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graham
05-04-2007, 06:22 PM
I know nothing about Japanese, so maybe some of you can help. What's the best translation of Aikido into English? What are the acceptable variations of interpretation?

Way of finding harmony with your spirit?

The Way in Harmony with the Spirit?

Or, the spiritual way of harmony?

Or, a harmonious spiritual way?

Or, even, the way of peaceful living?!

Is it obvious what I'm asking, or am I just making a fool of myself? In Japanese, what are the objects and subjects?

I'm only asking because I have recently come across some translations that strike ms as suspiciously Western (e.g. the first one above).

Cheers.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
05-04-2007, 06:36 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aikido

It's three symbols which translate to, more or less, "joining-spirit-way".

The common character for harmony ("wa") does not appear in the name. The above translations might have some figurative validity, and are perfectly fair suggestions about the "deeper meaning" of aikido, but they have relatively little to do with the literal meaning of the word.

Haowen Chan
05-04-2007, 06:39 PM
Koichi Tohei, "This is Aikido":

"the way to a meeting with ki"

He then says that the word "ki" can't be translated. I think replacing it with the English word "spirit" is not adequate.

A more interesting question is whether "ki aikido" makes any sense in Japanese or if it's one of those things like "Windows NT Technology" (aka Windows New Technology Technology).

Ki aikido - the way to meeting ki with ki? Sounds bogus to me....

Chuck Clark
05-04-2007, 07:19 PM
Tomiki Sensei often used this for an English meaning:

"the Way Of Appropriate Fitting"

graham
05-04-2007, 07:22 PM
Lol. I know what you mean about ki aikido (even though I practice it!)

Paul, what are the restrictions on the order of words as they are translated to English? E.g. Is it the way of harmonious spirit, or the spiritual way of harmony, or the way to join with spirit, or the way to a life of harmony?

Or, is it just best to agree with Tohei Sensei and not try to do a direct translation?

graham
05-04-2007, 07:23 PM
I've never heard that, Chuck.

Thanks.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
05-04-2007, 08:24 PM
Paul, what are the restrictions on the order of words as they are translated to English? E.g. Is it the way of harmonious spirit, or the spiritual way of harmony, or the way to join with spirit, or the way to a life of harmony?

At this point I should clarify that I only have about a year of Japanese knowledge. However, I can hopefully steer you in the right direction.

There is actually no grammatical structure implied in the word "Aikido". That is, there's no genitive or possessive case involved. Japanese compounds don't quite work like that. It's just a string of concepts with no linking grammar.

I do think it's reasonable to view it as "Aiki-Do". That is, aiki arguably forms a subset. Aikijutsu, aikido, etc.

So put another way: "The Way of Aiki". Where Aiki is a concept of matching one's ki or fitting with one's "energy". As for "energy" or "ki", I do defend the "spirit" translation as reasonably correct; the English term "spirit" matches reasonably closely in terms of usage. Like, it can be ethereal or purely psychological, for instance. It can refer to "energy" ("Do it with spirit!") or to "attitude" ("in good spirits").

So the real question is: what is "aiki"?

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
05-04-2007, 08:35 PM
I'd also add: I really would be cautious about reading the word "harmony" into "aikido". Wado (harmony-way) is another word; e.g., "Wado-ryu karate". Is harmony an important concept in aikido? Sure! But it's not in the word itself in a literal sense.

So what does "ai" mean? Well, Jim Breen's acclaimed online dictionary defines the character "ai" (verb form: "awasu") as follows:

to join together; to face; to unite; to be opposite; to combine; to connect; to add up; to mix; to match; to overlap; to compare; to check with;

So aiki is uniting, joining, fitting, etc. with ki, e.g., your opponent's ki.

Haowen Chan
05-04-2007, 09:13 PM
As for "energy" or "ki", I do defend the "spirit" translation as reasonably correct; the English term "spirit" matches reasonably closely in terms of usage. Like, it can be ethereal or purely psychological, for instance. It can refer to "energy" ("Do it with spirit!") or to "attitude" ("in good spirits").

My problem with "spirit" is that "ki" has spiritual, mental, and physical (tangible) meanings and all three are important in aikido. Spirit hits 2/3 at best, completely missing out the physical part.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
05-04-2007, 09:21 PM
My problem with "spirit" is that "ki" has spiritual, mental, and physical (tangible) meanings and all three are important in aikido. Spirit hits 2/3 at best, completely missing out the physical part.

Fair enough.

Peter Goldsbury
05-04-2007, 11:00 PM
I know nothing about Japanese, so maybe some of you can help. What's the best translation of Aikido into English? What are the acceptable variations of interpretation?

Way of finding harmony with your spirit?

The Way in Harmony with the Spirit?

Or, the spiritual way of harmony?

Or, a harmonious spiritual way?

Or, even, the way of peaceful living?!

Is it obvious what I'm asking, or am I just making a fool of myself? In Japanese, what are the objects and subjects?

I'm only asking because I have recently come across some translations that strike ms as suspiciously Western (e.g. the first one above).

Cheers.

I think you have to be very careful with the idea of parsing a single word, even though it is a compound of several Chinese characters, in the way you would parse a Latin sentence.

In a typical Japanese kanji dictionary there are hundreds of compound words containing the character for KI and these words have quite ordinary meanings. How would you parse a word like kishoudai (weather station), irokichiga (sex mania), or koukiben (air valve)? Or a word like KOUHI (coffee)? The first character means 'ornamental hairpin' and the second means 'string of pearls'. But the 'real' meaning is the stuff we drink.

You can get into endless difficulties if you try to find the 'real' meaning of a word by means of some kind of theory about the relationships of the characters that make up the word. There is no 'real' meaning of 'kishoudai' apart from 'weather station'.

There are similar difficulties involved in trying to find the 'real' meaning of a single word, like BU, for example, by some kind of theory about the elements that make up the character (stopping spears, or whatever).

'Aikido' does not usually appear in Japanese kanji dictionaries, because it is a made-up word. However, the meaning of aikido is never a problem for Japanese native speakers, for the definition is given in any dictionary, such as the Kojien (p.4).

The problem is that there is no single-word translation into English, so some non-Japanese try to find the 'real' meaning of the word by decomposing it into the characters, perhaps because it makes them feel good when they train. This is fine. I have no problems with this, just so long as they do not then suggest that this decomposition is the 'real' meaning of the word.

Best wishes,

graham
05-05-2007, 04:00 AM
Very helpful, folks. Thanks.

Peter, that seems obvious now that you've pointed it out! Cheers.

dps
05-05-2007, 06:07 AM
Spirit hits 2/3 at best, completely missing out the physical part.

I agree. Having practiced Aikido for a while (6 years active practice) it is obvious to me that ki has a very strong physical component that is often ignored with the so called spiritual meaning emphasized.

David

John Matsushima
05-05-2007, 09:47 AM
Well, here's my two cents....

As others have mentioned, the literal translation is meeting,spirit, and way. But take those words with a grain of salt too. I don't like how the "Ai" is often misconstrued to mean "harmony". "Ki" is another one, as others have mentioned that is difficult to pin down. As for "Do" I don't like using it as a "the way of....". It sounds so light-hearted and more like a method, or a means to accomplish things, rather than a serious moral discipline.

Also, I believe many have misunderstood the term "aiki" to mean joining with the ki of the attacker. However, according to some like Tohei and Kisshomaru, it actually refers to the joining of the ki of the mind with the ki of the body to become one. Ultimately, the goal is the become one with the universal ki. I am curious if this definition of aiki is the same as the one used in other "aiki" arts, such as Daito-ryu aiki-jutsu.

While it is worthwhile to understand the meaning of the name, it is, just a name. From what I understand, it sounds like Ueshiba wasn't even the one to name the art he created.

dps
05-05-2007, 08:34 PM
Well, here's my two cents....

Also, I believe many have misunderstood the term "aiki" to mean joining with the ki of the attacker. However, according to some like Tohei and Kisshomaru, it actually refers to the joining of the ki of the mind with the ki of the body to become one. Ultimately, the goal is the become one with the universal ki.

Which takes place internally and not externally.

David

jennifer paige smith
05-06-2007, 08:24 AM
Which takes place internally and not externally.

David

The phrase In/Yo comes to mind (;) not in yo' face, tho). The inner and the outer being manifest of one and the same. The Chinese reference for this is Yin Yang.

jennifer paige smith
05-06-2007, 08:38 AM
Well, here's my two cents....

As others have mentioned, the literal translation is meeting,spirit, and way. But take those words with a grain of salt too. I don't like how the "Ai" is often misconstrued to mean "harmony". "Ki" is another one, as others have mentioned that is difficult to pin down. As for "Do" I don't like using it as a "the way of....". It sounds so light-hearted and more like a method, or a means to accomplish things, rather than a serious moral discipline.

Also, I believe many have misunderstood the term "aiki" to mean joining with the ki of the attacker. However, according to some like Tohei and Kisshomaru, it actually refers to the joining of the ki of the mind with the ki of the body to become one. Ultimately, the goal is the become one with the universal ki. I am curious if this definition of aiki is the same as the one used in other "aiki" arts, such as Daito-ryu aiki-jutsu.

While it is worthwhile to understand the meaning of the name, it is, just a name. From what I understand, it sounds like Ueshiba wasn't even the one to name the art he created.

As a musician the word harmony has a different conotation than it does for many others who do not study music. When we begin to combine the practical aspects of harmony, as they are revealed in music, with the concept of a 'drone tone' we can see how the constant vibration of the universe (ki) defines the environment that we have to unite to (harmony). A study of Kotodama (sound, syllable vibration as creative basis ) reveals the ties between the harmony of which we speak and the ways that we can utilize it. Perhaps this might help. Spirit is the feeling of the sound and playing the instrument is the physical practice. Kinda hard to isolate the two in composition.

My 2 cents:
Before we begin to feel to fluffy in the sneakers about our use of 'Do', we might consider how deadly some passes can be on this nature hike. Speaking of nature: the equivalent of DO is Tao, written:triangle: :circle: :square: frequently translated as 'unobstructed nature'.

Simply because we don't yet understand something does not mean we should discard that teaching or take a stance for or against it. I believe we should stay humble and continue to seek to come to a new place of renewed understanding.

thanks

jennifer paige smith
05-06-2007, 08:49 AM
Tomiki Sensei often used this for an English meaning:

"the Way Of Appropriate Fitting"

'Appropriate', by nature, being ever changing and always relative to the present condition.

JohnSeavitt
05-07-2007, 11:01 AM
My problem with "spirit" is that "ki" has spiritual, mental, and physical (tangible) meanings and all three are important in aikido. Spirit hits 2/3 at best, completely missing out the physical part.

Shrug. "Aiki" as a concept in Japanese martial arts well-predates aikido. There doesn't seem to be any doubt Ueshiba had some things in mind during his teaching, but "aiki" as a description of a type of waza is well established. Still, some of the parsing strikes me as reminiscent of arguments about what the pleats in a hakama "mean" - an odd question since that form of trousers far predates the principles typically bandied about. Sometimes, it's just pants.

John

jennifer paige smith
05-08-2007, 03:40 PM
Shrug. "Aiki" as a concept in Japanese martial arts well-predates aikido. There doesn't seem to be any doubt Ueshiba had some things in mind during his teaching, but "aiki" as a description of a type of waza is well established. Still, some of the parsing strikes me as reminiscent of arguments about what the pleats in a hakama "mean" - an odd question since that form of trousers far predates the principles typically bandied about. Sometimes, it's just pants.

John

I agree with your point that this is a lot like the pleat argument. It is an awful like many arguments where people want or need to establish claim to something. Why? I don't know.
The arts are here to be practiced, no matter what we call them.

Haowen Chan
05-08-2007, 10:05 PM
Shrug. "Aiki" as a concept in Japanese martial arts well-predates aikido. There doesn't seem to be any doubt Ueshiba had some things in mind during his teaching, but "aiki" as a description of a type of waza is well established. Still, some of the parsing strikes me as reminiscent of arguments about what the pleats in a hakama "mean" - an odd question since that form of trousers far predates the principles typically bandied about. Sometimes, it's just pants.

John

Hakama without labels attached to the pleats, it's still pants.

Aikido without ki.... or without understanding of ki.... is not aikido.

JohnSeavitt
05-09-2007, 04:19 PM
Aikido without ki.... or without understanding of ki.... is not aikido.

My point was the literal parsing of 'ai ki do' doesn't get you any understanding of martial 'aiki', just like parsing 'uncouth' doesn't help one with the usage of the word ("not"+"known").

John

jennifer paige smith
05-09-2007, 10:03 PM
My point was the literal parsing of 'ai ki do' doesn't get you any understanding of martial 'aiki', just like parsing 'uncouth' doesn't help one with the usage of the word ("not"+"known").

John

In that case, What helps?

