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paladin 06-07-2004 03:00 PM

Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forums and have recently become interested in the art of Aikido. What
attraced to Aikido was it's non-violent nature. My first tendancy in a confrontation
is to haul off and hit someone. I don't like to be pushed around and I don't like to
see my friends or family being pushed around either. So for a while I was very short
tempered and violent to those who I felt needed to be brought down a peg. So I began
to become interested in Martial Arts, such as karate, tae kwon do and wushu. However
through study of the bible I learned that might doesn't make right. I also witnessed
it first hand as I have seen conflicts escalate to point of people doing serious
harm to one another. And how even though you may win the first fight it usually
doesn't end there as the loser then retaliates with more friends or weapons and in
the end no one wins.

So I've chosen to live a more peaceful way of life, but at the same time I don't
want to be ill prepared if a confrontation does happen. (I guess it's the fighter in
me) Which is why I became interested in Aikido. It's emphasis on avoiding fights,
diffusing situations and how to get out of hostile situations with minimal damage
and effort seemed like a god send. Except for one part...the spiritual aspect. Like
I said before I have my own spirituality...and I have a firm belief in it.

So my question is do you think it's disrespectful to you (practioners of aikido) and
the Art of Aikido if I wish to learn the self defense techniques without the
spritual aspects put into it? Do you think I would offend a Sensai if I were to
bring this concern to his attention? I ask this because I have done research on
Aikido and have read of opposing sides of those who believe without the spiritual
aspects you are disrespecting Aikidoist's and the art of Aikido. I do not wish do
that. I have a deep respect for Martial Arts and Japanese culture. I plan on visitng
Japan and an Aikido dojo this upcoming March. What better way to experience the art
than to see it in it's birthplace, ya know? However if they are insepearble and one
cannot function without the other, then I will not practice it. I would rather not
practice it than bring disresepct to the Art of Aikido. So please be honest and tell
me what you think? I've got tough skin so don't be afraid to mince words.

Janet Rosen 06-07-2004 03:42 PM

Re: Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
Quote:

William Bennett wrote:
do you think it's disrespectful to you (practioners of aikido) and the Art of Aikido if I wish to learn the self defense techniques without the spritual aspects put into it?.

Hi, William.
I think you are setting up a dichotomy that does not, or need not, exist.
The desire to get on the mat and find a way to resolve conflict without hate and agression sounds like a good physical training AND also trodding a spiritual path that is congruent with most religions I know of.
It is unlikely that anybody in the dojo is going to discuss spirituality with you, anyhow. Too busy training (smile)
cheers
janet

Nick P. 06-07-2004 03:52 PM

Re: Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
My thoughts (putting on my flame-retardant suit)...
You can get out of Aikido whatever you want, and no-one should tell you otherwise. If you only want the physical; fine. Only the spiritual; fine. More of one this week, less of the other next year....whatever.
As long as you honestly try and complete the exercises/techniques the Sensei demonstrates to the best of your ability, what you believe and to what degree is your own business. Also, respect for your partners is important, whether they share your views and goals or not.
The only time it might come up is if the sensei thinks/tells you that what you are doing has no place in her/his dojo.

Greg Jennings 06-07-2004 04:15 PM

Re: Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
My dojo is in an Apostolic COGIC church. I don't see any conflict. The pastor doesn't see any conflict. The students don't see any conflict.

YMMV,

kironin 06-07-2004 05:26 PM

Re: Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
Why do you assume the spirituality in Aikido is not your own spirituality ?
I don't think it's disrespectful because I don't think it is really possible to do what you describe. Aikido spirituality is expressed within the techniques. There are choices to be made both in how you move and in your state of mind as you do.

