Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?
Well, it's a fascinating topic, for sure.
FWIW, the closest I would attempt to define "enlightenment" is gaining a degree understanding into how one's mind works. We have been conditioned into operating, responding and acting in set ways for most of our lives, but through careful attention, or sometimes, crisis or just blind chance, we can occasionally gain insight into the fact that how we act or think is not "us" at all. It's a sort of conditioned reflex. I think the moment of clarity that some alcoholics experience is a kind of enlightenment on this level.
When I started Aikido, the first thing I realised was that what my "mind" could not communicate with my "body" what it wished to do., but with practice my co-ordination improved. This had a tangible effect in that this understanding of "mind" and "matter" helped me to give up smoking. I realised that the cravings I endured were passing and were only limited to part of "me" not the whole of "me". Even if Aikido had not given me anything else (and it has), this "enlightenment" has improved my life immeasureably.
It should be noted, though, that this practice is a constant refinement of one's self knowledge. One may start on a physical level of getting one's muscles to obey one's intention, but one gains an ever deepening understanding of how one's mental and emotional states affects physical expression. It is an endless process IMO. It is shugyo.