Mark Uttech
05-10-2007, 03:38 AM
The best definition of 'ki' that I've come across is: "the lid must fit the pot."

In gassho,

Mark

John Matsushima
05-10-2007, 03:43 AM
I agree with your point that this is a lot like the pleat argument. It is an awful like many arguments where people want or need to establish claim to something. Why? I don't know.
The arts are here to be practiced, no matter what we call them.

Why? That is a good question. It is of course, very important to practice, practice, practice, and being a serious student also means doing your homework. One can either just do what they are told and follow, never rising above a mediocre level, or one can take the initiative to find out on their own by asking questions such as these. If one is serious about Aikido, then it is of course natural to want to know what the name means. However, many are right when comes to the fact that just knowing what aikido really means isn't going to lead to some grand enlightenment where the essence of aikido is revealed. But it does lead to more questions, which is important. Now that we know what ai, ki, and do really means, we will want to know more about it and practice even more.
We must practice, but we must also learn.

dbotari
05-10-2007, 07:19 AM
. If one is serious about Aikido, then it is of course natural to want to know what the name means. However, many are right when comes to the fact that just knowing what aikido really means isn't going to lead to some grand enlightenment where the essence of aikido is revealed. But it does lead to more questions, which is important. Now that we know what ai, ki, and do really means, we will want to know more about it and practice even more.
We must practice, but we must also learn.

Maybe what we really need to discover is not what these terms mean to others but what they mean to us in our lives and practice. The search for answers, I believe, is more internal than external. It is developing meaning for yourself. Sure you can engage in discussions to help guide your self-discover process but fundamentally these question must be answered by each of us in a way that means something to us and our training.

jennifer paige smith
05-11-2007, 08:19 AM
Maybe what we really need to discover is not what these terms mean to others but what they mean to us in our lives and practice. The search for answers, I believe, is more internal than external. It is developing meaning for yourself. Sure you can engage in discussions to help guide your self-discover process but fundamentally these question must be answered by each of us in a way that means something to us and our training.

Or maybe we can hold the question and the phenomenon of aikido in the universe will answer for itself; If we do more listening than talking; more senseing than thinking, more moving than resisting.

dbotari
05-11-2007, 10:21 AM
Or maybe we can hold the question and the phenomenon of aikido in the universe will answer for itself; If we do more listening than talking; more senseing than thinking, more moving than resisting.

Do you view "the universe" as a separate entity from yourself? Your comment seems to suggest that if we are "passively receptive" the answers will come to us with no work needed no introspection or thought, "the universe" will just drop the answer into your head "one day".

To "new age" for me. If we take the eastern tradition (buddhist) that the goal is to become one with the universe, then we have the answers within us we just need to discover them. This takes some effort on our part. Introspection - to me a least- is not a passive exercise. It requires some of the hardest work and and a level of honesty (with yourself) that many are not willing to put forth.

Don_Modesto
05-11-2007, 11:55 AM
I think you have to be very careful with the idea of parsing a single word, even though it is a compound of several Chinese characters, in the way you would parse a Latin sentence....KOUHI (coffee)? The first character means 'ornamental hairpin' and the second means 'string of pearls'. But the 'real' meaning is the stuff we drink.

You can get into endless difficulties if you try to find the 'real' meaning of a word by means of some kind of theory about the relationships of the characters that make up the word. There is no 'real' meaning of 'kishoudai' apart from 'weather station'.This noted, some of the many interpretations of "aikido" I recall are:

The Way of Harmony-many

The Way of Love-Osensei punning

The Way of Peace-John Stevens

Breath Unification Method-Tanahashi in Susan Perry's book

The Way to Get People to Do What You Want Them to Do-In Amdur's aikido book

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2007, 12:05 PM
Hey Don,

I really like that last one!

Best,
Ron

Don_Modesto
05-11-2007, 06:23 PM
Hey, Ron,


I really like that last one!

Best,
RonThat makes you and me--two of us.

jennifer paige smith
05-11-2007, 08:22 PM
Do you view "the universe" as a separate entity from yourself? Your comment seems to suggest that if we are "passively receptive" the answers will come to us with no work needed no introspection or thought, "the universe" will just drop the answer into your head "one day".

To "new age" for me. If we take the eastern tradition (buddhist) that the goal is to become one with the universe, then we have the answers within us we just need to discover them. This takes some effort on our part. Introspection - to me a least- is not a passive exercise. It requires some of the hardest work and and a level of honesty (with yourself) that many are not willing to put forth.

I agree that some people are involved in that which you are referring to. I can hear that it has effected your ability to hear that training is that to which I'm referring. As a buddhist are you familiar with the term Mu? It means 'nothing' or 'everything' depending on your vantage point. As in mushin training ( no mindedly). This is when you can hear everything else that isn't your thoughts.In or out.

As for what my post sounds like it is suggesting:
Your interpretation is your own, your inferences of my thought process are completely generated from your experience and not my post and it is unfortunate that so much debris lies in the way when we ask for active listening.

So let me be clear on this. Nothing drops in your lap ( And if it did and you weren't prepared, you wouldn't know it). You work for it. You train mother f99999ing hard for it and you train the idiot out of your own head until you can hear the genius that is universal law ( by the way the universe is within and without) and not your stupid thoughts about this or that. When the freight express, known as aikido to some, delivers its goods into your training you will have been listening well enough to get it. You discover that what you are 'doing' is piss against what is 'being'. And then you will certainly rise to the occassion. When you hit that wall at a million miles an hour you will realize that nothing about this is passive. You just better hope you've got the ukemi to back it up.

So keep training as hard as you do and as hard as I have. Maybe someday we'll meet and I'll have more written language for this and you'll have more ears to hear it. Most likely our training will speak the volumes our words cannot. Hopefully, we'll learn some truth from our training and hear the voice of the universe that breathes through it ( or the pulse of the universe as it beats. O' Senseis words, not my own particular new age bulls55t).

Peace Out and Not so PC on the West Coast.

jen smith

By the way, I've worked extremely hard for anything I have gained. I don't have a right to it.I don't deserve it. I'm not entitled to it. I'm gratefully graced with it, though.

Also, my use of the word you is not intended directly toward you; it is a word that means Me and One.

jennifer paige smith
05-11-2007, 08:45 PM
Do you view "the universe" as a separate entity from yourself? Your comment seems to suggest that if we are "passively receptive" the answers will come to us with no work needed no introspection or thought, "the universe" will just drop the answer into your head "one day".

To "new age" for me. If we take the eastern tradition (buddhist) that the goal is to become one with the universe, then we have the answers within us we just need to discover them. This takes some effort on our part. Introspection - to me a least- is not a passive exercise. It requires some of the hardest work and and a level of honesty (with yourself) that many are not willing to put forth.

'Mu'

Erick Mead
05-18-2007, 01:28 PM
I think you have to be very careful with the idea of parsing a single word, even though it is a compound of several Chinese characters, in the way you would parse a Latin sentence.

... 'Aikido' does not usually appear in Japanese kanji dictionaries, because it is a made-up word... some non-Japanese try to find the 'real' meaning of the word by decomposing it into the characters, perhaps because it makes them feel good when they train. This is fine. I have no problems with this, just so long as they do not then suggest that this decomposition is the 'real' meaning of the word. To me the issue is why the Founder chose those words.The language issues are more about what he intended to signify by using them. The connotations raised by the phrase are more important than their denotative meanings.

This is revealed in some respects explicitly by his pun on "ai" ="love" and in the Takemusu Aiki lectures, if one takes the time to understand his points of reference. One cannot understand O Sensei well unless there is an element of poetic reading.

On the poetic front, "ai-ki-do" 合 氣 道 is onyomi, meaning it is pronounced (more or less) as a Japanese pidgin of Classical Chinese. The connotations appropriate to onyomi in poetry are Chinese in origin, with whatever other gloss the Japanese have given it, not unlike Latinate words in English.

Classical Chinese was transmitted to Japan before the development of modern compounds (two characters typical per word/idea). Plural is by context, or number marker. Chinese syntax is precedential in word order: subject/predicate; modifier/modified, verb/object, and the order of sentence/clause structure, typically: topic, predicate, comment. Reading it in the Classical Chinese manner may thus give a variety of associations or connotations appropriate to poetic license.

合 氣 道 -- h q do

合 h -- n. musical note; v. to fit, join, gather

氣 q -- n. air; weather; vital breath; (coll.) v. -- to make angry; to get angry; to be enraged)

道 do -- n. direction; way; method; road; path; principle; truth; reason; skill; method; Tao (Taoism); a measure word; (coll.) v. to say; to speak; to talk

So variously, 合 氣 道 can be read to connote quite a few things from the onyomi connotations that O-Sensei said in other ways more expressly, elsewhere:

-- Principle of gathering vital breath

-- Joining of airy (empty) road(s) (At the empty crossroad -- i.e.- complete freedom to move)

-- Way of gathering (empty) air

-- Way of joining (empty) air

-- Method of joining to anger

-- Way of meeting spirit

and most colloquially, (and I love this one):

-- Music for angry conversation

In no particular order, O-Sensei has spoken or written explicitly about the importance to aikido of:

-- juji (the cross-symbol ),
-- the void and joining with it;
-- ki-musubi - the spirit of connection;
-- harmonizing word-spirits (kotodama)
-- forms of breath and joining them together

... among others.

Rich imagery, well chosen -- in many facets

Erick Mead
05-18-2007, 01:53 PM
Do you view "the universe" as a separate entity from yourself? Your comment seems to suggest that if we are "passively receptive" the answers will come to us with no work needed no introspection or thought, "the universe" will just drop the answer into your head "one day".
'Mu' If the universe were entirely coincident with myself -- I would never be surprised. It is neither coincident nor non-coincident. So, my answer to the koan is a little different from yours:

"Boo!"

Josh Lerner
05-18-2007, 11:59 PM
On the poetic front, "ai-ki-do" 合 氣 道 is onyomi, meaning it is pronounced (more or less) as a Japanese pidgin of Classical Chinese. The connotations appropriate to onyomi in poetry are Chinese in origin, with whatever other gloss the Japanese have given it, not unlike Latinate words in English.

Actually, "ai" is kunyomi. The onyomi of that character is "go". The compound "aiki" is a mixture of onyomi and kunyomi - if it was read entirely as onyomi it would be "goki". It's rare to have a word mix the two, but it does happen.

My guess is that whoever coined the term "aiki" was actually trying to distance themselves from the classical Chinese meaning of the compound "he qi", which originally referred to a Tianshi Daoist sexual rite from probably the 2nd or 3rd century AD. The term originally meant "the uniting of the qi". The qi involved being that of the two people, and knowing the Daoists, probably the qi of various constellations, stars and other things.

Josh

jennifer paige smith
05-19-2007, 11:07 AM
If the universe were entirely coincident with myself -- I would never be surprised. It is neither coincident nor non-coincident. So, my answer to the koan is a little different from yours:

"Boo!"

"BU":)

jennifer paige smith
05-19-2007, 11:16 AM
Actually, "ai" is kunyomi. The onyomi of that character is "go". The compound "aiki" is a mixture of onyomi and kunyomi - if it was read entirely as onyomi it would be "goki". It's rare to have a word mix the two, but it does happen.

My guess is that whoever coined the term "aiki" was actually trying to distance themselves from the classical Chinese meaning of the compound "he qi", which originally referred to a Tianshi Daoist sexual rite from probably the 2nd or 3rd century AD. The term originally meant "the uniting of the qi". The qi involved being that of the two people, and knowing the Daoists, probably the qi of various constellations, stars and other things.

Josh

So, why not the tantric union of two peple in the context of martial relations as they ascend in conciousness toward the realization of their own 'stellar' divinity?( as modeled by the universe). A martial 'roll in the hay', if you will.

By the way, in the discussion 'the meaning of doka' I put forth a related and poetic response to the question 'what do you mean by doka?'. I use it to mean we are 'songs of the way' or 'poems of the way'. Just thought I'd mention it here rather than posting again. Thanks.

"I know not why, but martial men ( and women) are given to love."
Sir Francis Bacon

Erick Mead
05-19-2007, 07:01 PM
Actually, "ai" is kunyomi. The onyomi of that character is "go". Do you know that it is kunyomi or do you assume so just because "go' is also onyomi? It's not a binary thing. There are often more than one Chinese pronunciation for the same character, and thus more than one possible onyomi reading.

合 "Ai" is cognate to Chinese 合 "h" with the same basic tropes of meanings in both Japanese and Chinese. Both readings are onyomi, from my perspective. The other onyomi you note is 合 "go," cognate to Chinese 合"gě" which is another pronunciation for the same character 合 -- meaning a certain measure of grain or other produce.

While O Sensei valued farming, I don't see a direct or even connotative connection. :)

Josh Lerner
05-19-2007, 10:32 PM
Do you know that it is kunyomi or do you assume so just because "go' is also onyomi? It's not a binary thing. There are often more than one Chinese pronunciation for the same character, and thus more than one possible onyomi reading.



