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#125519 - 04/06/03 01:50 PM Spiritual or what?
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
I've never really got the spiritual side of aikido, things like the significance of doka are lost on me. What am I missing?

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#125520 - 04/08/03 03:44 AM Re: Spiritual or what?
raccoon Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
or what, would be my answer.

Chinese is my mother language; I also speak and studied a lot of classical Japanese literature. I too have to confess I am not getting much out of his doka.

Oh, I do chinese painting and chinese calligraphy, too. If you promise not to tell anyone, I will tell you a little secret - I think O'Sensei's calligraphy is ooogly! Sorry, I've gotta be honest [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/tongue.gif[/IMG]

I am sure I've totally convinced you that I have little respect for O'Sensei, not true. But I do doubt a lot of his student's claims, and maybe some of his ideas. There were record of him dodging bullets and reincarnating shinto gods. I find myself asking the same question:

"Spiritual or what?"

-raccoon

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#125521 - 04/09/03 04:29 PM Re: Spiritual or what?
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
So if the doka and such like are a side issue and not all that relevant to aikido practice, does spirituality enter into the art at all?

Budo

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#125522 - 04/10/03 03:27 AM Re: Spiritual or what?
raccoon Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
yes and no... and who am I to tell you what "the truth" is?

In my previous response, I was merely stating how I personally approach the doka. I thought the comment about the calligraphy made it pretty obvious: it's just personal opinion.

When I was a newbie at aikido, I made an effort to memorize some of the doka (can you tell I was a real keener? The kind who would ask, "tell me, what am I doing wrong? No, just tell me what to do to make this technique [magically] work!" [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]) I have forgotten most of the dokas since, and I never find anything too exciting from them. I don't think it affects my training one bit. Most people in my dojo haven't even seen the translation of the doka, much less study the meaning in it.

But does that imply spirituality has no place in the art? No, I won't make that jump. Would you?

C'mon, unfold the riddle?

-raccoon

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#125523 - 04/11/03 09:45 AM Re: Spiritual or what?
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
In my experience most people who practice aikido aren't particularly spiritual, yet if you take the spiritual aspect away from the art all you are left with is a load of self defence techniques. This is true of many martial arts. Strange then that all these not so spiritual people would choose a martial art rather than a system of self defence to train in. There must be something about a martial art that attracts people, so what is it?

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#125524 - 04/14/03 04:58 AM Re: Spiritual or what?
raccoon Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
Alright, I screwed up. I was dwelling on the specifics and missed the obvious. Itís Catoís fault. He floods the board with inquisitions and I didnít know how to response! (I need a :cry: emoticon in here [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/frown.gif[/IMG] )

Spirituality doesnít necessarily mean religious. I am not Omoto Kyoto (diciple of Omoto religion), and I donít have to be one to be an aikidoka. What is important about OíSenseiís involvement in Omoto kyo is that he was attracted to and affected by itís pacifist principles. When Omoto kyo didnít sit well with the Japanese government and were facing prosecutions, Oosaburo encouraged Ueshiba Morihei to abandon his job as Oosaburoís bodyguard and continue his pursue in budo. He told Morihei that the purpose of his life is to make his own art, a form of budo that serves as vehicle to achieve peace, and not to protect and preach the Omoto religion. OíSensei followed his advice and left Oosaburo to open his own dojo and eventually created Aikido.

So, like Sensei Lou and joe pointed out, OíSensei probably didnít intend to make aikido a religion. Omoto kyo was the religion that preaches total pacifism; Aikido is the budo that targets the same principle.

Thatís my 2 cents as a 5th kyuÖ if I am wrong, have mercy!


-raccoon

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#125525 - 04/14/03 09:07 AM Re: Spiritual or what?
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
Excellent points, but isn't Eastern philosophy intrinsically bound up with religion? Any martial art has an underlying philosophy, martail arts styles are replete with philosophical sayings and lessons. Take them away and, again, we are left with a set of physical exercises. Does that then mean that the art has to be religious as well? If not, why not?

Budo

[This message has been edited by Cato (edited 04-14-2003).]

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#125526 - 04/15/03 06:37 PM Re: Spiritual or what?
raccoon Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Cato:
isn't Eastern philosophy intrinsically bound up with religion? [/QUOTE]

Is it? I don't know, why don't you tell me?

I grew up in Hong Kong and I grew up in a very traditional family. My dad lectures me with confucious quotes at least twice a week! Even so, I never get any religious message. There were folklores etc that are all buddism based, but I never thought of them as anything more than myths.

