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Old 01-31-2008, 05:08 PM   #1
grasshopper73
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Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

Hi Guys,

I am very interested in learning how to practice Aikido in a spiritual manner ?

So what exactly is the spirituality of Aikido in daily practice ?

How does one do "it" ?

What has really attracted me back to Aikido is that it is a "Budo". So how do I as a relatively beginner make Aikido a lifestyle and not just a practice session ?

For example , I have heard that with each cut of the bokken , I am cutting the ego. What does this mean ? What do I do with it ?

Well sorry for the scattered questions but it's much easier to converse these ideas than to type them.

Thanks !
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Old 01-31-2008, 07:38 PM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

IMHO, it is the attitude and intent that we bring to Aikido that guides the practice.
Aikido is a only tool.
How the question of "how" in your mind and heart.
Look for the answer in the metphor of your training.
Drop the question.
Train.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:33 PM   #3
grasshopper73
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

"Drop the question , Train."

I can't let you off that easy....c'mon.
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Old 02-01-2008, 05:07 AM   #4
KamiKaze_Evolution
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

Shugyo is actually including your daily life more than Aikido

KamiKaze
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Old 02-01-2008, 05:42 AM   #5
MM
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

There's an intern position open here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13891

Posted 2008-01-29 19:06:10 by Rev. Koichi Barrish
News URL: http://www.TsubakiShrine.org/

Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America is accepting applications for the Shinto/Aikido Intern. This full time position can be approached as a 3 month to 2 year commitment. The position includes all training, private quarters in shrine guest house and a stipend. Please contact Rev. Barrish (Shrine Priest), Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America, 17720 Crooked Mile, Granite Falls, WA 98252. www.TsubakiShrine.org Kannushi@TsubakiShrine.org http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Tsubakiko (360) 691-6389
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Old 02-01-2008, 06:04 AM   #6
grasshopper73
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

For the poster that posted "Shugyo" , can you please elaborate ?

And the Shinto shrine intern is out , I'm married with kids and full time job.
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:06 AM   #7
crbateman
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

Just my own opinion, of course, but I think the spiritual aspect is something that develops in its own way over time through each individual... through his/her training, personal beliefs, reading, and life experiences. I'm not sure there is a blueprint, map or guidebook, nor is there some jar of spirituality that you can buy and "apply liberally to the affected area". What "it" is for one, may not be "it" for another. The training on the physical level is a means for many to open their minds to possibilities on other levels. For me, reading is the way I get exposure to those possibilities. If that works for you also, I'd suggest you begin with the writings of Sunadomari, Stevens and Gleason. These offer an Aikido perspective, but you may find that this leads you to a broader interest in the realms of Zen, Buddhism, Shinto, Omoto, and others. It does not have to have religious connotations, but only give you the opportunity to add those thoughts that make sense to you to your own "toolbox".
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:41 AM   #8
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

Quote:
Russ Rohling wrote: View Post
"Drop the question , Train."

I can't let you off that easy....c'mon.
Dude, you want a magic bullet!

I think the point Lynn and Anthony and Clark are making is that you can't throw the "spiritual" switch as you step on the mat. If there's a spiritual element in how you're living your life, it will be present in your practice as well -- but having that spiritual element in your life isn't a rabbit that you can chase with any great deal of success, IME. It comes to you, when you are ready, in a way that's different for everyone, and you can't really pursue it -- all you can do is make yourself open to it.

So, how do you do that? Well...I think reading can help some, because sometimes you read something that describes a feeling or experience you've had, and gives a name to it. That helps me to identify the feeling when it happens again and be more aware of it. I'm also a big fan of what I call "lizard-mind" activities, those where you're doing something repetitive for a long time, in an environment without tons of stimulus for the "monkey mind" -- like, for example, taking a long walk on a quiet country road where there are no billboards, little traffic, nothing much but cornfield after hayfield after cornfield. After a while, the "monkey mind" shuts up its chatter, and your mind is very active, but on a non-verbal level. It's a form of meditation, one that I find more accessible than seated meditation, although I will do that too. With practice, that meditative thinking becomes more easily accessible in daily life, including on the mat.

When you can train with your mind in this state, it opens you up to stuff, and that is when the rabbit sneaks up on you.
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Old 02-01-2008, 01:26 PM   #9
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

The following is taken from the Aikikai Foundation's website.
************************************************
What is Aikido?

