Brian Meuser wrote:
Cool, thanks everyone for the info, I really appreciate it! Another question or two for you if you don't mind. I hear that aikido is based on sword fighting techniques, is this true? Also is it possible to apply my christian beliefs into aikido? I mean meditation as praying and reflecting on Christ's teachings. Jesus taught love and compassion, it just seems like the foundation is the same to me. Thanks again for all your help guys! You have all been great!
You can pretty much do what you want, its your decision and your Aikido after all. No-one can dictate to you what you are meant to think or feel during any of the exercises.
It helps sometimes to visualise certain Japan-o-centric visual metaphors for certain things, but certainly nothing that could conflict with your religion. If you sit in seiza and pray instead of just breathing, thats your choice.
Lots of people are put off by the bowing to inanimate objects like pictures and to their instructor and fellow students, there is however no religious meaning to this, its just a sign of respect, like a military salute.
Oh, about the sword thing, yes, thats true, the footwork, distance, timing and certain techniques definately reflect the sword-origins of Aikido but the actual sword-fighting aspect of Aikido is pretty watered down compared to a real kendo/kenjutsu school that specialises in that kind of thing. Aikido can still be complimentary to any extra sword arts you might want to try though, the footwork would probably translate pretty well.