Hello to all of the Aikido community here.
Kevin Leavitt a hello to you and a good question. May I responded.
Do you mean in a religious sense. A person who subscribed to the spiritual pillar of Aikido walking the path the Founder cut for Aikido coming to the same spiritual knowledge or insight as he. Yes, many people in Aikido become enlightened because of Aikido. You don' t have to be some Aikidophile zen meditating esthetic searching for the ultimate Aikido satori. The extreme isn't necessary, a huge myth that has been an unrealistic stereotype for years. Understanding and having the knowledge to any degree that non-violence and compassion for others will make the world a better place is enlightenment. People are enlightened who get the value of conflict resolution, the value of deescalation, realizing aggression and violence aren't really an effective way to solve problems. Live by the sword, die by the sword isn't the way of life everyone wants to subscribe too. Upon the understanding a peaceful life has more benefits internally and externally in a person's life than a violent life, I would consider that enlightenment. Many people in Aikido arrive to that knowledge and insight.
I hope everyone is in good health and good training.
I don't disagree with your definitions and perspective. I tend to think that any experience that reduces ignorance and increases awareness to be of value or moving towards or forward. So, in that respect I agree.
However, the position I hold is that Aikido while a "positive" practice is nothing unique or special in this department. It is simply "one more thing" that we do that increases knowledge, awareness, and/or breaks down paradigms. that and YMMV. Apparently a teacher like Terry Dobson, who I only know from stories, was a remarkable individual that reached/touched many people.
I think that by Ellis' account, that if it wasn't aikido, maybe it would have been something else, or maybe he would have fallen into obscurity or when into the darkside...who knows. I am personally fascinated with the concept of karma.
Anyway, Martial arts and Budo, in general has affected my life in ways I'd never have imagined. The things I have done, and who I have become I can solely attribute to my practice of budo. I can personally pinpoint the day when I made a decision to walk into a dojo.
My education has been profound.
and I, like many, had hoped that Aikido would lead to dramatic insights and revelations. I went to U.S. Army Ranger School hoping that as a form of extreme Shugyo that I'd reach some profound point of enlightenment. It did not happen. But I do recall one day as I lay in a mud hole feeling sorry for myself watching ants crawl on the ground laughing as I realized the stupidity of the expectation that a lighting bolt of knowledge and total consciousness would come down from high! It just sucked...and sometimes life just sucks. Okay, I accepted it and oved on.
Years later though, I have found that the experiences I had are remembered and I get new perspectives on things as time passes.
All that said, I have not found any ONE practice or thing that has been a "one stop shop", and while I think I have a greater awareness of many things, I would not say I am enlightened or have I met anyone that I would considered to be enlightened. Certainly I have people I respect and consider mentors that I feel have skills, knowledge, and experiences that I can learn from. There are a few that I want to be more like them too.
But, as a practice, process, or methodology...I don't think that aikido as a whole is anything special...but, maybe there are individuals in the art that are special. I think the same thing can be found to be true in many areas from Institutions of higher learning and other practices. I think the individual teacher and person matters more than the actual practice.