Dylan Clements wrote:
Aikido is supposed to be a martial art. Not a religion. Although it has spiritual aspects, it is not in anyway religious. O-Sensei's religious beliefs may have helped him to find the Art of Peace but he did not in anyway impose his beliefs into the practice of Aikido.
If westerners were to impose their religious beliefs to make the spiritual part of Aikido more understandable, then it would be ruining the whole practice of it.
The clapping and bowing at the beginning of class is supposed to be respect to O-Sensei and to show that your mind is ready to learn Aikido for that class. At the end of class it is a respect and thanks for the knowledge and ancestors of Aikido.
Sorry to disagree with you Dylan, but you are not correct. O-Sensei clearly was directed to start his own dojo as a part & path of his religious/spiritual beliefs. O-Sensei most clearly did impose his beliefs into the practice of Aikido. How do you think it became a "Do?" So, you can choose
to see the clapping and bowing as just respect to O-Sensei, but that is not all it means or its purpose. Finally, have you researched all the meanings of the Japanese affectation (think that is the right word) for "O?"
Again, I am not telling you to follow how I approach Aikido -it is always an individual quest-but if you think how I and perhaps others are approaching Aikido is ruining the practice...well please come down and take my class or train with me here or any of the seminars I am attending. Afterwords beer,food,& coffee while we argue/discuss/share and perhaps add one more friend to the growth of peace through Aikido.