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k'shi
03-25-2004, 05:28 PM
Greetings fellow Aikidoka :).

Is it just me, or is the spiritual essense of Aikido oftenly ignored by those who teach it? I have an Aikido instructor (I dare not to call him Sensei) which totaly niglects the spiritual aspects of Aikido, can this man even be labeld an Aikido teacher? The oneness, is that not where Aikido is truely about?

How is that at your Aikido dojo, is the spiritual side of Aikido also niglected there?

Don_Modesto
03-25-2004, 05:43 PM
Greetings fellow Aikidoka :)Is it just me, or is the spiritual essense of Aikido oftenly ignored by those who teach it? I have an Aikido instructor (I dare not to call him Sensei) which totaly niglects the spiritual aspects of Aikido, can this man even be labeld an Aikido teacher? The oneness, is that not where Aikido is truely about?
Given the choice between someone interupting my training with blather they either don't understand themselves or don't practice and someone who just motors through class with techniques leaving my soul to honest sweat and the ravages of my partner, I'd definitely take the latter.

Maybe your teacher (sic) is just displaying modesty and knows more than you think.

Disclaimer (often found in the preface to 400 page books on the subject of enlightenment): Those who know don't speak; those who speak, don't know.

PeterR
03-25-2004, 05:46 PM
The spiritual essence of Aikido????

I'm going to be completely blunt here but you are a classic case of preconceptions run amok.

You go to an Aikido dojo to learn Aikido yet you know more than your teacher? If you don't want to learn what he teaches go elsewhere.

Yes I did read your essay - and it has absolutely nothing to do with the spiritual aspects of Aikido.

shihonage
03-25-2004, 05:49 PM
I believe you can find the answers you seek in this FAQ (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3126).

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
03-25-2004, 06:45 PM
Some sensei lecture frequently. (That doesn't make them arrogant, certainly; what they say more than how often they say it is a better consideration for determining that.) Others are very, very terse. It's part of their personality and style. I heard one senior aikidoka quip, when asked what he would ask O-Sensei could he ask one question, that whatever he asked he'd probably get an hour-long rant about fire and water spirits. On the other hand, some very famous aikidoka (Shioda-sensei comes to mind) deliberately kept the philosophy/religion out of aikido.

But like Furuya-sensei remarked once, a good teacher is just a conductor of air over the coals...they don't start the fire. (Damnit! That song! Stuck in head!) It's up to all of us. Scary, huh?

Jamie Stokes
03-25-2004, 06:53 PM
Daas-san,

Ive read your essay. Ive tried to put my thoughts down like this, and it never came out the way I wanted. I think that this essay is one of those "take it or leave it" depending on the reader.

As for the spiritual aspects, I think you have the cause and effect back to front.

Practice the movements, and after a period of time, then you will discover the spirituality already there. Or rather, you will discover whatever you bring to it.

Aikido is a Budo. Movements first, spirituality second. If at all. Depends on the user.

Teaching spirituality is not your Sensei's prime job.

Too many different people have their own opinions om spirituality religion etc.

And if everyone has the same take, we are starting to look at either cult or fanatic thinking. It breeds an intolerance of the other point of view.

Besides, spirituality takes a back seat when Uke comes racing with a bokken to brain me! AH! TECHNIQUE! DON'T PRAY! DO SOMETHING!

Sorry, just the thought process that flashes across my brain when it comes to putting it on the mat.

Feel free to shop around, or find some other coach who can guide your spiritual path further along. even Tiger woods, world greatest golfer, still gets coaching.

Just pick the right coach for the right task.

with all respect,

Regards,

Jamie Stokes.

PeterR
03-25-2004, 07:06 PM
Hi Paul;

I think its totally appropriate to see your Aikido in the context of your own religion (I read your other posts). Ueshiba M. certainly did.

Lecturing your students on the philosophy of Aikido - I can see that also, although like Don I personally think its a waste of valuable mat time. That's what after practice beer is for. Hard training in a dojo with the right attitude demonstrated by teacher and student alike is more than enough to understand the philosophical essence of Aikido. Tomiki, Mochizuki, Shioda all had a similar outlook in this regard.

Back to the original post I do have a really hard time with people grafting their often pretentious personal views on to what Aikido should be. Again, relate Aikido to your personal beliefs by all means, but don't go around saying things like Is it just me, or is the spiritual essense of Aikido oftenly ignored by those who teach it? I have an Aikido instructor (I dare not to call him Sensei) which totaly niglects the spiritual aspects of Aikido, can this man even be labeld an Aikido teacher? The oneness, is that not where Aikido is truely about?.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
03-25-2004, 07:14 PM
In case it's not clear, I didn't say that...

