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Hopper250
18th October 2001, 20:41
I'm sure this has been brought up be for i was just cirious as to others perspectives. I would like to hear others views as it gives me a good idea how others feel about such things.

I am from the Seidokan Dojo and although we do not do Ki exercises directly it is still emphicized in our training and I was wondering on others perspectives on that as well.

I belive that Ki can be based on ones faith in God and that that they can become very strong as they use their faith. If others feel differently please state you opinion.

Aikieagle
19th October 2001, 17:13
O-sensei was a very religious man, and that i feel had a lot to do with his incredible use of ki. His love for his faith made him feel very powerful and that had much to do with his fearlessness. Then you add the fact that he learns to use this spiritually implicated energy, you have a person who can be very strong. O-senei said several times, after doing a very dangerous situation, that he was not afraid to do it b/c he believed that he was alive for some greater purpose. This is why he invited the Tokyo Police to fire weapons at him, for him to be blind folded and attacked by his Uchi-deshi, to go to MONGOLIA!!
He did these crazy feats b/c God(or the Gods) had something big designed for his life that he has to do. And for the most part he completed his goals, and was very happy when i died and not afraid to die. That has much to do with someone's faith. But the idea of Ki, and Ki usage if fairly new to Western society and Christianity. I think if a christian can come to terms with "verbal" differences, and realize that "ideals" are fundamentally the same, it could actually increase the spiritual bond between the person and God! :)

Cesar

Nami
20th October 2001, 01:15
:karatekid


Well, first one must have an idea of what Ki "is". To my own understanding, "Ki" means "spirit". And that ki is not a person's soul, but an energy produced by the soul.

Example: Electricity travels though a light-bulb, produces light.

I feel that faith ( Christain, Jewish, Muslim, Buddist, Shinto, etc.)
is fuel for the spirit and thus fuel for ki.

Clear as mud? :D

I'm no expert and I am open-minded to defferent views on things.

rupert
20th October 2001, 04:29
There have been many discussions as to whether Aikido can be considered OK to do by Christians. Some say yes, some say no. It is probably the Chan / Seon / Zen connection that they perceive as being religious, combined with the fact that buddhism is a kind of anti religion - in the sense that they have no god. The tradtional view in christianity is all or nothing, you take it all, or they don't accept you. This is why christianity has never flourished in Japan - they blend their religions together and christianity says - No Way. In Korea, christianity is booming but it has created a divide to the extent that christians demonstrate outside buddhist tepmples, even burned a couple of late ... quite comical actually since it's usually the christians that get persecuted, not to mention the fact that it's a foreign religion in at times, a highly xenpophobic place. Anyway, if you are a christian it depends upon how far you bend / interpret it all. As for me, I have no religion (although I was moved by the life of Brian), and remain a curious onloker. Yes, it is very curious.

Rupert Atkinson

dinengurth
20th October 2001, 05:20
I agree with all of the replies above. I think that your soul and your ki are totally different, yet dependent on each other. If your belief in God is very strong, then your strong beliefs will only strengthen your ki. I am christian and I think that as your ki strengthens, so do your beliefs, IMHO.


Let me know what you guys think.




Brock G.

:beer:

asiawide
20th October 2001, 12:44
IMHO, KI isn't the matter. You may regard it as a blood which
is circulating your body. No one insist on you to believe in 'KI'.
though some teachers like Tohei sensei have mentioned KI a lot.

I think more serious problem is 'bowing to O'sensei'.
Is there anyone who see 'Jehovah°Įs Witnesses'-aikidoka?
It may be ok to them to bow to sensei and partners because
it's a way of showing respect. But O'sensei is already
dead. So it's that we worship idol!

Have you ever seen 'Jehovah°Įs Witnesses'-aikidoka?

I'm very curious. :)

Gil Gillespie
20th October 2001, 15:51
Asiawide, it is the rule on this website that you sign all posts with your full name. It can be configured in the signature box with a trendy quote if you know how to do all that. I don't.

Bowing to O-Sensei is not idol worship. As a Japanese martial art aikido cannot help but be reflective of that culture. In Japan bowing is paying respect. Revering one's ancestors also leads many Japanese budo to hang their founder's portrait in the kamiza. It is not an idol to be worshipped. It is the symbolic presence of O-Sensei before which we train and comport ourselves. That I think is quite a lofty endeavor.

There is a tone among these posts that the more devotional religious faith one has the more "access" to mastering ki. Inherent in that assumption is that the less devotion to "The Deity" the less access to ki.

Balderdash.

The idea of a Jehovah's Witness aikidoka is interesting. He would have a lot of narrow indoctrinal baggage to overcome. We had a Muslim visit our dojo and reject aikido because he was only allowed to bow to Allah.

Well, we all have to choose.

joe yang
20th October 2001, 20:30
Bowing as a sign of worship is a Near Eastern concept, shared by the desert religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We shake hands to show respect. In the Far East, bowing is the Asian equivelant to a hand shake. It is not a martial salute. It is not a sign of worship. To equate the Asian bow with worship is to misunderstand the culture. I can't shake Allah's hand either, so I won't shake yours?

I have my own thoughts on ki as a coaching tool and a model of reality. More articulate and intellectual contributors than I have discussed the various interpretations of ki, much more succinctly.
If you want to see it as a magic bullet, more power to you.

I would like to add a note on the subject of Christianity and the martial arts. I don't find the concept of martial arts and/or meditation and Christianity to be mutually exclusive. I am a devout Christian. I am not a fundamentalist. I am not born again. Mine is the same faith I was raised in from childhood. It is a personal matter, between me and my God. It is not subject to debate. If you question it, I will not dignify you with a response.

However, there is a very real difference between the Eastern and the Western concept of God. Campbell said it far better in "The Masks of God", than I ever could. Read the book, then go argue with him. I paraphrase; Eastern religion, such as it is, is one with God. Western religion has a personal relationship with God. Get the difference?

If I stay true to my religion, I can meditate, zone out, en out and get as yang as I want too and stay a good Christian. There is just one God, and Jesus is my Buddha!

