Steps on the Journey

We sat after class, just two of us, and talked about what Aikido has come to mean to us. About the journey from learning techniques into trying to incorporate the philosophy of Aikido into our lives. A couple of Americans, with a western background, discussing ideas from Shinto, Buddhism, and the dokas of O'Sensei.

This is important to both of us. Life changing important. Possibly life saving important. When my son died last year, Aikido was part of the spiritual foundation that sustained me. My friendships with the other Aikidoka was strengthened by the love and compassion they offered me. I shared that, sitting by the windows in the darkened dojo, and in return I heard of other losses and pain and the experience of another's journey.

Wadoki Aikido makes a clear, unambiguous, call to compassion, "Let us have a universal spirit that loves and protects all creation and helps all things grow and develop", and we have every student memorize that for their first test. Like any spiritual journey, it is a process, and our understanding and ability to live it out are an ongoing challenge.

We ran out of time and words to say, so we put on our shoes, bowed to the shomen, hugged and left the dojo. I cannot say exactly why, but it was a very important conversation.

The Path of Peace is exceedingly vast, reflecting the grand design of the hidden and manifest worlds. A warrior is a living shrine of the divine, one who serves that grand purpose. 

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