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Old 06-22-2006, 09:30 AM   #26
Mark Freeman
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Re: Spirituality

While helpfull books on the suject are being recommended, I would like to offer up "Awareness" by the late Anthony De Mello. He was a Jesuit, but not bound by the thinking of 'his own team', he was interested in all paths to enlightenment. This little book was one of the most profound I have ever come across. Although there is no explicit connection to aikido, the connection is there in the focus on awareness itself.

For me the spiritual side of aikido does not exist in writings or words, it exists in the truth of the movements, deep connections can be made with another and oneself when performing the art. The more I practice the more I see/feel.

regards,

Mark

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Old 06-22-2006, 02:35 PM   #27
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
David Jackson wrote:
I went to Barnes and Nobles last night, thinking I wasnt gunna find anything on Aikido, but there is a whole martial arts section and I found books on Aikido, the spiritual side, training books, etc. there were some samurai books, Bushido, Five Rings, etc.
Barnes and Noble has stock copies of Yagyu Munenori's "The Sword and the Mind" which is paired in at least one edition with Takuan's letter to Munenori on the immovable mind (fudoshin). These are must reading, and give a really excellent sense of the embodiment of spirituality in the physical practice and the means of pursuing it - especially fudoshin and katsu jinken (life-giving sword).

These should be read closely with O-Sensei's Doka, especially those on water and fire and on the mythological sword of Susanowo, Kusanagi no tsurugi (whose chief magical attribute was to control the direction of wind (i.e.- ki), thus, enabling him to control a consuming fire and drive his opponent away.)

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:52 PM   #28
Don_Modesto
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
What the followers of Jesus taught was not exactly what he himself taught (the same could be said for any religion). I believe what Jesus taught is not what is practiced under the names of Christianity we have today.
Similar to what is happening to what O'Sensei taught as Aikido?
That puts us on the same page.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 06-22-2006, 03:14 PM   #29
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Has it not occurred to anyone else, that O-Sensei's Chinkon Kishin did not stop a the beginning of practice, but at its end?
It has to PAG who has written a couple of articles on this. They're available at AJ.

Quote:
As he said (which I quoted above and I believe from my own experience), the whole spirituality of aikido lives, breathes and is communicated in the movement of the body that we practice.
Yeah (queasy wince, here).

That's what the implication is. But Osensei seems to have been practicing a kind of Tantrism which requires initiation and guidance which he didn't provide to his students. I personally disagree that movement alone carries this. Rather, I think we've fallen into formalism absent much of the meaning Osensei was experiencing while doing his aikido.

Quote:
Remember this the next time you are doing tenchi-nage, and tell me that the spirtuality of aikido is dead.
Post-modernists and the MLA thought they were doing science until the Sokel Hoax. Our own sacred precincts might be similarly misunderstood. Caveat emptor.

Quote:
Aikido merely does without need of labels or names -- even though they are there -- in plain sight -- there are no secrets.
To those who can see, no doubt.

Thanks for the comment.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 06-22-2006, 04:12 PM   #30
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
That puts us on the same page.
and reading the same book.
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Old 06-22-2006, 04:38 PM   #31
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
It has to PAG who has written a couple of articles on this. They're available at AJ.
It was a rhetorical question. And I have read some, but not all of Peter's articles, but particularly I have read "Touching the Absolute" which touches on this theme. I have, in any event, read far too much to think that any of my ideas is really my own anyway.

Quote:
[QUOTE=Don J. Modesto wrote:
That's what the implication is.
Oh .. it is directly expressed, not implied:
Quote:
Doka wrote:
In these teachings listen most
To the rhythm of the strike and thrust
To train in the basics (omote)
Is to practice the very secrets of the art.

Progress comes to
those who train in the
inner and outer factors.
Do not chase after "secret techniques,"
for everything is right before your eyes!
Quote:
Don Modesto wrote:
But Osensei seems to have been practicing a kind of Tantrism which requires initiation and guidance which he didn't provide to his students. I personally disagree that movement alone carries this.
While it is reported that O-Sensei had childhood training in Shingon in Tanabe, which is a form of tantric Buddhism, his emphasis on relating Kojiki and his own Kotodama sytem to his aikido do not support an explicit connection to tantrism. There are deep historical connections between Shingon and Kotodama, it is true, but they are distinct movements in Japan.

