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JohannesD
12-10-2001, 05:48 PM
Hi there...

I want ppls opinion about christianty and Aikido..

I started this thread before summer holiday and now i decide to resume it..

Aikido is a bit Shinto religion i think.. Im not so very in into this subject soo plz fill me in with all your u know...
I like to learn from other..
U should be wondering at my young age of 16..

I have this view(correct me if im wrong) that christianty has influensed Imperialism(i then mean multi million corporations that dun give a f**k about our inviorment).. It started way back if im not wrong.. At the 16th century..



Well i first want to appologise about my bad English... But i still think its good for being only 16 and living in Sweden...:D


Well i expect this thread to be as hot as the old 1.... =) if u remeber it..

mj
12-10-2001, 06:12 PM
The influence goes back at least to the times of the 'Crusades'.
Long before the 16th century.

Edward
12-10-2001, 08:37 PM
Aikido has no religion. Aikido shares some values with Shinto, Buddhism and Christianity, that's all. Osensei's beliefs definitely influenced his Aikido, but these beliefs are universal, and not the trade mark of only one religion. So for the sake of Aikido, leave it out of religion.

ranZ
12-10-2001, 08:59 PM
I agree with Edward, lets just leave religion out of aikido.

This topic has been asked many many times, maybe you'd want to read the thread at e-budo.com
http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=8689

otto
12-10-2001, 09:17 PM
I don't think in Aikido as a Religion itself....but in fact believe it is a suplement for many Religions...because it's encourages the practice of many principles stressed by many of the religious streams....

the first one to come to my mind...is the pacific resolution of conflict..

Excuse my bad English too...

akiy
12-11-2001, 10:14 AM
Please see:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=487

JohannesD
12-11-2001, 02:51 PM
Thx for these replies keep up the good work with this forum.. Make it hot...
And yes i just read in a book that i was at the crusade..

And i think that Aikido shouldnt be mixed with religion...

Keep it up...

The man himself

JohannesD
12-11-2001, 02:54 PM
I started the The last thread about christianity and aikido... But i whont make te same misstake again..
Many angry mails went into my mailbox that week.... =)

Jason483
12-18-2001, 09:18 AM
Hello everyone. I've been a Christian for about 7 years now, and I have learned a great deal. First off, our God is a very forgiving God. He will not condemn you for practicing Aikido and trying to better yourself. That is what Aikido does, it makes your body and your spirit stronger. I have also red about Christians controversy in bowing to O-Sensei. The way that I see it is like this: If you bow to him in worship then you are committing a sin, yet if you bow to him in respect then you are not. I know that I believe in God and I have faith that he exists. That is all that matters. God knows all of your thoughts before you do, so if you don't mean to offend him, he already knows that and he already forgives you. I am no saint myself, but I figured I would give my insight. Jason Palmer.

davem
12-18-2001, 10:55 AM
*lights and sirens flash*
Sir, please step away from the car, I am going to have to place you under arrest, too many three letter words were used.

I'm curious why you stated your point like this:

"First off, our God is a very forgiving God. He will not condemn you for practicing Aikido and trying to better yourself."

Call me crazy, but that seems to be a short sighted statement that could be construed to inferring that for christians, the practice of aikido is sinful. That is all I will comment on, I don't need to start the next crusade right here on Jun's board.

L. Camejo
12-18-2001, 11:21 AM
Hi all,

I think Aikido, though it can be a supplement to many religions, should not be limited to the scope of Christianity or any other religion.

One example is where many religions preach of a juxtaposition between what is perceived as good as against what is perceived as evil.

In the case of Aikido, O-Sensei taught:"As soon as you concern yourself with the "good" and "bad" of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter."

If one is constantly taught that there is a "fight" between good and evil, the average person will undoubtedly become polarised to a particular side after a while.

In Aikido we are told to blend with either force to restore harmony. In the Aikido sense, there is ultimately NO FIGHT.

Actually, it's scary how religion may perceive things like Aikido sometimes, I remember being told by an elderly and very devout Christian that the Yin Yang was a symbol of evil. Another one said that Aikido was evil because it involved mind control. :)
I have no idea who feeds them this junk.

It's sad, really.:(

"Instead of being against evil, be for love."
-Mother Theresa

IMHO Love is what Aiki is all about, end of story.

My 2 cents.
L.C.:ai::ki:

abarnhar
12-18-2001, 11:40 AM
I believe that this was posted on the main page a few days ago... but it really spoke to this topic for me.

With a mighty roar,
The encompassing love of the lord
Gives birth to the great Universe.
His holy works thus come into being.
(Morihei Ueshiba)

Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, or what?

I think Aikido is inclusive of all religion rather than exclusive from all of them.

Edward
12-18-2001, 11:41 AM
Aikido has strong phylosophical content, and so do all martial arts, though to a lesser extent. That's all. Religion has nothing to do with Aikido.

However, some teachers who are deeply involved in buddhism try to introduce it through Aikido to their students, and include buddhist prayor and rites to Aikido practice. I do respect all religions, and I have a special affection for buddhism, but I wouldn't study under such teachers, simply because this is unorthodox practice, and because this is not what I want.

Those who want to study Aiki-buddhism (copywrite 2001-Edward Karaa :) ) of course are free to do it, and those practicing Christians who don't want to get involved in other religions, should look for any regular dojo, which are fortunately still the majority.

Edward
12-18-2001, 11:46 AM
A true story:

A person of muslim belief came once to our dojo to watch the practice. Later he asked the Sensei regarding the Zarei to the Kamiza and Osensei whether we were worshipping the pictures or not. Sensei explained that it was paying respects in the Japanese way, and even though it is similar to the Muslim prayor position, it has a different meaning. I do not know if this person was convinced or not, but anyhow, he decided not to join the dojo.

Chris Li
12-18-2001, 05:45 PM
Originally posted by Edward
Aikido has strong phylosophical content, and so do all martial arts, though to a lesser extent. That's all. Religion has nothing to do with Aikido.

