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Old 03-30-2004, 10:21 PM   #1
yoshinkaistreet
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Question Plz help me with aikido

Hey aikido community!

Im new here so I have some questions about aikido that I would really appreciate if you answer them.

Im a little concerned about the spiritual aspects of aikido. Since I am a Christian (great emphasis on Chrisian values) I want to find out if you have to have a certain belief in aikido's spiritual realm.

Please post your comments

I appreciate your support

Thanks!
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Old 03-30-2004, 11:07 PM   #2
Ian Williams
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It's up to you if you wish to embrace the spiritual and mystical side of any eastern martial art.

For example, you don't have to get all meta-physical about Ki to learn or perform the techniques.

The bowing cerimonies are a mark of respect to a great man. There is nothing of idolatry in that. In western countries we shake peoples hands, in eastern cultures, they bow.

Morihei Ueshiba was undoubtedly a great man and worthy of respect, whether or not you particularly agree with his religious views, or even his philosophies. This shouldn't stop you admiring him for his skill or "respecting" him enough to be able to "bow in".

If it really really bothers you that much, then take up a modern martial art, which doesn't have an emphasis on spirituality.

Tsutsumi Ryu Jujitsu
Adelaide, South Australia

Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure
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Old 03-31-2004, 01:23 AM   #3
Marty
 
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Hi,

I would like to ask what you want out of Aikido. I find that you get out really what you bring to the table in many ways. There is so much to Aikido that if you are looking for most things you can find them here even Christian values. I am not saying that there is nothing that will clash with other ideas that you have but hopefully you can find your own way to understand these things in a way that is consistent with your ideals.



Marty
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Old 03-31-2004, 01:36 AM   #4
batemanb
 
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There have been a number of these questions before, here's a couple of old threads from Aikido Journal tha might help.

http://143.207.8.139/cgi-bin/ubb/ult...c&f=9&t=000041

http://143.207.8.139/cgi-bin/ubb/ult...c&f=9&t=000229

http://143.207.8.139/cgi-bin/ubb/ult...c&f=9&t=001794

With regards to the bow, it is purely a Japanese custom, much the same as shaking hands in the west. Aikido is a Japanese art that maintains some of the Japanese customs within it. There is no implication of idol worship.

Aikido was founded out of religion, the founder was a follower of Omoto Kyo, a sect of Japanese Shintoism. The founder took Aiki jutsu and made it Aikido by applying spiritual principles learnt from his studies. Whilst my research is very minimal, I did contact Omoto Kyo some years back to see what it was about. They appear to embrace all religions and have many contacts with Christianity, there did not seem to me to be any conflicts, but like I said, my research was minimal.

Having said all that, I haven't yet been in a dojo where they have really taught anything about the religious side of Aikido.

Hope that's of use.

Regards

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 03-31-2004, 06:19 AM   #5
ChristianBoddum
 
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Hi Vitalik !

I started Aikido before becoming a born-again-christian , I have an internal debate going much of the time about this issue ,

but the Lord hasenīt said no to Aikido so far,and Aikido is a study for life so I guess

the internal debate will be ongoing too ,

and I hope they will merge or blend perfectly in time.

You are to enjoy life as a christian and time

on the mat is both joyful and a way to get real.

I wish you all the best - Chr.B.
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Old 03-31-2004, 06:22 AM   #6
Greg Jennings
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My dojo is in an Apostolic Christian Church. Enough said.

Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 03-31-2004, 06:28 AM   #7
ChristianBoddum
 
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Hi again !

You could say that Aikido is the art of turning the other cheek before getting hit by the first stroke.

Nishio sensei has stated that Aikido is the art of forgiveness,in traditional Budo you only evade attacks once , but Aikido gives you the opportunity of forgiving many times.

yours - Chr.B.
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Old 03-31-2004, 08:44 AM   #8
JMCavazos
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Vitalik,

When it is said that aikido has a spiritual side, it doesn't mean that it is linked to any religion. It means that you connect to yourself spiritually - nothing at all with religion.

In aikido one of the main accomplishments is to unify mind and body, which means that you must have your mind(spirit) and body working together, unified, as a unit. To make your mind and body function as a unit, you must be connected both physically and mentally(spiritually). Mental or spiritual training is just as important as physical training.

When we meditate or do misogi-breathing, we are not performing a rite that is tied to a religion. We are trying to solidfy the link between the external (physical) with the internal (mental or spiritual) side of ourselves.

Anyway, hope that helps. I am also Catholic by the way.
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Old 03-31-2004, 01:45 PM   #9
yoshinkaistreet
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Thank you for your help!

I appreciate what you said about the bowing, but it is not my concern. I understand that bowing in the Asian countries is same as shaking hands, and I understand that it is performed in a manner of respect.

