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Home > Spiritual > A Letter
by Mitsugi Saotome

Contributed by Dennis Hooker.

Almost a quarter century ago, I got this letter:

Dear Dennis,

You ask for my help.

Your body has a weakness. I know you understand that the physical and spiritual worlds affect each other, but because you have a physical weakness or disability does not mean that your spirit is weak. It will serve to strengthen your spirit, as I know it already has.

If your physical attitude is one of aggression and violence, your spirit will be aggressive and violent; but, if your physical attitude is one of harmony, your spirit will be affected in that way. This is what is meant by saying that the physical affects the spiritual.

A disability is often used by God as a gift to make the spirit grow and give deeper meaning to your life. Deep breathing and the movements of harmony are very important - not aggression, not conflict, but also not weakness. The true power is in spiritual confidence, flexibility, and compassion in never giving up.

Most important in any training, especially misogi hara, is the reason you are training. You must train with an open mind and always try to do God's will. Your spirit must strive to purify itself and search for unity with the Holy Spirit.

Discover and appreciate the beautiful gifts of life, enjoy the sky, the songs of the birds, the food you eat, the air you breathe, and give thanks with your body, mind and spirit. Discover a bright and positive mind. Find good balance between food and sleep, exercise and relaxation.

Enjoying life is giving thanks to God. Exercise and meditation will help but what is most important is what you think of your life.

If you don't understand the direction, misogi will not help, refining your life will not help. The most important thing to realize is that you are truly a child of God. Your life has deep meaning of helping others and setting a good example.

All Aikido practice is misogi- adjustment and control. All Aikido practice is meditation, Aikido is misogi waza. But be careful. Do not let your physical situation harm you mentally. This is most important. Understand your limitations and thank God for your life.

When you do the practices outlined, please be careful. Listen to your body. Please remember that balance is important.

    Mitsugi Saotome

This letter changed my direction in Aikido and started a great change in my life.

To me, Aikido is very spiritual.

Dennis Hooker
Shindai Aikikai
Orlando Fl.

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