I think this is related to the Spirituality Stuff thread, but I wanted to ask those of you who have found aikido to be a spiritual practice a few, pretty personal questions:
Why do you find aikido to be a good spiritual practice for you? How is it different for you (or is it different?) than writing, jogging, gardening, or something else? Why do you think it "works" for you? Anything tangible?
In other words, why aikido?
I am not really one to talk about this topic, as I really have no Aikido background, but I can summize my views so far.
Aikido basically is blending with your partners energy. In doing so, and to do so effectively, most everything is circular in motion. The dance like practice of aikido, has a very simplistic pattern hidden by a vibrant outer shell.
Some people accept the belief that circles and the like are a part of natures "way", and a matial art like aikido take those basic principals in nature and works them into the matial "way"
So in closing Aikido for some may help them attune to the simplistic, of spiritual side that some may just call nature.
New England Aikikai
I think a basic part of it is that there is such an instant feedback loop in aikido practice. There is a tendency in lots of activities to serarate "mind & body" and I think aikido practice eventually wears this out and we realize the unity of the system (both macro and micro).
When we're really "into" the practice, we lose "our self" by blending with the other person. I have felt this in many activities. I have talked to many who do not experience this. Possibly aikido or budo practice helps open this door because of the intensity of our interaction in the practice which forces us "out of ourselves."
Just a "what if" idea.
Why do you find aikido to be a good spiritual practice for you?
Damn you. I was about to do something like this.
Because it is. More in a second.
How is it different for you (or is it different?) than writing, jogging, gardening, or something else?
For me, I've been able to manifest many things on the basketball court that we find in Aikido: harmony, flow, blending, spontaneous movement all have made an appearance. Were it not for the sporting connection I'd not have arrived here.
Aikido works as a spiritual practice for me because there are like-minded people here. On the basketball court, I'm pretty much the only one who would sit down and discuss the concepts mentioned above. Coaches are usually at a complete loss when dealing with it or afraid of it because it means a loss of control.
So I turned to Aikido because it seemed to talk about things I've felt. What's interesting though is that things I picked up intuitively on the basketball court didn't come intuitively with Aikido. I'm guessing that's because of the form aspect. Basketball is about as free-form as it gets right from the get go. You don't go to class and try to shoot a jump shot like the coach for instance, although, you might emulate a star player.
As I move into more free-flowing circles I've seen a lot more spontaneous movement than ever before.
Why do you think it "works" for you?
Actually, I'm pretty convinced it's irrelevant. I could look at the same things in dance, music, art, sports, biking, building web pages, whatever. The problem is the other disciplines don't look at themselves this way. Like minded people make all the difference.
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