Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art
We should be teaching things that are value based most definitely. There are societal values that we all adhere to if we want to get along with others and not end up in prison or something.
Just about every institution has a set of values. Most of them are common. Respect Others, Loyalty, Honesty, Courage..those type of things.
I think were we go wrong (or can go wrong) is when we start defining for others "how" you live these values. Puritans had there own ideas, Al Qaeda have some ideas as well.
How this translate to Aikido to me is when we adopt certain martial affects or practices, techniques and begin to believe that these things are somehow more ethical or morally superior in application than other practices.
That mindset is dogmatic, limiting, and narrow...hence ignorant.
I think the same applies to our schools. We can say it is okay to support and encourage prayer, meditation, or reflect, to think about others or things that are "bigger than us", god or (insert here). To me, it is value based to encourage compassion and contemplation in some way.
Where we go wrong is when we define for others HOW that practice is done, WHEN it is done, and WHAT that practice should encompass.
As a Unitarian and Practicing buddhist in the Military, I can't tell you the number of group things I go to in the military that a prayer is offered, which in and of itself is okay...and then the Chaplain will end it with "In Jesus' Name" or something of that nature.
I personally don't find it offensive. One Jesus was certainly a righteous dude! Two, I don't feel it hurts me personally in any way.
I do though find it interesting that people make assumptions about what the collective of a group represents and seem to gloss over the fact that they may not care so much about the sensitivity to others. To me, it points out that we have along way to go if we expect to ultimately resolve conflict in the world.
To me, my time spent in Budo is meant to fix myself and to be a reflection of what I think we need to become as a society (transcendental) in nature. It is meant to increase our awareness of both things internal and external to us and help us respond and react to them in a more honest way stripped of emotion, paradigms and ego. It is an ideal for sure.
So, I think it is okay to be value based in our approach to training, infact, I don't see how you train without values.
I think it is not okay to define what or how or what that practice should include or not include outside of the basic structure of the methodology.