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11-20-2002, 01:01 PM
So, what sort of spiritual understandings or growths have you had resulting from aikido training?

-- Jun

11-20-2002, 02:01 PM
I've realized that my physical ability to continue training on a given day is directly linked to my spirit. For instance, here in Baltimore it gets awful-heinous hot and humid in the summer. It kills me, and after an hour of training I feel like keeling over. I have nothing left to do the second hour with, except spirit. I find some of the most profound revelations about the nature of what I'm trying to learn occur in this state. I think that experiencing this, and noticing it has caused me to grow in ways I hadn't considered possible.

Not sure if this is what you mean, but that's all I've got!

11-20-2002, 04:22 PM
From my viewpoint, it sounds like a good beginning! Training in less than "ideal" situations can give us a perspective on living under less than "ideal" situations. The lessons we learn in class can be applied to our everyday living. You raise an interesting point and that is that the mind is more powerful than the body. When the spirit is willing, there's no limit to what the body can do. (Well, within reason, I guess.)

janet dtantirojanarat


Ali B
11-21-2002, 08:44 AM
Hi Jun & everyone,

I always receive spiritual gains and for me this is more important than technique. E.g I am more connected to people and even rocks trees, etc after practice. Sometimes I feel like I know what my family are thinking and feeling, sometimes it manifests as an epiphany.

This can be normal state for everyone, although aikido seems to enhance it. Being able to completely relax body and mind does help to open my heart and practicing an art which promotes peace gives me more empathy towards others.

- Is that spiritual? I don´t know but it feels like it. There are hundreds of examples, most of which can be better recognised when you feel the difference in your body before and after. I need a practice today as I am having a very stressful time at work. I'm tense, negative in my emotions and quite agressive actually. If we were to speak after 2 hours in the dojo I would be completely different. - A little Buddha.

I want to feel like that every day and try to as much as possible but no matter how good I feel before entering the dojo, I leave it feeling more at peace with the world and in love with all my fellow men (and women)

I'm not very good at explaining my feelings towards aikido...

11-21-2002, 09:49 AM
Good thoughts by everyone who responsed!

Do others have any other thoughts about piritual understandings or growths that you've had resulting from aikido training?

-- Jun

11-21-2002, 10:31 AM
Do others have any other thoughts about piritual understandings or growths that you've had resulting from aikido training?
Humility and doing less.

Aikido is a very humbling art for me. I tend to believe that spirit is natural and the less ego I have the more spirit can be manifest.

Along with ego is my body and muscles. As a big guy, I can rely on my size. In Aikido, my size and past training has been my disadvantage. I find that doing less actually gets me more. Relax, breathe, and trust the waza.

Yes, humility and doing less.

Until again,


BTW: Great question and responses. Compliments and appreciation.

11-21-2002, 12:26 PM
So, what sort of spiritual understandings or growths have you had resulting from aikido training?
How about you, Jun?

11-21-2002, 12:38 PM
How about you, Jun?
Not fair! Not fair! I'm supposed to ask the probing, open-ended questions!

OK, then. With that out of the way... Some spiritual things that I have gotten out of aikido training include:

1) There's more than one correct way to do it.

2) There's always someone better than I am.

3) The person who may not be as good as I am in something can always do something else better than I can.

4) I can only change myself -- not others.

5) Make mistakes. It's OK to do so. Heck, it's necessary.

6) There's (almost) always more time than you think.

7) Awareness then acceptance before conscious change.

8) Return to center.

9) Listen.

10) Breathe.

Hmmm... Now, are those spiritual or philosphical (if even that)?

So, Don. How 'bout yourself?

-- Jun

11-21-2002, 12:49 PM
Oh, yes. And another thing (now that I'm sitting at the dojo computer).

11) Question. (Ask why.)

-- Jun

11-21-2002, 01:05 PM
So, Don. How 'bout yourself?-- Jun
Man, table's turning so fast it must be on gimbles...
mmm... Now, are those spiritual or philosphical (if even that)?
Tough call. But then, I have problems with what "spiritual" means anyway. For me, it is deeper and subtler than realization or precepts; something sunk into marrow.

I like what you wrote, especially 3, 5, and 8. They seem like conscious precepts to me, understanding as I write that they probably obtain as spontaneous sentiment--the spiritual(?)

For me, I have a curious resonance when confronted with someone's criticism with being attacked during training (as explicitly opposed to simply being attacked). I feel an engagement with the person and an appreciation and an expectation of mutual benefit.

