David Jackson wrote:
Hi, im interested in knowing, just what is the spiritual side of Aikido? I am a Christian, I dont plan to totally switch my beliefs, but to learn and understand the beliefs of the spiritual side of Aikido. I also believe that understanding the spiritual side will help build a level of maturity and respect for Aikido greater than I have now. I have heard of a belief that all people have chi which is energy from within, and everything has it, kinda like the force, from what I understood when I was told about this. I am unsure whether chi is something I believe in or not. If someone could explain for me the spiritual side of Aikido then that would be great.
There are plenty of Christians who practice Aikido. I myself work for a church (in fact, I should be finishing off my sermon as I type these words!) - and I've heard that there are a couple of "Christians Aikido" schools in the States, though I'm not sure what I think about that.
FWIW, I consider Aikido to perfectly harmonise with the teachings of Jesus. There are certainly few other Martial Art that I would want to practice nowadays. I would encourage you to go to a dojo and don't be afraid to ask respectful questions. For instance, some Christians struggle because we bow to some pictures at the beginning; apparently this is worship. Well, if that's the case, then we all worship each other at the end! If they had simply asked their Sensei he would have explained that it is a bit like
a Western hand-shake - a show of honour and good intentions.
I personally think it's a shame when some Westerners try to take out the spiritual aspects of Aikido. I would say that the majority are universal principles and those that initially strike some as "suspect" can simply be parsed through a different cultural/religious framework. (The way I see it, O Sensei naturally explained things in a way that made sense to him.) For instance, it is interesting that the Genesis myth records that God breathed his breath (spirit) into 'Adam' to make him a living thing. In some sense, does this not mean that "life" - that energy or whatever that distinguishes us from non-living things - is in all of us and is in fact from/of God himself?