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Old 05-01-2007, 11:43 AM   #26
SeiserL
 
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
Salim Shaw wrote: View Post
One the most prevailing behaviors that is so distasteful to some many in the Martial Arts community, the spiritual crap. This is one of the main reasons that Aikido is not taken serious.
IMHO, you are correct.
Spiritual crap is still crap and should be accepted as crap.
Spiritual practice, now there's the discipline.
Thank you for the opportunity to practice.

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 05-01-2007, 02:09 PM   #27
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

The art is a spiritual practice. The fact that this person’s or that person’s Aikido is not spiritual does not take away from the fact that the art is spiritual – in the same way this person’s or that person’s Aikido not being martial does not take away from the fact that the art is martial. The Founder was very clear in his practice and in his words that this is the case. If someone’s Aikido is not spiritual, it is just that person’s Aikido that is (not) marked thusly and not the art; as when someone’s Aikido is not martial, it is just that person’s Aikido that is (not) marked thusly and not the art. This is a little bit more than, “Aikido works, it is just your Aikido that does not work. For, if a person has an Aikido that is not spiritual, or not martial, in my opinion, that person has got some serious self-reflection to do, as one has to go to great effort to keep the art a-spiritual or a-martial. Behind such great efforts lay a whole lot of stuff that Aikido training, at any level, is supposed to purify out.

That said, I would define a spiritually fulfilling Aikido as being marked by two vectors – depth and breadth. By depth, Aikido is spiritual according to how penetrating we are in our self-reflections (i.e. how much we are able and willing to reveal of ourselves to ourselves) as they come to us via the practice and penetration of the Art. By breadth, Aikido is spiritual according to how much we are able and willing to apply the discoveries of our self-reflections to other areas of our lives – with ALL AREAS OF OUR LIFE being the direction/goal.

dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 05-01-2007, 02:58 PM   #28
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Ki Symbol Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
Chuck Gordon wrote: View Post
As an atheist and skeptic, I have to ask for definitions of spiritual, too, as I don't believe in a 'spirit' as a distinction from emotions and intellect. As an abstraction, it can, of course, refer to intent, will, courage or any number of other intangibles.
Chuck, I think this is nitpicking on the word too much. To me, spiritual practice especially as it pertains to the martial arts does not have to be and should not be confused with mysticism and mythology.

As a scientist, I very much feel that one strong aspect and appeal of aikido for me is as a spiritual practice. Aikido is an activity that involves me physically as well as mentally in as Carl Sagan would put it a reverence for life, awe at the wonders of nature, confronting ethics and morality, building community, the celebration of life's passages and a sense of striving for social justice. Aikido definitely presented me with a path to be confronted with physical manifestations of certain philosophies swirling around in my head. It provided a discipline in which to work on nonverbal aspects of myself in emotional and other non-intellectual realms. It provided balance in my adult life to the highly analytical and intellectual activities I spend my time on.

to quote from a very nice essay that I found when I was thinking about my response to this...

Carl Sagan and Modern Scientific Humanism

Quote:
Sagan distinguished clearly between mysticism and spirituality. While mysticism is concerned with matters of magic, the occult, the supersensual and "essentially unknowable', spirit is something quite different, he maintained. "It comes from the Latin word 'to breathe'. What we breathe is air, which is certainly matter, however thin. Despite usage to the contrary, there is no necessary implication in the word 'spirituality' that we are talking about anything other than matter (including the realm of matter of which the brain is made) or anything outside the realm of science...Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality...The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a profound disservice to both."
In my view, the self-defense aspect of aikido is actually critical to a deeper authentic spiritual practice in aikido. Without training in an awareness of why something works and why a certain movement or feeling is needed to be effective, you remove the ability to experience those moments in training in the dojo when reality intrudes and for a moment a response was not just kata but actually just the right and appropriate thing to happen at that moment regardless of where you are. A little epiphany happens however briefly that illuminates everything.

---

on a less serious note, how are those hot tubs in Bavaria ?
dang, I better start scrounging some cash together in a hurry!
at the moment I have been focussed on preparing for my Sandan test in Iaido coming up fast in August at the national camp. My performance that day with all the pressure in front of a large audience is going to be at least a surreal experience if not a spiritual one. I will definitely be out of body that day. Look forward to the day after, worse it looks like several of my students will be testing for shodan that day and watching me. Ugh, I may need to escape to Bavaria after that.
I gather Emily is still putting up with you!

plus
Craig

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Old 05-02-2007, 07:40 AM   #29
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

I found this to be interesting and decided to post it on this thread.

In the conclusion of the thesis (chapter v) the author says,

"I have sought to address two questions. The first question was simply, Is Aikido a form of religious practice for its American practitioners? This was a straightforward question. The second was more complex. If Aikido is a form of religious practice for its practitioners, how does it fit into their religious framework? Is it subsumed within another, more traditional religious tradition, such as Christianity, or are traditional Western religious traditions rejected and simply replaced with a new religious framework?"

and later on in his conclusion he writes,

"For two-thirds of all subjects, Aikido was a religious practice.
The high percentage for whom Aikido was a form of religious practice was surprising because many of these people were strongly affiliated with established religions. In fact, half of these subjects identified themselves as either members of a particular religious organization, or as unaffiliated Christians (the one Moslem was also a member of this group). These individuals were able to interpret the teachings of Aikido, as well as those of their primary religious affiliation as being mutually supporting, rather than as contradicting each other.

