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I didn't like the way some people aggressively and superciliously jumped on a new member.
From here these are all quotes showing that many teachers believe that there is a spiritual dimension to aikido and that aikido practice extends beyond the dojo.
If you have a comment about the thread itself could you maybe put it in the thread please so the discussion doesn't get splintered? Other comments are fine here. Thanks!
It is important to know that aikido includes a philosophy and ideas that go beyond budo. Budo is a subset of aikido, but aikido is not a subset of budo. Therefore, developing aikido technique as a complete form includes, in addition to the principles of combat that will be discussed here, other elements such as ki (and its constituent elements), kokyu ryoku (breath power), and spiritual functions.
The body has its limits but the mind has no limit. The mind is free and unrestrained. Even though you can tie the body up with a rope (matter) you cannot tie up the mind. Those things which tie the mind are faith and illusion. The mind moves the body and the body can enrich or impoverish the mind.
Let us reflect on the meaning of training. It seems that training is for cultivating proper technique through repetition, but this is only the outer appearance.
By learning techniques you gain mental confidence and composure but unless you can apply these qualities correctly in daily life, they are meaningless. What is necessary and acceptable at the present time is not great physical strength or technique (which is expressed by the body) but rather a gentle spirit.
It is important to see through to the truth. To achieve this you need the means (technique). However, you should not be shackled by techniques but rather should understand their meaning. It is important not to be shackled by techniques. This is possible through a knowledge of their limitations. Those who are shackled by technique should understand that this is an illusion. The danger of such people mistaking this illusion for the truth very often exists.
The spirit reveals correct meaning. This cannot be achieved in one day. Over a long period of time, unconsciously you will become aware of it. Since this is not a thing which can be expressed directly in words mere thinking is not enough. We should realize that it is here that the origin of vanity and illusion lies. We should always reflect upon and discover the importance of training humbly.
The Japanese martial arts were inspired originally by the goal of victory on the battlefield. In their original form they are out of place in the modern world. The founder of Aikido dedicated himself to establishing a martial art that would meet the needs of a contemporary people but not be an anachronism.
That Aikido is a modern budo does not simply mean that it has taken on contemporary features found in modernized forms such as judo, kendo and karate. While it has inherited the spiritual aspects of the martial arts and emphasizes the training of mind and body, the others have emphasized competition, stressed their athletic nature and placed priority on winning.
In contrast, Aikido is unique in its refusal to become a competitive sport. Contests which fuel egotism, self-concern and disregard for others are detrimental to budo whose ultimate aim is to become free of the self, to attain "no-self," thus realizing what is truly human.
In our world of machines, war and disintegrating values, the realization of the perfection of humanity through Aikido is the way toward attainment of world peace and harmony.
Parallelling this spiritual uniqueness is the physical embodiment of these ideals. The single most outstanding characteristic that distinguishes Aikido as a budo form is that we evade or parry, we enter into the attack, and we handle the situation by inviting the attacker into the circle that we create.
It's very difficult to separate the technique from the spirit or the spiritual principles of Aikido. It is through practice that you have to combine them and bring them together.
In the Japanese tradition, by practicing you train your body, mind and soul at the same time. Also, the Founder promoted the spirit of protecting everything - all of the things surrounding you. It is something that comes out of a very keen training of body and mind together. So you have to combine the two.
In brief, to make it very simple, Aikido's training is already designed to do that, so it is not only one-sided training, either the physical side or the spiritual side. The Aikido training itself already combines the two.
Aikido is Budo. It is a special kind of martial art that stresses spiritual development.
While sports focus entirely on competition, the primary purpose of Aikido is spiritual development of the entire human being. In Aikido, we never resort to trickery, deception, or excessive force to overcome an opponent. This is how Aikido differs from sports.
In conclusion, we must state again that the primary purpose of Aikido is spiritual development. It is Budo, and the art emerged from a milieu in which the matter of life and death was decided in an instant. Aikido looks at the entire human being, on the deepest level , something that sports cannot do. Aikido employs the training methods of the traditional martial arts within the context of modern society.
One must, for example, maintain good Aikido posture and movement throughout the day. More important, however, is to maintain a modest attitude, and harmonize mind and body. In the realm of human relationships, one must avoid conflict and resolve problems in a harmonious Aikido fashion. In order to do this well, one must above all be modest and humble.
Aikido expresses with the body the order of the universe. If the order of the universe is applied correctly to the body, technique and health naturally blossom. If the order of the universe is applied correctly to daily life, education, work and personality naturally blossom. If the order of the universe is applied to society, social harmony and relations between oneself and others naturally blossoms.
Well, you'd better not try to separate between spiritual discipline and physical discipline. You cannot separate them. Like any individual human substance, the substantial nature cannot be divided into aspects, body and spirit. They are one. So you take Aikido's form, we train, there's spirit already there. Without spirit there is no form. Through the form, spirit is manifested; it's already there.
We say that Aikido is the art of love and peace, but love is not something easily attained. Although we can say with words that we are friends, to really mean it is another thing. For me, budo inspires us to open our hearts and teaches us how to do it. It takes time, but when the heart finds this opening it can communicate with other kindred spirits. But this is not something that comes easily.
I definitely keep my one point at all times. If you do it only in the dojo, you cannot develop your ki because the training you receive in the dojo is too short. Only an hour or two a day is not enough. You must do it until it becomes a part of you and you do it naturally - unconsciously like breathing.