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Cato:
Any martial art has an underlying philosophy, martail arts styles are replete with philosophical sayings and lessons. Take them away and, again, we are left with a set of physical exercises.[/QUOTE]
My question is, are those philosophies necessarily religious in nature?

I don't know your background, Cato. In case you have some Christianity influences/ bias, we should perhaps keep in mind most oriental religious aren't like Christianity.

To be a Christian, faith in that one and only one God is the most important. In fact, it's more important than to live a morally sound life. Ethic and kindness won't get you the ticket into heaven; faith will.

In Eastern religions, I always get the impression that the moral implication is the heart of matters, not the dieties involved.

You offered "to look at history through modern eyes is always a mistake" in another thread. Similarly, I offer it's dangerous to view practices in other cultures as mysterious and cult like. Perhaps our lack of understanding in their culture is playing with our perceptions. Japanese have a habit of deifying things and people. Raccoons are supposed to have mystical ability to morph their physical form into any object/being, including a specific person, for a limited period of time. (alright, the right word might have been tanugi, not raccoon, but they look like raccoons...) Similarly, someone who has much influences in religious development of the country is likely to be deified by the Japanese people. With someone like O'Sensei, with his involvements in omoto kyo and his achievement in martial arts, and the influence it has over Japanese culture and it's spread to other countries, it's no wonder that people would diefy him. As you probably know, O'Sensei has the "Japanese National Treasure" status.


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Cato:
Does that then mean that the art has to be religious as well? If not, why not?[/QUOTE]

I haven't engaged in aikido long enough to answer such question, at least I don't believe I qualify to say "aikido ought to be practiced in such and such manners".

But, you inspired me to ask a different question: Do you have to be a Christian to wed in a Catholic Church, and to receive blessing of a priest? Are you answering as a personal choice, or are you telling me "that's how it should be"?

-raccoon

[This message has been edited by raccoon (edited 04-15-2003).]

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#125527 - 04/16/03 05:39 AM Re: Spiritual or what?
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
I try very hard never to tell anyone "that's how it should be", largely because I don't know how it should be.

My understanding of Eastern philosophy is based upon what I have learnt from other people. I'm not from that culture, I don't have any close friends who live in a traditional way and I've never made any study of it. So, if you are tElling me I'm wrong then I accept that you know more than i do.

I do however think it is fair to say that O'sensei thought of aikido as an extension of his beliefs, and that he was a religious person. So, irrespective of what I may think, he introduced his religious philosophies into the practice of aikido. Is it not then encumbent upon me, as a student of his art, to also study his religion? The fact that I don't could mean that I'm only studying a part of what aikido is, or was intended to be.`

[This message has been edited by Cato (edited 04-16-2003).]

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#125528 - 04/16/03 06:50 AM Re: Spiritual or what?
raccoon Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
Sorry Cato, I came off too aggressive. It must be exam stress (Statistic exam tomorrow, and I have a feeling I am going to become part of the statistic...) I reread my post and I am horrified by how arrogant it came out! I hope you know I wasn't trying to tell you "that's how it should be", either.

And it really doesn't matter if I lived all my life in China studying bushido everyday, the truth is, neither of us came from Japan, neither of us came from O'Sensei's generation. The best we can do is speculate and research.

All these are just my opinion (I won't pull out your bugbear, but you know what I am getting at..). Personally I don't think you need to share O'Sensei's faith to practice aikido. He has chosen which part of the religion to integrate into his art, namely peacemaking. You and Jamoni made some very good point that I never considered - even the most extreme pacifist needs to take care of himself, to not do so is to fail aikido. But that already shows us O'Sensei's budo is different from Oosaburo's Omoto Kyo. Oosaburo chooses to preach pacifism at the cost of his freedom and personal safety. In fact, he put all his follower's safety at risk in hope of creating the "holy kingdom". However, O'Sensei took Oosaburo's advice and left to seek peace in a different manner - a manner that doesn't sacrifice your own personal well beings. To me, that says O'Sensei took what he agrees with in the religion, and make something new out of it. And so we don't need to be involved in Omoto kyo any more than we need to practice Dito Ryu AJJ or Jujitsu to be aikidoka. O'Sensei made his own judgement of what is needed, and put them together, and in doing so created aikido. I don't feel there is a religion overtone, the only thing he brings over from Omoto kyo is the peace seeking principles.

But as ever, that's just my opinions. To be honest, I never even thougt about this things until you raised all these questions. If you can convince with evidence and good reasonings, I am willing to change my conclusion.

yours respectfully,
-raccoon

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