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Nitar
04-08-2003, 12:53 PM
Hi there! I have a question regarding the compatibility of Aikido and Christianity. I am very interested in learning Aikido, and I believe in Christianity. However, I have had several people say that if you are a Christian, you should not learn Aikido.

What are the thoughts on this? I realize people of different faiths practice the martial arts, why should Christianity be different.

Also, let me say I am not trying to start an argument, I am genuinely curious. I also realize that there are people that disagree with what I believe, and that's okay, too. I'm not trying to "convert" anyone. I really just want to know if there are things learned on the spiritual side of Aikido that would be contrary to Christianity.

Thanks!

rachmass
04-08-2003, 01:25 PM
Hi Shane,

Can't see why there would be any conflict. The one issue that seems to crop up occassionally is the bowing we do in class. Bowing is not religious in nature; we bow to show respect and thanks to the founder of aikido, to our teacher, and to our training partners. I don't know any teachers who impose a religious dogma on their students, and aikido is not a religion, it is a martial art.

Hope that helps,

Rachel

Dennis Hooker
04-08-2003, 02:05 PM
Shane, I am not trying to break off the discussion but this subject has had much airing here and on the Aiki News website. With a little diligence I believe you will find the subject well discussed and many a varying viewpoint. Last Saturday Susan Perry editor of Aikido Today Magazine interviewed me and this subject was discussed. I am Christian also and a once-upon-time minister. Aikido can be spiritual but it is not a religion nor does it compromise ones religious believes. However, a person can be weak of faith and any seemingly contrary action can be misconstrued as irreverence or even sacrilege. The question is what is in the individual's heart and mind. If it is unshakable faith then all the Japanese trappings that go along with the art don't mean diddly. Of course you will find that occasional person that tries to mix a lot of extraneous mumbo jumbo into the Aikido and then you have a problem. Avoid the nuts and your you will be alright.

William Boyd
04-08-2003, 02:06 PM
Hi Shane,

I'm a Christian also and have no problem learning Aikido as long as the sensei teaches it as a matial art. Like Rachel I've yet to met any one who teaches Aikido who imposes any religious teachings.

Joe Jutsu
04-08-2003, 02:11 PM
Hi Shane,

I have to say that whoever told you that you should not practice Aikido due to your Christian beliefs was definitely misinformed. I grew up in a very religious household, the son of an Episcopal priest, and though I don't actively practice Christianity anymore I can assure you that Christianity and Aikido are in no way contradictory. Christianity at its heart teaches unconditional love. Aikido teaches us to love and respect even those who maybe trying to hurt us. Though I'm really just a beginner in Aikido, it seems to me that Aikido techniques don't truly become refined until the Aikidoist can do them with love, which comes with time (sure, you have to be doing the techniques correctly as well). In Ki Society, we read "Ki Sayings" at the beginning of each class, some of which have spiritual connotations that do not fall under traditional Christian dogma, but our Sensei's always tell us that it is not necessary to buy into the religious aspect of what is being said, because there are always other, more important points being made such as keeping a calm, immovable mind or the concept of doing good deeds without hope of a reward. Rachel made a good point that Aikido is a martial art, not a religion. If you are interested in Aikido, I really recommend taking a class or at least going to a dojo and watching a class. I promise you the experience will not turn you into a heathen!:D Good luck to you.

Peace. :ki:

John Boswell
04-08-2003, 03:20 PM
Shane,

A friend of mine in class is 1st Kyu and has a Masters Degree in Divinity(sp), two masters degrees that I know of. He's very loyal to his faith and active in Aikido.

I see no conflict of interest. People around you may, but if you explain their questions well or perhaps ask your Sensei to... that might solve your problems.

Good luck and enjoy!

opherdonchin
04-08-2003, 03:54 PM
This was, in fact, discussed at great length just recently in this thread (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2842&highlight=christian). I want to say here that while many Christians study AiKiDo with no difficulty, it seems to me that to say AiKiDo is not a religion is not quite right. You can read my thoughts about this (and those of many others) in the thread linked to above.

Neil Mick
04-08-2003, 04:08 PM
Shane:

It seems to me that Aikido, being a spiritual discipline, can be also a religious path (completely on its own)...but not necessarily (also, remember that O Sensei did not "practice" Aikido, as a religion: he practiced Omotokyo. However, Opher is quite correct in stating that some ppl do practice Aikido as a religion).

Christianity, a religious faith, can be simply a generic spiritual framework, as a person identifying herself as nondemoninational is still a Christian.

IMM, it all depends upon how rigid your religious framework. Does it allow for spiritual disciplines to cross-fertilize your Path?

As with many questions, the answer is different for everyone.

shihonage
04-08-2003, 06:40 PM
However, I have had several people say that if you are a Christian, you should not learn Aikido.

The people you're talking to are likely grossly misinformed about Aikido.

It is also possible that they are superficial to the extreme.

Once, I entered a (supposedly Christian) church, out of curiosity, and a girl there started a conversation with me.
Aikido was one of the things that came up (she was cute, and I was trying, uh, nevermind).

