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Old 06-07-2005, 08:01 PM   #26
aikigirl10
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

I think Aikido fights fire w/fire, which isnt necessarily a bad thing. You cant effectively stop fighting w/out knowing how to fight. I think this is the main idea of aikido. Although it is somewhat violent to learn aikido, it really IS love because it teaches you to use your skills to stop violence, and that shows love for other people. Red beetle , you speak of what you dont know . So learn something about Aikido and then come back here and whine. At least then you can back yourself up

-Paige
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Old 06-07-2005, 08:04 PM   #27
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

[QU A saint is a saint... a man is a man.

A saint is a person, too. (perhaps with just a good publicist).
Mary
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Old 06-07-2005, 08:09 PM   #28
aikigirl10
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Keith kolb. You just like "red beetle" do not take aikido, therefore you also dont know what you are talking about. People who dont take aikido have no business coming on an AIKIDO website and posting nonsense.
paige
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Old 06-07-2005, 08:12 PM   #29
Nick P.
 
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

The original poster is not imposing his views on any of his; this is a forum for everyone (and anyone) to post anything they wish; we can choose to ignore, agree or disagree. And hope Jun is watching closely enough when things get out of hand.

"Aikido is not love.
Aikido is a Martial system.
Aikido class may be a place in which you can practice loving your neighbor, but Aikido is not love."

No?

Aikido is nothing but an expression of the spirit of Love for all living things. &
The secret of aikido is to cultivate a spirit of loving protection for all things.

from http://www.aikiweb.com/general/founder.html

How does this relate to a sankyo that makes your eyes water, or an irimi-nage that feels like, well, nothing at all? I have no idea, but I am drawn to these ideals and embrace them as a fundamental under-pinning of Aikido. If I wanted a martial system (aka The 100% effective ass-whoopin' system), then I would look elsewhere....

Maybe you should, as well.

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Old 06-07-2005, 08:19 PM   #30
eyrie
 
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Having not seen the original Japanese quote "Aikido is 'love'", I can't really comment otherwise. But here's a thought:

Perhaps "love" (or at least what most people think of "love" in English) is not the right word???
The Chinese character for "love" is a composite pictogram depicting "friends" living under a "roof" with children, implying a harmonious relationship, based on friendship.

Just some food for thought....

Ignatius

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Old 06-07-2005, 08:24 PM   #31
Fred Little
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

So this guy walks into a bar and says:

"This place is full of drinkers and drunks...."
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Old 06-07-2005, 09:54 PM   #32
Lan Powers
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quite a little hornets nest has been stirred up here.
For what it is worth, my Sensei's views
(I share them , fancy that ) is that ki is a good term for good body mechanics, mental intention, and focus.
I care little for the religion - based aspects of Aikido, but love the discipline of its form and find a lot of value in the traditions....kind of a mixed signals thing, eh?
The ideal of, at least, ATTEMPTING to "de-escalate" violence, is at least a step in the right direction for anyone, regardless of martial art discipline that is followed.
For what it is worth, I have no problem with hitting people, but am better able to NOT hit them from this training.

Self control is everything.
I guess it is only mystical in the sense that it came from another culture. More of an "exotic" thing
Lan

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Old 06-07-2005, 10:56 PM   #33
akiy
 
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Keith Kolb wrote:
I don't believe in the concept of "ki." The idea that there is some form of energy inside us and all around us that we can project from our bellies to our fingertips is a bit mystical to me. I may be wrong, but I think the idea of "ki" is integral to Aikido. "Ki" being a mystical concept, mysticism is integral to Aikido. IMHO of course.
Ah -- OK. Personally, I don't equate the notion of "ki" with "mysticism." Rather, I'd probably say that the kind of things that Mike Sigman writes about above (eg Shinto) would more fall along the lines of "mysticism."

There are elements of "faith" in budo training (and pretty much any other kind of endeavor), I think, though. Whether that's "mysticism" or not would probably depend on the person considing it.
Quote:
As for striking with the intent to do damage: I will concede that there are aikidoka who have no problem with my willingness to beat the crap out of my attacker if you concede that that are many who would have a problem with it.
Oh, of course I'd say that there are some folks out there in the world of aikido who have a problem with people who are willing to "beat the crap" out of someone. The same could probably be said about any martial art, but I'd guess that the percentage of those who have a problem with such is probably higher in aikido than, say, in krav maga. But, then again, I do know of at least one aikido T-shirt that states, "We put the 'harm' back into 'harmony'"...

