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Old 11-08-2004, 06:04 AM   #95
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,087
Re: Aikido and being Christian

Jun Akiyama wrote:
Hi folks,

Just wanted to remind people that the topic in this thread is the manners in which aikido and Christianity interact, not on Christianity in general. Just thought I'd steer things back on topic.


-- Jun
One of the questions asked by an early poster (back in 2000) was whether as a Christian he could accept the belief system of aikido.

However, I am doubtful whether aikido actually has a belief system and think rather that what we are talking about is the belief systems of various teachers, including Morihei Ueshiba himself.

One of my teachers was an avowed Shintoist and a fervent supporter of the Japanese emperor system. In accordance with his beliefs he presented aikido as an effective martial art based on respect for the kami, one's ancestors, fellow students. In short there was not really a belief system, as a Christian would understand this.

Another of my teachers was an avowed Buddhist and stressed the importance of Zen for aikido training. When I mentioned Morihei Ueshiba's distaste for zen, he replied that he could not understand O Sensei's lectures when he was a deshi, and came to zen as an effective spiritual substitute, in keeping with a tradition handed down from the days of the samurai. So for my teacher, aikido was a complex preparation for death, as explained in the Hagakure. I recollect having an argument with him at this point and suggesting that he read St John's gospel, for an alternative to the Hagakure. The next time I met him, he took me to meet a Jesuit priest, who was lecturing on St John's gospel at the Buddhist temple he attended.

My present teacher is a typical postwar Japanese, who regards aikido simply as training. All his attention is focussed on technical matters and his aikido seems much closer to Daito-ryu, even though it has become much softer with his advancing age. If you asked him about the belief system of aikido (assuming he understood this concept), I think his reply would be that the techniques should really work and that is all.

Best regards to all,

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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