Chris Li
21st October 2001, 00:26
ot a martial salute. It is not a sign of worship. To equate the Asian bow with worship is to misunderstand the culture. I can't shake Allah's hand either, so I won't shake yours? [/B][/QUOTE]

Historically, bowing as a greeting or show of respect was common in many near eastern and European cultures, although never to the extent that it was used in the far east. Certainly it was never exclusively a sign of worship in the west.

In the far east a bow may be a sign of worship or it may not, depending upon the circumstances. Just because it is commonly used as the equivalent to a hand shake does not mean

joe yang
21st October 2001, 04:08
Agreed. However it is implicitly understood between GM and myself, senior students, we bow as a sign of respect, and as naturally as we shake hands. Our very large Korean community in the area, who, while trying to maintain their identity, so readilly embrace all things American, finally accept how easily GM's senior students bow, and return the greeting with ease. The wives of senior students have a joke that they know when GM is on the phone, because the husbands bob up and down and grin like idoiots during the whole conversation. So yes, most cultures use bowing to reflect appropriate reverence and worship, but it is wrong, and typically western to ignore the salutatory nature of the typical Asian bow.

Fred Stakem
21st October 2001, 05:23
joe said:
In the Far East, bowing is the Asian equivelant to a hand shake. It is not a martial salute. It is not a sign of worship. To equate the Asian bow with worship is to misunderstand the culture. I can't shake Allah's hand either, so I won't shake yours?

I found this thread very interesting. The parallel with handshaking
is hard to pass up, but I think there are some important
differences...just want to get some feedback on peoples ideas.

I know in the west we sometimes bow are heads in respect for
another. But usually only one person will bow their head as
if showing obedience to the other. Just think of the last time
you saw a child being punished by their parents. Chances are
the child was looking at their feet...not daring to look in their
parents eyes. Although bowing may be a sign of respect in the
east, I think it has a negative connotation in the west. Should
we pass on cultural norms to a society that is alien to them?

The other question I had was about shrines. If you can accept
bowing to one another as respect..what about bowing to a
dojo shrine? I know what people will say...."you are just
showing respect to the dojo"...this maybe, but I have never
shown respect to a building by bowing except in church. When a
catholic enters church, he removes his hat and bows while taking
some holy water. I have never done this in any other building,
and would take it as a religious act. No matter what someone
would tell me, I think it is ridiculous to bow to an inanimate
object unless it had some religious significance to me. What about
everyone else??

Gil said:
Bowing to O-Sensei is not idol worship.

I think that is a matter of culture. You might not find it to be
idol worship, but others might. Socrates said something
to the contrary(not about o sensei....if they would have met...
now that would be a good post)...'no man should bow to
another'. -----As a side note our founding fathers
refused to put a leaders picture on coins because it would be
against the ideals of a democracy. I beleive it was not until this
century that presidents pictures were put on american currency.---
To some religious practitioners such as devout muslims, this
would definately be considered idol worship.

Gil said:
As a Japanese martial art aikido cannot help but be reflective of that culture.

But does that mean a non-japanese society should pass on
their culture?

Fred Stakem

Aikieagle
21st October 2001, 06:56
in the martial arts, its NEVER about idolizing. period. people who have problems giving reverence to others are in need of some personal searching. are you that insecure about yourself that you cant give someone else, alive or dead, respect for something they have given to you? Remember, without O-sensei, there would be NO aikido. So what's wrong with giving him thanks before you practice. just like you give your teacher thanks after class, and other students thanks for helping you. I hope all Aikido practitioners do this, otherwise you dont not deserve being taught. My teacher says that the beginning and the end are the most important parts of the training, if you cant deal with that dont be here. People who can not do this are too sheltered from the rest of the world. Bowing is much more SINCERE than a hand shake, why cant you do that?? Why cant you be sincere?
There is no implication of idolizing, ESPECIALLY in japanese MA. If we say that Zen directly impacts japanese society and japanese Martial arts, then we know how direct and truthful followers of Zen can be. If you told my Zen teacher to idolize O-sensei or Buddha, he would tell you to f$$k off<his words>! He was very forth right about things, and i think most of the people in MA are as well. And lets not get started on the igonrant christian misconception of Buddha, everytime i hear some christian say that buddhist think Buddha is God, i wanna smack them up side the head! Most monks would burn their statues than to see their practitioners start idolizing them.
i think most of our dislikes with the bowing is not in the bowing itself, but because of our ignorance. We misunderstand and misread what it means. And instead of learning it, we turn it off and refuse, that's called ignorance.
I remember when i was the "doubting Thomas" back when i first was learning and practicing Buddhism. I am catholic, so it was hard to see how it fits without being at odds, and for a while i thought i was at odds. But finally i approached the church counselor and asked if learning about Buddhism was against our religion, and she said, "Well, do you believe in God?", I said yes and she said, "so why are you worried then?" And she was right, if i am strong with my faith, then it should be easy to put myself in another way of life and fit right in. Later on down the road, we got a new father who was Vietnamese and he knew a lot about buddhism and often uses it's philosophy in some of his homilies. So that showed me again not to doubt my feelings.
Anyways, i think it should be known that to learn buddhism or Zen is not at conflict with Christianity, it acutally helps with it. I adapted the japanese seated posture in meditation and use the rosary, or i chant christian prayers instead. It helps see the connection between mind and body. This is easy b/c it's not that buddhism does NOT accept a God, but that it does not deal with the idea of if there IS or IS NOT a God. That's why when buddhism enters a culture, it can adapt. Japanese are both Shinto and Buddhist, Vietnamese have thier own gods, and Chinese have their own gods. So its not that you cant believe in God and be buddhist, its that you personally have the choice to believe in a God or not. the first Buddha never mentioned God, so how can we assume that he didnt believe in a God or not? That's a big assumption, ESPECIALLY since he came from the Hindu religion, a practice that has thousands of gods. peace....

Cesar

Chris Li
21st October 2001, 08:43
Originally posted by Aikieagle
in the martial arts, its NEVER about idolizing. period. people who have problems giving reverence to others are in need of some personal searching. are you that insecure about yourself that you cant give someone else, alive or dead, respect for something they have given to you? Remember, without O-sensei, there would be NO aikido. So what's wrong with giving him thanks before you practice.