If you went to train at Iwama after the war you'd have had to sit with Morihei Ueshiba in the morning while he prayed and chanted for some 40 minutes before practice began. The guardian dieties of Aikido are enshrined there - there actually was a shrine (to Hachiman, IIRC) at the front of Aikikai Hombu until it was removed because they thought it might cause some problems. M. Ueshiba almost always talked about his Aikido in terms of religion and Shinto.

Of course, people went their various ways after he died, but religion was intimate to the creation of Aikido, and intimate to the outlook of Morihei Ueshiba.

Morihei Ueshiba didn't require his students to believe as he believed, but then that's fairly typical of the Japanese outlook on religion, which tends to be fairly open. On the other hand, I don't think that it would be hard to argue that some study of M. Ueshiba's religious beliefs is necessary if you want to understand anything about the way that he thought.

Best,

Chris

Edward
12-18-2001, 08:59 PM
Originally posted by Chris Li


If you went to train at Iwama after the war you'd have had to sit with Morihei Ueshiba in the morning while he prayed and chanted for some 40 minutes before practice began. The guardian dieties of Aikido are enshrined there - there actually was a shrine (to Hachiman, IIRC) at the front of Aikikai Hombu until it was removed because they thought it might cause some problems. M. Ueshiba almost always talked about his Aikido in terms of religion and Shinto.

Of course, people went their various ways after he died, but religion was intimate to the creation of Aikido, and intimate to the outlook of Morihei Ueshiba.

Morihei Ueshiba didn't require his students to believe as he believed, but then that's fairly typical of the Japanese outlook on religion, which tends to be fairly open. On the other hand, I don't think that it would be hard to argue that some study of M. Ueshiba's religious beliefs is necessary if you want to understand anything about the way that he thought.

Best,

Chris

I would say that you could respect what Jesus Christ said and agree with his without becoming a Christian, and the Buddha said similar things (500 years before), so if you're a Christian, it would be hypocrite from you not to aknowledge this fact. You don't have to worship the Buddha neither. You can also admire Plato's very religious philosophy without becoming a paganist. Religion is about unconditional belief. But we are talking about philosophical concepts.

Osensei reached his enlightment through religion, and Aikido obviously was a result of this enlightment. But as you said, students came to learn Aikido not to become soufis, and what Osensei did as rituals was his very own business.

deepsoup
12-19-2001, 07:15 AM
Originally posted by Edward
A true story:

A person of muslim belief came once to our dojo to watch the practice. Later he asked the Sensei regarding the Zarei to the Kamiza and Osensei whether we were worshipping the pictures or not. Sensei explained that it was paying respects in the Japanese way, and even though it is similar to the Muslim prayor position, it has a different meaning. I do not know if this person was convinced or not, but anyhow, he decided not to join the dojo.

You say "A true story:" as if there were something strange about this. I dont know much about Islam, but I had a very interesting conversation about this issue with a Muslim martial artist a few years ago.

Devout believers of all religions may have problems with the 'spiritual' aspects, or the rituals associated with practicing aikido, but for Muslims there is a particular problem with bowing that people of other religions dont share.

The way many Muslims (and their Mullah's) interpret the Koran it is forbidden for a Muslim to bow down before anyone, or anything, except in the act of worshipping God.

For the person who visited your dojo, its possible that the reason for the bow, the fact that its a gesture of respect rather than an act of worship, etc, was totally irrelevant, because what is forbidden is the physical act of bowing down for any purpose other than worshipping God.

I'd emphasise that such Muslims dont have a problem with showing respect; handshakes, salutes, verbal expressions of respect (or indeed any gesture other than a bow similar to the way they bow in prayer) are no problem. But for them, bowing (anything from a nod of the head to zarei) to anyone other than God is specifically forbidden in the Koran.

My 0.02 on this is that, yes, a sensei is within his/her rights to show a person who is unable/unwilling to bow the door. BUT that such a sensei would be showing a serious lack of imagination to do so. It shouldn't be beyond the combined wit of the teacher and the student to come up with some other gesture to use instead of a rei.

Sean
x

Edward
12-19-2001, 11:43 AM
Originally posted by deepsoup


You say "A true story:" as if there were something strange about this. I dont know much about Islam, but I had a very interesting conversation about this issue with a Muslim martial artist a few years ago.

Devout believers of all religions may have problems with the 'spiritual' aspects, or the rituals associated with practicing aikido, but for Muslims there is a particular problem with bowing that people of other religions dont share.

The way many Muslims (and their Mullah's) interpret the Koran it is forbidden for a Muslim to bow down before anyone, or anything, except in the act of worshipping God.

For the person who visited your dojo, its possible that the reason for the bow, the fact that its a gesture of respect rather than an act of worship, etc, was totally irrelevant, because what is forbidden is the physical act of bowing down for any purpose other than worshipping God.

I'd emphasise that such Muslims dont have a problem with showing respect; handshakes, salutes, verbal expressions of respect (or indeed any gesture other than a bow similar to the way they bow in prayer) are no problem. But for them, bowing (anything from a nod of the head to zarei) to anyone other than God is specifically forbidden in the Koran.

My 0.02 on this is that, yes, a sensei is within his/her rights to show a person who is unable/unwilling to bow the door. BUT that such a sensei would be showing a serious lack of imagination to do so. It shouldn't be beyond the combined wit of the teacher and the student to come up with some other gesture to use instead of a rei.

Sean
x

First, no body showed this person the door. He found it by himself (Maybe he found Aikido too soft and went to find a stronger MA?).

Second, we have Muslim members in our dojo who have no problem in bowing to the Kamiza, Osensei, the Sensei, or other fellow Aikidokas. They have the highest ethics among all dojo members.

Third, I will suggest to my sensei to introduce handshakes as a substitute to bowing. The problem is, how can I shake hands with Osensei's picture. Maybe you have some suggestions.

Fourth, I pity very much the narrow-minded and I would tell them that Aikido is not for them. Such mentality lead to the Inquisition in the Catholic Church and also to September 11 attacks. If you are not open-minded enough to tolerate and appreciate other people's cultures, no body is forcing you to learn their arts, whether martial or not. Moreover, no need to learn their language, history...etc. You can stay home and do your own thing.

