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Guilty Spark
11-17-2008, 05:38 AM
I'll probably get raked over the coals for this.

I was wondering if people can get lost in Aikido's spiritual side. Aikido deals with balance. Do you think some students travel too far into the spiritual parts of aikido and neglect the martial & physical side?
Does that take away from aikido's effectiveness?

When I first started aikido I got swallowed in all the literature and books. Art of peace, non-violent martial art. I bought into a lot of these buzzwords. I started calling/considering myself a pacifist until someone from work sorted me out.


"What do you do hen someone cocks their fist to throw a punch?"
Move forward and hit them, try to knock them off balance.
"What do you do when someone aims a gun at you?"
Shoot them before they shoot me.
"What do you do when your squad or team is ambushed?"
Turn towards the ambush, charge towards them, kill them.

"Does that sound like a pacifist?"
No I suppose not.


He then quoted something, I'm not sure if he made it up or found it somewhere else but I've thought about it often.

A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence. He must have the genuine ability to destroy his enemy and then choose not to.

It got me to thinking. I've read here one account that O'sensei's plan was that Aikido was the perfect martial art. He spent his younger years learning all these violent martial arts and physical stuff only to develop aikido so that you and me could reach the point he reached without all that other stuff.

I don't know how accurate that was. The founders early years were just full of fighting, violence and even killing. IS it truly possible to reach (hypotheically speaking) where he is without being subjected to the kinds of environments he was?

It seems to me that some people are all too anxious to forget that he was a soldier. That he "closed with and destroyed the enemy" That he was a killer.
Many aikido students accept and preach non violence, pacifism and such, but is that really aikido? Or is aikido being physically able and mentally prepared to kill someone but being able to chose not to at the last moment?

In students accepting "the art of peace" so much so that they chalk everything violent or aggressive up as bad automatically, is that becoming too spiritual to the point where they are forgetting about the physical aspect if Aikido and it's roots?

I know some students can talk forever about philosophy and peace, love respect non-ego and protecting your attacker, but what happens when they can't physically protect themselves from said attacker? When someone who can win any debate fails to hold their own against someone 10 times their junior in terms of training?

I guess I'm wondering what happens when there isn't a balance between physical and spiritual. Too much of one makes the other suffer right?

I read what O'sensei writes in some of his books, say about sometimes teaching a lesson involves taking a life, and compare it to what I read today from various points of view on Aikido and somethimes they really don't match up at all.

sorokod
11-17-2008, 06:45 AM
This is from http://www.fightingarts.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=16018335&Main=16017783


I recall a presentation 2nd Doshu gave to the Japan Martial Arts Society in the 1980's, and someone raised his hand as asked just when it was that Osensei became a pacifist. After the translation, Doshu looked rather puzzled, and asked for clarification, and the question was asked again.
Doshu seemed to be suppressing giggles, and said, in effect, that his father was never a pacifist, nor was aikido a pacifist practice. "After all, it is a martial art", he said.
He then continued on to say, vaguely but accurately that his father created something new, that was outside the dualism of violence and non-violence.


I think spiritual vs. martial/effective is a false dichotomy though.

salim
11-17-2008, 10:01 AM
With all due respect to O'sensei's religious belief of Omoto, Aikido personally serves a better purpose without the religious aspects. Religion in this case, becomes divisive. I'm fortunate the dojo I attend,
genuinely is more interested in learning application of technique, self defense and having good clean fun. I agree with the sentiment of religion in Aikido often overshadows it's true martial potential.

It's one the many reason Aikido is bastardized as not being a true martial art. Over zealous fascination with being a pacifist, is an unfortunate attribute of modern Aikido. Extremism of any sort, without balance is blame worthy. That's one of the meanings I take away from your friends quote.

Don_Modesto
11-17-2008, 10:45 AM
Read Amdur and Goldsbury for the founder's intentions/behavior and interpretations thereof. Search here on aikiweb.com, especially, but also read Amdur's book, Dueling with O-sensei: Grappling with the Myth of the Warrior Sage available at http://ellisamdur.com/buy.html.

Also, for the broad framework of the mapping of spirituality onto mundanity--here martial art--see Chapter 10 Honji suijaku at work: religion, economics, and ideology in pre-modern Japan by FABIO RAMBELLI in Buddhas and Kami in Japan: Honji Suijaku as a Combinatory Paradigm Book by Mark Teeuwen, Fabio Rambelli; Routledge, 2002. 373 pgs.

Buck
11-17-2008, 10:44 PM
I'll probably get raked over the coals for this.

I was wondering if people can get lost in Aikido's spiritual side. Aikido deals with balance. Do you think some students travel too far into the spiritual parts of aikido and neglect the martial & physical side?
Does that take away from aikido's effectiveness?

When I first started aikido I got swallowed in all the literature and books. Art of peace, non-violent martial art. I bought into a lot of these buzzwords. I started calling/considering myself a pacifist until someone from work sorted me out.

