Mark Freeman wrote:
Aikido provides a practice where self improvement is both implicit and explicit. If you are trying to increase your mindfulness, compassion and reduce your false pride, insecurities and sadistic tendencies ( if you have them ). Then surely you are entering into the realms of spirituality? Aikido then is perhaps more useful than say water skiing.
When was the last time you can say a spiritual lesson was included as part of the curriculum? Besides the physical training, do you do something else at your dojo within the context of Aikido training that is explicitly spiritual? How many dojos include spiritual development as a requirement for rank? Is something like that even quantifiable? There may be dojos that practice group meditation and share "lesson" readings after class. But these activities are not standard in Aikido. Also, is self-improvement the same thing as spiritual growth?
As for water skiing, I've never tried it but it should offer plenty of opportunities for spiritual experiences. It requires an awareness of one's balance, timing, surroundings, and trust in others for safety. I don't see how rolling around, applying throws and locks on people makes one more incline to be spiritual. What is it about Aikido that makes it more spiritual than water skiing? Can you give an explicit example? Is it the bowing and clapping that makes it spiritual? I love Aikido and I've found a great deal of personal growth from it. But I just don't see how training in Aikido offers a unique spiritual opportunity that is any different than another passionate pursuit.