Fifth, do not try to interprete other people's actions, especially if you don't know what you're talking about, and you admit it. Aikido and other MA exist in so many muslim countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia and others. They all use bowing without any problem. I have never heard an issue about that.

Andy
12-19-2001, 12:19 PM
Originally posted by Edward
Fourth, I pity very much the narrow-minded and I would tell them that Aikido is not for them. Such mentality lead to the Inquisition in the Catholic Church and also to September 11 attacks.
Are you really comparing a person who does not wish to bow to O-sensei's picture to what happened on September 11th? Talk about extreme.
If you are not open-minded enough to tolerate and appreciate other people's cultures, no body is forcing you to learn their arts, whether martial or not.
Pot. Kettle. Black.

Just because someone refuses to bow doesn't make their aikido any worse.
Aikido and other MA exist in so many muslim countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia and others. They all use bowing without any problem. I have never heard an issue about that.
"All"?

Edward
12-19-2001, 12:25 PM
Originally posted by Andy

Are you really comparing a person who does not wish to bow to O-sensei's picture to what happened on September 11th? Talk about extreme.
[B]
Pot. Kettle. Black.

Just because someone refuses to bow doesn't make their aikido any worse.
[B]
"All"?

We are talking about a hypothetical situation. No one refused to bow to the picture of Osensei to my knowledge. Not in my nor deepsoup's posts.

Second, don't you have anything better to do?

shihonage
12-19-2001, 02:22 PM
Originally posted by Edward


We are talking about a hypothetical situation. No one refused to bow to the picture of Osensei to my knowledge. Not in my nor deepsoup's posts.

Second, don't you have anything better to do?

Jonathan
12-19-2001, 04:05 PM
Man, there is alot of baloney about Christianity being presented here as fact. May I suggest that those of you who have some negative comment to make about Christianity do so from a better informed basis? Anyone who has read the Bible thoroughly and truly understands the tenets of Christ's teachings would not hold to the notion that the contents of the Bible produced or support such things as Imperialism, the Inquisition, or the Crusades. These things arose mainly out of Roman Catholicism and its political agenda, not biblical christianity. (Believe it or not, Roman Catholicism and the Bible differ widely on many points of doctrine).

As to the matter of bowing, the Bible commands Christians not to "bow down nor serve any graven image or likeness of anything" (see the Ten Commandments). It's interesting that there is a distinction made between bowing and serving and that BOTH are condemned.

Chris Li
12-19-2001, 05:50 PM
-`iginally posted by Edward [/i]

Second, we have Muslim members in our dojo who have no problem in bowing to the Kamiza, Osensei, the Sensei, or other fellow Aikidokas. They have the highest ethics among all dojo members. [/QUOTE]

Well, because SOME Muslims don't have a problem with the bow, it doesn't therefore follow that ALL Muslims ought not to have a problem.


Third, I will suggest to my sensei to introduce handshakes as a substitute to bowing. The problem is, how can I shake hands with Osensei's picture. Maybe you have some suggestions.


I had a student who was an orthodox Jew and felt that he couldn't bow. He just didn't bow and there was no problem at all. I actually asked my instructor at the time (Mitsugi Saotome) about it and he just looked at me like I was stupid and said "If you don't want to bow then don't bow" :) .


Fourth, I pity very much the narrow-minded and I would tell them that Aikido is not for them. Such mentality lead to the Inquisition in the Catholic Church and also to September 11 attacks. If you are not open-minded enough to tolerate and appreciate other people's cultures, no body is forcing you to learn their arts, whether martial or not. Moreover, no need to learn their language, history...etc. You can stay home and do your own thing.


Hmm, they're narrow minded because they don't agree with your interpretation of the gesture, but you're not - even though you don't agree with or tolerate their interpretation of their own religion? After all, they're not building car bombs, they just don't want to avoid a gesture that they feel violates their religious beliefs - a gesture which, I might add, had very little to do with actual Aikido training at all.


Fifth, do not try to interprete other people's actions, especially if you don't know what you're talking about, and you admit it. Aikido and other MA exist in so many muslim countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia and others. They all use bowing without any problem. I have never heard an issue about that.


Again, because SOME Muslims have no problem with bowing it doesn't mean that ALL Muslims will interpret their faith in the same way. Many Muslims believe that a Muslim is not allowed to bow before anybody or anything except Allah. And yes, I've run into them in the martial arts from time to time.

Best,

Chris

guest1234
12-19-2001, 06:27 PM
OK, so there are Christians, Muslims, and Jews who do not bow due to religious beliefs, and those that do. Maybe we could get a poll next month...

In the meantime, in the spirit of several holidays just recently passed (Ramadan/Eiid, Yom Kippur/Rosh Hossanah, Feast of the Great Pumpkin/Halloween---please all forgive the spelling of an Irish Roman Catholic girl...), and of course one that is coming soon (Christmas):

could we maybe be a bit gentler in our comments on any religion (yours, formerly yours, someone else's)...

or Santa will only leave coal in your sock.:eek:

Edward
12-19-2001, 11:20 PM
Originally posted by ca
OK, so there are Christians, Muslims, and Jews who do not bow due to religious beliefs, and those that do. Maybe we could get a poll next month...

In the meantime, in the spirit of several holidays just recently passed (Ramadan/Eiid, Yom Kippur/Rosh Hossanah, Feast of the Great Pumpkin/Halloween---please all forgive the spelling of an Irish Roman Catholic girl...), and of course one that is coming soon (Christmas):

could we maybe be a bit gentler in our comments on any religion (yours, formerly yours, someone else's)...

or Santa will only leave coal in your sock.:eek:

Thanks Colleen for reminding us of this important point.

