William Bennett wrote:
So my question is do you think it's disrespectful to you (practioners of aikido) and
the Art of Aikido if I wish to learn the self defense techniques without the
spritual aspects put into it? Do you think I would offend a Sensai if I were to
bring this concern to his attention? I ask this because I have done research on
Aikido and have read of opposing sides of those who believe without the spiritual
aspects you are disrespecting Aikidoist's and the art of Aikido. I do not wish do
that. I have a deep respect for Martial Arts and Japanese culture. I plan on visitng
Japan and an Aikido dojo this upcoming March. What better way to experience the art
than to see it in it's birthplace, ya know? However if they are insepearble and one
cannot function without the other, then I will not practice it. I would rather not
practice it than bring disresepct to the Art of Aikido.
O-Sensei said "First look at Aikido as a Budo, then as philosophy." I know their are Aikidoka out there who do Aikido as a Martial Art only, and ignore the Philosophy and spiritual aspect. And I feel that is ok. Some people would probably be a bit upset, but everyone is different. I fisrt studied the spiritual aspect of Aikido, then took classes. Now I am becomming more enlightened because of the Martial Art aspect of it, but I still study the philosophy. I am also a Christian, and the spirituality of Aikido helped me understand my faith deeper. O-Sensei also once said that "practicing Aikido is doing the will of God". as in promoting peace and harmony throughout the world.
Long answer short; we each chose different paths along the "Way" that we feel are right for ourselves. I actually like talking to Aikidoka who choose the "Budo Only" aspect. If you feel you need to talk to a sensei about it, keep an open mind. They are there to answer your questions along the "Way".