Anyway, after a while, she looked at me condescendingly, and said something along the lines of "I understand now why people here tell me that outsiders are not of us".

That was just great.

opherdonchin
04-08-2003, 06:52 PM
Count on Aleksey for the delicate touch!

:)

Kevin Leavitt
04-08-2003, 08:26 PM
To quote "The Art of Peace" by O'Sensei (translated by John Stevens)

"The Art of Peace (aikido) that I practice has room for each of the world's eight million gods, and I cooperate with them all. The God of Peace is very great and enjoins all that is divine and enlightened in every land."

As others have said already.

I think you must make up your own mind about the compatibility of Aikido and your religion (Christianity).

If you find yourselve at odds or uncomfortable with it...in the long term you are doing yourself harm from both an aikido perspective and a religious perspective.

I don't think honestly that anyone here in this forum can validate or legitimitize your own beliefs on religion/aikido.

For me, aikido is both a spiritual path, and a religous practice since it teaches me and reminds me that I am but a part of the big machine and in order to succeed and be happy, I need to be aware of my surroundings and be at peace with things and people in the world.

Frankly, I find that to be the same goals of ANY religion and perfectly compatible with the fundamentals of Christanity.

Aikido is non-dogmatic, and is therefore should cause you no conflicts...but then again, that is a choice you must make on your own!

good luck in your path to happiness and fulfillment!

Misogi-no-Gyo
04-09-2003, 01:38 AM
If it is unshakable faith then all the Japanese trappings that go along with the art don't mean diddly.

Of course you will find that occasional person that tries to mix a lot of extraneous mumbo jumbo into the Aikido and then you have a problem. Avoid the nuts and your you will be alright.
Mr. Hooker,

While I appreciate most of what you have had to say on these boards, whether I agree or disagree being of little importance here, I would like to make mention of a point on each of the two comments you made in your last post.

1. If the Japanese trappings have no meaning, then I make the supposition that one has lost an essential part of O-Sensei's art. More importantly, for many, the trappings are what makes Aikido, as an art, different then say Hapkido, where many techniques from a physical standpoint may be "considered" the same

2. It might be said that your above description would be a perfect fit if one would be describing O-Sensei. Now while I am sure you are not saying anything derogatory about the Founder of our art, it would sell many students short to recommend that they avoid teachers that may actually have some understanding of some of that mumbo jumbo you so avidly advise to pass over. Now if you mean that once one has a firm root in Aikido that they should then take a deeper cut into the trappings and essence of the art, versus getting lost in it, and thereby losing an interest in continuing to practice, then I would whole-heartedly agree.

While I am not necessarily requesting you to reply, I thank you for allowing me to make my points.

Nitar
04-09-2003, 07:54 AM
Thanks for all the replies! Based on what I've read here, and in other places I decided to start an Aikido class. I'm really looking forward to it, and I think that many times people in the church have preconceptions about a particular activity, and they think it must be wrong.

It may be because that is what they were taught, and they didn't actually research it themselves. So I decided to start, and make a decision based on this first (beginner) training class. From what I have seen and read though, I don't think that there is a conflict of interest between what I believe and what Aikido teaches.

Thanks,

-Nitar

rachmass
04-09-2003, 07:57 AM
Terrific Shane! Now, where are you located? Do you have a good school to start at? AikiWeb has an excellent "dojo finder" section in case you haven't already located a school.

best wishes,

Rachel

Don_Modesto
04-09-2003, 01:01 PM
AiKiDo
Sorry, off-topic: Why do you spell aikido this way?

Thanks.

Veers
04-09-2003, 01:16 PM
Shane, I, too, am a Christian who just started aikido. I did a lot of reading on the topic, and decided that as long as your motives are correct (self defense, not offense, ie) and watch your step around aiki issues (nature and purpose of man, among others), you'll be fine.

Don, not sure, but maybe because "Ai Ki Do" is actually three words, and is usually translated with caps: "The Way of Universal Harmony" (one translation) and not "the way of universal harmony"...they mean the same thing, but the first is a name, the second is not.

(BTW, not putting all that there for your sake, I'm sure you know what aikido means and such...just making myself clear for others)

Opher, why don't you enlighten us? lol

Shane, hope you have fun!

Nitar
04-09-2003, 09:55 PM
I decided to go to Kyushinkan Dojo. It is located near my workplace, and they had a 6 week beginner class starting. I live near Atlanta, and I do a ton of driving. So, I was a bit concerned about location. The class started yesterday and I attended my first class there.

I have to say that I really enjoyed it! I was looking forward to the next class right when the first one was finished... :)

To answer the question about motives, my motives are among other things, self defense. I also wanted a type of excercise that I really enjoy. Not to mention the fact that I have been interested in Aikido for well over a year. I've just now gotten serious about deciding to start learning.

I think I'll probably have other questions now. More related to techniques, and how to remember, practice, etc... Obviously those are topics that have probably been discussed at length in other forums.