I would like to say one more thing. Member's replies make me look as if I am criticizing Islam or Christianity. In our days, fanaticism and extremism is the Issue,and we should try as much as possible to encourage moderateness. I come from Lebanon which is a 50-50 Christian-Muslim land. I must say that 99% of the population is moderate. I have practiced MA in Lebanon and many muslim countries, especially around the Gulf. I assure you there were never any problems about the bowing issue that I was aware of. Maybe there was that I didn't know of, but these are rare cases and definitely do not deserve the extra attention and importance we are giving them. By doing so, we do cause prejudice to other people's religions and do more harm than good.

As for the bowing issue itself, please let me say that we receive Aikido as a package, as transmitted to us by Osensei through his students and their students. We have to pass it on faithfully without alteration, no matter our personal opinion or preferences. Who has the right to say that bowing is not important in Aikido? What about Suwari Waza and Hanmi Handachi, aren't they obsolete nowadays? Shall we cancel them as well? Isn't Seiza painful for most? Once we start to select what we would do and what we won't, there is no limit anymore.

Sincerely,
Edward

guest1234
12-19-2001, 11:44 PM
I wasn't in on what O Sensei thought was and wasn't essential to his art, but I think tolerance and perhaps even innovation were seen by him as good things.

Considering we are not required to wear hakama from the moment we step on the mat, and we (aside from a few words) use our native tongue rather than Japanese in the dojo, there are already some pretty obvious changes. And I think he'd probably be OK with those, and pretty much everything else his students and their students' students have come up with, if done in the spirit of love and unity.

I learned wonderful Aikido from a Jewish sensei who did not bow (nor did we). I don't think it harmed me. But then, I like knowing lots of ways to do the same technique; diversity within unity is very attractive to me. Uniformity makes me restless. OTOH, I've been booted from a dojo, and you most probably have not.:rolleyes: Guess there's a place for us all if we look long enough.

Chris Li
12-19-2001, 11:58 PM
Originally posted by Edward
As for the bowing issue itself, please let me say that we receive Aikido as a package, as transmitted to us by Osensei through his students and their students. We have to pass it on faithfully without alteration, no matter our personal opinion or preferences. Who has the right to say that bowing is not important in Aikido? What about Suwari Waza and Hanmi Handachi, aren't they obsolete nowadays? Shall we cancel them as well? Isn't Seiza painful for most? Once we start to select what we would do and what we won't, there is no limit anymore.

Sincerely,
Edward

Both before and after the war, until he died, Morihei Ueshiba would begin training with sometimes as much as an hour of prayer and chanting. ThatÕs the way that he taught, and the way that his students received the package. Should we do that as well? He always expressed his Aikido in terms of obscure shinto and the gods - should that be passed on as part of the package as well?

Note that there are some people who do believe that Aikido should be passed on just that way, and others that donÕt, IÕm not advocating one side or the other. OTOH, I get the feeling that youÕre not one of those who believes in long shinto prayers before each class - so if youÕre committed to passing on the complete package then how did you choose to cut out those parts which Morihei Ueshiba himself always included? What about jukenjutsu or aikibo, both of which Morihei Ueshiba taught? How about kotodama, which he both practiced himself and lectured on at great length? Should you follow your instructor around and hold his sleeves out of the sink so that he can wash his face? UeshibaÕs students did it for him.

IMO, nobody can ever train exactly the way that the original package was passed on - the world has changed and most people arenÕt even in Japan, which means that a whole host of things change dramatically. Even Japanese people donÕt do things exactly the same way that things were done when Morihei Ueshiba was alive.

Best,

Chris

shihonage
12-20-2001, 01:33 AM
Originally posted by Edward

Who has the right to say that bowing is not important in Aikido? What about Suwari Waza and Hanmi Handachi, aren't they obsolete nowadays? Shall we cancel them as well? Isn't Seiza painful for most?

Anat Amitay
01-16-2002, 02:09 AM
As to the matter of bowing, the Bible commands Christians not to "bow down nor serve any graven image or likeness of anything" (see the Ten Commandments). It's interesting that there is a distinction made between bowing and serving and that BOTH are condemned.

So, just to add some corrections-
The Bible (not the New Testimony) commanded the Hebrews not to bow or serve any graven image etc. Christians wheren't around for more then a thousand years or so later.
Just to let you know, since you seemed very concerned about the correct form of things.
Second- Bowing as not allowed in the Bible is in the meaning of serving. If I bow in respect, it's just like saying thank you or saluting in the army. I'm not believing as in religion in the picture I bow to, I say Thank You.
Some Jews have a problem with bowing, most don't since they see it in the same way.
And as for what Edward before me said, yes I agree that we will lose the acense of the art if we drop out things that aren't comfortable for us. Yet there is a difference if we feel bowing interfers with our religion and between not sitting in Seiza because it hurts or isn't comfortable. Ajustments should be made so that religion does not interfer, but not what's comfortable or not. For those who want comfort- stay at home in the couch before the fire! ;)
Anat

Jonathan
01-22-2002, 01:38 PM
Well, you're quite right. I misspoke myself didn't I? Christians weren't around at the time of the giving of the Ten Commandments. The spirit of this law, and of all the Ten Commandments, still applies to christians, however.

I am in disagreement, Anat, with your view of the commandment concerning bowing. Perhaps you should read the story of Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego in the Book of Daniel.

Certainly there is no good reason to express gratefulness, as Aikidoka do through bowing, to one who is not present and who has, in fact, been dead many years. He is in no way aware or appreciative of our bowing. I'm not saying we shouldn't have a grateful attitude toward O-sensei for this wonderful art, though.

I don't have any objections to bowing to my training partners.