Quote:
Don modesto wrote:
Rather, I think we've fallen into formalism absent much of the meaning Osensei was experiencing while doing his aikido.
All human action carries meaning, not just speech, sound or mental image. A converse proposition would be that all meaning may be embodied in human action. If you doubt this -- a simple test -- punch your boss in the face tomorrow morning -- see if he takes your meaning ...

I am of the opinion that precisely this was O-Sensei's spiritual genius moment: to realize that the physical movements of aikido could perform the same metaphysical function ascribed to the physical sounds of kotodama.

And, here we all are ... still doing them.
Quote:
Don Modesto wrote:
To those who can see, no doubt.
I am but one of a number of one-eyed beggars ...

I fundamentally disagree with the propostion that the sign does not partake of the signified, and thus all communication is utterly vain, which is part of the point of Sokel's well-placed poke in the MLA's eye. OSensei's form is the content. The thing that is more than it is, is still not other than it is. There is a theological point in there somewhere, I think.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 06-22-2006, 04:50 PM   #32
Boontom
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Re: Spirituality

I did get some books, Here they are: Musashi's Book Of Five Rings, Bushido, Budo Secrets. My sensei gave me The Sword & The Mind, I havent had a chance to sit down and read it, but im getting around to reading these new books. I believe the Book of Five Rings might be more for Karate, but it doesnt go into any details on techniques so I read it since it is the philosophy of the Greatest Samurai in Japan Miyamoto Musashi.
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Old 06-23-2006, 11:38 PM   #33
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
While it is reported that O-Sensei had childhood training in Shingon in Tanabe, which is a form of tantric Buddhism, his emphasis on relating Kojiki and his own Kotodama sytem to his aikido do not support an explicit connection to tantrism. There are deep historical connections between Shingon and Kotodama, it is true, but they are distinct movements in Japan.
Explicit...

Tough criterion when dealing with Osensei, as has been widely acknowledged. In Osensei's thought, one thing is constantly taken to be something else, "I am the universe," e.g. Whether the mountain is the Lotus Sutra or aikido is Kojiki's gods, the pattern is the same. This is how I put it together, anyway.

Quote:
All human action carries meaning, not just speech, sound or mental image. A converse proposition would be that all meaning may be embodied in human action.
Subject to interpretive training. That's why the first time a Jpn saw chiaroscuro and the handling of light & shadow in Western painting he asked why the subject's face was dirty. This interpretive training is largely absent from aikido. We train. That's body and maybe something of spirit. But the mind probably isn't all that unified with these. The framework for this is absent.

Quote:
I am of the opinion that precisely this was O-Sensei's spiritual genius moment: to realize that the physical movements of aikido could perform the same metaphysical function ascribed to the physical sounds of kotodama.
Yup.

Quote:
I fundamentally disagree with the propostion that the sign does not partake of the signified, and thus all communication is utterly vain...
So...the map IS the territory?

Don't think so myself.

Quote:
OSensei's form is the content.
Nice aspiration. We disagree as to whether he has actually accomplished this. I don't think so.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 06-24-2006, 09:22 PM   #34
dps
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Re: Spirituality

"When anybody asks if my Aiki budo principles are taken from religion, I say, ``No.'' My true budo principles enlighten religions and lead them to completion."

From the book, " Aikido" by the Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba
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Old 06-24-2006, 09:52 PM   #35
Jonathan Han
 
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Re: Spirituality

I don't believe there is anything inherent in Aikido that is more spiritual than any other pursuit. I've heard some inspiring lectures and read the books mentioned above but they wouldn't qualify as spiritual experiences from Aikido training. Most of the time in the dojo is spent physically training or making conversations on a social level. Training does give one an opportunity to practice mindfulness and compassion. It brings to the surface our false pride, insecurities, and sadistic tendencies. One could use these moments to gain a deeper understanding and mastery of ourselves. But one shouldn't expect waza training or our teachers to elevate one's spiritual state. In the end, it is always a personal experience independent of the context.