Also, when physically threatened, I feel the same calm I do awaiting UKE's attack. In the Bahamas once, refusing to play sucker to a dishonest taxi, I was confronted with the man picking up a brick and brandishing over his head it at me. It felt more like a training opportunity than a fight.

More consciously, I strive for MUSHIN in practice(or, as I believe it's called in aikido, TAKEMUSU AIKI), a frequent synonym for "spiritual" in discussions of martial art. This involves calming myself, uniting with rather than defeating UKE, and responding spontaneously to every moment of the engagement, efforts grossly complicated by friendly partners wanting to talk (or worse, correct) and teachers demanding that students do only the technique presented.

Where I approach the greatest feeling of MISOGI, is as UKE. Making an honest attack is devilishly difficult, balancing between an ego wanting to "win" and a pal wanting my partner to feel success. Did I attack that hard to help or defeat? Did I go as far as safely possible in resisting before falling or avoid discomfort? Sometimes I wish we could have competition and be done with it. Then we'd know! (Irony intended.)

I feel this is inarticulate, but it's what I can offer.

11-21-2002, 01:15 PM
Appropos of nothing in particular, my post--a couple of minutes ago--says:


Today 08:05 PM

Is your server in Kinshasa?

11-21-2002, 02:25 PM
Do you guys know the joke about the annual comedian's dinner where they tell jokes by calling out numbers.

I like Jun's numbers 1, 4, 5, and 7.

Along similar lines, I purchased this poster (http://www.despair.com/in24x30prin.html) and hung it above my desk at lab. For those who don't feel like clicking on the link, it says, "If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly."

I regularly find myself telling friends: "Enjoying yourself is a skill. It takes practice, like playing the violin. You have to practice every day, and you have to accept that, when you start, modest goals can help to keep you motivated." I learned this form AiKiDo, somehow, although I'm not sure how. Perhaps because AiKiDo taught me about process and goal.

11-21-2002, 09:04 PM
Hi Don,

Man, table's turning so fast it must be on gimbles...
As long as we're not also gyre-ing in the wabe...
I like what you wrote, especially 3, 5, and 8. They seem like conscious precepts to me, understanding as I write that they probably obtain as spontaneous sentiment--the spiritual(?)
It's hard to say. I think all of them have to be worked on consciously before they become "un"conscious.

And then, of course, there's the "embodiment" aspect, too...

[Lots of really good stuff snipped.]
I feel this is inarticulate, but it's what I can offer.
Whenever I write stuff like this, it always seems inarticulate. It's difficult to pin stuff like this down -- especially since it's usually in a state of flux.

As far as the server seeming to be in Kinshasa, it probably means your own timezone isn't set correctly in your user options (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/member.php?s=&action=editoptions)...

-- Jun

11-21-2002, 09:06 PM
Hi Opher,
Do you guys know the joke about the annual comedian's dinner where they tell jokes by calling out numbers.
"Your delivery was all wrong..."

Good thoughts from you, too, Opher. Funny thing is that one of the senior students here identifies with the poster that you bought; he said he sure feels that way, even at 6th dan...

Others? Don't be shy...

-- Jun

Lan Powers
11-21-2002, 11:47 PM
Just a quick thought of the immediate spiritual enhancements for a very new aikidoka.

humbling of pride.........finding that all the skills and eye to hand coordination developed by other arts/sports doesn't matter much on the mat. IE: indipendant activity of hands and body...fencing, sca heavy sword fighting, etc.

uniting the center with the "fringes"

:p ...my hands and arms is just the opposite of all previous muscle group training I have ever done.

tough to get the hang of it you know?:freaky:

calming of mind and flowing of creativity when the lessons go well............new songs on the old guitar, and just general clearer thought from the excercise I suppose, as well as "higher ideals" of harmony..


12-16-2002, 12:23 AM
The thing that I train for is a way to be spiritual and move at the same time. I trained in other arts that seamed to raise a different and hostile me in the face of adversity or attack. After a class I feel like the AikiKami allows me to be ME and non agressive nor defensive, no matter the situation. Truely, they would still win a "fight " If I had to become like them to survive..

As aikido is like the beautiful lightening during a storm, illuminating my mind and soul showing the real me in the darkness of the universe. I think of O'Sensei's smiling grin.

12-16-2002, 12:40 AM
i just had some insights, and i guess i would classify them as spiritual.

all people are equal.

all things are interconnected.

every action causes a changing of energy in the universe.

the observer is a part of the object being observed.

perhaps they sound like common sense statements, i suddenly feel like i understand them in a very basic intellectual way, but i understand them as more than just words on a page, if you know what im saying. i hope it will develop further and i can understand with my whole body and essence.

