View Single Post
Old 06-06-2008, 03:03 PM   #24
Erick Mead
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: The poll on aikido spirituality

Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
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. ... 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.
I'd say look harder at what the Scripture teaches, and then look harder at what the physical teaching of Aikido imparts.

Christianity is an emphatically incarnational spirituality, and salvation is yet through the body, though not of the body. "Be in the world but not of the world." There is this which is of great interest and should, standing alone, compel a committed Christian to greater study of the correspondences between the systems of understanding, their history and import, in my view:

Kirisuto ga ‘hajime ni kotoba ariki' to itta sono kotodama ga SU de arimasu. Sore ga kotodama no hajimari de aru." (‘In the beginning was the Word', spoken by Christ is this kotodama SU. This is the origin of kotodama.)
{Tr. Perter Goldsbury}
A few others to chew on, maybe:

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
St. Matt., 5:9.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
St. John, 13:34-35

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
St. Matt., 5:44-48
But this is not a daisy-gathering form of peace, love and understanding:

Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. St. Matt., 10:34

He said to them, 'When I sent you out without purse or haversack or sandals, were you short of anything?' 'No, nothing,' they said. He said to them, 'But now if you have a purse, take it, and the same with a haversack; if you have no sword, sell your cloak and buy one, because I tell you these words of scripture are destined to be fulfilled in me: He was counted as one of the rebellious. Yes, what it says about me is even now reaching its fulfilment.' They said, 'Lord, here are two swords.' He said to them, 'That is enough!'
St. Luke, 22: 35-38

The law and the prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and every one enters it violently."
St. Luke, 16:15-16.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. St. John, 14:27

For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
1 Cor. 4:20-21
And vis av vis Aikido and the admissibility of its teachings:

To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are corrupted. Titus 1: 15

All that is true, by whomsoever it has been said, is from the Holy Spirit.
St. Ambrose, Commentary to 1 Cor. 12:4-6.
And in reference to all of the above, what is Aikido's physical training, considered as misogi, intended to impart?

Morihei Ueshiba wrote:
"I have been told there is only one Creator in this world. I assimilate myself with this Creator. Always. Then I perform ascetic practices every morning and evening. I don't mean pouring water over my head. I pray to the eastern sky for harmony, salute all creation and divine spirit. I would like to live a good life as a man and a Japanese. Then when I look back, I would like to send a message to everyone, although I don't know if it is possible, and pray for the peace of world."

"The Way of the Warrior [budo (武道)] has been misunderstood as a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek competition are making a grave mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst sin a human being can commit. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent slaughter - it is the Art of Peace, the power of love."
I find a great deal of use to grow in my faith in the violent misogi of aikido. While you may or may not be Catholic, the catechism's statement on violence, for me, almost defines Aikido, in the underlined portion:

Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defense available to the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity,


Erick Mead
  Reply With Quote