Also, I should probably clarify. The 'talkative' sensei I study under at Carleton does /not/ lecture about 'religion' or even 'spirituality' per se. Judging by his other remarks, he'd find that inappropriate - which I agree with entirely. (It'd be overstepping his bounds, and would make students uncomfortable.) When he lectures, it's advice on things, like "This is an abrupt ukemi; suddenly you have to back breakfall. I find in life, sometimes you have to change direction suddenly as well..." I think that is "fair game" for sensei.

David Yap
03-25-2004, 09:19 PM
The spiritual essence of Aikido????
Rehse sensei,

I might be off the thread. I humbly apologize.

A few years ago, an international renowned shihan visited my country for a seminar and yudansha gradings for an organisation which he was (still is) the Technical Director. A 2nd dan with 15+ of training sat for the 3rd dan exam. He did what we thought was flawless free flowing aikido. He failed. Reason given: "Techniques lack the essence of Aikido".

Coming from this world renowned Shihan, what this means?

Regards

David

PeterR
03-25-2004, 10:24 PM
Hi David;

Just Peter thank you. I don't consider myself a teacher especially here on the forums. I have opinions - that's it.

We're all guilty of thread drift - no need to apologize (to me least of all) even if it were totally off topic which its not.

To the question - I have no idea. My little rant was set off by someone denigrating his teacher of Aikido because his didn't view/teach Aikido philosophy in the same way as the student would. Talk about full cups.

What you describe appears to be the opposite and raises a whole series of other questions.

Techniques lack the essence of Aikido could mean anything from tangible to I just don't want to promote you. Frankly speaking this speaks more to the problem of technical directors coming once a year for gradings than any lack of understanding on anyones part. A teacher should know his student - how one can judge essence over the course of an afternoon is beyond me. Anyway I am sure the Shihan had his reasons and I am in no position to second guess. I am sure that if you put 10 shihan in a room that all would probably disagree to what the definition is.
Rehse sensei,

I might be off the thread. I humbly apologize.

A few years ago, an international renowned shihan visited my country for a seminar and yudansha gradings for an organisation which he was (still is) the Technical Director. A 2nd dan with 15+ of training sat for the 3rd dan exam. He did what we thought was flawless free flowing aikido. He failed. Reason given: "Techniques lack the essence of Aikido".

Coming from this world renowned Shihan, what this means?

Josh Bisker
03-26-2004, 02:27 AM
Yo, hang the hell on.

Peter, I read a lot of your posts and like a good deal of what you have to say, but dude, it seems like you're rather flying off the handle at someone for something which, if you wanted to help him, you could probably give FAR more supportive guidance on. "aggression, anger - these are the dark side" or something, come on man. chill out, or be supportive and not damning with what you say. umm, unless you're his instructor; then be pissed off if you want.

So, when I first read the original post it actually struck something of a chord with me. not because i have problems with my sensei or his manner (next to my dad, he's probably the guy who i admire and respect the most in the world for goodness sake), but more because I took the question to mean something rather different than that.

The original question was, is the "spiritual essense of Aikido oftenly ignored by those who teach it?" Most peope so far have taken this to mean "most instructors don't teach about spirituality on the mat during class," I understood it to mean "we're supposed to be learning about how to find all this peace and harmony and junk within ourselves, but my instructor's a total combative jackass - what's the deal?"

It was pointed out to me recently that while many people will be senior to you in Aikido, not all of them will necessarily know more about life than you do. I think this is a fair statement. The question of "why is that guy so technically mature but so spiritually barren" is a fair one to ask, especially about one's instructor.

I will say to complement this last question that people often run into a danger of ideological essentialism with things like aikido, where personal development is an aspect and (sometimes) an expectation. Often we will expect someone who has trained for x amount of time or gained y rank to be internally developed to a certain standard as well, and we forget that everyone who is training is still a human "work in progress." Osensei said that he still felt like a beginner when he was in his 80s; are we small minded enough to think that he was only talking about technique? Surely someone as wise and humble as he was would not think "i'm spiritually complete;" it was (i'm reasoning) more a totalic statement than a technical one. i think that in this Osensei gives us a good lesson, of not expecting unreasonable things from our training partners or instructors, since we are all beginners anyway.

I will say as well that it can be tempting to think "if he's such a jerk, how the hell did he ever get promoted," and it's in these situations that we really must remember to trust that our instructors can make decisions for their own reasons and that their priorities that may exceed our conceptions; maybe he sees something in the 'jerk' that you don't and is giving him a chance to grow. and that's the gift we got, right? a chance to grow, and a direction to grow in?

PeterR
03-26-2004, 03:21 AM
Hi Josh - it's not his first post and read the article. All things combined I think he would find a lot of Aikido folk barren.

But you are right there's my own baggage wrapped up in there. Earnest young men, with book firmly in hand, telling me that what I was doing wasnt't Aikido. I still have nightmares. Interpretations of what Ueshiba M. meant that would I am sure be unrecognizable to same. As I said in subsequent posts - Aikido can mean many different things to many different people. Each persons interpretation has value but - well the tone set me off.

