I have to say that I don't really see the sense of the "let's all close our eyes" moment before class. I don't think it's harmful, but it may be...misleading, perhaps? Certainly if you poll a class of martial artists you'd get several different answers as to what they're supposed to be doing during this "meditation", and what it's supposed to lead to. Again, probably not harmful, but in terms of doing something good, it's kind of random, isn't it?
Very well put Mary. I agree that there are many different interpretations, and that the 'meditation' we do is probably more tradition than an exercise with at specific purpose. However I have found that as time passes some of the things we do suddenly appear to become meaningful as I learn new things, so I'm not going to discard it as of yet.
Right now - to me - it is a perfect opportunity to practice just 'sitting' and feeling how my body falls into place / balance - and I love to spend this brief moment to contemplate the concept of why we study Aikido. Also for the children's class it is excellent training in being quiet
Great day to everybody