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Old 04-07-2004, 04:10 AM   #29
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Lack of spirituality

Jop den Daas (k&#039shi) wrote:
Greetings fellow Aikidoka .

Is it just me, or is the spiritual essense of Aikido oftenly ignored by those who teach it? I have an Aikido instructor (I dare not to call him Sensei) which totaly niglects the spiritual aspects of Aikido, can this man even be labeld an Aikido teacher? The oneness, is that not where Aikido is truely about?

How is that at your Aikido dojo, is the spiritual side of Aikido also niglected there?
I happen to think that Aikido is very much a spiritual practice. But that part of the practice is VERY personal. I am perfectly happy to talk to my students about the aspects of the art which I understand. I will, upon occasion, point out some aspect of what we are doing which has some interesting metaphysical dimension to it. But I am not interested in talking to my students about the "spiritual" side of the art as if I were in a position to dispense some secret knowledge from on high. I don't want my students looking to me for what they should be looking to find in themselves. This is a trap for the students and it's equally a trap for a teacher.

In many cases (not all) lots of talk about "spirituality" is a way for a teacher to appear to be superior, above the rest, and is often (not always) accompanied by technique that isn't as deep as the talk so to speak.

There are teachers around who I would be happy to listen to talk about the spiritual side of the art. They tend to be older and they have had their own direct spiritual experiences that have come through a lifetime of training. Some of these people have technique that is extremely deep and sophisticated, hard to understand... others manifest their spirituality through deceptively simple technique, their message may be a bit different.

Stop worrying about setting your teacher up as some sort of guru and train. If you want to read every book on Aikido which touches on spirituality, go ahead. Read every interview in the Aikido Journal collection, you'll find some very interesting spiritual ideas there. Sit around with your friends, drink some beer and discuss what you think are the meaning of O-Sensei's teachings... then get back on the mat and discover the truth of all these things for yourself. When you've done the work, if you find your teacher wanting, then fine, find another teacher. But I suspect that it's a bit early to be making this decision.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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