Nothing wrong with thanks, but some people's religion specifically prohibits them from bowing to a picture (or to a person). And while I don't think that I've ever seen an Aikido dojo with a Buddhist shrine, many dojo have the students bow towards a Shinto shrine. Buddhism may or may not involve gods (depending upon who you talk to), but Shinto certainly does - and that's a no-no for many people's religious beliefs.



just like you give your teacher thanks after class, and other students thanks for helping you. I hope all Aikido practitioners do this, otherwise you dont not deserve being taught. My teacher says that the beginning and the end are the most important parts of the training, if you cant deal with that dont be here. People who can not do this are too sheltered from the rest of the world. Bowing is much more SINCERE than a hand shake, why cant you do that?? Why cant you be sincere?


Are you saying that there's no way to be sincere or respectful without that specific physical action? I've discussed this with more than one of Morihei Ueshiba's original Japanese students, and all of them thought it was slightly odd that anyone would worry about it - their answer (in general) was something like "If you don't want to bow then don't bow".

Best,

Chris

Aikieagle
21st October 2001, 18:13
Oh yeah, i maybe forgot to say this. but these comments werent directed towards any specific person, you was meant as a general statement as in everyone or us. But with the bowing, i think you can be sincere without it, but it is easier to be insincere with a handshake. When you bow, you put your appearance and ego on the line infront of everyone else, i think humility is the word.
And also, make sure that you did not misunderstand what the deshi of o-sensei meant. Often times a teacher will say one thing and mean another, just ask any of the students of o-sensei, they were filled with misunderstandings of what he meant.
What are these religions that specifically prohibit what you can do?? i've never seen a religion be that restrictive. Often times it is the practitioner that interprets something as a "sin" and not the religion. Just look at Bin Laden, he says it is not against the muslim faith to terrorize, yet the rest of the muslim community around the world says it is. So make sure you get more information and understanding of these religions instead of basing it one one view. Religion is very interpretive, and often the follower can misread it, and many times, abuse it so their followers dont know any better.
Cesar

Chris Li
21st October 2001, 22:42
Originally posted by Aikieagle
Oh yeah, i maybe forgot to say this. but these comments werent directed towards any specific person, you was meant as a general statement as in everyone or us. But with the bowing, i think you can be sincere without it, but it is easier to be insincere with a handshake. When you bow, you put your appearance and ego on the line infront of everyone else, i think humility is the word.

There are just as many insincere Japanese as there are any other nationality, and they bow all the time. There's nothing in particular about bowing that makes a person more sincere.



And also, make sure that you did not misunderstand what the deshi of o-sensei meant. Often times a teacher will say one thing and mean another, just ask any of the students of o-sensei, they were filled with misunderstandings of what he meant.


Oh I'm quite sure that I understood what they meant. They were direct questions related to a specific situation. That's quite a bit different than attempting to analyze Morihei Ueshiba's cosmological lectures.



What are these religions that specifically prohibit what you can do?? i've never seen a religion be that restrictive. Often times it is the practitioner that interprets something as a "sin" and not the religion. Just look at Bin Laden, he says it is not against the muslim faith to terrorize, yet the rest of the muslim community around the world says it is. So make sure you get more information and understanding of these religions instead of basing it one one view. Religion is very interpretive, and often the follower can misread it, and many times, abuse it so their followers dont know any better.
Cesar

Depends upon the branches, of course, but I've seen Orthodox Jews, some branches of Islam and some branches of Christianity that have problems with some of the bowing practices in Aikido. This kind of problem is even more common when the students bow towards a Shinto shrine (which is not uncommon in Aikido dojo). You may or may not agree with their viewpoint, but if you examine the basis for those practices their viewpoint is not unreasonable, given their religious framework.

Not religious fanatics (although I'm sure that there are some out there), but reasonable people who held specific religious beliefs. If "humility is the word" don't you think that it's fairly presumptuous to assert that someone's religious beliefs are "misread" or ill-informed? What you're saying in that case is that your interpretation of their religion is more correct then their own.

Best,

Chris

Fred Stakem
22nd October 2001, 01:02
Cesar said:
Bowing is much more SINCERE than a hand shake, why cant you do that?? Why cant you be sincere?

I have done this in the past. I have no major objections to bowing
to other people, but the question still remains. If you pass on a
trait to another culture will it still have the same significance in the
forgien culture. Bowing may be more important in japanese
society, but if americans see it as an empty gesture is it worth
doing. Is it really more sincere than a handshake if the exponents
do not perform it sincerely.

Cesar said:
in the martial arts, its NEVER about idolizing.

Theoretically maybe, but I have seen more then enough people
pretent to be more asian as though it would make them a
better practitioner or more inline with asian ideals. They
contradict the very ideal they sometimes try to emulate.
The go for 'the flower instead of the fruit'.

Just to clarify a few things....
The islamic faith is known for their amazing geometric patterns.
Have you ever seen the close detail of a mosque?? The reason
for this is the need for decoration because the faith does not
believe in rendering the image of god....I have seen different
cultures interpret certain parts of the koran differently...
(like the status of women and music and such), but the act
of bowing to am image...let alone one not of god I think would
be taken seriously. Do any muslims have a comment on this??

Do any more well read in christian theology have problem with
bowing to a picture or shrine?? What is the official vatican stance
on such a thing?

Fred Stakem

Dan Harden
22nd October 2001, 04:58
Personaly, I am rather fond of the quote by Don Angier
"Ki is Crap."

Simple and definitive. I wouldn't mind listiening to all the diatribes about it so much, if those being so verbose could do anything substantive other than just talk about it.
It isn't a force, it doesn't work and the parlor tricks supposedly performed with it can be stopped rather easily if you understand the mechanics of the human body. The nonsense put forth as "Ki power" is nothing more than an understanding of the bio-mechanics of the human form. If it were valid on its own, it work without people on the receiving end.

And Please spare me the exploits of others!

