in action, than philosophy in all respects, but woefully deficient in reasoned explanation or persuasion. Reason and sentiment each have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Buddhism is actually VERY philosophical, and frankly not even that spiritual in its tenets or essential practices, but marvelously spiritual in its effects. Buddha's teaching is essentially empirical from a psychlogical standpoint, and remarkably simple to state, which no doubt has been a great part of its historical appeal. It is fairly acceptable to any professed humane religion or spirituality:

1) Suffering is an inevitable part of living.

2) There is cause of suffering -- attachment to that we would desire reality to be.

3) There is end of suffering - destroying the illusion of what we desire reality to be.

4) There is a means to accomplish this end -- to will what is and to cease to will our desire of what it ought to be.

Note in passing that by effecting this result -- desire itself does not cease to be, only my will to effect that desire is redirected. Enlightenment is, quite simply, a continuing act of will. My desires simply return to the fold of what IS -- along with eveything else -- without any greater dignity in my perception or decisions, than, say, the temperature of my coffee this morning.

My desires may still inform and play a part in my actions, as does the temperature of my coffee. But they resume their natural place and order, instead of my egoistic elevation of them above all other things.

Aikido in this sense dispels our problematic and dangerous desire not to be attacked, by willing that attack as it occurs, joining in the attack itself as our primary defense from it.

I'm Catholic, and reasonably knowledgable in Church doctrine for a layperson. As far as I have been able to determine (along with many others, Dom Aelred Graham or Thomas Merton, or even our present Pope Benedict) what Gautama Buddha taught is unobjectionable per se to the doctrine of the Church.

Truth is what IS after all ...
So yes I believe in the Philosophy of our art, however I am struggling on the spiritual side of it.Aikido, and other affirmative activites that have ben collectively described as "moving Zen" are antidotes to the chief risk of contemplative Buddhism ( or of any contemplative system of practice), which is the slide into quietism as a substitute for life in its fullness, abundance or suchness ( choose your preferred religious idiom) -- experienced directly -- as it is, rather than representationally, or in reference to some predominating mental, emotional or spiritual template.

Activity, battle, caress, hurt, sensuality, sweat, comfort, pain, joy, grief, thirst, refreshment, hunger and fulfillment -- all these things do not magically cease to be part of life, or change their nature in any way, merely because we dispel our illusions about what they may become or ought to have become, and instead we affirmatively will them to be what they -- are -- now.

Rigorous doctrinal and affirmative ethical systems such as Christian teaching (or Confucianism or forms of Thareavada Buddhism, for instance) that mandate action according to humane principle and/or sentiment are equally antidotes to this danger of quietism (or even the risk of solipsism). They, in turn, benefit from Buddhism's emphasis on what IS -- right now, in place of their own risks of representational laxity -- the slide into rule, image or sentiment in place of reality.

Fundamentally, the injunction of Jesus is to go forth and spread the evangelium, the Good News, of the Lord God (whose name is "I AM") to all nations, declaring the Kingdom of God to be here, now, and everywhere adn at all times (the absolute rule of "I AM") and of the present and immediate salvation by invocation in their inmost Being of the Holy Name -- "I AM." All of the remaining elements of Christian practice and belief mobilize reason and sentiment to return again and again to this present and eternal moment and its fundamental truth.

While the Christian evangelium differs in its details of appeal to sentiment and reason -- it is the same as Buddhism in its determination to mobilize the individual will in this manner. The vow the spread the Good News to all nations and preach salvation and the Kingdom of God is not really or even usefully distinguishable from the redoubtable vows of the Bodhisattva -- to liberate all sentient beings, who are without number, and to bring them to enlightenment of what "I AM" really means -- here -- now, in this moment.

Ron Tisdale
08-25-2006, 10:54 AM
Thanks for that post Erick!

Best,
Ron

Don_Modesto
08-25-2006, 11:03 AM
Thanks for that post Erick!

Best,
Ron
Yes. Very nice post. Thank you.

tedehara
08-26-2006, 01:23 AM
Thanks for that post Erick!

Best,
RonAs an expression of personal opinion, his post was fine. However as a judgment of Christianity and Buddhism there are too many overlooked factors, in order to reach an accord.

Buddhism believes in concepts like reincarnation and karma. Christianity has concepts like sin and salvation. These are two different religions coming from two different traditions. Each one has a unique set of core values.

But why are we even discussing either Christianity or Buddhism? The founder of aikido practiced Shinto, not Christianity or Buddhism. The spiritual side of aikido contains Shinto concepts and practices. It also has traditional Japanese concepts like ki.

Not only are these concepts part of the spiritual tradition of aikido, but the various students of the founder who started different styles, also incorporated their own values in their own styles. Then the different instructors of those styles will add their own concepts and values. Finally the individual practitioner will incorporate their own ideas and values.

Perhaps people will incorporate concepts from religions like Christianity or Buddhism or philosophies from yoga or tai chi into their aikido practice. By doing this, they are making spiritual training part of their practice.

While studying Omoto and it's relationship to the founder is interesting, if you don't believe in the kami (spirits), then you shouldn't be practicing it. The founder was sincere in his beliefs and the kami possessed and helped him. If you believe in Jesus and the power of prayer, then your prayers will be answered. If you believe in the value of enlightenment and practice meditation from this perspective, then your training is worthwhile. If you believe in the union of mind, body and spirit as expressed through yoga, then your training will pay off. If you believe in moving the chi through tai chi practice, then you're under an obligation to do it.

There are some people who believe Morihei Ueshiba had some "secret" practice, which enabled him to be so powerful. Yet his spiritual practices are well documented. The thing most people fail to see was his sincerity. He believed in the kami. They guided him through out his life. Their belief sustained him when all things seemed lost. He arrived at this sincerity by learning who he was and what path he needed to follow. Then he put those beliefs into daily practice. This would deepen and strengthen his spiritual life over the years.

There have been other aikido practitioners who have joined the Omoto order. Perhaps they thought they should follow in the founder's foot steps. Maybe they were so intent on following the founder, that they overlooked their own path. I can't say if they equaled him in the sincerity of their practice. All I can say is that he would be a tough act to follow.

dps
08-26-2006, 09:48 AM
As an aikidoka do we also have to embrace the almost religious aspect of our beloved art. No, O'Sensei did not intend for his religion to be a part of Aikido, He wanted Aikido to enhance what you already believed and even, I believe, if you are agnostic or atheist. However understanding O'Sensei's religious beliefs will help you understand the development of Aikido.

Erick Mead
08-26-2006, 04:25 PM
As an expression of personal opinion, his post was fine. However as a judgment of Christianity and Buddhism there are too many overlooked factors, in order to reach an accord. Well we COULD seek for distinction and division, but that would hardly be aiki, now would it?

They were not overlooked -- or more properly -- the factors lacking accord were expressly put to the side for the purposes of this discussion. Most of those are peripheral and abstract in the context of the practice of aikido and its spiritual aspect, in my yet quite personal opinion.
Buddhism believes in concepts like reincarnation and karma. Christianity has concepts like sin and salvation. These are two different religions coming from two different traditions. It is more proper to say that Buddhism presupposes karma. The four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path say nothing about it, and Zen plainly does not require it. Reincarnaiton is -- well -- but a difference of degree, not of kind, in comparison with resurrection.

Sin as a concept does not exist in East Asia culture, except in very light doses here and there. Karma does. But they address the same humane instinctual need for moral responsibility in individual actions and in consequence of them, simply from a differnt set of historically determined assumptions. What is important is not what we think or beleive but what we DO. Now. This, Christianity, Buddhism and Shinto hold very much in common with one another and with Aikido.
Each one has a unique set of core values. No, they don't. -- Yes they do. -- No they don't. The relationship between Buddism and Shinto in Japan is only sligtly shorter (say two hundred years) than Christianity has been in Ireland. The commonalities and shared traditions between Buddhism and Christianity are far deeper than most modern people with our penchant for overcategorization based on superficial detail are willing to acknowledge.