My primary concern was the spiritual connections. Since I am a Protestant Christian my religion forbids any meditation and yoga; or any of the practices of the eastern cultures that derived from religions. (Yoga did derive from Buddhism)

Anyway, thank you for clarifying me the spiritual things of Aikido!

Please post more if you have any more details my concern.

Thanks again!
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Old 03-31-2004, 02:17 PM   #10
Chad Sloman
 
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Hi, I don't want to pick at your beliefs, but you don't necessarily have to think of Buddhism as a religion. I am a protestant christian and I view Buddhism as a philosophy, and actually has many of the same teachings as christianity. Meditation to me is just closing my eyes, breathing and clearing my mind. What's religious about that? And Yoga is just stretching isn't it? Meditation and Yoga are just as religious as you want them to be. I don't view them in that way so they aren't. As far as the spirituality, it depends on what you're definition of spirituality is. I train to sharpen my spirit, so in that sense I try to give myself a good attitude and strong charactar, work on patience, things of that nature that have to do with my personality and demeanor. I don't believe that "spirits" or "ghosts" help me in my aikido training.

A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.
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Old 03-31-2004, 05:21 PM   #11
aikidoc
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Aikido's founder was a very religious and "spiritual" individual. However, nowhere in the aikido literature do I see where he pushed his beliefs on his students. There appears to be a potpouri of beliefs among his students.

Ritual aspects of respect are simply that. How can any belief system have a problem with an art based on love or harmony and one that helps develop respect and caring for even your enemy. I think Christ would probably not view the arts rituals as anything more than what they are-cultural behaviors showing respect as Ian indicated.

I know of one dojo in Tennessee where the Christian religion is brought into the aikido dojo via prayer, etc. Also, a friend of mine is a former minister. One of my students has a masters in theology and is very religious.

Just enjoy the art and try not to read more into than is really there.
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Old 03-31-2004, 05:27 PM   #12
mantis
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Re: Plz help me with aikido

Quote:
Vitalik Voznyuk (yoshinkaistreet) wrote:
I want to find out if you have to have a certain belief in aikido's spiritual realm.
Not at all Vitalik. I personally have never experienced a spiritual side of aikido, or been taught one.

To me, learning techniques that can cause serious injury or death helped me be a more mellow person and want to avoid conflict.

I don't see this as spiritual, just thoughtful.

Quote:
Just enjoy the art and try not to read more into than is really there.
exactly!
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Old 03-31-2004, 06:39 PM   #13
Ian Williams
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Quote:
Since I am a Protestant Christian my religion forbids any meditation and yoga; or any of the practices of the eastern cultures that derived from religions. (Yoga did derive from Buddhism)
That's not true.. You need to be careful of idolatry and idol worship but there is absolutely nothing biblically against meditation and the biblical writers had never HEARD of eastern countries.

Meditation is simply the act of stilling and emptying yourself of distraction. Christians do it in prayer all the time.

There is a difference between being religious and supersitious. A lot of christians I have met (I used to be a deacon in the Assemblies of God) seem to have trouble distinguishing the two.

Tsutsumi Ryu Jujitsu
Adelaide, South Australia

Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure
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Old 03-31-2004, 08:09 PM   #14
Jack Robertson
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O-Sensei wrote something along the lines of "Aikido fits with all religions" or something like that.
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Old 03-31-2004, 09:21 PM   #15
p00kiethebear
 
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LONG POST PLEASE READ ALL TO GET THE WHOLE CONCEPT I'M TRYING TO CONVEY.

Make a list of all your values...

Then try to find how aikido does or does not honor them.
Quote:
(Yoga did derive from Buddhism)
People for the love of god (no pun intended)please RESEARCH religions and try to understand WHY they are the way they are.

Yoga is a sanskrit word in hinduism that means path[to god] (the same god in judaism, islam, christianity). The "yoga" (true name is Raja Yoga, in sanskrit) that you are thinking of refers to the pathway to god through psycho-physical experiments. It is just one of the four paths to god in hinduism.

After you take the time to RESEARCH and STUDY religions you will begin to notice the patterns, and see how all these different "religions" are really all looking at the same thing. You must think of god as a jewel with an infinite number of facets, every facet is a different angle or path to seeing the light shining from within. Since god is omnipotent over everything and all things then how is buddhism, or islam or hinduism or taoism NOT a part of that god.

It's the same with martial arts. Aikido does not interfere with any christian beliefs. You are in no way required to believe in o sensei's enlightenment. You can think he was a crazy old codger for all anyone cares. It doesn't matter what you think of him because the point is, no one was able to touch him. Here is the way to look at aikido from a "non religious" point of view.

