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Old 09-05-2012, 08:23 PM   #1
NekVTAikido
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Definition

As Aikidoka, we're seeking spiritual development - which means,we're learning to align ourselves and our intentions with the world around us; learning to be in harmony with our circumstances, and to find satisfaction in that harmony.

There's many paths to that end, but we're taking the path of Aikido. This means that we're using martial forms - combat techniques - as our method of learning. Which means that we must have a certain level of competence in the forms, physically and intellectually, so that we can use them in service of our goal. We need to need to know about fighting, we need to know how to fight - so that we can use fighting techniques as the laboratory for us to study harmony, and to study ourselves.

Therefore, what truly sets us apart as Aikidoka is not the specific techniques - it's the intention we bring to our training. If our self-awareness is sufficient, we could attain our ends by studying the techniques of Brazilian Jiu-jutsu or Tae Kwon Do or Marksmanship.

Agree? Disagree? What am I missing?
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:18 PM   #2
gregstec
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Re: Definition

Quote:
Gordon Young wrote: View Post
As Aikidoka, we're seeking spiritual development - which means,we're learning to align ourselves and our intentions with the world around us; learning to be in harmony with our circumstances, and to find satisfaction in that harmony.

There's many paths to that end, but we're taking the path of Aikido. This means that we're using martial forms - combat techniques - as our method of learning. Which means that we must have a certain level of competence in the forms, physically and intellectually, so that we can use them in service of our goal. We need to need to know about fighting, we need to know how to fight - so that we can use fighting techniques as the laboratory for us to study harmony, and to study ourselves.

Therefore, what truly sets us apart as Aikidoka is not the specific techniques - it's the intention we bring to our training. If our self-awareness is sufficient, we could attain our ends by studying the techniques of Brazilian Jiu-jutsu or Tae Kwon Do or Marksmanship.

Agree? Disagree? What am I missing?
in short, I think you are being somewhat presumptuous in thinking all aikidoka have the same goal.

Greg
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:40 PM   #3
Chris Li
 
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Re: Definition

Quote:
Gordon Young wrote: View Post

Therefore, what truly sets us apart as Aikidoka is not the specific techniques - it's the intention we bring to our training. If our self-awareness is sufficient, we could attain our ends by studying the techniques of Brazilian Jiu-jutsu or Tae Kwon Do or Marksmanship.

Agree? Disagree? What am I missing?
Of course, you are assuming that other arts are devoid of that kind of self-awareness...

Best,

Chris

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Old 09-05-2012, 11:48 PM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: Definition

I agree with both Greg and Chris.
You are assuming all who train in aikido share the same reasons, motivations and goals AND that no other martial arts offer this possibility. Both patently indefensible assertions to me.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:44 AM   #5
Budogirl
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Re: Definition

I respectfully ask, what are you looking to accomplish here, with such "definitions"? What purpose would a discussion in something so general, and presumptuous and somewhat vague be?
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:15 AM   #6
sorokod
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Re: Definition

Quote:
Gordon Young wrote: View Post
What am I missing?
Perhaps yoga and meditation among other things in your list. These are much more direct ways to develop spiritually if this is what you are after.

-- david
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:38 AM   #7
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Definition

Quote:
Gordon Young wrote: View Post
As Aikidoka, we're seeking spiritual development -
No.
I don't. I'm seekig spiritual development in my christian spiritual practice. Other practices in my live like aikidō or qi gong may support my personal development. I at least hope so. But this - in my eyes - is different from seeking spiritual development.
I practice aikidō while being a "spiritual person". But this to me seems to be completely different from seeking spiritual development through aikidō.

Plus: If someone truly seek's spiritual development through aikidō, I think he or she has to seek in the world of shintō, ōmoto kyo, buddhism, daoism, ... .
The founder had his own spirituality. And if aikidō is used as vehicel to seek spiritual development it only can lead to the spirituality which was originally inherent.

Quote:
- which means,we're learning to align ourselves and our intentions with the world around us; learning to be in harmony with our circumstances, and to find satisfaction in that harmony.
No.
This is definitely not what my practice is about. I am practicing mere physical technique. It may have aspects of "internal" work coming from different sources, but they have in common that it is not spiritual work in whatever sense. But mere body work.

Quote:
Therefore, what truly sets us apart as Aikidoka is not the specific techniques - it's the intention we bring to our training.
No.
I have met a whole lot of people from different arts, having the identical mindset or intentions or hopes, dreams and images ... as far as spiritual matters are concerned.
People practicing daoistic arts, karateka, classic wrestlers, boxers, taekwondoin ... this is only what comes to my mind spontanuesly.
I believe it to be an arrogant and a misleading way to assume to be "better" in some sense than other martial style. And even to assume to be "different" is very fast proved to be wrong when practicing with people from arts that are near.

I am sorry for my clear "no"s. I think this may sound offensive or arrogant ... at least not very humble or friendly.