12-16-2002, 02:13 AM
4) I can only change myself -- not others.
Just thought this one deserved a second read.

Important on so many levels :)

Bruce Baker
12-16-2002, 08:51 AM
It is a hard call in comparison to searching from insights resulting from training in Aikido, studying history and related subjects of Aikido, or just sitting down to put you mental affairs in order,and finding they are simular to the spiritual journey of Aikido?

Could I have grown without ever joining Aikido, and trying to investigate the comparitive phenonmenon of spiritual in Aiki terms verses non-aiki terms?

Probably would have taken much longer to get there from here, and insights would have been more narrow in the terms of chrisianity and its doctrines... but then much of my spiritual journey was also a sojourn into illness that left me in pain and restricted me to one room for a period of time too.

Those would be the angry days where the pain was so intense I pretty much ticked off most of the readers on the Aikiweb ...happens some of these days too, but not as often.

I think the spiritual journey, and your growth happens as long as you are don't remain stagnant. Right or wrong, the true journey is getting your spiritual house in order and letting it grow is a personal examination of your environment, your personal problems that hinder your growth, and your ability to find what works for you to find the harmony.

The journey of practicing aikido is quite a bit more gentle than some other martial arts that destroy body and soul in an attempt to reach the same goals as Aikido. Be happy you have come to practice, and there is social interaction that defines your practice, martial interaction that defines your physical actions, and moral support of your fellow practitioners that honestly have the best intentions to help you as you help them along the way.

That was too touchy feely.

I got dumped on my head if I didn't go with the practice, and I slammed people to the mat if I really did practice, so because I knew how pain feels, I learned to have a more gentle spirit.

People don't bounce.

They do roll pretty good in Aikido though ....

As far as other spiritual growth, read the threads, just like the old spagetti sauce commercial ...It's in there!

12-16-2002, 03:30 PM
The following post involves religious practices and praying. I have no intention of offending anyone or "evangelize" my religion. Since this is a spiritual thread, I thought it would be appropriate. Please forgive me, if you are easily offended by this type of post, just scroll through.

I'm Islam by religion. I guess you guys could tell that from my name.

For many years, I'm one of those people that make many excuses not to do the technical side of my religion. The most popular one I make is about praying, "Why is it so complicated to communicate with God?"

There are times that I deny myself my own belief. I mean, I believe in God, I just don't believe in religion. When I took Aikido, I feel changes inside me. It is gradual, and it took quite a while.

I see that Aikido teachings parallel in many ways with Islam. Basically all of it. The only difference is that O-sensei believed in the Universe, Islam believe in Allah that created the universe.

The following story was told by Poetiray-sensei, who studied Aikido in Japan back in the 60's, while O-sensei was still alive:
Poetiray-sensei, a Christian and one of the person "responsible" of bringing Aikido into Indonesia, got into a discussion with O-sensei about who or what is God. Osensei was talking about the universe and this is what the Muslims and Christians believed as "Kami" or God. After the lesson Poetiray-sensei came over to Osensei and explained that in Christianity, God is the One that created the universe. Osensei nodded and said to him that the others would not understand. Poetiray-sensei understood this and just leave it at that.
O-sensei was not kidding when he says that Aikido is a supplement for all religion. I'm supposed to pray 5 times a day. I now pray more than I used to, not 5 times a day most of the times. But I pray because I want to, because I feel the spiritual need, not because I have to. Meditation and prayer is not far off, meditation is actually prayer.

I also learn more about Islam through Aikido and Budo. I'm still not a "good" person, but I am a "better" person now then I was before. There are many spiritual understandings that I got from Aikido, but it all sums up to my deeper understandings about Islam.

I am sorry if I have offended anyone in one way or another. Surely that was not my intention. Any personal comments could go to my e-mail.

Thanks :)

Ghost Fox
12-17-2002, 07:27 AM
Thalib never appologize for other peoples short-sightedness and narrow mindedness. In order for the world to learn to live in peace we must take an ACTIVE role in understanding and accepting other peoples belief. Thank you for sharing.

Al-salamu ‘Alaykum (Peace be to you)

12-17-2002, 10:19 AM
Thanks for your understanding and support Lost-san. Although sometimes I deny it, it actually means a lot to me.

Thanks again and...

Walaikum Salam...

Paula Lydon
12-19-2002, 11:10 PM
Hi Jun,

~~For me, I'd say the greatest 'spiritual' lesson I'm getting from Aikido is letting go. Of preconceptions, frustrations, ideology, personal history, angers, embarrassments, sense of control, etc. I find I have to be so in the moment when training that all else slips away.