I can pin with a finger, I can drop you and then pin your leg so steadfastly to the ground that you cannot move it, from there I can immobilize your hip joints-till I climb you and choke you out. As an alternative to that I can articulate your leg in a very deceptive, hard to discern way- that freezes your hip muscles. People who have felt it say I am controlling their ki. Baloney- it is a deep study of the muscular / skeletal system. Whats more there a dozens of people who practice these techniques. It has nothing to do with any otherwordly power. Further, there are definitive relaxed training methods that forestall the opponenets use of a relaxed fighting system against you (your ki nonsense). This creates a "stop you in your tracks" approach to Ki bunnies.

Funny that most of the truly competant fighters I have known will show you exact and specific ways to manipulate the responses, and structures of attackers bodies.......
Most Aiki bunnies just blather on about this cosmic hooey and go one to more or less "suck" against a man who has the where-with-all to see them undone. I have had the great fun of seeing them undone by reasonably competant players. I guess the "force wasn't with them on those occasions.....seems like it never is when they have to face someone who can truly fight.

You want to acomplish something subsantial? Learn anatomy.You can amaze many people with how easy you can de-construct postures-add to that lots of fighting tactics and you have an art that can man handle people.......oops , sorry you can move them easily with your Ki.

As far as any of this nonsense interfering with your faith I would say this. You would have to believe in the anamist (sp) view point to begin with-otherwise there is no probem is there?
I don't have to worry about my faith in God being affected by Shinto shrines, trees energy, or wood sprites.....Because I don't believe in that. If a teacher believes in all of that and is offended by a student not bowing to it- theres a problem.
Question is "Who is the one who has the problem with tolerence?"


Hey.....you said you wanted opinions.
It's a big bad world out there.

Dan

"The only thing of value Ueshiba ever taught us was how to relax"
Aikido journal interview with Tohei

Hopper250
22nd October 2001, 05:02
this is cool i am amazed to have gotten so many responses. I do believe that many christian pastors and practitoners (as some of you say. I perfer believers). Would object to the bowing to an image of any thing even a painting of Jesus. But as to bowing to a shrine that would be out of the question in the prodistant faiths that i have experianced. I can't speak for the catholics but it may be very similar. I apriciate the reponces it is giving me a greater insight thank you.:wave:

Chris Li
22nd October 2001, 05:12
Originally posted by Dan Harden
Personaly, I am rather fond of the quote by Don Angier
"Ki is Crap."

Simple and definitive. I wouldn't mind listiening to all the diatribes about it so much, if those being so verbose could do anything substantive other than just talk about it.
It isn't a force, it doesn't work and the parlor tricks supposedly performed with it can be stopped rather easily if you understand the mechanics of the human body. The nonsense put forth as "Ki power" is nothing more than an understanding of the bio-mechanics of the human form. If it were valid on its own, it work without people on the receiving end.

And Please spare me the exploits of others!


As fun as it is to press the buttons of you Daito-ryu bunnies :) , this thread is only peripherally about Ki - in fact, I only read a single post in the entire thread (except Dan's) that made any implications as to the nature (or power) of Ki at all. I think that what most people were talking about is the possible conflict between some common dojo behavior and people's religious beliefs.

Whether or not Ki exists and/or what form that existance would take is not-entirely relevent to the question of whether or not Ki exercises (or bowing, or whatever) potentially conflict with some people's religious beliefs.

Best,

Chris

Dan Harden
22nd October 2001, 05:29
Well, now that I have taken the time to read them Chris......you are exactly right.......oh well ;)

BTW
Meik was the one who coined the "Aiki bunnies" phrase...not to slam the whole art, nor all the players, just the many crunchy granola people drawn to it. And most have no porblem differentiating the two.
Can't see the "bunny" comment being applied to Judo, jujutsu, good Karate or Daito ryu people though- they don't draw that type of crowd-in fact they seem to run the other way. Over the years I have read the writtings of too many Aikido teachers who more or less agree with that, and wish those type of people found another pursuit...In fact last month I spent some time with an Iwama Style teacher who -looking out over some of his students- said just that. " I Can't showing them anything challanging or they whine."


Dan

Chris Li
22nd October 2001, 06:11
Originally posted by Dan Harden
BTW
Meik was the one who coined the "Aiki bunnies" phrase...not to slam the whole art, nor all the players, just the many crunchy granola people drawn to it. And most have no porblem differentiating the two.

Now, I remember back when Meik actually was an Aiki Bunny himself. Well, I suppose that he wasn't actually all that bunny-like, but he was doing Aikido (I did see him hop, though:) ).



Can't see the "bunny" comment being applied to Judo, jujutsu, good Karate or Daito ryu people though- they don't draw that type of crowd-in fact they seem to run the other way. Over the years I have read the writtings of too many Aikido teachers who more or less agree with that, and wish those type of people found another pursuit...In fact last month I spent some time with an Iwama Style teacher who -looking out over some of his students- said just that. " I Can't showing them anything challanging or they whine."
.

Personally, I thought that Sokaku Takeda had a striking resemblance to the March Hare :).

If you ask me (you didn't, I know), the attitudes of the students who show up (and stick around) are largely based upon how you practice. If someone wants different students then they probably need to change the way they practice. A lot of places (including a lot of koryu places) tend to be over-accomodating to people in order to get them to stick around. I tend to just train the way I like to train and people can stick around or not - especially since some large percentage of people will quit no matter what you do.

Still, bunnies or not, I've found silly people or one sort or another in every martial art I've ever seen, including all the ones you listed.

Best,

Chris

Aikieagle
22nd October 2001, 18:39
Well, a fight and self defense are two seperate things. any one in law enforcement or military know this. facing each other and taking a stance is much different from someone grabbing you and stabbing you with a knife. So a big man might be able to knock out a smaller one in the ring, but it might not be the case in reality. Most situations dont give you one person that will get in a stance and say lets fight. Most of them are when a group of buddies get together to beat the crap out of one person, so how can you fight that?? i think in that situation a person with aikido training will have the advantage compared to the other arts.
As for the idea of ki, i think b/c most of us do not have much actual experience with it it is hard to idealize. When you look at o-sensei and tohei sensei's feats they accomplished in their lives, who strongly believe in ki, ours do not compare. Both were in huge scenes of battle, something that is probably much more realistic than a fight! So where's the big man and his understanding of anatomy when bullets are flying through the air?? probably crying out of fear of dying.The use of energy and spirit, and extending spritual energy, is what saved them from dying in the wars, not martial technique. That is probably most realistic for those who want the most reality possible in their training. Not technique, but how to extend energy in the battle field.....who knows...

