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Anders Bjonback
12-31-2003, 02:20 AM
This may be a really stupid idea for a thread... but I'm curious in discussing this. How is aikido related to your personal spiritual practice, if it is?

Personally, (keep in mind that I've only been training for a year and a half)... Over summer vacation, I did pretty much nothing but aikido. I thought of giving up everything, including my lineage of Buddhism, and just training in aikido as my spritual path. And I did that. The curious thing is that in training in aikido, I naturally began to gravitate towards meditation. Then, as I meditated at the shrine room at my college (Naropa University) between aikido classes, I began to gravitate towards looking for Buddhist teachings on meditation and brining it into one's life. I began to get involved with Zen. After awhile, when I went to a meeting of my old sangha, or religious community, I realized just how realized the head of my sangha, Sogyal Rinpoche, was. I was very inspired by the teaching of his I saw that night, although I don't remember it was about. I thought to myself, "Sogyal Rinpoche is a Zen master!" I came full circle to being dedicated to my lineage of Buddhism once again.

What I found interesting was that in training in aikido, I naturally gravitated back to that. Getting back into meditation and the Buddhist teachings was like a next step in my training (maybe towards making me a better person or whatever). I am well aware that O-Sensei was not Buddhist--he was of a new sect of Shinto, Omoto Kyo. But it seemed like training naturally brought me towards doing what was right for myself.

I've found that aikido doesn't interfere or conflict with my spiritual path at all, and instead strengthens it. Despite this, though, I do not feel like aikido is by itself my spiritual path (at least, where my training is right now).

Michael Karmon
12-31-2003, 07:22 AM
Aikido is a very spiritauly enclined art. If practiced truely it will bring out your spiritual part and will draw people of spiritual inclination.

In our dojo we have several religiously devoted students and teachers as well as several Yeshiva people whos entire life is turned around prayer and the study of Jewish lore. They are some of the finest Aikidoka and pillars of the dojo. I an affiliated dojo we have a certified Rabbi holding a third Dan.

I think in the essence all religiouns in the world are the same and Aikido will fit in as a promotor to any spiritual way

acot
12-31-2003, 11:50 AM
What a great thread. What ever religion (or no religion) it seems that Aikido training, and get the flesh under control,freeing up the mind will have the benifit getting in better touch with ones spiritual thoughts.

Ryan

SeiserL
12-31-2003, 01:46 PM
IMHO, Aikido is congruent with my spiritual path. Its training is congruent with its principles. What I like most is Aikido gives an active moving confrontational aggressive context in which practice the principles. The principles are easiest in a secluded passive supportive enviroment, but much harder in the real world. The Dojo becomes a safe place to practice.

Rich Stephens
12-31-2003, 03:29 PM
One of the most imporant thing I have learned from Aikido is to be relaxed, to be calm. I remember an interview with Tohei-sensei where he said that O-sensei was the most relaxed person he had ever met and that that was where his "power" came from. Many have said the same thing about Tohei-sensei himself.

Learning to relax and be calm is beneficial to not only our physical movements but to our philosophical or spiritual activity. The kind of approach and attitude that Aikido seems to produce seems to make one able to be deeper in their spiritualness (or whatever we may call it).

Oddly enough, I've found that surfing produces a very similar sort of calmness. I've been surfing for 20 years (Aikido helped my surfing a lot by the way) and I have often met people on my travels and in business and so on that I could tell right away were surfers. Usually these people would be at least 40 years old, and it was just obvious from the way they carried themselves that they were long time surfers. They just project a certain aura of calm strength. All that time in the ocean has taught them to "blend" with the power of mother nature in order to surf well, or often even to simply survive.

So I guess if I have any spirtitual path it is simply to seek that calm, reflective (as opposed to reactive) strength.

WylMorris
12-31-2003, 09:42 PM
I find that Aikido has helped me reconcile the "warrior within" (to sound pretentious and pseudo-intellectual) with my creative side, which had as a concequence of my spiritual path become perhapsoverdominant inmy psyche. It brought me into balance in temrs of the types of energies within me, while being philosophically and ethically consistant with the beliefs I held.

Aikido has changed what I believe, and I think that change is for the better.

Anders Bjonback
01-01-2004, 01:43 AM
Oddly enough, I've found that surfing produces a very similar sort of calmness. I've been surfing for 20 years (Aikido helped my surfing a lot by the way) and I have often met people on my travels and in business and so on that I could tell right away were surfers. Usually these people would be at least 40 years old, and it was just obvious from the way they carried themselves that they were long time surfers. They just project a certain aura of calm strength. All that time in the ocean has taught them to "blend" with the power of mother nature in order to surf well, or often even to simply survive.
I've found it interesting that since taking aikido, I can connect to my father (a hockey fan), on a different level than before. He talks about how it's important to be close to the ice, or to one's opponent martially. He also talked about how someone with soft hands was good, able to feel the puck, and someone who was relaxed was able to feel what was going on around him on the ice. He spoke of being goalie as a kid, being almost blind without his glasses, and continuing to play after the lights went out, playing entirely by feel. He also talked about becoming one with ice, and feeling one with nature when he threw the perfect slapshot. It seems like even with hockey, it can go to the same place.

k'shi
01-05-2004, 08:54 PM
It is my spiritual side that lead me to Aikido. Before I continue my reply I must tell you that I experience quite allot spiritual things, so I must ask the skepitcal ones to please show respect.

I was meditating and projecting my spirit into exsistance (many people do this, only they do it unconciously, many times when they sleep.) I came into a garden-like area with multiple conciousnesses(persons if you will) finding me there, they told me it was time to follow Bushido again, they spoke of Kendo and Aikido, it is them that introduced me to the arts, it is the very reason why I joined Aikido a few days later, and it is trully what I need, finaly an art where I'm able to express my spirit self. Only now to find a Kendo school :).

Love,

- Jop den Daas

AsimHanif
01-05-2004, 10:03 PM
Before I started in training (in karate) I thought that the mind forged the body. As I progressed I began to see how the opposite was in fact true. Through vigorous, regular physical training, the mind becomes disciplined. I progressed well but hit a wall in karate. Not physically but spiritually. Although my body could do more, I found the techniuques of karate were forging my spirit in a manner that was not quite right for me.

Fast forward 10 years later- I have since discovered that I hit that wall because I was training against my nature. The techniques of karate didn't allow for me to reach a higher level of consciousness although of course it does for others. I found for me that aikido is THE PATH to my natural spiritual growth. Although I am labeled as a Muslim I am probably the most unconventional Muslim there is. I don't pray in the prescribed manner, I don't attend regular service. I found that I fell into ritual with no meaning to me. Aikido gave me a method to reconnect with the Universal in which I am mindfully there.

Very good and relevant thread, Anders.

Paula Lydon
01-17-2004, 09:40 PM
~~Wonderful thread, Anders! I'm affraid I can't put my finger so well upon why Aikido moves me spiritually, it just does. There is something in me that seems predisposed to whatever Aikido really is, and that I don't know either. Two mysteries coming together. Something in me fears, I think, that if I can name or pinpoint what it is then, like magic, it will no longer work. When I move on the mat I feel this ever shifting presence of potentiality, something past fullness because that's an absolute. That's the closet I came come and I dare go no further, not until my spirit is moved, anyway :)

SeiserL
01-18-2004, 12:33 PM
IMHO, any "do" is first related to self-perfection and thus a spiritual path, since self-perfection is often more selfless than selfish. This in contrast to "jujitsu" which is often related first to martial or fighting aspects.

