Opinions on Akido

I am considering taking up Akido, partly for exercise and also to build discipline and give me some self defence skills. The appeal of Akido for me is its use of calmness, and the majority of its techniques being compassionate (no one gets their bones broken and their own attack force is used against them).

However, although the Akido Club I found seems a very good one and the instructors seem professional, I am reading things on their website about:
“Zazen” a sitting meditation at the beginning of class to settle the mind.
“Mushin” a state of No mind. Apparently practitioners progress to attain this state of calmness when engaged in combat e.t.c

This all sounds very Zen/Bhuddist/ Taoist to me in fact it is. But Akido in its application does not necessarily have to involve these things as anything other than and addition and part of training. Like stretching, taking deep breaths when you are excited (or about to become aggressive). However I also have read about “Ki” which is reffered to as part of Akido, albeit loosely, as some kind of supernatural energy of body and manipulated during defence techniques. I really don’t want to get into all that stuff.

It all’s sounds a little fruity, and I feel the success of the techniques are actually just about Physics and the fact they where tried and tested in feudal Japan quite literally (nothing to do with quasi esoteric energy theory).

As a Catholic should I avoid this Martial Arts altogether? I know there are Atheists who even do this and don’t pay too much attention to the pseusdo spiritual aspects. I also know people in law enforcement use Akido over here where I live too … So it does seem successful to a degree.

I am a devout Catholic however and God and the faith of the Church must come first in all I do. But is there any point me attending clas and maybe having to say every lesson “Oh I can’t do this as it is against my beliefs” … I can see it getting boring for everyone, the instructor and tedious for me.

Can anyone offer any advice or suggestions?

Use the sitting time to pray instead of being “no mind”. It is done just to calm you down and clear your mind from distraction so you can focus on your training.

Here is a (somewhat) relevant article from CA about centering prayers that is popular amongst the East.
https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/the-danger-of-centering-prayer

As for the “ki” stuff it is a bunch of, pardon my french, hooy.

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I take Tae Kwon Do and we have “meditation” before and after class. I pray during that time. And it’s great physical exercise. Go for it.

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Thanks for that :laughing: that’s what I almost thought.

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I was thinking about TKW actually too. A priest at one of my local parishes is quite proficient and has trained for years :slight_smile: remember him taking about the Olympics in one of his homilies earlier this year.

I didn’t know they did mediation too though.

You can use the meditation time to simply utilize and control your breathing. This is the key benefit of meditation. However, Zazen was originally a Buddhist sect, so be careful where that leads.

One other thing, I have done a lot of research on the topic, and Aikido is not the most effective martial art because it relies on a partner who is both not overly aggressive and willing to go along with the move. In general, I would reccomend BJJ because it is more scientific and effective. Of course, if your use of Aikido is only leisurely, it doesn’t matter.

Oh and don’t forget the psalms. I would use that time to pray this as well:

[Psalms 90]
{90:1} The praise of a canticle for David. He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Jacob.
{90:2} He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector, and my refuge: my God, in him will I trust.
{90:3} For he hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters: and from the sharp word.
{90:4} He will overshadow thee with his shoulders: and under his wings thou shalt trust.
{90:5} His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night.
{90:6} Of the arrow that flieth in the day, of the business that walketh about in the dark: of invasion, or of the noonday devil.
{90:7} A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee.
{90:8} But thou shalt consider with thy eyes: and shalt see the reward of the wicked.
{90:9} Because thou, O Lord, art my hope: thou hast made the most High thy refuge.
{90:10} There shall no evil come to thee: nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling.
{90:11} For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways.
{90:12} In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
{90:13} Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk: and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon.
{90:14} Because he hoped in me I will deliver him: I will protect him because he hath known my name.
{90:15} He shall cry to me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation, I will deliver him, and I will glorify him.
{90:16} I will fill him with length of days; and I will shew him my salvation.

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I understand this as being equivalent to the state of flow that’s achievable in most physical arts, during which conscious thought about what you’re doing is suspended. There’s no magic or spiritual hooey to it, it’s just something we’re naturally capable of if we just do the hard work of practicing our craft.

There’s a story about Coltrane totally ripping on a gig one evening, it was recorded and one of the other guys spent a week or so transcribing it. When John saw it he said “man, I can’t play that!!”… he didn’t even know it was something he had done on the fly.

Like Charlie Parker once said: “learn every scale, every chord, every riff… then don’t think about any of it and just blow”.

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