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Old 08-31-2003, 10:59 PM   #1
Amassus
 
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Question How spiritual?

We talk of spirituality in aikido, this made me think about the emphasis of spirituality in the dojo and how it applies to aikidoka who already have a strong religious background.

In fact, it was because of a strong religious background that one of the people at my club had a constant argument with her husband just to attend the sessions.

How much is spirituality emphasised at your club and have you had a similar clash of ideas as I mentioned above?

Just interested...




"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 09-01-2003, 10:27 AM   #2
justinm
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At the club, none whatsoever. As for each individual student, mostly I have no idea. I think some people would say they are christians, some buddhist, some atheist, some have other views and believes. It has never been an issue in the dojo & never discussed on the mat. Not specifically excluded - just never come up as it is not seen as relevent to our training as a group.

In a previous dojo I did come across this as an issue personally, where we were studying ki aikido and my brother & wife considered the concepts we were talking about as against the teachings of Christ. We never managed to resolve this between us but it is not a major problem. Occassionally they comment that I am "learning how to fight" and I just reply "you mean learning how to not fight".

Justin

Justin McCarthy
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Old 09-01-2003, 10:31 AM   #3
twilliams423
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I think if one understands the difference between spirituality and religion the potential for conflict disappears.

The spiritual aspect of Aikido is very important in our dojo but is rarely emphasized as it is inherent in our daily training.

In my understanding, one cannot separate any particular moment or activity as spiritual or not.
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Old 09-01-2003, 11:18 AM   #4
Steven
 
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In my dojo, I have christians, non-christians and some who don't practice any religion at all. We all practice in complete harmony with one another. I've had at least two students say to me they joined my dojo because I was a Christian. That's cool! But we keep such conversations "OUTSIDE" the dojo as to not exclude anyone from our training time.

This is true for my home dojo as well. I think this is possible because those of us who practice Aikido in the Yoshinkan, do so with the understanding that Yoshinkan is not a religion. It is a the unification of the mind and body through our repetitive way of training.

In my school, when we speak of one's spirit, we speak not of some mystical being we can't see or touch, but rather all those things that make us who we are as individuals. To make your spirit strong is to bring your mind and body together as one.

So for those who train at my dojo, it is not a problem. In my opinion, you alienate a large number of people when you start talking about religious and spiritual things that fall into conflict with many other religions and peoples beliefs. And if you create that conflict, then your not doing a real good job of teaching Aikido. (IMHO anyway)

Well, that's my nickles worth anyway. No offense intended ....

Peace ...
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Old 09-01-2003, 09:25 PM   #5
PhilJ
 
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I agree with Tom -- in fact, I often teach that spirituality (or what I know of it) will help you and your faith in whichever religion you practice.

But then again, I don't know much of anything...

*Phil

Phillip Johnson
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Old 09-01-2003, 10:24 PM   #6
SeiserL
 
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We do not much talk about spirituality. In fact, we don't talk about or discuss much of anything. We practice the physical techniques which demonstrate and illustrate the underlying principles. With physical practice we hope to change our minds so it can apply the same principles to life and being open to spirituality. But we don't talk about it, it just is.

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 09-02-2003, 04:09 AM   #7
Aristeia
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Quote:
Lynn Seiser (SeiserL) wrote:
We do not much talk about spirituality. In fact, we don't talk about or discuss much of anything. We practice the physical techniques which demonstrate and illustrate the underlying principles. With physical practice we hope to change our minds so it can apply the same principles to life and being open to spirituality. But we don't talk about it, it just is.
There! Right there! That's exactly what I was *trying* to say on the "influences" thread. Thanks Lynn, as always you've nailed it.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 09-02-2003, 05:06 AM   #8
shihonage
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As the blade comes
Ignore the darkness
And like wind,
You're already sliced into two pieces
You slow fuck.



O Sensei once wrote this, but then erased it when he got sober.
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Old 09-02-2003, 12:03 PM   #9
Vic Robinson
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Several points: Aleksey, I don't appreciate the language used in your last post. It is not appropriate for this forum. O'Sensei may have understood that as well, hence he erased it, as you say.

