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Old 03-15-2009, 12:26 AM   #1
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Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

I have only recently began studying aikido, and have enjoyed the experience greatly up to this point. The more I read and study the principles underlying aikido there are a number of philosophical/spiritual components which do tend to underpin the art itself.

At least on the superficial level many of them correspond to what Christians understand and believe and many of the teachings and examples in the Bible. However I do not feel that on the deeper most fundamental aspects of my beliefs allow for a deep journey derived from the teachings of aikido's own founder, though again I am sure there are many principles and "teachings" which themselves would not be objectionable and in fact correspond to my own Christian beliefs regarding how to handle conflict generally.

The question still arises how deep into the training of aikido beyond the learning of technique or form it is possible to go and still call what I practice truly "aikido"..My own answer to that question is that I will continue to think of my practice within the confines of the system as "aikido" even within my own self-defined limits regarding the explicit spiritual elements which I elect forgo, in favor of the doctrine which I have received in my life through the Bible.

The purpose of spirituality in or outside of aikido is to give meaning and purpose within each person in life and beyond. The focus of Christian doctrine is love, first of God, and then for your neighbor, it is only through attaining these first two areas of love, that a person in able to properly love oneself. What we are taught is that there is one way one truth and one light, just as there is one God. This is one of the principal areas in which the Bible and aikido's founder philosophy diverge. I am not saying everyone must agree with me, rather I am merely stating a truth in doctrine. Each person is always free to make their own choice and decision as to what path they will follow, that is also a fundamental doctrine. However with every authority given to make our own decision there is an associated responsibility for how we exercise that freedom.

Each individual brings their own personality, attitude, and spirituality into their aikido training. As with all endeavors in life the time, effort, and endeavor each person places into their art will affect in the final product of that they take out of it. If it ever reaches the stage that my development within aikido is detrimentally affect because of some "conflict" between the underlying spirituality and teachings of aikido as an art, and what my conscience and understanding of my Christian religion teaches then I know for myself which must take precedent. The whole purpose of religion/spirituality is to give hope to the spirit, peace to the mind, joy to the spirit, and righteousness to the world around us. I am thankful I have found that path before I found aikido, and look forward to finding a way to gain the most from my aikido experience within my own spiritual beliefs.
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Old 03-15-2009, 08:22 AM   #2
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

You have made an idol of your doctrine.

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Old 03-15-2009, 09:14 AM   #3
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

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Joe McParland wrote: View Post
You have made an idol of your doctrine.
What does that mean in this context, exactly? That you do not privilege your own doctrine? If you don't, then why the criticism of another person's doctrine? If you do, then what justification is there to criticize?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:40 AM   #4
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

I have no such burden, since Erick carries my doctrine for me.

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Old 03-15-2009, 10:37 AM   #5
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

Blair,

What flavor of Christian faith or doctrine do you follow? Are you Orthodox, Catholic, Mormon, Born Again, etc.
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:58 AM   #6
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

Born Again is the category listed above I would place myself in.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:16 AM   #7
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

Sounds like Yeshua Do is a martial discipline that is better aligned with your beliefs than Aikido.

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Old 03-15-2009, 11:38 AM   #8
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

That website was interesting, especially where the founder describes his struggle between "fundamentalism" (what the church and pastor would approve) and what was "reasonable" - his words.

In the end, it looks like he decided to do what was right for him.

:-)

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Old 03-15-2009, 01:08 PM   #9
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

Blair,

Ya got to do what ya gotta do. There is no need to put Aikido before God. Aikido isn't going to get you into heaven. It isn't going to save your soul. It is a path far different than Aikido. I am thinking the path of Aikido is more of a social ideal bottled in a reflective martial art. You practice Aikido to understand the ideals of a better, less violent, world.

Yea, there is Shinto in Aikido and O'Sensei's views like all Japanese. But, those deities in terms of Shinto in general are about spirits that in their complexity aren't similar to the worship of one God, or the gods (Roman, Egyptian, etc.) that conflict with God. Never the less, a Christian individual can feel there is conflict depending on their faith etc.and how they worship. It then would be best for them to walk away from Aikido. Cause, Aikido isn't going to save your soul, or get you into heaven.

Good luck.
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:59 PM   #10
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

Aikido has Oomoto-Kyo in it just like a crocus blooming has Roman Catholicism in it.