The concept of divine Logos and trinitarian metaphysic was a Greek pagan concept before it informed both Christian Trinitarian theology and Buddhist Trikaya in their first interaction in Hellenic Asia in the two centuries after Christ.

Christianity and nascent Vajryana Buddhism (ie. Shingon and Tendai) were contemporary and missionary faiths along the Silk Road in Central Asia in the fifth through seventh centuries. Martin Palmer and scholars working on translations of the Luoyang scrolls suggest they were apparently cooperative with one another in scholarly efforts on Indian texts in China in the seventh century when both Buddhist and Christian monasteries were wwelcomed into the T'ang capital at Ch'ang An. Both were viewed as foreign, and indeed were later together banned in the late T'ang. This misidentificaiton was repeated with St. Francis Xavier's introduction of Christianity to Japan in the sixteenth centruy, when the Shogun assumed it was merely a new esoteric teaching of Buddhism.

But why are we even discussing either Christianity or Buddhism? The founder of aikido practiced Shinto, not Christianity or Buddhism. The spiritual side of aikido contains Shinto concepts and practices. It also has traditional Japanese concepts like ki. Ki (qi) is Chinese -- not Japanese in derivation, and Taoist, not Shinto, although there are parallels to be sure.

And moreover, I did not make the connection between O-Sensei's ideas, of kotodama, Shinto and Christianity -- O-Sensei did, rather explicitly:
"Kirisuto ga ‘hajme ni kotoba ariki' to itta sono kotodama ga SU de arimasu. Sore ga kotodama no hajimari de aru." (‘In the beginning was the Word', spoken by Christ is this kotodama SU. This is the origin of kotodama.) O-Sensei made very clear elsewhere that "SU" was the the kotodama for the primordial member of the creator trinity of kami in the Kojiki Amenominakanushi no kami together with Takamimusubi no kami, and Kamimusubi no kami. These three are honored at the end of every sumo match by the left-right-middle tegatana o kiru by the winner.

The concept of "Logos" is ancestral to Shingon "true word," and came to Japan from the T'ang capital of China at the same time as both Christian and Buddhist missionary monasteries were active there. There is at the very least a strong antecedent of Shingon underlying Ueshiba's thought directly since that is what he studied as a child and young man in Tanabe. His kotodama system is notably not the same as that of others.

....the individual practitioner will incorporate their own ideas and values. ... if you don't believe in the kami (spirits), then you shouldn't be practicing it.

The founder was sincere in his beliefs and the kami possessed and helped him. If you believe in Jesus and the power of prayer, then your prayers will be answered. If you believe in the value of enlightenment and practice meditation from this perspective, then your training is worthwhile. If you believe in the union of mind, body and spirit as expressed through yoga, then your training will pay off. If you believe in moving the chi through tai chi practice, then you're under an obligation to do it. This is wrong for Christian teaching as well as wrong for Shinto or Buddhism. All three attest that spiritual growth and immediate appreciaiton of physical reality are not to be separated from one another, and that salvation/enlightenment/michi is had by actions in this world. Practice does not flow from belief. Belief flows from practice and the impetus to practice flows from awe, love, enlightenment -- whatever you choose to call that gut-dropping sense is that takes us away from our tiny egos. For Buddhism practice is the abandonment of the veil of desire in favor of direct experience . For Shinto it is absolute sincerity and attention in every act. For the Christian the question is as plain-spoken as it is engimatic and open-ended: "'Where do you dwell, master?' 'Come and see.' "

There is no place for doctrine at the edge of a sword. Katsu jinken is a narrow path within that already narrow way. It sweeps away all else before it.

O-Sensei did not misplace his sense of broader connections in spirtuality in the art of peace he taught -- by means of unhesitating direct entry into the heart of an attack.

Is his teaching on this point really any different from the teaching of Jesus on the nature of true peace?
Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
St. Matt., 10:34

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
St. John, 14:27

roninroshi
08-26-2006, 09:26 PM
O'Sensei was on a spiritual quest in his life...it predated his MA training...Aikido was a result of his spiritual practice reather than the cause...if we train w/out the desire to get"IT"...the chance of getting "IT" will be enhanced.

Erick Mead
08-27-2006, 01:24 PM
O'Sensei was on a spiritual quest in his life...it predated his MA training...Aikido was a result of his spiritual practice reather than the cause... It is difficult to supprot this statement. He started martial arts from an early age, sumo boys on the beach in Tanabe, although this was not atypical of a child of that era, by any means.

Then, after his father was robbed and beaten, he studied kito-ryu jujutsu and Yagyu Shinkage ryu sword, much more intensively. He was in the army in Manchuria during the Russo-Japanese war, and reportedly the only reason his too-short height was overlooked, was his physical intensity and ability.

His intensive study of body arts was thereafter in Hokkaido, where he attempted a frontier settlement. He studied there under Takeda in Daito-ryu. O-Sensie has been quoted as saying that Takeda opened his eyes to budo, but aikido came later.

He went to Ayabe and met Deguchi on the way home from Hokkaido to see his father, who was seriously ill. It was really only with the death of his father, that his spiritual journey began in earnest (a fairly common occurrence in many cultures). He then began his study of Omoto with Deguchi, He was at that time a formidable and deadly man in all respects, becoming Deguchi's bodyguard.

It was Deguchi that suggested and encourage him to develop his martial art as a means to spiritual ends. This was despite his continuing ( and often testy) relationshiop with Takeda, whom Deguchi reportedly despised.

I do not think that this history can fairly be said to make a spiritual quest his life-long ambition. Budo came first, and intensively so. Deguchi expressly viewed O-Sensei's aikido as a means to develop spiritual fulfillment, not the other way around.

He himself reported that his primary revelation was dirrectly following intense practice. He repeatedly said that the spiritual benefits of aikido were to be had through training, traqining -- and more training.

George S. Ledyard
08-27-2006, 05:01 PM
It was really only with the death of his father, that his spiritual journey began in earnest (a fairly common occurrence in many cultures). He then began his study of Omoto with Deguchi, He was at that time a formidable and deadly man in all respects, becoming Deguchi's bodyguard.


To be fair, O-Sensei did have some relationship with a Shingon priest during his childhood but there is no more information about what kind of impact it made on him than there is about how seriously he took his early martial arts training.

I think his exposure to things martial was pretty much contemporaneous with his introduction to the world of spiritual practice. It seems certain that he was always rather other-wordly. his father and his uncle both tried to get him interested in various business enterprises which he pretty much failed at due to complete lack of interest. This was before he met Takeda...

That said, his meeting with Takeda was the seminal event in his development as a martial artists and his meeting with Deguchi filled the same function in his spiritual quest.

Regarding the larger picture of spiritual practice and Aikido... Most classical martial arts contained an awareness of the importance of spiritual issues for someone who is spending all his time studying how to do terrible things to another human being. The traditional Japanese warrior lived in a world populated by all sorts of benign and malignant forces. It was very important therefore, to balance off the martial training with proper philosophical and spiritual alignment or one could "go to the darkside" so to speak.

Ethical training was important for every warrior. Also, reiki, or etiquette, was also crucial. Etiquette wasn't simply about being polite towards others in order to harmonize relationships, although that was an important part. Reiki was also the way that an individual kept himself in proper spiritual alignment so as to not be open to outside malign influence. Talk to Toby Threadgill Sensei about how his teacher viewed these issues.

This is also the attitude of the Systema folks, just as an aside. They feel that there needs to be an underlying spiritual practice in order to avoid being damaged by the training which focuses on so much destruction.