He then quoted something, I'm not sure if he made it up or found it somewhere else but I've thought about it often.

It got me to thinking. I've read here one account that O'sensei's plan was that Aikido was the perfect martial art. He spent his younger years learning all these violent martial arts and physical stuff only to develop aikido so that you and me could reach the point he reached without all that other stuff.

I don't know how accurate that was. The founders early years were just full of fighting, violence and even killing. IS it truly possible to reach (hypotheically speaking) where he is without being subjected to the kinds of environments he was?

It seems to me that some people are all too anxious to forget that he was a soldier. That he "closed with and destroyed the enemy" That he was a killer.
Many aikido students accept and preach non violence, pacifism and such, but is that really aikido? Or is aikido being physically able and mentally prepared to kill someone but being able to chose not to at the last moment?

In students accepting "the art of peace" so much so that they chalk everything violent or aggressive up as bad automatically, is that becoming too spiritual to the point where they are forgetting about the physical aspect if Aikido and it's roots?

I know some students can talk forever about philosophy and peace, love respect non-ego and protecting your attacker, but what happens when they can't physically protect themselves from said attacker? When someone who can win any debate fails to hold their own against someone 10 times their junior in terms of training?

I guess I'm wondering what happens when there isn't a balance between physical and spiritual. Too much of one makes the other suffer right?

I read what O'sensei writes in some of his books, say about sometimes teaching a lesson involves taking a life, and compare it to what I read today from various points of view on Aikido and somethimes they really don't match up at all.

I our paths and think are very similar here. I say yes, some people do. Some people struggle with what O'sensei said and trying to make sense of it, make it their own instead of keep it as his. Some people just drop the whole thing and replace it with their own interpretations etc. or their own ideas etc. But I think it is taken out of context (easily done, often not on purpose) because it is taken too seriously. You can do Aikido without the religious stuff. I mean there are very few who understand O'Sensei's religious ideas. I mean a few. And then there is the rest of us spread out between the extremes. Yes, there are those who take it too seriously and most don't understand it compeletly. But that is also a challenge of Aikido. :)

ChrisHein
11-18-2008, 02:10 AM
You can never be too spiritual. However you can pretend to be too spiritual. Most Aikidoka couldn't define what they would call spirituality, but they can spout everyone else's. They pretend so much, that even they don't know they are pretending anymore.

Spirituality is a natural part of daily life. We all partake in it all the time. Most don't think about it though, because it's so natural. When we first start to take notice of it, it seems strange. When we hear others talk about it, it sounds magical. It is common place however, and you can never go "too far". You can only delude yourself with fantasy.

Kevin Leavitt
11-18-2008, 04:47 AM
Kinda agree with Crhis Hein on this one.

I am not sure how you define "too spriitual". I mean spirituality is really an individual pursuit. I think within the philsophical context of aikido, there is plenty of room for spiritual, philosophical, moral, and ethical interpretations.

I think it is pretty easy to define when you cross the line into la la land though and start to become decieved or deluded, or at least clouded by the issue.

It is when you met a physical response and a spiritual response does not work.

Simply put, if someone physically attacks you, and you do not respond appropriately with the right level of physicality....then you might want to reconsider your spiritual position and/or approach to what you are doing.

The tough part is, the deception and delusion are very, very tricky. There a folks that will go on for years convinced that they just need to reach a deeper understanding of the spiritual foundations of the art.

In a way they could be right. I mean, if their spirituality finally leads them to understand that the attack and respond appropriately eventually then it could be right!

Might have been able to accomplish the same thing much earlier simply by observing the attack for what it really was....an attack....but each person is different.

Don Quiote had his windmills right?

Each of us learn differently for sure. Some find deep meaning and spiritual interpretation in aikido. Others only see the physical attack.

I think there is a middle road in there somewhere. For me, aikido can be spiritual in a way. Not mystical, but spiritual.

The irony of it is that my spirituality requires me to strip away all delusion and see the true essence of the situation void of all emotion and preconception.

That is, simply looking at the present...which means at the moment of an attack...I am dealing with an attack.

Spiritually that requires me to respond in an honest way to that attack, whatever it may be.

I really think, in my heart that O Sensei had this in mind when he discusses spirituality as it relates to budo.

This is much different than mysticism which has connotations of teleportation, transmitting KI, seeing the attack and moving way before it actually occurs, or what not.

Stripping away all preconception and being in the moment...mushin.

For me, that is what budo spirituality is all about. Nothing more, nothing less.

You can be spiritual and seek deeper meaning all the way up until the time of the attack, but at that point...you must be there in the moment.

So, not sure you can be too spiritual....but certainly you can get confused, allow dissonance and delusion to override common sense....and get blasted in the face by a full frontal assault!

AsimHanif
11-18-2008, 07:25 AM
Grant,
I think Yamada Sensei said it best...'time to put the harm, back in harmony'.

