Re: The poll on aikido spirituality
I don't, as the chief instructor of my dojo, typically overlay training with any sort of religious dogma or spiritual dimension. I speak of ki and movement of energy as it relates to training, but don't elevate these things to the realm of the spiritual.
I am a Christian and have been for many, many years. As such, the Bible teaches me that, until a person has had a spiritual second birth, they are "dead in trespasses and sins." Not literally, physically dead, of course, but spiritually. The Bible tells me that, until God has spiritually regenerated a person, whatever spirituality they may think they have is just a pale shadow of the real thing that He offers.
Nothing in the Bible gives me cause to view my Aikido training as a spiritual pursuit. My spirituality is bound up in a relationship with a person (Jesus Christ), not a physical activity. (This isn't to say that my spiritual life doesn't manifest itself in a physical, tangible way -- it does. However, there are clearer, more constructive ways that this takes place than through twisting the arm of my partner in Aikido training.) In my thinking, then, Aikido and spirituality have little to do with each other. And because I believe this to be true, I don't introduce any kind of spiritual or religious teaching into the Aikido I teach my students. From my perspective as a Christian urging my students to view Aikido as a spiritual pursuit would be tantamount to urging a blind person to watch a movie.