View Single Post
Old 10-17-2012, 06:37 PM   #1
Travers Hughes
Dojo: Aikikai
Location: Gold Coast
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 33
Theory: "Spiritual" vs "Learning something new we can't explain"

Hi all, in reading a lot of recent threads, the word spiritual is being used a lot.
(I've put this in the general column because my approach is more pragmatic than spiritual - please feel free to move if required).

I wouldn't consider myself overly spiritual, and don't necessarily believe that the ongoing practising of aikido is a more spiritual exercise than say the ongoing practice of tennis or whatever else floats your boat. That doesn't make me any better or worse than you - I just have a different viewpoint.

The thread of aikido being a "hippie art" etc makes me wonder:

With internationalisation and ease of transport / communications in the last 50 years, people are looking for new experiences and opening themselves up to new cultures with lesser effort than before. (I don't need to hop on a boat for 2 months to go to Japan and train with some sage for 20 years - I can fly over for 6 months and supplement my training with DVDs, books and the occasional podcast. Don't understand a word/concept? Put it into google translate. Life sure is easy now!) We've therefore reduced the amount of effort required to gain quality learning, while increasing the quantity of what we can learn. Sacrificing quality with quantity in our busy lives leads to a superficial of understanding.

Consider yogi / swarmi / monks / martial artists able to do seemingly impossible feats - I can see the feats, but haven't invested the time into understand the culture/history behind the feats, so label them as mysterious and spiritual).

Why do I think this? I'm lucky - I spent quite a bit of time in Japan as a youngster and was exposed to language and culture. There is less "mysteriousness" about aikido to me than a person who has not had the same cultural exposure. I take their proclamations of aikido being "spiritual" as their feeling of wonderment about trying a new activity and learning some basic concept which is opening up a floodgate of new possibilities. It's almost forcing a change from the current norm of quantity learning vs quality learning.

I'm a beginner. My aikido learning is just that - the training in the techniques of aikido. I speak the language and therefore understand what to do in the technique (NOTE: I'm not saying I can do them, just know what I SHOULD be doing in a mechanical sense!) There is no "aha" moment when I can out together the terms to see relationships. (There are plenty of "aha" moments in learning movement, however - don't get me wrong, I don't have an inflated opinion of myself in any way. I consider myself lucky in the sense that I have a bit of a communication shortcut, that's all)

So my question is:

Is it the "aha" moments that you have that you use as your "spirituality" (insert desire to continue training if preferred)?

Love to hear your comments.
  Reply With Quote