I agree with Graham's post, and wanted to share a couple of quotes that I came across this week. Both are from Remembering O-Sensei
, which is a gem of a book edited by Susan Perry, and which I just happen to have been reading this week.
To the point of what is or isn't Aikido, here are a few words from Hikitsuchi Sensei which are food for thought:
"We cannot understand Aikido without studying the essential spirit of Aikido. The object of this study is to create a person who is sincere and kind, who has a true heart. Physical technique exists as Aikido discipline. Putting aside the spirit and only doing physical technique, no matter how many times it is practiced, will not lead to understanding the heart of Aikido and will not lead to true technique..." ~ Michio Hikitsuchi
Regarding the difference between spirituality and religion, Okumura Sensei had this to say:
"When O~Sensei did certain exercises, he invoked the God of purification, but he himself said to his students that they didn't have to do the same. His view was that his students should be thinking about whatever God or Gods are sacred to them
~ Shingenobu Okumura
I actually think both of those quotes are pretty clear, and I personally would not argue with either one of those gentlemen, nor question their authority to speak on the subject of Aikido.
I think I will take their words to heart.