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Old 08-30-2003, 11:31 AM   #1
PhilJ
 
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Is Aikido a cult?

User [pointy] brought this to mind in the General forums.

I recalled several years back, my parents were worried for a bit that Aikido is a cult. I laughed at the idea, saying free will is involved, they're not 'stealing' my mind or money, not worshipping Brumrak the Eagle King, and so on.

I know this is an ugly question because I'm wondering about the negative form of the word, not a like a group of Rocky Horror show fans.

What do you folks think? How do we know aikido is or is not a cult that stealthily robs us of some things?

*Phil

Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
http://www.aikidobukou.com
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Old 08-30-2003, 01:13 PM   #2
Alec Corper
 
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Phillip, Are you kidding? Of course it is. A great guru, mysterious powers, hierarchical structure, weird rituals, and so on. Hey, come to think of it, it sounds like McDonalds, or maybe the American government.

grin, Alec

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 08-30-2003, 01:28 PM   #3
shihonage
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Yes.
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Old 08-30-2003, 02:41 PM   #4
PhilJ
 
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LOL guys

When I think of "cult", I think of those folks with the shrouds over their faces to get to the spaceship, etc. Are we that kind?

*Phil

Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
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Old 08-30-2003, 05:10 PM   #5
mj
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Rocky!

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Old 08-30-2003, 09:40 PM   #6
J. David Geurkink
Dojo: Aikido of San Antonio
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Work for years and years for the privelege of wearing an item of clothing that would look rather odd outside of the meeting place? Sounds vaugely cult-ish;-)

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.
-Confucius-
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Old 08-31-2003, 04:17 AM   #7
Kung Fu Liane
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Confused

Yup, definitely a cult

i think its the endless bowing, together with the 'skirt' wearing that gives it away

Aikido: a martial art which allows you to defeat your enemy without hurting him, unless of course he doesn't know how to breakfall in which case he will shatter every bone in his body when he lands. Also known as Origami with people
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Old 08-31-2003, 08:47 AM   #8
MikeE
 
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Phil,

Please remember; we worship a head of cabbage named "Ralph"

Mike Ellefson
Midwest Center
For Movement &
Aikido Bukou
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Old 08-31-2003, 01:37 PM   #9
Peter Malecek
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A cult, no way, wharever in the world put that silly idea in your head. Here have some koolaide.

Peter
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Old 09-01-2003, 01:36 AM   #10
JJF
 
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Defintately not.

Now to a non-relatede issue. I see you are way due with your annual hmm... 'gift' for the aiki-association so please make your deposit now, or you will be stripped of all mystical powers aquired during 'sessions'.

Later this year we will assign you a partner for your first annual mass-wedding, which will be held at the space needle in Seattle.

sorry - couldn't help it

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 09-01-2003, 09:23 PM   #11
PhilJ
 
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I love every last one of you jokers.

*Phil

Phillip Johnson
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Old 09-01-2003, 10:26 PM   #12
SeiserL
 
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Beacuse Aikido does not incorporate many of the brain washing techniques common of cults, I would have to say no. Too bad, it just might be a cult worth belonging to.

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 09-06-2003, 12:49 AM   #13
mike lee
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Quote:
How do we know aikido is or is not a cult that stealthily robs us of some things?
It seems to have robbed you of your intelligence.
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Old 09-06-2003, 03:58 AM   #14
jgros
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Ki Symbol definately a cult. no question

Aikido would be just an international exclusive club, but then again, we chant (or mutter) weird things in japanese, so it must be a cult(what group would do THAT except a cult? ). My friends think its brainwashing me, since id rather go to practice than their parties. Not to mention me talking about extending Ki,(aforementioned "mysterious powers") all the time, that just freaks them out. Other secret super powers include: flying (across the room), tracking multiple ukes during randori and predicting their next moves by using our keen psychic abilities, being able to move large rocks with our ki (good luck with that one..), and just looking super cool with black hakama. Our dojo even makes pilgrimages to the AikiShrine in Japan...as well as the aiki-expo of course. Being able to visit chapters foreign and domestic alike is also a plus (just like a fraternity..or the KKK). How can it get any better than this? We are a global power! HAHAHA!

If you think about it, we are alot like jedi. We use a mysterious "force" from a mysterious "old religion". While our sabers arent made of light, steel is pretty close right? Not to mention the similarities in acrobatic feats. Like the jedi, we must practice for 20 years to become "proficient" and in another 20 well be invincible, just like the jedi!...Wow, and just thank whichever god you worship that there isnt a Dark Side to Aikido. Are you really sure that George Lucas didnt get some help with his story ideas? Makes you think doesnt it?

Jeff
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Old 09-06-2003, 04:27 AM   #15
mike lee
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pondering

Quote:
Makes you think doesnt it?
Huuuuuh?
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Old 09-06-2003, 06:00 AM   #16
deepsoup
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Re: definately a cult. no question

Quote:
Jeff Gros (jgros) wrote:
and just looking super cool with black hakama.
You're right, Jeff, you have been brainwashed!

