Thank you for sharing this interesting blog!
Personally I think that O Sensei was right - Aikido can complete and enrich a religion.
Accept for perhaps the rituals in a catholic or orthodox church I do not see much of a link between Christianity and medieval knighthood. I think that much of the chivalry and traditions of that time has gone lost. I do know of two martial arts that do not have an Eastern background, but a Christian background; Systema and Shintaido. As far as I understand it Systema does seem to make an historical connection with the medieval knights.
In all times and in every culture the path of a warrior has always been a spiritual path. So why would this be any different for Christians?
The way you describe your faith seems to be very much in line with O Sensei's teachings and also with that of his spiritual teacher Onisaburu Deguchi.
And I agree with what you say about the martial arts; it is not just about learning to fight and I agree with what you say about the goal of the martial artist.
But it is my observation that martial arts in general over time have become more aggressive, more violent and less spiritual. It is the more common image that films an t.v. shows us. And I see it in many dojo as well. The emphasis is on results, physical strength and on winning. Might is right seems to have become a Budo-rule.
Although I know of several dojo that have a sincere and committed community, Aikido in general is not a great example of a way to build a constructive community. It is more about politics and gaining power. We can even see a reflection of this here on this forum.
It seems difficult enough for a traditional Aikido dojo to explain the real purpose of Aikido - would it not even become more difficult when you start teaching Aikido or another Budo to a Christian community that as its core has a teaching of love, peace, community, gratitude, hope,?
Any thoughts about this?
Thanks for starting this thread!
Thank you Tom for joining the discussion and your positive feedback to my blog
. I agree with you that Christianity has disconnected and lost its link to chivalry, for good or for bad. There are probably various historical factors that have influenced this. In many respects Chivalry was a very medieval answer to a very medieval problem. Nevertheless as a Christian martial artist and a 'student' (I use the term loosely) of Budo I find learning about how medieval knights married their faith with their profession very insightful and inspirational.
I also agree with you that the path of the warrior is a spiritual path. As martial artists our character is cultivated through training, like the polishing metaphor discussed by Diana. It is a path of self-discipline and moral cultivation. However, as you mentioned in your reply to one of Diana's posts there is no concept of original sin in Shinto so therefore Christianity does struggle to reconcile the worldview imbued in Budo by the spiritual world of ancient Japan. Conversely, this does not mean Christianity and budo are incompatible. There is great synergy to be gained from allowing budo to enrich religion.
I think the violence of martial arts has been emphasized in recent times due to the popularity and success of the conversion of bujutsu/budo into sport. Sport naturally involves competition and in combat sports this means that physical strength, agility and speed become the core components of a successful fighter. These are external factors rather than internal and therefore the art becomes reduced to the competition between two fighters on a physical level. When sport becomes profitable from a commercial viewpoint such as MMA and the UFC then the rules of the sport are adapted to make the sport more 'entertaining'. When entertainment becomes the primary goal of the sport then the spiritual path of the warrior is sacrificed for the more primordial gratification of seeing controlled violence.
Just out of interest would you mind elaborating on how the way I describe my faith is in line with Ueshiba & Deguchi's?