As far as the spiritual side of things, I have decided to take what I learn with a grain of salt. I'm not saying that in a bad way, just that I will measure what I learn in Aikido on the spiritual side against what I believe from my faith. I think there is a lot to be learned, as far as calmness and relaxation. I have a problem sometimes dealing with anger, and from what I have read Aikido is a good source for learning to deal with that. Not that I freak out all the time or anything, it's just that in some areas I have a short fuse. Traffic is definitely one of those areas... However, I digress.

Thanks again for all the insightful replies!

-Shane

opherdonchin
04-10-2003, 12:32 AM
AiKiDo with caps: gosh, I never really thought about it. Jonathan's explanation makes a lot of sense to me. It might even be right. I wonder if I'd thought about it hard enough I would have come up with that.

Grains of salt: one of the things that I like about AiKiDo :) (at least the way I was taught and learned and teach) is that you are welcome to carry out of the dojo exactly those aspects that suit you and to allow the other parts to flow over you easily. There have been years at a time in which I felt that much of the philosophy was irrelevant to me. I felt pleasantly challenged by the philosophy, but it was not a feeling of having anything forced on me. I think that's because you are just as welcome on the mat whether or not you 'believe' or 'accept' or whatever. You are welcome on the mat if you used to believe and then changed your mind. You are welcome on the mat, generally, no matter what is in your head.

In truth, I think this approach is slightly insiduous: over time, the philosophy and spiritual aspects seep into you. You find yourself having accepted them through the sheer force of practice and practicality. They just work. Still, that was my experience, and I know plenty of highly ranked AiKiDoka who seem to have no connection at all to what I see as the important stuff.

PeterR
04-10-2003, 01:11 AM
Don, not sure, but maybe because "Ai Ki Do" is actually three words, and is usually translated with caps: ...
Actually Aiki is one word made up of two kanji and the use of caps is unusual.

Aikido itself is pretty benign - it does not require you to change your beliefs in order to practice. Conversely though there is a danger of overlaying your beliefs onto Aikido. Some state with absolute certainty that Aikido is all about X when in reality X is more to do with the persons personal beliefs than what is generally understood.

mike lee
04-10-2003, 02:54 AM
People all over the world of numerous faiths practice aikido. The main hangup with some Christians seems to be the bowing, specifically to the photo of the Founder of aikido. While some people like to make this into a religious gesture, most do not. Bowing is just a way of showing love and respect for the man that made this wonderful art available to us.

In my mind, aikido is the most "Christian" of all of the martial arts. I sincerely hope that you have a great experience!

opherdonchin
04-10-2003, 08:16 AM
I've run into Jews and Muslims who opted not to do the bowing. In their religious understanding, it was not at all benign.

mike lee
04-10-2003, 08:46 AM
Bowing is clearly an Asian tradition similar to shaking hands in the West. When we learn aikido, we also learn something about Japanese culture.

PeterR
04-10-2003, 07:02 PM
I've run into Jews and Muslims who opted not to do the bowing. In their religious understanding, it was not at all benign.
In the next sentence of that same post where I used the word benign I said Conversely though there is a danger of overlaying your beliefs onto Aikido. Your example is a classic case of this - where the significance of their bow is applied to the bow in the dojo when, as Mike pointed out, it is not the same.

Aikido in and of itself does not force you to compromise your religious beliefs. If your religious beliefs disrupt the wa of the group that is another matter and the question arises - are you forcing people to adapt to your beliefs.

With respect to observant Jews and Muslims I know several that practice and have no problem bowing. I also know a few that do and approached the teacher and other students in a respectful manner resulting in some interesting compromises.

taras
04-10-2003, 10:38 PM
Shane,

Some religious people make statements, which from their point of view are correct, according to their beliefs. But very often those people are not really familiar with the subject they discuss. If someone knows bible it doesn't mean they understand Aikido even if they think they are right.

I had Adventists telling me that it was a sin to train on Saturdays (because you sweat and Saturdays are sacred). The best one was that 'all martial arts are idolatry because they come from China and they are all Buddhists there, aren't they?' I replied that the cup of tea that man was having while we had the conversation was also Buddhist, following his logic, as that tea came from India. To him it sounded ridiculous although his statement seemed true to him. I think they key word to this is ignorance.

As for they bowing to kamiza - you should know what's in your heart and what you mean by it. Apostle Paul said that some people do not eat certain food and do so for the Lord, others eat everything and do so for the Lord; and Paul didn't have a problem with either, as faith was not about keeping the Law to him.

Dennis Hooker
04-11-2003, 08:10 AM
I approach the religion issue in my dojo this way. I do not require of anyone anything that might go against their religion if in doing so it brings no harm or disorder to the dojo and its members. If someone needs not to bow then don't, if a girl can not touch a man other than her husband and she can arrange to work with only women, then so be it. I as the dojo head must be convinced that the request is genuine and not frivolous. I have ask people to go else where because they were playing games in my opinion and trying to just be different. Yes I have the right to do that! One time in Pensacola I had a large club at the University of West Florida. I had two young men from warring Muslim sects. The training room had two large doors on either end and each man would enter his own set of doors, I kept them separated for the fist two years. The third year they begin to interact in the class. Just before they left after the fourth year they came to me together each giving me his prayer rug and gratitude. I still have both, the rugs and the gratitude. The rugs on my mantel and the gratitude in my heart. Aikido did good!