Now, this isn't quite so much of an issue in Aikido because the manner in which most people train is not particularly martial. The destructive techniques are not widely taught and the attitude of the training is probably not how the early practitioners saw what they were doing. So I don't think that one has to have some spiritual underpinning to avoid being possessed by evil forces... But without some spiritual underpinning Aikido is just another martial art, one of many, and one of the less practical in any kind of short run.

You simply cannot separate the spiritual from the art and have it have any relation at all to what O-Sensei was doing. Aikido, as we have inherited the art, is the direct result of the confluence of O-Sensei's martial practice and his spiritual practice. Aikido is his attempt to create an art that contained both elements in a way that was unique. With a few notable exceptions, his descendents have attempted ever since to distance themselves from the spiritual teachings of thee Founder and focus on the technical side. Some have tried to devolve the art back to some "more effective" antecedent. Others have taken the art away from the martial side almost entirely, making it an interesting form of exercise but lacking both deep spirituality and martial effectiveness.

Then there are the folks for whom the spiritual message, as they interpreted it, usually based on very little direct exposure to the Founder's teachings, was of paramount importance. Technique is of secondary importance, at best, for these folks. Unfortunately, this attitude is no more what O-Sensei had in mind than that of the folks who are just interested in physical technique.

The "spiritual folks" look at the "technical folks" as not really "getting it" and the "technical folks" believe the same thing about the "spiritual folks". They are both right. Aikido is an art in which the physical practice informs your spiritual world and your spiritual world informs your physical technique. Inseparably...

Most folks want to have Aikido change to fit them rather than change to fit Aikido. That's fine as long as you don't see Aikido as a transformative practice. But if you do, then you will have to change yourself in order to train. That will certainly entail learning to get comfortable with parts of the art that are not natural or comfortable for you. I do not think that it is necessary to attempt to duplicate exactly the elements that O-Sensei combined to create his own Aikido. He did what worked for him in his time and culture. But I do think that to have any meaningful sense of what the Founder was modeling for us, we need to acheive much that same balance between the spiritual side of our practice and the martial side.

Gernot Hassenpflug
08-27-2006, 05:58 PM
George, I think the term you are trying to use is "reigi" ( 礼儀 ), not "reiki" ( 冷気、例規、霊気 meaning chilly air, illustrative rule, and aura, respectively). Good post, though I think it underestimates the importance of etiquette in Japan today. "Reigi-tadashii" is an important expression in Japanese, a sign of someone who can be trusted to uphold the expected appearances, and which is considered a mark of esteem (the outside-visible world being wholly "omote", "appearance" and distinct from the "ura" or true world. Thus being told one is such is sort of humourous by itself, like a Japanese in-joke). I imagine many Westerners find this reprehensible at least some of the time (try being dumped by a Japanese girl, for one, :) ) Etiquette in Japan has similarities with Western ideas of etiquette, but perhaps more that of Victorian England than the present Western world (apologies to my friends from the UK!). It's a useful facet of making do in the society, and handling the various conflicting obligations and seniorities around one, without having to commit to any sincerity -- so a kind of minimal acceptable energy-exertion while retaining some measure of freedom on the inside.
Regards, Gernot

Erick Mead
08-27-2006, 10:07 PM
Ethical training was important for every warrior. Also, reiki, or etiquette, was also crucial. Etiquette wasn't simply about being polite towards others in order to harmonize relationships, although that was an important part. Reiki was also the way that an individual kept himself in proper spiritual alignment so as to not be open to outside malign influence. Robert Heinlein said, "An armed society is a polite society." Less sardonically, failing to give honor, even to those who are not even remotely deserving of it in your own eyes, is suki.

If I disregard what I perceive as unworthy of respect, I fail to see it as it is, and see only my image of it. It lets my ego open a path to my own destruction. Honor for every person is thus a survival trait that the warrior ethic rightfully emphasizes. Unlike often hypocritical social etiquette, rendering honor in terms of budo requires genuine sincerity, or it fails of its essential purpose.
You simply cannot separate the spiritual from the art and have it have any relation at all to what O-Sensei was doing. Aikido, as we have inherited the art, is the direct result of the confluence of O-Sensei's martial practice and his spiritual practice. Aikido is his attempt to create an art that contained both elements in a way that was unique. Many Japanese, are as befuddled by the Kojiki and O-Sensei's keen interest in its teachings, as are most foreigners. This was plainly true of many of his uchi deshi, with notable exceptions.

I have only begun my study into this area of Japanese mythology. Chinese and Chinese philosophy was my degree specialty before aviation and law intervened. Very much of that is directly applicable to Japanese culture. Kotodama, for instance, in its aspect of both synthetic and analytic appreciation of the root syllables in the combinations that make up typical Japanese words is very much in keeping with the similar Chinese process of decomposing hanzi (kanji) to derive other levels of meaning. Kojiki, on the other hand, is very idiosyncratic in its mythological references.

William Gleason has examined these issues from a certain introductory and operative perspective in relation to kotodama on its own terms, but not in a larger sense of trying to make its metaphysics more generally applicable and comprehensible. Kojiki is knowledge that is not intended to be transparent, precisely because the process of transforming its obscurities, with the process of kotodama, not wiping them away, is the only way to understand it. O-Sensei's view of Kojiki's critical importance is laid out in many of his statements and in several doka.

Ame no Uki Hashi, the Floating Bridge of Heaven -- this is O-Sensei's identification, in mythic terms, of the highest aspiration of the art he developed. A bridge between what and what, however? And what is the Great Stone Door?

Gleason Sensei identifies the Stone Door as representing watershed events in human cognition and developement. The first opening of the Stone door made us human, conscious, although not consciously capable of our own development. At that time our developmental processes were entirely unconscious, and conscious manipulation of objectified reality became a latent capability to be developed. As our capacity for objectificaiton grew, we applied it internally and externally.

Then the Stone Door closed, closing the window on the expansion of our latent developmental faculties, both spiritual and material, leaving consciousness play out the development of its objective faculties. Ego can be viewed in this same rubic -- the objectfication of the evanescent "I" into the concrete "me."

The Greeks called this resulting developmental process from latent to patent objective capability by two names : techne -- craft or art, and episteme -- abstract knowledge. They are really one thing -- operative knowledge.

Socrates greatly feared the possibile dangers inherent in techne, and Archimedes justified his fear. In this century, we have produced the (so far) pinnacle of threat, nuclear fission, which is the product of the most pure episteme yet known -- quantum mechanics. China and Japan developed their techne and episteme in different ways than the West, but they share a basic operative dimension in their focus, which has allowed the almost seamless interconneciton between Western and Eastern capabilities.

We have now developed this faculty to a high degree, both in external arts and in abstract thought, using mental processes in much the same manner as we use external tools -- to break, to build and to join and articulate elements into a mechanistic whole. Fortunately for us all, mechanism is not THE whole.

This is all philosophy (science was originally called "natural philosophy"). Philosophy is "love of wisdom" -- treating sophia -- wisdom -- as an object of remote veneration and appeal for favor, instead of being imbued with it, and exercising it directly as our own inheritance.

Wisdom is "knowing" -- not as I now know that 2+2 = 4 -- but knowing as I now know, directly, where my hand is when I cannot see it. Wisdom is acting, not to form or shape the image of desire as the result of constraint or force, but because acting causes what must of necessity then occur without coercive effort. It seems that O-Sensei had a vision that his art, his craft of budo (which at its pinnacle of physical effectiveness necessarily obliterates the epistemological distinction between object and subject), was a means to prepare the way for the second opening of the Stone Door.

If the myth is to be given credit as an expression of humanity's intuitive knowledge of its own collective capacity, even though subconsciously revealed, then other productive combinations of techne and episteme in the right spirit may utlimately be capable of approaching the developmental phase change in the human psyche that aikido seems to approach. The limit of this process should transcend the manipulative ego that ultimately cripples the love of wisdom, keeping it from achieving the object of its desire, because it is so antithetical to wisdom proper. Aikido has the advantage that budo, as in other situations of uncertainty and doubt, is able to leap in unheeding.