On the topic of "aikido is love," the founder himself has said things like, "the path of aikido is the path of protecting love," "the path of aiki is the manifestation of love," and "true aikido is 'love'." (First two quotes from "Takemusu Aiki" and the last quote from "Aikido" (thanks, Peter!) both translated from the original Japanese by me.) The character used for "love" is, indeed, 愛. Personally, I'm far from understanding what this really means, so I can't say much about this topic.

Any way, I wouldn't say that aikido is unique in such thoughts. Even Kano sensei has written about the principle of "jita kyoei" (mutual welfare and benefit) for judo. I'm sure that those folks (myself included) who have been on the receiving end of some judo techniques will say that my impact with the earth (oof) sure didn't feel so beneficial to my health! Yet, I can understand how the principle of "jita kyoei" comes through in the actual keiko and the shugyo.

In any case, as far as the topic of those who have not taken aikido who wish to share their views, as long as they do so in a respecful manner that's conducive to meaningul exchanges of thoughts, I'm fine with their participation.

To conclude, I personally think that some interesting observations about aikido have been made by many folks in this thread. If anything, it's an exercise to help delineate my own thoughts in the matter...

Best,

-- Jun

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Old 06-08-2005, 12:35 AM   #34
xuzen
 
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Once I come across a Taoist saying:-

Man follows the mandate (rules) of heaven;
Heaven follows the mandate of the Way (Do or Tao);
And the Way follows that which is natural.

-Lao Tzu, a Taoist sage

When I think abt this, I feel that aikido or any of the do art is a system of education that points to the direction of being natural or in compliance with what is natural or in harmony. Mysticism should not be attached to it. Mysticism denotes a very low level of intelligence to explain things.

The concept of Ki or chi is IMO a concept that man develop to explain certain physical aspect that maybe modern science has yet to provide an answer. After more than 5,000 years, this term is still in use. I am wondering whether if we are so attached to this term or rather, if mankind still have need for this term/concept as we still have many issues that cannot be answered by conventional scientific knowledge.

IMO Aikido is devoid of mysticism. It is only practitioners who attach mysticism or supernaturality to it. Hence it can be said mysticism is man-made not natural.

FWIW and my two cents,

Boon.

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Old 06-08-2005, 12:40 AM   #35
Erik
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Why not say, "Baseball is love." , "Golf is love.", "Nascar is love", or whatever else someone decides love is to them.
The word 'love' quickly loses any meaning.
If a word can mean anything, then it simply means nothing.
This is done, indirectly, by certain individuals within sports. I doubt you hear it much in Nascar but you get it indirectly within golf and definitely within baseball although it's presented differently. I bet you could also find it within hunting or similar activities. Aikidoists, however, seldom use those terms to refer to a sport or activity. Better to deride it for allowing competition.

That being said, I agree and disagree with much of what you wrote. Morihei Ueshiba, as Don pointed out, clearly came from a mystical realm and seemingly bought into a lot of stuff I would frankly deem as crap. But, he was what he was and you can't entirely disregard it.

However, at the same time, trying to model everything: diet, no water during training, breathing exercises, etc. when you have no basis to define if any of it accomplishes anything seems dumb too. Maybe Ueshiba ate the diet he did because he couldn't find a steak and with more protein in his diet he would have grown taller and been twice as good as he was? So we come along as the knuckleheads we are and eat a macrobiotic diet like Ueshiba did because, well, that's what he did for a part of his life. And he was really good. And we want to be just like him.

All the spiritual blather sometimes seems exactly the same to me, but you can't just disregard it either, if only for a historical understanding of where the art came from.
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Old 06-08-2005, 12:49 AM   #36
CNYMike
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Monty Collier wrote:
.... Lots of Aikido people run around talking about "ki", but the fact of the matter is that the teaching of "ki" is simply a mystical/magical teaching which conjures belief in superstitious nonsense.