Asim

Voitokas
11-18-2008, 08:47 AM
Not much to add to what Kevin and Chris said. I think of myself as a pacifist, and while I disdain violence, I have never hesitated to use force when necessary. Maybe my semantic distinction between force and violence would seems silly to some, but one's spiritual journey is one's own... I'm not sure that it's the case that "too much of one makes the other suffer": any philosophical ideas about aikido or conflict or whatever have to be borne out in training and practise, and the more physical practise I have only enhances my philosophical journey.

I guess I'd say that the physical practise of aikido is what enables me to enter through a threat, and the philosophical practise of aikido is what enables me to smile while I'm doing it.

There is a la-la land, and there are armchair aikidoka, but most students of aikido I meet, I meet on the mat. The 'bunnies and armchair sages aren't really so common, that I've seen anyway. Or maybe they don't go to seminars, I don't know, but surely a little honest ukemi would dispel a lot illusions, right?

Marc Abrams
11-18-2008, 09:14 AM
Throughout the history of mankind (personkind to the PC crowd), there are countless recorded instances where people who have had life -and-death encounters (typically military people) have been profoundly effected by those experiences and have developed a deep sense of spirtuality. I am not talking about the new-age noodnicks. I am talking about people who have developed a profound sense of awe about this world and the preciousness of one's life experiences. This deep spirituality has nothing to do with idealistic pacifism. I tend to view O'Sensei's spirituality within this realm, not what new-age (aka- hard-body, soft-mind) seeks to turn Aikido into.

Then again, just by 2 cents, worth less than that now due to our great economy :crazy:

Marc Abrams

Walker
11-18-2008, 11:15 AM
"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence. He must have the genuine ability to destroy his enemy and then choose not to."
Your quote is from the interview of Takamura Yukiyoshi of Shindo Yoshin ryu and it was aimed directly at aikido. But I'm not too sure it is a question of being too spiritual, but rather not martial enough. Stan Pranin said an interesting thing along the lines of Ueshiba was both more spiritual and more martial than people understand.

The real problem I see is not so much a lack of martial desire on the part of aikidoka in general, but a lack of tools surviving within aikido to make desire an attainable goal.

Shirata would say when he was alive that we are doing a budo and it must function as such or it won't work as a spiritual vehicle either.

It is up to each practitioner in whatever stream of aikido to ask themselves if their aikido is functioning as a budo. Then the hard part is that if it is not, it is close to impossible to fix it. I think people are far better served seeking an intact tradition that maintains it's martial context than spending years trying to fix what isn't working.

Joe McParland
11-18-2008, 11:55 AM
From one point of view, anything or any activity is an opportunity to discover spirituality; once outfitted with that perspective, everything and every activity is an expression of spirituality.

If that's your belief, then there is no reason that spirituality cannot be discovered in poor aikido practice, and there is no reason that poor aikido practice cannot be a spiritual expression.

For what it's worth, I suspect that someone is more likely to find and to maintain a course of spiritual development with "proper practice"---whatever that means. I also suspect that an instructor with deluded spirituality can do much more harm to a student than a bad martial arts instructor ever could with poorly transmitted physical techniques.

gregg block
11-18-2008, 06:57 PM
Your question was "I was wondering if people can get lost in Aikido's spiritual side?"

It would depend on your definition of "lost".
In my definition my answer(s) would be "yes", "maybe" and "no" .
My opinion on this issue is in a state of flux. My training and skills are not. Does that help answer the question or create more? Either way its good.
Thank you..

Alex Megann
11-19-2008, 06:41 AM
I have felt for a long side that the spiritual and physical aspects of aikido are very closely related, and that the spiritual side is a natural product of correct training, rather than something that needs to rely on chanting and bowing rituals separate from the keiko. Kanshu Sunadomari, in his deeply impressive Aikido Friendship Demonstration, said that in his opinion the spirituality in aikido lay in becoming one with the partner, and that aikido was "Divine movement manifested on a physical level". Sunadomari was uchi-deshi in the wartime years, and his aikido is highly effective and far from wishy-washy, but totally devoid of the "pseudo-samurai" trimmings and hints of violence that I find unpalatable in some teachers.

I strongly recommend anyone to watch his demonstration: every time I see it the more it resonates with what I am trying to learn from my own teacher.

Alex

Enrique Antonio Reyes
11-19-2008, 07:01 AM
Grant,
I think Yamada Sensei said it best...'time to put the harm, back in harmony'.

Asim

+ 1:cool:

Luc X Saroufim
11-22-2008, 11:12 PM
the stronger your technique becomes, the stronger your martial spirit becomes. and the stronger your martial spirit becomes, the stronger your technique becomes.

i've experienced both extremes, and didn't like either one. one seminar i went to felt more like yoga than aikido. i've also trained with some people that think nikkyo is nothing more than dislocating and hyper extending someone's wrist.

i would like to fall somewhere in the middle, and that's how i orient my training.

senshincenter
11-22-2008, 11:23 PM
I was wondering if people can get lost in Aikido's spiritual side. Aikido deals with balance. Do you think some students travel too far into the spiritual parts of aikido and neglect the martial & physical side?
Does that take away from aikido's effectiveness?