If the myth is given credit for descriptive power, then upon the awaited second opening of the Stone Door, mankind will begin to become increasingly aware of our internal dimensions and of true wisdom as our own active power, rather than a worshipful and passive heirloom. If the myth has power to explain it may suggest that we may eventually become aware of wisdom, directly, and capable of meaningful conscious exploration and development of these internal faculties as we have explored our external capacities.
With a few notable exceptions, his descendents have attempted ever since to distance themselves from the spiritual teachings of thee Founder and focus on the technical side. ... Then there are the folks for whom the spiritual message, as they interpreted it, usually based on very little direct exposure to the Founder's teachings, was of paramount importance. ... this attitude is no more what O-Sensei had in mind than that of the folks who are just interested in physical technique.They are each approaching the art from the perspective of techne and episteme, respectively, and are wrong in different ways for the same reason. O-Sensei emphasized the practice of aikido as a means to transcend the manipulative nature of techne and episteme, leading or foreshadowing the expectation of a new form of human comprehension of reality -- symbolized by the second opening of the Stone Door. Aikido is an art in which the physical practice informs your spiritual world and your spiritual world informs your physical technique. Inseparably... Most folks want to have Aikido change to fit them rather than change to fit Aikido. That's fine as long as you don't see Aikido as a transformative practice. But if you do, then you will have to change yourself in order to train. I get it at times, fitfully, and at others it is still frustratingly mystifying :confused:, but what I get is more than enough to lead me further down the path. Glimpses of the top of the mountain are, however, not the same as being there.

tedehara
08-28-2006, 12:46 AM
Well we COULD seek for distinction and division, but that would hardly be aiki, now would it?I guess that depends on if you're looking for truth or emotional satisfaction.
...This misidentificaiton was repeated with St. Francis Xavier's introduction of Christianity to Japan in the sixteenth centruy, when the Shogun assumed it was merely a new esoteric teaching of Buddhism.That distinction was corrected in the Tokugawa shogunate, where they slaughtered entire villages of Christians and drove the religion underground for centuries. But perhaps the Shogun saw similarities between Christianity and Japanese culture. After all, they did institute crucifixion as a capital punishment because of Christianity.

Ki (qi) is Chinese -- not Japanese in derivation, and Taoist, not Shinto, although there are parallels to be sure.Chi/Qi is Chinese in origin, but has become part of traditional Japanese culture. This popular concept is different than the Chinese concept of Qi. Just as baseball is American in origin, but changed into Japanese baseball. This is different than American baseball, Korean baseball and Taiwanese baseball, but it's all still baseball.

And moreover, I did not make the connection between O-Sensei's ideas, of kotodama, Shinto and Christianity -- O-Sensei did, rather explicitly:
O-Sensei made very clear elsewhere that "SU" was the the kotodama for the primordial member of the creator trinity of kami in the Kojiki Amenominakanushi no kami together with Takamimusubi no kami, and Kamimusubi no kami. These three are honored at the end of every sumo match by the left-right-middle tegatana o kiru by the winner.The founder also prayed to the Hawaiian gods. He could do that since his tradition was one which did not include the following commandments:

AND God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the Lord thy God which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hates me.
EXODUS Chapter 20 King James Version
... This is wrong for Christian teaching as well as wrong for Shinto or Buddhism. All three attest that spiritual growth and immediate appreciaiton of physical reality are not to be separated from one another, and that salvation/enlightenment/michi is had by actions in this world. Practice does not flow from belief. Belief flows from practice and the impetus to practice flows from awe, love, enlightenment -- whatever you choose to call that gut-dropping sense is that takes us away from our tiny egos. For Buddhism practice is the abandonment of the veil of desire in favor of direct experience . For Shinto it is absolute sincerity and attention in every act. For the Christian the question is as plain-spoken as it is engimatic and open-ended: "'Where do you dwell, master?' 'Come and see.' "Perhaps you have figured out two major and one minor religion, but it seems to me that when Linus sits in a pumpkin patch on Halloween, it was his faith that brought him to that practice. The other kids that are with him don't believe in The Great Pumpkin and leave in frustration. It is his belief that sustains him in his practice. It will be his practice that deepens and strengthens his faith, but it is belief that comes first. How could one even begin a practice that they didn't believe in?

There is no place for doctrine at the edge of a sword. Katsu jinken is a narrow path within that already narrow way. It sweeps away all else before it.

O-Sensei did not misplace his sense of broader connections in spirtuality in the art of peace he taught -- by means of unhesitating direct entry into the heart of an attack.

Is his teaching on this point really any different from the teaching of Jesus on the nature of true peace?The fact is that we are all different. Religions are just as different as the people who are their members. Instead of grinding religions into some spiritual sausage, where everything is the same, we have to recognize those differences. And it's alright for those differences to exist.

Even though we are different that others, we can still get along. Even though religions are different than other religions, they can still peacefully co-exist. The reason all this can be done is because of respect. We can respect others even though they are different. We can respect other religions even though those religions are different than our own.

How can we learn about this kind of respect? I recall someone saying, "The martial arts begins and ends with respect." Maybe we could start with that.

dps
08-28-2006, 06:55 AM
I do not think that it is necessary to attempt to duplicate exactly the elements that O-Sensei combined to create his own Aikido. He did what worked for him in his time and culture. But I do think that to have any meaningful sense of what the Founder was modeling for us, we need to acheive much that same balance between the spiritual side of our practice and the martial side. So I could achieve that balance if the ethical and moral goals of my practice of Christianity are similiar to the ethical and moral goals of O'Sensei's practice of his eclectic religious beliefs?

MikeLogan
08-28-2006, 07:13 AM
In japanese, a punch is tsuki. In english a punch is a punch. While training does one benefit from distinguishing between a tsuki, and a punch? Or do they benefit from considering the idea that they look the same, it might be best to treat them the same?
Even though we are different that others, we can still get along. Even though religions are different than other religions, they can still peacefully co-exist. It seems to me you're saying what Erick is implying, except you're saying it the way you want to hear it.

Are we that different from others, and if not, why aren't we getting along? Because these religions are similiar, they can co-exist.

But I agree with the portrayal of Linus. I could see belief coming from awe, love, and enlightenment, then proceeding to practice out of respect for the previous two.

michael.

Erick Mead
08-28-2006, 07:38 AM
I guess that depends on if you're looking for truth or emotional satisfaction. I was unaware that this was a forced choice. Nor was I aware that lies would lead to lasting joy. Is this something you would recommend?
But perhaps the Shogun saw similarities between Christianity and Japanese culture. After all, they did institute crucifixion as a capital punishment because of Christianity. I doubt that is what O-Sensei had in mind in suggesting the cross-cultural :D significance of "juji," but, no doubt, the Bakufu promoted a somewhat different perspective in adopting this symbolism...
The founder also prayed to the Hawaiian gods. He could do that since his tradition was one which did not include the following commandments: On this I would refer to my other comments about the objectification of human thinking -- the same applies in religion as in psychology. If object-subject dualism is to be transcended, worship itself ( i.e. - supplication to an object thereof) must also be transcended. That is the point and the source of commonality between the biblicial Lord signifying the One "I AM" and the kotodama "SU" signifying the creator, Lord of high heaven...

Perhaps you have figured out two major and one minor religion, but it seems to me that when Linus sits in a pumpkin patch on Halloween, it was his faith that brought him to that practice. The other kids that are with him don't believe in The Great Pumpkin and leave in frustration. It is his belief that sustains him in his practice. It will be his practice that deepens and strengthens his faith, but it is belief that comes first. How could one even begin a practice that they didn't believe in? Happy accident? I doubt I have figured anything out. I just state my observations.

