Wow. That's an excellent passage. Water imagery does seem to work well with aikido.
I've always thought First Corinthians Chapter 13 is very aiki. It's the one that begins:
(1) If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
(2) If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
(3) If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
It reminds me in some ways of the discussion of 'ki', or at least the philosohpical principles in aikido. You can twist someone's wrist and make them fall down; you can even do this every day for years, but if the intent behind it isn't aiki, it's not really aikido.
In fact, you can (I would argue) do very smooth and flowing and impressive aikido, but do it, say, narcisistically. At a certain point, you have to let go of the ego, maybe, but my cynical side says you can fake it. The above passage also reminds me of something that I think I need to remember in my aikido training: it's not all about me. That is, aikido as a form of self-improvement can (I think) lead to a certain kind of arrogance, not unlike the fellow in the 'empty the cup' story. I recall Kierkegaard writing that if all you cultivate is your own individual power, that is all the power you will have. (Implicitly, you will not have 'divine' moral strength.) So to phrase it maybe less controversially, it reminds me that even if I build up my 'faith', and 'wisdom', and 'strength', and even 'compassion', if I view that in the context of all the ways I've made myself better, it's fundamentally arrogance.
One of my favorite aikido shirts is from a grand re-opening of Aikido of Berkeley (excellent seminar!). On the back is printed, "Aikido is a matter of the heart." I don't know whose words those are, but they are very well-chosen.
Last edited by Paul Sanderson-Cimino : 03-25-2004 at 06:27 PM.