Re: Ancillary Practices
Dear Mr. Ledyard,
One of the aspects of Aikido that I have taken to heart is the philosophy of unification of mind, body, and I personally throw into the mix Spirit. From this point of view, I never stop training in Aikido, on or off the mat.
If I am running or am in the gym I am training in Aikido. The same is true if I am reading a book, be it a mystery or the Bible. It is also true of my prayer or meditations. This is because of unification. It seems to me that the type of unification that O-Sensei spoke about is more that the joining of mind and body into one, but rather the pulling together of all the various strands of activities a person must keep running in order to function daily into one unified thread which is a presentation of ones identity.
This may seem very fuzzy. Perhaps a better way of explaining would be this: I do not "do" Aikido. Aikido is part of who I am. I would not go so far as to say that Aikido defines who I am, but it is one of the myriad threads that contribute to who I am. Since I take me with me wherever I go, and Aikido is a part of me, my Aikido is augmented by everything that I encounter in life.
I hope this helps answer your question. It may not be what you were looking for, but it is how I personally look at things.
Good luck with your search!