Si Wilson wrote:
Todd, yes I have read it all, and did know that you were planning to go to Joe Sensei's dojo.
I have practiced both with and without hakama, and when I started to practiced without it, it felt strange, but the Aikido was the same, so was the energy and spirit in its practice, just the clothes were different. I think someone mentioned this already, a priest doesn't stop believing in God or being a priest just because they take off their collar.
The one thing I can say that we seem to be differing on, I am quite prepared to accept that I may be wrong.
Well I don't think I see the need to differ
Perhaps though, if you wouldn't mind, you could share with me how it was that you dealt with ignoring the founder's wishes regarding hakama in the dojo, thereby breaching the budo code and the values symbolised by the hakama; in particular what enabled you to feel the same spirit in the art? It may help me to do the same, so I'd really appreciate your advice
(This statement of course assumes that you were concerned with OSensei's wishes and the budo code, prior to training minus hakama - if not, then perhaps we will differ after all
You mentioned "I think someone mentioned this already, a priest doesn't stop believing in God or being a priest just because they take off their collar."
Please see the word on this matter as approved by late Pope John Paul II at http://www.ewtn.com/library/PRIESTS/RMCOLLAR.TXT
The priest's collar is a symbol of his connection to God, and as such it's removal could arguably be considered to be a betrayal of that connection. Likewise, as you can see, the Pope would prefer the collar to be worn, so although removing it may or may not symbolise some level of disrespect towards God, regardless of this, it certainly does represent a lack of concern for the Pope's requests.
I wholeheartedly agree that nothing, hakama included, could separate me from my spiritual beliefs. What you may not realise is that, regardless of his being long passed, and of the varying 'flavours' of Aikido that have grown from the original in time, as far as I am concerned, as the founder of this art which I sincerely believe has saved my life, and therefore the man ultimately responsible for that, and the man to whom I owe that debt, is OSensei, and as such, I choose to honour his word.
If OSensei insisted that all practitioners of the art wore hakama, then I'm inclined to do so. If a priest chooses to go against the word of the Church, then that is his decision, but I am not inclined to follow suit.
The part of this that seems to be overlooked frequently in this thread is that the spiritual matters symbolised by the hakama include loyalty, and that loyalty points to the fact that OSensei would have you wear hakama... It's interlinked and circular, and as such, it becomes very difficult to separate the spiritual values symbolised by hakama and OSensei's wishes... The only ways that I can see the separation to be acceptable are, if OSensei had suggested that there was a situation where not wearing hakama in the dojo was acceptable, if your loyalties do not lie with OSensei, or if your spiritual values do not include the loyalty to your master symbolised by the hakama fold.
If one of the latter two cases apply to you, then surely we will differ in opinion on this matter, and there is most likely little point in posting. However if you can suggest words of OSensei's that would support the first case, then I would greatly appreciate your sharing them with me, that I might serve him in the best manner possible.