On the other side there really is no requirement that I must support any and all comers on this forum. Generally I think I am quite supportive but I do have my hot buttons and I do enjoy reacting to them on occaision.

Josh Bisker
03-26-2004, 03:53 AM
hot.

yeah, your description up there does sound nightmarish. and absolutely right that you don't have to be supportive of everything, and yes, you can tend to be very supportive to a lot of different ideas and peeples. and yeah, i shouldn't begrudge anyone's enjoyment of reacting to their hot buttons.

got any thoughts on the "why a jackass" question, or the idea of essentialism in this all? even if it's cheating and moving to a new topic?

also: good to be talking to you; i don't agree with all the stuff you post up but a lot of it makes me think (kinda like that mud-throwing-barn expression, but the other way around. i think.), and i appreciate your efforts within this whole e-community sphere.

-josh

indomaresa
03-26-2004, 04:10 AM
I think....

Daas-san should try some of the "spiritual" teachers I know. After 3-4 sessions, he'll probably long for the more non-spiritual lectures.

I am currently ( and has been for 6 months ) treading neck-deep in spiritual aikido, and truly, truly wish I could train some additional physical-only aikido, somewhere.

Spiritual training should go in hand with the technical, or else it will encourage growth of many unpleasant human characteristics.

Which is probably one of aikido's worst shortcomings.

Buddy Iafrate
03-26-2004, 06:32 AM
I'll disclaimer by saying I'm a newb, just over a year on the mat with Aikido.

My statement/question is this.

How can you ever step on the mat and not feel the spirituality of Aikido?

~Bud

Mark Mueller
03-26-2004, 06:49 AM
What a bunch of mumbo jumbo crap.

If you spend all your time judging someone elses spirituality when do you have time to worry about your own?

David Edwards
03-26-2004, 06:51 AM
My very first Aikido class, I was slightly late for (what fool builds two community centres next to each other?) And that was the first thing I was struck by, that people were sat around in seiza doing za-zen related breathing exercises. At this point I had a MA background in mainly Jujitsu and Ninjutsu, and we'd never done breathing exercises of any kind, the most we'd been told is "breath in through your nose and out through your mouth", and "exhale when you strike or are thrown". We'd never even been told about breathing to or from our centre. Come to think of it, we'd never even been told about the seika tanden. Za-zen was certainly eye-opening to me (in the literal sense of increasing my awareness / zanshin, but also in the sense of "Hey, there's something more to this").

My own teacher tends to approach his Aikido in a very spiritual way, but not really talk much about that side of things, and let us reach our own conclusions / ask more / study more oursleves / etc if we decide we want to know more about it.

k'shi
03-26-2004, 06:53 AM
If you have not linked yourself to true emptiness, you will never understand the art of peace.

- Morihei Ueshiba
Please understand that I do not mean disrespect towards my Aikido instructor. Yet try to understand, I'm a very spiritual person and can greatly identify with O'Sensei's words which is why I decided to join an Aikido dojo. Yet, once I joined my Aikido dojo I encountered an agressive man, full of inner duality and frustration, using muscular force for his techniques. He never even once spoke about harmony, Ki, inner peace, respect for all life. Yet the Aikido style the Dojo teaches is about the original style as O'Sensei created it. And yes, ofcourse also the physical aspects of Aikido play a huge role, balance between both spiritual and physical is very important.

Now, I am quite new to Aikido. But isn't it said that O'Sensei created the art with help of his spiritual insigths? (I could be totaly wrong here :)).

The thing is, is that spirituality played a big role in the creating of Aikido, correct? To my experiences, I've only yet encountered one person that respects this side of Aikido, which is luckely one of the two Aikido teachers I have. Kind of like Yin and Yang ;).

David Edwards
03-26-2004, 06:59 AM
From my own limited understanding and knowledge, I'd say you're absolutely right, and what your teacher is teaching is the outer shell of Aikido without the inner beauty. And even dismissing spirituality, for those who do not consider themselves spiritual people, he shouldn't be using physical strength for his techniques, and he certainly shouldn't come across as an agressive person, no?

And as for O Sensei, he had several spiritual enlightenments, the most notable one being at the age of 42, IIRC, which was the turning point for his Aikido, and the point at which it is generally recognized that he became the invincible martial artist that he is remembered as.

Buddy Iafrate
03-26-2004, 07:24 AM
With the clarification you have provided Jop, I would suggest finding another dojo and taking a demo class if you can.

I think you can judge from the responses that you are not experiencing all of Aikido. I also think alot of the aggressive responses you got are due to the misconception that the Aikido you are experiencing, is typical of *all* Aikido. I'll testify, it's not the case at all =)

Good luck in your search, I hope you can find a dojo that fits your needs.

