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Old 01-03-2007, 06:24 PM   #1
John Matsushima
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Location: Miura, Japan
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 226
Western religion and Aikido

It is in obvious question that many ponder the relevance, or necessity of spirituality in Aikido. But for those who do want to include it, why do so many seem to practice the traditions of the East instead of their own? Why do people chant kotodama who can't even speak Japanese? I have seen many people bow before kamidana and shrines in their dojos, and clapping their hands before practice and not even know why, thinking that it is just a form of "respect". I don't even know why so many people in the west even have these things in their dojos if they aren't somehow rooted in Shinto or Buddhist religions.
To me, Aikido as an art would be much richer for those who include spirituality to keep to whatever faith they had before they started Aikido. For example, I would say if you are Christian, then you should say an Our Father and pray for world peace before practice and have a cross on the wall instead of a picture of "The Great Sensei". I'm not saying that I think you have to be Japanese to follow these Eastern traditions, but why not just follow your own? Instead of bells and incense and little oranges on a shrine, why not something a little closer to our hearts? Practicing a faith, one which we can trully understand and is close to our hearts, I think would bring new meaning and depth to our practice of Aikido.
This is not a question of whether or not spirituality should be a part of Aikido, but that for those who do think so, what are your thoughts ?

-John Matsushima

My blog on Japanese culture
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