Nelson's has "a(i)" as kunyomi, "go" as onyomi. Nelson's is pretty limited and incomplete, though, so let's check some Japanese language dictionaries.

The Obunsha Kanwa Jiten (a modern Japanese - Chinese dictionary) has "go", "katsu", "gatsu" and "kou" as onyomi, and a(u) and a(i) as kunyomi.

The Kanjigen (basically a Japanese dictionary of classical Chinese) has the same as the Obunsha.

So you're right. *I* don't know for a fact that "ai" is kunyomi. But those arrogant Japanese sure seem to think *they* do. It is their language, so I'll defer to them. ;)

Josh

Erick Mead
05-20-2007, 06:38 AM
Nelson's has "a(i)" as kunyomi, "go" as onyomi. Potayto -Potahto.;) A thorough differential reading analysis requires determining whether the onyomi is 呉音, 唐音, or 唐音or more likely, in this instance, the kunyomi inverse of 慣用音, an assumption based on a true kunyomi homophone at the time of adoption. I know only enough to know it would need doing, not having the resources to do it. :( Given the acknowledged difficulties in the evolution of Japanese since the seventh and eighth centuries when recorded in the Kojiki, and when the T'ang Chinese pronunciations first made their way over, this is no trivial task. The near equivalent literary comparison in the evolution of English is "Beowulf."

This is well beyond our need here, anyway. The connotative meaning in the kanji remains, which is my only point. Unless, of course, one wants to make the connection between the concept 合"gě" = "measure of grain" and that of koshinage as hoisting a sack of rice. :D

Back to your original point criticizing the association with the Chinese phrase, 合 氣 -- h q:
My guess is that whoever coined the term "aiki" was actually trying to distance themselves from the classical Chinese meaning of the compound "he qi", which originally referred to a Tianshi Daoist sexual rite from probably the 2nd or 3rd century AD. The term originally meant "the uniting of the qi". The qi involved being that of the two people, and knowing the Daoists, probably the qi of various constellations, stars and other things.Since O Sensei specifically made the "Love-Ki" pun in the Doka and elsewhere, I would tend to doubt the suggested dissociation, or if intended, that it was at all successful, based on his usage.
There are some in this forum and elsewhere, that allow a much more direct route for the specific concept, teaching and terminology of "aiki" from China. Ellis Amdur has criticized any evidence of this in O Sensei's personal history, but the possibility of a deeper historical connection must be acknowledged in this context. I remain agnostic on that front.

I'll tend to agree with Jennifer that there may something to the tantric connection. Certainly O Sensei had Shingon training, which informed his views of kotodama in the Shinto tradition. (Back to the depths of linguistic history, the people chiefly responsible for bringing the T'ang era Chinese readings into Japan (in the eighth century) were the founders of Shngon and Tendai sects of Tantric Buddhism in Japan, who brought significant new Chinese Buddhist texts with them. To strengthen the timing of the connection even further, Kukai is attributed as the writer of the iroha poem, the basis for the ordering of the kana syllabary, forming the basis for making orderly associations between the earlier sound system (e.g. - Kojiki, ca. 7th cen.) and that of the contemporary Chinese T'ang writing he introduced, which is the basis for the 漢音 reading, the second oldest class of the onyomi.

A root idea in tantrism is about the resolution of the non-duality of experience through aspects of experience, especially nominally dual experiences. In the more titillating forms (suggested by your reading of 合 氣 -- h q as it relates to tantric Taoism) it involves resolving the non-duality of the male and female in their most intense experience of one another.

In a not too dissimilar way in terms of aikido and the fundamental principle of irimi-tenkan in the similarly intense experience of conflict -- resolving the non-duality of who enters and who is entered.

Interesting discussion, from everyone.

jennifer paige smith
05-20-2007, 07:43 AM
Do you know that it is kunyomi or do you assume so just because "go' is also onyomi? It's not a binary thing. There are often more than one Chinese pronunciation for the same character, and thus more than one possible onyomi reading.

? "Ai" is cognate to Chinese ? "h" with the same basic tropes of meanings in both Japanese and Chinese. Both readings are onyomi, from my perspective. The other onyomi you note is ? "go," cognate to Chinese ?"g?" which is another pronunciation for the same character ? -- meaning a certain measure of grain or other produce.

While O Sensei valued farming, I don't see a direct or even connotative connection. :)

I think, strictly on the basis of this last sentence that a cruise through 'What is the binding force of O'Senseis Aikido' would be fun( another thread here on the web). As one comes to the conclusion that there is no connecton in the language to suggest certain ties ( to , humorously, farming) I find myself in another place of understanding where it points to it more; a place where I hear an implicit humor of nature. The more it comes apart for one purpose the more it looks like something else.To Me.
O'Sensei also called aikido the place where 'five meets five'. Now how did he write that and was he playing with the terms go and go? It becomes intellectually taxing to tear it all apart ( I sure appreciate the amazing wealth of knowledge that some of you are bringing.WOW!) and at the same time very enjoyable to watch the concepts dance. Wherever there is joy and flow, I tend to find a relevant connection. Perhaps it is all just so simple in it's nature that it is complex to the intellect. I'm enjoying the great conversation and the intelligent and insightful education I'm getting. Especially thanks to Eric Mead for the awesome knowledge and stimulating posts.

Josh Lerner
05-20-2007, 04:54 PM
Potayto -Potahto.;) A thorough differential reading analysis requires determining whether the onyomi is 呉音, 唐音, or 唐音or more likely, in this instance, the kunyomi inverse of 慣用音, an assumption based on a true kunyomi homophone at the time of adoption.

I stand in awe of both your ability to obfuscate simple ideas and your ability to cut and paste from the "onyomi" article on Wikipedia. You pasted 唐音 twice, by the way. Don't forget to hit ctrl C again after highlighting 漢音, otherwise you'll do double pastes like that ;).

I will still, however, point out that the pronounciation of that character as "ai" comes not from any Chinese reading of the word but from that kanji's use to represent the initial sound of the verb a(u) or a(wasu/seru). That would be the "yamatokotoba" from the Wikipedia article.

Look in any Japanese dictionary of kanji that has an index of onyomi and kunyomi, such as the Kanjigen I cited above, and look under "ai". You will find some characters with that onyomi (such as the one for "love"), but this "ai" will not be among them. Why? Because it is not onyomi. Looks like onyomi, smells like onyomi, but brother, it ain't onyomi.

But since you brought up the fact that you don't have the resources to determine which pronounciation are which type of onyomi, and I do happen to have the resources (i.e. a standard kanji dictionary and a spare two minutes), here is the breakdown -

gou (with the historical spelling gafu), gatsu, katsu - 慣用音
gou (with the historical spelling gofu) - 呉音
kou (with the historical spelling kafu) - 漢音

I don't know what "kunyomi inverse of 慣用音" means, nor do I know what you mean by "an assumption based on a true kunyomi homophone at the time of adoption."

Using "ai" in compounds is exactly like the compound "tabemono", with "tabe", from the verb "taberu"/"to eat", being used to form a noun phrase. In fact, most of the time, when this character is used in a compound and pronounced "ai", the "i" is actually written in hiragana, the way it would be for any native Japanese verb that was turned into a noun phrase. There are a few times, such as "aiki", where the hiragana "i" is left out, but they are the rare exception, not the rule. And, as I noted in my first post, there are times when some kunyomi are used in compounds with onyomi, as with "aiki" and "aifuku" (meaning clothing for spring or fall). But, again, it is not the norm.

All of which doesn't really matter in terms of your theory of onyomi and Chinese poetry anyway, since Ueshibe didn't invent the word. It had been in use in Daito-ryu as a technical term for a specific type of skill, and I've heard of a few references here and there that point to its use in other koryu that are older than Daito-ryu. The fact that Ueshiba liked to pun on "ai"/love has nothing to do with the creation of the compound "aiki" or the fact that it is pronounced with a mixture of onyomi and kunyomi.

Hope this helps.

Josh

Peter Goldsbury
05-20-2007, 07:46 PM
To me the issue is why the Founder chose those words.The language issues are more about what he intended to signify by using them. The connotations raised by the phrase are more important than their denotative meanings.
Cleary, our respective standponts are different. A person's intention in his/her choice and use of words used adds another, different, aspect to the question, which is even harder to answer than the initial post in this thread.

This morning, while having breakfast I opened my Asahi Shimbun and read the main story, about safety issues in foodstuffs imported from China. It was 'normal' newspaper Japanese: the usual blend of kanji compounds, hiragana particles and endings, with some katakana words. I did not need to break down any of the compounds to find the 'real' meaning, or ask the further question of what the reporter intended by the words he chose. The words themselves were enough. I think this is where we need to start, even with the discourses of Morihei Ueshiba.

This is revealed in some respects explicitly by his pun on "ai" ="love" and in the Takemusu Aiki lectures, if one takes the time to understand his points of reference. One cannot understand O Sensei well unless there is an element of poetic reading.
PAG. Well, I supplement my own studies of the Takemusu Aiki lectures by reading contemporary Japanese, mainly literature of a similar period and somewhat earlier. Punning is a favourite device, as is the practice of exploiting the nuances conveyed by the variations in kanji compounds, or even by the avoidance of kanji and the use of kana. In the Takemusu Aiki discourses Ueshiba mainly discusses 'aiki', as suggested by the title of the lectures.

On the poetic front, "ai-ki-do" 合 氣 道 is onyomi, meaning it is pronounced (more or less) as a Japanese pidgin of Classical Chinese. The connotations appropriate to onyomi in poetry are Chinese in origin, with whatever other gloss the Japanese have given it, not unlike Latinate words in English.
Like Josh Lerner, I think that 'ai' is a kun reading and that the compound is of recent origin, coined by the addition of 'DOU' to the 'ai-KI' already in use. This was done by the Japanese government around 1942, but Morihei Ueshiba could clearly live with the term, even if he did not himself choose it. Much of Takemusu Aiki lectures and also the Aiki Shinzui newspaper columns discuss the 'added value' given by Ueshiba to an established term. So I agree with you that we need to study how he used the term: an Augustinian theory of language is of not much use here.

But we need to be careful. Last Saturday I had a meeting with my kanji teacher, who is a retired professor of literature. He was reading Practical Criticism, by I A Richards and wanted me to 'translate' into English a nonsense verse offered by Richards. Richards took Verse XV of Milton's On the Morning of Christ's Nativity and made up a verse with the same rhyme scheme and very similar cadences. But it was nonsense: a poetic version of a Sokal hoax. My teacher thought that the nonsense verse had to have a 'deeper' meaning, that could be put into English. Richards' intention was quite clear: to argue that some poetry sounds good but does not make much sense.

Best wishes,

Erick Mead
05-20-2007, 09:36 PM
I stand in awe of both your ability to obfuscate simple ideas Careful, your sarcasm is showing.

When I want to do scholarly linguistic argument, I''ll make a note of your critique. When I want to make a point about suggestive poetic references of concepts with some historical and developmental connections to O Sensei, Wikipedia is as good as any ready source for kanji/hanzi to cut and paste. I stand by my points ...

The kanji -- onyomi or otherwise -- is a jumping off point to the Chinese, as a poetic subtext available to and, by some substantial layers of reference, significant to O Sensei -- nothing more. I was fairly clear about that and the limits of my observation.

I don't know what "kunyomi inverse of 慣用音" means, It means the inverse of the kan yo-on wrong/invented/mistaken "onyomi" that became so widespread that they are accepted as such not withstanding. Kind of like false etymologies in English, after a while there's no point arguing it anymore. (Kind of like this esoteric kanji-reading issue.)
... nor do I know what you mean by "an assumption based on a true kunyomi homophone at the time of adoption." The inverse process is where there are independent homophones in both Japanese and Chinese at the time of adoption that are cognate even before the introduction of the kanji. The later classification into kunyomi/onyomi can arbitrarily pick one as "kunyomi", even though the Chinese is the original associated with the kanji.
... compounds ... written in hiragana, ... a noun phrase. ... not the norm. ... All of which doesn't really matter in terms of your theory of onyomi and Chinese poetry anyway, since Ueshibe didn't invent the word. Who said I said that? You are not a poet, I take it. O Sensei was. Perhaps not the most accomplished of poets, but accepting that and exploring all systems of reference to guage his layers of meaning are valid and useful explorations.

Josh Lerner
05-20-2007, 10:33 PM
Careful, your sarcasm is showing.

D'oh! And here I am, thinking I'm so subtle.

When I want to do scholarly linguistic argument, I''ll make a note of your critique.

My critique is specifically of your attempts at a scholarly linguistic argument. Because none of your scholarly-sounding reasoning about reading "aikido" as a Chinese poetic compound is based on scholarly linguistics. It's not even based on simple undergraduate level linguistics. If you don't want to be criticised from a scholarly point of view, you would be better off not trying to sound scholarly. Criticism of each other is what scholars do, you know. And I'm not even a scholar. Just an ex-scholar wannabee.