When we speak of "spirituality", we need to distinguish between it and religion. Spirituality is an entity of and unto itself, although all religions have a degree of spirituality to them. The concepts of spirituality in Aikido have nothing to do with religion. We had a student in our dojo who refused to bow in before class or bow out after class because he said he could not bow down to a graven image. I tried to explain that the bowing is just a show of respect, and has nothing to do with worship, but he wouldn't buy it.

As to the spiritual aspects of Aikido, I tell my students that in class we only have time for the physical aspects of learning Aikido, but that in the practice of shugyo and in study outside of class they will gain a deeper meaning of Aikido allowing it to help them in their everyday lives.
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Old 09-02-2003, 12:13 PM   #10
Bronson
 
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Just in case anybody is counting. I DID appreciate Aleksey's post and found it quite funny.

That's one for and one against.

Lighten up and appreciate it for the joke it was.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 09-02-2003, 01:59 PM   #11
opherdonchin
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I find Aleksey more and more funny with increasing exposure, although I think that he would do well to remember that that kind of language can be offensive to many people.

I'm just waiting for Aleksey to have a spriritual awakening that he shares with all of us here at the forum where he explains how he has suddenly seen the light. Suddenly, this spiritual side of Aikido has been revealed to him in all of its glory and he will henceforth stop actually practicing Aikido so he can devote full time to preaching about its spiritual relevance.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 09-02-2003, 06:31 PM   #12
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
Suddenly, this spiritual side of Aikido has been revealed to him in all of its glory and he will henceforth stop actually practicing Aikido so he can devote full time to preaching about its spiritual relevance.
Brilliant

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-02-2003, 08:48 PM   #13
jk
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The last time Aleksey had a spiritual awakening, didn't he get his ass kicked by some snowmen?
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Old 09-02-2003, 09:37 PM   #14
Erik
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
I find Aleksey more and more funny with increasing exposure, although I think that he would do well to remember that that kind of language can be offensive to many people.
They'll get over it. Besides, sometimes that's the whole point.
Quote:
I'm just waiting for Aleksey to have a spriritual awakening that he shares with all of us here at the forum where he explains how he has suddenly seen the light. Suddenly, this spiritual side of Aikido has been revealed to him in all of its glory and he will henceforth stop actually practicing Aikido so he can devote full time to preaching about its spiritual relevance.
It will never happen. He's a godless Communist. I could, however, see Marxist thought in all it's glory.
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Old 09-02-2003, 10:25 PM   #15
Pretoriano
 
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[quote="Aleksey Sundeyev (shihonage)"][b]As the blade comes

Ignore the darkness

And like wind,

You're already sliced into two pieces

You slow fuck.

O Sensei once wrote this, but then erased it when he got sober.

----------------------------------------------

Crazy Taisho men! thats true, interesante.

What you have to tell your students frequently

is that Religions doesnt have to oppose themselves, that conflict caused by Religious Beliefs is not going along with the Truth, that a Human soul suffering because religious struggle is a nonsense, that Spiritual limitations are only found in our narrow minds not in Universe, that Shinto will make you to "understand better Aikido not to "perform better a one, that Spirituality is a natural human Posibility and proper concience for to understand it will arise at proper time and none ever any imitation or artifise of any kind will never remplase it never.

Praetorian

"The funniest line in English is ''Get it?'' When you say that, everyone chortles."



Garrison Keillor
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Old 09-03-2003, 12:32 AM   #16
pointy
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ive heard, 2nd hand, something related that Yamada sensei said. he said (im paraphrasing, obviously) that if you do aikido's physical techniques properly, the ki aspects will already be there.

meaning, you dont have to specifically try to do the techniques with ki. do em right and you'll already be there with it.

i think this business about spirituality in aikido is the same. just do the techniques. not much other discussion is necessary (even though it's awfully fun). any reasonably intelligent person will be able to extract the occasional life lesson from their training in the dojo.

not that there is anything wrong with letting students like me know they are there to be extracted

maybe i got lucky and was matched with a good teacher at my first dojo (actually he is a really good teacher)- the first day when i learned tenkan, it seemed to include a pretty obvious philosophical implication. "ok now we're looking ACROSS each other, (tenkan), and now we're looking in the same direction. SEE?" ohhhhhh i get it!

