ikido by it's nature than of a spiritual path verses a combat path is what is attractive to new and old Aikidoka. Because this path is a specific path carved out by O'Sensei it is unique. This unique path has something very attractive to those new and old Aikido. It has elements of spirituality; a higher being, leadership and personal development learned through the body that teaches the spirit (mind, mental discipline, attitude, etc) and is practical.
What or who is the "higher being" you refer to?
Phillip also wrote:
It isn't a path a team takes, but rather a path for the individual's development.
Ironically while it is somewhat individual in nature, you simply cannot advance without the help of others. I think this is the whole paradox and really one of the unique features of martial arts and aikido specifically, by it's nature, it requires a great deal of team work and interdependence in order to grow.
That is what we are supposed to learn from the art, that we are not individuals but interdependent.
Maybe that's why so many come to Aikido from other martial arts? And I would have to say that one of the best things about Aikido as opposed to other physical activity is that it's not a sport; that it's not competitive, that one isn't bullied into participation, and that lack of commitment is not punished from above but from within. For me anyway
You guys must have had some really bad experiences with sports!
I came and stay with aikido to learn about ai-ki. Not the collection of techniques or moves.
Ai-Ki requires a different type of listening and different type of patience, you learn a great deal about yourself and your relationship with others. It is a purely physical process that requires you to slow down, feel, relax, and re-learn how to move.
I irony of it is, that for many, myself included, this also has mental and spiritual aspects as well.
as you learn the physical you can begin to see things differently than you did before, the physical develops the mental and can lead to a healthy sprit as well.
The key to and the irony of it is that Ai Ki is purely a physical practice.
If you chase the spiritual aspects or try and seek direct meaning from the practice it can be very frustrating and disappointing.
I think there are alot of folks out there in aiki-land that have a false sense of what aikido is about and how the spiritual aspects are developed.
True, the practice is unique, it is a physical methodology that attempts to lead to a peaceful soul or spirituality.
However, it's endstate is not unique and there are many ways to achieve a peaceful soul or spirituality. Church, Yoga, meditation...even through sport oriented practices....pick your poison.
So, IMO, when you look at it that way, that is, that peace, harmony, and/or strong spiritual development can be accomplished through many practices, it means that their is absolutely nothing special about aikido, except for the fact that the practice/methodology itself is unique in how it attempts to do this.
There is no "moral high ground" in the practice over anything else.
It is what it is...aikido.
if it works for you, that is great. I am perplexed as to why folks see the need to define other practices, martial arts, in particular competion or sports as to being somehow inferior somehow.
If aikido works for you in this area, great! For everyone it works for there are an equal number of people that aikido won't work for, that find their way...say...maybe through Softball.
Leave them alone and let them do what works for them. We need to go on and do what works for us...Aikido!
(I would refer you back to Joe McParland's comments on the mirror at this point)
I suppose that I have had some of my most transformative experiences doing some very physically challenging things that I did believe that I could complete. It just so happens that those things took place during a "competitive" process. That is having to be somewhere at a certain place and time or you failed. Or having to work as a team to move heavy things over great distances in a race against others.
The irony of competition is that in trying to beat a clock, or measure yourself against others, the real battle occurs within yourself as you fight to have strength, fortitude, and stamina to prevail.
Anyway, if competition didn't really matter in aikido we would not have test, mudansha and yudansha or even the informal hierachy and cliques that form within the dojo group.
Competition is alive and well in everything we do. To think that it is not present or that we somehow have a moral high ground over other practices is simply deluded thinking.