Dennis Hooker

www.shindai.com

John Boswell
04-11-2003, 10:03 AM
One time in Pensacola I had a large club at the University of West Florida. I had two young men from warring Muslim sects. The training room had two large doors on either end and each man would enter his own set of doors, I kept them separated for the fist two years. The third year they begin to interact in the class. Just before they left after the fourth year they came to me together each giving me his prayer rug and gratitude. I still have both, the rugs and the gratitude. The rugs on my mantel and the gratitude in my heart. Aikido did good!
THAT... is an incredible story, Sensei! Especially given the events of the day. Thank you for sharing that with us!

:ai::ki::do:

opherdonchin
04-11-2003, 11:29 AM
That is an awesome story.

I've never seen anyone troubled by a failure to bow. I found myself very troubled, though, by some yudansha who would not work with women because their understanding of the Jewish faith prohibited touch between man and a woman (unless they are married). I felt that women students were being shortchanged because they were never in a position to feel how the technique felt when performed by the teacher. Ultimately, each of the people I know found a compromise that worked for them, though.

Jeff R.
05-03-2003, 08:35 PM
Religions are varied, describing different interpretations of God and God's word and intentions.

But if we trim it all down to the bare essence, the common thread of everything . . .

The purest manifestation of God is unconditional love.

The purest physical manifestation of God is Nature.

The process by which God functions in Nature is Chaos and Logic.

The raw energy of God is electricity/magnetism.

The spiritual energy of God is Ki.

Aikido is the resolution of conflict (chaos and logic) with the movements of Nature and blending with the attacker by using unconditional love and accepting that we are all made of the same atoms and swimming in a contiguous ocean of Ki that moves through us and binds us.

Aikido simply demonstrates that we are natural beings and we have the ability to bridge all things natural when we let go of prejudice, presupposition, and preoccupation with the Self.

In other words:

No worship, no conditions, no fear.

Only reverence for life, and a joy of sharing it with everyone else.

You know what? . . . Nevermind. Just go with your gut.

DGLinden
05-15-2003, 09:35 AM
O'Sensei's dream for aikido was for world peace. I don't think he wanted anyone to alienate himself from his own religion or spiritual path in order to train in Aikido. He had his own spiritual advisor, the Reverand Deguchi.

Aikido is a martial art that requires it's practitioners to be be ethical, moral individuals. Since we are not samurai - we should pursue this through the faiths or religions that are consistant with our own society.

happysod
05-15-2003, 09:43 AM
Sorry Daniel, I have to disagree with your last statement, I neither hold nor intend to hold faith in anything or join a religion of any denomination. Unless of course by faith you were extending it's meaning to include secular philosophies which are consistent with cooperation within (a healthy) society, in which case I retract my disagreement.

Sorry, but faith to me is a definite "burning bush" word as it is generally bruted about with regards to why proof is not necessary and argument almost blasphemous. (for the record, my own "faith" is born-again-coward):)

mike lee
05-15-2003, 09:55 AM
Ever noticed that some people come to aikido thinking that it's a spiritual way that allows them to negate Christianity, only to find out that the philosophy embraces all religions and gods?

DGLinden
05-15-2003, 09:55 AM
Since we are not samurai - we should pursue this through the faiths or religions or spitual practices that are consistant with our own society.

Vincentharris
05-15-2003, 01:46 PM
I'm not really sure what you mean by ALL gods, there's only one, period.

I haven't been in Aikido for a long time (less than a year) but I asked a question very similar to this thread a few months ago and I still do not see a conflict between Aikido and anything else, much less religion.

I like to think that my practice and meditation in Aikido is helping me become a better Christian.

Darren Raleigh
05-15-2003, 03:21 PM
I'm not really sure what you mean by ALL gods, there's only one, period.I think he meant that aikido respects the views of all who intend to make peace, regardless of their mode of religious practice, if any. I infer from your post that you do not share this view. ...I still do not see a conflict between Aikido and anything else, much less religion.Nor will you, for there is none. Conflict arises when we refuse to honor one another's views.

Kelly Allen
05-16-2003, 05:11 AM
[ Kelly nods in agreement with Darren]:D

Vincentharris
05-16-2003, 07:25 AM
I do share that view actually but if you really want to get in detail about it, I don't consider GOD a noun, it's a proper name.

Jeff R.
05-16-2003, 07:45 AM
How many Gods, Acceptance of all religions, Yahweh, The Great Spirit, WakanTanka--too many semantics, details, interpretations.

We are Samurai. There is only one thing at the base of all religions, all spirituality, and unarguably worth protecting--Nature, the purest form of whatever greater existence.

As Aikidoka, we are duty-bound to accept all people for their spirit, all living things for their place in Nature, and to foster Total Prosperity.

We can't blend with what we don't protect; we protect what we love; we love what we understand--understand Nature and blend with the Universe; easy concept, right?

PeterR
05-18-2003, 08:29 PM
Wow.
We are Samurai. There is only one thing at the base of all religions, all spirituality, and unarguably worth protecting--Nature, the purest form of whatever greater existence.