Conflict is everywhere. (duh) Aikido is merely a mindset, a way of responding to conflict. In the case of someone attacking you, you can think of it as forgiving, as Christ forgives, and Allah forgives, and a Buddha forgives. Rather than retaliating with a punch that would break an assailent's nose, you merely step to the side, and (for lack of a better word) "throw" him gently in a different direction. If he gets up and comes at you again. you give him another throw, each time forgiving him of his offensive nature and showing him a different road. That's how i think of it.

You people of make distinguishes between "different" religions. The only thing that's different in every "different" crede is the WORDS used to describe it. (just an example, Yahwe in hebrew, God in English, and Allah in Arabic)

Let's compare something here just for fun.

Christianity believes in God, the omnipotent ocean of all joy and happiness that we are all trying to get to by following the teachings of christ (forgiveness and unconditional love).

Judaism believes in Yahwe, the omnipotent ocean of all joy and happiness that we are all trying to get to by UNDERSTANDING yawhe.

Islam believes in Allah, the omnipotent ocean of all joy and happiness that we are all trying to get to by digilent, never failing faith and servitude of Allah.

Hinduism believes in Brahmin, the omnipotent ocean of all joy happiness that we are all trying to get to THROUGH ONE OF THE ABOVE STATED PATHS (Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga respectively) with the ADDITION of a fourth path. That of psychophysical experiments which soccer moms call "Yoga" (no offense to soccer moms, my mother is one)

Buddhism believes in reaching Nirvana, the omnipotent ocean of all joy and happiness that we are all trying to get to ALSO by USEING ONE OF THE ABOVE STATED PATHS (many different forms of buddhism. Don't try to correct me about nirvana being "empty" Nirvana is EVERYTHING, the word "EVERYTHING" literally would be the parent of "nothing" therefore it includes everything INCLUDING nothing (hard concept to get for westerners)

Taoism teaches that the universe is the tao, the yin and yang, "good" and "evil". However it does not distinguish. A taoist will never say something is bad or good. Because it teaches of the oneness that is the circle of tao. When we die, we also become fully one with the tao, and since the tao is EVERYTHING it just so happens that it is also an "omnipotent ocean of all joy and happiness that we are all trying to get to "

My apologies to the names of faiths i did not cover.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 03-31-2004, 09:34 PM   #16
p00kiethebear
 
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Also just out of question...

If someone believed in every teaching that christ taught. But never saw a bible and never heard of christ or a church and never named his faith. Is he a good christian?

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 03-31-2004, 09:45 PM   #17
p00kiethebear
 
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And yes i also realize the irony that i've made of myself in the above posts...

Be Quiet...

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 03-31-2004, 10:05 PM   #18
Steven
 
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Vitalik,

I'm curious as to why this question is even an issue with you. According to your username, Yoshinkaistreet, you appear to practice in a school of aikido that puts next to no emphasis on the spiritual realm.

Where exactly do you study Yoshinkai and have you discussed this with your sensei or senpai?
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Old 03-31-2004, 10:19 PM   #19
aikidoc
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Nathan a good book on the religions is World Religions (can't think of the authors name-I believe it is John Houston) where he summarizes all the religions and compares them.

"Buddha forgives". I'm not sure that would be an accurate reflection of Buddha since he would not judge you in the first place but rather make you aware of the karmic implications of your behavior or action. He would not pass judgement (you know the "middle way"-to pass judgement would to be to take a side). Buddhism is more correctly described as Buddhadharma (the practice of the path or way of Buddha, although it has been religousized so to speak).
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Old 03-31-2004, 11:40 PM   #20
p00kiethebear
 
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Quote:
Nathan a good book on the religions is World Religions (can't think of the authors name-I believe it is John Houston) where he summarizes all the religions and compares them.
The book is called "The worlds Religions" by Proffesor Housten Smith, it was the main text for my formal schooling on the topic of world religions. Yes your particular description of a buddha is a thousand times more accurate than mine, i was finding it hard how to put the concepts i learned on buddha nature into words, Oddly enough, buddhism is the religion i've spent the least of my time learning. you seemed to have little trouble. Thank you.

Also i would like to clarrify that my religion is predominantly christian. After spending much time studying (you can't just read the bible, you need to actually look into the topics and see what others have discerned, and then judge for yourself) it's what i believed i identified with the most, however personally, i pull aspects and concepts from "other religions" that i believe are important in life.

