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Old 09-25-2011, 12:59 PM   #3
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Peterborough, NH
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 653
Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

As I see it, the spirituality of aikido is expressed in the physicality of aikido. They are one thing, not two.

This was really brought home to me a while back when I took up boxing to address weaknesses in my aikido. What struck me most was what a different attitude boxing teaches from aikido, starting with the basic stance. The boxing attitude is: mitts up, light on your feet, eying your opponent from behind your defenses. Turn palms out instead of palms in and you'd almost be cringing. It's both more aggressive and more defensive than the basic aikido kamae.

The aikido stance is neutral, neither attacking nor defensive. In fact, we train not to have either a mindset of aggression or defense, because both are self-defeating. Instead, we train to be balanced in ourselves--if one side retreats, the other takes up the space, and vice versa. And our intention throughout remains one of connection--'hearing' what the other side has to 'say' and responding to it, not necessarily on their terms, but on our own.

Aikido teaches an attitude towards conflict that starts before the conflict starts. We practice to take sente from the first moment, kuzushi from first touch, zanshin when the conflict is resolved. At no time do we give over initiative. Neither do we allow ourselves to become over-committed to the conflict itself. Once it's resolved we either disengage with a throw, or finish it with a simple pin. And the techniques are designed to encourage full awareness of our larger environment throughout.

The spiritual lessons, I think, teach themselves.
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