A pure budo comes with the unification of technique, body and heart. The budo, which will manifest itself, does not depend upon the technique, but rather upon the heart of the practitioner.
The aim of Aikido is a kindness of heart expressed through this spirit of budo.
Here are some thoughts on the spirit of Aikido.

Aiki is love.
Budo is the path of the warrior. Combined with the spirit of heaven and earth in your heart, you can fulfill your life's destiny with unconditional love for everything.
Aiki seeks to skillfully strike down the ego and inherent insincerity in battling an enemy. Aiki is the path of forgiveness and enlightenment. The martial techniques provide discipline for the journey of uniting the spirit and the body through channeling the laws of heaven.

The goal of Aikido training is not perfection of a step or skill, but rather improving one's character according to the rules of nature. One becomes "resilient" inside yet this strength is expressed softly. Movements found in nature are efficient, rational, and soft,while the center is immovable, firm, and stable. This principal of a firm center is universally consistent -- and must be true for each person. The culmination of Aikido is expressed by aligning one's center with the center expressed throughout nature.

Aikido movement maintains this firm and stable center with an emphasis on spherical rotation characterized by flowing, circular, dance-like motions. These pivoting, entering and circling motions are used to control and overcome the opponent. The principle of spherical rotation makes it possible to defend one self from an opponent of superior size, strength, and experience.

Although Aikido movements are soft, rational, and smooth as in nature, by applying a bit of force,these can become devastatingly effective. The gentle quality of Aikido makes it appealing to men and women and children regardless of age. It not only offers spiritual development but also provides exercise and teaches proper etiquette and behavior.

At the heart of Aikido is the Eastern concept of Ki --the universal creative principle. Aikido seeks to unite this universal Ki with the Ki (life force or breath) found within each person. Literally, Aikido translates as "the way of harmony with Ki".

*************************************************
I don't know who the author of the above passage is, but nothing I have ever read coincides so closely with my own personal viewpoint of aikido. I am called upon to speak by my church on occasion and I oftentimes quote at least some portion of this statement somewhere within my talk. You see, for me, this viewpoint of aikido melds beautifully with my religious beliefs. Because of this I relate my study of aikido to life, and it to me and to my family. It is all so very personal yet we want to shout from the rooftops; HEY! Look, listen, feel, what I have found. I know you will embrace it with the same passion I have. And I'm so surprised when they do not feel what I feel. And they are so surprised when I do not feel what they feel.
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Old 02-01-2008, 02:40 PM   #10
grasshopper73
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

"Aiki is love.
Budo is the path of the warrior. Combined with the spirit of heaven and earth in your heart, you can fulfill your life's destiny with unconditional love for everything.
Aiki seeks to skillfully strike down the ego and inherent insincerity in battling an enemy. Aiki is the path of forgiveness and enlightenment. The martial techniques provide discipline for the journey of uniting the spirit and the body through channeling the laws of heaven."

None of this has been talked about at my level in my dojo. It it just goes on to confuse me , because I really like the ideas presented in that paragraph......but how do I go about channeling the laws of heaven ..etc.

When I have some more time I want to post some specific examples and get your guys input. Thanks again.
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Old 02-01-2008, 04:09 PM   #11
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

Quote:
Russ Rohling wrote: View Post
but how do I go about channeling the laws of heaven ..etc.
When you guide uke to the mat you are channeling the law of gravity.
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Old 02-01-2008, 04:25 PM   #12
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

Quote:
Russ Rohling wrote: View Post
And the Shinto shrine intern is out , I'm married with kids and full time job.
Good thing.

To me, there is a deep current of spirituality underneath the practice that leads to the very heart of Aikido. In my experience, few people actually practice that way, actually understand it, or really know it's there, even people with.... big spiritual "trappings." There are many places to start, one might be: What do you think O Sensei was expressing, or trying to express, through the physical art?

My opinion.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:18 PM   #13
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

Quote:
Russ Rohling wrote: View Post
So what exactly is the spirituality of Aikido in daily practice ?
In my opinion it's very simple: be positive.

Quote:
How does one do "it" ?
Again I think the simple answer is to act positively. How this happens varies from situation to situation and person to person.

