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Paula Lydon
06-26-2003, 04:25 PM
~~What exactly ARE the spiritual aspects of Aikido? It's supposed to be only self-defence? Wait, that's not really spiritual, is it? We honestly don't discuss such things in my dojo, at least not teacher to student.

06-26-2003, 05:09 PM
Hi !

Knowing nothing about Shinto beliefs or

the divine possesions of O'sensei,and like you I have never been taught in these things

during training,

my own belief is that I fight the devil every time I train and I let my training be

a service to the heavenly.

I practice prayer before practice and hope some day I'll be able to share it with others,until then I'll proceed.

That where I'm at now...

Yours - Chr.B.

06-26-2003, 10:46 PM
Hi Paula,

Check out two articles by Peter Goldsbury; both posted at the Aikido Journal web site:

"Touching the Absolute: Aikido vs. Religion and Philosophy"


(That's the whole article)


"Touching the Absolute: Aikido vs. Religion and Philosophy (Part 2)"


(You have to subscribe to Aikido Journal On-line to see this whole article).

The first article deals with O'Sensei and his views on religion and aikido. This is sound historical research, not just Mr. Goldsbury's opinions -- though those are qutie valuable too.

The second article is about Kisshomaru approach, and the changes that ocurred to aikido, and the spirituality of aikido, after World War II.

Both articles serve to put the spiritual/religious side of aikido into historical perspective. They also provide background for a lot of O'Sensei's more esoteric sayings.

Neither one will provide the answers on how you should approach aikido and your own spirituality, but at least you'll have an idea of where O'Sensei and second doshu were going with theirs.

I think a lot of people project onto O'Sensei their own understanding of spirituality without really trying to understand his.

A modest plug: I've also written on aikido from a Christian standpoint in my journal. Just go to the top of this page, click on "Journals" and then click on my name.



Paula Lydon
07-01-2003, 06:51 PM
~~As always, thank you Drew for the references!

07-01-2003, 09:48 PM

I'm glad to help.

I just thought of three other books that helped me start to get a handle on the spiritual aspects of aikido:

(1) The Spirit of Aikido by Kisshomaru Ueshiba.

(2) The Principles of Aikido by Mitsugi Saotome

(3) The Magic of Conflict by Thomas Crumm.



Janet Rosen
07-02-2003, 12:03 PM
To me the spiritual nature of aikido is there in the practice, just as it can be in anything from walking meditation to dishwashing. Its about recognizing things about yourself and your barriers and how you relate to the universe (which in aikido manifests as your partner, your instructor, dojo rules, the mat, gravity, etc....) and letting the training and your approach to it be a medium for changing yourself.

So its there for those who want it, but need not be made use of.

Chuck Clark
07-02-2003, 02:21 PM
"Spiritual" need not imply a connection to religion and any specific belief system. It can be construed as an experience/study of the human spirit or even further the spirit of "the way of things"...

Janet Rosen
07-02-2003, 02:26 PM
"Spiritual" need not imply a connection to religion and any specific belief system. It can be construed as an experience/study of the human spirit or even further the spirit of "the way of things"...
oh...well, that was WAY more elegantly put than mine :-)

07-03-2003, 08:11 AM
IMHO, relax, mushin (empty mind), entering and blending with another person is the physical practice of the spiritual aspects. The spiritual aspects can be seen in anything we do if it is our focus and intent. Or it can be entirely missed. Ki follows and extends the focus of our intent.

07-05-2003, 01:10 PM
"Spiritual" need not imply a connection to religion
FWIW, a jarhead in Heckler's "In Search of the Warrior Spirit: Teaching Awareness Disciplines to the Green Berets" asks a monk (Franciscan?) what spirituality means and he answers with one word: connection. I like the separation of the term from religion, too.

07-07-2003, 12:53 PM
The Fibonacci number series 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13... can be described graphically in a logarithmic spiral.

If you've seen AikiNews films, you can view clips of O Sensei doing a Shinto ritual where he swings a jo or paper wand in a spiral over his head. If you look at the path of the jo tip or wand, it travels in a logarithmic spiral.

In a shiho nage or kote gaeshi, the path the uke's hand travels is also a logarithmic spiral. However the Shinto ritual and Aikido techniques both share an interesting characteristic. The spiral is inward, not outward - like many examples of a logarithmic spiral.

This idea of bringing everything to your center is primal not only in Aikido, but the traditonal Japanese arts. A good example of this is Japanese carpentry where the saw cuts not on the push, but on the pull. The saw cuts on the pull because you should draw everything to your center.

The idea of being centered or keeping one point and having a coordinated mind/body is a central concept in both Japanese martial arts and spiritual practice. So even the movements of Aikido can have spiritual implications.