I read this some place (Donn Draeger I think) always made sense to me to see the distinction.

Jeanne Shepard
01-18-2004, 08:18 PM
I don't think I have a spiritual side. Can I get one at Walmart?

Jeanne

malc anderson
01-19-2004, 05:14 AM
When a superior man hears of the way,he

immediately begins to embody it.

When and average man hears of the way,

he half believes it, half doubts it.

when a foolish man hears of the way, he laughs out loud.

if he didn't laugh,

it wouldn't be the way

malc

Cast off limiting thoughts and return to true emptyness. Stand in the midst of the great void. This is the SECRET of the way of a warrior

Ron Tisdale
01-19-2004, 10:49 AM
I read this some place (Donn Draeger I think) always made sense to me to see the distinction.
Draeger is often quoted on this topic...but scholars since his time have taken him to task on the distinction. Check out the writings of Meik Skoss, Karl Friday, Ellis Amdur and others...some of these comments are available on the web.

Ron

Don_Modesto
01-19-2004, 02:12 PM
Draeger is often quoted on this topic...but scholars since his time have taken him to task on the distinction. Check out the writings of Meik Skoss, Karl Friday, Ellis Amdur and others...some of these comments are available on the web.
I've seen these references and, indeed, posted to the same effect as you, Ron, but I wonder if these refutations are not too late. I think Draeger has had a "washback" effect such that even in Japan they now reifiy this distinction between "do" and "jutsu". Saotome has stopped in with senior students during seminars, taught them some particularly nasty variation of the current technique, and then said kind of dismissively, "But, this is BUJUTSU" as if it were more vulgar, less advanced than aikiDO.

Personally, I've had a hard time with the "DO" stuff ever since reading Bodiford on Religion and Spirituality: Japan in Green's Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia. Brrr!

Don_Modesto
01-19-2004, 02:21 PM
When a superior man hears of the way,he

immediately begins to embody it....when a foolish man hears of the way, he laughs out loud.

if he didn't laugh,

it wouldn't be the way
True, they laughed at Darwin, the Wright Brothers, and Einstein, but they laughed at Bozo the Clown, too.

Carl Sagan

;)

Peter Goldsbury
01-20-2004, 01:17 AM
Hello Don,

I think the washback effect, if any, is about as common as the 'romantic' interpretation of budo, according to which aikido is "peaceful" on the grounds that the character for "bu" means "stopping spears/weapons".

If you check the larger dictionaries, such as the big "Nihon Kokugo Daijiten", you will find that the ideas of DOU, as a way to be followed (in the world of learning and the arts) and of JUTSU, as a skill to be acquired (in the world of learning and the arts) both have a very long history (i.e., going back to the 10th/11th century). The difference is merely one of emphasis.

Thus, I have a suspicion that the decision to call the martial art we practice/martial way we follow "aikido" was a Japanese-style committee decision, of a type with which I have become very familiar.

Here is one example. In Hiroshima University there is a course with the title Hiroshima-Gaku (広島学). Gaku is one of several endings which add a certain kind of elevated status to whatever is a gaku. I myself lecture in this course and my subject is how the atomic bombing of Hiroshima is regarded overseas (specifically in the UK and other European countries). My lecture jars on the sensibilities of the organizers because it is 'revisionist' and highly critical of the Hiroshima 'peace' industry, which relies on a large measure of amnesia about World War II. The organizers and audience like to hear 'positive' opinions about the atomic bombing and believe that Hiroshima's future role in world peace is so important that the course committee dealing with the subject added the 'gaku' ending.

Another example. One of my courses at Hiroshima University is 交渉学. 'Koushou' is the Japanese term for negotiation and is normally used alone. The university has added 'gaku', with the idea of making negotiation 'scientific', but this in itself adds nothing to what is really a very important and complex skill, just like a 'jutsu' (happily, negotiation has not become a 'dou', just yet). The same is true of コミュニケーション (communication). This appears as コミュニケーション論 or コミュニケーション学 and no one can tell the difference.

Best regards to all,

Peter Goldsbury
01-20-2004, 01:30 AM
Apologies to all.

In my last post I wrote 広島学 (Hiroshima-gaku, written in kanji) and I should have written ヒロシマ学 (Hiroshima-gaku, written in katakana). This makes a world of difference.

Best regards,

Don_Modesto
01-20-2004, 03:25 PM
Hi, Peter.
If you check the larger dictionaries, such as the big "Nihon Kokugo Daijiten", you will find that the ideas of DOU, as a way to be followed (in the world of learning and the arts) and of JUTSU, as a skill to be acquired (in the world of learning and the arts) both have a very long history (i.e., going back to the 10th/11th century). The difference is merely one of emphasis.

Thus, I have a suspicion that the decision to call the martial art we practice/martial way we follow "aikido" was a Japanese-style committee decision, of a type with which I have become very familiar.
I'm not sure I understand you here, Peter. Do you mean that "DO" was "invoked" for political reasons with a different, legitimating usage in the case of the GENDAI BUDO circa 1920-30's in the way that "Shinto" was with, say, the Great Promulgation in the 19th century?

More specifically, do you agree with Bodiford's history of Budo which I cited above? If so, do you believe that the name change from aikijujutsu to aikido was part of or separate from this state-initiated process? Hirai was rather cagey on this point in his AJ interview.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Peter Goldsbury
01-21-2004, 01:52 AM
Hi, Peter.

I'm not sure I understand you here, Peter. Do you mean that "DO" was "invoked" for political reasons with a different, legitimating usage in the case of the GENDAI BUDO circa 1920-30's in the way that "Shinto" was with, say, the Great Promulgation in the 19th century?

More specifically, do you agree with Bodiford's history of Budo which I cited above? If so, do you believe that the name change from aikijujutsu to aikido was part of or separate from this state-initiated process? Hirai was rather cagey on this point in his AJ interview.

Thanks for your thoughts.
Hello Don,

My point in the last two posts was to show that Japanese allows a certain looseness with respect to terms and definitions and you yourself alluded to this in another thread, concerned with the need to use English for scientific research.

Nevertheless, you will find many extremely vigorous opponents of Tonegawa's view in the arts faculties of Japanese universities, especially Letters and Education. In fact I would wager that there are a whole load of research theses being written at this very moment around the country, with the general assumption that the beauty/uniqueness of Japanese lies in the relative untranslatability of its concepts.

As an example, consider a short story by Kobo Abe, entitled "Warau-tsuki". The story is a discussion of a certain person's dream about the "laughing moon", but told as if it were in the third person, reported by someone else. Novelists like Woolf or Joyce have done this in English, but in Japanese there is also the 'pictorial' aspect conveyed by the characters. This is why I mentioned 'Hiroshima-gaku', above. To convey the full 'meaning' of this term, it HAS to be written with "Hiroshima" in katakana, not in kanji.

If you aply this looseness to 'JUTSU' and 'DOU', and take the omote/ura distinction such as is found in Karl Friday's "Legacies of the Sword", you might say, for example, there are DOU, of which the JUTSU elements are the URA aspect and JUTSU, of which the DOU elements are the URA aspect. Now a literary Japanese might find this a "beautiful" description of the distinction and the beauty of the metaphor is that the elements are inseparable and also the same but different. For you and I the result is a kind of conceptual mush, but I suspect that someone like Kano might have found the metaphor illuminating. Kano is said to have compared jujutsu to Hinayana Buddhism and judo to Mahayana Buddhism.

I think Bodiford's discussion on pp.474-485 of "Martial Arts of the World" is quite right, but he does not give much evidence of why it took so long for the Ministry of Education to adopt the ideas of the Dai Nippon Butokukai between 1906 and 1926, or to what extent Morihei Ueshiba was affected by the ideas of the Dai Nippon Butotukai, with their preference for DOU over JUTSU.

Best regards,

Don_Modesto
01-21-2004, 02:59 PM
As always, Peter, thank you for your careful response. Should I trespass with leaden steps on the obtuse, my only defense is that well-exercized teachers' cliche that the only stupid question is the one that doesn't get asked. Begging your indulgence, questions follow.
From Post 17 (PAG): I think the washback effect, if any, is about as common as the 'romantic' interpretation of budo...

From Post 20 (PAG): My point in the last two posts was to show that Japanese allows a certain looseness with respect to terms and definitions...

DJM: In this case, are we indeed speaking of washback proper, as in influence from abroad, or simply a native propensity for looseness?

DJM: Was your comment on Hiroshima Gaku meant to draw a parallel between the invocation of DOU and GAKU? I.E., using these terms to emphasize the gravity of the practice?

....I would wager that there are a whole load of research theses being written at this very moment around the country, with the general assumption that the beauty/uniqueness of Japanese lies in the relative untranslatability of its concepts....in Japanese there is also the 'pictorial' aspect conveyed by the characters. This is why I mentioned 'Hiroshima-gaku', above. To convey the full 'meaning' of this term, it HAS to be written with "Hiroshima" in katakana, not in kanji.

DJM: ...so we LOSE the message conveyed by the pictoral element? Sorry, I think I missed the point of this entirely.

I think Bodiford...does not give much evidence of why it took so long for the Ministry of Education to adopt the ideas of the Dai Nippon Butokukai between 1906 and 1926, or to what extent Morihei Ueshiba was affected by the ideas of the Dai Nippon Butotukai, with their preference for DOU over JUTSU.

DJM: I wrote Bodiford on this and he demurred regarding specifics as they might relate to aikido. You have researched this quite a bit yourself, what are your own thoughts on the naming of aikido vis a vis state pressure?

DJM: Thank you, Peter.

Jesse Lee
01-21-2004, 06:19 PM
Has anyone seen that great O Sensei quote, where someone asked him if Aikido was a religious practice, and he answered something to the effect of, "Not at all; rather, Aikido improves all religions" ...?

Anders Bjonback
01-21-2004, 07:02 PM
Kano is said to have compared jujutsu to Hinayana Buddhism and judo to Mahayana Buddhism.
I'm interested in hearing more about this.

Peter Goldsbury
01-21-2004, 09:53 PM
Hello Don,

I did not state that the romantic interpretation of budo based on a certain interpretation of the reading of the elements of the character was a "washback" effect, only that the "washback" effect, found here also as a result of writngs by Lafcadio Hearn, Ruth Benedict, and Ezra Vogel, as well as Draeger, was about as common.

Both are based on a tendency to over-simplify the evidence. Thus, it is stated that Morihei Ueshiba himself chose the name "aikido", but the truth is vastly more complex. I think there are two aspects of this complexity: the tendency in Japan for decisions to be made by committee and made as a result of a consensus of all the parties involved; and the tendency for Japanese to relate the name to the supposed meaning much more loosely than would be appropriate in the academic discourse within which I have been brought up.

Thus, for a westerner,

[1] The Japanese equivalent of "Hiroshima" means this no matter how it is written. For a Japanese, at least here in this city, there is an extra component, the way the name is written, and this can never come out in a translation;

[2] There is a fairly sharp distinction between "way" and "skill", such that their Japanese equivalents DOU and JUTSU might be seen (by people like Draeger) to be equally sharply distinguished (even if we ignore the point made in [1] about the way the characters are written). This is not the case.

Best regards,

Peter Goldsbury
01-22-2004, 03:12 AM
I'm interested in hearing more about this.
Well, the place I saw it was in the chapter on Kano in "Three Budo Masters", by John Stevens. The whole paragraph on p. 21 reads:

"Kano had fallen in love with jujutsu and believed that it must be preserved as a Japanese cultural treasure; however, he also believed it had to be adapted to modern times. The underlying principles of jujutsu, he believed, should be systematized as Kodokan Judo, a discipline of the mind and body that fostered wisdom and virtuous living. Comparing jujutsu to Hinayana Buddhism, a small vehicle with limited vision, he equated Kodokan Judo with Mahayana Buddhism, a big vehicle that embraced the individual and society as a whole. As for the term 'judo', the "way of softness", it had been in use for several hundred years. several old texts, for example, defined judo as "the path that follows the flow of things", which in kodokan Judo Kano interpreted as "the most efficient use of energy".

This was in 1882. In 1930, Kano visited the Kobukan Dojo and is quoted by Stevens (p. 115) as saying of Ueshiba's art, "This is my ideal budo; it is true and genuine judo". Now at that time Ueshiba was still practising Daito-ryu jujutsu, which became Ueshiba-ryu jujutsu with the founding of the Seigankai. The interviews with Rinjiro Shirata and Takako Kunigoshi in Stanley Pranin's "Modern Masters" are essential reading here, especially for the fluidity in defining what the art being practised by Morihei Ueshiba was actually called.

Best regards,

Don_Modesto
01-22-2004, 12:15 PM
Thanks, Peter.

Ron Tisdale
01-22-2004, 03:51 PM
Thanks Peter, and thank you Don for asking so many good questions!

Ron

bogglefreak20
02-04-2004, 07:49 AM
Aikido training helps me understand myself better by pointing out fears, frustrations and also many good sides in me. I can then contemplate on them and see if any progress can be achieved on or off the tatami.

We train in correct breathing also which comes in handy in my meditation at home. I also found out that seiza is the only position for meditating in which I don't get a sore back (I have a problem with my spine and a certain muscle on my back - they both have gotten better since I started training though). And meditation certainly is one of the things I recomend to anyone interested in spiritual growth.

Pauly
05-05-2004, 06:33 AM
I'd have to say that, like Anders, Aikido led me back to where I started, in my case to Christianity. Shortly after I earned by Shodan, I spent an entire summer doing nothing but working, training and meditating, and it was a fantastically powerful time for me. I had a really unpleasant job that paid very little money with strange hours and I found myself with six to ten spare hours a day, and so around Aikido class, I began volunteering at the Salvation Army shelter in my town. Soon, I was able to connect (or maybe expand) what was happening in the dojo to how I was behaving at work and my attitudes toward people at the Salvation Army. I began thinking about Aikido and other heavier spiritual and philosophical questions, and to try to wrap up what could be a long post, led me back to Christianity.

I'd never heard the quote that Aikido makes religion better, but I like it.

Thanks for all the info on this thread. Very interesting.

Mark Jewkes
05-06-2004, 03:05 AM
Has anyone seen that great O Sensei quote, where someone asked him if Aikido was a religious practice, and he answered something to the effect of, "Not at all; rather, Aikido improves all religions" ...?


This is excactly what I have experienced. Aikido fits very well into Christianity with maxims like "love your enemy" and "swords into plowshares". The more you read the gospel or the writings of St. Paul, the more you find parallels to aikido spirituality. If O-Sensei had been a catholic, he surely would have been made a saint ;)


yours sincerely
Mark

tedehara
05-06-2004, 09:46 AM
Aikido seems more like a medium, just as oil painting is a medium for Art. People can express themselves through Aikido just like oil painters can express themselves through their paintings. An oil painter can be a member of different schools of art, just as an Aikidoist can be a member of different schools or religions.

An artist might want to use a different medium, like watercolors, dance, theater or sculpture. A martial artist might want to train in TKD, Karate or Judo.

What matters is the individual expression. Maybe that's why Aikido is not a religion but a martial art.

PeaceHeather
05-06-2004, 09:51 AM
As a slightly out-of-practice pagan (eclectic, mostly solitary Wiccan) I find any practice that embraces the concept of ki (chi, prana, whatever) and teaches how to reach and use ki, to be a good thing.

Just to toss an idea at people to play with: prayer as an extension of ki.

I'm also enjoying the connection to Buddhist concepts -- universal concepts, really -- of compassion, harmony, and blending with the energy that comes your way.

For some reason, I keep wanting to say "namaste" instead of bowing in at the beginning of class. It's a term used often in yoga, that refers to a person's center. More specifically, it conveys a sense of the center that touches the infinite -- when you're at that place in you and I am at that place in me, we are one person.

Heather

Mark Jewkes
05-07-2004, 01:19 AM
Aikido seems more like a medium, just as oil painting is a medium for Art. People can express themselves through Aikido just like oil painters can express themselves through their paintings. An oil painter can be a member of different schools of art, just as an Aikidoist can be a member of different schools or religions.

An artist might want to use a different medium, like watercolors, dance, theater or sculpture. A martial artist might want to train in TKD, Karate or Judo.

What matters is the individual expression. Maybe that's why Aikido is not a religion but a martial art.

Onisaburo Deguchi used to say that art is the mother of religion. I always had difficulties to understand this doctrine. Had it been "religion is the mother of art" I would have agreed. Religious faith is often expressed in art - and so did O-Sensei with Aikido

yours sincerely
Mark.

Charles Hill
05-07-2004, 05:27 AM
Aikido seems more like a medium, just as oil painting is a medium for Art. People can express themselves through Aikido just like oil painters can express themselves through their paintings. What matters is the individual expression.

I have to (respectfully) disagree with this, Ted. I think that Aikido is more of a method than a medium. The point is to develop myself, not express myself. We practice because we are not satisfied with ourselves at some level. If Aikido can be thought of as a manner of self-expression, it is like Omori Sogen wrote of shodo; by writing characters (or doing techniques) we see ourselves more clearly to understand where we need to develop. However, the point is the development, not expression.

Charles Hill

Ron Tisdale
05-07-2004, 08:55 AM
I don't know Charles, I think of what I do as expression of what I am at the core...strip down all the fancy words, all the intellectual thought, all the preconceptions...step on the mat and see what comes out. Expression at one of its highest forms.

Say, are you back in Japan, or here in the states? Stevens Sensei will be here in July...

Ron

Chuck Clark
05-07-2004, 10:46 AM
Good discussion folks. Thanks.

I agree with both Charles and Ron as they make their points. I think we begin the study/practice learning the "method" as a means of developing ourselves (in many ways...). At some point during this developement we begin to also express ourselves through this method. Further on, the expression becomes a mix of our self as developed by the method. Finally, it all becomes one.

It is a continuing process of making decisions each instant and learning. I think very high level expression of budo is simply actualizing our intent. Of course this works best when our intent is informed by a significant amount of time spent internalizing proper principle and form.

Again, thanks for a good discussion.

Charles Hill
05-07-2004, 07:16 PM
Mr Clark and Ron,

Thanks for your comments. I think that what I wrote can fit with the ideas in your posts. I personally believe that we are continually expressing ourselves all the time. This can become especially clear during Aikido practice. I generally seem to be able to tell what kind of person my partner is after practicing with him/her even if we have never met. This is kind of scary as it seems to work the other way too, I can`t hide on the mat. However, I disagree with the notion of aikido practice as a formal way of expression. The problem may be in the definition of the word art. I think that what Onisaburo Deguchi meant by "art" is the creative impulse inherent with all of us. I think that if this kind of art is bereft of of self development (the mix Mr. Clark wrote about in his post) we are left with something that may be beautiful but without life changing characteristics. The art of Mozart and Van Gogh is sublimely beautiful and of inherent worth but both men were maladjusted in terms of society.

Similar is the story related by Shoji Nishio in an Aiki News interview about the difference between Ueshiba Sr. and Judo`s Mifune. Nishio Shihan relates that he quit Judo and continued to practice Aikido because of how the two teachers reacted to a robbery. Mifune`s house was apparently broken into a few times while he was away to which he responded that he would risk his life to stop the robber from doing it again. Ueshiba when learning that someone stole Tohei Koichi`s leather jacket, on the other hand, commented that the robbery was the fault of Tohei`s who allowed an "opening" through which the robber could (was forced to?) enter (fall into?). Nishio Shihan seems to indicate that while both were master martial artists, Ueshiba had developed his character to an extremely high level through his practice.

Ron,
I`m in Japan now, but I`ll be in the US late July. When is the seminar?

Charles Hill

p00kiethebear
05-07-2004, 08:58 PM
One of the concepts that i'm greatly found of in buddhism, is the idea of the boddhisatva. The buddha that returns after each life to help others reach nirvana. I met a nichiren monk and some people this summer at a local temple who really opened my eyes to alot of things.

O sensei said that the aim of aikido is to create heaven on earth. That's something i really believe in. The concept of dealing with situations rather than escalating them is something we need to see more of in the world.

I guess if you were to really classify me in any given religion you would have to say i'm a"Taoist, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Shinto, Jew" I take so many of my ideas from different religions that i love.

those religions are what i am. But for me, aikido is the ultimate expression of my faith. It's how i practice all those different things. I've always told myself that when / if i reach the age of 40, i'll settle down at a temple and become a monk. I've often thought of teaching an "aiki-buddhism" of sorts. A cool concept i've always liked (shao lin monks express chan buddhism with their kung fu, I want to express mine with aikido) is the idea of the "aiki-monk" which i hope to be some day, and completely devote myself to teaching and understanding myself, god, and others.

Chuck Clark
05-07-2004, 11:36 PM
I generally seem to be able to tell what kind of person my partner is after practicing with him/her even if we have never met. This is kind of scary as it seems to work the other way too, I can`t hide on the mat.

Charles,

I have experienced this for many years. My students begin to comment about this ability to "know" others in the dojo after about two years of training.

I have experienced quite a few people that have quit practice and tell me that they don't like the feeling of being so "transparent" to others in the dojo.

Having this "intimacy" in our relationship with the whole world makes many aspects of life much simpler for sure.

George S. Ledyard
05-08-2004, 05:48 AM
I'm interested in hearing more about this.
Hi Anders,
As you may or may not know, this is a distinction that a large number of Buddhists would take issue with. Hinayana means "Lesser Vehicle" and is the term used by the followers of the Mahayana or "Great(er) Vehicle". The correct name for the tradition is Theravada or Tradition of the Elders.

This is kind of like the name we use for the people associated with the cliff dwellings in the Southwest, the Anessazi. Native peoples don''t use that name which apparently means "enemy" in Navaho and was picked up from them by the White folks.

George S. Ledyard
05-08-2004, 05:56 AM
[QUOTE=Don_Modesto]Saotome has stopped in with senior students during seminars, taught them some particularly nasty variation of the current technique, and then said kind of dismissively, "But, this is BUJUTSU" as if it were more vulgar, less advanced than aikiDO.QUOTE]

The last time I was with Saotome Sensei he was talking about "Aikido Bujutsu"; this apparently being how he refers to the applied martial side of Aikido or what he also has referred to as the "dark side". While I think he really does believe that the live affirming side of the art is the so-called higher practice I would also say that he, more than most Aikido teachers, emphasizes understanding and being able to execute Aikido technique from this standpoint. I don't think he believes that they can effectively be separated as they are two sides of the same thing.

senshincenter
05-08-2004, 01:11 PM
If I may sum up a couple of things:

1. Prior to a certain period (let痴 say the turn of the 20th century around there to be safe) we know, through the research of various scholars, that the current distinction between 電o and 屠utsu did not exist.

2. We also know that after a certain period (let痴 say the first part of the 20th century around there to be safe) a new distinction between 電o and 屠utsu started to exist, one that was 田ontrasting in nature. We know that this movement to hold 電o (up) in contrast to 屠utsu (down) made ample use of Japanese culture痴 tendencies for aesthetic practices (e.g. revisionist history, double meanings, hidden meanings, foreign borrowings, etc.).

3. We know that currently, if we are really pressed, no one that adopts this distinction can make clear use of it.

4. And we know that today there is a backlash, or reverse of this distinction, that is taking place in some circles such that 屠utsu is held (up) in contrast to 電o (down).

When I see these things all together, the question that arises in my head is not 展hat is the truth? The question is: 展hat痴 the truth game and who is it serving, how, and why?

I came across an interesting angle on the 電o/jutsu debate one that I have not seen addressed at all in the literature that is building up around Aikido, etc., which is a shame because I think it might prove very interesting for those of us that wonder if the game is worth still playing. This area is by far not my area of specialty and I only came across it via a personal question I had. I did not reach any kind of valid conclusion, but I could see that there were connections that could be proven fruitful if one would simply take on the huge amount of research needed.

The question I was pondering over one day, due to an experience at class, dealt with the difference between Budo痴 historical technology of Self, which is for the most part Buddhist in nature, and the current technology of Self that Budo, especially Aikido, tends to implement today. As I said, this work is huge in scope, so I can only here give general ideas, which led me to more general ideas, etc. I do not wish to prove anything here, but rather lead the reader through some research paths that were leading me from one thing to the next thing all extremely interesting.

In that sense, let me generally explain what I mean so far without being required to address every contrasting position a reader may take. 典echnology of the Self was a term used by Michel Foucault to denote the various historical ways in which Man through culture comes to determine himself as 都aved, 努ise, 殿wakened, 兎nlightened, 塗oly, 努ell, 都piritual, etc. When I say that Budo痴 technology of the Self is Buddhist in nature I do not mean to imply that other traditions, such as Taoist traditions, Shinto traditions, Yin/Yang traditions, Confucian traditions, Christian traditions, etc., do not have their historical influence in Budo and/or in Aikido. They do. I merely mean to say that the technology used by Budo to determine who has reached its ideals (i.e. spiritual cultivation, awakened, enlightened, being a master), etc., is Buddhist in nature. That is to say the model Budo uses, for the most part, makes use of the Buddhist position concerning the nature of existence particularly that clearly defined in the writings of Nagarjuna (turn of the common era). All 菟roblems to be fixed, all issues by which we as human beings require a technique to address properly, center around reconciling the subjective experience of Reality. Toward this end, throughout most of Budo痴 history various practices, of course derived from a plethora of other cultural traditions, have been used to address the problem set forth in Nagarjuna痴 tetralemma. Understanding this, we can very easily relate things as Musashi痴 emphasis on victory, Osensei痴 emphasis on ritual purification and Love, and Takuan痴 notion of immoveable wisdom, etc. mentioned here because they are commonly known.

But somewhere, for budoka, over time, the problem of reconciling the subjective experience of Reality stopped being a problem that required various techniques. For example Today it is quite common for folks to feel that they can be non-violent, loving, brave, compassionate, spiritual, empowered, awakened, and any of all the other ideals commonly put forth as a goal of this particular technology of the Self, simply by doing Aikido simply by doing Budo. There was a time when that would have been a crazy notion. These ideals could not be realized, in the past, until the reconciliation of the subjective experience of Reality took place. Today, however, for many, for more than not, it makes perfect sense. For most, do enough tenkan and you値l get 妬t. For some, a growing some, doing even one tenkan leads to a spiritual alteration in terms of whether or not one is violent, loving, compassionate, etc.

Yet there was a time when it would have been totally ridiculous to propose that the problematic of human violence, the capacity to Love and to feel compassion, etc., could be solved by something other than the reconciliation of the subjective experience of the world. Whereas today many hold that Aikido is a non-violent art, part of the modern evolved self that is non-violent, that it is the 途ubber bullet of martial arts, etc., practitioners of old would have clearly said, 滴aving rubber bullets doesn稚 make you a non-violent person. An epistemic shift has occurred, culturally speaking. Our two times appear paradoxical to each other. Somewhere a break took place.

Looking casually for that break I was led to see a relationship between some very interesting things some mentioned here:

a. The (re)defining of terms Budo and Bujutsu that started to take place around the turn of the 20th century.

b. The role that folks like Kano played in the current understanding of Budo痴 technology of the Self they way Kano 杜odernized martial arts; they way he attempted to unify them; the institutional support he had to address them; the financial resources at his disposal to support them; etc.

c. The affect 典he West has had on Japanese history and/or self-understanding, etc., following the Meiji Restoration.

d. And a movement little known today, and never mentioned in my experience regarding Budo, called 溺uscular Christianity.


Again, by scholastic standards there is nothing here to prove the research has not be done. But I can put forth a general hypothesis that may shed a new light on the truth game behind the will to (re)define Budo and Bujutsu.

Muscular Christianity was a movement that around the turn of the 20th century grew in popularity especially in Europe and the United States. Its position was that there was a direct relationship between things like being a good Christian, being masculine, being a good citizen of the State, and exercise, physical activity, and competition. The ideas contained and/or related to Muscular Christianity have gone on to create and/or influence such diverse things as the YMCA, the Modern Olympics, the Boy Scouts, the Hitler Youth, the health and fitness industry, the breakfast food industry, etc., AND Judo AND Kano痴 understanding of martial arts, particularly concerning the 電o and 屠ustsu endings.

Kano came into contact with these ideas and with the proponents of these ideas via his interests in Western athletics and his involvement with the Japanese Olympic committee as well as through his position in key government institutions related to the practice of martial arts. Nearly ever other martial arts, ourselves included, came into contact with these ideas via folks like Kano folks participating in the 途ediscovering or 途edefining or 杜odernizing of Japan痴 martial arts. (Please note that this is not something that solely pertains to what might be called the 敵endai Budo this is nearly across the board influence we are talking about.)

The cultural traces leftover by the Meiji Restoration had much of Japan thirsting for all things Modern and therefore Western. There was also a general distrust of things Buddhist since the Buddhist were associated too closely with the Bakufu (for many) which had just been overthrown and blamed for every ill Japan was facing as it raced to catch up with the West. What we see in the 電o and 屠ustsu contrast is not an evolution so much as it is a re-invention; it is a rejection of an older technology of the Self (Buddhist) and the adoption of a new one (Muscular Christianity) one that was deemed better because it was Modern (Western); but one that nevertheless had to make sense to those folks that were espousing it and making it work for them. Japan is famous or infamous, depending on your point of view, for doing this type of thing: borrowing something and making it theirs via little tweak here or there, a lie here or there, a misunderstanding here or there, etc. All cultures do it.

Once it was all in place, every member of the culture had to address it, had to use it to make sense of his or her own experiences, etc. Not even our shihan have escaped this history. They are for the most part thoroughly immersed in it. Only those who opted not to participate in this particular aspect of Japanese culture, those who could weather the harsh winters of no institutional support, and there were many in Japan, even within Judo and Aikido, etc., offer us something else something totally different.

In short, the 電o/jutsu distinction has a lot to do with influences from the West, influence that came in through movements like Muscular Christianity, and movements that rejected the old Buddhist technology of the Self for the a new Modern one that was 100% related to being a good citizen of the State.

Peter and Don love your posts. Could you please provide me with the source material for Bodiford痴 book. I would love to read it. If it痴 on the web some direction would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

dmv

dan guthrie
05-08-2004, 10:22 PM
I wonder how much of our spiritual progress is weighted by our shared personality traits. I am often amazed at the similarity of the people in my dojo. Aikido isn't for everyone, it may be "our thing" attracts the personality type that yearns for spiritual order, subtlety and compassion (among many other things, obviously).
It might just be that we're a bunch of Labrador Retrievers and Aikido is our lake. I hope this makes sense.
I'm a white-bread and mayonnaise Christian but even I have noticed an increase in my gratitude to Him as well as the people in my dojo. I take my personal misogi very seriously. Even though it's out of my way by about 50 minutes, I go home to shower, shave and brush my teeth before training. I call it misogi, it's not just good manners.

Ron Tisdale
05-10-2004, 01:03 PM
Ron,
I`m in Japan now, but I`ll be in the US late July. When is the seminar?

Charles Hill

Hi Charles, Stevens Sensei will be in the phila. area July 7 to about the 13th. If you can make it to Phila., I know he would be pleased, and I could probably put you up in my townhouse (I'm not the neatest person, but you won't have to dodge my ferrets anymore since they've crossed the rainbow bridge) :) :(

Just email me through my profile if it looks like you can make it. I'll have the details on the seminar posted within a week.

Ron

Tadhg Bird
05-12-2004, 09:43 PM
"I heard somewhere, "If you are a Buddhist, Aikido will make you a better Buddhist. If you are a Christian, Aikido will make you a better Christian." I guess in my case if I am a Polytheistic Celtic Traditionalist Pagan with Zen Leanings, Aikido will make me a better Polytheistic Celtic Traditionalist Pagan with Zen Leanings."

-- From my Black Belt Presentation May 31, 2003

Don_Modesto
05-12-2004, 10:35 PM
Peter and Don -- love your posts. Could you please provide me with the source material for Bodiford's book. I would love to read it. If it's on the web -- some direction would be much appreciated.


Sorry. Just noticed this.

Bodiford's article is Religion and Spirituality: Japan in Green's Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia

Get it NOW! It's available used for only $45; it lists for $175.

Excellent through and through.

Failing purchase, it's really meant for libraries; your local one might have it.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1576071502/qid=1084419239/sr=8-6/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i6_xgl14/103-0121548-9838277?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

senshincenter
05-13-2004, 12:25 AM
Thanks Peter.
d

gasman
05-23-2004, 10:14 PM
How very interesting is this thread!!

I started my martial arts practice at the age of 23, training TKD at the engineering college where i studied. There was little spiritual teachings involved, but I could feel a connection between the physical training and my self-dicipline. I quit after seriously injuring my tendon running from the right hip down to the thigh.

Two years later I continued my engineering education in Hull, UK, where the sports centre offered AMO aikido and tai chi. I started up on aikido and wound up doing tai chi merely because I was more interested in striking and kicking at the time. Simultaneously I was learning the didgeridoo on my own and later found a teacher who was very much into alternative arts. But the breathing power I developed started to alter my mind and combining the two, didge and tai chi, made such an impact on my mind that I had a crisis related to my traditional scholarly atheist western rationality.

At the age of 25 I was in confusion, having to come to terms with a newfound spiritual outlook that conflicted with my scholarly cartheisan world image, and at this point in life I had a lot of help from a native English fellow who had converted to Islam. Combining the taoist teachings and the spirituality of Islam I managed to find a good focus to pursue. These teachings also enabled me to come to terms with many of the better aspects of Christian teachings.

It then took me a good year and a half until I resumed my martial arts training. This time, a good old friend of mine, a blackbelt TKD practitioner, had searched through most dojos in Oslo and found Sunyata Aikido Dojo to be the most impressive, regardless of art, and asked me to join him in the beginners class. Having already been introduced to aikido I accepted and started my martial arts training afresh with new vigour. I found the overall attitude of the members to be very kind and accepting, same as I did when training tai chi.

When I found out that the head teacher also had experience from zen meditation, and that he was quite interested in the link between breathing and spiritual power, I joined with him starting a zen meditation group.

Keeping the zen group and then aikido group separate, I still could see various connections between the two, in terms of attitude and application.

Nowadays, my only spiritual practice is training aikido. The principle of non-violence is very dear to me, and as a martial artist my highest goal is now to avoid or resolve all conflicts peacefully. Training with young and old, without hazard of injuries, working on my minds focus and power without elevating myself above others. Developing kokyo-power and reaching a more relaxed state of being.

With the risk of being labelled, I consider myself as being both muslim and buddhist, contradictory as it may be to some. In prayer and in daily life I am considerate of all human beings as being my brother, sisters, mothers and fathers. This has enabled me to enjoy my work as a doorman with self confidence and love, contrary to my steroid collegues. It has also allowed me to grow tremendously as a person between persons in all other circumstances.

All in all, I am now a more humble person than I used to be, and all for the better!

I believe, and stumbling across aikido was no accident.

Bishmillah ar Rahmaan ir Raheem (In the name of Allah, the merciful, the oft-forgiving)
:ai: :ki: :do:

malc anderson
06-01-2004, 03:05 AM
Hi ya all, Quite a few replies have mentioned other religions and spiritual paths and the quote 羨ikido completes them, this is of course correct the ultimate aim of Aikido is 銭ENSHO, THE SEEING OF THE HIDDEN LIGHT and this is at the heart of all inner paths but it is not easily gained, so most people don稚 bother with it although it is the most important thing a human being can try to achieve. I have noticed that no one in any of the replies mentioned Kensho, until Kensho is experienced you will never truly understand the full meaning of what O担ensei was trying to teach and will only be learning a martial art.
This must be the reason the Great man said towards the end of his life; 的致e given my life to opening the path of Aikido but when I look back NO ONE is following me. He also wrote,

鄭ikido is not an art to fight with enemies and defeat them. It is a way to lead all human beings to live in harmony with each other as though everyone were one family. The Secret of Aikido is to make yourself Become One with the Universe and to go along with its natural movements. One who has attained this Secret holds the Universe in him/herself and can say, "I am the Universe." Or how about?

詮oster and polish
The warrior spirit
While serving in the world;
Illuminate the path
According to your Inner Light (KENSHO) or how about?

典here is no enemy for Ueshiba of Aikido. You are mistaken if you think that Budo means to have opponents and enemies and to be strong and fell them. There are neither opponents nor enemies for True Budo. True Budo is to be One with the Universe; that is to be united with the Center of the universe.

Until we experience 銭ensho our understanding of parts of what the Great Man taught is just guess work, logic, theories, ideals, or rules to live by, this is not the way of True Warrior ship. Have any of you had the illuminos vision of Kensho? If you had never tasted a kiwi fruit would you ever really Know what it tastes like? Until this requirement is met how can we truly say we have any real grasp of the true depth of Osensei痴 teaching? Malc

Anders Bjonback
06-14-2004, 03:53 PM
Hi Anders,
As you may or may not know, this is a distinction that a large number of Buddhists would take issue with. Hinayana means "Lesser Vehicle" and is the term used by the followers of the Mahayana or "Great(er) Vehicle". The correct name for the tradition is Theravada or Tradition of the Elders.

This is kind of like the name we use for the people associated with the cliff dwellings in the Southwest, the Anessazi. Native peoples don''t use that name which apparently means "enemy" in Navaho and was picked up from them by the White folks.

Actually, I personally do not like it when my friends who also follow Tibetan Buddhism blanket all of Theravada and the other schools early Buddhism as "Hinayana." In Tibet they made a lot of blanket statements about followers of the "Hinayana" (such as saying they're all selfish and only care about themselves) because they were such an isolated country and probably never even met a "Hinayana" practitioner. One could argue that the Tibetans picked that attitude from India, but I'm not so sure because there wasn't such a big distinction between Mahayana and Hinayana early on, as we know from records from Chinese explorers. One explorer even called one sect "Mahayana Theravada." Also, one of my classmates who's a Theravada practitioner told me recently that they do speak of or have the bodhisattva path in his school of Buddhism.
Because we have access to information like this, we don't have any excuse for ignorantly referring to Theravadins by a derogatory name today, but attitudes like these still persist as they're transported from the other cultures along with the religion. However, I think that within certain contexts, we sometimes might need to use the word Hinayana. Within Tibetan Buddhism, there are traditionally three different categories in which one puts the Buddhist teachings--Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Simply replacing the word "Hinayana" for "Theravada" in all contexts would lead to a lot of confusion since there are undoubtedly a lot of instances where the Tibetans group something that is not a Theravada practice as a Hinayana practice.
However, I think that when referring to actual practitioners and the school of Buddhism, we should say Theravada rather Hinayana. To be polite, too, rather than saying "it's like Mahayana and Hinayana," we could say, "it's like the path of the bodhisattva and the path to becoming an arhat."

But language takes a long time to change, even when we're bringing in words and ideas from another culture. It's like what Reb Zalman, a former teacher at Naropa University and founder of the Jewish Renewal movement, talks about when he compares saying sunrise and sunset to "the earth turning to receive its daily portion of sun." We don't think the earth is flat anymore, but our language it still stuck in the appearance that the sun is moving.

Martin Ruedas
07-28-2004, 06:13 AM
hi! Aikido made me concentrate more on the present (or the Now)rather than the future or past. It made me calmer and relaxed than before. Made my life simple. It made me arrange my room in a "minimalistic" way. :do:

Devon Natario
08-22-2004, 04:11 AM
Aikido, even though I have studied for a short period, has made me change my outlook on the arts.

I used to teach people agressively, and now I train them in a calmer fashion. It has done wonders for me.

I do have to say, that in most arts, people that are calm and of higher dan rank become professors. To me it seems in Aikido we are training everyone to be professors, more so than anything.

A Professor is simply a person that needs no strength because they know the techniques so well and have practiced so long that they can use only technique and Chi (Ki) to perform the manuever correctly.

thisisnotreal
08-22-2004, 11:06 AM
My Answer to the question:
learning how to listen.
learning how to relax and be sensitive.
learning how to be flexible in mind and body and spirit.
learning i need Help to survive this life.
learning I am weak when I thought I was strong.
learning to fight when I am weak.
learning to hear my Ego. And to know what it means.
learning to live in the Moment. And to know what it means.

learning to know myself.

Josh

Charles Hill
08-23-2004, 12:02 PM
A Professor is simply a person that needs no strength because they know the techniques so well and have practiced so long that they can use only technique and Chi (Ki) to perform the manuever correctly.

This is fine, I think, just as long one remembers that the Founder, himself, said that he didn"t reach this stage until he was in his 80's. Another good story is: Shirata Rinjiro Shihan, 9th dan, when in his late 70's, said, "I'm finally getting the hang of shihonage."

Charles Hill

Ali B
08-29-2004, 02:20 PM
Eight years I've been practicing and have changed association, teacher, style, faith often along the way. Aikido has led me into healing & meditation, gradually glimpsing the inner light, opening heart and mind.

Very interesting thread, one which will take me a while to process, as some VERY profound concepts.

*I hope I am still doing Shiho nage at 90 - and understanding it*

markwalsh
08-29-2004, 03:23 PM
Cousin :)

Aikido to me is about kindness, discipline and friendship. It's healthy. That'll do me.

Actually, its kinda my actual path in the Winter as I travel around involved in it.

Whats Naropa like BTW Mr Thread Starter? A uni where you can do aikido for credit, sounds like a dream?

Anyway gona go sit under a waterfall...on second thoughts I'll make it a shower and get down the pub.

Be well fellow tree huggers/choppers,

Mark
x

Anders Bjonback
08-30-2004, 12:12 PM
Naropa can be very good... and very bad. Some classes can be a complete waste of money and time, full of mindless new-agey pop pseudo-Buddhist culture, sometimes even with teachers that ask students to grade themselves. Luckily, I have succeeded in avoiding the really bad classes. Other classes are just awesome. The writing program is pretty good, I hear, and I know the Religious Studies department is (that's my major). Naropa tries to combine "the wisdoms of the east with the academia of the west," sometimes successfully, sometimes unsuccessfully. At least personally, at Naropa I'm always careful about which teachers I choose to take classes with--if I hear a certain teacher or class is full of crap, I avoid it like the plague. Because of the nature of the education, classes can sometimes push buttons that would otherwise never be pushed in other academic institutions (which is generally considered a good thing at Naropa, since its purpose it to make you grow as a person and expose you to those aspects of yourself you'd rather ignore so you can accept them). For instance, I took a class in Judaism with Reb Zalman, the founder (?) of the Jewish Renewal Movement. I HATED that class for the longest time because it really pushed my buttons in terms of belief in God, and stuff like that--I had to comment on, from my own experience, about this deep practice text that the teacher wrote, and there was all this reading from this insanely dry and thick book called Jewish History and Thought. Everyone in the class was so INTO REB ZALMAN, and I felt like the only person there who wasn't into him or wasn't devout towards him. One person I talked to later described him as "this huge vortex you get sucked into and when you get out all of a sudden you find yourself Jewish." That's true. He has such a love for his tradition, and he's such a wise person, that you feel yourself get sucked in. The problem is that my alienation, and being unsure of the grounds of my own spiritual beliefs, caused me to react extremely negatively. But I felt like I couldn't really talk to him about this because he was such a kind person and a respected elder. To tell the truth, I practically didn't do any of the work for the class until the last couple or few weeks, when I went to the required synagogue visits. Those synagogue visits completely flip-flopped my view of Judaism and the class. It was like, "Wow! People actually practice this!"
By the end, so few people had actually done the requirements for the class, the requirements were cut in half and I ended up getting a B or B- in the class. On one hand, I don't think that at a better academic institution, the teacher would have cut the requirements like that. On the other hand, despite my being able to be lazy and angry thought the semester and yet still get a good grade at the end, I grew to have a lot of respect towards this other religious tradition.
In the Religious Studies department, you have to practice the religions you study, or at least compare them with your own experience, so you get a much deeper understanding of the religion than you would if you studied it in a purely academic way.

The Aikido class is pretty cool. The teacher and T.A. are just great. I decided not to get a major in it, though, because I felt like I'd be able to graduate without really getting a university level education. It would have basically been devoid of intellectual rigor. I also didn't want to take the Anatomy: Learning through the Senses class that was required for the major, due to stories about it from my roommate. No thanks, I have no interest in what my spleen is trying to say to me. They have a different teacher for that class, now, probably due to student complaints, but still, despite my interest in traditional Japanese and Chinese arts, I'd rather study something that will challenge me more.

Please keep in mind the views I have presented here are pretty one-sided, and someone else is bound to say something different.

markwalsh
08-30-2004, 12:42 PM
Cheers Anders, always wondered what the inside story was on that place was. I'm quite into writing as well as Aikido, so gave it some thought before realisng I was too skint anyway.

btw, achieved enlightenment at the pub last night. Unfournaelty couldn't remember it when I woke up, so can't get significant sceond income through new guru status. Something to do with peaunuts and children being our present not our future...oh well.

Mark
x

Anita Crowhurst
09-02-2004, 03:06 AM
Heck, I don't know where my spiritual path will take me. But I know aikido has touched me in a way that karate never did, or an awful lot of stuff in life that hasn't either. Maybe it's the connection that's different to sparring with an opponent, or struggling with tough decisions in life.

I think it has helped me realise I am on a journey, & to take it one step at a time. I need to learn how to be all I can be.

Aikidoiain
09-12-2004, 01:52 AM
Directly!

Aikido is a Spiritual Path.

For me, it's the search for inner peace amidst a turbulent world.

Iain. :)

billybob
09-13-2004, 03:16 PM
aikido uses the body as a spiritual lens, for me that is. i keep finding out that other people's stupidity, aggression, arrogance, violence is usually my stupidity, etc.

i think it's cool that the aikido scholars wrote on this thread. a different thread is about aikido and jazz. i'm not sure god isn't something we just made up. i've experienced some amazing openings 'spiritually'. what i've learned is that it doesn't matter what our point of view is - it seems that we all intuit a higher power, or greater universe beyond ourselves. i realize this reads very disjointedly, but the path of aikido is using the physical body to meet ourselves, whoever we turn out to be - and that search bears fruit.

billybob

JAHsattva
09-27-2004, 10:28 AM
the way of harmonious spirit is related to my spiritual path,harmoniously.

roninja
09-28-2004, 02:43 PM
Before I came to Aikido, I had studied Buddhist philosophy, a little bit, and was really starting to get into it. Then when I came to Aikido, I was thoroughly disgusted at such a... non-applicable style of fighting, and it wasn't for about a month that I decided taht I would throw away my preconcieved notions on what is and is not a martial art and see what this aikido guy was saying. So i went and started reading the Art of Peace in my school library and checking up on other sources. what I found amazed me. I had had it all wrong, coming at it from the wrong angle. Approaching Aikido with the aggression that is encouraged in other martial arts really is not the way to go. And reading the material, I found myself agreeing with Ueshiba. Well it wasn't long before I was gonna drop out of college and study Aikido full time. Well I didn't quit school, because i studied aikido with a school society, and going all the way down to the city everyday to study aikido would be too hard for me to do, plus I do kind of really like school. So as I thought my understanding of aikido, and Buddhism, was progressing, I came to realize that I had now over-assumed my knowledge and understanding, which was a very humbling experience for me. So I decided taht I would quit philosophizing about aikido techniques and really work hard to learn them properly and that my study of Buddhism would go beyond just sitting around and talking about it. So here I am a Sankyu (so you might realize that this has been a very short trip thus far) in Aikido and a Desciple of Grandmaster Wei Chueh.
hmmm... I need to learn how to tell stories.
So I'll tell a story that I read in a book called "Kodo: The ancient ways" I dont' remember who the author is.
And I wont tell the story very well either, so prepare yourself.

There was once a great Zen Master, who was also very fond of, and good at, Budo. So this Master built a dojo in his temple so taht he could practice and train other students. Well word of the master's skills got around and he became very famous, but very seldomly did he like to display his abilities.
So one day a Fierce looking Samurai came looking for a match with the master, who just so happened to be doing cleaning around the temple, thus wearing old worn out robes. When the Samurai saw the master, seeing the robes, he did not think that this could be the master, so he asked "Where is your master?" "He is not in today" said the master while picking up, with ease, a big rock so that he could clean around it. Seeing the strength of this person the samurai asked "Who are you?" "Me? I am I just a novice student of the master. But if you would like to cahllenge him, I'm sure that if you return tomorrow he will be more than glad to oblige you" giving no response the samurai took his leave, with nothing short of a hasty get away.

ok, so I am horrible at telling stories :crazy: , but if you think the story looks like it might be interesting, check out that book.