As Aikidoka, we are duty-bound to accept all people for their spirit, all living things for their place in Nature, and to foster Total Prosperity.
Sorry but I got to say. You need to understand the mindset of samurai (choose your time period) before you pontificate about their beliefs and what we as Aikidoists are duty bound to accept.

Jeff R.
05-18-2003, 10:13 PM
Wow.

Sorry but I got to say. You need to understand the mindset of samurai (choose your time period) before you pontificate about their beliefs and what we as Aikidoists are duty bound to accept.
It's a metaphor. The Samurai's main occupation was servant to a [political] power, an officer.

As Aikidoika, we take it upon ourselves to go beyond where the person without our skills must stop in the course of "doing the right thing." Since we delve into the realm of taking control of discord, of exercising unconditional love, and that we have the ability to offer opportunity in the resolution of conflict, it is our responsibility to exercise that position relative to something that cannot be interpreted with any bias. Religion, politics--any societal paradigm--is subject to bias interpretation and, therefore, takes a secondary position to the purest, simplest thing that exists, that makes us exist, that we cannot live without--Nature.

Why would one not want to protect the foundation of one's own life, the source of one's great grandchildrens' welfare?

Doesn't protecting our families with honor and conviction make us "Samurai?" If not, then I suppose it's up to your own interpretation.

Just a metaphor--representing an indisputable truth, but totally subject to interpretation in and of itself.

And that's usually where the conflict begins.

Jeff R.
05-18-2003, 10:18 PM
P.S.--That totally sounds like a tirade, and I have to say that one of the fatal flaws of written communication these days is not being able to read the body language behind the verbage. I honestly don't mean to appear to be in an uproar, and I always read and respond with a smile (as I also try to do in my Aikido), so there is no intention here toward being callus and bitter.

PeterR
05-18-2003, 10:29 PM
Don't worry Jeff I understand metaphor but I do think it is a particularily weak one. I also think that these discussion boards are exactly the place where we can discuss our ideas.

I study Budo in Japan and love history. It's a pet peave of mine when romantic ideals of the samurai are used in arguments especially when they overlay ones own societies preconceptions. It's quite common - I still do it.

By the way I just finished a book called the Heike Story of Eiji Yoshikawa which is a historical novel. Great read, a little idealized, but a nice way of gaining some understanding of the samurai and what it meant.

Jeff R.
05-18-2003, 10:44 PM
Don't worry Jeff I understand metaphor but I do think it is a particularily weak one. I also think that these discussion boards are exactly the place where we can discuss our ideas.

I study Budo in Japan and love history. It's a pet peave of mine when romantic ideals of the samurai are used in arguments especially when they overlay ones own societies preconceptions. It's quite common - I still do it.

By the way I just finished a book called the Heike Story of Eiji Yoshikawa which is a historical novel. Great read, a little idealized, but a nice way of gaining some understanding of the samurai and what it meant.
Excellent; thank you kindly.

If the metaphor is called weak based upon something I'm not understanding, then I will definitely be doing some more research. (One of MY pet peeves is: someone makes a weak reference or interpretation based upon lack of information, and then they don't try to correct the mistake. And I am happy to be educated!)

However, if the metaphor is called weak based upon the principle of upholding the integrity of Creation--being warriors for the Earth and our grandchildren--then I'm afraid we must either agree to disagree, or tread very carefully through any further discussion on this particular topic.

Thank you, sir, again for the response, and for the reference, as well. I will be looking into it.

mike lee
05-19-2003, 02:46 AM
... or tread very carefully through any further discussion on this particular topic.
Ha! Another god!

Jeff R.
05-19-2003, 08:02 AM
Ha! Another god!
(pssst. Mike. What does this mean??)

mike lee
05-19-2003, 08:30 AM
(pssst. Mike. What does this mean??)
When you know, it will be time for you to leave.

DGLinden
05-19-2003, 05:18 PM
Jeff, Peter,

GO to General, go to moral thermometer, Use those minds that show so much ability...Help.

PeterR
05-19-2003, 07:28 PM
Jeff, Peter,

GO to General, go to moral thermometer, Use those minds that show so much ability...Help.
No way. I took a look.

Besides the only way us truely evil people survive - is by picking our battles carefully.

Dave Miller
05-21-2003, 06:43 PM
This is something that I have wrestled with as a Christian who practices Aikido. The only concept that I had to come to terms with is Ki. Ki is, at it's heart, a Budhist notion. The first question I had to ask was:Can I, in good consciense as a Christian, involve myself in something that is steeped in Budhist philosophy?My answer was yes. The reason is that, for the Christian, any Truth that is really true must, by definition, come from God. Therefore, the fact that something is Budhist should have no bearing on whether I think it to be true or good or whatever.

The second question I had to ask was:Can I do Aikido without the notion of Ki?My answer to this was also yes. As a scientist, I have yet to see any demonstration of Ki that doesn't have a plausible scientific explanation.

Therefore, what I could call potentially the most problematic concept in Aikido (or many other Asian martial arts) was really no issue at all.

