Jon Reading wrote:
I believe that aikido is Japanese, founded by a Japanese martial artist in Japan. Aikido is neither American nor European, it is Japanese. To preserve the history and culture of aikido, one must preserve its foundation.
I wholeheartedly agree. But empty forms are dangerous because they will be filled haphazardly as easily as they are filled intentionally. Something must fill them or they may just as well collect all manner of unsavory things. Aikido practice must be in-formed.
While cannot one understand O Sensei without a Japanese context, one cannot understand him from a purely Japanese context, either. He certainly confused many of his native-born deshi on these topics. He went out of his way to draw the connections for us to very fundamental Western spiritual ideas.
He plainly did not mean to be understood solely from a Japanese context.