But after years of similar discussions it has become more and more important to me, to be clear in this point.
Maybe at last we have got fundamentally different ways of aikidō at last?

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 09-06-2012 at 01:49 AM.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:56 AM   #8
phitruong
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Re: Definition

i thought the way to develop spirituality is to go down the local pub and start consuming large quantity of spirits.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:45 AM   #9
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Definition

Quote:
Gordon Young wrote: View Post
As Aikidoka, we're seeking spiritual development - which means,we're learning to align ourselves and our intentions with the world around us; learning to be in harmony with our circumstances, and to find satisfaction in that harmony.
I think you have to learn what spiritual development is. Your definition is not correct.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:55 AM   #10
TokyoZeplin
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Re: Definition

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
i thought the way to develop spirituality is to go down the local pub and start consuming large quantity of spirits.
Ah, a fellow Beerdoka! One of the martial arts I'm particularly good at.
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:57 AM   #11
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Definition

Gordon,
a valiant and important attempt, but probably bound to fail because of reasons outside of your argument...

Endo Seishiro apparently (Carsten?) refers to Daoism a lot, Robert Frager is a teacher in the Halveti-Jerrahi order of sufis, Toyoda Fumio was a Zen teacher, André Nocquet a devout catholic, Robert Nadeau teaches his special blend of alchemy, and Morihei Ueshiba himself, as is known, had his own neo-Shinto cosmology. Only to name teachers.

Some will argue that all these traditions share a common human experience of the divine. That is a very popular view nowadays (Jack Kornfield's books pretty much sum it up), but one has to be aware that it is just another point of view really, and some of the abovementioned traditions might find it quite offensive to be lumped together and subsumed that way...

I think there is a spiritual reason of some sort why aikido practice is organised the way it is, and why it is practiced not as a deadly pressure-tested fighting art. (Now somebody is going to jump in and scream that the second doshu did that...) But I am not sure it has its own spirituality, rather (and there is a famous O-Sensei quote somewhere I think) it asks people to draw their own conclusions and do their own work in that direction, if they want to. Probably in a larger framework, as Carsten suggests.

Personally, I would rather do MMA or Koryu than Aikido without any "spiritual" openness, but that is just me...

Good luck with your inquiry!

Last edited by Nicholas Eschenbruch : 09-06-2012 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:31 PM   #12
Rob Watson
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Re: Definition

Quote:
Gordon Young wrote: View Post
As Aikidoka, we're seeking spiritual development - which means,we're learning to align ourselves and our intentions with the world around us; learning to be in harmony with our circumstances, and to find satisfaction in that harmony.
Even if we accept this definition I ask myself 'what is the purpose of such development'? I, for one, am perfectly happy being miserable, if it helps my family and friends have a more fulfilling life.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:29 PM   #13
NekVTAikido
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Re: Definition

Well, of course you all are right - terribly presumptuous of me to speak as though all Aikidoka share the same motivations. But I do believe that some significant percentage do share the ideas I've articulated. My purpose in posting was to see what other people think and what refinements or corrections they would offer. My bad for not being a little more clear about that, and for not explicitly stating that I was proposing a straw man "definition"

(But then... Part of the point was to just post *something* and not spend forever wordsmithing it - I'm trying to break that habit. :-)

@Nagababa - If my definition of spiritual development is wrong, then what do you say is the right definition? (This is kind of a trick question, I'll admit that right up front. The trick is: I feel there's many way to define it that are provisionally valid, but all of them are inadequate in some perspectives - That said - my curiosity is not so much about the shortcomings of definitions, but about the places where they are valid, and can shed more light on my own understanding.)
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:50 AM   #14
SeiserL
 
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Re: Definition

I have always heard that too, the spiritual basis of Aikido.

Yet I seldom see it actually talked about or practiced in the dojo.

However, IMHO, everyday we have the opportunity for our own spiritual (however we individually define that) development.

That includes our Aikido training.

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 09-07-2012, 07:16 AM   #15
lbb
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Re: Definition

Quote:
Gordon Young wrote: View Post
Well, of course you all are right - terribly presumptuous of me to speak as though all Aikidoka share the same motivations. But I do believe that some significant percentage do share the ideas I've articulated.
If that's true, I think it's only true in the vaguest possible sense.

Quote:
Gordon Young wrote: View Post
My purpose in posting was to see what other people think and what refinements or corrections they would offer. My bad for not being a little more clear about that, and for not explicitly stating that I was proposing a straw man "definition"

(But then... Part of the point was to just post *something* and not spend forever wordsmithing it - I'm trying to break that habit. :-)
Well, you know...if you enjoy this kind of seeking, have at it. I just don't think you're going to find anything. Whatever definition you arrive at, it will either be so vague as to merely be a banal observation, on the order of "Most people in North America have two legs" -- true, but so what? -- or it will exclude too many significant examples to stand as a rule.

Maybe a better approach is to step back and ask yourself what you're after in seeking this definition. Are you trying to find a spiritual path for yourself, or do you have some other goal in this?
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