Why-oh-why must we break Aikido down in terms of "martial" VS. "philosophical"(or "spiritual")...
Are we so terribly dualistic in our thinking that we cannot conceive that Aikido is BOTH a spiritual practice and martially effective?
As far as what to focus on when one is training, I try to focus on Aikido! Aikido is Aikido. It is unique. If we just want to learn how to beat someone up in a bar brawl, there are a lot of other ways to learn that, and they take a lot less time to learn than "the spirit of loving protection for all."
One of my Senseis asked the other day, "Why do YOU practice Aikido, and not something else?" It is an important thing to contemplate! Therein we find our own clarity about what on Earth we are trying to accomplish at the dojo.
Hi there Anita.Well said, very nice post!And i will take it a step further by saying that aikido is not only both spiritual and martial, but also these two virtues are merged, inseparatable and indistinguishable from one another.You are absolutely right when you say that aikido is aikido, you can't break it down and even if one would, he would find that it's actually more than the sum of its parts.It is martially effective (no doubt about it) without being violent or aggressive and that's the point of using a martial art in the first place.You blend with the attack, becoming one with the attacker,using your ki and the momentum of his own attack in order to take him down.So iam somehow surprised that some people seem to find it actually aggressive...