The fact is that we are all different. Religions are just as different as the people who are their members. Instead of grinding religions into some spiritual sausage, where everything is the same, we have to recognize those differences. And it's alright for those differences to exist. I do not grind -- I winnow, seeking the kernels of real and unaltered sustenance among the chaff of history and human foible. Objective differnces are often irreconcilable, which you plainly suggest, and must be merely ignored or passed over to AVOID conflict. If I know any thing about aikido -- it is NOT about avoiding conflict.

As Gleason Sensei ably said, "In order to practice conflict resolution, we need, first of all, and honest confrontation." We cannot get honest confrontation by "just getting along." Many differences are objectively real and in irreconcilable conflict. Objectively, there is no resolution of such conflict short of one destroying the other. I suggest that from the perspective of kannagara, Dharmakaya, "I AM," these differences are subjectively illusory, not from the standpoint of my tiny ego, but from a positing of subjectivity writ large, in which you and I (a false distinction we practice to obliterate in aiki) share in equal measure. How can we learn about this kind of respect? I recall someone saying, "The martial arts begins and ends with respect." Maybe we could start with that. Plainly, the biblical text is full of violence and cruelty -- the history of budo is no different? "The Lord is a warrior, the Lord is his name," says the psalmist. Are they not in fact deeply allied in this respect? Left to our own devices, will I and my enemy do anything other than destroy one, the other, or both?

What is it, then, that transcends this seemingly inevitable brutality of us-versus-them duality? What redeems the harsh cruelty of a blade or a cross, wherever they have been employed? Only the EXPERIENCE of "I AM" transcends self and enemy and transforms satsu jin ken into katsu jin ken. Practice, experience thus takes precedence in BEING, whereas belief is Cartesian, placing thought in precedence to being. "I think, therefore, I AM." I ( along with many many others) suggest reversing this and place "I AM" in precedence to everything else.

Belief -- posited as preceding such experience in dignity and cause -- is but another form of objectification, and thus a potentially dangerous trap, however pious its intent. Belief posited as explaining the painting to the blind man is something else (recognizing that we all are basically blind -- some merely get flashes of remission and brief recovery of sight). The differences of description -- while valid and beautiful in their own right in the art of telling -- as between two blind men hearing vrey differnt accounts of the same painting from two differnt witnesses, the differences of belief are of far less concern.

Erick Mead
08-28-2006, 07:44 AM
I do not think that it is necessary to attempt to duplicate exactly the elements that O-Sensei combined to create his own Aikido. He did what worked for him in his time and culture. But I do think that to have any meaningful sense of what the Founder was modeling for us, we need to acheive much that same balance between the spiritual side of our practice and the martial side. So I could achieve that balance if the ethical and moral goals of my practice of Christianity are similiar to the ethical and moral goals of O'Sensei's practice of his eclectic religious beliefs? "All that is true, by whomsoever it has been said, is from the Holy Spirit." St. Thomas Aquinas, cit. 1 Cor. 12:4-11 (paraphrasing St. Jerome).

dps
08-28-2006, 08:00 AM
"All that is true, by whomsoever it has been said, is from the Holy Spirit." St. Thomas Aquinas, cit. 1 Cor. 12:4-11 (paraphrasing St. Jerome). Amen.

To see if the ethical and moral goals of his practice coincide with mine I need to try to understand his religion. And if I am unable to understand what his religion was or what he has said about it, can I still find the ethical and moral goals in the practice of O'Sensei's Aikido , in each and every technique?

Erick Mead
08-28-2006, 12:02 PM
Amen.
To see if the ethical and moral goals of his practice coincide with mine I need to try to understand his religion. And if I am unable to understand what his religion was or what he has said about it, can I still find the ethical and moral goals in the practice of O'Sensei's Aikido , in each and every technique? Yup. I think so. Consideration of a few authorities from the Christian side may be in order. As witness -- "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis:
The Voice of Christ - MY CHILD, in this life you are never safe, and as long as you live the weapons of the spirit will ever be necessary to you. You dwell among enemies. You are subject to attack from the right and the left. If, therefore, you do not guard yourself from every quarter with the shield of patience, you will not remain long unscathed. Moreover, if you do not steadily set your heart on Me, with a firm will to suffer everything for My sake, you will not be able to bear the heat of this battle or to win the crown of the blessed. You ought, therefore, to pass through all these things bravely and to oppose a strong hand to whatever stands in your way. For to him who triumphs heavenly bread is given, while for him who is too lazy to fight there remains much misery.… Let no man fear any terrors. Let us be prepared to meet death valiantly in battle. Crucifixion. Resurrection. Irimi. Tenkan.

As an imitation of Christ in his approach to the enemy, who represents death, I think Thomas a Kempis would have included it in his book, had he known of it. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
1 Cor. 4:20-21 And the necessity of brutal chastening of egoistic value: But he said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and every one enters it violently."
St. Luke, 16:15-16. And, is there a more succinct statement of budo from the Western canon than the following ? He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.
St. Matt., 10:39 "My sake" is Jesus. In Christian terms Jesus is of one substance with God. God's name is "I AM." He who disregards his own being for BEING itself finds his true life. This statement is indistinguishable from the substance of any number of Buddhist treatises -- and is echoed in Takuan's essay on fudoshin in budo.

Much good can also be had by contempating the complex and paradoxical Gospel of Peace: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
St. John, 14:27 You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire.
St. Matt., 5:21-22 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut off his ear. ` Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword."
St. Matt., 26:51-52. Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
St. Matt., 10:34The short answer is that these statements cannot be objectively reconciled, even in terms of Christianity. It is, in that treasured phrase -- "a mystery." Which immediately causes the objectivists (not necessarily unreasonably) to dismiss all religion as (I love this phrase) "nonsense on stilts." If, that is, you have signed onto objectivity and linear reason as the predetermining factors of existence.

Breaking the objective crutch is the point of these teachings. Physics is showing us that linear reason is not the basis of reality. As a fundamental attack on local/nonlocal, subject/object duality the consideraiton of these scriptural references and others in similar vein are as sublime as any koan, or quantum wave state superposition.

Those who seek East for contemplative practice find rich treasures in Zen, in Kannagara, (and more and more, I am beginning to find in kotodama also, recondite as it is). But they do themselves a disserevice to ignore the valuables in their own disused cupboards.

Traditional Christian teaching places the "Name of Jesus" above every other name. (Now during the re-roofing marathon we here on the Gulf Coast endured in the last two years, there were a number guys named Jesus substantially above me -- on various roofs. But I digress.) From a Christian perspective, acknowledging the "Name of Jesus"=God="I AM" as above every other name, literally subjects the objective reason to the power of the all-encompassing Subjective. "I AM" is declaratory, not explanatory.

Aikido is simply practice in this same type of direct subjective experience of other beings as one Being (tat tvam asi) on a smaller, less cosmic scale. O-Sensei did not set out to make anybody follow a religion, but to make every person's religion better through training in aiki.

I said to Ueshiba Sensei, "You are always praying, Ueshiba Sensei. Then Aikido is a religion." "No, that's not true. Aikido is never a religion, but if you are a Christian, you will be a better Christian because of Aikido. If you are a Buddhist, you will be a better Buddhist." ... I asked him one day if there wasn't a similarity between his prophecies and those of Christ. He answered, "Yes, because Jesus said his technique was love and I, Morihei, also say that my technique is love. Jesus created a religion, but I didn't. Aikido is an art rather than a religion. But if you practice my Aikido a great deal you will be a better Christian." Then I asked, "Sensei should I remain a Christian?" He replied,
"Yes, absolutely. You were raised as a Christian in France. Remain a Christian."

dps
08-28-2006, 03:18 PM
Erik,
Is this the book you are referring to?http://www.leaderu.com/cyber/books/imitation/imitation.html

Erick Mead
08-28-2006, 03:47 PM
Erik,
Is this the book you are referring to?http://www.leaderu.com/cyber/books/imitation/imitation.html
It is, indeed.