Students attempt to clear their minds, chant words or syllables, breath a certain way, assume postures, and so forth in the attempt to grasp or develop a magical power that is about as real as George Lucas' "Force."

Students and Teachers would do better spending their time in the examination of, and actual practice of technical skills, rather than pretending to direct a make believe power from their bowels to their fingers.
Look at the name of the art: Aikido. Whether or not ki exists, O Sensei certainly believed in it, and it's right there in the name of the art.

Quote:
Another example of the useless mysticism inherent in Aikido was the recent video that appeared on one of the forum threads. The clip did a nice job demonstrating technical skills that actually make up the system of Aikido. However, from time to time one would see something like: "Aikido is love." flash on to the screen.

Aikido is love?
Please.

Why not say, "Baseball is love." , "Golf is love.", "Nascar is love", or whatever else someone decides love is to them.
The word 'love' quickly loses any meaning.
If a word can mean anything, then it simply means nothing.

Aikido is not love.
Aikido is a Martial system.
Aikido class may be a place in which you can practice loving your neighbor, but Aikido is not love.
Towards the end of his life, O Sensei thought of traiding the "Aiki" characters that mean "harmony" to "Aiki" that means love.

Quote:
Just because a teacher, or a founder of Aikido was a nice guy, this is no basis for concluding that what he taught was the source of this kindness.

Just because a teacher, or a founder of Aikido claims that what he teaches will bring a moral harmony and love for mankind, this is no basis for concluding that what he taught actually accomplishes his claims.

If a person was not familiar with Aikido, and its mystical teachings, do you really think that such a person would conclude that Aikido was the way of peaceful harmony just by watching a demonstration of Aikido projections or neutralizations? Of course not.
They may be impressed, but no such moral assertion will be made from watching such a demonstration.

The reason it would be impossible to deduce a moral principal from a visual or tangible demonstration is because you cannot start with something you see (Aikido demo), and end up with something you cannot see (moral ideas).

One can practice ethics in Aikido class, but one cannot deduce ethics from Aikido.

If ethics are taught at Aikido class, then they did not come from Iriminage or kotegaeshi, but from Asian philosophy or religion. Since that is clearly the case, why should I pay homage to such Asian religious philosophy? Why not some other religion? Why not deontology? Why not utilitarianism?

If I want to go to church, why would I go to Aikido class?

If I want to learn how not to fight, couldn't I just ask an Amish person? Wouldn't that be easier than all that physical combat training? Aikido is combat training isn't it? The Amish manage not to fight without Aikido. The Amish manage to live in harmony without Aikido. Maybe Morihei Uyeshiba should have joined an Amish community instead of the religious school of Omoto-kyo.


If you don't need Aikido to live in harmony and peace with your neighbor, and clearly you don't, then maybe Aikido doesn't need Asian philosophy of religion in order to function. Maybe Aikido is simply a physical exercise that can be used in a self-defense situation.
Except that the martial artist who did that would be guilty of being grossly disrepectuful to the founder, and failing to to his job of preserving and passing on what was passed to him.

My Kali teacher, who also has permission to teach Pentjak Silat Serak, is constantly emphasizing his role as preserving the arts he is teaching. Martial arts is not just about teaching someone a skill -- it is about passing on part of a culture. That's even true of Jun Fan/JKD; that's why their terminology is in Cantonese. It may even be true of Western Boxing -- you just don't notice the culture becaue we're in it. WRT Serak, Andy always said, "It is very important to do things exactly the way I show you," in no small part to show proper hormat or respect to the founder of the art, Pak Sera, and his disciples.

I don't see why this doesn't apply to Aikido. You are not just teaching joint locks and throws -- you can learn those anywhere. You are getting a small part of Japanese culture that has been refracted through O Sensei's vision. And if the "mystical nonsense" is an important part of what O Sensei wants passed down, then you'd damn well better pass it down, or you are not doing your job as an Aikido student/teacher. Yet it is very odd/dsiconcerting to come to Aikido, supposedly a "traditional" art, and find people 180 degrees from someone in the "non-traditional" arts WRT the role of preservation. I've had that drummed into me for over a year: That part of what we do is to preserve what we are given so it doens't vanish from the face of the Earth. Aikido may have had fifty years to establish itself in the West, but that doesn't make that job any less important.