The inverse process is where there are independent homophones in both Japanese and Chinese at the time of adoption that are cognate even before the introduction of the kanji.

What independent homophones are you talking about that are cognate with each other? Maybe if you can explain that, I'll have a better idea of what you are talking about. Are you talking about "he" and "ai"? The Chinese "he" and Japanese "ai" of "aikido" are neither cognates nor homophones. "Ai", as I've explained several times now, comes from the native Japanese verb a(u), and has nothing to do with any historical Chinese pronounciation. If the Japanese had never had any contact with China, they would still have used the verb "aimasu" and made noun phrases that started with "ai". If you have some actual reference to cite that proves otherwise, please post it.

The later classification into kunyomi/onyomi can arbitrarily pick one as "kunyomi", even though the Chinese is the original associated with the kanji.


"Ai" as kunyomi is not arbitrary. "Ai" was never taken from a Chinese pronounciation. Look at all the Japanese references you can. For anyone who can read Japanese and is willing to do just a little research, it's as plain as day.

Who said I said that?

I said you said that, obviously. Maybe I misunderstood your reasoning. You wrote -

On the poetic front, "ai-ki-do" 合 氣 道 is onyomi, meaning it is pronounced (more or less) as a Japanese pidgin of Classical Chinese. The connotations appropriate to onyomi in poetry are Chinese in origin, with whatever other gloss the Japanese have given it, not unlike Latinate words in English.

Classical Chinese was transmitted to Japan before the development of modern compounds (two characters typical per word/idea). Plural is by context, or number marker. Chinese syntax is precedential in word order: subject/predicate; modifier/modified, verb/object, and the order of sentence/clause structure, typically: topic, predicate, comment. Reading it in the Classical Chinese manner may thus give a variety of associations or connotations appropriate to poetic license.

I took your reasoning to be the following, based on what you wrote above -

a) "aikido" is onyomi
b) onyomi is a Chinese way of reading kanji
c) reading "aikido" as onyomi is therefore a Chinese way of reading the compound
d) "The connotations appropriate to onyomi in poetry are Chinese in origin"
e) therefore the word "aikido" can be parsed according to the way Chinese compounds are parsed in classical Chinese poetry, and doing so will give us an insight into what Ueshiba wanted to say.

Which of these steps doesn't reflect what you are trying to say?
The reasoning, if this is what you are trying to say, is faulty, because the very first step is not true, and because Ueshiba had nothing to do with the creation of the word "aiki".

Awaiting further clarification . . .

Josh

Erick Mead
05-20-2007, 10:38 PM
The words themselves were enough. I think this is where we need to start, even with the discourses of Morihei Ueshiba. Respectfully, I disagree. Words at their best are portmanteaus of connotation in culture and history. When they lose that incultured scheme of associations they become the merely utilitarian devices you suggest -- as Latin and Latinate words have become outside of the Catholic Church. The problem is doubly difficult in jumping a large language/culture barrier as between Egnlish and Japanese and their respective schemes of assocations.
Like Josh Lerner, I think that 'ai' is a kun reading and that the compound is of recent origin, coined by the addition of 'DOU' to the 'ai-KI' already in use. I defer to your opinion. I acknowledge with Josh that the "aiKI" term is much older, and it is that more that the addition of the DOU (or O sensei's preferred "aiki no michi") that concerns me The point being, as Josh's intial response interestingly pulled up, the association with Chinese tantric terminology, and the association that raises in the Shingon background, both with O Sensei personally, in his education as well as the historical connections with Japanese writing, and the influence of Shingon mantrayana on kotodama. I find frustraing the attitude of many (present company excluded) in merely throwing up one's hands and simultaneously blaming /ignoring Omoto and its syncretism in looking at these ideas. That is is an excuse for not looking further, not an answer.

Omoto did put together bits from very real streams of thought and a reasonably deep and incultured grasp of those origins will help inform the basis from which O Sensei thought and related his understanding of the essentials of the art. Physically, his art is a wonder of robust subtlety in connection. I give his intellectual effort at least as much credit for subtlety in its connections. But then, I like Whitehead.

... So I agree with you that we need to study how he used the term: an Augustinian theory of language is of not much use here. I agree -- chickens and eggs are pretty much inseparable except in very narrow slices of time. I am interested in the mainline of the evolution as well as the siderails and later influences of "abandoned" or leapfrog ideas, more than discovering which advocate of which system at what time had bragging rights at any given point in the progression.

The point is not what he did with it, per se. Who is interested in dead knowledge? Aikido is a living thing -- it has a history, ancestral connections, and simultaneously a certain freedom as as well as destiny encoded in that background. I explore these things to see what it is, what it can be and has connection to, and what we can consider doing with it that is true to its makeup.

But it was nonsense: a poetic version of a Sokal hoax. My teacher thought that the nonsense verse had to have a 'deeper' meaning, that could be put into English. Richards' intention was quite clear: to argue that some poetry sounds good but does not make much sense. That is a sadly narrow view of the poetic universe. Surely, there is broader middle path between the confines of your teacher and Derrida.

My borogroves remain quite mimsy, thank you ...

Peter Goldsbury
05-20-2007, 11:17 PM
Respectfully, I disagree. Words at their best are portmanteaus of connotation in culture and history. When they lose that incultured scheme of associations they become the merely utilitarian devices you suggest -- as Latin and Latinate words have become outside of the Catholic Church. The problem is doubly difficult in jumping a large language/culture barrier as between English and Japanese and their respective schemes of assocations. ...

Well, as I said, our respective standpoints appear to be different. However, I did not make the general suggestion that words are merely utilitarian devices, as you appear to think. With a language like Japanese, where the writing is unusually complex, the words are indeed an 'incultured scheme of associations'. I said that the words on the page were, had to be, starting points. With the Asahi newspaper report the words on the page, difficult as they were to understand, were sufficient for a general grasp of the story.

Of course, if I wanted to compare the objectivity and reporting styles of the Asahi Shinbun, compared with, say, the Yomiuri Shinbun, then the reporter's emphasis and choice of words would be highly relevant.

That is a sadly narrow view of the poetic universe. Surely, there is broader middle path between the confines of your teacher and Derrida. ...
I am confused. Whose view do you mean here? Richards' view, my teacher's view, or my view?
Richards compared Milton with a nonsense verse that sounded very similar and asked his readers what exactly Milton had that the other lacked.
My teacher, who is an established Japanese scholar in English & Japanese literature, thought that Richards was implying more than he wrote, i.e., that the words on the page, though very odd, were another example of 'an incultured scheme of associations' and asked me to explain the scheme.
As for my view, I think you cannot gauge my view of the poetic universe from my posts in this thread:).

Best wishes,

Josh Lerner
05-21-2007, 12:05 AM
So, why not the tantric union of two peple in the context of martial relations as they ascend in conciousness toward the realization of their own 'stellar' divinity?( as modeled by the universe). A martial 'roll in the hay', if you will.

"I know not why, but martial men ( and women) are given to love."
Sir Francis Bacon

Sorry Jennifer, I didn't mean to ignore your post.

To put it as delicately as I can, I think the tantric idea of union has unfortunately already been taken advantage of by a number of aikido instructors, and not in a healthy way. Maybe it's just because I've spent more time in the aikido community than I have in other martial communities, so my data pool is skewed, but it seems to be a pattern.

Outside of that, however, I don't know how much of a historical connection there actually is between the original use of the term in China and the later Japanese use. Although I suggested the Japanese might have purposefully not used the Chinese pronounciation in order to distinguish a different meaning of the compound, it is probably just as likely that they had no idea about the previous use of the term, and it's just a coincidence that the two characters were put together again in one compound.

Without knowing who first used the term in Japan, and to what extent the Japanese at the time were aware of obscure Han dynasty Daoist sexual practices, we just don't know. However, given how much obscure Daoist information which was lost in China has been preserved in Japan under different names, it could go either way.

Me, I'm 50/50.

Ellis Amdur
05-21-2007, 12:41 AM
One line of Toda-ryu, founded shortly before 1600, became the family naginata style of the Suneya family. There are no documents, however, before the mid-1800's, when Suneya Rosuke and Suneya Satoko did a reorganization and public release of their version of the art - Toda-ha Buko-ryu. Relevant to this discussion is that within the chuden level kata is a section referred to as Aiki no Koto. This referred to a set of kata in which the kusarigama (uketachi) opposed naginata (shitachi), a most improbable match. It is obvious within the kata that the kusarigama is used to force the naginata to cut in certain exact angles. Precision is taught with the "threat" that if the naginata fails, s/he will hit the kusarigama wielder (teacher or senior) on the head or hands. In this case, "aiki" - used as a phrase long before Daito-ryu - means "fitting together."

Best

Erick Mead
05-21-2007, 06:56 AM
I am confused. Whose view do you mean here? Richards' view, my teacher's view, or my view? -- none of the above, really -- more a generalized observation prompted by your story -- against language deemed as either irredeemable nonsense or nonsense deemed as incorporating deep meaning -- the polar positions suggested by your anecdote. On the latter point Steve Wolfram may well differ (and with a serious point), but last I looked he is not a poet, or if he is, I have not seen him published as such.
As for my view, I think you cannot gauge my view of the poetic universe from my posts in this thread:). Point taken. Nor mine.

Slithy toves excepted, of course. :D

jennifer paige smith
05-21-2007, 07:55 AM
"While the word aiki is an old one, the aiki of which I speak is fundamentally different."

Doesn't this kinda stop the 'it's an old word' fall back in this conversation? O'Sensei said this and I don't have any reason not to believe he meant it at face value. It takes all the vintage argument away ( sorry intellectuals) and says 'mine is fundamentally different." Our aim is to discover how and what as aikido evolves in our hands, our mouths, our bodies and our lifetimes.
And like Eric Mead I also flow into the poetics of this art in language and in use. Like language, aikido is living. We steer the meaning through our associations and usage. As we are aiki-doka (did I just say that?, shame on me). we are living songs in a way of natural harmony. Or has that word been used before?
In a practical sense you could call this art ' running shoes' and if you practiced the forms as they stand, you would still change. Just probably not into running shoes.

RRRIIIIGGHHTT RASTAFARI, Ai and Ai.

Ron Tisdale
05-21-2007, 07:59 AM
This thread highlights something that really annoys me on aikido boards sometimes. We have people who insist on knowing more than they do, and using pedantic sounding language to bolster their personal perspectives...while ignoring more learned posters who obviously have their facts straight.

Thus we end up with misunderstandings being spread...incorrect facts based on partial knowledge and the assumptions made from them. We find puns where there are none...miss puns that are there...leave practicality behind in lofty flights of fancy...and are generally brought down to a rather low level of discourse, even though it sounds quite nice.

Too bad that too often extends to our aikido on the mat as well.

I remember in college, I was a little miffed that the poetry club didn't deem some of my work fit to be published in their magazine. So I wrote a computer program based on random selection from a grammatical tree structure to produce poetry reminicient of e.e. cummings. They were all over it ;) Loved it. Wanted to publish it...right up until the time I saw fit to stop them making fools of themselves. That poetry had no meaning either, Peter. ;) I found that funny as hell.

My poetry still sucked, of course.

Best,
Ron

Chuck Clark
05-21-2007, 08:25 AM
Thus we end up with misunderstandings being spread...incorrect facts based on partial knowledge and the assumptions made from them. We find puns where there are none...miss puns that are there...leave practicality behind in lofty flights of fancy...and are generally brought down to a rather low level of discourse, even though it sounds quite nice.

Ron,

I'm smiling as I write this because your post brings back fond memories. I have experienced something similar and fortunately one of my teachers/mentors at the time brought home wonderful lessons about this sort of thing. I spent several years under the loving, strict, care of a wonderful writer/poet named Bess Truitt. She was Poet Laureate of Oklahoma at the time and quite willing to show me the essence of what you speak of above.

Thanks for the memories...

Erick Mead
05-21-2007, 11:16 AM
This thread highlights something that really annoys me on aikido boards sometimes. We have people who insist on knowing more than they do, and using pedantic sounding language to bolster their personal perspectives...while ignoring more learned posters who obviously have their facts straight.

OK. As you like. We can use short words. Seven letters or less. Nothing that sounds foreign. Keep it to the lowest denom ... (sorry, too many letters). That will surely raise the level of what we know or might find out. Take no chances on making new or creative connec... (damn letters!) ;)

What does that prove or advance?

When I talk to a jury I talk that way, -- here, I give this crowd the benefit of the doubt and write what occurs to me to write in the discussion, and try to do a little work to digest information and offer something more in my association of ideas than mere offhand comments. As Josh and Prof. Goldsbury have done, and for which I am grateful, and for the challenge.