Since someone else asked about some books offline, I will post the works I recommended of interest in this area ::
Along these lines I strongly recommend "Truth and Tolerance" by Pope Benedict, the encyclical of John Paul "Dominus Iesus", in which Cardinal Ratzinger's guiding hand is clearly seen. His own first encyclical -- "Deus Caritas Est" is orth perusing in conjunction.

As to a rigorous treatment of Buddhist thought in Thomist Catholicism try "Zen Catholicism" (1963) by Dom Aelred Graham. He was writing contemporarily with Vatican II in which Pope Benedict played a part, and I see some of the same sensibilities in the Holy Father's thought in "Dominus Iesus" as Graham discusses, even thought the present Pope's bias seems more toward Bonaventure.

Dom Graham's other notable work was "The Love of God" which makes an interesting companion piece to "Deus Caritas Est," and perhaps not by accident given the time period, and Pope Benedict's continued commitment to ecumenicism on terms he himself has helped to form for the Church even before his election.

Another very good book is by James Hillman, the exponent of archetypal psychology, (a close student of Carl Jung) :: "A Terrible Love of War." Hillman makes some very interesting non-religious pscyhological/mythological connections that parallel O-Sensei's approach to the fundamental relationship between budo and love. "Zen Catholicism" I know is still in print. Graham also has a number of other works but these are what I have some familiarity with. He has a very interesting quote from a 1949 seires of articels in The Times that presaged Vatican II. "The Polemics of the Counter Reformation are felt to have outlasted their usefulness to a society demanding not the dubious stimulants of sectarian controversy but a fundamental re-Christianisation." Pope Benedict's curreent approach to ecumenical effrot and stated mission to revive a depth and vigor in the increasingly moribund Christian laity in Europe (both Catholic and Protestant) are very much keyed from this same sensibility.

I would give a great deal to know what Pope Benedict's take would be on aikido as it is practiced...

dps
08-28-2006, 04:08 PM
Thank you, I don't know when but I will eventually read them.

ian
08-29-2006, 05:31 AM
...I just cannot get into the spiritual side of it. I dont believe in the kami and/or the gods of war. ... The universe to me consist of galaxies, interstellar dust clouds, planets, cosmic rays, space debris, comets, moons, etc.

...As an aikidoka do we also have to embrace the almost religious aspect of our beloved art.

Well, in that case you will make a good aikido student! Ueshiba said sincerity is the most important charactersitic of a good aikidoka. He also insisted that his religious beliefs were his own, and that isn't what he was teaching (although he used alogories).

Although I believe aikido has affected me spiritually, it is indirectly. I am quite anti indoctrination. There is a chinese saying that goes something like 'other peoples knowledge is other people's knowledge' i.e. pretending to believe in something someone else believes in is pointless since you can't ever understand the context fully. You need to learn yourself and alter your own understanding through life experience.

Therefore there is no need to embrace the religious aspect of the art (including any aspect of ki). Indeed embracing something you don't feel or understand is living a stupid and ultimately destructful lie.

However, I would say to be cautious about 'believing' in planets, cosmic rays etc - even science is just a model of reality and cannot fully represent it. The only reality is here and now and is beyond words and descriptions.

Erick Mead
08-29-2006, 07:09 AM
However, I would say to be cautious about 'believing' in planets, cosmic rays etc - even science is just a model of reality and cannot fully represent it. The only reality is here and now and is beyond words and descriptions. Too true.

"All models are wrong -- some models are useful." George Fox.

---

Yo-Jimbo
08-29-2006, 01:16 PM
However, I would say to be cautious about 'believing' in planets, cosmic rays etc - even science is just a model of reality and cannot fully represent it. The only reality is here and now and is beyond words and descriptions.
Hey, some of us work pretty hard on models that include cosmic rays.
The nice thing about planets and cosmic rays is that they exist whether you believe in them or not.
Too true.
"All models are wrong -- some models are useful." George Fox.---
If the prescription is followed, the predicted result arises.
Belief isn't even the right concept to apply to the individual results of science (the scientific process).
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=belief
I stand on the planet known as Earth (a conspiracy of feet and dirt).
I've seen Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn with my naked eyes and through telescopes (a conspiracy between eyes and glass). I work on an international project that detects cosmic rays (a conspiracy of water, glass, plastic, and metal).
http://www.auger.org/
Sure science is incomplete, but that doesn't mean that it isn't working (when I'm writing these posts, it might not be working quite as hard).
If what was meant was promoting the kind of skepticism that I try to keep every day at work where I'm ready to leave behind the conventional wisdom if and only if another superior predictor is created, then that is fine and I applaud it.
If the above was some attempt at undermining the process instead (possibly through that relativism that I constantly hear about), I deplore it.
So, (as the intellectual zombie of the useful models) I ask that we not only be carefully of believing in planets and cosmic rays and instead educate ourselves as to the verifiable and repeatable measurements that raise these concepts above unicorns (I'm of course referring to their existence historically and not to the possibility of creating them through genetic manipulation).

"Lastly, there's a sect known as meteorologists. They believe Katrina was caused by warm, moist air rising to meet colder air, forming clusters of thunderstorms, that - fed by the earth's rotation - created a self-strengthening storm-cycle. *chuckles* Right. And then it rode off on a unicorn."---The Daily Show's Stephen Colbert.

More over, please be even more careful believing in anything else.

I admit that I get a bit defensive on this subject, but such is my indoctrination that I don't feel that I should apologize for it.

More to the point of the original thread, I'm skeptical as to the "spiritual side of aikido" as being any more than a "physical mnemonic" for the quick learning of proper aikido principle. I'm not skeptical as to Sensei's ability to getting my feet to kiss the sky with efficiency and grace. The instincts have been undeniably well trained either way.

Ron Tisdale
08-29-2006, 01:28 PM
Pluto exists...but is it a planet? ;)

B,
R

Erick Mead
08-29-2006, 03:00 PM
The nice thing about planets and cosmic rays is that they exist whether you believe in them or not.

So, (as the intellectual zombie of the useful models) I ask that we not only be carefully of believing in planets and cosmic rays and instead educate ourselves as to the verifiable and repeatable measurements that raise these concepts above unicorns. Amen, to that too. ("Amen." BTW, means "So be it." no more and no less.)
More to the point of the original thread, I'm skeptical as to the "spiritual side of aikido" as being any more than a "physical mnemonic" for the quick learning of proper aikido principle. I'm not skeptical as to Sensei's ability to getting my feet to kiss the sky with efficiency and grace. The instincts have been undeniably well trained either way. There is a differnce between positing that spirit is real and positing that it is necessarily coextensive with linear, continuous reality. Reality is not even coextensive with linear coninuous reality.

There is much that we do in aikido (past a certain point in training) that we have initially trained to do consciously, that at some point we become unaware of what it is, exactly, we are doing or why. We simply MOVE because that is the thing to do at that moment. This aspect of subsensory information that seems (to me anyway) to be a significant part of what ki and musubi are all about. This has been discussed elsewhere, in other, more empirical terms: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10794 (generally), and here http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=150259&postcount=19(more specifically).

Roger Penrose posits that the ephemeral nature of human thought and experience points to a quantum process. His is a minority position on this issue. Among his many claims to fame is the joint proof with Hawking that black holes are not only consistent with general relativity, they are unavoidable. Given his comprehension of the uttermost limits of the knowable in the macrocosmic scale, I tend to give his opinion the benfit of the doubt as to the limitis of the knowable at the microscomic scale. At the very least, it is a preferred working hypothesis.