Are there religious undertones to Aikido? Of course. O-sensei made that perfectly clear anytime he talked about Aikido. His religious philosophies influenced every aspect of the art. However, is it necessary for me to agree with O-sensei's religious philosophies in order to practice good Aikido? Absolutely not.

Jeff R.
05-21-2003, 07:00 PM
This is something that I have wrestled with as a Christian who practices Aikido.
In practicing Aikido, there is no religious boundary. O'Sensei may have exercised Shintoism as his form of worship, but the method of reverence is irrelevant to the core of spirituality.

The common thread that binds all religions is Spirit. It doesn't matter how you connect with it, as long as you find the purity of it and can live in a state of physical and spiritual equalibrium. O'Sensei wanted everyone to follow the tenets of simple truths:

Show respect to all life

Preserve all life

Cut through the evil in the world with spiritual purity
The only concept that I had to come to terms with is Ki. Ki is, at it's heart, a Budhist notion.
Maybe by the name "Ki" (and I think even that isn't necessarily true), but Ki in it's purest form has and will exist forever by no name at all.
The first question I had to ask was:Can I, in good consciense as a Christian, involve myself in something that is steeped in Budhist philosophy?My answer was yes. The reason is that, for the Christian, any Truth that is really true must, by definition, come from God.
Though I call it by a different name: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!
The second question I had to ask was:Can I do Aikido without the notion of Ki?My answer to this was also yes. As a scientist, I have yet to see any demonstration of Ki that doesn't have a plausible scientific explanation.
Aikido cannot be done without Ki. In fact, without Ki, we couldn't exist.

Trying to find a name or identity to Ki is creating lots of confusion and concern.

Ki can't be measured, seen, felt, smelt etc., but its effects exist. Once again, it is similar to unconditional love:

The more you give, the more comes to you;

You can't hold on to it or store it or it will do you no good.

It is a Universal Truth, and only works if we let it flow through us unobstructed;

A good portion of its efficacy rests in the faith that it is real;

Trying to find it makes it disappear; it just IS.

Dave Miller
05-21-2003, 07:36 PM
Aikido cannot be done without Ki. In fact, without Ki, we couldn't exist...

It is a Universal Truth, and only works if we let it flow through us unobstructed;

A good portion of its efficacy rests in the faith that it is real... it just IS.Somehow, I would venture a guess that there are many a good Aikidoka who would choose to disagree with that notion. There are plenty of Aikidokas who are quite gifted in their art who don't believe a word of what you said about Ki. By your statement, they have no "efficacy" so far as Ki is concerned and yet their Aikido still works.

It's not often that I have seen someone say something with such conviction while shrouding it in a veil of "it can't be disproven so just believe it".

;)

Qatana
05-21-2003, 07:52 PM
Dave, where did you find the information regarding "Ki' as a "Buddhist notion"?I've been a practicing Buddhist for 14 years and have never heard it refferred to as any part of Buddhist philosophy.

As i uderstand it, Ki or Chi is simply energy.Just like electricity-you can measure it, direct it,store it.there is nothing divine or supernatural about it.it is just energy.there is energy generated by water, by gasoline, by fission of radioactive elements. and there is energy that is used by living beings whish is merely the food we eat. so wouldn't it make sense that living beings, who are dependent on energy of one source or another to survive, also be generating some kind of energy as well?

Ki is the wind.

Jeff R.
05-21-2003, 07:53 PM
Somehow, I would venture a guess that there are many a good Aikidoka who would choose to disagree with that notion. There are plenty of Aikidokas who are quite gifted in their art who don't believe a word of what you said about Ki. By your statement, they have no "efficacy" so far as Ki is concerned and yet their Aikido still works.

It's not often that I have seen someone say something with such conviction while shrouding it in a veil of "it can't be disproven so just believe it".

;)
Notion? I'm only restating something that people like O'Sensei, Tohei, Saotome, Buddha, Jesus, and any other major spiritual figurehead has said. If you or any other Aikidoka would dispute millenia of deep spiritual awareness (not religion), that's up to you guys.

Are you alive? Do you breathe? Do you have a spirit? If so, you have Ki. Do you have faith that you have Ki? If not, then it won't work through you effectively.

If your Aikidokas' techniques are working, congratulations--everyone can twist a wrist. If it's real Aikido, then they're calling Ki by a different name. If it's not at all spiritual (not Religious, mind you), then it isn't working on a spiritual level. Aikido's "goal" is to have us all taking it to the spiritual level of efficacy. Techniques are only tools to bring us to the point of not needing them any longer. They are limited.

You know what though? Whatever. If people are happy with practicing non-spiritual martial arts, why not just by a baseball bat and take up ballroom dancing? Kick a@@ without spiritual concerns and still swing someone around the floor.

Yeehah, we're all strong!!

Jeff R.
05-21-2003, 08:06 PM
As i uderstand it, Ki or Chi is simply energy.Just like electricity-you can measure it, direct it,store it.there is nothing divine or supernatural about it.it is just energy.there is energy generated by water, by gasoline, by fission of radioactive elements. and there is energy that is used by living beings whish is merely the food we eat. so wouldn't it make sense that living beings, who are dependent on energy of one source or another to survive, also be generating some kind of energy as well?