Quote:
So how do I as a relatively beginner make Aikido a lifestyle and not just a practice session ?
I really like Lynn's remarks on this one: Practice. If there's a lifestyle to Aikido or Budo, i think it's simply continuous effort/practice to do your best; anything else is a biproduct of that.
Speaking as a person who practices Aikido in a highly spiritual setting, I think the difficulty that sometimes comes with trying to take a concept like "Aikido" and making it a way of life or spiritual practice is that we often overthink things. From the Jinja Shinto perspective it's very simple: abide by nature and cultivate positivity...as I understand it anyway...and I think this is very much the distilled message of Osensei...again, as I think I understand it.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:39 PM   #14
Aiki1
 
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

"Except for blending with the void
There is no way to understand The Way of Aiki."
- O Sensei

What might he have been talking about or referring to?

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:43 PM   #15
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

Quote:
Larry Novick wrote: View Post
"Except for blending with the void
There is no way to understand The Way of Aiki."
- O Sensei

What might he have been talking about or referring to?
Is the short answer that in doing we begin to understand? I've always had a hard time finding a concept to fit "the void." What do you think?

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:02 PM   #16
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Is the short answer that in doing we begin to understand?
That's actually an interesting response to me, but I think it's important to know what one "should" be "doing" in the first place....

Quote:
I've always had a hard time finding a concept to fit "the void." What do you think?
This is a big subject, in a sense, but one can start with this - not to be cryptic but - a beginning can be found in the space between the thoughts - the notion that some sort of valuable experience is to be had outside of "one's rational mind."
-------------------
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the Ancient Ones,
seek instead what they sought."
- Chris Davidson, Shamanic teacher

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:20 AM   #17
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

Well, Russ, you have a family, full-time employment, the works. Perhaps you aren't seeing the forest for the trees blocking your view. The ideas of aikido, though originally phrased and structured from japanese culture/history are not wholly alien to us. You may very likely be acting the part without realizing it.
Quote:
Russ wrote:
but how do I go about channeling the laws of heaven ..etc.
There are universal truths of the human condition present in the philosophy of aikido. Say, the golden rule for instance, something similar anyhow. Treating someone as you would prefer to be treated is not specific to western ethics. It just makes plain good sense as a rational human being.

I want to ask how can't you see it all around you.. Though I tend to nerd out pretty heavily, and am often accused of 'over-analysis'

Lose all the writings, texts, sound bytes that confuse you, define your personal language for your training and observation of aikido based on your teacher's actions and explanations as you understand them, in your head. , and use that to correlate it, connect it, to your life.

Anyhow, good weekend everyone!

If way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst.

- Thomas Hardy
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:17 AM   #18
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

Quote:
Russ Rohling wrote: View Post
So what exactly is the spirituality of Aikido in daily practice ?
The discovery of yourself physically and mentally through practice. Helping those you practice with learn by you being compassonate and selfless toward them.

Quote:
Russ Rohling wrote: View Post
How does one do "it" ?
By practicing with commitment, dedication, self discipline, self control and humor.

Quote:
Russ Rohling wrote: View Post
So how do I as a relatively beginner make Aikido a lifestyle and not just a practice session ?
By committing a portion of your weekly routine to practice. Make it a given that on certain days at certain times each week you are practicing. It becomes as much as a part of your life as going to work or going to school.

Quote:
Russ Rohling wrote: View Post
For example , I have heard that with each cut of the bokken , I am cutting the ego. What does this mean ?
Each moment of practice changes you. Each cut of the bokken, each movement of the feet, each fall that you take if done with serious intent to learn teaches you about yourself and the people you practice with.

Quote:
Russ Rohling wrote: View Post
What do I do with it?
Enjoy it.

David

Last edited by dps : 02-02-2008 at 05:26 AM.
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:39 AM   #19
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

Quote:
Larry Novick wrote: View Post
"Except for blending with the void
There is no way to understand The Way of Aiki."
- O Sensei

What might he have been talking about or referring to?
When the blending of the movements, directions and energies of tori and nage coincide perfectly so that when nage gets up off of the ground and thinks, "What happened, I did not feel tori throw me, I felt nothing!' and tori thinks, " What happened, I did not feel nage resist me, I felt nothin!.".

David
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Old 02-04-2008, 07:37 AM   #20
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Re: Practice Aikido Spiritually ?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Each moment of practice changes you. Each cut of the bokken, each movement of the feet, each fall that you take if done with serious intent to learn teaches you about yourself and the people you practice with.
...which, of course, is also true of what happens outside the dojo, although I'd change it to "each moment has the potential to change you". It's potential only, and the change may not be anything grand and trampling or anything tangible - it might be just a tiny shift in perspective or awareness. All the potential of these moments tends to get lost if you're focused on the Spiritual-with-a-capital-S experience.
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