Chad Sloman
03-26-2004, 08:02 AM
Maybe I'm just stupid but...... are we talking about philosophy, religion, or spirituality? I don't even really know what spirituality is, so I don't know if I have it in my training or not. I can tell you that I don't believe "spirits" play a role in my training. I think around the world these days, you don't have a lot of people practicing the shinto religion. I don't practice shinto and I don't think it denegrates my training. As far as philosophy goes, that's a hot topic that gets people riled up. If you don't agree with the philosophy of your aikido instructor, find somewhere else to go. I know that if I went to a dojo where the instructor was all about ripping peoples arms from their sockets for calling them a bad name, then I would cease to go there. I don't think I have the authority to say that it's "wrong" aikido, but I do have the authority to say that it's "wrong" for me.

SeiserL
03-26-2004, 08:18 AM
IMHO, too often in our society we are stuck with an either/or dilemma. Most schools teach the "martial" or they teach the "spiritual". Some teach by example and some by lecture. Very few teach both. Just a very personal politically incorrect observation.

All teachers can only present what they know, their own way. The rest, in both martial and spiritual practice, is up to us.

IMHO, our lack of spirituality is that we rely too much on the teacher and not enough on our own openness and willingness to train.

David Edwards
03-26-2004, 09:27 AM
IMHO, our lack of spirituality is that we rely too much on the teacher and not enough on our own openness and willingness to train.
Hmm...

"The instructor teaches only one small aspect of the art. Its versatile applications must be discovered by each student through incessant practice and training"

Sound familiar?

gstevens
03-26-2004, 10:48 AM
Maybe I am too new at this? I have been practicing for about three months now. I find that if I clear my mind before class, and focus on the techniques with mindful repetition (Not that I am always able to pull this off mind you.) I always seem to have some insight walking or driving home after class. It is like my body learned some new philosophical thing, and then later gave it to my mind.

OR

Sensei will say something like Guide your uke to the mat, don't throw them. Or Are you working also against your own energy when the uke comes in? Then a little buzzer goes off in my head that says Oh this is like that situation at work, am I getting off the line of the energy of .... Or Hey am I moving from my center in the rest of my life, or am I off balance mentally and emotionally as well as physically? Do I lead people or try to push them over with superior might?

Maybe this is just good Old Socrates "The Unexamined Aikido Is Not Worth Practicing?" "The unexamined life is not worth living?"

I have sat through several church services in my time. When I got up to leave, I was just as out of balance, and out of touch with my body as when I started, only my legs were asleep from sitting on a hard wood bench.

Guy

:)

shihonage
03-26-2004, 12:13 PM
I encountered an agressive man, full of inner duality and frustration, using muscular force for his techniques. He never even once spoke about harmony, Ki, inner peace, respect for all life.
I'm curious, how do you know that he's using muscular force only ?

Moreso, does that mean that all the other students also use muscular force ?

David Edwards
03-26-2004, 02:15 PM
"I'm curious, how do you know that he's using muscular force only?"

I'd hazard a guess that it's because he says "force this this way", or "You have to pull this around", etc. Or just that he can be seen to be forcing things, perhaps. But then, I'm not there, so I'm just guessing. Jop?

"Moreso, does that mean that all the other students also use muscular force?"

Not by necessity, but surely it means that they're more likely to, if that's the way that they're taught?

L. Camejo
03-26-2004, 05:57 PM
Interesting topic.

I think any instructor can only instruct what he knows. If spirituality is an important thing to him (like it was to Ueshiba M.), then it will appear in everything he does, including his instruction.

To assume that training in Aikido "should" leave one with some spiritual or philosophical insights is like saying that going to Church "will" get you saved. The result has much more to do with you than the person at the front of the room imo.

Just my thoughts.

L.C.:ai::ki:

Josh Bisker
03-26-2004, 07:34 PM
I know that if I went to a dojo where the instructor was all about ripping peoples arms from their sockets for calling them a bad name, then I would cease to go there.
Just to help clear up any ambiguities about whose style of aikido is what here now, i'll remind us all that droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose, but wookiees are known to do that.

I just thought I would help to clarify this critically decisive issue. Thanks. :D

George S. Ledyard
04-07-2004, 04:10 AM
Greetings fellow Aikidoka :).

Is it just me, or is the spiritual essense of Aikido oftenly ignored by those who teach it? I have an Aikido instructor (I dare not to call him Sensei) which totaly niglects the spiritual aspects of Aikido, can this man even be labeld an Aikido teacher? The oneness, is that not where Aikido is truely about?

How is that at your Aikido dojo, is the spiritual side of Aikido also niglected there?
I happen to think that Aikido is very much a spiritual practice. But that part of the practice is VERY personal. I am perfectly happy to talk to my students about the aspects of the art which I understand. I will, upon occasion, point out some aspect of what we are doing which has some interesting metaphysical dimension to it. But I am not interested in talking to my students about the "spiritual" side of the art as if I were in a position to dispense some secret knowledge from on high. I don't want my students looking to me for what they should be looking to find in themselves. This is a trap for the students and it's equally a trap for a teacher.