Anat Amitay
01-30-2002, 01:33 AM
Jonathan,
Sorry it took my some time to reply, but I wanted to read the book of Daniel again before I answer.
The story goes that the king (Nevuhadnatzer in the Hebrew version- I don't know the name in English)made a huge statue and put it in the city square and ordered all the people, no matter where their origins where from,to bow before the statue when hearing a certain tune from different music instruments. Daniels three friends did not bow, were brought before the king and when they said that they will refuse to do so in the future, they were sent to the fire. But their strong belief kept them by miracle from burning.
This still does not contrast what I said.
The king was demanding a work of Pagan gods and they refused it. This does not mean that bowing not in a way of worship but of gratitude is not allowed.
In total, it doesn't really matter. Each person will do what he sees right and I haven't heard of problems given to people who refused to bow because of religious belief.
So, I wish you all an enjoyalbe training!
Anat

Kenshin75
02-04-2002, 03:08 AM
"Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view."
: OB1-Wan Kenobi

I belive in the force :D

As for bowing, Its my understanding, that when done in the context of use such as in aikido.. In the culture it originated from, its a sign of respect... Much like how we in the states put our hand over the heart when the national Anthem is playing, even though the solders that lost thier lives for our country are no longer here and cant hear us or see our jesture.

guest1234
02-04-2002, 07:17 AM
I mean this gently, but then you really might want to read a little more about Shinto religion... this is directed at everyone who keeps saying they don't know why anyone has an issue with bowing, that it isn't a religious thing. It is not to you, and I can do it without it being one, but if we are going to do it in the context it was originally meant by O Sensei, then it certainly was religious. The bow to our partners, no, that's hello. The bow to the shomen is an entirely different matter. If we want to be traditional, we should understand what we are talking about. Those who have an issue with bowing due to their religious beliefs may actually have a better understanding of what the bow to the shomen is than those who are defending it.

Chuck.Gordon
02-04-2002, 09:49 AM
Originally posted by Edward
Aikido has strong phylosophical content, and so do all martial arts, though to a lesser extent.

Bzzzt. Wrong. Try again. Aikido _is_ a deeply spiritual and philosophical budo, but compared to systems such as Kashima Shinryu or Takenouchi Ryu, just a small fish in the big pond of Japanese budo.

Ueshiba's aikido is heavily influenced by his Omoto Kyo beliefs. Omoto Kyo was one of the myriad new religions that sprang up in post-Meiji Japan.

It's based on Shinto, IIRC, but has strong influences from several major religious systems. It's a messianistic religion that taught sought heaven on earth and actually, at one point, began planning to create such a utopian paradise in China.

Much of the philosophy underpinning aikido comes from this school or thought.

In later years, Ueshiba's legacy has become diluted somewhat and everything from Christianity to Zen has been applied, but at the source, it was largely Shinto and Omoto-based.

If that gives Christians pause, then maybe they should study something different.

Japanese budo is deeply ingrained with religious thought and practice. Most of the koryu had one or more Shinto or Buddhist deities to whom they paid allegiance, in terms of philospihical foundation if not actual spiritual obesience.

Does that mean that if you practice budo you are practicing a religion? No. Some thoughts from budo scholar and Kashima Shinryu teacher Karl Friday (this also ties to some comments recently made in another thread here):

Budo is NOT a religious practice, nor does is it an expression of any religious faith (a point that I've argued at length in several forums, including my *Legacies of the Sword* book). It's an utterly secular practice, compatible with a wide range of religious beliefs--or lack thereof. But in the worldview of medieval and early modern Japan (which underlies the whole budo concept), the bugei came to identified as a "michi," or "path," toward the same sort of transcendent understanding of the universe as was sought in various religious/philosophical traditions.

In early Japanese usage, the term referred simply to specialization or proficiency; but during the middle ages, "michi" took on a deeper meaning, as it merged with ontological and epistemological constructs drawn from Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. All three philosophies embrace the idea that some extraordinary level of understanding exists at which one can comprehend the phenomenal world as a whole, and that this level of understanding is attainable by virtually any human being who seeks it diligently enough. Followers of Confucianism or Taoism call this achievement "sagehood"; those of Buddhism, "enlightenment."

The cosmological premises underlying Confucian or Taoist sagehood and Buddhist enlightenment differ radically, but the three states share a unitary or totalistic notion of human perfection. They all recognize only two forms of human endeavor: those that lead to ultimate knowledge and understanding, and those that do not. Any and all variations of the former must, then, lead to the same place. There's no such thing as specialized perfection in the modern Western sense that recognizes the mastery of tennis as something fundamentally different from mastery of physics.

The medieval Japanese concept of michi, then, saw expertise in activities of all sorts-from games and sport to fine arts, and from practical endeavors to religious practice-as possessing a universality deriving from its relationship to a common, ultimate goal. Concentrated specialization in any activity was held to be an equally valid route to ultimate attainment of universal truth; complete mastery of even the most trivial of pastimes was believed to yield the same truths as can be found through the most profound. Within this cultural milieu, military training took its place alongside calligraphy, flower arranging, incense judging, poetry composition, No drama, the preparation of tea, and numerous other medieval michi.

Moreover, warriors recognized that fighting was a natural phenomenon like any other, and concluded that the more closely and optimally their movements and tactics harmonized with the principles of natural law, the better their performance in combat would be. On the purely physical level, this is a simple deduction, as obvious as the advantages of shooting arrows with rather than against a strong wind. But the monistic worldview of premodern Japan didn't distinguish physics from metaphysics. So to the samurai, the difference between corporeal and "spiritual" considerations in martial training was simply a matter of the level of sophistication and expertise at which the task was to be approached.

The "spiritual" aspect of bugei training--what modern writers often distinguish as "budo"--is an integral part of a unique parcel. Budo is not a form of religion, nor is it a part of any religion. It's a unique path that by its nature (it is believed) ultimately leads to essentially the same place as Taoist, Confucian or Buddhist (and other) religious training is believed to lead. It's a path (michi) like all the other michi (chanoyu, calligraphy, flower arranging, and the like), but it's also driven by a unique internal logic of its own. For more on this, see my translation and comments on *Neko no myojutsu* in Dianne Skoss' forthcoming volume.

Karl, by the way, will be here with us in Indy in May for Wood and Steel IV. I'll post details as they develop.

Chuck

Tim Griffiths
02-04-2002, 10:06 AM
Originally posted by ca
...The bow to our partners, no, that's hello. The bow to the shomen is an entirely different matter. If we want to be traditional, we should understand what we are talking about. Those who have an issue with bowing due to their religious beliefs may actually have a better understanding of what the bow to the shomen is than those who are defending it.