If Penrose is correct, then there would appear to be an interior limit to knowability that is as profound and as discontinuous as the Schwarzchild radius. Compensating for that, in much the same way as Hawking radiation leaks temperature there is still the possibility that beyond that limit of knowability (in the sense of a wave function and observed reality), spooky non-locality ( really, it is a technical term) is still possible beyond that limit but not in the sense of conscious perception.

The studies I cited in the noted discussions above implicate EEG wave packets propagating in the neuro-muscular system on the order of ~60 cm with no observed upper limit and changes of state on the order of 5 ms. http://cnd.memphis.edu/neuropercolation/paper/5._WavePacket.pdf. This observation seems to address to some extent Tegmark's criticism about the incompatibility of the slow rate of neuron firing to the rate of quatum decoherence (the wave packets propagate at speeds two orders of maginitude above that of neuron firing, as a second order process (much like a tsunami wave travels at jet speed, while the water in which it travels hardly moves at all).

The other study indicated that by means of stochastic resonance random subsensory vibration can actually be utilized by the neuromuscular system to maintain and improve balance.
http://cnd.memphis.edu/paper/tnn-ce971R-HK.pdf, and similarlyl here: http://www.bu.edu/abl/files/fulltext.pdf

In short: Good morning, Horatio!

statisticool
08-29-2006, 07:39 PM
Too true.

"All models are wrong -- some models are useful." George Fox.

---

Box, not Fox. :)


Justin

hapkidoike
08-29-2006, 09:23 PM
With all this talk of religion, I would like to share a funny story with you, it is not meant to offend anyone:
I live in South Korea. Here there are lots of buddists, and lots of christians (a large group being Jehova's Witnesses). One day some J.W.'s approached me, doing what J.W.'s do (I assume that everybody has had at least one experience with them). I am not offended by such behaviour, but I do tend to attempt to steer the conversation as far away from God as possible, just to see how long I can do it. Finally they ask me "Are you a christian?" and I say "No, I dont have a religion" to which they ask the obvious question of "why not". I explain to them that I am too busy, I train, am in a band, have a girlfriend and work full time, which is about all I have time for, but I try to treat training matial arts as my religious experience but it dosent really work. They fully do not get it. They cannot believe that I "don't" have any religion whatsover.
Fast Forward about 6 months: I am at home, talking to a friend in the states, and the doorbell rings. Two guys in suits. I am thinking witnesses, but they introduce themselves to me as buddists, and we start talking. Then they ask me if i have a religion, and I reply in the same manner as I did with the witnesses. It totally made sense to them. We started talking about martial arts for a while (one was a WuShu guy if I remember correctly) and they bid me good day.
I think this illustrates a major diffence between the two systems.

Erick Mead
08-30-2006, 06:47 AM
Too true.

"All models are wrong -- some models are useful." George Fox.
Box, not Fox. :)
Well -- that would make it more useful, then ... :p

As a somewhat serendipitous slip on my part, let me also give George Fox the Quaker leader and pacifist due place among maxims applicable to budo:

"Be still and cool in thine own mind and spirit."

MikeLogan
08-30-2006, 07:08 AM
I think this illustrates a major diffence between the two systems.

If in a very small and well defined setting, but I agree more or less. Buddhists often find it absurd that people do a lot of things the way they do, they just let them, until they figrue it out for themselves. Is the action following the sensation of absurdity really that critical?

michael.

ViciousCycle
09-10-2006, 06:03 AM
Ueshiba spoke of aikido in religious terms, just as Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of civil rights in religious terms. Just as one doesn't need to subscribe to King's religion to work for civil rights, one needn't subscribe to Ueshiba's religion to practice aikido.

Ueshiba was a great practitioner of what it is to be human. Yet, the legends told about him can make him sound not so much human as superhuman -- teleporting around attackers, dodging the bullets of expert marksmen, able to defy death, etc. Creating legends is an ancient impulse, and yet the legends can obscure the real human being. The legends surrounding Ueshiba are often explained in 'spiritual' terms, but the strength of his spirit was seen not in superhuman feats but in human courage:
-> He developed a martial art dedicated to peace and to life at a time when all martial arts in Japan were supposed to be under the control of a war-hungry Axis-allied military. He may have spoken of his desire for peace in religious terms, but peace transcends all religious boundaries.
-> Drawing on his extensive experience of martial arts, he sifted through a lot of violent techniques to develop the techniques that can be used to make the opponent powerless. He may have spoken of these techniques in terms of the old fashioned term "chi". Chi is an abstract word that is never precisely defined. Whether or not chi has a real or metaphorical-only existence is beside the point. Many Japanese were becoming mechanized on the battlefield, using many mass-produced weapons (bullets, bombs, planes, etc.) to kill in mass numbers. To slow down and work at developing chi -- when chi is quite elusive -- was counter cultural.

Tony Wagstaffe
09-10-2006, 02:00 PM
Depending on which form or style of Aikido you train in will determine whether or not you become "spiritual" or not. Let's not forget that the teacher of the founder of aikido was not the least bit "spiritual" and was a martial artist to be reckoned with! In other words he could kick ass! and so could Morihei Ueshiba!
I was personally brought up in the Catholic Faith but have come to reject it as being, for me, a load of mumbo jumbo...... If Jesus was the Son of God what does that make us? Sheep?..... Yet I still believe in a great "Universal Spirit" as such and that we either do benevolent or manevolent things. Its up for us to choose which is better by our own self conciousness. The hard practice of physical aikido only makes one more aware of your true potential and I think that's what Mr Ueshiba wanted us to find out...therefore coming to our own conclusions about our own spiritual awareness, that meaning both Body and Mind. My own conclusion is that one will never come close unless one trains hard for at least ten years and even then you are only just beginning to open the doors! All this non resistant stuff does nothing but to delude the mind that one has found their way until you come up against somebody who doesn't want to play... Then it's one hell of a shock!
Truth... When Young and Able Practice Hard and Reap the Rewards! When Old and not so Able Practise Soft to keep what you still have! ;)

KarateCowboy
09-13-2006, 01:58 PM
Hi guys.

To the OP.

Keep in mind that if there is no 'spirit' and it is just the universe, and we evolved out of dirt, that dirt can have thoughts, shout, laugh,cry, jump for joy, and even do aikido.

Erick Mead
09-14-2006, 03:40 PM
Keep in mind that if there is no 'spirit' and it is just the universe, and we evolved out of dirt, that dirt can have thoughts, shout, laugh,cry, jump for joy, and even do aikido.

Maybe, but
"To command the forest of enemy blades arrayed before you
Know that the enemy's spirit/mind is your shield."

Rip away from your soul
The shabby rags it wears
Open the way to Heavens destiny
So let it shine!

Takemusu comes to be
Through Aiki with fire and
Water of the Holy Parent
The workings of this union are
The superlative beauty of the works of God.

KarateCowboy
09-15-2006, 12:16 PM
Maybe, but

What does that mean?

Erick Mead
09-15-2006, 05:12 PM
Maybe, butWhat does that mean?
Perhaps, however ... ??

OR -- it just means what he said ... ??

More seriously, one can certainly say that all one need do is train in aikido to get the spiritual point (O-Sensei said that, too). BUT, to say that there is no spirit involved in the process is something else altogether and is not consistent with the Founder's teaching, whether technical or spiritual. There is much spookier stuff going on in the Universe that reductionists would rather not be bothered with, that cannot be ignored and that we are not well prepared to comprehend.

Spirituality is non-locality. Consciousness is more than just here -- it is elsewhere also and all of a piece -- so much ancient wisdom tells. Consciousness, so far, despite brave attempts, does not admit of reduction to mechanism. Turing's machines exist only in the liviing minds that define their threshold criteria. If Roger Penrose is right, then they probably always will be.

gdandscompserv
09-15-2006, 05:24 PM
I believe I can refine my spirit through the practice of aikido.

Erick Mead
09-15-2006, 11:11 PM
I believe I can refine my spirit through the practice of aikido.And thus have I achieved a moderate advance over on my ancestors' refining of their spirit in a still ...

