Friday, March 27, 2009

Embodiment of Philosophy

People always talk about how philosophical Aikido is. When I was a young man -sometimes I felt a little disappointed that we did not have long talks on philosophy. We simply practiced. It took me a while to realize it, but....

Aikido is the physical embodiment of philosophy.

Practicing the physical motions of it literally reprograms the nervous system and brain into the system of philosophy. Working on your ethics and intent are all part of the practice as well, of course. But in it's very design Aikido is re-imprinting the nervous system in a new way to interact with the universe around it.

I have often likened Aiki/Judo and even calligraphy practice as a system of biofeed back. When you become stressed you, or at least an observant partner can instantly pick this up - just from a simple touch. In calligraphy the brush acts as a seismographic needle putting your emotional content into the lines.

In order to do these arts correctly we must achieve a particular state of mind. If anger, frustration and ego begin to cloud the mind, immediately it is reflected in the technique we are trying to employ. Techniques fail to work, but principles and philosophy become violated.

Because of the strong sense of biofeeed back we get in practice, I feel this is one of the huge reasons the simple practice of Aikido physically conditions a philosophy into us. That is how a simple exercise can become a DO - spiritual path.

To practice a thing of beauty, like Aikido, is to become it. This calligraphy piece captures what I am trying to express.

Harmonize with Beauty

To practice blending and softness arts is a practice of philosophy.


  1. Philosophy practiced is the goal of learning

  2. Good stuff--
    in the interview (link below) with Henry Kono he says something like - the mistake people make in their aikido is that they think it is about what they are doing, when what its really about is what they are knowing

  3. Cool blog. I'm adding you to my links.