John Matsushima wrote:
To me, Aikido as an art would be much richer for those who include spirituality to keep to whatever faith they had before they started Aikido. For example, I would say if you are Christian, then you should say an Our Father and pray for world peace before practice and have a cross on the wall instead of a picture of "The Great Sensei". I'm not saying that I think you have to be Japanese to follow these Eastern traditions, but why not just follow your own? Instead of bells and incense and little oranges on a shrine, why not something a little closer to our hearts? Practicing a faith, one which we can truly understand and is close to our hearts, I think would bring new meaning and depth to our practice of Aikido.
This is not a question of whether or not spirituality should be a part of Aikido, but that for those who do think so, what are your thoughts ?
Not to sound arrogant - but know that yes some of us do in fact include our western religions and beliefs into our Aikido. Making Aikido richer...I can hope so, but if it is then- that is through the ever slow process of one student at a time, myself hopefully.
When I bow it is actually twice - first always to God (and that is what I say as I bow). At our dojo, I teach the Sunday class (God's seventh day by Christian beliefs...hmmm), Before walking in front of the class, yes a prayer and a bow with the second prayer/chant/spiritual focus etc. -"Through my sword, peace."
Because as Eric kindly pointed out in quoting Matthew, Jesus comes with a sword. Does everyone at my dojo know I put my "western beliefs" into my Aikido? Yes, but I do not expect or push it on anyone. I have included a link from our dojo website it is an article I wrote - it is not
the view or opinion of our dojo, nor the dojo's head teacher. It is purely mine and I am fortunate that I can express my own perceptions/thoughts/beliefs in an Aikido article and have posted on our site as well as some others. Please understand, I add the link only to direct you to the 4th paragraph which to me more clearly answers your question of are some of us including our "western" religion/philosophy into our Aikido.