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Aikido illuminates my fears and gives them substance. I'm able to face them and learn that instead of overcoming them I can use the energy they supply me with to enrich my experience. When I face my partner my demons are awake, whispering in their nasty little voices of times in my life when choices I made led me astray; riddling me with labyrinthine reasoning as to why failure is inevitable. And I see them for what they are; distractions, attempts to make me abandon mind/body coordination in favor of isolation where fear reigns as I am cut off from the universe.
There is no room for winning and losing in my Aikido. Both are illusions, as transitory as smoke riding the crest of a gale. The idea that defeating my partner will somehow make me stronger is shown to be a lie. For the victory will feed and grow my ego bringing me further from my goal rather than nearer.
Forty-six is a number. It is composed of a four followed by a six. It is also twenty-three doubled or forty-five plus one, forty-four plus 2 … forty-seven minus one, forty eight minus 2… It turns out that forty-six may be represented by an infinite number of forms other than a four followed by a six. Underlying all forms of forty-six is the idea that forty-six is the numerical representation of a collection of something's that when counted individually total forty-six. So is there a "true" form of forty-six? Are certain forms of forty-six to be considered closer to the idea of forty-six than others?
Aikido is a martial art. Aikido's structure is composed of techniques. The variations in form of Aikido techniques are manifold. Shiho-nage in this style is performed thusly, slightly different in the school over there. Underlying all forms of Aikido technique is the idea that Aikido is a "Way" of discovering and experiencing Aiki. So is there a "true" form of Aikido? Are certain forms of Aikido to be considered closer to the idea of Aikido than others?
I said "It's not how I teach Aikido, it's how Aikido affects those who study it."
Joe McParland replied "There may be a semantic loophole here: Does aikido manifest clearly within the student regardless of the instructor; or, will you say that if the student is not affected as you might expect, then the teacher was not teaching aikido?"
Ueshiba said "All the principles of heaven and earth are living inside you" - The Art of Peace translated by John Stevens.
I take this to mean that Aikido exists in everyone and that the study of Aikido is, ultimately, the study of one's self. As an instructor I don't teach Aikido as teaching is commonly thought of. I get out on the mat and do things that folks call Aikido technique and students then try to emulate what I show. That's teaching in a sense, but it isn't teaching Aikido.
I teach Aikido by continuing to learn Aikido. I share my process of learning Aikido with my students. I tell my story and open myself up to them so that they may observe my journey and learn to discover Aikido for themselves. As such, I have no expectations regarding how their Aikido manifests itself.
Aikido isn't, in and of itself, spiritual. I cultivate spirituality in my own life by seeking to integrate myself with the larger totality of existence such that I become more than I am, as defined by my "self". Aikido is my chosen vehicle for directly experiencing unification with the universe on a deeply visceral level.
I don't believe spirituality is something that can be taught, as in; do this, that and the other thing and you will become a more spiritual person. Spirituality, like Aikido, grows from within. A spiritual path can be pointed to but it's up to the individual to walk it and learn from the experience.