In many cases (not all) lots of talk about "spirituality" is a way for a teacher to appear to be superior, above the rest, and is often (not always) accompanied by technique that isn't as deep as the talk so to speak.

There are teachers around who I would be happy to listen to talk about the spiritual side of the art. They tend to be older and they have had their own direct spiritual experiences that have come through a lifetime of training. Some of these people have technique that is extremely deep and sophisticated, hard to understand... others manifest their spirituality through deceptively simple technique, their message may be a bit different.

Stop worrying about setting your teacher up as some sort of guru and train. If you want to read every book on Aikido which touches on spirituality, go ahead. Read every interview in the Aikido Journal collection, you'll find some very interesting spiritual ideas there. Sit around with your friends, drink some beer and discuss what you think are the meaning of O-Sensei's teachings... then get back on the mat and discover the truth of all these things for yourself. When you've done the work, if you find your teacher wanting, then fine, find another teacher. But I suspect that it's a bit early to be making this decision.

Largo
04-07-2004, 11:00 PM
OP- I noticed something kind of odd in your post. You wrote about your teacher " I dare not call him sensei".

Sensei doesn't mean great spiritual master. It means teacher. I'm a "sensei" at the local junior high. Sensei is also used to refer to politicians as well (who are far from good, spiritual people...especailly Ishihara).

Respect is important in budo, and in any form of teaching or learning. If I thought that my sensei had nothing worth teaching, I'd go elsewhere. That applies to my japanese class, my english seminars, and martial arts.

robbsims
04-25-2004, 01:01 AM
Hello all, this is my first post in this topic area.

I have some opinions on the question Dass raised at the beginning. I have always studied Aikido in Japan and always in Japanese. To be honest, I have no idea what you guys are talking about.

I have never had Aikido explained to me in English so I have a hard time expressing my opinions. So, if I sound condisending, rude, blunt, or inflammitory, that is not my intent.

Learning Aikido to be able to defend your self is good, but it is not the whole story. Self defence is a secondary result of Aikido. The primary result of Aikido is your personal development.
Interesting topic.

To assume that training in Aikido "should" leave one with some spiritual or philosophical insights is like saying that going to Church "will" get you saved. The result has much more to do with you than the person at the front of the room imo.

L.C.:ai::ki:

I think, Only me, Larry here is has just missed the mark. Going to church will not get you saved, but praying will. Praying is a very spiritual practice. Aikido, if you practice it earnestly, will grant you insights into your self.

Spirituality is about beliefs and faiths, things that are individually personal to us all. I believe, that a sensei doesnt need to talk about the spiritual essence of Aikido. A good sensei can help you experience the "essence" of Aikido by helping you to improve your abilities.

I hope this makes sense to you, or helps you in some small way.

Robert Sims

mantis
04-26-2004, 09:05 AM
Learning Aikido to be able to defend your self is good, but it is not the whole story. Self defense is a secondary result of Aikido. The primary result of Aikido is your personal development.

Hi Rob, I respect your thoughts, and I think your right for some people, but for me this isn't true, and is quite the opposite. This may be because Japan might not be an aggressive society like America is.

Aikido is for self defense first. For me, I'm not as eager to get in a fight as I used to be, because I know how serious one can get hurt, and I'm a lot older and wiser than I used to be. This can be seen as personal development, but it's only a by product of my training, not the focus of it.

I come from a Punk-Rock background, and was really put off by all the philosophical, religious and political things that have been crammed down my throat as a kid. So my views are still rather cut and dry on most matters. Once I hear the buzzwords of spirituality etc. my bull$h!+ detector goes off.

I have seen aikido packaged as many things like, spiritual, cardio, self-defense, classical, true budo, etc. etc. but it all comes down to that if you are attacked in a parking garage, no amount of spiritual essence given to you by your instructor will help you out, but the fast reactions and good technique you learn will.

I do see a few aikidoka who seem to not share my views and think aikido is some sort of spiritual endeavor, and that's cool, but I don't see it that way. It might indirectly happen, but it's on a subconscious level.

I've know some painters that paint and think it's a spiritual event. They might have gotten this idea from their teacher, but for me I want my teacher to show me the painting techniques and tools, and let me take it from there.

grasshopper73
06-04-2004, 06:00 PM
Jop den Daas ,

A big part of my attraction to Aikido is the philosophy and spirituality. That being said I feel like it's my personal responsibility and not my teachers to seek and study these things out and not just in the dojo. Remember though:

Aikido is like a finger pointing to the moon........(I'm sure you know the rest of the statement)

Sincerely,
Russ

Chocolateuke
06-04-2004, 11:11 PM
hrmmm how can I put this in a way that it will make sence to me?

