On the mat Aikido training is Budo, first and foremost. It has to be this way. I never consider spiritual or philosophical concepts or abstract ideas whilst training. Training is training. I'd prefer to train harder (in a controlled fashion) to help ‘beat' the impurities out of body and mind.
I can see commonality between spiritual practices and many martial arts training, in both form and function. They both have tradition, ethics, structure and teaching and both require of the participants certain things: concentration, inward refection, mindful awareness.
As does snooker and maypole dancing
. So what?
As suggested prior there is no conflict resolution in Snooker or maypole dancing. Through the process of placing ourselves in a conflict situation we can learn certain physical lessons. These lessons can then be applied back to non physical situations. For an example, unbendable arm, if we resist it what we are actually doing is pushing back against it. To do this we contract muscles, muscles only contract. So now instead of one contraction we now have two, one on top of the other. Fighting back in this way restricts the other systems in the body to help take the load, facia system for instance, which as we have recently discovered acts in tension throughout the entire body, it is stronger the more flexible it is. If we relax and extend we can engage with connection throughout our entire bodies and into the ground.
This example has clear crossover to verbal confrontations as well, under verbal assault our minds undergo stress. Stress is a contraction, it encumbers our mental agility, we freeze up, cant think what to say. On the other hand if we are able to stay relaxed we can more easily do a verbal irimi tenkan and get out of there safely. In this way Budo reduces the fighting mind, you can't argue with somebody if they don't argue back, it is just not possible.
For me Aikido is much like a Zen Koan, it asks of us a seemingly impossible question, this acts to force us into a state of intuition. Latent forces, can by definition, not be seen but are only to be felt and known through intuition. They cannot be clearly understood intellectually. By giving up and giving in to the process we are forced to let go of the self, some negative emotions, skeletons, horrible personality traits may be revealed in the process, then hopefully we can drop them. I hope the process will lead me towards a real sense of the nature of life's inner activity.
Maybe the maypole dance representing intertwining the horizontal forces and the vertical forces in nature, the yin and the yang, vertical fire and horizontal water, male and female, may also teach me something, or perhaps it is just another bad example of ribbon dancing.