... [we should not] leave practicality behind in lofty flights of fancy... I wrote a computer program ... to produce poetry reminicient of e.e. cummings. ... My poetry still sucked, of course. Have you considered that poetry may just be the former, and there may actually be a connection between the aesthetics of the two? I commend Wolfram's book to you on that point, if you have not read it. It's online now, you don't even have to buy it. http://www.wolframscience.com/nksonline/toc.html. If you are that capable in linear algorithm, you really should read it, and will certainly appreciate his observations on linear algorithm and the nature of aesthetics. There is a reason why we like the quasi-ordered chaos of light on water or fluttering leaves.

Facts. There are no facts to prove or disprove the origins of the term "aiKI," which I knew when we started -- and the discussion has only demonstrated that further. The closest we get is earliest written usage, and not its origin or substantive context in forming the compound, which is hidden in unrecorded usage.

What is even more curious is the older the earliest reference gets (re Amdur's observation), the more troubling the term becomes as a hybrid reading. I am not knowledgeable enough about the history of hybrid readings to remark more on it, as my background is on the Chinese side of the language arguments. But if "aiKI" really is one of the rare hybrid readings, pace Josh, it seems to me it ought to be a more modern construction. The earlier the construction that is shown, the more conservative the traditional use of language as a class marker -- especially written language, which was a class distinction all by itself. The distinctions between appropriate use of foreign and the native sensibilities should be tighter earlier -- and therefore the more unlikely a hybrid reading.

I am perfectly prepared to be proved wrong on that point (or any point, for that matter). If I were not prepared to be contradicted from time to time, I had best keep to myself. But that is rather dull way to go about life. I certainly wouldn't practice martial arts in that event.

If I am not completely wrong, then perhaps that flight of fancy was worth the intellectual risk in making it, if we find some nugget for useful exploration . If we knew where everything was we would hardly go looking, and if we did not risk making imperfect, but rational conjectures (guesses = 7 letters), we would not know where to start. :)

Josh Lerner
05-21-2007, 11:52 AM
What is even more curious is the older the earliest reference gets (re Amdur's observation), the more troubling the term becomes as a hybrid reading. . . it seems to me it ought to be a more modern construction . . . The distinctions between appropriate use of foreign and the native sensibilities should be tighter earlier -- and therefore the more unlikely a hybrid reading.



Well, remember that Chinese characters have been in use in Japan since at least the fifth century, and have existed in Japan from Chinese sources from at least the first century. So looking at it from that point of view, the seventeenth century is pretty modern.

Ron Tisdale
05-21-2007, 11:54 AM
Hi Eric,

I guess my peeve is from the desire to see flights of fancy (all well and good) acknowledge themselves as that. Instead of continuing on without acknowledging that they are indeed that, and not based on an accurate reading of the facts. One example might be the continued disagreement with Josh and Peter, in the face of the facts they present. This is not the first time this has occurred.

Another might be this:

As we are aiki-doka (did I just say that?, shame on me). we are living songs in a way of natural harmony. Or has that word been used before?

Which flies in the face of this thread:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12275&highlight=aikidoka

Another example would be in the blackbelt = white belt turning black thread around here somewhere. In fact, I'm sure people can find a few posts of mine where these same types of mistakes are made...but hopefully I acknowledge my error, made note of the difference between what my emotions connect to, and the actual facts.

It is this continued obstinence in the face of all evidence that peeves me so.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
05-21-2007, 11:58 AM
Hi Chuck,

Most glad to be of service, sir. ;)

Best,
Ron (the former poet laureate of his own private Idaho :D)

tarik
05-21-2007, 12:08 PM
It is this continued obstinence in the face of all evidence that peeves me so.

Proverbs 29:1

Ron Tisdale
05-21-2007, 12:40 PM
Good one! And so appropriate to some circumstances in the dojo! ;)

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
05-21-2007, 12:45 PM
Have you considered that poetry may just be the former, and there may actually be a connection between the aesthetics of the two? I commend Wolfram's book to you on that point, if you have not read it. It's online now, you don't even have to buy it. http://www.wolframscience.com/nksonline/toc.html. If you are that capable in linear algorithm, you really should read it, and will certainly appreciate his observations on linear algorithm and the nature of aesthetics. There is a reason why we like the quasi-ordered chaos of light on water or fluttering leaves.

Unfortunately, like many other things in my life, I was as a programmer, at best, a hack. But I did really enjoy the journey.

Wild horses couldn't drag me into a programming discourse now. It's bad enough dealing with Cisco products.

Best,
Ron (CatOS, IOS, Bleah...the money is good though...)

Erick Mead
05-21-2007, 12:48 PM
My critique is specifically of your attempts at a scholarly linguistic argument. ...
"Music for angry conversation," indeed. If I have offended it is, at worst, an intellectual offense, which in my book is among the most venial of sins, but I suppose, among some, the most unforgivable.

Maybe I misunderstood your reasoning. I took your reasoning to be the following, based on what you wrote above -

a) "aikido" is onyomi
b) onyomi is a Chinese way of reading kanji
c) reading "aikido" as onyomi is therefore a Chinese way of reading the compound
d) "The connotations appropriate to onyomi in poetry are Chinese in origin"
e) therefore the word "aikido" can be parsed according to the way Chinese compounds are parsed in classical Chinese poetry, and doing so will give us an insight into what Ueshiba wanted to say.

Which of these steps doesn't reflect what you are trying to say?
The reasoning, if this is what you are trying to say, is faulty, because the very first step is not true, and because Ueshiba had nothing to do with the creation of the word "aiki". The mistake was to assume that I was making a reasoned argument in the first place. Rhetoric is larger than logic. Knowledge is larger than what may be shown logically. I was pretty clear about my purpose: "Reading it in the Classical Chinese manner may thus give a variety of associations or connotations appropriate to poetic license."

My point was prior to reasoning about anything, as I said, speaking to the poetic elements of O Sensei's thought with the association of concepts signaled by a pictogram commonly used by both cultures and with deep roots. I was simply drawing out associations of concepts centered on the CHINESE character adopted by the Japanese. How they choose to pronounce it currently or at any other time, is also a secondary association (other than the fact is is now pronounced "ai" and forms part of the word 合 氣 道). Development of accepted premises or propositions from those associations is secondary (and any logical development of argument from those premises, is a third order function.)

But the fact of differential readings opens the discussion of the other associations embodied in that pictogram beyond the idea that there is any strictly denotative meaning in the term. Which was my point in a discussion about "parsing" the name.

Reasoning about those associations happens, if at all, after that point. You attacked an argument I was not making, simply because I began my associations with one likely flawed observation as to the particular philology of "ai," then disregarded the remainder of my associations simply because they had not fit into the dependent scheme of the logical strawman you immediately made of it.

In other words:

"This isn't an argument, it's just contradiction."

"No, it isn't" :D

What independent homophones are you talking about that are cognate with each other? Maybe if you can explain that, I'll have a better idea of what you are talking about. Are you talking about "he" and "ai"? The Chinese "he" and Japanese "ai" of "aikido" are neither cognates nor homophones. Neither are KI and q in any more obvious way. The point is there are several historical rounds of the onyomi transmission, which I referenced, albeit a bit carelessly, because historic "Chinese" has not been everywhere and at all times spoken the same way, depending on the period and which region was in more or less ascendancy at the time. It is one of the reasons why their non-phonetic writing system has survived. That also makes one-for-one tracking of word priority nearly impossible to establish. It also makes the present association of "ai" as kunyomi, in a hybrid reading of "aiKI," somewhat problematic, for the historical and sociological reasons I noted above, and you yourself signaled on other grounds.

I wanted to provoke some discussion, but this is not the one I had hoped would ensue. I don't really care one way or the other, as it is the scheme of concepts I am addressing, not establishing or disproving the parochial claim of the Japanese to one or the other pronunciation of a Chinese character. (Prof. Goldsbury's point about pointless Augustinian arguments.) I don't pretend to be the best at anything, much less the linguistics, but I learned a long time ago that the best is often the enemy of the good. Making progress in anything requires trying what's at hand -- if it is not good enough -- the better will be found out sooner.

The key point is the complex of Chinese meanings and associations given the character carried through several historical changes of language and transmission to Japan, and their schemes of refernce in a poetically-minded perosn like O Sensei. -- And what we can then say with or about the word and its meaning to us and to those who have used it before us.

Erick Mead
05-21-2007, 01:42 PM
Apropos of some of this discussion. What is in the sound of a name?
More, apparently, than we are consciously aware:

http://www.livescience.com/health/070521_name_recognition.html

Mashu
05-21-2007, 02:33 PM
Apropos of some of this discussion. What is in the sound of a name?
More, apparently, than we are consciously aware:

http://www.livescience.com/health/070521_name_recognition.html

Are you a Kabalarian then? :)

Erick Mead
05-22-2007, 09:33 AM
... hopefully I acknowledge my error, made note of the difference between what my emotions connect to, and the actual facts.

It is this continued obstinence in the face of all evidence that peeves me so.

Let me take a step back and parse the aiki and conflict in this thread a bit in the same spirit. I offered an observation directed to a specifically non-rational aspect of the language at issue, together with a collateral statement of assumption contradicted by some accepted authority. Given by Prof. Goldsbury, I expressly deferred on the point, which was, as I laid out, quite tangential to my essential point of discussion.

Not to point fingers, as that is not my point, but the accusation of "obfuscation" was the beginning in this discussion -- not of a change of topic -- but a change of tone and the initiation of an argument. While it may be taken as a personal criticism, it is just as much a self-accusation. I know that in other arenas I have done much the same thing, which is why I can speak with some small "authority" on the point. ;) The form and progression of this discussion gives further opportunity for my purpose, which is why I go on at some length here.

What is interesting is that in response to more questions -- a more passionate and contrary discussion began, masking in assertions of "logical" argument a very non-rational sense of offense. The point made above by Ron is the same, but in a tone much more amenable to engagement, so I respond to him . Specifically, both share a dislike for questioning of an offered authority as a "fact." Authority is not "fact" that ends argument -- it is continuing of argument in another form -- and not a logical one. By definition it is not a resort to logic, but a fallacy in asserting a logical argument.

Accepting an authority as saying what it says, is not the end of argument, logical or otherwise, any more than a physical attack, even a well-executed one, is the end of the engagement when a conflict has arisen. Use of authority is not the harmonious resolution of conflict, because authority is not truth -- it is atemi. It may be ultimately decisive, but that does not in itself make it true.

As atemi may be engaged in aiki -- authority may be validly questioned (ki-musubi) in its premises and challenged in its foundations (kuzushi), without contesting it directly. That is the proper mode of response to address the logical fallacy inherent in the argument from authority. Never mind the fact I didn't start this particular argument, I am always happy to work to its conclusion as part of my "operative" aiki training.

As I said when I began, and pointed out again in the course of things, my point was never intended to be taken logically, but poetically. It was intended to hunt out the non-rational elements brought in by speaking about "aiki" and conflict in its historical development. Prof. Goldsbury made a related point about the term "aiki" in Western ears and our own idiosyncratic loadings that we may give it regardless of the historical antecedents of the word as a tool with other intent.

Prof. Goldsbury's response is the measure of engaging those points of correction (which needed to be made) without conflicting, and leaving the issues open for further questions. For this reason, (and more critically my trust in Prof. Goldsbury's reputation of interest in the truth on the point), I deferred on that trust in HIS OPINION, backing the previous assertion of authority. I generally do not lay my trust upon those who are attacking, except in the dojo. He has given an "aiki" lesson in this.

Resort to authority is not in and of itself a resort to truth without error. Authority, per se, does not primarily defend truth, it defends interest. NO authority solely defends truth because its first interest must always be in defending its own authority, even if it is otherwise interested in truth. Authority may not successfully be contested on grounds of truth, directly, (at least not in a spirit of aiki) because authority is about power -- of tradition or numerosity of opinion (as with dictionaries), of force, of reputation or any number of other controlling interests in a situation. Use of authoritiy is therefore primarily an appeal to power, not truth. Dictionaries are as much authoritative reflections of the true interests and prejudices of the times in which they are written (and often of the authors) as they are of truth of language in the abstract. The OED is being continually edited as we speak. What authority says is relevant and important but by no means conclusory on a legitimately contestable point.

The point was made here, that a system of classification that expressly acknowledges a class of widely accepted pronunciations (Kanyo-on) that are known to be erroneous in lineage, may legitimately be questioned as to its truth, by the mere fact that it acknowledges the actuality of, not merely the possibility of, embodied error. The question is whether the primary interest of the authority in question is in defending truth on a given point as such, or in legitimately defending some other interest -- such as accepted usage. Such bias or interest may always be questioned, especially when the bias is expressly admitted by that authority.