In my opinion, it takes away from Aikido's spiritual cultivations - which in time limits Aikido martial effectiveness.

Enrique Antonio Reyes
11-24-2008, 02:46 AM
In my opinion, it takes away from Aikido's spiritual cultivations - which in time limits Aikido martial effectiveness.

Amen to that!:circle:

Guilty Spark
11-24-2008, 09:01 AM
I think there is two kind's of lost.

The kind where you know you're lost. And the kind where you THINK you know exactly where yo are and where you're going-but are wrong.

IMO the latter is the worse of the two.

Gregg, not to pick on you but let me please use you as an example.
My opinion on this issue is in a state of flux. My training and skills are not. Does that help answer the question or create more? Either way its good.
Thank you..

This reminds me of many comments I see from people who I get the feeling are trying to go out of their way to look and seem smart. Or perhaps enlightened is a better word. Answering questions with questions then tapping the side of their nose and nodding.


Will Aikido work in a street fight?
*wise sage* True aikido means the fight was never truely started-nor finished..
Stuff like this. Yes it might be fun to play aristotle but I wonder when the last time said person trained against someone really trying to hit them and not in a pre-arranged attack.

That's what I mean by lost in the spiritual side. I think the more high brow of our brother and sister students might enjoy the mental aspect too much and neglect the physical.

Joe McParland
11-24-2008, 04:10 PM
Stuff like this. Yes it might be fun to play aristotle but I wonder when the last time said person trained against someone really trying to hit them and not in a pre-arranged attack.

That's what I mean by lost in the spiritual side. I think the more high brow of our brother and sister students might enjoy the mental aspect too much and neglect the physical.

Well, suppose you asked a high-brow intellectual question about spirituality and, in response, a master beat you senseless with a staff and twisted you into a pretzel? Would that be better? :D

jennifer paige smith
11-24-2008, 05:14 PM
Well, suppose you asked a high-brow intellectual question about spirituality and, in response, a master beat you senseless with a staff and twisted you into a pretzel? Would that be better? :D

Worked for me. But, paradoxically this lead to a deeper spiritual base.

Go figure.

phitruong
11-24-2008, 05:35 PM
Well, suppose you asked a high-brow intellectual question about spirituality and, in response, a master beat you senseless with a staff and twisted you into a pretzel? Would that be better? :D

you get more spiritual if you say "thank you sir! may I have another!" :D

one man's spiritual is another man's delusional
one man's spirits is another man's liquors

Kevin Leavitt
11-24-2008, 08:14 PM
Well, suppose you asked a high-brow intellectual question about spirituality and, in response, a master beat you senseless with a staff and twisted you into a pretzel? Would that be better? :D

Graphic and severe, but I do think it to be a more honest answer spiritually in many ways.

This is the irony I think that budo is all about. You are constantly reminded of your place in the food chain, accountability to self is important. We need others to remind us of that!

Once we understand that point, we begin to see interdependence. I think once we awaken deeply to the realization of this fact, we begin to grow. That growth, IMO is spirituality at it's finest!

That is, understanding our place in the universe.

So, I'd rather ask the question, and have the teacher hit me over the head either physically or intellectually and tell me the truth from his perspective, than to offer me some useless words of pontification.

I find it to be much more honest and authentic!

Joe McParland
11-24-2008, 10:09 PM
I find it to be much more honest and authentic!

And, indeed, so do I. :D

I think I may have went a bit too clever in my response to Guilty Spark. The beatings, of course, are recorded as old school methods by the Zen patriarchs. Nothing will call your attention to this very moment---fully integrating your mind and your body, knocking you completely out of any thought loop---faster and more completely than having the shit kicked out of you.

lt'll knock the mu out of whatever you think mushin means, leaving you with the real deal. That's when you'll know spirituality ;)

The Aikido version of all of this is facing that guy screaming fiercely from the bottom of his belly, swinging that big slab of hardwood at your skull, or facing a handful of thugs rushing at you from the other side of the mats, coming to take you out, with you just trying to survive for a maybe a minute... These are the opportunities to practice this same flavor of spirituality: We practice finding and operating from a place of peace and harmony within these chaotic situations. Eventually, we may even begin to realize at a very deep level (vice intellectual understanding) that these dojo situations are analogous to other situations in our lives.

But mine is just one view... And although I would have loved to answer Guilty Spark's original question with 30 blows, this AikiWeb is a forum of words... Alas. :D

Guilty Spark
11-25-2008, 03:59 AM
. And although I would have loved to answer Guilty Spark's original question with 30 blows, this AikiWeb is a forum of words... Alas. :D

When I roll it's a two lane firing range ;)

I consider myself quite lucky.
Not only did my Sensei (who is also military) not fill my head with bullshit being upfront with the draw backs and disadvantages of Aikido but my actual training partner (who owned the dojo) was one of those martial arts rockstars. Blackbelts in Kempo Karate, Judo, Ninjitsu, Aiki-jitsu and Jujitsu. (Taught Tai Chi but I'm not sure what he was at).

