Keith Lee wrote:
Sure, O Sensei was into it but big deal. Ghandi was Hindu, does that mean I have to become Hindu to learn from him or follow his example? Or do exactly everything he did? I don't think so.
I can practice hard/train hard in Aikido, develop excellent technique, and integrate the philosophical concepts of Aikido into my life quite easily without it (ki training/misogi/etc). Some (read, me) would argue that people can actually benefit from not doing it and instead spend that extra free time on actually training.
You don't learn to ride a bike from thinking about it, reading about it, talking about it, or doing supplemental exercises to increase your bike ridiing skills. You learn to ride a bike by doing it.
Seems to me Aikido is the same way. Just a hell of alot harder.
Well, O-Sensei was not only riding the bike, he was doing it in an entirely different way that was hard to see. He did all the demo's about being hard to push, the jo-trick, etc., etc., (and they're recorded for you to see, in fact) to emphasize that he did things in an unusual way. If you don't ride the bike like O-Sensei did it, you're not doing the same art he was... you're doing something else.
I don't particularly care if someone doesn't see that or chooses not to care, I was just pointing it out in a friendly way.
Believe it or not, the unusual skills that O-Sensei showed in his demonstrations are the heart and soul of Aikido. Maybe you would enjoy taking a look at some of the old films that are recorded and see if you can duplicate his feats. If you can, you understand the heart of Aikido and you'll understand why Shaun and I suggest it is so important. It's so important that when Koichi Tohei broke off from Hombu Dojo that he used the Ki strength as the banner of the new school he was starting.... if it wasn't so important, he wouldn't have done that.