Charles David Henderson
Hi Mark, could you say more about your thinking on the way in which pursuit of the internal skills you refer to as aiki has a "spiritual" component?
Just to toss in an observation. Often when I chase down an actual translation (as opposed to an opinion by a westerner) that mentions "spirit" or "spiritual", I find that the original comment had something to do with "ki" and that the translator opted to talk about "spirit" and "spiritual" simply because that is what suited him, based upon his own understanding.
It's very much like how the word "jin" (sometimes "jing" or "ch'ing") in Chinese was translated by many westerner translators as "energy", even though the original and functional meaning was about a function and not an energy per se. I.e., what someone knows has a lot to do with translations and therefore translations should be looked at askance.
"Spiritual" and "energy" (and other terms) have become such standards in the translations of "internal" martial arts that many styles have become locked into that kind of discussion and, like a chronic face twitch, have become almost impossible to be rid of.
I'm always reminded of the old trope about a discussion where someone tries to avoid getting involved in emotional debate about god by saying, "I'm an atheist". One of the people in the discussion then asks insistently, "But which god is it that you don't believe in... the god of Abraham or the god of catholicism???".