If you want to learn how to fight, don't go to anyone for formal training in anything. Just move to a bad neighborhood and get in fights every day. Martial arts is about more than that. And if you can't see that or refuse to accept it, then maybe you should ask yourself if you are doing the right thing with your disposable income.
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:23 AM   #37
Keith_k
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote:
But, then again, I do know of at least one aikido T-shirt that states, "We put the 'harm' back into 'harmony'"...
That is excellent! Being that Hapkido and Aikido mean the same thing in their respective languages, I may just have to borrow that t-shit idea.
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Old 06-08-2005, 07:09 AM   #38
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

I don't have a problem with spirituality and I don't have a problem with people freely expressing their religious views. I just find it annoying and a bit pretentious when people use Aikido or any other martial art as a way to promote their religion when a great deal of people are there to learn a martial art.
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Old 06-08-2005, 07:09 AM   #39
ian
 
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

I always like the anecdote about aikido in which someone asks Ueshiba "I would like to learn your aikido", whereupon Ueshiba replies "that's funny, everyone else wants to learn their own aikido".

The point being that aikido is more of a personal exploration than a set standard. However, I agree that most mystesism (can't spell!) is just stuff repeated by others, whereas in rare cases it does express a real understanding that cannot be put in conventional terms (for example, I consider ki to be a 'model' of how things work, and one which is flawed, but is simpler for explaining many things). However, we must critically assess all the information which we obtain - and I believe that is a big problem with aikido.

Technological advancement is not done specifically because people are clever, but because people can record knowledge for future generations, and future generations can critically appraise this (whether deductive reasoning or empirical reasoning). As an aikido community we need to get together and produce falsifiable hypotheses i.e. underlying fundamentals in aikido which can be tested and refined or rejected. We are still in a stage where different aikido clubs do radically different things, and there has been no effort to objectively assess the advantages and disadvantages (possibly because an assessment in the dojo is nothing like an assessment within real combat).

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 06-08-2005, 07:15 AM   #40
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote:
On the topic of "aikido is love," the founder himself has said things like, "the path of aikido is the path of protecting love," "the path of aiki is the manifestation of love," and "true aikido is 'love'." (First two quotes from "Takemusu Aiki" and the last quote from "Aikido" (thanks, Peter!) both translated from the original Japanese by me.) The character used for "love" is, indeed, 愛. Personally, I'm far from understanding what this really means, so I can't say much about this topic.
I've never been exactly sure how to handle some of the things O-Sensei did toward the end of his life. He was emotionally erratic, often irrascible, and treated with kid-gloves because of his temper outbursts (not always was he like this, but enough so that it was a common conversation). He awarded a woman dance teacher a 10th dan in Aikido and was seen in public demonstrations with her... notice how it's very difficult to find any mention of this in the literature. In other words, there was a certain amount of behavior and pronouncements that most of the Japanese surrounding O-Sensei sort of studiously avoid talking about.

So when it gets down to the "Aikido is Love" part, I would have several questions about it, if I wanted to be sure I understood what he was talking about. First of all, I'd want to be sure that the "love" translation really equates to the concept of "love" that westerners are thinking about when they hear that term. Secondly, I'd want to know how old he was when he made that pronouncement. Thirdly, I'd look at the uchi-deshi of the time and see how much their training focuses on and mentions "Aikido is love".... if it's not a big factor in what they say or train, then I wouldn't put a lot of weight onto the "Aikido is love" idea.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 06-08-2005, 07:36 AM   #41
SeiserL
 
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

IMHO, Aikido is a tool, a discipline. It can be studied without the mysticism. But I personally like it.

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 06-08-2005, 08:15 AM   #42
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

I have found more personal spirituality practicing Judo than I ever did with Aikido, even though there is no discussion whatsoever of spirituality in my Judo class or after class for that matter. I guess what I am trying to say that spirituality is a personal experience, and while your religious experience can tranfer to all aspects of your life it is better to leave the practice of religion to church and your personal time. Outward religious practice certainly does not belong in a martial arts class. How would you like it if your sensei was a Catholic and they did Catholic religious rituals during class?
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Old 06-08-2005, 08:19 AM   #43
rob_liberti
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

When I think about the idea: "aikido is love" - I think about what does "aikido" mean to me, and what does "love" mean to me, and I think about how to reconcile the two things. I think the mental materialism approach of "I already know what aikido is, and I already know what love is, and they are not the same thing" is not quite the point. It is directly against the message of "shoshin".

