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Aikido's - Nathan Tran Suchitra Samanta Asian Religions REL...

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Nathan Tran Suchitra Samanta Asian Religions – REL 1014 December 6, 2006 Aikido’s Spiritual Origins Aikido is a Japanese budo, or martial art, that is based on the effective blending with an opponent’s attacks. Instead of attacking one’s opponent directly, an aikido martial artist will take the attacks of the aggressor and redirect its force against them. Aikido has a very large emphasis on spirituality and philosophical development of its students. William Gleason states, “Although it is most widely known as a martial art or system of self-defense, aikido is also a profound spiritual training” (Gleason 5). Aikido was developed by Master Morihei Ueshiba between the 1920s through the 1960s. Ueshiba’s backgrounds in the religions of Shinto mysticism, Zen Buddhism, and Omoto-Kyo impacted the formulation of aikido’s techniques. The martial art is directly influenced by these religions’ emphasis on becoming one with your spirit and your surroundings. Ueshiba once commented that he was teaching students not how to move their feet but, rather, how to move their minds (Experience Festival 1). Master Morihei Ueshiba was born on December 14 th , 1883 in the town of Tanabe, Japan. Tanabe is a town known for its deep roots in Shinto mysticism and esoteric Buddhism. His father, Yoruku Ueshiba, came from a line of Samurai. He encouraged Morihei to participate in physical activities such as sumo wrestling and swimming. He also had Morihei help him with his work by having Morihei carry
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heavy bags of rice to his customers in the mountains. Morihei’s first source of inspiration to study martial arts came from an incident where Yoruku fought off a burglar with a staff. (Gleason 7). Morihei’s mother, Yuki Ueshiba, was a very soft spoken and caring woman. Her interests were in painting, calligraphy, literature, and religion (Gleason 6). Morihei’s parents influenced him equally to create a well balanced ideology of physical strength matched with spiritual and mental development. His parents can be seen as the yin and yang of parenthood, each parent representing opposite aspects of life yet part of one another to create balance and order. In 1904, war broke out between Russia and Japan. Morihei leapt at the opportunity to serve his country and signed up to be in the military. Unfortunately he was rejected because he was under the five foot height requirement. Morihei was upset by this and started training in Judo intensely alone in the mountains. After returning from his training, he was accepted into the military because of his evident physical abilities. He was quickly promoted to sergeant and became known as the
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