Aikido is about personal growth; spiritually, mentally, and physically. Every aspect of Aikido helps with one or all of these aspects of personal growth. If you have a focused mind, with a strong posture, you will do well, if you can do well you gain confidence. When you have confidence you gain understanding. Understanding on a personal level of what Aikido is. We don't need symbols, or lectures to hear someone elses opinion on KI, love, war, or God, we need to practice and make up our own opinions. It is ok to want to learn and listen to your sensei, but don't lean on him for your own personal growth. He will guied you, but only you can make yourself great in aikido, your desire, your focus, your willingness to break out of your shell, to extend your roots. Your deeper level of understanding can come from a seemnsly "physical" training. SUre there are exercises to help a spiritual aspect, and these are great!
as for step here, bend here, use force, he may be saying use force because you are using nothing. Aikido isn't a nothingness, you use your force (without using muscle mind you!) move from your center!
And who knows, maybe your senei does do spiritual stuff and he hasn't shown it yet.

malc anderson
06-10-2004, 03:36 AM
Hi ya all, Jop Den, J, Bisker and D, Edwards I agree. Several times in his final years Morihei sadly reflected, ”I’ve given my life to opening the path of Aikido but when I look back NO ONE is following me. ”Once an American disciple said to Morihei,” I really want to do your Aikido.” Morihei replied,” How unusual! Everyone else wants to do their own Aikido.” So obviously the great man had noticed these things. I thought I would go to the masters written works to see his angle on it. Although we must remember that O’sensei had KENSHO and unless we have had Kensho can we really understand? By the way Mr P. Rehse, religion is not Kensho. Kensho is the experience at the heart of all religions, what happens is that great masters come and try to help every one find there true selves in the experience of Kensho, but when they die people form a committee and try to formalize the teachings and through time the true experience of Kensho is lost and all that is left is a religion, that is why O’sensei said ‘The Art of Peace is the religion that is not a religion; it perfects and completes all religions’ Here’s some other quotes,
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 The secret of Aikido is to harmonize ourselves with the movement of the universe and bring ourselves into accord with the universe itself. He who has gained the Secret of Aikido has the universe in himself and can say, "I am the universe." WHAT IS THE SECRET? The answer= Kensho
Then, how can you straighten your warped mind, purify your heart, and be harmonized with the activities of all things in Nature? You should first make the kami's heart yours. It is a Great love, Omnipresent in all quarters and in all times of the universe.
These two are for Mr, J Stokes
‘True Budo is to be one with the universe; that is to be united with the Center of the universe’.
‘True Budo is a work of love. It is a work of giving life to all beings, and not killing or struggling with each other. Love is the guardian deity of everything. Nothing can exist without it. Aikido is the realization of love. Those who seek to study Aikido should open their minds, listen to the sincerity of the kami through Aikido, and practice it. You should understand the great ablution of Aiki, practice it and improve without hindrance. Willingly begin the cultivation of your spirit.’
We must practice Mokuso and after a time, dependant on the student ,a quality that cannot be put into words will grow out of the silence cultivated in our hearts, this quality will in the end be the only real thing that we will ever attain and lead us to Kensho and then on to Satori. ‘The Divine is not something high above us. It is in heaven, it is in earth, it is inside of us’. MASAKATSU AGATSU Malcolm Anderson

Mark Jewkes
06-10-2004, 04:30 AM
Hi everybody

indeed O-Sensei said that Aikido perfects and completes all religions. Therefore: If a given sensei of a dojo instructs in his understanding of aikidos spiritual side, some students could be led to think that sensei´s approach was the only way. By not talking to much of spirituality, students can find their own way to truth. Of course, the fact the aikido has a deep spiritual side to it should not be denied by the sensei, but as Georg put it: it is a personal thing. Let students discover it by themselves......

xuzen
06-11-2004, 02:46 AM
Dear friends,

With the discussion going on, I notice the tendency of some poster to separate / polarized the combat effectiveness of aikido with its spiritual aura. I strongly believe that aikido is distilled from traditional jujitsu and hence is a combat effective martial art first and foremost. It being spiritual or rather associated with spirituality is a by-product or beneficial side-effects of its practice. All practitioners have the chance of experiencing it sooner or later.

By training physical Aikido, our mind somehow acknowledges and recognizes the spirituality of Aikido. Why? The techniques and movements in aikido is based on natural laws and physics. ‘Go with the flow; no resistance, no mind’ aren’t all this the natural things of existence?

Let me put it to all, have you ever felt a sense of overwhelming sense of empowerment after executing a flawless technique. Your smile just comes naturally, doesn’t it? You feel serene and happy. Even your uke also feels the power of your technique but he /she isn’t hurt. There is no negative emotion created. This I believe is a feeling of spirituality.

My point is, aikido is a martial art in its essence. Treating it entirely as a spiritual growth is not doing it justice; the spiritual part is a by product of its training. So do not be so quick to dissect Aikido into the spiritual part or jutsu part. They come in a package. Some sort of like McDonald Combo meals.

Best regards,
Boon.

malc anderson
06-14-2004, 08:12 AM
hi ya xuxen, have you had Kensho ? malc anderson.