The other half of the subjects for whom Aikido was a religious practice were no longer affiliated with any religious organization. In fact, no member of this group even identified themselves with an established religious tradition. There was a general feeling within this group that genuine religiosity and religious organizations are mutually exclusive. These individuals did not like organized religious groups, and felt that religious dogmas obstruct one's search for true religious understanding. Several of them stated they felt that each person must find the truth for themselves, rather than simply accepting what others said was the truth.

Many members of this group were actively developing their own cosmologies and sets of religious practices. Taking something of a supermarket approach to religious ideas and practices, these individuals had investigated numerous religious traditions, including various Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist groups, practices and literature. Taoist works, particularly the Tao Te Ching, were very popular with this group, several of whom quoted from it during their interview. "

http://arizonaenergy.org/Aikido/aiki...actice_in_.htm

Aikido as Spiritual Practice in the United States

by Peter W. Boylan, M.A.

A Thesis
Submitted to the
Faculty of The Graduate College
in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the
Degree of Master of Arts
Department of Comparative Religion

Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, Michigan
December 1999
Copyright by
Peter W. Boylan
1999

Four sources the author uses on the philosophy of Aikido are;
" The Art of Peace" by John Stevens ",
"Aikido and the Harmony of Nature" by Mitsugi Saotome " ,
"Abundant Peace, by John Stevens",
"Aikido in America", by John Stone and Ron Meyer

Last edited by dps : 05-02-2007 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 05-02-2007, 08:00 AM   #30
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

What disturbs me in some folks' responses when the issue of spirituality in Aikido comes up is the idea that the principles/concepts of "spirituality" and "self-defense" are mutually exclusive terms/paths. That is, an Aikidoka can only pursue one path and not both simultaneously. That's just rubbish!

Concerning what exactly "is" spirituality in Aikido is like what former President Bill Clinton said, "it depends upon what your definition of 'is' is..."

From what I have culled from O'Sensei's writings, interviews and what many of his uchi-deshi reported concerning spirituality in Aikido, I'd settle on the non-religious definition that "spirituality" in Aikido is the awareness of your connection to other people & the world around you.

As such, you can interpret that awareness in a multitude of ways. In a religious context, a martial context, a tactical context, an ethical humanist context, an existential context, a psychological context, a socio-political context...any context you want. One is not limited to only one context in that the context changes with every situation we find ourselves in, both on and off the mat. In fact, that is what spirituality in Aikido is...IMHO.
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Old 05-02-2007, 08:25 AM   #31
SeiserL
 
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
Brian Dewey wrote: View Post
What disturbs me in some folks' responses when the issue of spirituality in Aikido comes up is the idea that the principles/concepts of "spirituality" and "self-defense" are mutually exclusive terms/paths.
IMHO, spirituality and "self" defense, perhaps (not certainly not necessarily) mutually exclusive. Spirituality and "other" defense perhaps mutually inclusive.

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 05-02-2007, 08:25 AM   #32
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Aikido as Spiritual Practice in the United States

by Peter W. Boylan, M.A.
Peter's thesis is also here on AikiWeb:

http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/boylan2.html

-- Jun

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Old 05-02-2007, 08:43 AM   #33
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
IMHO, spirituality and "self" defense, perhaps (not certainly not necessarily) mutually exclusive. Spirituality and "other" defense perhaps mutually inclusive.
Point well-taken!
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Old 05-02-2007, 09:03 AM   #34
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

From my perspective, it's not that one would train in both the cultivation of the spirit and self-defense - as if one wear eating hamburger and fries. My experience suggests to me that such an approach would only work to have one thing distract from the other. I would also suggest that such would be the case even in the more culturally acceptable "defense of others." Rather, the martial side of a fully realized Aikido practice, and thus the capacity to defend oneself or others, is more an incidental of proper training, an incidental that comes about as a result of using violence (i.e. the subjective experience of ourselves in conflict) to cultivate the spirit and/or to develop awareness regarding one's habitual enslavement to fear, pride, and ignorance.

As the main tool, the martial side is no less an aspect of the entire practice than a mixing instrument is to a cake recipe. However, like in a cake recipe, sure you can lick the spoon, but you'll only want to eat the cake. You can appreciate the martial benefits, even as you are dependent upon their incidental presence as a sign that you are seeking deeper and deeper truths regarding your habitual enslavement to fear, pride, and ignorance, those things that have us de-centered and reactionary, those things that keep us from fully realizing the Oneness/God/Awareness/Spirituality/Etc. (you pick the word that gives you the least hang-ups), but it can only get in the way if we become attached to them in any manner (e.g. wanting them, naming them, having them define us, etc.).

My take,
dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 05-02-2007, 04:40 PM   #35
Janet Rosen
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

I appreciate Craig's long post on differentiating mysticism from spirituality.
I see no contradiction between having one activity serve as both a spiritual practice and a practical martial art, just as I see no contradiction between, say, finding a spiritual aspect to washing the dishes, and actually washing the dishes well!