Cesar

Mike Collins
23rd October 2001, 05:46
Wouldn't it be funny if it turned out that the word Ki was nothing more than a contraction of kinesthetic dynamic energy?

Mike Collins
23rd October 2001, 05:49
Or maybe its an acronym for Karmic Indebtedness.

Or Killer Instinct

Or Klingon Invasion

Or (as in my case) Krappy Intelect

David T Anderson
23rd October 2001, 12:58
Originally posted by Fred Stakem

Do any more well read in christian theology have problem with
bowing to a picture or shrine?? What is the official vatican stance
on such a thing?

Fred Stakem

Hi Fred -- My Aikido sensei is a well-regarded Episcopal priest, and our dojo is the hall of his church. Our 'dojo behavior' is fairly traditional...lots of bowing and we set up a kamidana of sorts with a variety of pictures and tokens of our organization and practice. We also do a number of the traditional meditative techniques as part of our warmup. No problem.

Sensei is also a proponent of Ki, but I've never bothered to ask him what he really believes Ki to be, since he says that it works whether you believe in it or not. My view is that it is 'body english' rather than 'The Force', amusing as that view can be.

Sensei Skoyles believes Aikido and Christian faith go hand in hand. The fact that Aikido has its roots in different religious beliefs does not mean its spiritual and ethical aspects are antithetical to Christian belief...in fact they complement each other very nicely. Even though I am a bad old atheistic secular humanist, I can see his point and agree with it, to the degree that my understanding of theology permits me.

HolyShibumi
6th November 2001, 19:08
I have been approached by the conservative Christians in some of the circles that I am in and they ask if I think that it is OK for a Christian to practice Martial Arts.

I say yes it is OK. I'm a minister - I have seen dojos that I would not want to study with or dojos that I would not to study at - because it would compromise my witness as a Christian. They practice obvious other religious overtones through various aspects of their art.

I think that there is a serious misinterpretation going on when we hear "Thou shall no boww before other gods," (little g) neither O-sensi nor anyone else is a god. It's just a Japanese "handshake." But the minute that I place someone or something above my relation ship with Jesus Christ - there is the god, and I have violated a serious law.

I am a pretty conservative person myself. But I disagree with such interpretations that Dr. Rebecca Brown says in her book "He came to set the captives free."
:look:

Fred Stakem
7th November 2001, 04:30
I think that there is a serious misinterpretation going on when we hear "Thou shall no boww before other gods," (little g) neither O-sensi nor anyone else is a god. It's just a Japanese "handshake."

O-sensei might not be a god, but some would say bowing to
his picture would be treating him like a god. I am not so
sure it is entirely a religious question though. Most western
people I know see bowing as sort of strange or subserviant.
When I was younger I might have thought these people need
to be a bit more open. I am not so sure now.

Most of my friends are not the type to
practice martial arts and look at some of the rituals as strange.
The older I get I am just wondering if we should emulate things
that are foreign to us....maybe it is respect, but to a lot of people
I met it is just another blank ritual. I just wonder how many
people there are out there that are just attracted to ma because
of it's foreignness or because these rituals make it exotic. When
you go out to play sports you don't see people who would
rather talk about why modern soccer shin pads are better than
older ones. You see people who just want to play. Why then
in ma are there so few people who actually want to practice??

Fred Stakem

Dennis Hooker
7th November 2001, 19:27
Originally posted by Mike Collins
Wouldn't it be funny if it turned out that the word Ki was nothing more than a contraction of kinesthetic dynamic energy?



Well now I sure think there is ki. I think there is good ki and bad ki, sick ki and healthy ki, strong ki and weak ki. Iím just not sure what the concept of ďthisĒ Ki has to do with Aikido. I have never been able to make the connection myself and my teachers have never pushed it. However, I believe Ki is just a word to describe a condition often spoken of in many and diverse cultures. I think (with out the slightest bit of proof) that Ki is the glue that holds the body, spirit and soul together. Sometimes some folks (not me) think it is just easier to say keep ki on the underside, or on the topside, or on the inside or on the outside. What they mean is keep a relaxed and dynamic posture concentrating on a specific goal and effect. But shit, that doesnít sound very mystic does it? In the 60ís mystic went over like flowers and dope. Now I know some Ki folks that talk Ki and teach Ki and think highly of the concept, and I would suggest no one underestimate their martial ability. To lump them in with the sheep would be foolish, short sighted and perhaps a bit argent. Now arrogant arenít necessarily a bad thing, for I been known to travel that road myself as a young man and everyone knows Iím damn near perfect! . I would caution folks to not mistake them for some other-body. Not everyone that uses the Ki concept in esoteric phrases is a whip, and not everyone that talks tough is badass. Donít think there are not objectionable people in karate judo and Daito Ryu as well. It doesnít take much vision to see the window dressing, fakes, mock experts and role players in karate, judo and jujitsu. I think the TV shows Kung Fu brought a lot of incense snuffers to these groups.

I donít understand why so many people from other arts like to rag on our, shall we say, less functional folks. They make than seem like the dominate population in Aikido when this is not so. I guess it is like Christians. There are millions and millions of exceptional people that are true Christians but itís the unexceptional ones that get 98% of the press.

BC
7th November 2001, 21:02
Although I am a devout athiest, my wonderful wife is a devoted Catholic. She doesn't have any problem with me bowing to other people or shrines. I believe she understands that it is considered both a greeting and a method of showing respect. Maybe that's because she's been to Japan and has had many Asian friends over the years. Also, our Dojo Cho is Catholic, and we have had and will continue to have Buddhist ceremonies in our dojo in memory of our late Sensei. I don't think anyone in our dojo perceives any conflict.

Oh, and I do believe in ki. I think it is one of the wonders of this world. I use it every day and every night. I gather it into my hand and extend it and I can do things like open and close doors. I can even use it to start the engine of my car. I can use it to make music too!