Try pinning a 3rd degree blackbelt Judo guy who's competed professionally and been studying martial art for longer than you've been alive. I had it rough. If I messed up it was painful, but I think he used pain as a teacher. Both my partner and Sensei did really. It was never done with malice though, I think it is because both of them were military too. (Along with my Sensei's instructor).

Being a combat veteran studying Aikido and MMA as well as army hand to hand you couldn't pay me enough to try and fight my 60 year old partner twice my age.
What am I going on about?

There was never any spiritual chit chat in my class. My Sensei would sit us down and relate stuff he was taught or told while he trained in Japan but that's it. It seemed all physical. Any spiritual enlightenment I've came across has been through reading on my own.

I think about the students who I speak with who haven't had a martial up bringing. I think it's dangerously easy for them to fall into an "Aikido is the perfect martial art, master it and you will become invinceable talk". With this and compliant training comes over confidence and maybe a black eye or two. Their buying into one side of Aikido which at times seems to prompt forgetting about he other. The art of peace. Forgetting sometimes to HAVE peace you do violence.

I find the same with the intellectual crowd.
"A mighty oak tree will break in a hurricane but a small flower will simply bend in the wind and return upright".
Heck it can be all true, but if they lack the physical understanding on how to apply it then it's just hot air.

So, I'd rather ask the question, and have the teacher hit me over the head either physically or intellectually and tell me the truth from his perspective, than to offer me some useless words of pontification.

I find it to be much more honest and authentic!
Bang on.

Joe McParland
11-26-2008, 09:12 AM
I find the same with the intellectual crowd.
"A mighty oak tree will break in a hurricane but a small flower will simply bend in the wind and return upright".
Heck it can be all true, but if they lack the physical understanding on how to apply it then it's just hot air.

Suppose each of the oak tree and the small flower spent time concerned with the flaws in the other's way... ;)

Demetrio Cereijo
11-26-2008, 09:54 PM
I don't thing there is an excessive focus on the spiritual side of aikido. IMO what we have is an excessive focus on the the late 60's-early 70's hippy movement and 80's New Age interpretations of aikido spirituality.

gdandscompserv
11-27-2008, 09:54 AM
I don't thing there is an excessive focus on the spiritual side of aikido. IMO what we have is an excessive focus on the the late 60's-early 70's hippy movement and 80's New Age interpretations of aikido spirituality.
Terry Dobson's rolling over in his grave.;)

jennifer paige smith
11-27-2008, 01:27 PM
Terry Dobson's rolling over in his grave.;)

And what a big grave that would be!:) LOL

"I think one of the real dangers of the New Age movement is this word "warrior", because it's presented without dark side."-Terry Dobson

"What is much more important than anything I say is that I touch you. Through me, through my touch, comes the touch of the founder of Aikido. There is no bible you can buy that says, "This is what Aikido is." It is transferred from person to person. These vibrations pass among us."-Terry

Respectfully, My Thanksgiving wishes to Terry .....I love you Terry! Thanks from the bottom of my heart! Thanks for touching me so deeply and teaching me the benefit of vibrational connection. You'd be missed if you weren't so damn present!

Jen

Mary Eastland
11-27-2008, 01:35 PM
I don't know how anything can be too spiritual...every moment is sacred... including aikido moments.
Happy Thanksgiving.
Mary

jennifer paige smith
11-27-2008, 01:51 PM
I don't know how anything can be too spiritual...every moment is sacred... including aikido moments.
Happy Thanksgiving.
Mary

Much Love,
jen

mathewjgano
11-28-2008, 01:21 AM
Nothing will call your attention to this very moment---fully integrating your mind and your body, knocking you completely out of any thought loop---faster and more completely than having the shit kicked out of you.


Not to be contrarian, but I think I disagree. It might draw ya to the moment, but it won't necessarily give you any insights about it...and come to think of it, I think I've seen plenty of mental loops get formed by an ass-whoopin'...not to mention in those who dished them out. In my opinion, delusion is just as likely in the guy who pontificates with his mouth as with his fists as with whatever. Simply put: people get fixated on things, whether they're "noble spiritual truths" or "realism" or whatever.
I think the more high brow of our brother and sister students might enjoy the mental aspect too much and neglect the physical.
Grant, speaking as a person who admittedly loves to think too much (about this and any topic), I pretty much have to agree with you. To offer a counter-balance however, part of the reason I've personally tried to be as thought-oriented in my approach toward conflict as I have is due to the many people I grew up with who were as physically oriented as they were. It's crucial to include both, and either without the other is naive.

Carsten Möllering
11-28-2008, 02:00 AM
I don't thing there is an excessive focus on the spiritual side of aikido. IMO what we have is an excessive focus on the the late 60's-early 70's hippy movement and 80's New Age interpretations of aikido spirituality.
That's what I think.