Aiki is one among many other modes of parsing a process of conflict, several of which are demonstrated in this discussion, if we take step back and ask the right questions about it. In parsing this as aikido, I note that the "logic of attack," found in many arenas of life, pursued in a spirit of passionate opposition, displays itself as dangerously non-rational in its premises even when claiming logical grounds or means. It is contrasted with a more dispassionate but engaged questioning or offering of more informed opinion (proper ki-musubi) finding areas of essential agreement in the context of isolating a disagreement, as distinct from creating more fronts of conflict.

Ron Tisdale
05-22-2007, 10:08 AM
Convoluted, but a good post.

I agree that not only should authority be questioned; it MUST be questioned. I think I have a better understanding now of how to read your posts. I still have some resevations, but that is neither here nor there. And I strongly agree that Peter is a master of proper engagement. ;)

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
05-22-2007, 11:16 AM
Convoluted, but a good post. ... I think I have a better understanding now of how to read your posts. I still have some resevations, but that is neither here nor there. Thanks.

Alfred North Whitehead was reputedly once asked, "Why do you not write more clearly?"

He replied, "Because I do not think more clearly."

Ron Tisdale
05-22-2007, 11:32 AM
Because I do not think more clearly

Heh, me too! :D

B,
R

jennifer paige smith
05-23-2007, 07:30 PM
Convoluted, but a good post.

I agree that not only should authority be questioned; it MUST be questioned. I think I have a better understanding now of how to read your posts. I still have some resevations, but that is neither here nor there. And I strongly agree that Peter is a master of proper engagement. ;)

Best,
Ron

Hey maybe if you can read Erics posts a little better, I'll attempt a piggyback as Erics post expressed how I have been hearing this thread and myself as well. So maybe you can 'get me' a little better, by inference. I hope :) .

I offer poetic and spirited responses that are based in study and practice as well as my first person trajectory in life and topic. Some of this is based in the fact that I come from a Native background and I tend to talk about and view this stuff differently. I like to speak my mind, but mostly my heart, which is measured in rhythm. This is a fundamental reason why I chose the path of aiki and why I've been at it for my entire adulthood. I enjoy the arts inclusion of Kotodama practices. Some people hear this type of conversation well. Others do not. I'd like you to know that I make an effort to listen to your voice and I think I can now hear you better.
thanks

Peter Goldsbury
05-24-2007, 02:35 AM
I think Erick Mead's last long post (#65) deserves a much more detailed response, not because I disagree with it (I do not), but because it supplements and illuminates his other posts in this thread and also further illuminates the issues under discussion. Because this is a long post, I have numbered the paragraphs.

1. The first poster began this thread by asking how to parse the word 'aikido'. This sort of question is often asked because the word does not have a clear English translation, perhaps also because of the way the art is sometimes presented: a budo that is quite different from anything that has gone before, different in particular from arts like judo & karate and especially different from 'western' sporting contests.

2. One common response is to parse the word in the abstract by breaking it down into its constituent parts and analyzing these, usually by quarrying Japanese-English dictionaries. So, 'ai' means A, 'ki' means B, 'do' means C and then the parts have to be put together again, and the result more or less gives the meaning of the word. (I say 'more or less' because there is still the problem of the internal structure of the term. Because Japanese is assumed to be like English, the meaning is usually expressed as C of A-ing B, for example, and not simply ABC.)

3. Another response is to look at the word not in the abstract, but as it is actually used in Japanese. In this respect 'aikido' is unusual because it appears in Japanese dictionaries only as the term for the particular martial art. Thus, on p.19 Vol. 1, of the largest monolingual dictionary I possess, the following definition is given:
"Koryu jujutsu no ichi ruyha daito ryu jujutsu no nagare wo kumu bujutsu de, atemi waza oyobi kansetsu waza wo sho toshita mono." "Aikijutsu."
A very rough translation would be:
"An art (mono = something: the term eartf is not stated specifically) which mainly uses atemi waza and joint waza, by means of martial skills stemming from Daito-ryu jujutsu, one school of koryu jujutsu." "Aikijutsu."

4. There is no discussion here of the word's internal structure or etymology. For such a discussion, one needs a dictionary of Chinese characters, as these are used in Japanese. 'Aikido' is still a problem here because it is a made-up word and therefore does not possess an established internal structure. On pp.795-805 of Vol. 2 of the largest Kanji dictionary I possess, the character is dealt with. There is no discussion of 'aikido', but there is a reference to C, with the older form of KI . However, this is read as GOU-KI. The meanings are given as (1) to match (awaseru) ki; (2) to match the KI of IN and YOU (yin and yang).

5. So this means that there is no reference to 'ai-ki' in the Classical Chinese texts read by the Japanese, so far as is known by Tatsuto Morohashi, the scholar who compiled the dictionary.

6. How can we go further in understanding the term? One recourse is to look at the older examples of the term above, but read as 'ai-ki' (Ellis Amdur gave one example), and then see what Morihei Ueshiba did with this. The problem here is to understand what the older term actually meant and then to see how Ueshiba further changed the meaning.

7. This recourse leads us to the written discourses/lectures of Morihei Ueshiba and Erick Mead raises the very important question of how we understand these. The possibilities here are similar to those appertaining to biblical texts: we can immerse ourselves in classical Aramaic or Greek and discover as much as possible what the texts meant to those who wrote them. In this case we immerse ourselves in contemporary Japanese and try to discover as much as possible both the meaning of the words themselves and also what Ueshiba intended to convey by them.

8. Or we can use an accepted translation of the Bible and work from that, with or without a commentary. Equally with Morihei Ueshiba, there are accepted translations, such as appear in Budo Renshu/Budo, in the examples scattered through Kisshomaru Ueshibafs writings, or in Stanley Praninfs Aikido Journal. Here we have to assume that the translator has done a sufficiently professional job that we can be confident of reading what Ueshiba actually meant and not what the translator thought he meant or would like him to have meant.

9. In either case, the possibilities are vast. I myself have done what I sketched in (7.), above, with the Greek texts of Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Plato & Aristotle, the Latin texts of Virgil, Horace and Cicero, the plays of Shakespeare and the poems of writers such as Chaucer, Donne and Hopkins. It is not so much a matter of elitism here, as a matter of penetration or depth. In some respects it is easier to deal with poetry expressed in onefs native language than in a foreign language, especially a language like Classical Greek, where there is no model offered by native speakers. On the other hand, to appreciate a poet like G M Hopkins in any depth demands some acquaintance with his theories of stress and rhythm, which illuminates further what he was trying to achieve. But he can still be appreciated without this, as I can appreciate Bachfs cantatas without knowing the German text.

10. Japanese poetry is no exception. The Manyoshu and haiku can be read and enjoyed in translation, though being able to read the Chinese characters adds a certain richness to the experience. I think the Manyoshu is where one needs to start in order to appreciate Ueshibafs douka, but, of course, this is my personal opinion and he can still be read with profit without such preparation.

Ron Tisdale
05-24-2007, 01:27 PM
"Koryu jujutsu no ichi ruyha daito ryu jujutsu no nagare wo kumu bujutsu de, atemi waza oyobi kansetsu waza wo sho toshita mono." "Aikijutsu."

Ok, I am personally impressed with myself that I actually had a pretty good grasp of what that said before Peter translated it! :D Ok Ok, I'm back to earth now, realizing that is probably the only definition in that dictionary I had a chance of understanding... :(

Best,
Ron

Peter Goldsbury
05-24-2007, 05:07 PM
Ok, I am personally impressed with myself that I actually had a pretty good grasp of what that said before Peter translated it! :D Ok Ok, I'm back to earth now, realizing that is probably the only definition in that dictionary I had a chance of understanding... :(

Best,
Ron

Hello Ron,

I edited the post after I sent it to remove the actual kanji. However, since Erick Mead's point really involves Chinese characters, here they are:

古流柔術の一流派大東流柔術の流れをくむ武術で、当て身技および関節技を主としたもの。合気術。

Best wishes,

PAG

Josh Lerner
05-24-2007, 06:09 PM
Although I feel that Erick's early assertion about reading the compound "ai-ki-do" as a Chinese compound, with the appropriate Chinese grammar, was problemmatic due to the fact that "ai" is a native Japanese pronounciation, considering the exact opposite of his idea has sparked an idea about the word that might be interesting to discuss. So, as a way of atoning for the bursts of exasperated sarcasm that peppered my responses, I offer something positive to the discussion.

The idea was particularly sparked by Prof. Goldsbury's idea that reading the Man'yoshu would give us insight into Ueshiba's doka. This is an idea that really struck a chord with me, because the idea had never occurred to me when I was both writing papers on translation problems in the Man'yoshu and teaching aikido. For whatever reason, I never made the connection.

Erick made the point (which I will paraphrase) that Chinese is an S-V-O language - like English, basic sentence structure is subject -- object -- verb ( "I ate chicken"). If "aikido" is a Chinese-style compound, then it should be read as such, meaning that "ai" is a verb that acts on an object, "ki". That is, "aikido" means "the way to ai' ki'". This morning while driving on the way to work, the idea occurred to me, "Well, if it's not a Chinese phrase, and if it uses Japanese grammar, what would it mean if it was read strictly as a Japanese noun phrase? Would it mean anything different from what it normally is taken to mean?"

To make my point clear, I'll repeat myself by starting with the example I gave above, "tabemono". "Mono" means "thing", "tabe" is from the verb that means "to eat". If it was a Chinese compound, it would usually (but not always) mean "to eat a thing." But since it is a Japanese phrase, the verb acts as a modifier, giving the meaning "something that is eaten", i.e. "food". The meaning of the phrase rests in the final noun.

This entails taking "ki" as the primary meaning of the phrase, being modified by "ai". Thus "aiki", when read with Japanese grammar, means "ki that has ai'd", or "ki that ai's".

In other words, if we can cue up the Jeopardy theme music, with a standard Chinese grammatical reading, the word "aiki" is an answer to the question, "what do you do with ki?" Answer: you harmonize ki.

The Japanese word "aiki", if read in the way I'm suggesting, is an answer to the question "what kind of ki?" Answer: the harmonized, or harmonizing, kind of ki. The Chinese way of looking at the word could also be read this way, incidentally, and there are similar phrases in Chinese medicine that could be used as examples, but that is beside the point.

Translating it this way, with the emphasis on "ki" instead of "ai", also makes more sense when we here or read of people saying "use aiki". It is a way of saying "use a particular kind of ki".

That begs the question -- what kind of ki? There are probably many ways of looking at it, but grammatically, they would all boil down to two different types, based on whether you take "ai" as passive or active:

Passive: "ki that has been harmonized" or "ki that has been unified"-- I would take this to refer to what people like Dan Harden, Mike Sigman and Rob John refer to in terms of unifying and resolving contradictory forces inside the body, which then produce a specific type of power that can be applied to techniques. Aiki here could also mean something like "Ki that is produced by meeting". I see many references in the doka that could be references to this idea, and the bits and pieces of information available about Daito-ryu seem to point to something along these lines. If anyone knows more to support or refute this idea, please feel free to chime in.

Active: "unifying ki" or "harmonizing ki" or "meeting ki" -- this could be a more commonly used translation of the term, though again it would be a type of ki that you would use. In this case, a type of ki that you use to match or fit in with your opponent. It could also probably be used the same was as the passive construction.

Again -- this is nothing more than speculation, based on hearsay and grammatical play. But I hope it provides some food for thought for the discussion.

Josh

DH
05-24-2007, 06:56 PM
........................
Translating it this way, with the emphasis on "ki" instead of "ai", also makes more sense when we here or read of people saying "use aiki". It is a way of saying "use a particular kind of ki".

That begs the question -- what kind of ki? There are probably many ways of looking at it, but grammatically, they would all boil down to two different types, based on whether you take "ai" as passive or active:

Passive: "ki that has been harmonized" or "ki that has been unified"-- I would take this to refer to what people like Dan Harden, Mike Sigman and Rob John refer to in terms of unifying and resolving contradictory forces inside the body, which then produce a specific type of power that can be applied to techniques. Aiki here could also mean something like "Ki that is produced by meeting". I see many references in the doka that could be references to this idea, and the bits and pieces of information available about Daito-ryu seem to point to something along these lines. If anyone knows more to support or refute this idea, please feel free to chime in.

Active: "unifying ki" or "harmonizing ki" or "meeting ki" -- this could be a more commonly used translation of the term, though again it would be a type of ki that you would use. In this case, a type of ki that you use to match or fit in with your opponent. It could also probably be used the same was as the passive construction.

