Well I alluded to it in the next sentence but I'll be happy to further elaborate. My opinion is that the spiritual study of aikido is vitally important. Otherwise, aikido would simply be "Ueshiba-ha Daite Ryu" _at best_ where the throws have been mainly converted to "out and away" from "in and down". It is also my opinion that to understand the spiritual principles Osensei found so valuable, it would be best to manifest the principles physically so there would be a better basis of understanding. To do that, I believe internal training combined with level appropriate progressive resistance is also very important.
And you, what do you believe is "real aikido"? Do you believe that the spiritual aspects are important? What is your approach towards "getting there"?
As far as what I want - I suppose in terms of my ego, I would prefer power without responsibility for myself, and for everyone else with power to have responsibility! From a place of spiritual generousity, I suppose I would want commensurate responsbility for myself.
Hi Rob -
I don't have a formal definition but here's one way I view Aikido (from Being, Essence & Motion: Aikido as a Way of Understanding, a blog I have been working on for some time):
"We are all composed of the same stuff. Yet we're all so different. We come in all manner of shapes, sizes and colors. Our temperaments are as varied as we are many. Humans are so complex. So individual but capable of coming together to perform works of building and manufacturing that any of us alone would be incapable of. We create and grow large bodies of knowledge in myriad subject areas; again working in collaborative groups.
Aikido is just another body of knowledge. Aikido didn't spring from nowhere. It began as the inspiration of one man, O-Sensei, who built his system on the edifice of prior learning, molding his knowledge into something new and beautiful. He began to teach his system to others who, in turn, added to the body of knowledge called Aikido as they passed beyond being taught into learning. Aikido has grown beyond the original art conceived by O-Sensei. One need only observe practitioners from a variety of schools to see that Aikido is anything but linear in its form and execution. Indeed, within the same school there will be noticeable variations of technique. To expect otherwise is not realistic.
Aikido is, perhaps, the most mutable of all the martial arts. Because the techniques of Aikido are based on serendipitous interaction of uke and nage and, as has been stated above, we are all so different, the possibilities of variation of technique are manifold."
You and I quite agree on the importance of internal training (Ki development) and the role of progressive resistance as a tool facilitating the growth of internal strength. At our dojo we practice one while employing the other although mostly within the carefully defined structure of our Ki development syllabus.
Regarding your question as to whether I consider the spiritual aspects of Aikido important, I'll say yes and that the study of Aikido has helped me discover the spiritual side of myself that remained repressed for many years. And since I view spiritual development as a private personal matter I'll leave it at that.