Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward
cool, I have a better understanding of your beliefs/philosphy now. Thanks for the discussion. Just want to point out...I believe there is a difference between feeling happy and happiness. Happiness has more to do with fullfillment, more so than an emotion.
Religion should lead to happiness, as it should allow you to be at peace with yourself and your maker/universe etc, however you define it.
That said, religion is not the only way or path, there are many.
I think formalized religion is connected to sprituality, but spirituality does not necessarily have to be connected to religion.
But we are getting off topic I believe some what.
Probably beat this to death, but aikido, as defined by the founder and the majority who study it is a way or path. That path as defined by the founder is to peace and happiness. you cannot have peace without happiness. Peace I believe is peace with yourself. You must first have that before you can have peace with the rest of the world.
Aikido is an allegory. A training methodology that serves as a physical manifestation of peace. While it is a martial art, it is a way.
Ki seems to be an important concept. As a concept it allows us to connect with ourselves and others. To establish the critical bond of interdependence that peace requires. Too many people focus on the meaning of KI and trying to define it. Labeling it "mystical" , "supernatural". IMHO, it is not important to define it, as much as it is to experience it and understand it.
One of the cautions of dealing with KI is that if you become fixated on it, you really are missing the importance of it as simple concept of understanding the relationship to you and the rest of the world. This is what is important. The old adage I hear over and over..."just shut up and train". That is much more important than debating/defining KI.
My wife is a yoga practictioner. We discuss/debate the pros/cons of yoga versus aikido. Yoga is a way to harmony and peace, yet it is not as interactive as aikido in its physical practice. I prefer the interactive physical aspects of aikido over that of yoga.
Going back and reading many of the post of Monty, as misaligned as I personally feel his values are, I think there is some things to be salvaged from his arguments.
Focusing on the mystical things as he defines them is not what is important, by training repetitively in the methodolgy of aikido we can begin to physically experience cooperation, harmony, and strength. The techniques we perform will simply put us on the path, just like walking does.
So, Phillip, as you point out..I believe, the primary thing is to train, and try to become a better aikidoka, or martial artist through the refinement of your technique and have fun doing so.
I think we could both agree, we'd be on the same path, even if we are looking at things slightly different. I could look off one side of the trail, you could look off the other. Regardless, we'd be heading up the same mountain.
While technique is what we do, it is not the endstate in a DO system. Maybe this is where we would differ???
Monty proposes that you strip out the DO aspects, just concentrate on hard, effective training. I believe this is where the whole argument starts. Not sure you can really do that. Arts of karatedo, aikido, and judo, are already stripped out of the things that made them SU arts. The founders of the systems created them as a derivative, maybe as for the political reasons you stated, but I submit that alone was not enough to make them viable and survive. People had to recieve some benefit from them. Politics was not the benefit, personal gain, or growth was the benefit.
The words "combat effective" are interesting. If the arts were really concerned with this, then they would have become something entirely different as guns and other methods of domination and control developed. We all have visions in our minds of "self defense" and "combat effective", those are very emotionally guided things, versus logically guided things. One of the biggest disillusionments that the DO arts create is the notion of combat effectiveness and self defense. Are there benefits to be gained in these areas? Of course, but based on the structure and methodology of DO arts, this is definitely NOT a primary focus by any means.
Sorry for the long post, lots of thoughts popped into my head!