Josh
I'll leave the grammer and translation to you fellows. Speaking to the practical use I can see a delightful Japanese play on words.
"Ki that has been unified" becomes "unifying ki";)

Passive: "ki that has been unified"-- is needed to affect a change in you. once in yo is relsoved in you the effects when another adds a foce to you is that the added force then gets resolved in you.
Thus the
Active: "unifying ki" or "harmonizing ki" or "meeting ki"

Now the play in meaning.
Without one of the parties having resolved in/yo in himself (passive) the meeting with another will not produce a true harmony of ki within him from the added force. How could he?
Instead what will happen is just two forces meeting; the external push-when-pulled, turn-when-push, that most "call" aiki.
You are also correct in noting the references where Daito ryu can say "Apply aiki" Or "create Ki by meeting," How would one "create ki by meeting? The opponent is drawn to your unified ki and moves with you unwillingly. This is not as far fetched as it sounds as it can be expressed in more practical projection throws, draw-ins, leg sweep, or punches. Not just in aiki-no-jutsu. And all through applied Aiki age, aikisage or fure aiki.
Were the pull when pushed turn when pudsherd model correct (its not) then the Daito ryu model makes no sense.

So "Ki that has been unified" becomes "unifying ki";)
without the former you have no hope of accomplishing the later. Rather you will just do external arts, maybe really, really well, but its still just external arts.
Excellent job Josh

Josh Lerner
05-24-2007, 09:13 PM
Erick made the point (which I will paraphrase) that Chinese is an S-V-O language - like English, basic sentence structure is subject -- object -- verb ( "I ate chicken").

Sorry, typo. That should have been subject - verb - object, to match S-V-O. But you know what I meant.

And Dan - thanks for the input.

Josh

Ron Tisdale
05-25-2007, 06:39 AM
Wow. Great discussion...and very interesting.

Best,
Ron

Chuck Clark
05-25-2007, 07:40 AM
Wow. Great discussion...and very interesting.

I don't usually like this type of post... but Ditto. Me too.

Best regards,

Erick Mead
05-25-2007, 08:15 AM
I think Erick Mead's last long post (#65) deserves a much more detailed response, .. Onegaishimasu. :)

jennifer paige smith
05-25-2007, 09:41 AM
What about he Ainu and ainu language. Hokkaido is the home of the original indigenous people of Japan. They speak a language called Ainu. O'Sensei spent many years in Hokkaido during his early manhood. I feel this is relevant and it is an area that has drawn my inquiry and study.

Erick Mead
05-25-2007, 01:28 PM
.. atoning for the bursts of exasperated sarcasm that peppered my responses None necessary, it just spiced up the discussion. It's not like you made it "Thai-hot" :D.
If "aikido" is a Chinese-style compound, then it should be read as such, meaning that "ai" is a verb that acts on an object, "ki". That is, "aikido" means "the way to ai' ki'". ...what would it mean if it was read strictly as a Japanese noun phrase? Would it mean anything different from what it normally is taken to mean?"... In other words, if we can cue up the Jeopardy theme music, with a standard Chinese grammatical reading, the word "aiki" is an answer to the question, "what do you do with ki?" Answer: you harmonize ki.

This observation bought some intriguing thoughts -- takig a slighlty different tangent on the non-rational uses of language, of which poetry is also one.

The Jeopardy analogy suggests another one that I think is most useful in looking at the grammatical aspects. The larger question that grammar ( in any language) addresses is -- causality. The Jeopardy game show format reverses causality of question/answer in ways that echo the denial or reversal of causality in the typical koan.

The predicate of "the sound of one hand clapping" is, of course, nonsense. Except as an answer (one of a nearly infinite number of alternatives) to the predicate of "What is nothing?" -- putting the answer into the form of a question in Jeopardy terms.

In other words, when we come at the problem from the direction of ordinary linear or efficient causation, the problem is not solvable in its own terms. The possible outcomes swiftly become infinite beyond an arbitrary number of steps in the chain of causation.

But come at the problem from the stand point of ultimate or final causation, and the answer is nearly as obvious in its form as its content is almost immaterial. In response to the inquiry, "What is nothing?" One could as easily answer, "A duck's pajamas" as the classic "one hand clapping." From the stand-point of ultimate or final causation, any answer or no answer suffices, because the predicate of efficient causation is not operative from that perspective.

Going back to Whitehead, (if you will bear with me on the metaphysics briefly) final or ultimate causation is just as close or integral to the event of experience as the efficient causation of linear antecedents that "cause" it in the ordinary sense. If you adopt the perspective of final causation, you are, in effect, permitted to give the answer in the form of a question -- and to which, in our reversal of the causal perspective in this koan, any answer will do.

This allows that his "answer" (attack) whatever it may be, to be accepted as the completely true response to our (as yet inchoate) inquiry( technique) that invites it. Ordinary causation would deny the attack as untrue. What is denied is not really the attack, but the presumed consequence of the attack if we proceed from the perspective of efficient causation. At the point of connection, the presumed course of events past that point is undetermined from the efficient causation perspective. The contest of wills over the causal chain that transpires thereafter has not occurred and therefore is not yet (if ever) true. It is literally fighting a phantom -- if you approach the connection from the standpoint of efficient causation.

This is what I think O Sensei means when he says that in Aikido "there is no attack." Put in terms of aikido as O Sensei expressed it, Aiki is similarly about restoring the harmony between efficient causation (the attack/technique response) and ultimate causation (The Unity of the Universe), and phenomenal relationships of the presumed inquiry (attack) to the presumed answer (technique) in a physical and spiritual context.

This allows causation, in the exclusively linear causal view, to be apparently reversed or even nullified -- but in terms of the final causation the situation has really only been re-harmonized to its original state before disturbance. The moon neither advances nor retreats in the water -- nor is it really the moon, nor is the moon truly disturbed by the appearance of its disturbance in the surface of the water. The moon neither advances nor retreats in the sky, nor is it disturbed by our advancing or retreating, but neither is it really the moon, but merely the image of the moon in the surface of our mind. Suigetsu.

In one sense the dropped pebble makes waves in the surface of the pond, in another sense the water mere gives way in closing over the sunk pebble -- which ceases to have any phenomenal appearance that is not coincident with the ordinary movement typical of water's surface. Aiki converts the perspective at the moment of efficient causation, by neither rejecting the fall of the pebble, nor accepting it in the phenomenal terms that existed before connection occurred, therefore readjusting the balance toward the ultimate causality in the engagement.

If you bind yourself to the ordinary or efficient causation of attack/response, rather than harmonizing that with the truth of final causation, you get stuck in the trap posed by the koan of the attack. If you harmonize the perspectives, you know more of what is knowable in the reality of the moment and you are freed of the trap of causation in the ordinary trivial sense.

But you cannot plan for a given outcome. For planning is a phenomenal aspect of mentality from the efficient cause perspective. It is a contest of will over the chain of phenomenal causation. For Aikido to be effective, we must merely train at the level of awareness from the non-phenomenal perspective of mentality, not this-and-then-that causation. Find our connection, be true to the connection that we find and deepen that connection. The final causation will occur on its own. In this sense, the "set-up" training that aikido teaching presumes is integral to learning awareness of the non-contest that is at the heart of the engagement when considered from the perspective of ultimate causation, and which competitive ( i.e.-- goal-oriented) training would destroy.

Some will call this airy-fairy aiki-fruity stuff -- but there is a real and fundamental psychological mechanism at work in this, whatever else you may think about it.

Aiki is the defeat of the phenomenal mind of conflict, restoring its original nature with the truth of the harmonized perspective of reality -- Masagatsu Agatsu. "Aiki" is not, in the physical and spiritual sense, defeating the opponent, for that role is no more real or distinct from ourselves than is the image of the moon in the water from the mind that perceives it. Love-Ki. Love of Other as Self.

"On this hangs all the Law and the Prophets..." as Someone else once said.

jennifer paige smith
05-25-2007, 03:28 PM
aikido: turning the world on it's head one person at a time.

Ellis Amdur
05-28-2007, 10:00 AM
Two points: I don't have the exact quote in front of me, but in about 1922, Ueshiba was quoted in Admiral Takeshita's diary as saying - "Aiki is the art of making other people do what you want." - see Harden above.
And with all the writing about how old "aiki" is, remember another word, also using the composite of "onyomi and kunyomi" - KIAI - which is always, and definitely has been always read that way, not "goki." Kiai clearly is the art of making the other do what you want - and in Araki-ryu, for example, this is done by manipulation of one's own stance, one's attitude and one's internal state - and this is linked (as it is in Jikishin-kage-ryu) with the manipulation of different aspects of gogyo - yin/yang. The distinction is usually considered as that kiai, whether predominantly yin or yang in it's energy exerted on the other, is on a larger level, a YANG state - you actively express your will on the other - centrifugal force, if you will. Aiki (see below), whether the dominant energy is yin or yang, is, on a larger level, a YIN state - it is gravitational.
Aiki, which was referred to in some ryu as soshin (I have no ability to reproduce kanji, but the first character, so, is ki-hen/moku-hen (tree/eye) and means something similar to "ai") and shin = kokoro. In other words, one controls the other by unifying "heart/mind" - - - - BUT this is not love - (the other "ai"). It means that one achieves such organization within oneself that one can pervasively influence the other in spite of themselves, so that they are "templated" to what your will.
Best

jennifer paige smith
05-28-2007, 10:30 AM
Two points: I don't have the exact quote in front of me, but in about 1922, Ueshiba was quoted in Admiral Takeshita's diary as saying - "Aiki is the art of making other people do what you want." - see Harden above.
And with all the writing about how old "aiki" is, remember another word, also using the composite of "onyomi and kunyomi" - KIAI - which is always, and definitely has been always read that way, not "goki." Kiai clearly is the art of making the other do what you want - and in Araki-ryu, for example, this is done by manipulation of one's own stance, one's attitude and one's internal state - and this is linked (as it is in Jikishin-kage-ryu) with the manipulation of different aspects of gogyo - yin/yang. The distinction is usually considered as that kiai, whether predominantly yin or yang in it's energy exerted on the other, is on a larger level, a YANG state - you actively express your will on the other - centrifugal force, if you will. Aiki (see below), whether the dominant energy is yin or yang, is, on a larger level, a YIN state - it is gravitational.
Aiki, which was referred to in some ryu as soshin (I have no ability to reproduce kanji, but the first character, so, is ki-hen/moku-hen (tree/eye) and means something similar to "ai") and shin = kokoro. In other words, one controls the other by unifying "heart/mind" - - - - BUT this is not love - (the other "ai"). It means that one achieves such organization within oneself that one can pervasively influence the other in spite of themselves, so that they are "templated" to what your will.
Best

Would the statement 'this is not love' still apply if we were to redefine what love is actually made of? If we were to discover in our own expereince that love is the eye of the tree ( some kanji for aiki also mean 'blue spruce' as is the case with one of my children students whose parents are Japanese). What if we were to discover or support that love is an organization (natural) within oneself ( and therefore the other) and can pervasively influence the other in spite of themselves(ourselves). In other words, maybe our idea of love is fragmented and the term aiki is a better model, as it is a unified body of principle.

For me aiki has been a constant challenge to my concepts of love. Implementing aiki has been the strongest tool I've brought to 'my' love.

thanks

Josh Lerner
05-28-2007, 10:34 AM
And with all the writing about how old "aiki" is, remember another word, also using the composite of "onyomi and kunyomi" - KIAI - which is always, and definitely has been always read that way, not "goki."

Prof. Goldsbury just pointed out to me that "ki" is also considered to be kunyomi in some dictionaries, as well as onyomi, which means that both "aiki" and "kiai" can actually be read as purely Japanese words. Thus solving the on/kun mixing problem, such as it existed.

Since there is no apparently no pre-Chinese-influence Japanese word that has the same meaning as "ki" that I'm aware of, my guess is that it was such an important word culturally that it was adopted as kunyomi. Or that the dictionary compilers were trying to convince people that the Japanese invented the word.

Josh

Ellis Amdur
05-28-2007, 11:41 AM
Jennifer - I suppose you could choose to read the character according to however one likes. And like Ueshiba, you could choose to reframe "so" as love, just as he did with "ai." Furthermore, not having access to my dictionaries, I don't know how "so" has been used in other words. But in Araki-ryu and Jikishinkage-ryu, the two schools which I'm aware of that use the word, "soshin," it is simply a means to more effectively manipulate, control, and most likely kill your enemy.

jennifer paige smith
05-28-2007, 02:24 PM
Jennifer - I suppose you could choose to read the character according to however one likes. And like Ueshiba, you could choose to reframe "so" as love, just as he did with "ai." Furthermore, not having access to my dictionaries, I don't know how "so" has been used in other words. But in Araki-ryu and Jikishinkage-ryu, the two schools which I'm aware of that use the word, "soshin," it is simply a means to more effectively manipulate, control, and most likely kill your enemy.

Thank you.

I suppose this somehow leads to 'all is fair in love and war' in the long run. :)
Realizing that this is also an independent interpetation.

Peter Goldsbury
05-28-2007, 02:53 PM
Aiki, which was referred to in some ryu as soshin (I have no ability to reproduce kanji, but the first character, so, is ki-hen/moku-hen (tree/eye) and means something similar to "ai") and shin = kokoro. In other words, one controls the other by unifying "heart/mind" - - - - BUT this is not love - (the other "ai"). It means that one achieves such organization within oneself that one can pervasively influence the other in spite of themselves, so that they are "templated" to what your will.
Best

Ellis,

The kun reading of 相 SOU ( = mutual) is also 'ai'.