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Old 03-15-2009, 03:00 PM   #11
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

Quote:
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The purpose of spirituality in or outside of aikido is to give meaning and purpose within each person in life and beyond. The focus of Christian doctrine is love, first of God, and then for your neighbor, it is only through attaining these first two areas of love, that a person in able to properly love oneself. What we are taught is that there is one way one truth and one light, just as there is one God. This is one of the principal areas in which the Bible and aikido's founder philosophy diverge.
Each individual brings their own personality, attitude, and spirituality into their aikido training. As with all endeavors in life the time, effort, and endeavor each person places into their art will affect in the final product of that they take out of it. If it ever reaches the stage that my development within aikido is detrimentally affect because of some "conflict" between the underlying spirituality and teachings of aikido as an art, and what my conscience and understanding of my Christian religion teaches then I know for myself which must take precedent. The whole purpose of religion/spirituality is to give hope to the spirit, peace to the mind, joy to the spirit, and righteousness to the world around us. I am thankful I have found that path before I found aikido, and look forward to finding a way to gain the most from my aikido experience within my own spiritual beliefs.
Maybe this will help:
O'Sensei in italics; my reflections in reg.

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.-
Christian beliefs included. In fact, in my perspective, it allows us to put into action our christ consciousness and to realize that there is in fact only one god/love and divine source that is functioning in every one of gods creations. What people call them, in the grand scale, are simply nicknames.

The source of Bu is divine love. It is the spirit of love and protection for all things. The training of Budo is the forging in our minds and bodies the power of divine love, which produces, protects, and nurtures all things in the Universe(god's creation). The techniques of budo are signposts pointing the way which leads to this.-Divine love being the embodiment of god aka...christlike being.

Aikido is love. You make this great love of the universe(god's creation) your heart, and then you must make your own mission the protection and love of all things. To accomplish this mission must be the true budo.
-Onward Christian Soldier!

I find that aiki brings together a connection between my spirit and my action. Which helps me with the reading of 'Don't you know that faith without works is dead?'

Anyhow, keep your heart open to practice and toss out that which does not serve you.

Peace my Brother!

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:07 PM   #12
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

I am a very inexperienced beginner so please take my thoughts with a grain of salt (and perhaps more experienced practitioners will correct me if I am mistaken?)

What if one were to approach the practice of Aikido as an instrument of spiritual growth, rather than an intrinsically religious path? Prayer seems to work this way - many people of many disparate faiths pray deeply and mindfully, yet in spite of the transformative power of that practice they are not all led to the same revelation. Prayer is the medium, but it is not the message. The ability to recognize Truth comes from skepticism, faith, and learning which frequently occur parallel to, but not inside of the act of prayer.

In the same way, couldn't Aikido be seen as a medium or conduit through which all aikidoka can reach closer to the Source, guided by their convictions? That's my impression after reading Jennifer Smith Sensei's reflections.

-Allin Kahrl
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:14 AM   #13
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

Quote:
Joe McParland wrote: View Post
Aikido has Oomoto-Kyo in it just like a crocus blooming has Roman Catholicism in it.
"Look! 'E's 'avin' a go at the flowers, now!"

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:53 AM   #14
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

Quote:
Allin Kahrl wrote: View Post
I am a very inexperienced beginner so please take my thoughts with a grain of salt (and perhaps more experienced practitioners will correct me if I am mistaken?)

What if one were to approach the practice of Aikido as an instrument of spiritual growth, rather than an intrinsically religious path? Prayer seems to work this way - many people of many disparate faiths pray deeply and mindfully, yet in spite of the transformative power of that practice they are not all led to the same revelation. Prayer is the medium, but it is not the message. The ability to recognize Truth comes from skepticism, faith, and learning which frequently occur parallel to, but not inside of the act of prayer.

In the same way, couldn't Aikido be seen as a medium or conduit through which all aikidoka can reach closer to the Source, guided by their convictions? That's my impression after reading Jennifer Smith Sensei's reflections.

-Allin Kahrl
But I didn't say it as well as you.

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:22 AM   #15
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

More seriously, Blair. There are deeper and longer connections than we generally give credit. This is not a question of analogous teachings, but teachings that have a direct historical connection with one another through a very long and complicated journey.