"I've got the ki, the ki to the highway..." - Eric Clapton

"You have no ki! Ha ha ha ha..." - Akira Tohei Sensei after seeing one of his students drop his ki on the sidewalk

:p

Jack B
7th November 2001, 21:35
Dennis,

I wonder what the percentages are? Since Aikido is not universally billed as being primarily a fighting art, it is logical that some people are attacted to it for other reasons. Including, just as a nod to the topic, for the pursuit of Eastern religious or otherwise spiritual experiences.

Every dojo will have a best and a worst shodan. The worst shodan might not even be a shodan in another dojo, but he/she stuck around and did the work and learned the techniques and was loyal and eventually there's no justification for denying a promotion. So you have a black belt now who couldn't hold the jock of a real fighter, but they contribute to the dojo and pass on knowledge to kohai that will quickly surpass him or her in combative ability. And that person is as much of an asset to the dojo, if not more so, than the hotdogs. Then that person surprises evereyone when they get attacked on the street, and the hoodlum just gets pasted, and the weak black belt doesn't even know what they did.

Jack Bieler

"The weak have one weapon: the errors of those who think they are strong. " - Georges Bidault

Jack B
7th November 2001, 21:37
Oh yeah, and to me KI pretty much means the feeling of doing it right, when you figure out how to hit the sweet spot reliably, or sink your weight, or keep your arm straight.

HolyShibumi
7th November 2001, 23:34
I remember reading in undergraduate school maybe 15 years ago about Catholics who also practiced Buddhism. Some seem to have no mores about doing that.

However, in the Reformed tradition of Christianity one would not practice in a syncrestic vein. Meaning that the two are compatible, co-mingled, interchangeable and/or equal.

While I respect others right to do as they please, as long as it outwardly hurts no one, I do tell people (based on Biblical precepts) that they are wrong. Which just so happens to be one of the functions of a minister's job. ;)

Oh sure, you might argue that Christianity is Syncrestic and has adopted the traditions of other cultures as evidenced throughout the Bible and history - and it has been, festivals etc. have been put into place to offset the pagan festivals , e.g. we don't know when Christ's birthday is (the bible doesn't say when!) but MOST Christians celebrate Christmas on Dec 25th - the time of the year that the pagans had a festival. This was done to give the Christians who came out of those traditions an alternative. Another is All Saints Day or Reformation Day (we remember those who have preceeded us in death) on Nov. 1st; rather than practicce the Pagan festival of Halloween - which Antone LeVey said is one of the High Holy Days of Satanism.

And I do believe that we do not understand all of the forces that we hold within us. When SCIENTIST make DISCOVERIES - were they not always there?! Of course they were! So, if by chance that humans are able to gather and direct the electromagnetic forces that course through our bodies and a SCIENTIST comes along and validates this by some new ACCEPTED TEST. We in the martial arts would say - "We have been telling you guys about this all along! It's nothing new to us." But I say that the emphasis on Ki is the minor. And sometimes we have a tendency to focus on minor things.

As a person thinks in his/her heart so is he/she.

Nino

:)

Mike Collins
8th November 2001, 01:30
East meets West. Different issues on each sides mind.

Ki- Energy? Ki-Spirit? Ki-Dynamic Force? Maybe ki runs through each to some extent, and in the East, it's just a way of talking, for which we in the West have no equivalent word.

Bowing to an altar or shrine which holds OSensei's image? Is OSensei a god? Or is he a physical manifestation or icon of a certain way of thought and movement, and his only divinity comes from his own devotion to his God? So maybe the bow is more to the concept of harmony than to some lesser god, who can bestow powers or possess our form for a while.

I think there is just a difference in ways of seeing the same things. In the words of that great philosopher Dustin Hoffman in "Big Man, Little Man": "Ya gotta kind of squinty up your eyes like a snake, kind of develop a snakey stare, so's ya can see the whole room"

If you can relax your mind you can see that other ways of seeing these things don't necessarily need to be exclusive; it's entirely possible to keep your own values while embracing new possibilities and even taking part in new (to you) rituals.

All of which is only peripherally related to Aikido practice.

HolyShibumi
8th November 2001, 07:07
Originally posted by Mike Collins
East meets West. Different issues on each sides mind.

Bowing to an altar or shrine which holds OSensei's image? Is OSensei a god? Or is he a physical manifestation or icon of a certain way of thought and movement, and his only divinity comes from his own devotion to his God? So maybe the bow is more to the concept of harmony than to some lesser god, who can bestow powers or possess our form for a while.

If you can relax your mind you can see that other ways of seeing these things don't necessarily need to be exclusive; it's entirely possible to keep your own values while embracing new possibilities and even taking part in new (to you) rituals.



I agree to some extent, O -Sensei was one of the unique individuals who has manifested a greatness that I hope to achieve, but probably never will. So is Mozart or Beethoven or Mother Teresa. I think that no thinking Aikido practioner would say otherwise. Genius YES! god? <def> the One Supreme Deity, Creator and Sustainer of the Universe</def>? Emphatically, NO.

I respect and pay homage to him, that's why I bow to his image and I respect the Dojo; just as I would call you sir and shake your hand. My divinity comes from my God living in me, besides that I am nothing. And whether others wish to acknowledge it or not they are also made in the likness of God - and I respect that. So I can bow to the "Holy Spirit" in you!

I believe my mind is open. I have been accused of having such an open mind that people can stand on one side of me, blow out a candle out on the other side through my ear :toast:

I have seen some of the things that people do in some of their rituals. And knowing about what they are doing has redemptive powers. The truth about what they are doing that is contrary to my faith system is contrary and non-supportive. And can be detrimental to some extent. That is why I would not participate or go to some of the rituals. Nothing against them but their paractice and mine just don't mix. I wouldn't expect a Satanist or Jehovah's Witness who were true to their faith tradition to sit still for my prayer at the beginning of my class. I respect that - they are free to abstain or "not bow" in other words. Not in any way do I mean to be exclusive but true to who I am. ;)

Ezekiel 44: 23 They must teach my people the
difference between what is sacred and
what is profane and make them
understand the difference between what
is clean and what is unclean.

To me to syncretize someone elses faith tradition would make me a sinner in other words and opens the door for other things to happen.

