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Old 06-29-2011, 07:32 AM   #18
Cliff Judge
Dojo: Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: Columbia, MD
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 976
United_States
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

If you take your Aikido training as a serious, life-or-death endeavor, you inevitably reach a point where you spend a lot of off-the-mat time thinking and worrying about how good you are and whether Aikido could ever work in a "real" situation.

It is in these moments that you have the opportunity to delve into the philosophy of Aikido. When you are staring at the ceiling unable to sleep, driving through rush hour traffic, or on a train having your head rocked back and forth.

That's part of shugyo. Budo training is supposed to change you, but the process of change takes place largely without conscious involvement of your brain. So intellectualizing the philosophical and spiritual side of Aikido is a generally useless endeavor without a storehouse of training experience "soaked in" to your self through hours of getting on the mat and giving it your all.

You can go to seminars and listen to shihan talk about what Aikido means and what it is and how it extends to your normal life, but the words won't mean much if you can't make an intuitive connection with them. The intuitive knowledge can only be formed through severe training.
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