Re: Catholic Aikidoka
Ah -- I think I get your point now over the "innateness" I am using as groundwork for the rest of my position…
I want to make clear here then that I was not referring to Ki and/or the awareness of Ki and/or the (debatable) presence of Ki, etc. In my first post, I was trying to be very specific when I only attempted to problematize a notion or practice that presents Ki as something similar or equivalent to "The Force." For me, sensitivity of Ki, understood as the word one uses to represent the great aggregate of elements through which something (anything) is made animate (i.e. alive, moving, greater than its parts, etc.), is a part of Budo. Ki as "The Force," while part of the history of martial arts, is a part of superstition -- not a part of Budo. If one through there various ki drills and/or practices is attempting to make themselves sensitive to the great aggregate of elements through which something is made alive, moving, and greater than its parts, etc., to be sure, such a practice would NOT innately represent a departure from Budo and a venture into superstition. Nor, in my opinion, would it represent a venture into egocentricism. Rather, it would represent an attempt to open oneself up to the greater Unity of which we are undoubtedly all a part.
For me, it is the same way regarding Aikido as a whole. We can look at it in two ways: As victory over others, or as victory over ourselves. We may want to say that one thing may be the other or that one thing may lead to the other (e.g. the latter leading to the former), but this can only be said from a material perspective -- where notions of victory and defeat are understood differently from how they are understood within a spiritual framework. I believe that Osensei was speaking of things from a spiritual perspective. In my opinion, when he spoke about victory over the self he was not referring to having one become some sort of knight that worked or fought for others in the name of righteousness and justice. Rather, he was talking about developing a sense of selflessness through one's training. Thus, victory over of the self could be understood as a reconciliation with the small self or as a healthy cultivation of non-attachment toward those attributes that mark the small self (e.g. fear, pride, ignorance, etc.). Equally, it can be understood as the gaining of a discipline and/or a wisdom that allows us to act non-egocentrically. Here, Aikido as victory over the self and gaining sensitivity to the great aggregate of elements through which something (anything) is animated (i.e. ki development/ki sensitivity) overlap in a practice of selflessness. For me, this is quite different from seeing Ki as "The Force" and seeing Aikido as a mere means of gaining victory over others (whether they deserve it or not).
In short, as stated in my opinion, cultivating Ki sensitivity or practicing Ki development, as I have described it above, does not innately become from a spiritual perspective an egocentric act. Here I can agree with you.
Thank you for "inspiring" me to try and be more concise (as best I can).