The Terms used by O Sensei like love, harmony, not-fighting and so on are often interpreted in an modern western way and not the way O Sensei understood them.
Few people know enough about Oomoto kyo or shintoism to integrate that in their aikido.

And its okay because O Sensei taught only very few of his disciples his set of beliefs.
He said this wouldn't be necessary. And that one can practise Aikido independent of religous beliefs.
Wouldn't that be true, a christian or a moslem or a jew or ... couldn't practice. There are some japanese teacher who actually say that only Japanes can "really" practice aikido ...

In our Aikido there is no spiritual teaching. Only waza. To do this right is very spiritual ...

I was wondering if people can get lost in Aikido's spiritual side. ... Does that take away from aikido's effectiveness?
Yes. I have experienced that in several "spiritual" dojo.

On the other hand I experience that teachers who only search "the perfect technique" become very deep an spiritual by doing that.

Carsten

Joe McParland
11-28-2008, 08:35 AM
Not to be contrarian, but I think I disagree. It might draw ya to the moment, but it won't necessarily give you any insights about it. [...] Grant, speaking as a person who admittedly loves to think too much (about this and any topic), I pretty much have to agree with you.

Insight---the second-to-last thing that went through the poor fellow's head... You know, right before the bokken!

;)

mathewjgano
11-29-2008, 07:21 PM
Insight---the second-to-last thing that went through the poor fellow's head... You know, right before the bokken!

;)

:DHmmm, seems to me there might be two sets of insight here. The insight you mentioned, and the insight which occures immediately after the bokken goes through the poor fellows head. It's not real enlightening for the poor fellow, but the people around him learn something too, eh? :freaky:

My macabre sense of humor aside, I'm wondering if the title of the thread would be better as "Aikido not physical enough at times?" Mine certainly has been lately (not physical enough). Interestingly enough, my spirituality has been pretty passive as well. I've always found with greater spirituality comes greater effort in all that i do. On the other hand, I can't practice shihonage while practicing misogi in the river. Somehow we have to find a balance for all the things in our lives if we're to nurture them well enough.

Harm-ony
11-30-2008, 08:40 AM
IMHO the 'spiritual aspect' not always related to 'religions', it could be cooncerned with 'our spiritual condition' such as relax, calm, happy, angry, hate, etc. So, we must learn therelationship of this aspect to the effectiveness of our Aikido techniques... Maybe.. :)

Aikido Indonesia Bandung Sceptic

GeneC
11-30-2008, 01:23 PM
IMO, if the goal of Aikido is to harmonize the mind,body and spirit and to connect with the invincible force, Ki, it's not possible to be too spiritual. While studying, thinking and pondering Aikido is an mental and spiritual experience, so is practicing it, but practicing it is more physical (not to mention, cross training, working out/stretching, etc), the 'body' part of the equation. My point is, I'm with Matthew, it might be an issue of not enough 'physical', making the ' Personal Trilogy' out of balance and seemingly heavy on the spiritual. I spent most of the first half of my life weight training to be bigger and stronger. I had all the usual problems- not gaining enough, injuries, frustrations with supplements, etc. Until I began training in MMA a few years ago, I found that my body responds to endurance training. I was meant to be the Willow instead of the mighty Oak. To me, that's a fundamental principle of harmonizing my mind a, body and spirit. That's why I'm an Aikidoka, 'cause it's perfect for my 'Personal Trilogy'. Is that too spiritual?

jennifer paige smith
11-30-2008, 10:48 PM
'cause it's perfect for my 'Personal Trilogy'. Is that too spiritual?

Ask Joseph Campbell. It worked for George Lucas. Twice.

Hey...a joke

Q: What do duct tape and 'the force' have in common?

A:They both have a dark side and a light side AND they both bind the entire universe together..

MayThe Schwartz Be With You!:)

Guilty Spark
12-01-2008, 01:38 AM
If Aikido is unifying the mind body and soul- does it take away from 'the body' when one practices only compliant attacks?

Mary Eastland
12-01-2008, 06:33 AM
It depends on how long you have trained....can you stay relaxed and centered or do you have to rely on muscle to deal with a non-compliant attack?
I think the spiritual comes in when we can let go of knowing and step into the question.
Mary

GeneC
12-01-2008, 09:22 AM
If Aikido is unifying the mind body and soul- does it take away from 'the body' when one practices only compliant attacks?

I would think any kind of practice (ergo, any physical movement) directly involves 'the body'.

Kevin Leavitt
12-01-2008, 06:00 PM
I would think any kind of practice (ergo, any physical movement) directly involves 'the body'.

How does delusion fit into all this?

GeneC
12-02-2008, 12:03 AM
Far as I'm concerned, it don't. So what's your point?

Guilty Spark
12-02-2008, 01:47 AM
Training only against compliant attacks isn't unifying ones mind body and soul.

It's pretend.