Yes, I think the spirituality and self-defense aspects of aikido are really inseparable, but in my experience no one is going to tell you how or what
to believe in arriving at your decision to as you put it choose to live a more peaceful way of life. Aikido's spirituality/ethics put into practice on the mat are quite compatible with the beliefs/philosophy that mainstream religions hold in common. Most places are going to leave it up to you to draw this out of the practice. Even in Ki-Aikido where we can be rather chatty sometimes, the roots of the talky part of class really have more to do with Dale Carnegie/pragmatic yoga mixed in Japanese culture and nothing to do in any obvious way with native Japanese religions.

I have practiced with Aikido black belts who also happen to be Catholic Priests or Protestant Preachers.

It really depends on you. :D

Craig

Chad Sloman 06-07-2004 05:40 PM

Re: Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
The so-called "spirituality" of aikido has never been something that I have been able to put my finger on. I always thought that the spiritual aspect of aikido came from the "doing" and nothing else.

Tharis 06-07-2004 07:41 PM

Re: Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
*affirmative knocks to what everyone else has said*

Caveat: All of the following is my own opinion. Take it with a grain of salt.

The spirit of Aikido is very complimentary with Christianity. Osensei himself said that Aikido was not a religion, but that it would give you a more profound sense of your religiosity, be you Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, etc. I believe Christ taught us to love our enemy, and there's no better way to do that than aikido.

The religious movement Osensei belonged to (Omotokyo) believed that all faiths would eventually be joined into one, like many paths up a mountain. While some of his ideas may conflict with Christianity, practicing aikido would not mean becoming a member of Omotokyo.

One thing I've learned in Aikido, and this is just my experience, is that what you do eventually becomes you. It's very hard for me to distinguish the spiritual from the martial in aikido. Someone else who posts much better than I do once said that the spiritual vs martial argument is like arguing whether a pencil is yellow or straight. The argument is pointless, because it's both and there's no easy way to separate the two.

Aikido will not change you overnight. It takes months and years for that to happen. Try it for a while, and if it doesn't suit your spirituality, you can stop anytime....:D

Yours in ukemi,

Thomas

Ian Williams 06-07-2004 08:38 PM

Re: Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
Quote:

I believe Christ taught us to love our enemy, and there's no better way to do that than aikido.
Christ also taught us to turn the other cheek, which comes naturally with an Irimi senkai

David Yap 06-07-2004 09:06 PM

Re: Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
Quote:

Chad Sloman wrote:
The so-called "spirituality" of aikido has never been something that I have been able to put my finger on. I always thought that the spiritual aspect of aikido came from the "doing" and nothing else.

The spirituality of aikido (or any martial art) is about yourself. I think it is that simple (no cockiness intended :))

I am sure you had been frustrated at various time with yourself, your uke or even with your instructor from the "doing". Ever stop to wonder why?

For the believers, you can truly find God when you have found yourself.

Regards

paladin 06-07-2004 09:22 PM

Re: Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
Thanks for the replies everyone. Really appreciate it. I'm definately leaning towards practicing Aikido. I look forward to training my body to react the way my I want it to when it comes to facing certain situations.

p00kiethebear 06-07-2004 09:23 PM

Re: Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
The spiritual aspects of aikido rarely (if ever) get discussed on the mat. We do talk about martial theory and non violence and not wanting to hurt people all the time. So i wouldn't worry about offending anyone.

it seems to me that the spiritual part of aikido is something that my sensei let's us figure out for ourselves. Of course he's always willing to talk about it with us if we want to.

IMO, aikido does not know a single religion or spiritual belief, but many, it's a martial art that can be learned and taught from almost any perspective. It's incredibly versitile in that way. You can get out of it, whatever you're willing to put into it.

good luck

Robert Rumpf 06-08-2004 08:33 AM

Re: Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
I'm not sure that anyone besides your instructor-to-be is capable of providing precise answers to your questions. None of us know where you are planning to train specifically or what that place is like, and none of us know who your instructor is and how he or she would feel about it. You should really talk to him or her about the tone of the dojo and what they're willing to accept from you.

