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Old 03-17-2006, 02:09 PM   #66
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,220
United Kingdom
Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Mary Kuhner wrote:
We are a Ki Society dojo. K. Tohei sensei has written a little book of ki sayings which express his philosophy of aikido and life, and for a while we were doing responsive readings (leader reads the saying, students recite it back). I was finding it increasingly troublesome to be asked to repeat these sayings. They sound like pledges or promises, and I don't agree with them religiously or philosophically.

One example was ki saying #11 (can't quote it precisely) which divides the universe into yin/yang, light/darkness, "plus ki and minus ki", and then says we strive to get rid of all of the dark pole of this dichotomy. This is dramatically opposed to my religion and I just choked on having to repeat it.

I explained this to sensei in private and asked for permission to sit silently during these readings. She agreed. But I would have supported her right to say "This is the dojo philosophy, and if you can't work within it, find another dojo." (And I would, regretfully, have left.) We talked specifically about ki saying #1, which ends "To unify mind and body and become one with the universe is the ultimate goal of my practice." I said, no, it isn't. She asked about my goals and decided she found them adequately compatible.

Mary Kaye
Thanks for sharing that with me Mary, I appreciate it. I can now understand your problem as well.
IMHO people practice aikido for their own reasons, not for the reasons the sensei wants, and I personally accept that. However the reasons for practice can change over time.

My own teacher spent 10 years with Tohei sensei so we practice Ki Aikido with his own slant from the many years spent with K Abbe Sensei in the 1950's/60's. We don't have to adhere to any of what you mention, so it is outside of my experience.

I'm glad you have an understanding sensei and that you are able to continue and your own dojo.


Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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