Here, here, Colleen.

A bow is inherently submissive. That's where it comes from, unlike shaking hands, saluting or kissing. You can't avoid it. You can say "Oh, well it isn't really meant that way anymore", but that isn't really going impress people following a set of guidlines that are 2002 (or 5762, if you prefer) years old. Also, just because its taken out of social context doesn't make it any better.
Its a religious act. Do it if you can. Don't do it if you don't want to.

Anat - you know the logic of interpreting the bible. If it says "do not bow down nor serve any graven image...." it means that the writers saw fit to say both bow and serve - to make the distinction between the two - ergo they are not the same.

Note that Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Methodists all bow to the altar - or is an act of momentary prayer? Maybe there's the solution: don't bow to the shomen, but offer a brief prayer of thanks to [God/Allah/Jehovah/Shiva/Odin/Freya/George Clooney] for the gift of aikido, during which you would bow.

Tim

shihonage
02-04-2002, 11:46 AM
Yes, indeed, God has no better things to do than to monitor in which exactly direction you bow.

As long as you bow while praying to Him, its okay to go ahead and have a fight with your wife when you come home.

Who cares about superficial, unimportant things like that ?
The most important thing, after all, is that you bowed correctly, thus being a true servant to your beliefs.

mle
02-04-2002, 05:20 PM
Originally posted by Tim Griffiths

Here, here, Colleen.


Certainly. I do enjoy reading Colleen's posts.

Originally posted by Tim Griffiths

A bow is inherently submissive. That's where it comes from, unlike shaking hands, saluting or kissing. You can't avoid it.
Tim

Just as a matter of note from another koryu bunny (former aiki-bunny, yes :)..

I've seen some bows that are not in the least submissive.
Imagine a wide seiza, one fist to the ground, never breaking eye contact, a slight dip and a grunt serving as a bow. I've seen it in a couple koryu videos and from my own teacher.

Even from aikido dojo to aikido dojo the degree of submissiveness varies.
Do you bow all the way to the ground, eyes down?
Do you carefully place your hands one after the other on the ground, lower slightly while keeping an eye on things, then straighten, hands lightly on your thighs?

And what does all this mean?
It means that's how your teacher taught you to bow.

Now as to whether or not God cares, that's between you and whatever you call God.

akiy
02-04-2002, 05:47 PM
Originally posted by mle
I've seen some bows that are not in the least submissive.
[SNIP]
Here's some things I found written by Tsuneo Nishioka sensei (menkyo kaiden, Shinto Muso-ryu jodo) back in 1994:

http://shinto-muso-ryu.org/?tntext.html

He writes some interesting things about bowing, kata, bujutsu, and other things that have been discussed here recently. In part, he writes:


One does not learn Japanese budo in order to acquire the most efficient method to injure or kill others. Budo leads one to a higher level of morality where, in a life and death situation, not only can one stay alive, but the enemy can also be left to live. Therein is the fulfillment of an ideology--attainment of the highest level of humanity. This is the reason why Japanese kata-budo have demonstrations that are offered to the sacred kami, the founder, and ancestors. Therefore, as a greeting, I am presenting my understanding of the concept that budo "begins and ends with rei."


-- Jun

Martin Grover
07-07-2004, 05:25 PM
Muslim here

I have my own personal practice in regards to this issue.

The zarei is not the same as an Islamic sujud. It looks different , has a different intent, and has a different context. In Islamic prayer, you could go through all the motions with perfect form and still not be praying if your intent is not clear. When I bow in Aikido, standing or seated, my intent is respect to those with whom I practice ant to the art we share. I understand it in cultural context, and it does not bother me, nor does it represent worshipping something other than Allah.

I could be wrong.

Martin

malc anderson
07-17-2004, 04:16 AM
Hi ya all, There is a fundamental flaw in trying to reason religion and what O’Sensei practiced and taught. The translation of what was said some hundred or thousand years ago, can be misleading, especially if we have not experienced the essence of all Religions, the ‘Seeing of the Light’.
Without this (Kensho) we are just mechanically following a set of rules and theories, we must look deeper and understand the unity of all Religions in the experience of God, Love or Light, which ever word you prefer. This can be experienced only inside our hearts, not the heart that pumps blood but the heart of our being, consciousness or soul, which ever word suits you best. When ever a master comes to try to stop the world killing it self and to release people from the delusion of this materialistic world, they are generally ridiculed, by the Religion of that time or place in which they find them selves. (This is mainly self-interest, who wants to loose their job of priest, bishop, shaman or any other title and have to loose the honours or prestige these titles give). Then when the master dies (or are executed for being a heretic) a committee is formed and what can be remembered of what was taught by them is written down and becomes the new religion and so this major flaw is carried on generally leading to division and war. When will we stop doing this? For me having been blessed with some experiences of this (Kensho) ‘seeing of the Light’ most religious teachings become clear, We must stop looking at the differences and look at the similarities and so join the people of the world in the Peace that all the Religions preach.
‘God is light and in him is no darkness at all’ this ‘Light’ is in the heart of all men and is the source of life. This is the same light that O’Sensei saw and St Paul on the road to Damascus, and what is seen in the near death experiences. I am not trying to say that O’Sensei was an avatar like Jesus, or he would have said,’ come to me and I will give you peace’ but he was a visionary and did experience the ‘Hidden Light’. Let go of division and grasp the unity of one God, the same for all men not limited by our own small perspective and realize that ‘ A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’. Malc
‘All life is a manifestation of the spirit, the manifestation of love. And the Art of Peace is the purest form of that principle. A warrior is charged with bringing a halt to all contention and strife. Universal love functions in many forms; each manifestation should be allowed free expression. The Art of Peace is true democracy.’ M.Ueshiba

KamiKaze_Evolution
07-18-2004, 04:43 AM
This is a part of my testimony for Aikido practice, i'm a Christian too but still keep it going up. I think that you all still don't understand yet, but i don't like to waisting my time once again!

