Asim Hanif wrote:
And I have! I see no conflict in what I practice on and off the mat. There is an interconnectedness in my personal mind-body practices, which have several components.
They each support the other. For example I find when I "ignore" uke my technique is not quite right. When I acknowlege uke's presence (making a genuine connection) my technique is much more fluid. This seems to happen with more consistency when I tend to my other practices such as Tai Chi, breathing, or making salaat (prayer). Those practices bring me to a place of "clarity". Ignoring uke would be to not acknowlege his presence or energy. My interpretation of the 1st Pillar is to acknowlege the presence of "God" as I know him, which to me means Universal Energy, which is endowed in all of us. How could I ignore THAT Energy (or Spirit or KI) and be a good Muslim?
An interesting aspect of the Five Pillars is that of "Jihad". The majority and traditional interpretation for many generations has been that "Jihad" primarily refers to the struggle with the demons within oneself and not primarily to fighting with non-believers. This is precisely what O-sensei was referring to when he said the True Victory is self Victory (Masakatsu Agatsu).
(It was Ibn Temiiyah in the 700's who advocated the fundamentalist position that real Jihad was war against infidels and false believers. This is what the modern Wahabists have used as the basis for their philosophy and has produced Bin Ladin and the other folks we are currently dealing with.)