Study the Silk Road. The Shinto Zoka-Sanshin, and the issue/problem of monotheism within Shinto. The Da-Huang manuscripts. The 8th century "Nestorian" Stele erected in the Tang Dynasty capital. Scholarly cross-pollination and cooperative translation amongst Assyrian Christians and Buddhists in 7th-10th cen. Chang'an. Kukai, Sancho and the context of their receptions of the Tantric Dharma at the same place, during the same period. Juuji. (十字) The nature of logos and of kotodama in Shingon and Shinto thought. Empress Komyo's 8th cen. reception of a visiting Persian dignitary. The origin of Maitreya other Miroku sects, and the origin of DaiNichi. Compare nembutsu doctrine and the teaching of unmerited grace in venerating the Holy Name. The connections between Amitabha in Gandhara (Dai-Nichi) and the "Bright Teaching" or "Faith of Light" (JingJiao 景教 -- J. Keikyo). Uzumasa (太秦) (Koryu-ji) and the cultural identity of the Hata (太秦), and the identity of the 7th-10th cen. Christian faith called "of Da Qin" (太秦), later called JingJiao 景教 in China. Isa stories. The origins and probable beliefs of the Hata clan and the significance of the Greco-Buddhist center in Hadda in Gandhara to the Silk Road religious syncretism, and the origin of the first anthropomorphic images in Buddhism there. The immediate confusion of the 16th cen. Jesuit presentation of Christian teaching as a new strain of what most Japanese believed Buddhism was.

Read P. Yoshiro Saeki on the status of the effort to draw these connections together before the War stopped it.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:21 PM   #16
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

Quote:
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But I didn't say it as well as you.
You're generous with both your experience and kind words. Thank you.
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Old 03-17-2009, 12:02 AM   #17
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

Quote:
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You're generous with both your experience and kind words. Thank you.
Shoshin attracts shoshin. You're very welcome.

js

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 03-17-2009, 12:14 AM   #18
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

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Sounds like Yeshua Do is a martial discipline that is better aligned with your beliefs than Aikido.
Yeshua Do is Aikido and Iaido combined with a westernized ethos of budo. Jordan Sensei is 5th dan in both above mentioned arts.

So there's no need to go looking any further than the truth of where you are.

In āʾ Allāh (إن شاء الله),
jen

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Old 03-17-2009, 03:44 AM   #19
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

umm im not quite sure what the conflict between aikido and christianity is? i dunno maybe i havnt gotten deep enough into aikido to understand the conflict but it seems to me that taking care not to hurt someone whos trying to hurt you is very christianlike...
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:28 AM   #20
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Yeshua Do is Aikido and Iaido combined with a westernized ethos of budo. Jordan Sensei is 5th dan in both above mentioned arts.

So there's no need to go looking any further than the truth of where you are.

In āʾ Allāh (إن شاء الله),
jen
Not an expert on Christianity but it seems that Jordan Sensei disagrees with you:
Quote:
Finally in April, 2001, in Iowa, holding in one hand the experience of the Way of the warrior and in the other the vision I have decided to name my unique Christian Martial Art -- "YESHUA-DO

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Old 03-17-2009, 08:50 AM   #21
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Maybe this will help:
O'Sensei in italics; my reflections in reg.

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.-
Christian beliefs included. In fact, in my perspective, it allows us to put into action our christ consciousness and to realize that there is in fact only one god/love and divine source that is functioning in every one of gods creations. What people call them, in the grand scale, are simply nicknames.

The source of Bu is divine love. It is the spirit of love and protection for all things. The training of Budo is the forging in our minds and bodies the power of divine love, which produces, protects, and nurtures all things in the Universe(god's creation). The techniques of budo are signposts pointing the way which leads to this.-Divine love being the embodiment of god aka...christlike being.

Aikido is love. You make this great love of the universe(god's creation) your heart, and then you must make your own mission the protection and love of all things. To accomplish this mission must be the true budo.
-Onward Christian Soldier!

I find that aiki brings together a connection between my spirit and my action. Which helps me with the reading of 'Don't you know that faith without works is dead?'

Anyhow, keep your heart open to practice and toss out that which does not serve you.

Peace my Brother!
Jennifer,

I see where you are coming from, and I would like to share my view.

