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every time i think i've moved on the classic debate about whether aikido is primarily a martial art or a spiritual/philosophical pursuit, something happens, and i feel myself getting dragged back into it. more often than not, i meet someone who feels particularly strongly about it being one or the other, and the arguments appear to make sense, then i start doubting my original conclusion. yet, given some time and more contemplation, i then find a comfortable philosophical spot to sit in, and my 心 is calm again for a while.
i wonder whether this is an eternal to-and-fro, like the change in tides; or do i simply need more time to cement my opinion? well, as i was just typing those thoughts here, whilst unsettling at times, i actually prefer the former than the latter, as the latter would imply that i am no longer receptive to what is, but simply what i have chosen to believe.
but anyways, before i digress even further, my most recent internal contention has been about whether it is more important for aikido to be perceived and practiced as a bona fide martial art - or just as a means to end, a spiritual transcendence of sorts.
i reckon i would like to have my feet on the ground, whilst having my head (and/or spirit?) in the heavens above. yes - i want to have my cake and eat it too, and i think that it is very possible. in fact, i wonder whether that both are essential for a true, well-rounded and competent aikidoka. as people grow and evolve, their needs and focus may change, but that does not negate the importance of each of these elements. an idealistic aikidoka with a poor martial foundation, will end just doing aiki-bunny dances, whilst a purely martial aikidoka with no inclination toward achieving harmony and self-discovery is little more than a brutish fighter. nonetheless, trying to find this place in-between though is not simple...
...it is strange how the further one travels along the path, the lonelier the path seems. peers that start off with you seem to veer off to their own paths, whilst others simply decide to stop altogether... when one treads the path not taken, one generally does wonder if one is not simply lost in the bush and engaging in self-deception to comfort one's self...