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-   -   Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan? (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8743)

nekobaka 08-18-2005 02:05 AM

Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan?
 
I am a little new to Aikiweb, so I was surprised how much the spiritual aspect of aikido is discussed. I've lived and practiced in Japan for about 8 years, and there is almost no discussion of the spiritual aspect of Aikido. I'm wondering if this is just a matter of Osaka Aikikai not emphasizing it, or is this true for other dojos in Japan. I asked my good friend who just recently started practicing about a year ago (by my introduction), and she said it's possible that because Japanese people are so familiar with Shinto rites, that it may make people feel uncomfortable, whereas in foreign countries the meaning behind misogi, for example may not seem as inherently religious. So I wonder, for people living outside of Japan, how much spirituality is discussed during training? If you are interested in the spiritual aspect, was it mostly by reading books that you learned about it? For those living in Japan, do have the same experience?

wxyzabc 08-18-2005 03:13 AM

Re: Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan?
 
Hello Nekobaka (nice name..chuckle)

Well I`ve been here 4 years...trained in various dojo`s and styles and have also never had any form of spiritual teaching either. Focus is purely technique/martial.

For most people here it`s little more than a hobby...I guess things are taken more seriously in the States :)

Lee

Charles Hill 08-18-2005 07:09 AM

Re: Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan?
 
I have been in Japan for about 12 years and have had the same experience. The only time I have heard about the spiritual aspect is when I trained with John Stevens Sensei up in Miyagi prefecture. Ani, you have a perfect opportunity to learn about the spiritual side of aikido there in Osaka. Seiseki Abe has a dojo in Osaka and he strongly emphasizes misogi. He was one of the Founder's direct students. You should check him out.

Charles

nekobaka 08-18-2005 08:10 AM

Re: Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan?
 
Thanks, do you happen to know what dojo he teaches at, and the kanji for his name?

James Young 08-18-2005 12:11 PM

Re: Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan?
 
Quote:

Ani Forbes wrote:
Thanks, do you happen to know what dojo he teaches at, and the kanji for his name?

The answers to your questions can be found at their dojo website:

http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/shun-q/

Abe sensei is definitely the person you want to see if you want to learn more about aikido related misogi and kokyu.

maikerus 08-18-2005 08:24 PM

Re: Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan?
 
Hi There,

I have been training in Japan for 12 years at the Yoshinkan Hombu and elsewhere and there has been no "spiritual" discussions or training that I have seen or been part of. We certainly don't teach it at the Roppongi Yoshinkan Aikido dojo. <wry grin>

--Michael

Peter Goldsbury 08-18-2005 08:36 PM

Re: Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan?
 
Quote:

Ani Forbes wrote:
I am a little new to Aikiweb, so I was surprised how much the spiritual aspect of aikido is discussed. I've lived and practiced in Japan for about 8 years, and there is almost no discussion of the spiritual aspect of Aikido. I'm wondering if this is just a matter of Osaka Aikikai not emphasizing it, or is this true for other dojos in Japan. I asked my good friend who just recently started practicing about a year ago (by my introduction), and she said it's possible that because Japanese people are so familiar with Shinto rites, that it may make people feel uncomfortable, whereas in foreign countries the meaning behind misogi, for example may not seem as inherently religious. So I wonder, for people living outside of Japan, how much spirituality is discussed during training? If you are interested in the spiritual aspect, was it mostly by reading books that you learned about it? For those living in Japan, do have the same experience?

I suppose that it depends on what you mean by "spiritual". I think you might find this a feature of Aikiweb and other websites rather than of aikido generally. In my experience of residence in Japan since 1980, aikido is hardly ever discussed in explicitly spiritual terms, though over the years I have discussed concepts like seishin and jishin with a number of Japanese shihans, all 9th dan, incidentally.

maikerus 08-18-2005 08:39 PM

Re: Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan?
 
Peter brings up a good point. What do you mean by spiritual...I took your question to mean the peace, love and harmony "spiritual" side that is often discussed here. If I was mistaken, then my answer would probably change.

cheers,

--Michael

-.

nekobaka 08-18-2005 11:22 PM

Re: Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan?
 
