There is not so much hilarity here but just a case in point.
I found this article on Yahoo! and it touched a cord with my Aikido practice but just to start things off the Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler released a series of statements stating that Christians who practice Yoga are not true Christians. Here’s a series of quotes from the Associated Press article:
the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine […] is just not Christianity.
The article continues to touch on several points; how yoga has been banned by religious men in other countries (notably Muslim), the increasing number of yoga practitioners in the US specifically, and how some yoga instructors blend their Christian beliefs within their studios. One stated:
My objection (to Mohler’s view) personally is that I feel that yoga enhances a person’s spirituality […] I don’t like to look at religion from a law standpoint but a relationship standpoint, a relationship with Jesus Christ specifically.
The original article can be seen here, as well as the video below.
So what does this have to do with Aikido? My train of thought led me to Aikido’s origins. Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei created Aikido as a combination/hybrid/smorgasbord of his martial and religious experience, namely Daito-Ryu AikiJujitsu and Omoto-Kyo (a neo-Shinto religion). My first two years with Aikido was very martial and hardly had any spirituality in it. My current 2 years has a definite spiritual/mystic/philosophical side to it and it has down wonders for my training.
Perhaps my difference in training is due to the instructors; perhaps my age and experience. On second through I don’t concentrate on these details; this mindset allows me to focus on my training in much more neutral light.
I brought this up because a good number of my acquaintances that are around my age are Christian. I went through a rough patch of my life a couple of years back and attended their church before seriously training in Aikido. I don’t feel that my current experience warrants a meaningful discussion between the pros and cons of training in a martial art and attending church, though perhaps in a few years.
In regards to this as well as the video what I will say is this: It is easy to “combine” things such as yoga and Christianity – the combination of cultures is as old as human civilization . What matters is the mixture is a meaningful and constructive way for the individual. Not the ego, the individual. When I read the shown quote by Albert Mohler, one of the things that popped in my head was that the body is a vehicle of reaching consciousness with the divine – according to Aikido.