Ki is the wind.
There are several types of energies that make things function. On the physical plane, our major raw energy is electricity, which exists hand-in-hand with magnetism. Electricity can be measured, etc.

Ki is a spiritual energy. It cannot be measured (yet, anyway) as unconditional love, unless auric energy assessment counts. Ki plays a role in aura, but there is more to aura than Ki.

Anyway, with Ki and Electricity (atomic, synaptic, etc.), we exist and function, the two energies binding us betwixt the spiritual and the physical worlds. Most modern folk concentrate more on the physical, electrical, logical plane of existence, while others tap into the spiritual, intuitive, "supernatural" realm. The ancient Shaman-type from most cultures lived in the Duality, being in both realms at the same time. We call it enlightenment, or Satori in the discipline of Aikido.

So all of the Aikidoka who have no desire to embrace their inherent spiritual side, pretty much end up doing "neatly packaged Jiujitsu."

(If I can find who coined that phrase, I would gladly give credit.)

Jeff R.
05-21-2003, 08:14 PM
It's not often that I have seen someone say something with such conviction while shrouding it in a veil of "it can't be disproven so just believe it".

;)
P.S.-- I have always challenged anyone in any forum (on- or off-line) to prove me wrong or right. I am happy to be educated and do more research all the time. But there are things that people challenge that are simply true whether we like it or not. I have already done the research on the points I make, I am not going to try and dig up twenty years of tidbits to satisfy someone else's curiosity.

Prove me right, we agree. Prove me wrong, we both learn something. I'm cool with it either way.

Besides, if the topic is something that can't be proven or disproven, the why the heck should we worry about it? We either have faith, or we don't.

Qatana
05-21-2003, 10:14 PM
.before science was invented, everything was spiritual.

in my short time in aikido i have become aware of myself enough to know that the reason i have trouble in blending practice is that i am still trying to make uke see MY point instead of me trying to see from their point of view.

you have a philospphy. we are all very aware that you have a philosophy. however every one of us has our own personal philosophy. sometimes they agree, sometimes they don't, sometimes we argue about it or drop bombs on each other over it.sometimes we use it to justify hurting other people.just because their philosphy does not agree.

but i feel like the uke that i can't quite get behind when i read your posts...

i also know myself well enough to know when i am looking for an argument, so i'm going to attempt to bow out of this discussion now...

Jeff R.
05-21-2003, 10:33 PM
.before science was invented, everything was spiritual.
Precisely. Purity.
in my short time in aikido i have become aware of myself enough to know that the reason i have trouble in blending practice is that i am still trying to make uke see MY point instead of me trying to see from their point of view.

you have a philospphy. we are all very aware that you have a philosophy. however every one of us has our own personal philosophy. sometimes they agree, sometimes they don't, sometimes we argue about it or drop bombs on each other over it.sometimes we use it to justify hurting other people.just because their philosphy does not agree.

but i feel like the uke that i can't quite get behind when i read your posts...

i also know myself well enough to know when i am looking for an argument, so i'm going to attempt to bow out of this discussion now...
That, of course, is an option. And when someone--God forbid--attacks someone else on the street, that victim has the same option--to bow out. Unfortunately, the victim is left with the situation unresolved, or worse.

The thing is, I have no desire to fight or attack anyone. What I would like to see, in the true spirit of Aikido, is how we can all see the same point of view, come to a universal truth.

Everyone is very quick to defend the things that society does to nature, the complacency in their philosophy, training, or lack of either, the lack of scientific evidence that they feel should support non-scientific things, or things science cannot yet interpret.

Many claim to be Aikidoka, but show little regard for the essence of what Aikido means. Many follow religions and philosophies but then avoid issues when asked to reach deeply into those beliefs and look for that common thread that can bring us all together.

Bowing out is easy. That's what this society does--instant gratification, easy disposability.

I definitely don't want to argue, but I wish we could all find the common bond as Aikidoka, as fellows. Yet if productive discussion is going to revert to hypocracy, and frustrated cop-out, then what's the point in going on?

Help me understand. I'm only offering information that I have. If I'm missing something, enlighten me. But have the courtesy of listening with an open mind as well.

The best to you.

PeterR
05-22-2003, 12:30 AM
Small reminder.

We should be careful about overlaying our beliefs and preconceptions onto Aikido.

mike lee
05-22-2003, 03:09 AM
Amen. Basing arguements on misconceptions will get you nowhere. Ki is a way of talking about energy (not to be confused with spirit, gods, or anything religious.)

If an aikidoists doesn't begin to develop a proper understanding of ki, then he's not learning his art. After all the character is central, quite literally, in aikido.

Qatana
05-22-2003, 08:59 AM
Dude, i wandered into your discussion, made a couple of comments & intended to wander on.

you are not offering information, you are stating your opinion.all i did was state my opinion.

is it good aikido to insist that someone stay in conflict when she has the option to end it by just walking away?