This kind of topic reminds me of Plato's "forms" - like what is "justice"? what is friendship? what is virtue? can virtue be taught?

It might not be such a horrible thing to ask yourself now and again, things like: what is "ki"? what is "aiki"? what is "do"? what is "ikkyo"? what is "iriminage"? what is the "wa"? etc.

Giving credit where credit is due, I would say that Mike Sigman has done a really good job with what is "ki"? I would love to read about some of the other ideas - I just mentioned - thought about to that degree or more.

Rob
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Old 06-08-2005, 09:03 AM   #44
akiy
 
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Hi MIchael,
Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
I don't have a problem with spirituality and I don't have a problem with people freely expressing their religious views. I just find it annoying and a bit pretentious when people use Aikido or any other martial art as a way to promote their religion when a great deal of people are there to learn a martial art.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, but I'm a bit lost. I'm not too sure if anyone here has said that aikido should contain religious teachings. Can you expand a bit on your thoughts about this? In what manners have you seen aikido people using aikido to promote their religion?

-- Jun

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Old 06-08-2005, 09:49 AM   #45
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Jun, many are promoting Aikido as a Religion, and practically worhipping Ueshiba as a diety.

Magical powers of Ki, absolute faith in magical like acts performed by Ueshiba even though they never experienced it themselves, etc.

I can spend a bit of time here on Aikiweb collecting the quotes if you would like
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Old 06-08-2005, 09:53 AM   #46
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
Jun, many are promoting Aikido as a Religion, and practically worhipping Ueshiba as a diety.
C'mon, Michael.... he wasn't THAT fat.

Mike
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Old 06-08-2005, 10:56 AM   #47
CNYMike
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
Jun, many are promoting Aikido as a Religion, and practically worhipping Ueshiba as a diety.

Magical powers of Ki, absolute faith in magical like acts performed by Ueshiba even though they never experienced it themselves, etc.

I can spend a bit of time here on Aikiweb collecting the quotes if you would like
Mike, last fall I attended an anual seminar here in CNY with an Okimura Sensei, who started training under O Sensei in the 1950s and is also a Buddhist priest. So he should know whether Aikido is relgious or not. He said flat out, no ifs, ands, or buts, "Aikido is not religion." That's a quote. Make of that what you will.
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Old 06-08-2005, 11:06 AM   #48
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

None of the yoshinkan schools I know of practice aikido as religion. Maybe you just hang out in the wrong places....

Ron

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Old 06-08-2005, 11:18 AM   #49
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Separation of Church and Class!?

I have a very hard time with this same concept. So far, this is about all I can say:

Religion exists in aikido because the founder was very religious (in many eyes fanatical). The interaction of religion and aikido is important to training because concepts, ideas, and philosophies of aikido are derived from religious beliefs; just as many physical techniques were derived from daito ryu.

Aikido people are required to understand the religious interaction of aikido to excel in training; they are not required to believe it, live it, or do anything else with it. Aikido people are required to understand the physical interaction of aikido to excel in training; they are not required to practice it, live it, or do anything else with it. This is the balance of aikido. To remove the spiritual component would leave you with a collection of techniques that resemble daito ryu. To remove the physical component would leave you with religious doctrine. Together, you have a martial art called aikido.

That said, I have found that aikido is growing in spiritual zealots unbalancing aikido practice. If taken out on context, many of O'Sensei's comments would seem fanatical or mystical (heck, even taken in context some of his quotes and ideas are "excentric"). To that extent, I agree that we need to pay closer attention to what the aikido community protrays is aikido, but I don't think that was the focus of the thread. Aikido a a budo; an ideology to improve life in all aspects, not just fighting...
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Old 06-08-2005, 11:23 AM   #50
Michael Neal
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 600
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

"Separation of Church and Class"

I love it! That should be the #1 rule of Aikido
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