Carsten Möllering
12-02-2008, 02:03 AM
It depends on how long you have trained....can you stay relaxed and centered or do you have to rely on muscle to deal with a non-compliant attack?
I think the spiritual comes in when we can let go of knowing and step into the question.
Mary

Well, compliant attacks help the beginners to find their way through the technique.
The more someone advances, the more the attacks should be non-compliant.
And sure should nage stay relaxed.

There ist no specific spiritual Dimension in Aikido. It ist just a vehicel to unify mind, body and soul. And to communicate not only by words but directly with your body.

This gives room to fill Aikido with our own spirituality. And to me spirituality is a religious issue.

O Sensei nearly didn't teach his own. There are very few Oomoto believers.
Nearly noone teaches the shinto which O Sensei lived. Besides other reasons: A non Japanese can't live this spirituality.
And O Sensei himself didn't want his scholars to copy it.

I don't know the US but here in Germany
some Sensei switched the theme of spirituality of Aikido from Shinto to Zen. That had a great influence on parts of the aikido-world. But that's not the spirituality of Aikido. It's the spirituality of the teachers who teach it that way.

Other Sensei interpreted Aikido in terms of the peace movement (harmony, non violance ...) or of esoteric spirituality (energy, vibrations, people connectet as one ...).

And again: That's fine, but it's not the spirituality of Aikido.
(Are there similar phenomena in the US?)

So Aikido leads to spirituality. But only through practicing the body.
Practicing waza, relaxed and free, throwing non-compliant attackers effective and consequent is the way wich leads us to unification with ourselves.
And there we meet our own spirituality wich belongs to mind, body and soul.
If we don't have one, Aikido won't give us.

Carsten

Stefan Hultberg
12-02-2008, 02:32 AM
Hi everyone

Distinctions, boundaries, differentiation. What is spiritual? What is physical? What is buki waza and what is tai jutsu. When i do shiho giri do I also practice shiho nage? I find that there is no distinction, no borders, especially between the spiritual and the physical. At the minute level the consciousness of the observer chooses the outcome of superposed quantum states - the mind chooses the physical reality. Sometimes I train with a lot of physical power, the tanto flashes towards nage, is blocked and I'm thrown with a kote gaeshi, a loud kiai and a slam against the mats, a moment of sanchin and yet another repetition of this physical dance. Physical, yes, but on my way home afterwards I'm happy, feel light and in harmony with life. That's spiritual. A sensei once said that we, when starting training, should bow towards our training comrades with a feeling of eager expectation. After training we should fill our minds with gratitude which should be projected towards our friends as we thank them for the training we just had. Is this physical or is it spiritual?? The body, the mind, and the spirit are one, no distinctions necessary and no distinctions meaningful. The children in the club are very physical, but when I tell one of them that her sword techniques looked great and that she had a great focus in her training - that's såiritual coaching as well as physical. Her techniques are physical, but her joy at being praised for her progress is spiritual - which next tuesday again turns into physical motivation and focus. The realms are intertwined in a complex dance of unity and they are, ultimately, neither physical nor spiritual - those are just words with no real meaning. Just practice, practice allways and you will improve in all directions, sometimes benefitting from the physical and sometimes the spiritual, sometimes as a confirmation of your expectations, sometimes a joyous surprise.

"Allways practice in a joyful and vibrant manner", sigh - what a man!!

Yours sincerely

Stefan

Carsten Möllering
12-02-2008, 02:44 AM
Physical, yes, but on my way home afterwards ...

Just practice, practice allways and you will improve in all directions, ...
That's what I tried to express.

Carsten

mathewjgano
12-02-2008, 07:44 AM
Besides other reasons: A non Japanese can't live this spirituality.
I respectfully disagree with you here. :)

However, i do agree with the idea that spirituality (a uniquely personal experience) is nurtured largely by how we nurture the physical reality we find ourselves in.

Guilty Spark
12-02-2008, 08:49 AM
Just practice, practice allways and you will improve in all directions

Stefan

I respectfully disagree though it might be a matter of semantics.
If every time you grab me I practically throw myself, that's not improving physically. Well, you will improve at what amounts to stage fighting but in a life or death situation will your technique work? No. Not at all.

Maybe better said is to practice in an alive manner against a resisting opponent. (Beating a dead horse? I apologize).
One would think this should be a common thing but when too much emphasis is placed on the spiritual aspect and not enough on the physical, this happens.

I think Aikido can be very dangerous to a student because it offers an increase forum (compared to many other martial arts) for students to get lost in the theory and concep of spirituality.

I think after reading all these posts (thank you for contributing) I realize there is a difference between spirituality and like i said above, the concept of spirituality.

I think new students or even seasoned ones can easily get lost in the latter.

Joe McParland
12-02-2008, 10:04 AM
Be fully present in whatever you are doing.

You can make this your entire life's practice.

Would you call this practice spiritual or not spiritual? This is a typical koan, ending with someone getting whacked with a stick either way he chooses. If we were on the mats and you asked me, I'd probably answer, "Get back to practice!"

senshincenter
12-02-2008, 10:13 AM
Has anyone else found this to be part of their common experience...

