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Old 08-19-2005, 05:02 AM   #10
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,219
Re: Lack of Spiritual teaching in Japan?

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,

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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