I’m a faithful follower of Lord Savior, taking Aikido for very long time already since after a year accepted salvation by Lord Savior. On that while, I also self-appointed as chairman of my old school Aikido Club and began my Aikido practice under Thian Seng Low Sensei (3rd Dan, Malaysia Aikido Association). Kwan Tat and his mum are Christians as well, he was decided to do Karate Do at former located badminton court. I tried to recommend him to join Aikido Club that I organized, he was did help me for enrolment of Aikido Club.

I feel “shock” of Aikido practice in one or couple year after under Marcus Chan Sensei (3rd Dan, Aikido Shobukan Malaysia), but didn’t though that has somebody messes up with Aikido and devotion faith in several Aikido BBS such “can Christian does Aikido?”, “has Aikido incompatible with Christianity faith?”, “is Aikido a religion?”, etc. Those are nonsense question for me as an Aikidoka! Christian does Aikido isn’t just me, there’s a big amount of Christians doing Aikido over worldwide.

This is rivalry between those “pharaists” and me, they abuse my Aikido like another Falun Gong. Beside of mention to Aikido is another Falun Gong, they also unrespect me as their brother in our heavenly family and consider Japanese cultures is rubbish. I don’t bother anything anymore and just keep my Aikido practice going up, it’s why I decided to meet Etsuji Horri Sensei (6th Dan, Kobe Sanda Dojo) and Harry Ng Sensei (6th Dan, Aikikai Singapore).

I decided to return to my Aikido “home” after watched an Aikido documentary in National Geographic Channel, cable TV (ASTRO) has available at my home actually. I really like to thanks to Jossete Nadeau, Current Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba, Hitohiro Saito Soke (currently Iwama Shinshin Aiki Shurenkai), Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan (8th Dan, New York Aikikai), etc. Aikido practice is nothing for my Christianity belief actually, those are exactly different way of religious beliefs. Some of Christians don’t understand about this Budo, we’re learning about Samurai spirit. What does natural things mentioned in about oriental martial arts is quite different with theological concepts, but not everything is incompatible with my faith. I don’t bother about Omoto Kyo because I’m just learning Budo but not religions, spiritual doesn’t absolutely represents something devotional like some Christians (individual or group) mention that Aikido is another Falun Gong.

Have a nice day!

Shawn Bradshaw
11-18-2004, 06:10 AM
O'sensei, taught exactly what jesus taught about how to live your life, and anyone who disagrees hasnt studied the word of either man closely enough. The only difference is that O'sensei added the physical application to training the mind. Jesus performed great miracles, and said '' these things that I have done, you can also, and even greater things''. The two men are nearly mirror images of one another. Jesus said that we to could develop the power within us to perform miracles of love ... He just didnt focus his teachings on the how. O'sensei saw this as his duty in life, and I for one think he has done a wonderfull service to us all( chistian @ non christian) by showing us the physical power that living with love can bring about. If anything...aikido has made my christian faith stronger and eisier to apply in my daily life. I too was one of those christians, who had failed to realize the selfless state that jesus said we were to have, until I found aikido. I'm still working on it, but at least O'sensei put me on the right track;

Bill Danosky
11-18-2004, 06:27 PM
Just as a starving man will forget about food when deprived of air, religion is higher than philosophy in the heirarchy of sensibilities. People can't be expected to risk their soul for an ideal. If dojo ettiquette were a problem for me, I'd let my sensei decide. If I can't live with his/her decision, I'm better off with a different teacher. But I do think the sensei gets to/has to make the policy within the dojo.

lenna
11-26-2004, 02:54 PM
First of all I would like to go all the way back to the first few posts and say that just as a
true aikidoka would not start a fight and strives towards nonviolence so a true Christian
and true believer of the bible would not would not believe in or start, or participate in such
things as the inquisition. And religion should not be a hindrance to relationships. Don’t let
your beliefs get in the way of that. You can learn from others either that your beliefs are
wrong or strengthen why you believe theirs to be wrong. Its called Growth and Maturity.
Second, On Christians being able to bow, lets look at an example in the bible, in the old
testament you were not allowed to eat certain meats - in the new testament that was no
longer a problem things had been fulfilled bla bla bla you were allowed to eat certain
foods. But the apostle Paul said that if eating meat is a hindrance to your faith don’t eat it,
if you truly believe that its wrong to eat meat and you do eat it, it in fact is wrong. so Lets
replace meat with bowing. ‘Chris’ should not should bow if he/she truly believes it to be
wrong - whether meant wrongly or meant innocently. just because ‘Chris’ cannot do it does
not mean that you can not do it. But ‘Chris’ may be wrong .What I’m trying to say this,
Things change, things that were unacceptable may be made acceptable. The ten
commandments do say not to bow down... I don’t know what the original Hebrew was
referring to but I’m sure it meant an act of a prostrating bow meant to show submission
and allegiance. That may very well be what the bow means in Aikido that is not what I
have come to know it to mean and its not what I mean when I bow. It is now construed to
mean respect there is nothing wrong with showing respect, its a good thing. If your
bowing leads others who believe that its a form of worship to think wrongly of Christians
(that we don’t only worship God) either do not bow or explain to them your intentions. If
you want me to go into Daniel i will but but just that that bow was meant as worship what
respect can be paid to the giant idol this is long enough
with respect

bryce_montgomery
11-29-2004, 10:22 AM
Here's a thought...people can train in Aikido and then begin teaching their own interpretation of it...this places it above religion because it looks beyond the actual beliefs of a large group of people and places the thought process on the individual to come up with his/her own interpretation of the art...

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Aikido is not a religion...nor belongs to a religion (a religion being defined as, "Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.") yet it could be a religion to the person that wants to follow it with zeal or conscientious devotion.

Ron Pyle
11-30-2004, 12:44 PM
Gee Johannes....I could write a ton on this to help you...

Lets start at Imperialism. God has a problem with man. He blesses man and man runs with it. Man has a bad way of taking advantage. Being selfish. Making himself god. Turning his back on God. While patronizing God. Imperialism is something of man, not Christianity.