Sean

x
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Old 09-20-2003, 02:15 PM   #17
Wolan
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Reminds me of what I've read a while ago on AikidoFAQ. 'A group of people get together on a set hour, in a special place. They all put on weird uniforms. Then they go to a very big room and pair up. Each person in the pair starts doing very, very painful things to the other one. But the victim does not get angry, in fact he or she is very happy and pleased. Then the roles change and the person which first tortured the other now receives the same pain and also seems to be content with that. This continues for an hour or two. All of the people leave filled with joy and not only come back the next day, they actually PAY CASH to do it.' Is it clear now? We're no cultists, Pillip. We're just a happy bunch of sado-masochists.
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Old 09-21-2003, 01:58 AM   #18
Jim ashby
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As a masochist I feel that I am unfairly discriminated against. I mean, all I want from life is a fair crack of the whip.

Have fun.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 09-21-2003, 09:24 PM   #19
PhilJ
 
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Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
It seems to have robbed you of your intelligence.
Sorry, I didn't realize this was your bridge. There's your toll, and a hug to go with it.
Quote:
Wolan wrote:
We're no cultists, Pillip. We're just a happy bunch of sado-masochists.
I know, I was just wondering what it is that would differentiate us from other groups perceived as cults. Bathroom thinking, I suppose.

*Phil

Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
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Old 09-22-2003, 04:46 AM   #20
ChristianBoddum
 
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Society OK's us wearing and handling weapons - We must be the envy of all cults !!
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Old 09-22-2003, 05:33 AM   #21
ian
 
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Quote:
Lynn Seiser (SeiserL) wrote:
Beacuse Aikido does not incorporate many of the brain washing techniques common of cults, I would have to say no.
This is probably the only time I've ever disagreed with you. Two main cult strategies:

i. you have an authority other than yourself which cannot speak yet is quoted and represented by the leader (sensei).[allows pretty much anything to be made up which cannot be directly questioned]

ii. students are made to look upwards towards the leader (students kneel during demonstration).[has a psychological effect, giving power to the leader].

iii. ritual words/movements (body/brain conditioning)

I would say there are definately features of a cult, and instructors could easily exploit this - that is why it is imperative for isntructors to be completely open and honest and never consider themselves 'better' than any one of their students.

Ian
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Old 09-22-2003, 05:37 AM   #22
ChristianBoddum
 
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Isn't meditation before and after class brainwashing ??

Nothing beats a good clean brain !
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Old 09-22-2003, 05:37 AM   #23
ian
 
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P.S. When you say 'robbing us of some things' surely you mean filling us with a satisfying nothingness?

P.P.S. At least we don't have to make a pledge of alligience to our sensei!

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 09-22-2003, 03:54 PM   #24
PhilJ
 
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Quote:
Ian Dodkins (ian) wrote:
P.S. When you say 'robbing us of some things' surely you mean filling us with a satisfying nothingness?
I have a negative view of cults, and I probably shouldn't -- I can't tell how the cake will taste just by looking at the ingredients.

So, I meant that cults rob you of things like 'free will' and 'independence', maybe stuff like that...?
Quote:
P.P.S. At least we don't have to make a pledge of alligience to our sensei!
Shhh! Don't tell our students that!!

*Phil

Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
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Old 09-28-2003, 01:36 PM   #25
Kensho Furuya
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Hello, I just add my two cents here with the hopes of giving a little clarity to this issue. I am speaking now more from my occupation as an ordained priest, not so much as an Aikido teacher. Most Christian and Catholic priests have a book called, "The Books of Cults." This book is to aid priests when they are counseling members of their congregation. This is quite a few years ago and I don't know about today, but as of a few years back, Aikido was listed in this book as a cult. I don't think most priest abide by this book too closely but some may do. I think we, as the general public, are much more educated about things like Aikido today than maybe 20-30 years ago.

Why this book listed Aikido as a cult because a "cult" in this sense of the word refers to a group of people who "adore" a single person as an object of worship which is objectionable to the tenents of Christianity. In early days, Aikido was misinterpreted greaty as O'Sensei was often considered as a very "spiritual" person with many followers - and it was concluded by unknowing people that this "must" be a cult. Since the passing of O'Sensei, this attitude among the general public has changed.

Baseball players, movie stars and certain movies may get "cult" status, but in this case, in this specific sense of the word, cult refers to a group of "believers" giving a single or specfic person much too much of a "spiritual" or "religious" status or significance and/or making him an object of worship or reverence.

We very greatly respect O'Sensei as a great teacher and Founder of our Aikido. In Japan, it is quite customary and appropriate for such a great teacher to reach the final stages (or at any point) of his art or teaching by bringing into it, a deeply spiritual aspect or significance. In fact, this is quite true and common if you examine all types of the traditional Japanese arts. In Japan, Aikido is not considered or defined as a cult. Hope this bit of trivia info helps. Thank you.
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