Of folks that claim the importance of spirituality, they seldom dedicate all aspects of themselves to their maturity. That is to say, they allow thus for this part of their life, but not that part - and thus definitely not the whole.

Of folks that claim the importance of the physical side of the art, they seldom train more then three to five hours per week - leaving much more time of their life off of the mat than on, making casual athletes appear more dedicated to their own sports than they to their Budo.

Last time someone pressed me upon the importance of the physical/martial side of the art, I learned he practiced per week what I did in half a day. Last time someone pressed me on the importance of the spiritual side of the art, he could not rid the control his fear had over him in the most basic, controlled, and slow motion of exercises. I hate to say it, but when it comes to the physical/martial side of the art, it's hard for me to take seriously those charges when they are made by anyone that trains less that three hours a day on the mat. When it comes to the spiritual side of the art, it's hard for me to take seriously anyone that is not in a harmonious state of wellness with his/her parents, spouse/lover, siblings, and children.

I'm not saying we do not gain from Aikido regardless of whatever level we are training at, nor am I saying one side is more important than the other. However, it seems to me, that before folks go blowing their trumpets AGAINST OTHERS, some down to earth qualifications are in order IN ORDER TO GAIN PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT IS BEING SAID AND/OR NOT SAID.

Personally, I say let folks do what they do. For better or for worse, your aikido has no effect on my aikido - and the vice versa is true as well. It is an institutional mind game, and an internal weakness that opens us up to it, that convinces us otherwise. If it did, then I did not have an aikido in the first place. From that perspective, for me, there is only my aikido. From that context, the answer to "can aikido be too spiritual" and/or "can aikido be too physical" seems silly. The obvious answer is always, "I can always do more" - in other words, "No."

GeneC
12-02-2008, 10:31 AM
Training only against compliant attacks isn't unifying ones mind body and soul.

It's pretend.

The way I see it, any move you make( breathing,walking, eating, dancing, executing a techinique, etc), if you're focusing on that move, thinking about it, concentrating on executing that move to perfection and then you do and it feels good and then you feel good about it and you feel like all is good in your Universe, then you've unified your mind, body and spirit, with or without a 'Uke'.

GeneC
12-02-2008, 10:45 AM
Hi everyone...... The realms are intertwined in a complex dance of unity and they are, ultimately, neither physical nor spiritual - those are just words with no real meaning. Yours sincerely Stefan

While I wholeheartedly agree with everything you've said, I have to add here, to give an example of the spirituality, I venture to say right here that yes , they are "neither physical or spiritual", yet, at the same time, they are BOTH physical and spiritual.
I cringe at the thought that they'd be "just words with no real meaning".

Is that too spiritual?

GeneC
12-02-2008, 11:03 AM
... And to me spirituality is a religious issue...Carsten

Have you never stood beside an ocean, looked over a field of wild flowers, walked thru a fresh forest in the spring or in the fall when the leaves are "ablaze' with red and yellow and orange, lay on the floor and have a "puppy pile-up", laughed so hard you cried and almost peed your pants" and it felt so good, right to your core? That's spiritual (and doesn't have to invlolve religion, which implies doctrine).

Is that too spiritual?

Guilty Spark
12-03-2008, 03:16 AM
That's spiritual (and doesn't have to involve religion, which implies doctrine).


Agree with this 100%

Carsten Möllering
12-03-2008, 06:26 AM
Have you never stood beside an ocean, looked over a field of wild flowers, walked thru a fresh forest in the spring or in the fall when the leaves are "ablaze' with red and yellow and orange, lay on the floor and have a "puppy pile-up", laughed so hard you cried and almost peed your pants" and it felt so good, right to your core? That's spiritual (and doesn't have to invlolve religion, which implies doctrine).
Maybe it's the gap of translation.
I think the things you describe wouldn't be called spiritual in german.

Beauty or emotions sure can be spiritual experiences, but only if you put them in a religious context in the broadest sense.
The beauty of gods creation or of our mother earth.
The hapiness of a person, which is "whole" or god's child.

Spirituality ist a term closely tied to religious beliefs or the "transcendent reality". It connects the material and the transcendent world.

Carsten

GeneC
12-03-2008, 09:14 AM
You're probably right about the 'gap'. I understand German. I studied it in highschool. My mother was married to a German for 30 yrs. I understand that German has strict terminology about things, which is evident in your post, which is not a bad thing. You're saying that spirituality only lives within the realm of religion. Americans ( and other cultures) have taken spirituality out of religion and gave it it's own identity, it's own catagory. While spirituality is many things to different folks, basically it's recognizing a power separate from your own and could be Nature's power (waterfall, budding/blooming flowers, childbirth, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc) Astrology, Taro, etc or Ki that causes one to perform beyond their expectation. Recognizing an energy in the Universe that you can observe, but it's separate from you (but hopefully can tap into). What do you call that in Geman?