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Old 12-08-2010, 05:38 AM   #104
Mark Peckett
Dojo: Aikido Fellowship of Great Britain
Location: Birmingham
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 84
United Kingdom
Re: YouTube: Golden Center Sword

Like Dean, I have followed this thread with interest.

It strikes me that the problem with aikido is that there is a quasi-religious element to it that doesn't exist in most other martial arts or sports; and that means that there is always going to be personal interpretation.

You can see this development in religions like Christianity; how many separate interpretations of that faith are there? And within Christianity there are those sects who believe that by channeling the Holy Spirit they can handle poisonous snakes or heal the sick. I don't doubt that most of these people are sincere in their belief, although without doubt there are a few who have made a great deal of money out of it.

Does not the same situation occur in aikido? There are those who believe that they are channeling ki to achieve remarkable results, although once again, there may be those who are simply exploiting the gullible.

However, as people like Richard Dawkins and Philip Pullman have found out, you can be as rational as you like, it does not change faith. It is the nature of faith that it cannot be rational. If God provably exists then there is no faith, and without faith there is no religion.

For some people within the aikido community, ki matters more than for others, and although debate will continue, it cannot reach a resolution.

I would add, that for me aikido is a tool for personal examination: on a physical/intellectual level "Why isn't this technique working? Why does this happen when I move my foot here, or if my hand does that?"; but also on an emotional/spiritual level "Why do I get angry when this person deliberately stops my technique? Why do I experience anger/fear when I get hit by a well-delivered tsuki during practice, and how can I resolve those emotions within myself and let them go? And if I can practise without emotional ties and intellectual questions, will I experience something greater than myself? And if I do, is that satori, God or ki?"

Provide practice is sincere, the debate about whether ki exists, or whether our art is collusive and not martial, although endlessly interesting, doesn't really matter.

But let me add the caveat that I would agree it would be dangerous to present what is effectively spiritual practice as an effective self-defence form and it behooves the teacher instructing the class both to be aware of the difference and to point it out to his students.
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