I think most of your problem is with religion. Not Christianity. That is a big problem Christians have is to become "religious". It is all so simple. Just accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. His spirit will come to you.
Religion is man trying to reach God through his own works. Righteousness is another word for adequacy. Your adequacy depends only on accepting Jesus. That's all.

It is written that there will come a time where you will not be able to tell the difference between the righteous and the wicked. It is also written that you will be able to tell the difference by their fruits. Their fruits being what comes from them as a person. The basis is in where their heart is at. Do they only worry about themselves? Do they only worry about what serves them? About their own kingdom? About their own profit? About their own success? About their own life?

When I read writings by the creator of Aikido. I see him writing about self sacrificing love. About love of others. I can only stand in judgement in saying I cannot judge this one.

Now I ask you who was the ultimate in self sacrificing love? Who allowed himself to be sacrificed to save mankind? Who did this, not out of weakness. He did it out of obedience. Obedience to the Father. Go watch The Passion of the Christ. When you do, realize that at any moment, he could have stopped that just by changing his mind. But he didn't. He won the ultimate battle against the god of this world. He won it by losing.

KamiKaze_Evolution
12-20-2004, 05:30 AM
http://www.christianaikido.com
http://www.aikidoheiwa.com

Bill Danosky
12-20-2004, 11:48 PM
Sorry to barge in on your thread, but I read this in one of the zen koans and thought you'd like it:


A university student while visiting Gasan asked him: "Have you ever read the Christian Bible?"

"No, read it to me," said Gasan.

The student opened the Bible and read from St. Matthew: "And why take ye thought for rainment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these... Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself."

Gasan said: "Whoever uttered those words I consider an enlightened man."

The student continued reading: "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened."

Gasan remarked: "That is excellent. Whoever said that is not far from Buddhahood."

makuchg
01-26-2005, 06:06 AM
Well I think the problem here is in the context of the words. We are using religion and spirituality interchangeably and I believe there is definite differences in how people interpret these words. For me when I hear religion I think of organized religious practice (churches, reverends, the such) and when I hear spirituality I think of self guided or minimal outside interferrence (sort-a-speak) study toward "god" (whomever that is for you).

Now to seperate Aikido from religion (as the Japanese use the word, not as us westerners us it) is impossible. O'Sensei was often referred to as the most religious person in Japan and would engross himself in prayer several times a day. I think the difference is that O'Sensei was more spiritual in western terminology than religious. Although practicing several different religions throughout his life (Shinto, Omoto-Kyu, etc) he never settled for one, he continually expanded his center of thought and belief. Remember O'Sensei often retreated to the mountains to pray and meditate, to escape his daily life to reflect, meditate, and pray-much the same way monks do. Aikido is deeply rooted in religious and spiritual beliefs and I don't think these can be separated and a student fully grasp all the concepts (beyond just physical techniques).

Bowing has always been controversial for some. We must remember that in fuedal Japan it was a capitol crime to be taller than someone of higher class, hence the need to learn to knee walk (thank they diamyo and shogun of Japan for hamni-handachi and suwariwaza). Bowing was and is a greeting, much the way we shake hands (which is also offensive to some). I trained in Saudi Arabia, the religious center for Islam and they do not bow to O'Sensei. Due to their religious beliefs they don't accept the bowing tradition. I think that is important, bowing is a Japanese traditional way to show repect. Instead, they take an extra few moments of silence to show respect. They created their own tradition to show O'Sensei respect without breaking their religious tenents.

With the world the way it is if all aikidoka have to worry about is wether or not we bow to O'Sensei we are light-years ahead of our contemporary peers.

Greg Makuch

Christian Orderud
01-30-2005, 08:40 PM
Maybe a little off-topic, but one of the definitions of religion I have seen is "a system of thought, feeling, and action that is shared by a group and that gives the members an object of devotion; a code of behavior by which individuals may judge the personal and social consequences of their actions; and a frame of reference by which individuals may relate to their group and their universe.".

For someone who isn't really religious in the more "normal" sense, but is trying to live by Aikido's standards of non-voilence, and the aikido goal of world peace, i think for that person Aikido might balance on the edge of being that persons religion, according to the definition above. I have met a person or two that one might consider having Aikido as their religion, just that it isn't really thought of that way, since there isn't any methaphysical content, exept maybe the idea of "ki", depending on what you belive it is.

Anyhow, I also belive Aikido, and the philosophy and ideals of the art is compatible with most big religions. It ofcourse depends on how the religion is interpreted, but exept for die-hard fundamentalists, I don't really see Aikido being in conflict with any of the large religions.

Kevin Leavitt
01-31-2005, 02:23 PM
To me it is not so much aikido, but the individual choice a person makes that matters.

mathewjgano
02-21-2005, 10:27 PM
I love to discuss religion AND Aikido, so this is right up my alley.
Aikido, like the basis of Shinto, is based upon universiality, the idea of using universal principles (observed in nature) to simplify overly complex (convoluted) situations, of which conflict is considered to be the uttmost manifestation of. Aikido holds high the concept of mutual benificence (win-win situations) and in that sense is highly forgiving...like Christianity.
If anyone wants to learn something about Shinto, may I suggest the book, "Kami no Michi", by Rev. Yamamoto, who was the 96th generation guji of a 2000+ year old shrine in Mie ken, Japan.
As for Christianity and imperialism, etc, I think it's important to remember the highly subjective nature of religion. Yes, Christianity teaches about evangelism which some Christians have taken to extreams and described as the right/obligation to change the world in their image. It happened for many years by many groups within the larger group calling itself Christianity. This doesn't change the fact that many have also done much good and embody the principles of Aikido: harmonization and constant personal development in every way possible. Even Shinto has been used as a representative of imperialism. The fact is that mankind, with all its greed and other ego-driven detriments, will try to use any unifying symbol to garner support for these drives.
Work on yourself, live by example, and always do your best. Everything else is circumstantial to you.
Take care,
Matthew