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 05-03-2007, 03:13 AM   #36
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Can't say its a spiritual thing for me.... more about overcoming my weaknesses and carrying on the best I can.... It helps to keep me young and optimistic and keeps me out of the rut that life can become if we allow it. You can go to church and do the Christian bit if that's spiritual.... imho spiritual is in the mind where 'God' was really born but that's something you won't find out until you have expired!!
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Old 05-03-2007, 09:11 AM   #37
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
Can't say its a spiritual thing for me.... more about overcoming my weaknesses and carrying on the best I can.... It helps to keep me young and optimistic and keeps me out of the rut that life can become if we allow it. You can go to church and do the Christian bit if that's spiritual.... imho spiritual is in the mind where 'God' was really born but that's something you won't find out until you have expired!!
I think of the term 'Takemusu Aiki" when I hear your last sentence. The translation, as with all translations, is rendered many ways. I come to a sense of 'corageous ,generative re-birth' or 'unionized something from the place of nothing' when my mind travels to this concept. For me, that is in the mind of God, for now.

Spiritual is a vague word in our language. Often we don't have a language that is structurally accomodating to discuss spirituality. If we could think of it like 'snow' to the inuit maybe we could have some luck. Honestly, I avoid the word in everyday use becuse it is so relative. But being relative we can evaluate our own growth by measuring our Own responses to situations, evaluating them, and then reexamining our responses in the future. Did we grow? Yes or No. Perhaps enlightenment is a better word for elevating our responses and our selves. Not some outside 'thing' but truly a measure of ourselves against our higher educating ,sensibilities.
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Old 05-03-2007, 09:18 AM   #38
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
Brian Dewey wrote: View Post
Point well-taken!
Through the form of a well forged body comes a brilliant light.

thanks
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Old 05-03-2007, 10:28 AM   #39
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
.... imho spiritual is in the mind where 'God' was really born but that's something you won't find out until you have expired!!
"I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God".

Sufi Proverb


Whatever we perceive in the world around us tends to reflect who we are and what we care about most deeply, as in the old saying, "When a thief sees a saint, all he sees are his pockets."

"Every activity can be an opportunity for the most profound lessons." Ragip Baba

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Old 05-03-2007, 01:44 PM   #40
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Not everyone who takes Aikido to it's spiritual equation is a chanting hippie. Unless of course you mean that skinny old guy in a skirt, with that long beard who went around, absurdly, claiming that, get this, Aikido is a manifestation of divine will as sent through him in the form of a martial art. What a stoner!
This is by Far the best post I've read in a Long time!!! Esp. the last line. I love it.

Thank you for a great laugh!

LN

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 05-03-2007, 01:51 PM   #41
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Nobody take this personally, please. :-)

Reading this thread reminded me of an old Sufi saying:

He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool. Shun him.

He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is asleep. Wake him.

He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is a child. Teach him.

He who knows, and knows that he knows, is wise. Follow him.

Although I would change the last to be:

He who knows, and knows that he knows, is wise. Take him to lunch.

LN

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 05-04-2007, 09:15 AM   #42
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
Larry Novick wrote: View Post
Nobody take this personally, please. :-)

Reading this thread reminded me of an old Sufi saying:

He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool. Shun him.

He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is asleep. Wake him.

He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is a child. Teach him.

He who knows, and knows that he knows, is wise. Follow him.

Although I would change the last to be:

He who knows, and knows that he knows, is wise. Take him to lunch.

LN
When are we going to lunch?
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Old 05-04-2007, 09:36 AM   #43
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
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When are we going to lunch?
Ok, I should have said: take -Her- to lunch! :-)

LN

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 05-08-2007, 03:44 PM   #44
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
Larry Novick wrote: View Post
Ok, I should have said: take -Her- to lunch! :-)

LN
Until or after lunch, does anyone else have a word to weigh in here before I end this thread?
Given all of the votes in the district, we have determined spirituality to be the winner!
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Old 05-08-2007, 04:03 PM   #45
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Going

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 05-08-2007, 04:04 PM   #46
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Going....

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 05-08-2007, 04:06 PM   #47
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Do symbol Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Gone! I hearby declare this thread sold to the highest bidder, spirituality!

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 05-09-2007, 04:02 AM   #48
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
Is aikido a spiritual practice?
Once a year it is. After our annual dinner, the spirit flow freely, and the beer and the liquer and ... you know what I mean.

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 05-09-2007, 08:41 AM   #49
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
Xu Wenfung wrote: View Post
Once a year it is. After our annual dinner, the spirit flow freely, and the beer and the liquer and ... you know what I mean.

Boon.
Yah,but, I don't wait until once a year.
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Old 05-09-2007, 08:43 AM   #50
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Re: Is aikido a spiritual practice ?

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
Gone! I hearby declare this thread sold to the highest bidder, spirituality!
Please go to Martial or Spiritual? if you are further interested in this or other related topics( including "Best" Bathroom Practices for the Powerful and Potty Trained).

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