My true thoughts on christianity and the meaning behind is CONSTANTLY changing little by little, it almost seems as if every month i have a little bit more to it than before. So maybe i'm getting somewhere. But from what i've seen. Aikido, if anything, actually ENCOURAGES christian thought. Let me think of this. Plenty of fencers and knights trained in martial arts in the name of god (not japanese martial arts) in my eyes, aikido is much more "softer" (the taoist in me says "what is it to be soft?") and "gentler" than many of the arts that the VATICAN teaches to it's defenders of the state. I think if the vatican can teach those men to kill in defense, then you should be allowed to learn how to defend yourself without causing harm.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 03-31-2004, 11:50 PM   #21
Hanna B
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This is OT, but still.
Quote:
Nathan Gidney (p00kiethebear) wrote:
If someone believed in every teaching that christ taught. But never saw a bible and never heard of christ or a church and never named his faith. Is he a good christian?
By definition, he is not a christian.
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Old 04-01-2004, 07:23 AM   #22
Ghost Fox
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Quote:
Vitalik Voznyuk (yoshinkaistreet) wrote:
Thank you for your help!

I appreciate what you said about the bowing, but it is not my concern. I understand that bowing in the Asian countries is same as shaking hands, and I understand that it is performed in a manner of respect.

My primary concern was the spiritual connections. Since I am a Protestant Christian my religion forbids any meditation and yoga; or any of the practices of the eastern cultures that derived from religions. (Yoga did derive from Buddhism)

Anyway, thank you for clarifying me the spiritual things of Aikido!

Please post more if you have any more details my concern.

Thanks again!
I'm going to take a different vein here and say that you should quit Aikido. If your religious beliefs (and there's nothing wrong with this per se) have certain restrictions and taboos and you feel that Aikido may infringe on one or more of these taboos then give up Aikido. From a Christian point of view, where are talking about your eternal soul and the possibility of damnation and sinning against God. You state that your faith forbids any kind of mediation, yoga or Eastern practices. Aikido has been describes as moving meditation, some of the stretching aspects are similar to yoga, and it is an Eastern practice in which some Aiki Taiso exercises are derived from the Shinto religion. Therefore, quit. If you love you God and you feel the path your on is correct than your choice is already made. You shouldn't look for rationalizations or excuses from other people. Especially from people already involved in the "questionable" activity.

P.S. -- Yoga is not derived from Buddhism, you have it kind of reversed. Yoga is derived from ancient Dravidian practices that where fused with Proto-Indo-European belief and is closely linked to Hinduism. And I think Yoga mean to yoke or join, as in with divinity.

I mean what I say in full earnest, as I'm a very spiritual person.

Good Journey and Do you.
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Old 04-01-2004, 10:59 AM   #23
cuguacuarana
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Wow, This is really interesting. I have a question for Vitalik. Have practices of meditation and yoga been specifically banned where you worship, or is that just your interpretation. If it they have been banned, I agree with Damion and say you should forget about aikido. In many ways aikido and yoga are the same. they are series' of exercises for the body and mind that are designed to bring you into closer contact with your spirit, and the universal spirit that is present in all of life. If it wrong to seek this through yoga, it is surely wrong to seek it through aikido as well. I personally do not believe that either yoga, aikido, or general meditation are in conflict with Christianity at all. If your church says so however, I guess you should listen. But, if you have arrived at the conclusion that yoga and meditation are not allowed on your own, you should stick with it for a while, and approach it with an the idea of using it to illuminate your path towards god. Think of it like prayer in motion, when you do it, do it with the love of god in mind. Perhaps it will teach you something about god that you have not considered, or learned in church. I am not a Christian, but I do believe in god, and I have learned that you can find him in the most unlikely of places if your mind and heart are open. if it doesn't work out, you can always quit down the line.

Good luck on your spiritual quest,

Austin
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Old 04-01-2004, 11:57 AM   #24
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Damion Lost (Ghost Fox) wrote:
You shouldn't look for rationalizations or excuses from other people. Especially from people already involved in the "questionable" activity.
"Questionable activities" like Wicca and Taoism as mentioned in your profile?

I've gotten a lot of bumps and bruises, some dislocated joints and a couple of broken bones in aikido, but I've never gotten that first ounce of anything spiritual.

Take it for what it's worth,

Greg Jennings
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Old 04-01-2004, 12:27 PM   #25
bob_stra
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Quote:
Vitalik Voznyuk (yoshinkaistreet) wrote:
Since I am a Protestant Christian my religion forbids any meditation and yoga; or any of the practices of the eastern cultures that derived from religions. (Yoga did derive from Buddhism)
(1) You can think of meditation as type of prayer / concentration. Similarly there are types of "meditation" that have no link to the east, nor religion ("infinite time splice" / self hypnosis / TFT etc)

(2) Yoga is not derived from Buddhism - it existed a long time before Buddhism hit the

scene IIRC.

(3) Not sure if there are any actual overt links between religion and aikido to be honest. Kotodama maybe - but how likely are you to encounter that?

(4) You may have some spiritual moments in class - something unexplained, a fluidity / peak flow experience / doing things that you shouldn't be able to. How you explain that is upto you.
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