Guilty Spark
09-16-2006, 07:43 AM
Might be a placebo thing but I'm finding a lot of the "tricks" (For lack of a MUCH better word, maybe concepts or ideas are more appropiate) I've learned and read about in Aikido are really helping me deal with stress, other people and some very crappy situations.

Aikido takes a lot of flak i've found because to moany people it is/can be about a lot more than just learning how to fight (defend yourself). People hear that and automatically ridicule it. If I would have heard the same a few years ago I would have called BS, now not so much.

Whether this stuff really works or it's just in my head, I'm enjoying the results.

If your skeptical about it no one is going to be able to prove it to you, it's up to you to choose to believe it or not.

KarateCowboy
10-03-2006, 02:03 PM
Perhaps, however ... ??

OR -- it just means what he said ... ??

I mean the poem he is quoting. he doesn't seem to have any clear point.

Spirituality is non-locality. Consciousness is more than just here -- it is elsewhere also and all of a piece -- so much ancient wisdom tells. Consciousness, so far, despite brave attempts, does not admit of reduction to mechanism. Turing's machines exist only in the liviing minds that define their threshold criteria. If Roger Penrose is right, then they probably always will be.
Sorry dude, you lost me. Too esoteric.

ksy
10-05-2006, 04:33 AM
Might be a placebo thing but I'm finding a lot of the "tricks" (For lack of a MUCH better word, maybe concepts or ideas are more appropiate) I've learned and read about in Aikido are really helping me deal with stress, other people and some very crappy situations.

Aikido takes a lot of flak i've found because to moany people it is/can be about a lot more than just learning how to fight (defend yourself). People hear that and automatically ridicule it. If I would have heard the same a few years ago I would have called BS, now not so much.

Whether this stuff really works or it's just in my head, I'm enjoying the results.

If your skeptical about it no one is going to be able to prove it to you, it's up to you to choose to believe it or not.


hey Grant, something happened to me yesterday so what you said really strikes a chord. I began taking aikido a while back and by nature i'm quite a confrontational person. I like the martial side of aikido but the spiritual side drew me in as well. It seemed like a peaceful "art" which i needed to balance my more aggresive side. That's why i choose aikido otherwise i would have done some more "macho" MA like karate or tkd.

Anyway, just yesterday i had a "discussion" with my significant other, the subject of which would have in the past resulted in furious shouting matches with my girlfriend coupled with hurt emotions. In a similar environment this time, i recognized that i was slightly on edge and about to "strike" (verbally in this context, or at least come out with a aggresive defensive statement) and tis time consciously, as in my aikido training, lowered my weight and concentrated on my center. I know i'm a newbie so all this could just be my imagination but whereas in the past, voices would have been raised and my girlfriend would have ended up crying in one corner and me feeling crap despite "winning" the argument, this time both of us were laughing after a minute.

And the thing is i stated my stand and didn't utter any "resign,give-in" statements. What i said kind of just blended-in (cliche yes, for lack of a better word). I hope its not a one-off cause it was a good feeling not hurting someone, which i so often did under similar conditions. Also, since taking up aikido i've been able to talk to my dad a lot better. we never did before.

Some people who read this might think it's crap but i feel spiritually and mentally, aikido has opened up other options for me. I still have a bit of a "trouble maker" in me, and sometimes still feel like kicking ass (steven seagal style) but i'm glad i didn't lose my head yesterday.

Like i said, i'm just a newbie but my only regret in aikido is not taking it sooner. Now i'm planning to see if my technique can follow my spirit (while i refine my spirit).

And like you, whether this stuff really works or not, i'm enjoying the results. cheers, man.

Kevin Leavitt
10-09-2006, 02:20 PM
I think it depends on how you define "it really works!"

It works for me martially and spiritually.

Although it is not complete in and of it's self, it is a practice on the path, but not complete, much more goes into life martially and spritually to make something complete.

I think most people tend to look at empty handed arts the wrong way, and with very limited definitions of "it works", and what the reasons for studying the arts are for.

Erick Mead
10-09-2006, 03:31 PM
I mean the poem he is quoting. he doesn't seem to have any clear point. it's ... a .... poem !
Spirituality is non-locality. Consciousness is more than just here -- it is elsewhere also and all of a piece -- so much ancient wisdom tells. Consciousness, so far, despite brave attempts, does not admit of reduction to mechanism. Turing's machines exist only in the liviing minds that define their threshold criteria. If Roger Penrose is right, then they probably always will be.
Sorry dude, you lost me. Too esoteric.
Let's make it more exoteric, then...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-locality
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EPR_paradox
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell%27s_theorem
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Penrose

mut
10-12-2006, 04:24 PM
I love the techniques

I love the subtlety of aiki

I love the art

I live by the philosophy

I just cannot get into the spiritual side of it. I dont believe in the kami and/or the gods of war. Dragons and spirits are things that I read in mythology and they all remain in the book after I read them. The universe to me consist of galaxies, interstellar dust clouds, planets, cosmic rays, space debris, comets, moons, etc. The universe to me does not have any consciousness. :hypno:

I believe in ki as intention. I cannot measure ki as energy. Ironically I sort of believe in ki. Maybe I am just running on faith on this one. :sorry:

As an aikidoka do we also have to embrace the almost religious aspect of our beloved art. Because like my teachers and my classmates I am a sceptic on the spiritual side of aikido. Because so far my aikido remained the same even though I haven't communucated with any Kami :rolleyes:
aikido does not have a religious side, spiritual and religion are different , aikido is there to refine the spirit, as well as the mind and body, you do not need a religious control system for this, :ai:

RampantWolf
10-13-2006, 03:09 AM
There were a lot of good posts in here and I tried to get through them all before I posted, but forgive me if I repeat something already said.

Spiritual can also just mean 'of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit', so what if we look at other definitions of spirit and see if that makes it work better for you.

Spirit:

the activating or essential principle influencing a person <acted in a spirit of helpfulness>
an inclination, impulse, or tendency of a specified kind
a special attitude or frame of mind
the feeling, quality, or disposition characterizing something <school spirit>
general intent or real meaning <spirit of the law>


Plus others... so for me the 'Spirit of Aikido' is what I see here on Aikiweb every day, people encouraging others, discussing topics, giving advice, asking questions etc. etc. basically aiming to better themselves and helping others if they can in a spirit of harmony (mostly :)).

Cheers
Gavin

kimusubi0
10-14-2006, 12:16 PM
I love the techniques
I love the subtlety of aiki
I love the art
I live by the philosophy
I just cannot get into the spiritual side of it. I dont believe in the kami and/or the gods of war. Dragons and spirits are things that I read in mythology and they all remain in the book after I read them. The universe to me consist of galaxies, interstellar dust clouds, planets, cosmic rays, space debris, comets, moons, etc. The universe to me does not have any consciousness. :hypno:
I believe in ki as intention. I cannot measure ki as energy. Ironically I sort of believe in ki. Maybe I am just running on faith on this one. :sorry:
As an aikidoka do we also have to embrace the almost religious aspect of our beloved art. Because like my teachers and my classmates I am a sceptic on the spiritual side of aikido. Because so far my aikido remained the same even though I haven't communucated with any Kami :rolleyes:

With Kami or not, understand Aikido is a true dilemma!
If god exists, probably he doesn't resolve your believer problem (science, religion, gods or something).
Question: To believe or not?
Maybe is a false question...

Heisenberg (or Einstein, I'm not sure) said:
"Theory is when one knows everything but nothing works. Practice is when everything works but nobody knows why..."

dps
10-14-2006, 05:09 PM
Heisenberg (or Einstein, I'm not sure) said:
"Theory is when one knows everything but nothing works. Practice is when everything works but nobody knows why..."
I like that very much. :) :)