Quote:

suppose that it depends on what you mean by "spiritual". I think you might find this a feature of Aikiweb and other websites rather than of aikido generally. In my experience of residence in Japan since 1980, aikido is hardly ever discussed in explicitly spiritual terms, though over the years I have discussed concepts like seishin and jishin with a number of Japanese shihans, all 9th dan, incidentally.
Well, I guess I mean specifically misogi. I had never heard it referred to in terms of aikido, and I didn't know what exercises there were. Personally I am interested in Shinto, so I would like to know more about it, but really just reading about how to do a physical exercise isn't enough. I only practiced in America for the first three years, and I really don't remember hearing the term specifically, but on occasion we did what I think were referred to as just warm ups.
Really I was just curious. If those who are interested in the spiritual aspect are getting it from reading books, then I'd say there isn't much difference. on the other hand if the instructors are emphasizing it I think it's interesting.

Peter Goldsbury 08-19-2005 05:02 AM

Re: Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan?
 
Quote:

Ani Forbes wrote:
Well, I guess I mean specifically misogi. I had never heard it referred to in terms of aikido, and I didn't know what exercises there were. Personally I am interested in Shinto, so I would like to know more about it, but really just reading about how to do a physical exercise isn't enough. I only practiced in America for the first three years, and I really don't remember hearing the term specifically, but on occasion we did what I think were referred to as just warm ups.
Really I was just curious. If those who are interested in the spiritual aspect are getting it from reading books, then I'd say there isn't much difference. on the other hand if the instructors are emphasizing it I think it's interesting.

Well. Hiroshima University students do misogi every winter. In January they go and stand in the river near the Kintai-kyou in Iwakuni. I once asked them why they did it and it was clear that they have an idea that misogi is (1) a club tradition and (2) a kind of ritual purification. That's about it. Other forms of misogi in aikido involve doing suwari-waza shoumen-uchi 1-kyou continuously. I believe this is practised during Etsunen-geiko at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo.

I myself have never encountered any other misogi training in Japan but I know that Abe Sensei, for example, practises misogi training, as does Sunadomari Sensei of Manseidou in Kyushu. I would be surprised if there was not also a 'spiritual' element in the training at the Kumano Juku dojo of the late Hikitsuchi Sensei. These are all older disciples of the Founder.

I also think that there is little tendency in Japan to see aikido as physical training plus alpha, which might be a specific 'spiritual' activity. This refusal to make Cartesian-type distinctions is part of a long and very respectable eastern tradition.

Best regards,

markwalsh 08-19-2005 11:02 AM

Re: Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan?
 
Opinion: Spirituality isn't just the domain of stoned hippies, talking BS about abstract philosophies.

To me it can be a meal with your family, a smiley kid or hard physical training. No need for the soul/body split as Peter mentioned.

A friend here in the States commented that people here talk about their religion and spirituality a lot, whereas in the UK (and maybe Japan?) it's more of an implicit, personal matter. But what do I know, time to shut up and get the washing :)

Guru Mark

tedehara 08-20-2005 12:28 PM

Re: Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan?
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
...Other forms of misogi in aikido involve doing suwari-waza shoumen-uchi 1-kyou continuously. I believe this is practised during Etsunen-geiko at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo...

Is there any specific reason why this way of doing Ikkyo is practiced as a misogi?
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
...This refusal to make Cartesian-type distinctions is part of a long and very respectable eastern tradition...

It is also part of that new western discipline - Psychology.

Chizikunbo 12-02-2005 09:04 PM

Re: Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan?
 
Quote:

Lee Price wrote:
Hello Nekobaka (nice name..chuckle)

Well I`ve been here 4 years...trained in various dojo`s and styles and have also never had any form of spiritual teaching either. Focus is purely technique/martial.

For most people here it`s little more than a hobby...I guess things are taken more seriously in the States :)

Lee

Konnichiwa,
I think this may be due to the fact that the spiritual aspects will naturally develope withen each individual with continued dedication and practice. This is what makes a practicinoer a master in his/her own right. You see, my teacher Shintaku-hanshi talks about Ki and using your spirit to your full pottential in this way you will come to understand. you see i could talk and talk about the spiritual side of martial arts or budo as a whole, or even just specific to :ai: :ki:
But to truly understand you must make the concepts and inner teachings your own, to truly understand and be able to utilize them.
IMO
Yours in :ai: :ki:
--Joshua Paszkiewicz


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