Thanks,
Nino

Mike Collins
8th November 2001, 15:07
If you'll re-read my post, I don't think we disagree. Except for the ritual thing, and i should have been more explicit, I was referring to the simple things such as bowing to the shomen and/or your partner.

More specifically, religious rituals should always be personal, and that was OSensei's belief and teaching as well.

HolyShibumi
8th November 2001, 16:48
COOL!

Dennis Hooker
9th November 2001, 14:47
Originally posted by Jack B
Dennis,

I wonder what the percentages are? Since Aikido is not universally billed as being primarily a fighting art, it is logical that some people are attacted to it for other reasons. Including, just as a nod to the topic, for the pursuit of Eastern religious or otherwise spiritual experiences.

One of the great things about Aikido to me is its wondrous variety and itís diversity of teachers. Sure there are charlatans but every art has to deal with those. If you got time read this article I wrote for Aikido Today several years ago.

http://www.aikieast.com/hooker1.htm



Every dojo will have a best and a worst shodan. The worst shodan might not even be a shodan in another dojo, but he/she stuck around and did the work and learned the techniques and was loyal and eventually there's no justification for denying a promotion. So you have a black belt now who couldn't hold the jock of a real fighter, but they contribute to the dojo and pass on knowledge to kohai that will quickly surpass him or her in combative ability. And that person is as much of an asset to the dojo, if not more so, than the hotdogs. Then that person surprises evereyone when they get attacked on the street, and the hoodlum just gets pasted, and the weak black belt doesn't even know what they did.

Jack Bieler

"The weak have one weapon: the errors of those who think they are strong. " - Georges Bidault

Jack B
9th November 2001, 22:00
Well put, Dennis, and well taken. A good lesson -- we all have worth and will surprise. As my sensei said, "You better be nice to old people -- with any luck you're going to be one soon enough."

Jack Bieler

hyaku
10th November 2001, 00:46
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Chris Li
[B]

There are just as many insincere Japanese as there are any other nationality, and they bow all the time. There's nothing in particular about bowing that makes a person more sincere.
________________
Couldnt agree with you more. In Japan people are taught that every begins and ends with a bow. We also teach kids to say good morning. But even some of their teachers cant be bothered to speak!

Its a good thing to show equal respect to the person/people standing in front of you.

The Buddhist precepts teach us that we should respect and try and follow in the way of Hotoke sama (those dear departed). So the bow to a shrine/altar has this meaning also.

As to those that do it is just about summed up by the polite old lady next door. When I bow to her every morning she always manages to bow lower. Its not the bow that shows politeness but its depth

Bowing is not a substitute for shaking hands. They bow then shake. Japanese that are fully aware of Western customs will just hold out a hand.

On religion substituting christianity for say Bhuddism for example is a non starter.

Apart from those like my self employed by a religious sect. Japanese are genarally born Shinto until they become of age, get married in a Chapel and die in Buddhist ceremony.

They are pragmatic when its come to religion but find the western idea of one or the other a bit strange.

I hope if someone starts A Jehovas witness dojo. they will allow anyone that meets with a sword accident to have blood transfusion!

Hyakutake Colin

http://www.bunbun.ne.jp/~sword

ranZ
11th November 2001, 17:35
Just to clarify a few things....
The islamic faith is known for their amazing geometric patterns.
Have you ever seen the close detail of a mosque?? The reason
for this is the need for decoration because the faith does not
believe in rendering the image of god....I have seen different
cultures interpret certain parts of the koran differently...
(like the status of women and music and such), but the act
of bowing to am image...let alone one not of god I think would
be taken seriously. Do any muslims have a comment on this??


I'm a Christian, Asian, but living in a Moslem country, so i guess i'll have a say in this. My former aikido sensei is a moslem, from a strong moslem tribe in this country. All his brothers and sisters take aikido. He prays 5 times a day, no conflict with bowing or aikido whatsoever. Most of my aikido friends are moslem, one is a female who wears head scarf, no problem of any kind anyway.

I think westerners now (especially after Osama gain popularity) picture the idea of moslems as men with beard wearing long cloth down to the knees and women with veils covering everything but the eyes. Well, that's not how it is everywhere. That depiction fits only to most Middle Eastern countries. Here in Indonesia, the largest moslem country, everybody is just like anybody in the west, wears a tie, go to work, listens to J-Lo, practice aikido. Most moslems here are open minded modern people, especially in Malaysia, neighbouring islam based country. Women here don't have to wear head scarf.

On ki... well ki is you. Nothing special about it, it's not like "the force", everybody has it, just not everybody realize it. Personally i think when i pray, i'm extending my ki, if i exercise aikido, i'm strengthten my ki. Why should there be any conflict with believing in Jesus?
My sensei would ask.. if you use a cellphone, where does the sound come from? No cables or wires. It's the electric wave that we can't see right? So in a way our body emits a wave like that, maybe primarily to communicate with God.

Anyway, has anyone taken an aura photography?

Brently Keen
6th December 2001, 07:45
There's an incredible little book by Ravi Zacharias called "the Lotus and the Cross" that I highly recommend people interested in either Buddhism and/or Christianity should read. It respectfully and accurately portrays the beliefs of each and their differences.

Ravi Zacharias is one of the most intelligent, intellectual people I've ever read or heard speak, and he's written a number interesting books, this one is however, remarkably different in it's style and is also a quick and easy read.

Here are the English and Japanese links to Amazon.com :

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1576738558/office2000/107-3653732-4982131

http://www.amazon.co.jp/exec/obidos/ASIN/1576738558/ref%3Dbr%5Fac%5F586130%5Ftop5%5F1%5F2/249-3034700-1792331

Brently Keen

Dennis Hooker
6th December 2001, 15:23
"Gil Gillespie [/i]
bowing to O-Sensei is not idol worship."


Bowing has not always been an alien act to Western Culture, or America for that matter. When I was a child we boys were taught to bow properly in school and girls were taught to curtsy. In my mother and fatherís childhood bowing was part of the daily routine of the gentry. Even working class folks such as we were expected to act in accordance with the cultural rule of the day in certain situations. Bowing to the gentler sex and to our seniors was, and is only a show of respect. Now admittedly it was not a kneeling bow but a standing one. However a bow is a bow is it not?