Jeff R.
05-22-2003, 09:44 AM
Dude, i wandered into your discussion, made a couple of comments & intended to wander on.

you are not offering information, you are stating your opinion.all i did was state my opinion.

is it good aikido to insist that someone stay in conflict when she has the option to end it by just walking away?
What conflict? What opinion?

Do you make it a habit to float around, drop in opinions and then walk away without taking on the discussion that most likely ensues?

If you have opinions, back them up. If you have information, offer it.

I haven't given any opinions (I'm aware of) because opinions start battles, and if you believe I've stated opinion, show me and I'll either clarify or rescind. How can you battle facts? Prove them wrong, prove them right, or offer useful information to change directions. You offered information about how Ki is perceived, I offered more information. If there is something more that I am missing, please fill in the blanks.

So, like I said, if your intention is to interject just long enough to ignore following up, why bother?

Help me understand your facts.

Qatana
05-22-2003, 10:11 AM
if my facts and your facts do not agree

there is conflict

if my truth and your truth do not agree

there is conflict

if my opinion and your opinion do not agree

there is conflict

i was not aware that it is a requirement on this site that if one steps into a thread to make a comment then one is duty and honor bound to remain in that conversation until everyone is in agreement with one person's information or another.

opinions are completely subjective and therefore do not require bcking up.or am i supposed to somehow prove that i think what i think or feel what i feel? like if i say "i think it is a beautiful day" i should be able to back that up somehow with solid evidence?i said "as i understand it...."not "this is the way it is..."

so again, In My Opinion, As I See It, Ki is energy.i am not trying to prove anything, change anybody's mind or keep tham in a conversation that is endless and pointless.i am making a statement and moving along to another conversation.

opherdonchin
05-22-2003, 11:27 AM
Jeff,

While I sympathize with some of what you say, I also find the way your are saying it to be awfully harsh. I think Jo is right when she (he?) says that you are confusing your opinion for a statement of fact. For instance, I happen to agree that the most useful way to understand Ki is a non-physical understanding. I also think of this is as 'fact' -- that is, something that anyone could see if they took the time and energy to figure it out clearly.

I also know that there are a lot of people who have taken time and energy and see it differently. Do I think I see more clearly and deeply than them? Honestly, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. However, let's say, for the sake of argument, that I really do see more clearly and deeply than them. What of it. I can't change the way they see. The best I can do is do my damndest to understand the way they see, to immerse myself in it and accept it, and hope that this will lead to change for both of us. I think this is what Jo mean when he (she?) said "i am still trying to make uke see MY point instead of me trying to see from their point of view."

Qatana
05-22-2003, 03:10 PM
She

opherdonchin
05-22-2003, 04:28 PM
sorry.

Jeff R.
05-22-2003, 08:52 PM
Jeff,

I also know that there are a lot of people who have taken time and energy and see it differently. Do I think I see more clearly and deeply than them? Honestly, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. However, let's say, for the sake of argument, that I really do see more clearly and deeply than them. What of it. I can't change the way they see. The best I can do is do my damndest to understand the way they see, to immerse myself in it and accept it, and hope that this will lead to change for both of us. I think this is what Jo mean when he (she?) said "i am still trying to make uke see MY point instead of me trying to see from their point of view."
I'm not trying to CHANGE what anyone sees; I'm trying to give everyone something to look at, I'm opening a window.

All my life I've walked through the stores and the towns and I've seen people milling around, careless, blind to one another, locked away in containers and oblivious to the reality of the real world. We buy meat at the supermarket, and we never have to lay a finger on the cow. Medicinal herbs are weeds to be plucked and poisoned. Creatures like wolves with important roles in the ecosystem are all but eradicated, because they cost farmers too much money in livestock. We all tether ourselves to a rut of working for the advancement of the technology that literally kills the earth in its creation, and we strive for the almighty dollar to survive. It is the source of our sustenance, the ruler of our existence. And because of that, I've seen the waters polluted, the fish dead, the mutated amphibians, the stillborn birds, and the sick land. I'm afraid for my grandchildren. I'm afraid for your grandchildren.

Aikido was developed by a man who created it with a philosophy of preservation. The only way to preserve all life is to know it intimately, then we can love it, then we can protect it.

The cumulation of responses I receive from these Spiritual threads is indicative of a plague of denial from people who like the feel of the techniques, like the flow of the hakama, but disregard the essence of the Art--the essence that makes it what it is.

I see responses from people too stuck in technology, too scared to shed all the material desires and lose all ties to materialism. I see the responses of people who don't care about the grandchildren.

If anyone looks at the teachings of O'Sensei, Saotome, Jesus, Stalking Wolf--any spiritual teacher, they will see that I have only passed down the message. This isn't my crusade, it's not my opinion--it's what everyone claims to believe and uphold, but shows no tendency toward following through.

If you have something to say, back it up. I'm very willing to learn, but I will challenge your statements and make you prove that you are studied and stand by your convictions.

If you look behind you, I'm not there; I'm holding no threat to your head to make you type any words. If you're done--your done. If you would like to see how far we can bring each other in finding the answers, buckle up and let's get on with it.