Re: Without this, No Aikido
Ahh, an immortal question.
It refers to an even older and more frequently asked question: What is aikido?
I've asked dozens instructors this question and gotten dozens of very different answers. Each answer gave me another facet of this wonderfully complex concept. My favorite answer is from my sensei, Dennis Tatoian, who looked at me and made a kokyu motion with his hand and wrist.
So my conclusion is this: Aikido, like any other concept, is what you want it to be. It is what you believe in. I believe that the concept of striking to gain control is against my concept of Aikido. The founder, however, made excellent use of Atemi and many instructors today claim that it is an integral part of awase technique.
The point is, if you want to make Aikido your religion, I say that is wonderful. If you want to believe that humans have no spirit, and you are in this purely for physical training, then I say have fun and train your body, while you have one to train with! Practice of Aikido has urged me into the path of a devout pacifist. I don't even kill bugs anymore unless I have to. Yet I say that my beliefs make me no more a follower of Aiki-budo than anyone else.
The beliefs and philosophies behind Aikido are as numerous as the people who practice. We know what that founder believed, but since his death his art has grown and evolved.
The meaning of Aikido, like the meaning of life, is subjective. To say one person isn't practicing Aikido because they don't believe in certain aspects of the philosophy would be an act of religious discrimination.
So, to each his or her own!
Just my thoughts. ^_^ Thanks for asking this question, it has helped me to think more clearly on my own beliefs. That, is the point, after all, right?