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Old 05-24-2005, 08:39 AM   #11
gstevens's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Of San Leandro
Location: Alameda
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 47
Re: Poll: Should spirituality play a part in an aikido curriculum?

What is the difference between Aikijujutsu and Aikido?

If there is no "spirituality" in our practices why are we on the AikiDO mat? Why not some other mat where the founder was a bad @$$ that thought killing the opponent was better than subduing them without injury?

I don't know about other people's dojo, but in ours we frequently discuss (are taught) the differences between methods in techniques that further escalate a potential conflict situation, and methods that will help defuse it. Why? Why not just make sure that we are the ones that instantaneously escalate the situation to a mortal one?

Could it be that one of the issues that we are struggling with in this discussion is the concepts that traditional western RELIGION has imposed on the world spirituality? The eastern concepts of spirituality as I am able to grasp them would think that this was a silly conversation, how can you do anything in life without your spirit being involved?

I don't' think that we can take the spirituality out of Aikido. It is there in the techniques, in the practice. It was put there by the founder and is carried through by most of the people that practice it, even when they aren't thinking about it. (There are Aikijujutsu dojos out there that are labeled Aikido, but that would seem to be another thread to me.) It would seem to me that the very things that make our art Aikido are the spirit of the practice.

I have trained with a few people that were there only for the workout, or the techniques, and I have found it difficult at times to work with them. The difference seems to me to be that between being a partner with them figuring out a spiritual and physical practice, and being a slab of meat that they want to throw around to prove to themselves how tough or bad ass they are. In the former any people of any two levels can work together and learn things about the art, both spiritually and physically. In the latter we should all make sure that those of us above third kyu bow to them before the white belts do.

Now if I walked into a Dojo and they were quoting Bible, or Koran verses I would not even take off my shoes before I headed back out the door. Religion is different for me than spirituality. I have never understood the draw to religion that some people have. For them it is fine, as long as they are fine with my refusal to practice it. (Most are not, which is why I am so uncomfortable with it!)

Spirituality is separate from religion, the spirituality of a dojo is not something that is preached, or attempts to convert someone to something, it permeates the place like the air, or the sounds of people training. The way that techniques are discussed, practiced, the way that new people are greeted and welcomed. It is apparent in the ways that we train with each other, a good indicator for me is a question; "Am I afraid in this place?"

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