Charles Hill
06-18-2004, 05:07 AM
I do see a few aikidoka who seem to not share my views and think aikido is some sort of spiritual endeavor, and that's cool, but I don't see it that way. It might indirectly happen, but it's on a subconscious level.
.

Hi James,

Where do you place O`Sensei in your definition of Aikido? By all reports and the books we have that contain his words, he rarely spoke of issues other than that of a spiritual nature.

Charles Hill

markrasmus
09-21-2004, 10:56 PM
Disclaimer (often found in the preface to 400 page books on the subject of enlightenment): Those who know don't speak; those who speak, don't know.[/QUOTE]

"The Buddha knew, the Buddha spoke"
Best to you,
Mark

creinig
09-22-2004, 04:55 AM
I have seen aikido packaged as many things like, spiritual, cardio, self-defense, classical, true budo, etc. etc. but it all comes down to that if you are attacked in a parking garage, no amount of spiritual essence given to you by your instructor will help you out, but the fast reactions and good technique you learn will.

[...]

I've know some painters that paint and think it's a spiritual event. They might have gotten this idea from their teacher, but for me I want my teacher to show me the painting techniques and tools, and let me take it from there.

Please think a bit about that analogy: To become a great painter, you of course need to have great technique and proper tools. But if you have only that, you won't be able to create paintings that really capture the audience. For that you need more -- you need creativity, you need passion, you need that ability to first create capturing images inside you, which then can be transferred to the canvas by your great technique.

It's similar with Aikido: Good technique will only get you so far. To be able to apply it really effectively in a real situation, you also need some things typically considered rather "spiritual" -- calmness, an unperturbable (sp?) mind, inner peace, strong intention, focus, decisiveness etc. So please don't label that "spirituality" thing as complete bullshit, but examine it and pick out the parts that are useful to you, for your goals.

Note: I don't like lectures on spirituality on the mat either and strongly prefer a good slam&dunk workout instead. Actually I don't like lectures on spirituality at all. But I do like to think about it, do like to listen to humble opinions and ideas on the matter.

Richard Elliott
09-22-2004, 05:08 PM
Interesting topic.

I think any instructor can only instruct what he knows. If spirituality is an important thing to him (like it was to Ueshiba M.), then it will appear in everything he does, including his instruction.

To assume that training in Aikido "should" leave one with some spiritual or philosophical insights is like saying that going to Church "will" get you saved. The result has much more to do with you than the person at the front of the room imo.

Just my thoughts.

L.C.:ai::ki:

Good thoughts Larry. I will add that in any arena where philosophical, religious, or "deeep" stuff is the subject, it's necessary to have a sense of humor about it all and anybody that can't find something humorous... well, I just don't trust 'em.

Also, man, sometimes going to Church "will" just get YOU MAD-- or worse CRAZY! I remember a troubling time in my religious life (and not just for me at the time). I didn't like what the priest was laying down and after the service I was so distracted I ran my motorcycle thru a road block of 2X4 boards. Another time during the singing I threw my hymnal down on the pew, hard, and stomped out la,de,da. Well it didn't do no good of course, but oh, man, was I serious. I think some of my friends got a good chuckle.
This was many moons ago by the way. Today, I just stand up and shout "Foul !"

Peter Goldsbury
09-22-2004, 08:33 PM
Greetings fellow Aikidoka :).

Is it just me, or is the spiritual essense of Aikido oftenly ignored by those who teach it? I have an Aikido instructor (I dare not to call him Sensei) which totaly niglects the spiritual aspects of Aikido, can this man even be labeld an Aikido teacher? The oneness, is that not where Aikido is truely about?

How is that at your Aikido dojo, is the spiritual side of Aikido also niglected there?

There are several types of response to a question like this.

One way is philosophical. I noted the Cartesian way in which Mr den Daas initially set out the problem. Descartes spent much time trying to prove that his essence was thinking. Since his very next step was to prove that God existed, presumably Descartes would have agreed that this thinking essence was also spiritual. Personally, I think approaching aikido through philosophy raises more problems than it solves. However, if I did, I would start with Aristotlefs Ethics, not Descartes.

Another way is more practical. Let take an aikido technique, irimi-nage, for example. Does this technique have an essence? If so, is it spiritual? If it does, and it is, should this be clear at the outset? In other words, I am suggesting that it is possible to see irimi-nage done in complete silence, very effectively, but where seeing this supposed spiritual essence requires some awareness on the part of uke or those who are seeing it demonstrated. Equally, it is possible to see irimi-nage practiced rather less effectively, but accompanied by much talk about how spiritual aikido and/or irimi-nage is. How does irimi nage yield its supposedly spiritual essence? I know that the technique is a joint production of two people, including a willing uke, but this at the level of technique and you would still need this even if your aim was the supposedly non-spiritual one of killing your opponent. The technique is practiced in a dojo and is thus artificial, but the fact that your partner takes ukemi and then gets up to do the technique again does not necessarily make it spiritual.

