Hello from Florida
Hello to all!
After months of visiting aikiweb site, reading articles and discussion boards I decided to post something myself. I am not Aikido practitioner yet, but I'm visiting the local dojo in Florida next week to meet with Messores Sensei hoping to start practice soon.
For the past couple of years I've been involved with "bashing" martial art, and although I've enjoyed it thoroughly I felt that some aspect of Budo was missing form it. In another words, I realized myself the very same thing many of you and many masters wrote before: Martial art practiced without spirituality is merely a physical activity, much like gymnastics or bicycling.
About a year ago I started exploring and comparing other disciplines in order to find one that I can dedicate myself for lifetime. I read much about Chinese, Japanese and Korean disciplines, their techniques and spiritual teachings behind them. I explored Ki (Chi) and Zen philosophy. Being an avid reader, I couldn't help but start comparing eastern and western philosophy to find many similarities and parallels. At the same time, being an orthodox Christian, I wanted to find the discipline that compliments my beliefs.
I believe that my eye opener happened when I read the following quote from O-Sensei in The Essence of Aikido:
"The Aikido I practice has room for each of the world's eight million gods and I cooperate with each one of them. The Great Spirit of Aiki enjoins all that is divine and enlightened in every land. Unite yourself to the Divine, and you will be able to perceive gods wherever you are."
That was the kind of quote I've been looking for. That great quote could've only come from the great man himself, completely in touch with the spirit of Divine. Since then, I researched Aikido in depth: the techniques, teachings, spirit and found myself wanting to try it and immerse myself in it more and more. My decision was made several weeks ago after I injured my knee again during the free sparring session. Having to take a break from the dojo gave me a lot of time to think and commit myself to the change in disciplines. Now I'm here, at the crossroads, as many of you have been before. I know where I go from here will be up to me. I hope to be able to share a great journey with all of you and contribute to this site's community.