Hi Gil, we have left much of what were defined as the social graces behind in the last century. I for one am thankful that we did, but in doing so some folks have added a stiff necked attitude about why we left them behind. They attribute all manner of religious and philosophical doctrine to the actions viewed as no longer in vogue. Because this costume of bowing has not been a part of their lives and perhaps not part of their parentís lives they believe it to have always been so with others of their ilk. Not so I think! The act comes with no baggage attached other that respect. Religiously and philosophically it holds only what is in your heart and mind. I am a Christian and I find nothing offensive or even slightly disrespectful in what I do in opening and closing my Aikido class. But them I am very confident in my faith and in my God. I am also very grateful to the man that developed Aikido, which helped me get back to the faith I had abandoned, and the God I sought to avoid. I show my respect and gratitude for his life and work in the custom he would have understood. I think I owe that to him. When we do this as a class we show our united respect and gratitude in an orderly manner which helps us respect and be grateful to each other.


Dennis Hooker
www.shindai.com

"As a Japanese martial art aikido cannot help but be reflective of that culture. In Japan bowing is paying respect. Revering one's ancestors also leads many Japanese budo to hang their founder's portrait in the kamiza. It is not an idol to be worshipped. It is the symbolic presence of O-Sensei before which we train and comport ourselves. That I think is quite a lofty endeavor."

Gil Gillespie
6th December 2001, 15:56
Thanks, Brently. for
1. Kickstarting the aikido forum after this recent hairball choke, and
2. Bringing to light such a great book.

Another in the same vein I have in my possession (OK so my 22 yr old niece glommed it) is "Jesus and Buddha." A small book featuring a thought by Jesus with an analogous or sometimes merely eerily rephrased thought by Siddhartha Gautauma on the facing page. It's like the Hebrew shalom and the Muslim salaam (peace)---- if it's THIS close put down your uzis and PAY ATTENTION.

An elderly woman US Park Ranger who looks out for the ancient Medicine Wheel of rocks on a mountaintop in the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming told me years ago "There are no coincidences." Which I've always suspected & it segues into another of my great wonderings. After he "councils with the elders" the young Jesus of Nazareth disappears from history for what 10, 15, 20? years until he reappears for the climactic ministry of the last 2 years of his life. Where was he? I like the idea that he was in the far east (India, China, et al), "counciling with the elders," only this time the elders were Hindu/Buddhist sanyasins. Not an answer, just another question.

Joseph Campbell, among his great musings and teachings, offers that in these seminal religions the ancients, trying to make the Infinite palatable to the mob, used symbols (see reference to uzi above, as Jesus and Buddha used parables). And the mob, instead of seeking meaning in the symbol(s) fell into a ver batim acceptance which has lead to all the fundamentalist tragedies of history, including 9-11 and living in the Bible Belt.

And since NO ONE knew what on earth O-Sensei was talking about in those last years, there remains the dichotomy between his refined elegant techniques and his pre-war elbow-snapping nose-grinding functional aiki-budo. That's easy to understand given his chronological spiritual evolution. What is not easy to understand, and what most aikidoka ignore, is how his later mystical-spiritual ramblings connected BOTH. Some of the deeper more receptive deshi, significantly Saotome Sensei, have crossed the bridge (marubashi?).

So yes, Jesus Buddha and O-Sensei can be internalized in your technique, in your life. Beware exclusivity because purism is a small dangerous step away from fascism. I don't think about Jesus and Buddha when I train because I'm still trying not to get hit and figuring where to put my feet. But they're certainly not mutually exclusive. Or it's to your detriment if you think they are.

Mike Collins
6th December 2001, 16:43
I've just spoken to God (which by the way is not his name, it's an acronym for Good Old Dad), and he tells me there's been way too much fussin and feudin in his name. He's said that you are all wrong, yet you're all right.

He's proud of all his kids, but some of them do need a kick in the butt, he's asked that we not do his parenting unless we're personally in danger. He apparently likes to discipline his kids himself.

He also told me that Aikido is okay, as long as we don't try to make it a religion. Apparently it's supposed to be spiritual, but not religious.

And he says bow or don't bow, he doesn't care, cause we mostly don't do it very well anyway, something about it's being superficial most times.

And oh yeah, he also said Aikido is better than Aikijutsu.

Hey, he said it, not me.

Gil Gillespie
6th December 2001, 17:43
Aye, Michael darlin----you're more right than you know. The less words the better. Someone slap me please.

OWW! Thanks. . .

Dan Harden
7th December 2001, 14:58
Excuse me
But I just spoke with him as well. He told me your cell phone got fuzzy in the last little bit there about Aikido and Aikijujutsu

What he said was

And he says do Aikido or Aikijujutsu, he doesn't care, cause we mostly don't do it very well anyway, something about it's being superficial most times.

And he also said in comparing Aikido to Aikijutsu........
"I personally like the old stuff- I tried to get into the new pop arts and abstracts- But they always gloss over the details. Its fine for beginers I guess.
I dunno maybe its my nature to be in the details, but I sure do like a fine Rembrant.



heh heh

Dan

Mike Collins
7th December 2001, 15:55
That's what he told YOU, he want's his "special" kids to be happy too. Have you noticed that he speaks a little slower, and with more enunciation to you aikijutsu types?

Okay, that's a joke. Just kidding.

Dennis Hooker
7th December 2001, 15:59
Well dang it. He said something to me about "a rose by any other name" and then the phone went dead. Or I did, I'll know as soon as I wake up.

Dennis

Cady Goldfield
7th December 2001, 20:02
Funny, when last we spoke, there was no mention a-tall about any divine involvement in MAs. He told me "I don't have anything to do with your danged kiddie games. You came up with 'em yourselves -- that's how I designed ya, to be clever. And, I just figger if whatever you're doing downstairs keeps you off the streets and out of trouble, that's great."

I kinda pressed for an opinion on aikido vs. aikijujutsu, and He just said, "Like I said, I don't care what toys you invent and play with, or whether one's better than the other. As long as you clean up after yourselves and don't get into squabbles."

:laugh:

Mike Collins
7th December 2001, 20:43
He says stuff like that to you Aikijutsu types, cause he doesn't want you to know that He loves us better.:laugh: