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Diana Frese's Blog Blog Tools Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 12-30-2010 03:23 PM
Diana Frese
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Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 43
Comments: 170
Views: 230,270

In General What is Sunao..... Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #10 New 05-18-2011 06:52 AM
This topic has been on my mind on and off for several weeks, and even occasionally over the years. But more on the latter later, I'll start with this year.

I know I can look it up on AikiWeb on search, but for now I'll just mention the connotation it seems to have for others, and what it means to me personally. For a start, I can even cite the weather: It is raining, so what do we do with that? Do we go outside in rain gear or do stuff inside? (The we I use can mean those of us in places where it is raining right now, or just the general what do you or I or anybody else do when it rains....)

I think I read something recently here on Aiki Web that seemed to say that sunao meant the quality of humility, of being unassuming, maybe, but before I, and maybe you look it up if not too fluent in Japanese ... I'll just mention something one of my first teachers, Yamada Sensei said. I think someone asked him about what he thought was an important quality to have, it may even been the most important quality to have according to the questioner or maybe even Yamada Sensei himself. Maybe you will even get to ask him someday soon. (Maybe I will...)

The strange thing is that particular day years ago I just got a fleeting impression that it meant accepting what comes in life. Often there are choices, and similar choices often come up, so if some of us need to make different ones the next time, sometimes we do..... But I think it's important to look at what comes, and see if it's a problem or an opportunity.... I could give examples from my own life, but later for that, because right now we can check the threads, the blogs and the columns here on Aiki Web for examples, and then the newspapers or TV or the Web, or listen carefully to what your family, friends, and neighbors reveal about how they feel about their daily lives and their long term fears and aspirations.

I guess that's how we can learn to be Sunao. Maybe it can also mean observant?
Views: 4654 | Comments: 16

RSS Feed 16 Responses to "What is Sunao....."
#16 05-21-2011 07:24 AM
Diana Frese Says:
Wow, Graham, thanks for the original meanings. And about horses, one of the women who posts on the threads mentioned she heard about Aikido from the horse show arena, so to speak. One of the trainers gave a lecture on proper treatment of the horses and what kind of behavior would be tolerated at the events. He was an Aikido teacher as well as a horse trainer. So the horsewoman who attended was so impressed she started Aikido and is still practicing...
#15 05-21-2011 07:16 AM
Diana Frese Says:
Hi Aikishihan, thanks for being devil's advocate. It reminds me that I was nicknamed "The Brat" by my grandmother. Years later, I read the family guest book , and there was an entry from her with the same nickname, before I was born! Everyone in the family always complimented my oldest brother for being polite when I was growing up. As for me, Dad always wondered if, with my temperament, I would get along in anything to do with Japanese culture ... Well, I try ....
#14 05-20-2011 08:05 PM
Diana Frese Says:
Ninjaqutie, from what I've read, you already have the good qualities of openheartedness, and of courage .... so now we have a chance to learn some more about Japanese language and culture. Niall, thanks for the link now I remember it was your blog where I read the word, I even posted a comment and you gave a very kind answer. Thanks . too , for offering to do another blog entry or column so we can learn more about the concept.
#13 05-20-2011 08:33 AM
Niall. Not much into Shakespeare but did go to your blog and liked that. It's strange how these words had original meanings almost opposite to how they are generally used now or the connotations ascribed to them. I look forward to any column you do on these matters. Regards.G.
#12 05-20-2011 08:27 AM
Hi all. In one way I see Aikido as a way of returning to the basics. With these concepts of sunao and words like meekness and humility it's all about understanding their true meaning. The root of meek is from icelandic meaning soft. The root of humility is from latin meaning earth. Thus originally it had a more steadfast, well grounded meaning. Jockeys learn that being tense and hard gets them thrown off the horse. Thus softness is a power. Etc.
#11 05-20-2011 07:33 AM
niall Says:
[cont] As Francis perceptively says the whole concept of sunao in Japan has its roots in Japanese society. I certainly don't think that modesty should be meek or unassuming. But if you take modesty as simplicity - like Tagore's poem at the top of the 'eavy blog post and as the diametrical opposite of pride or hubris - then you have a universal view valid for all societies and all times. And it's especially relevant for us doing aikido and budo. Niall
#10 05-20-2011 07:32 AM
niall Says:
[cont] And Graham might know this famous quote from Henry V by Shakespeare: Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility. My blog post about sunao was Very 'eavy Very 'umble but the concept is so important for budo I might do another article or column about it.
#9 05-20-2011 07:19 AM
niall Says:
I think the post is interesting, Diana, so it might be worth keeping the sunao discussion separate. But here is a quote from Simone Weil, a French politician, that partly mirrors your thinking: In the intellectual order, the virtue of humility is nothing more nor less than the power of attention.
#8 05-19-2011 01:38 PM
aikishihan Says:
Hi Daian, Niall and Graham. Feeling a bit rambunctious, and will play devil's advocate. Konosuke Matsushita's words appear consistent with the Japanese hierarchical social system, feudalistic in origin. As such, doubt whether "sunao" may ever be translated into another language or cultural understanding. It does sound nice, doesn't it. Abayo.
#7 05-19-2011 12:20 PM
ninjaqutie Says:
Until I read blog and comments, I had no idea what that word even meant...
#6 05-19-2011 06:02 AM
Diana Frese Says:
I meant to add that I like Graham's posts throughout the threads, and Niall's thread posts and his new column... Also the example about the car that Graham uses... So your comments mean a lot to me. Thanks again, I'm very happy with the response.
#5 05-19-2011 05:56 AM
Diana Frese Says:
Great comments and clarifications! Thanks Niall and Graham, I really appreciate your help. Graham, I liked your stillness post, I'm going to go back and look for it, and copy it on a card and put it up where I can see it daily. And Niall, thanks for providing the great quote. I don't think there's a search function for blogs the way there is for threads, but I always enjoy looking through your present and previous blog entries.
#4 05-18-2011 11:27 AM
Hi Diana. Just read Nialls comments as I didn't know that term. It reminds me of a principle I use in Aikido to do with state of mind. I remember you seemed to like what I said about stillness before but I proceeded to give my students a word they could work with. Thus I chose the word Neutral. To observe from Neutral. Thus like a car each time you go out of neutral then some 'additive' has gone into gear. Regards.G.
#3 05-18-2011 08:42 AM
niall Says:
[cont] "But when a person looks at things with the sunao mind he is open to experience them as they are. He will make fewer mistakes, or if he does make mistakes he will recognize them as mistakes and accept criticism with an eye to improving his performance." Konosuke Matsushita, My Management Philosophy. So perhaps you can see what Yamada Sensei meant. If you're not sunao you have already blocked your own progress. Maybe you could call this post being observant? Regards, Niall
#2 05-18-2011 08:37 AM
niall Says:
[cont] "A person with this mind looks at things as they are at that moment and colours them with no special bias, emotionalism, or preconception. A biased person sees everything through filters or a distorting lens. To him, white paper might look blue or a straight line crooked. The true quality of the substance remains unseen, and the decision maker will be led astray if his judgments are based on what his biased perceptions tell him rather than what is actually there."

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