24 August 2007. Traveling with Sensei in cab.
“In Aikido there is no relationship between words and pretty ideas of Aikido and the practice. The practice is about making the ego larger. The words of Aikido are about harmony and lack of ego. The two have no relationship.”
BE- No relationship?
“None. The idea of Aikido is about harmony and working with others. The practice makes people stronger than others who don’t. The ego becomes larger as they can do things to others with less practice cannot do. This is not real skill though. The practice is by established rules. This is false ego.”
BE- How does someone go beyond the practice, past the ego and get to the philosophy?
“It must be by making the practice real. It must be by action which has a connection to the words the philosophy. If Aikido is about love, one must be loving- in actions and not words. If Aikido is about giving one must give. This is why at some of my schools I have asked them to raise money for children who don’t have. This is real action and its helps to make the practice real. It makes the words more than just talking.”
BE- O’Sensei came to his practice through his religion. Can one make the philosophy of Aikido real as well through combining Aikido with spiritual belief and practice?
“No. For O Sensei his practice was his religion. It was a pure part of his religious belief. Unless someone understands his belief you cannot understand his practice or even do his practice.”
BE- But we as non Japanese cannot hope to understand the spiritual path of O Sensei. From my reading and understanding from you and Yamada Sensei and other teachers O Sensei’s spiritual practice was very culturally oriented. How can we, who don’t understand much of the base and the myths of O Sensei, don’t understand deeply the culture or the language, how can we understand what O Sensei taught?
His teaching came from his beliefs and understandings that were Japanese. The larger ideas of love for all creatures and all the universe are universal. These are the things to be learned. This is the practice. The theme is universal. O Sensei’s explanation was unique. All other have these aspects but none is the same. One must find what is the same though the differences. O Sensei made his practice real through his religion. Others can make their practice real through theirs.”