Mark Freeman wrote:
Why would Einstein have any advantage at aikido? often the intellect is the biggest obstacle to progress in aiki.
Maybe you thought he'd look good in gi and hakama?
He was an intellectual in many things, but his words illustrate an instinctual approach to the way he viewed the universe. He could be wonderfully eloquent in his theories in how the universe work, but the underlying feeling in all of his work was that while it was fun and games to figure out how it worked, the true beauty lay in being able to appreciate just what we were looking at.
For what it's worth, I think the man (if he had ever been physically inclined) would have had beautiful Aikido.
I already mentioned in my introduction to the forums that I'm a Buddhist, but this is a more appropriate place to expound on what it means for me as a Buddhist practicing Aikido. Put simply, it is a spiritual experience for me. The reason for this is that I've been studying martial arts all of my life and have always pondered the question of what it meant to be a true warrior. This naturally spilled over into my spiritual questions and seemed to be naturally tied up with spiritual matters, anyway.
At first, I thought a true warrior was the natural embodiment of pure skill, such that that level was standpoint of finally acheiving a mystical status. I didn't know what lay beyond that point of mystical status, just that I didn't understand it. Such a warrior in my mind was exempt from moral considerations. A grey area where moral relativity and all its problems became absolutely irrelevant.
As my learning from social interactions and myself progressed, it came to invoke the moral obligations and finding out what the right morals were. What determined you were a true warrior was in the righteousness of the cause. That quickly gave way to disgust, however, in the face of things like poor sportsmanship and the incredibly cruel and nasty things I'd witnessed people do to each other. All desire for what I deemed glorious battle flew from me. Not surprisingly, this coincided with my period of spiritual disenchantment. I started to explore the mystical side of things but that became a dead-end. I left the martial side of things dormant for a while. When I finally read about Buddhism and started attending a local temple, this finally revitalized my search.
It led to self-conflicts over the continuation of my study of martial arts, but I resolved them with the resolution that I would find a way to make it work such that my skills could leave me and my opponent unharmed. "Those who have to fight have already lost." is an important creed to me.
It's the reason why I am in complete agreement with O Sensei. It's the reason why coming to Aikido is like coming home to me. It's the reason why it is so spiritual for me, because it's an incredibly pure expression of my spirituality and so many of my other principles in which I've come to believe. Furthermore, I've witnessed myself the healing power of love in its various forms. I have no words for it, nor has anyone had or ever will have words for it.
If you want to be technical, you could call me a combatant. Certainly, I know different ways to cause harm and death. It's my conscious will and decision to embrace absolute nonviolence that I feel makes me a non-combatant. Among my precepts is to not kill and my conviction is such that I will willingly and gladly die first before I ever willingly take another life. I would sooner die myself to preserve the life of another, the chance of another person to learn and grow to know the beauty I've discovered for myself.
In Deep Gassho and