Another way is more historical. When I myself started aikido, I did not set out to look for essences. I was studying philosophy and had quite enough of these in my lectures and tutorials. In any case, all my aikido teachers without exception have been Japanese, so having explanations given in English about the essence of aikido was never a priority for them. Before I started, I had been told by someone that, eAikido is a martial art based on love.f Having my acute skepticism gradually turn to less and less grudging acceptance of the truth of this statement has taken many years of constant training and practice. Additionally, an essential part of this process has been discovering what O Sensei really meant, for it was he who said it, during his lectures\and hardly any of his students understood his words. Basically, this way involves training for several decades and leaving the spiritual aspects of aikido to reveal themselves through the training. However, it is not so satisfying to someone who wants answers, preferably as early as possible.

I am aware that Mr den Daas is not a native English speaker, but he has expressed his opinion quite strongly, even though they are in the form of questions. Not only does aikido have a spiritual essence, or sides, or aspects. Its true essence is oneness and anyone who totally neglects this cannot be called a Sensei. One person who does totally neglect this is Mr den Daasfs own instructor. If I were this person\and I do read the Dutch aikido forums quite regularly (so I often read what my students in the Netherlands think about their aikido), I would have a problem, for I would think I had been totally misunderstood.

Best regards to all,

p00kiethebear
09-22-2004, 10:27 PM
s it just me, or is the spiritual essense of Aikido oftenly ignored by those who teach it? I have an Aikido instructor (I dare not to call him Sensei) which totaly niglects the spiritual aspects of Aikido, can this man even be labeld an Aikido teacher? The oneness, is that not where Aikido is truely about?

I avoided commenting on this thread when it first popped up just because i felt that it wasn't worth my time to comment on. But after thinking about it there is a short blurb i would like to add.

The techniques in aikido are the physical manifestation of the spiritual side. Why talk about the spiritual side, when you can show it? You don't need someone to lecture you about it (though this doesn't always hurt.) The physical side is another way of looking at the spiritual side.

JessePasley
09-23-2004, 01:37 AM
Allow me to wet my beak on this thread.

It seems to me the answer is quite simple: Mr. Daas should find another teacher. Why? Because he already knows what he wants. Expectations already exist and Mr. Daas stands to gain little except frustration.

And
I apologize if what I write next offends: Spiritual teachers are often lame, nutty, and have exactly nothing to with Rock'n'Roll or Life-Itself. How do I know this? Let me put it this way: I am one of those in-the-closet-about-being-lamely-New-Age cases. I like lighting incense and looking at pictures of Baby Krishna stealing butter. I like chanting AUM. I have rudra beads, dammit. And being one of these silly people I have come into contact with my far share of people who teach spirituality. Guess what? 99% of these guys are complete crap, or at least lame with very few dancing skills.

When I step onto the mat, I am there to train Aikido. I am not there to analyze or contemplate. I am not there to agree or disagree with what is being taught. Since it is a physical activity, I cannot deny its reality. Good teachers organize activity and act as guides for the practice. My teachers are not there to hand out morsels of ki and enlightenment; that would be authoritative, spiritual thuggery.

The problem spiritual 'practices' especially as they exist as a 'classroom' activity (and this is for a lot of things, not just Aikido) is that they quickly turn from good training sessions into patting eachother on the back for being such good spiritual people.

'Preaching to the Choir'....think on this for a second.

Would anyone really gain anything by going to a teacher who they already understand and agree completely with?

SeiserL
09-23-2004, 08:50 AM
I hate to sound very Zen about this, but ... no one can explain to you the spirituality of anything. IMHO, spirituality is an experience you must seek out and experience for yourself.

I would agree that most Aikido I have seen in the United States, and I admit to my limited exposure, does not spend a lot of time talking about spiritual issues. However, the moral and ethical role models I have seen definitely conveys the message.

If you are not getting what you want from your instruction first please look at yourself and how you are stopping your own spiritual growth and experience. Then, perhaps, you may consider finding some instruction more in line what what you believe will work for you.

Now, back to training.

JAHsattva
09-23-2004, 09:07 AM
i would hang in there.
sometimes you have to "polish the spirit" through training and
hardships.
in other words,you have to wear down the body to feel the spiritual value of life.
there are schools that are directed towards the physical aspect of aikido,like what the police learn and use.

either way you should have respect and accept your instructor as sensei. if he knows you dont take him seriously,then you can't expect him to take you seriously.(the golden rule)

luckily my sensei would spend atleast 5 min discussing the nature of energy,and purification of spirit.

i would like to end with knowledge from my sensei shintaku:
"anyone can copy a movement,but if you dont know the concepts behind the movement,it will never work in your favor."

like a car ,wont move without fuel
you can know how to drive the car ,and know its functions,
but if theres no fuel,its not going to go.

guidance.