~~And then I laugh, enjoying right where I am. The other great lesson. :)

01-17-2003, 06:49 AM
well awareness and non duality is one of spiritual essence in aikido .

Jeff Tibbetts
01-22-2003, 11:58 PM
I don't know where to begin with this one. If you've ever read some of my other posts on this section of the forum than you already know a little about what's going on with me. I think that Aikido has opened up a new chapter, no a new book for me. I can't list the revelations as fast as they seem to be coming, so it will have to suffice to say that I'm turning to new sources for questions that went for too long unanswered. This awakening is not entirely due to my Aikido training, but it's certainly helped because of Aiki. I think the story for each of us is interesting, and you never know where you'll find a scrap of truth, so it's good to discuss it with others as some of us are doing. I'll leave it at that for now.

01-23-2003, 02:06 AM
Humility, zanshin, mushin, peace, have all been expressed in this thread. I would like to add confidence and humor. Not exactly spiritual traits, but not exactly not spiritual traits either.

My body feels much more comfortable to me after 7 months of aikido than ever before. Being comfortable in tense situations is confidence.

I haven't been to class yet where I wasn't grinning from ear to ear enjoying myself at some point. Plus I train with some truly wonderful individuals ranging from 17 to 52 who enjoy aikido at least as much as I. We all are well practiced in laughing at ourselves, and pressing on.

And on a really weird tangent, my saxophone playing has become much more fluid, expressive, and easy.

Happy training.


01-23-2003, 05:29 AM
Thats quite a sweeping question Jun. Aikido introduced me to eastern philosophy - and though I don't follow the same beliefs as Ueshiba or many aikidoka, it has greatly affected the way I think about reality.

As far as training goes - the dojo is a very apt name because it produces a controlled environment in which you can express underlying spiritual thoughts which would otherwise just be armchair philosophy.

I was once in quite a vigorous (and rapidly becoming competitive and unblending) session with a co-student in a dojo when I elbowed him in the face and blood ended up gushing out of his nose. He was not too pleased and we didn't train together for the rest of the session. I apologized in the showers and we shook hands, and we then made it a point to train with each other over the following weeks so we could wear off each others corners.

Also, failing gradings has always been a good lesson in humility and understanding that you are only as good as what you are doing in the present moment - I hope I'm teaching my students the same lessons!


mike lee
01-26-2003, 06:50 AM
As far as training goes - the dojo is a very apt name because it produces a controlled environment in which you can express underlying spiritual thoughts which would otherwise just be armchair philosophy.
Amen. The proof is in the pudding. And every day I thank God for producing a man that developed a martial art like aikido, where we can learn to express some of the highest spiritual principles in physical movements — martial arts no less! When I sit down and think about it, I feel it's truly amazing! I often feel like he did it all just for me! (A bit selfish, I know.)

Sometimes we take aikido for granted, but I think that it's always important to remember on whose shoulders we stand. We must always be thankful to the man that worked so hard all his life to prepare this gift of aikido, and then gave it to the whole world to enjoy. How many countless hours have we all delighted in practicing this art!

Sorry for getting preachy, but my fear is that the younger generation may begin to take aikido, and the man that gave us this great art, for granted. When that happens, aikido will then gradually be reduced to just another martial art — just another way to bring our enemies into submission. I pray that such a day never comes.

Whenever we have a training hall for learning the Way and someone willing to teach, we should always be very grateful, because such things are truly a gift.

Dennis Hooker
02-02-2003, 07:34 AM
So, what sort of spiritual understandings or growths have you had resulting from aikido training?

-- Jun



Why Jun I have become a god! Not a very big one or very important one and certainly not a very powerful one or a very smart one. But a god nonetheless. I think it would have been better if I had remained a man. As a man I was important, powerful and smart. As a man I knew much more, I was young and strong and good looking now after years and decades of Aikido I am a god that is old, with many a broken parts and has lost his sexual allure. I am now a sage but not a very good one or very useful one. Oh I miss being a man!

Dennis (the Greek God of wine) Hooker

02-02-2003, 12:32 PM
Dennis (the Greek God of wine) Hooker
Not that kind of "spiritual," Dennis!

Besides, you've been the "Dog God" in my mind for many, many years already...

-- Jun

mike lee
02-03-2003, 02:13 AM
I wish I could be the god of Cuban cigars. (Actually, I think the Dominicans are better these days!)

03-04-2003, 04:07 AM
...(Actually, I think the Dominicans are better these days!)Dominicans? (http://www.op.org/international/english/index.html)

What about the Franciscans? (http://www.wtu.edu/franciscan/)

Ha ha ha!!!

:D :D :D