Martial arts cults-Aikido
Date: September 06, 2009 10:49PM
Some years ago I was involved in a Buddhist group that was later widely identified as cult ar at least inclined towards cult behavior. During that time, a friend from the group reccomended a martial art to me-Aikido, which I attended for some time. I have since left both these groups but, looking back, I have some thoughts about this art. Greater vigilance is now present in Martial arts towards cults which is a very good thing. Sadly, it is much harder to identify a martial arts cult as a vague Eastern mysticism is almost part and parcel of some people's practice.
Aikido, as I see, it is a strange package. As a purely physical dicipline it is often rightfully seen as somewhat soft and philosophical and, at most, is seen as a kind of adjunct to a more practical style. Of course, many great (sometimes worrying) claimes are made by the practitioners themselves. What I noticed was that almost all of the practitioners had a strong interest in new age material (spiritual pornography as I call it) or were involved in some of the more cultish personal development groups on the market.
The above may be neither here nor there, but what is stranger, is that the group/s (and I saw many of them) tended to display many of the hallmarks of a cult and I am not applying the term 'cult' in a broad, loose manner. This may not surprise some involved in martial arts, as it has its roots in various new religious movements popular in Japan about 50 or 60 years ago.
Overall, looking back, I would say there are some groups that 'go under the radar' so to speak and become almost large, respectable and reputuble enough (on the surface at least) in the public consciousness to not get identified as cults. Physical disciplines are especially prone to this as the member may appear to gain some health benefits. I am saying nothing new, as many are now wary of martial arts cults. I was just wondering if anyone had anything to share.