As you know- the way of Jesus, and the way of God isn't Aikido. O'Sensei wasn't Christian, or Jew. Christian religion has strict laws, and a bible to guide, far more complicated then Aikido. Aikido isn't or shouldn't be a Christian sect, and devote Christians should have an issue with Aikido. Just because of a seemingly similar word in Aikido, doesn't make all things in Aikido acceptable to Christians. For, example, the Shinto elements in the dojo and in O'Sensei's writings, the devotedness to O'Sensei that is in the dojo, the spiritualism, etc. all conflict with Christianity.

Some of us are more secular Christians or are different denominations who have no problems with Aikido. But in this case, we should respect other's concerns who do have an issue with Aikido, and not try to tweak Aikido to look like Christianity, or otherwise be persuasive. If a Christian has an issue with Aikido we should respect it. Shouldn't we? It makes everyone happy that way.

And btw, O'Sensei's message when told to the world was around a thousand years too late. Christ beat him to it, anyway. I think Christianity is a better religion then Aikido. anyway. Aikido is a great martial art with it's own Japanese spiritual composition and complexity.
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Old 03-17-2009, 09:42 AM   #22
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

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At least on the superficial level many of them correspond to what Christians understand and believe and many of the teachings and examples in the Bible. However I do not feel that on the deeper most fundamental aspects of my beliefs allow for a deep journey derived from the teachings of aikido's own founder, though again I am sure there are many principles and "teachings" which themselves would not be objectionable and in fact correspond to my own Christian beliefs regarding how to handle conflict generally.

The question still arises how deep into the training of aikido beyond the learning of technique or form it is possible to go and still call what I practice truly "aikido".
I have several thoughts on this issue, but first I recommend checking out Peter Goldsbury's series of articles on this site titled, "Transmission, Inheritance, and Emulation": http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12008

Those articles are a wonderful history of aikido and really get at a lot of the issues of training, intent, religion, cultural context, and how aikido has changed over the years.

The evidence seems to be that aikido for O'Sensei was a religious practice, but that he did not intend for it to be the same thing for his students, and they did not practice it as religion. His son and his students, did however, promote aikido in conjunction with a bunch of moral lessons regarding the nature of conflict. These moral lessons are based on things that O'Sensei wrote and said, but are largely presented without the religious underpinnings from O'Sensei.

With all that in mind, I don't see any conflict between my religious beliefs and studying aikido -- and I do see a lot of benefits in the study of conflict and how to handle in the best way possible. As a Lutheran, I have no interest in practicing Shinto or Ōmoto-kyō -- although I'm happy to learn more about them to better understand aikido's historical context.

It is also worth noting that spiritual truth revealed through budo is nothing new in aikido. "The Life-Giving Sword" is a work from the 17th century that has a lot of the same feel to it as the "aiki-hug" aikido stuff.

Finally, the bowing and other forms of ritual polite actions and respect can bother some Christians and Muslims (at least), but that topic has been dealt with extensively on this board before.

Regards,
-Drew

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:15 AM   #23
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

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Not an expert on Christianity but it seems that Jordan Sensei disagrees with you:
I'm sure it does.

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Old 03-17-2009, 10:38 AM   #24
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

Quote:
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Jennifer,

I see where you are coming from, and I would like to share my view.
Ok.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 03-17-2009 at 10:41 AM.

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Old 03-17-2009, 10:40 AM   #25
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Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido

Hi all,

I'm Roman Catholic and have read both this thread and another one where it was more about Muslims' approach towards bowing and mixed gender training with interest.

From my point of view, I don't have any problem to reconciliate aikido spirituality with Christian spirituality, just thinking that I'm not obliged to take everything literally; there are lots of things that are not meant to be believed word by word, but that are written with the intention to make persons THINK about them. In the bible as well as in other holy books. Although I know that there are many people that like the word-to-word approach, I always thought that it's a too narrow way of thinking and that there are many different forms of expressing the same truth.

But then I have another thought about aikido, that it is in a way opposed to Christian beliefs because when doing it you enjoy so immensely the physical aspects of it (for me, it's especially the FLYING when been well thrown...it's an addictive pleasure). So I somehow feel rather that the purely physical feeling of enjoying yourself tremendously smothers the spiritual aspect, and that you get more attached to earthly life and neglect the soul. It is just an impression I have, and it doesn't prevent me from doing aikido (for that, the addiction is in a far too advanced stage), but it provokes from time to time a slight uneasiness.

Best regards,

Eva
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