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Old 12-12-2020, 03:54 AM   #1
Dojo: Roskilde
Location: Roskilde
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 70
Body, mind, and spirit

Yes - body, mind, and spirit. All three aspects are important in aikido and every keiko contains an element of each. I began in the martial arts with judo at 12, carried on with karate from 23. At those times the body - the physical techniques - were all that counted, winning techniques in judo, damaging techniques in karate. The mind and the spirit mattered to me not at all. The mind was a loyal engine to aid me in pursuing my goals in life, the spirit was for old people. At one later stage in my life, though, I was mentally seriously broken from many years of working as a director within a business where competition was cutthroat and mergers, hostile takeovers, and mass layoffs and international moves were the order of the day. In this situation, at 40, after a long pause from the martial arts, I began training aikido. It was a lifesaver, the mental aspects of aikido re-wired me fundamentally to deal with the stresses of work and helped me find other ways to live life. Now that I am (much) older (61) and have seen my parents and their generation wither and die, spiritual aspects of existence, which have always interested me, have become an integral part of my aikido training, my aikido thinking. Misogi no jo and misogi no ken have become meditative spiritual avenues for me, times when my mind can become still and my "self" can talk to me. The movements of tai jutsu show me the workings of nature, i.e. "the universe". Aikido, thus, maintains my body, soothes my mind, and elevates my spirit.

Different people seek different things, some seek insight, enlightenment, some seek effective self-defense or octagon usability. The latter are unimportant to me now, but I must admit that the octagon would have been just as alluring to me in my youth as the full-contact fights I used to relish in England and Scotland.

Many aikidoka seem very focused on the physical aspects of aikido, mental aspects are included and acknowledged, but often spiritual aspects of aikido appear to be ridiculed in many internet forums. Is it so, are the spiritual aspects of aikido being "shunned" a little bit in the aikido-community? I am happy with freedom for all to pursue what feels meaningful at the time, but I would like to see, perhaps one day, an empathic inclusion of all aikido-focus, from the use of aikido "on the street" to investigating the questions of "life, the universe, and everything" through aikido.
I have heard Isoyama Sensei several times say that if we only focus on the physical aspects of aikido, the "left" and the "right", we are letting down the aikido of O-Sensei, missing wonderful opportunities for growth. I, for one, enjoy the spiritual aspects of aikido -- and this does not stand in the way of the physical technique 😊

The quest for "internal power" could be a quest for "inner wisdom"!
Merry christmas to you all
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