Last edited by pointy : 09-03-2003 at 12:35 AM.
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Old 09-03-2003, 02:21 AM   #17
mike lee
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see the light

Quote:
As the blade comes

Ignore the darkness

And like wind,

You're already sliced into two pieces

You slow fuck.
O'Sensei never could have wrote this because he new that the essence of martial arts is respect and unlike Aleksey, I don't think he wasted his time standing around in the dark.
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Old 09-03-2003, 11:22 AM   #18
Arieru
 
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at the dojo where i train, only one instructor places emphasis on how the lessons of aikido can be used in daily life. it doesnt take the form of spirituality per se. we joke amongst ourselves that our dojo is non-demoninational.
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Old 09-03-2003, 09:45 PM   #19
opherdonchin
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Quote:
the first day when i learned tenkan, it seemed to include a pretty obvious philosophical implication. "ok now we're looking ACROSS each other, (tenkan), and now we're looking in the same direction. SEE?"
I would certainly count this explanation of tenkan as 'hooking into the spiritual side of Aikido.' I would say that teachers who use this sort of language regularly are conveying a spiritual message. Does anyone have teachers who regularly go beyond this and talk directly about "the great spirit energy" and the importance of studying Aikido because it "brings the whole world into harmony"? I've never run into this personally, although I would claim that most of my teachers (especially before I got to ASU) made a point of emphasizing the spiritual side of Aikido.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 09-03-2003, 11:14 PM   #20
pointy
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
I would certainly count this explanation of tenkan as 'hooking into the spiritual side of Aikido.'
sorry, i wrote that a little strangely i guess. he didnt actually say any of those things. in fact he didnt say anything not related to the physical movement at all. the quotes were sort of what went on in my head while first learning tenkan. yeah, it was late when i wrote that duh

in a way it's kind of funny - the teacher i was referring to says that he thinks this whole ki thing is a bunch of bull. he loves the techniques and all the other good stuff, but his opinion is that aikido is all just brilliant mechanics. the philosophy is there to take if the practicioner should want it.
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Old 09-04-2003, 12:57 AM   #21
mike lee
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fraud

Quote:
in a way it's kind of funny - the teacher i was referring to says that he thinks this whole ki thing is a bunch of bull. he loves the techniques and all the other good stuff, but his opinion is that aikido is all just brilliant mechanics.
Mechanics don't work without energy that's where ki comes in. If a teacher can't explain ki, then he's not worthy of teaching aiKIdo.
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Old 09-04-2003, 01:14 AM   #22
PeterR
 
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I have never met anyone who can explain Ki - a good number of those I would consider worthy Aikido teachers.

Perhaps you could explain it to us.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-04-2003, 08:22 AM   #23
mike lee
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zap!

I just did.
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Old 09-04-2003, 08:58 AM   #24
Bronson
 
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Re: zap!

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
I just did.
Hey thanks! It makes so much more sense now

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 09-04-2003, 09:27 AM   #25
opherdonchin
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Quote:
If a teacher can't explain ki, then he's not worthy of teaching aiKIdo.
Hmmm ... lots of excellent teachers believe in teaching silently, or nearly so. They don't explain anything. They just demonstrate techniques, and their students learn by watching. This builds up an amazing awareness and sensitivity. (Other excellent teachers teach using other approaches, and some talk all the time, of course.) Is it "can't" or "won't" or "doesn't" that you mean? Also, how do you judge an explanation of ki?

The point I was trying to get at earlier, though, is that ideas about 'ki,' ideas about 'ai' (like in the tenkan example, or teachers who emphasize the effectiveness of soft technique) and ideas about spirituality and the great oneness of the universe tend to get mixed up in our discussions.

While all of these connect to the 'spiritual side of Aikido,' I'm not sure that they are all exactly the same thing. I can easily call to mind teachers who emphasize one of them more than the others. However, I can't really call to mind any who emphasize the third, 'spiritual' aspect.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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