Last edited by Jonathan Han : 06-24-2006 at 09:56 PM.

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Old 06-24-2006, 10:12 PM   #36
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Re: Spirituality

I forgot to mention that Advanced Aikido by Phong Tang Dong and Seisler has an interesting chapter on Omoto and aikido philosophy.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 06-25-2006, 03:05 AM   #37
graham
 
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
David Jackson wrote:
Hi, im interested in knowing, just what is the spiritual side of Aikido? I am a Christian, I dont plan to totally switch my beliefs, but to learn and understand the beliefs of the spiritual side of Aikido. I also believe that understanding the spiritual side will help build a level of maturity and respect for Aikido greater than I have now. I have heard of a belief that all people have chi which is energy from within, and everything has it, kinda like the force, from what I understood when I was told about this. I am unsure whether chi is something I believe in or not. If someone could explain for me the spiritual side of Aikido then that would be great.
Hi David,

There are plenty of Christians who practice Aikido. I myself work for a church (in fact, I should be finishing off my sermon as I type these words!) - and I've heard that there are a couple of "Christians Aikido" schools in the States, though I'm not sure what I think about that.

FWIW, I consider Aikido to perfectly harmonise with the teachings of Jesus. There are certainly few other Martial Art that I would want to practice nowadays. I would encourage you to go to a dojo and don't be afraid to ask respectful questions. For instance, some Christians struggle because we bow to some pictures at the beginning; apparently this is worship. Well, if that's the case, then we all worship each other at the end! If they had simply asked their Sensei he would have explained that it is a bit like a Western hand-shake - a show of honour and good intentions.

I personally think it's a shame when some Westerners try to take out the spiritual aspects of Aikido. I would say that the majority are universal principles and those that initially strike some as "suspect" can simply be parsed through a different cultural/religious framework. (The way I see it, O Sensei naturally explained things in a way that made sense to him.) For instance, it is interesting that the Genesis myth records that God breathed his breath (spirit) into 'Adam' to make him a living thing. In some sense, does this not mean that "life" - that energy or whatever that distinguishes us from non-living things - is in all of us and is in fact from/of God himself?

Bless you.
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Old 06-25-2006, 07:09 AM   #38
Mark Freeman
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Jonathan Han wrote:
I don't believe there is anything inherent in Aikido that is more spiritual than any other pursuit. I've heard some inspiring lectures and read the books mentioned above but they wouldn't qualify as spiritual experiences from Aikido training. Most of the time in the dojo is spent physically training or making conversations on a social level. Training does give one an opportunity to practice mindfulness and compassion. It brings to the surface our false pride, insecurities, and sadistic tendencies. One could use these moments to gain a deeper understanding and mastery of ourselves. But one shouldn't expect waza training or our teachers to elevate one's spiritual state. In the end, it is always a personal experience independent of the context.
Interesting post,

IMHO spirituality can be found in all human action, whether aikido is more effective than any other pursuit is as you say, dependent on the individual 'and' the context. If your aikido practice is focussed purely on the physical, then this what you get. If your aikido encompasses mind as well as body, then this is another level. If your aikido also looks for the 'spirit' of the moment inherent in the mind body practice, then you will deepen your experience of 'spirituality' whatever that is for you.

Aikido provides a practice where self improvement is both implicit and explicit. If you are trying to increase your mindefullness, compassion and reduce your false pride, insecurities and sadistic tendencies ( if you have them ). Then surely you are entering into the realms of spirituality? Aikido then is perhaps more useful than say water skiing.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 06-25-2006, 07:21 AM   #39
Mark Freeman
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Graham Old wrote:
There are plenty of Christians who practice Aikido. I myself work for a church (in fact, I should be finishing off my sermon as I type these words!) - and I've heard that there are a couple of "Christians Aikido" schools in the States, though I'm not sure what I think about that.
Personally, the idea of 'sect/ideology' aikido schools I find rather worrying, as I believe O Sensei wanted aikido to be for 'all'. Why not men only clubs? why not *insert colour here* people clubs? A slippery slope driven by exeption and difference. When people of all faiths ( including those with no faith ) practice together in harmony, as I'm sure the vast majority of us do, then we are working towards a better world. When people practice together in closed groups, they deny the chance of integration and in my view, move one step further away from harmony.

Can anyone confirm or otherwise what Graham has heard?

regards,

Mark
p.s. Would Jesus sanction this type of practice, or would his dojo be open to 'all God's children'?

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 06-25-2006, 09:02 AM   #40
dps
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Jonathan Han wrote:
I don't believe there is anything inherent in Aikido that is more spiritual than any other pursuit. ...... Training does give one an opportunity to practice mindfulness and compassion. It brings to the surface our false pride, insecurities, and sadistic tendencies. One could use these moments to gain a deeper understanding and mastery of ourselves. ...... In the end, it is always a personal experience independent of the context.
In the foreword of the book by Kisshomaru Ueshiba,"The Spirit of Aikido"' Professor Taietsu Unno writes, " The training and discipline common to all the Ways, martial or cultural, consist of three levels of mastery: physical, psychological and spiritual."


Any pursuit or endeavorer, can be a spiritual path and in your life you use many of these.
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Old 06-25-2006, 05:36 PM   #41
graham
 
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
p.s. Would Jesus sanction this type of practice, or would his dojo be open to 'all God's children'?
Oh, no - I can see the trendy HWJT (How Would Jesus Train?) bracelets already!
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Old 06-25-2006, 08:05 PM   #42
Jonathan Han
 
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:

Aikido provides a practice where self improvement is both implicit and explicit. If you are trying to increase your mindfulness, compassion and reduce your false pride, insecurities and sadistic tendencies ( if you have them ). Then surely you are entering into the realms of spirituality? Aikido then is perhaps more useful than say water skiing.
When was the last time you can say a spiritual lesson was included as part of the curriculum? Besides the physical training, do you do something else at your dojo within the context of Aikido training that is explicitly spiritual? How many dojos include spiritual development as a requirement for rank? Is something like that even quantifiable? There may be dojos that practice group meditation and share "lesson" readings after class. But these activities are not standard in Aikido. Also, is self-improvement the same thing as spiritual growth?

As for water skiing, I've never tried it but it should offer plenty of opportunities for spiritual experiences. It requires an awareness of one's balance, timing, surroundings, and trust in others for safety. I don't see how rolling around, applying throws and locks on people makes one more incline to be spiritual. What is it about Aikido that makes it more spiritual than water skiing? Can you give an explicit example? Is it the bowing and clapping that makes it spiritual? I love Aikido and I've found a great deal of personal growth from it. But I just don't see how training in Aikido offers a unique spiritual opportunity that is any different than another passionate pursuit.

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Old 06-25-2006, 10:45 PM   #43
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
... the first time a Jpn saw chiaroscuro and the handling of light & shadow in Western painting he asked why the subject's face was dirty. This interpretive training is largely absent from aikido. We train. That's body and maybe something of spirit. But the mind probably isn't all that unified with these. The framework for this is absent.
Only because his face is still dirty.

Convention is a means of communication by shorthand, in art or depiction by a form of schematic, a pared down rendering, dispesning with elements not essential to the particular message being transmitted. The availiability of this possibility of shorthand depends on prior agreement on convention. That convention takes up much of what we must teach beginners in aikido, so that they can understand the larger picture, and begin their exploration safely, understanding the posted warnings -- as in skiing, the meaning of the double black diamond for instance, requires familiarity with the convention it represents.

Schematic does not deny the possibility of realistic (denotative) depiction in full lighting -- but it is not necessarily critical to the narrow point being communicated, nor as powerful, where focus, concentration and studied disregard bring something that flat depiction cannot. Therefore -- a schematic. Aikido depends on these schematics, as in kihon. The fully drawn figure of even one technique is too multidimensional to capture in one go.

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
I fundamentally disagree with the propostion that the sign does not partake of the signified, and thus all communication is utterly vain...
So...the map IS the territory?

Don't think so myself.
The map denotes and connotes the territory, it evokes and invokes the territory, it calls forth desire to tread the soil of that territory. It is an interpretive guide to that territory. The map is the distillation of territory into convention.

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
OSensei's form is the content.
Nice aspiration. We disagree as to whether he has actually accomplished this. I don't think so.
You seem to see O-Sensei's techniques as the territory in need of interpretive guidance - you seek the map, the schematic to his techniques according to some interpretive rubric, narrower than the body of techniques themselves. I and others I have known, see the territory at issue as something far greater, and O-Sensei's techniques as the schematic -- the map calling us to explore it, and guiding us along our way.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 06-26-2006, 03:22 AM   #44
dps
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Jonathan Han wrote:
When was the last time you can say a spiritual lesson was included as part of the curriculum?
Wouldn't this be an organized way of expressing your spirituality or in other words practicing a religion?
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Old 06-26-2006, 06:00 AM   #45
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Jonathan Han wrote:
When was the last time you can say a spiritual lesson was included as part of the curriculum?
My daughter attends a Junior class and they have far explicit lessons. Just recently, they were given an example of how to not let bullies get to them.

They are also continually taught that aggressive strength is the path of weakness.
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Old 06-26-2006, 11:03 AM   #46
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Jonathan Han wrote:
When was the last time you can say a spiritual lesson was included as part of the curriculum? Besides the physical training, do you do something else at your dojo within the context of Aikido training that is explicitly spiritual? How many dojos include spiritual development as a requirement for rank? Is something like that even quantifiable? There may be dojos that practice group meditation and share "lesson" readings after class. But these activities are not standard in Aikido. Also, is self-improvement the same thing as spiritual growth?

As for water skiing, I've never tried it but it should offer plenty of opportunities for spiritual experiences. It requires an awareness of one's balance, timing, surroundings, and trust in others for safety. I don't see how rolling around, applying throws and locks on people makes one more incline to be spiritual. What is it about Aikido that makes it more spiritual than water skiing? Can you give an explicit example? Is it the bowing and clapping that makes it spiritual? I love Aikido and I've found a great deal of personal growth from it. But I just don't see how training in Aikido offers a unique spiritual opportunity that is any different than another passionate pursuit.
If you consider ki development as defined by the Ki Society as a spiritual practice, then that would fit your requirements. Ki development lessons are given with aikido classes or separately. There are separate ranks for ki development and a student is not able to achieve aikido rank until they reach a specific ki development rank.

Ki development would included things like ki development exercises, ki testing, ki meditation, ki breathing and kiatsu-ho, a healing form of acupressure with ki usage. Not only do Ki Society dojos regularly follow this curriculum, but many other aikido organizations that have been influenced by the Ki Society also follow similar teachings. So this would be hundreds of dojos internationally which have a spiritual practice built into the curriculum. Generally Aikikai dojos concentrate only on aikido techniques, but this would also vary from dojo to dojo.

Personally i don't consider what you do as being spiritual, but how you do it. One person can spend their day water skiing and another can water ski while meditating all day.

Last edited by tedehara : 06-26-2006 at 11:17 AM.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 06-26-2006, 11:18 AM   #47
Nick Pagnucco
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Re: Spirituality

I have to say, this has become a very good thread for me. Thank you, especially, to Mr. Mead and Mr. Modesto. I think it is an important issue to discuss how O-sensei's practice of aikido has or has not been reproduced, be it in terms of technique, spirituality, or conditioning.

That being said... I'm leaning toward Don's point of view on this one.

O-sensei's technique is social practice, and while it could be seen as a map, it need not automatically be seen that way, let alone what the map is specifically a representation of, or what it 'calls' us to do. The author (assumably O-sensei) cannot guarantee the correct reading of his texts without the use of very specific disciplining techniques, and the amount of variation and change within aikido over the last 60-70 years suggests that if the purpose of aikido was to create a spiritual vehicle that reproduced O-sensei's spirituality, then aikido has not been successful. Looking just at uchi-deshis, one cannot say that Shioda, Tohei, Sunadomari, Saito, Chiba, Saotome, or Kanai (to name just a very few) all have the same spirituality. The spirituality of aikido, and how it should inform aikido, are incredibly contested categories.

If one wishes to develop spirituality through aikido, I think this is a very possible endeavor, and also a very good one. However, it requires more than just the technique of aikido. The practice of aikido goes much farther than that. It includes an understanding of Budo, a structure to dojo organization (sensei, sempai/kohai relationships, amount of intensity allowed when and why, etc.). As such, I think some relatively stable organizations have developed some relatively standard ideas on spirituality/philosophy for their respective aikido practices. Simply knowing the right way to do move & do technique is not enough, as one needs a context to give those things meaning.

Because aikido practice is not homogenized by any means, the forms of spirituality it produces (or fails to) are legion.
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Old 06-26-2006, 11:46 AM   #48
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Re: Spirituality

In general, it is difficult to substantially prove spirituality is "taught" in aikido anymore, at least here in the states. I would tend to believe that spirituality is leaking out of aikido just as religion is leaking out of government, public schools and places where religious sensitivity is volatile. The pressure to keep our religious and spiritual beliefs internally is increasing as our society is becoming more critical of religious expression in any context. Public expression of spirituality is intimidating because we expose our more valued beliefs and thoughts for public scrutiny to which many no longer have appreciation or respect. Public expression is an intimidating thing because it holds us accountible for our beliefs through our actions. Humans rationalize all kinds of things, including our spirituality; we will reduce our spiritual commitment to the minimum amount of public commitment to reduce the potential for accountability and scrutiny. How many of us have answered a question under our breath with "I knew that?" The simple fact that you did not express the answer outwardly contradicts your statement. It more appropriate to mutter, "that's what I thought, but I did not say it aloud for fear that I would be wrong and publically accountible for my error."

Aikido is a perfect example of spiritual minimization. O'Sensei was deeply religious, almost (if not) fanantical; he received divine visions, joined a [cult], and believed he was posessed by a god. O'Sensei performed many actions, cleanings, exercises that represented his spiritual belief. Yet we choose to replicate in majority only physical exercises that may be veiled in their purpose. On one hand we claim that aikido is spiritual, yet on the other sheepishly concede that clapping during class is a religious activity from which some students abstain.

The spirituality that O'Sensei possesed and the courage he had to express his spirituality is greater than most of use will ever aspire to obtain. Rather, I believe spirituality is expressed through our actions. If we limit our spiritual expression to physical technique, then by our actions we limit our commitment in spirituality. I am very appreciative of those aikidoka that posess the courage to outwardly express their spiritual beliefs beyond simple exercise.
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Old 06-26-2006, 11:48 AM   #49
Jonathan Han
 
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
If you consider ki development as defined by the Ki Society as a spiritual practice, then that would fit your requirements. Ki development lessons are given with aikido classes or separately. There are separate ranks for ki development and a student is not able to achieve aikido rank until they reach a specific ki development rank.
...Personally i don't consider what you do as being spiritual, but how you do it. One person can spend their day water skiing and another can water ski while meditating all day.
Thank you for educating me about Ki Society. I am not qualified to judge whether Ki development is spiritual or not. But it is something that you can use as an example of a spiritual practice in Aikido. But for us Aikikai folks our training is mostly waza. Any meditation and readings are done outside the context of an official class (at most dojos). What I was questioning is the accepted "fact" that Aikido itself is a spiritual practice that is different from other styles or activities. I completely agree with you that it isn't What but How it is done.

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Old 06-26-2006, 12:53 PM   #50
Nick Pagnucco
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote:
The spirituality that O'Sensei possesed and the courage he had to express his spirituality is greater than most of use will ever aspire to obtain. Rather, I believe spirituality is expressed through our actions. If we limit our spiritual expression to physical technique, then by our actions we limit our commitment in spirituality. I am very appreciative of those aikidoka that posess the courage to outwardly express their spiritual beliefs beyond simple exercise.
While I agree that O-sensei's aikido was an expression of deeply held religious beliefs, and that in America things are a bit different, keep in mind that this whole issue is a lot more complicated than the binary of has spirituality / doesn't have spirituality. Omoto-kyo neo-shintoism, more common forms of shinto, Zen, Shingon, New Age, Christianity, Taoism, Humanism... I've at least heard of, if not seen, people genuinely try to connect aikido to all of these forms of spirituality, some more overtly than others.

To the degree that aikido is a vehicle of spirituality, it appears to be pretty agnostic about which form of spirituality it carts around.
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