I have never seen spirituality or religion be brought up as an issue for conflict by either an instructor or a student. That said, you could walk into the one dojo where this is a problem... Remember, if you don't like it, you can always quit later or go somewhere else. Aikido typically doesn't involve contracts, and dojos vary dramatically in terms of tone and even technique.

I'm sure that no matter what type of Aikido you personally choose to do (rough or light, martial or ineffective, spiritual or material), someone out there will feel it profanes Aikido. Evidence for this is abundant on this board: see the AikiGolf or Aikidog (Jason Delucia) threads for two examples. I wouldn't let it bother you. After all, it's your Aikido, not theirs.

The only real things that profane the art are people lying about or fabricating credentials, or an individual deliberately choosing to seriously injure another during practice. Those destroy the atmosphere of trust that is so important if any learning is to take place.

Rob

Troy 06-10-2004 10:50 AM

Re: Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
Quote:

William Bennett wrote:
So my question is do you think it's disrespectful to you (practioners of aikido) and
the Art of Aikido if I wish to learn the self defense techniques without the
spritual aspects put into it? Do you think I would offend a Sensai if I were to
bring this concern to his attention? I ask this because I have done research on
Aikido and have read of opposing sides of those who believe without the spiritual
aspects you are disrespecting Aikidoist's and the art of Aikido. I do not wish do
that. I have a deep respect for Martial Arts and Japanese culture. I plan on visitng
Japan and an Aikido dojo this upcoming March. What better way to experience the art
than to see it in it's birthplace, ya know? However if they are insepearble and one
cannot function without the other, then I will not practice it. I would rather not
practice it than bring disresepct to the Art of Aikido.

O-Sensei said "First look at Aikido as a Budo, then as philosophy." I know their are Aikidoka out there who do Aikido as a Martial Art only, and ignore the Philosophy and spiritual aspect. And I feel that is ok. Some people would probably be a bit upset, but everyone is different. I fisrt studied the spiritual aspect of Aikido, then took classes. Now I am becomming more enlightened because of the Martial Art aspect of it, but I still study the philosophy. I am also a Christian, and the spirituality of Aikido helped me understand my faith deeper. O-Sensei also once said that "practicing Aikido is doing the will of God". as in promoting peace and harmony throughout the world.

Long answer short; we each chose different paths along the "Way" that we feel are right for ourselves. I actually like talking to Aikidoka who choose the "Budo Only" aspect. If you feel you need to talk to a sensei about it, keep an open mind. They are there to answer your questions along the "Way".

Ron Tisdale 06-10-2004 12:05 PM

Re: Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
Quote:

do you think it's disrespectful to you (practioners of aikido) and
the Art of Aikido if I wish to learn the self defense techniques without the
spritual aspects put into it?
Check out your nearest Yoshinkan dojo. They tend to leave the spiritual stuff up to you...

apparently, much like aikikai and others as well.

Ron

Chad Sloman 06-11-2004 09:58 AM

Re: Respect for the Art of Aikido
 
Quote:

David Yap wrote:
The spirituality of aikido (or any martial art) is about yourself. I think it is that simple (no cockiness intended :))

I am sure you had been frustrated at various time with yourself, your uke or even with your instructor from the "doing". Ever stop to wonder why?

For the believers, you can truly find God when you have found yourself.

Regards

I'm not sure what you mean by this....... I am philosophically and religiously rooted without aikido. I have been frustrated in the past, but who hasn't? If aikido was not challenging, I wouldn't do it. It is my opinion that once someone has practiced the waza long enough in a manner that does care to not bring harm to uke that it will in fact eventually change the attitude of the practicioner over time. The practice of any DO, is a confuscion theory of taking the secular as sacred. Secular practices and rituals make people feel better. It is the idea of constantly learning and perfecting something throughout your life that brings happiness from practicing a DO. It could be kyudo, kendo, iaido, gardening, basket-weaving, whatever. Let's not mistake philosophy for spirituality. I believe in the philosophy of aikido but I don't believe that I'm awakening the aiki kami every time I clap at the beginning of class.


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