PAG

Erick Mead
05-28-2007, 11:59 PM
Two points: I don't have the exact quote in front of me, but in about 1922, Ueshiba was quoted in Admiral Takeshita's diary as saying - "Aiki is the art of making other people do what you want." - see Harden above. O Sensei's thoughts changed critically shortly after this date. His revelatory vision of aikido as Love was distinct from his vision of budo up to that point -- and came in 1925.

"All at once I understood the nature of creation: the Way of a Warrior is to manifest Divine Love, a spirit that embraces and nurtures all things. Tears of gratitude and joy streamed down my cheeks. I saw the entire earth as my home, and the sun, moon, and stars as my intimate friends. All attachment to material things vanished."

The difference in the 1922 quote and the 1925 quote is profound. Reputedly, the 1925 revelation occurred in the hot afterglow of a bout with a very skilled swordsman in which O Sensei was unarmed, but prevailed.

Aiki (see below), whether the dominant energy is yin or yang, is, on a larger level, a YIN state - it is gravitational. LIKE that.

Aiki, ... In other words, one controls the other by unifying "heart/mind" - - - - BUT this is not love - (the other "ai"). It means that one achieves such organization within oneself that one can pervasively influence the other in spite of themselves, so that they are "templated" to what your will.
Best Let me dwell on the topic of love in this image of gravitational dominance in the conceptual elements of "aiki." "Orbit" is a very narrow regime of participating bodies that exists between the regimes of escape and collision.

First, love in this context is not about flowers and chocolates. It is about running through hail of bullets to pull a hit buddy out of a hole, Walking into a compartment in a fuel fire to drag out the last guy that went in to put the fire out for his shipmates. It is about charging the hill, attacking the fire, because of the love for those next to you or in harm's way. It is primal and it is about survival, not sonnets.

Leaving aside any larger metaphysical questions, psychologically, seeking to structure oneself so as to compel the action of another to template to what you will, is still in the phenomenal, objectifying frame of mind. This -- then -- that. The chain of incipient causation is still intact. Therefore, the branch points of that causal chain are contestable by the will of any participant, as they occur.

Presumably, no budo can depend on an opponent surrendering his will. Logically, that leaves one option, surrendering one's own. Not surrendering to HIS will -- vice your own, but surrendering, if you will, the very concept of "will" in the engagement. That means becoming identified with the will of your opponent, but not identical to it -- since you are not him. And his will is expressed in action -- so your identification is with his action, not his presumed or anticipated will or intent (beyond what is revealed in his action). After all, he may (and probably will) change his mind about what he wants or intends.

The attacker needs to go one step further in the (as yet contingent) causal chain to prevail, than does the aikidoka. I need only reach him -- he must reach AND strike/grasp me. As they say, "Reach exceeds grasp." If I seek to grasp him, I am fighting him for first or best grasp -- and one or the other of us always loses. As long as I keep reaching him -- without grasping -- as he comes in reach of me, he cannot win, unless I stop doing that.

Once one achieves this connection, the logic of reactive cause/effect ceases. You want what he wants -- you/he move as he/you moves. All that is required is to have the connection to know what he wants to be doing -- NOW -- rather than what I should do to counter what he (may be) about to do -- much less trying to scheme a path to some result that I imagined to begin with.

"Aiki" means concerning oneself with the needs/desires of another in a situation of violence to the exclusion of one's own. The word for this budo is, properly, "love."

The Earth orbits the sun, not because of the sun's domineering power (although it is), but because their relationship is critically favorable to stable dynamic of mutual attraction. If the Earth were less favorable (moving too fast) it would escape or (moving too slow) collide.

DH
05-29-2007, 06:51 AM
Two points: I don't have the exact quote in front of me, but in about 1922, Ueshiba was quoted in Admiral Takeshita's diary as saying - "Aiki is the art of making other people do what you want." - see Harden above.
And with all the writing about how old "aiki" is, remember another word, also using the composite of "onyomi and kunyomi" - KIAI - which is always, and definitely has been always read that way, not "goki." Kiai clearly is the art of making the other do what you want - and in Araki-ryu, for example, this is done by manipulation of one's own stance, one's attitude and one's internal state - and this is linked (as it is in Jikishin-kage-ryu) with the manipulation of different aspects of gogyo - yin/yang. The distinction is usually considered as that kiai, whether predominantly yin or yang in it's energy exerted on the other, is on a larger level, a YANG state - you actively express your will on the other - centrifugal force, if you will. Aiki (see below), whether the dominant energy is yin or yang, is, on a larger level, a YIN state - it is gravitational.
Aiki, which was referred to in some ryu as soshin (I have no ability to reproduce kanji, but the first character, so, is ki-hen/moku-hen (tree/eye) and means something similar to "ai") and shin = kokoro. In other words, one controls the other by unifying "heart/mind" - - - - BUT this is not love - (the other "ai"). It means that one achieves such organization within oneself that one can pervasively influence the other in spite of themselves, so that they are "templated" to what your will.
Best

Interesting and informative as always. For five years I have been discussing and debating with the boys a project with that very same name. I chose .....Soshin for its multiple meaning potential.

The kanji for "so" I used was for "twin" or "Dual" but "mutual" works just as well, thanks Peter. and "shin" as kokoro.
Hence "Twin heart" .
The idea being a play on words: old/new, traditional / live, empty hand /weapon, In/yo, contradictory force ai and Kia.
Never once did I consider the idea of bodies moving at just the right speed or distance for timing which most folks mistakenly associate as "aiki."

The idea of "so" meaning to make others do what you want by way of aik-ki is, in the end going to prove confusing for most exponents of the martial arts. I honestly think we have been struggling under a misinterpretation from decades. Eric's idea of orbiting relatonships in perfect balance is the the quintessential example of what is wrong with aikido. Why aikido works best against "other" folks doing aikido. And why Uehsiba disasociated himself from it and stated repeatedly that "this is not my aikido.

In/yo has to be worked in you, harnessed and resolved in you (to what ever degree we train it) Aiki is about energy in you. Without that firmly in place you have nothing. The movement aspects -what is yin what is yang ceases to have meaning. It' all in/yo all yin and yang. This is idea of making a yin movement or "leading" relationship is merely a furtherence of external martial arts; Kissomaru's understanding, not his Dad's.
The very essence of the failure in understanding is exhibited in the nature of the body turning. The most perfect example of what has been left out is demonstrated in entering.
Both are demonstrated as individual acts when they are not. they are mutual acts in a single person's body. The proper execution has nothing at all to do with the other person.

In his own way Eric is expressing an understanding forstered on him by teachers, so it can't be helped.

I'll give you a clearer picture Eric. Planets don't solely by relationship. They work by exhibiting perfect balance unto themselves. Without that their can be no relationshoip. Meaning-long before you ever considered viewing a relationship between two bodies in motion there were two entities in balance to themselves.
1.WIthout the sun being in perfect balance to itelf it would have nothing to attract or hold the earth.
2. The earth without its own rotation would have nothing worth saving.

They exhbit internal power in being. In /yo revealed. The body is capable of perfecting this in itself as well. And when it does so it becomes much more powerful in any relationship to another object.
Most have their first clue about this when they run into someone with good structure...moving. They instantly sense hisd movements are superior. Weak structure, spinning about in a dance and tryng to meet or join is all but laughable. So the real key is what makes the sun express itself in balance? What makes the earth whole and have an intregal structure? It is understanding what makes the human body- and the generations of chinese and Japanese who have done countless hours of solo training-express itself so well that it can repel or attract and manipulate other bodies that is the first step.
It is exactly why in/yo can be so powerful.
And why most aikido is not.

DH
05-29-2007, 07:09 AM
Dual post. Please delete the one above this

Ellis
Interesting and informative as always. For five years I have been discussing and debating with the boys a project with that very same name. I chose .....Soshin for its multiple meaning potential.

The kanji for "so" I used was for "twin" or "Dual" an example being Sosuishitsu ryu (Twin rivers school). But "mutual" works just as well, thanks Peter. And then "shin" as kokoro. Hence "Twin heart" .
My idea was a multi layered play on words: old/new, traditional / live, empty hand /weapon, In/yo, contradictory force ai and Kia.
Never once did I consider the idea of bodies moving at just the right speed or distance for timing which most folks mistakenly associate as "aiki."

The idea of "so" meaning to make others do what you want by way of aik-ki is, in the end going to prove confusing for most exponents of the martial arts. I honestly think we have been struggling under a misinterpretation from decades. Eric's idea of orbiting relatonships in perfect balance is the the quintessential example of what is wrong with aikido. Why aikido works best against "other" folks doing aikido. And why Uehsiba disasociated himself from it and stated repeatedly that "this is not my aikido.

In/yo has to be worked in you, harnessed and resolved in you (to what ever degree we train it) Aiki is about energy in you. Without that firmly in place you have nothing. The movement aspects -what is yin? What is yang? ceases to have meaning. It's all in/yo. All yin and yang. This is idea of making a yin movement or "leading" relationship is merely a furtherence of external martial arts; Kissomaru's understanding, not his Dad's.
a. The very essence of the failure in understanding is exhibited in the nature of the body turning.
b. The most perfect example of what has been left out is demonstrated in entering.
Both are demonstrated as individual acts when they are not. they are mutual acts in a single person's body. The duality of the movement can be found within the single-bodies central pivot. Hence the proper execution has nothing at all to do with the other person.

In his own way Eric is expressing an understanding forstered on him by teachers, so it can't be helped.

I'll give you a clearer picture Eric. Planets don't orbit solely by relationship to one another. They work by exhibiting perfect balance unto themselves. Without that there can be no relationship. Meaning-long before you ever considered viewing a relationship between two bodies in motion there were two entities in balance to themselves.
1.WIthout the sun being in perfect balance to itelf it would have nothing to attract or hold the earth.
2. The earth without its own rotation would have nothing worth saving.

They exhbit internal power in being. In /yo revealed. The body is capable of perfecting this in itself as well. And when it does so it becomes much more powerful in any relationship to another object.
Most have their first clue about this when they run into someone with good structure...moving. They instantly sense his movements are superior. Weak structure, spinning about in a dance and tryng to meet or join is all but laughable. So the real key is what makes the sun express itself in balance? What makes the earth whole and have an intregal structure? It is understanding what makes the human body- and the generations of chinese and Japanese who have done countless hours of solo training-express itself so well that it can repel or attract and manipulate other bodies that is the first step.
It is exactly why in/yo can be so powerful. It is what Captured Ueshiba's attention and why he got it about his place in the whole universe relationship thingy
And why most aikido is not....with all its hype and discussion. It is still vying to fit-in and blend with another causal action. Like every other martial art.

Erick Mead
05-29-2007, 10:26 AM
Eric's idea of orbiting relationships in perfect balance is the the quintessential example of what is wrong with aikido. Who said perfect balance? You have a mistaken impression of the dynamics of orbits, stable or otherwise as exhibiting "perfect balance." Hardly so. Orbits can be quite violent things, especially unstable ones. Even stable orbits exhibit tides (inyo-ho ?), and they can be vicious things, that can literally tear a lesser mass apart at the seams inside the Roche limit -- even in a stable orbit -- Saturn and its rings for instance. It should be mentioned that O Sensei prefigured this discussion, speaking of the mythological red and white balls that allowed one to control the ebb and flow of the tide.

Even equal mass objects can present very interesting stable mechanics in orbit about a common center:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0e/Orbit5.gif

That image has a air of familiarity to me in the practice of aikido.
[Irimi/tenkan] Both are demonstrated as individual acts when they are not. Well, on this we agree. Every tenkan begins in irimi, every irimi ends in tenkan. In-yo, quite.

In his own way Eric is expressing an understanding fostered on him by teachers, so it can't be helped. I know what I know, and, more importantly, what I do not know. You can ask my teachers how much of that is their responsibility -- and how much is my own fault. ;)

I'll give you a clearer picture Eric. Planets don't solely by relationship. They work by exhibiting perfect balance unto themselves. Without that their can be no relationshoip. Monsieur Roche disagrees with you here. If an orbiting body enters an orbit that passes inside the Roche limit, tides can destroy its structural coherence. The difference is the Roche limit is closer if there is greater inherent structural coherence, and the limit is further if there is less inherent structural coherence.

You may speak of strong versus weak structure, but the judgment element in that characterization is suspect. Both aspects of inherent structural coherence have their places in the art, as strategic elements involving where to place energy in a given situation, rather than judgment of better or worse in abstract terms.

Meaning-long before you ever considered viewing a relationship between two bodies in motion there were two entities in balance to themselves.
1.WIthout the sun being in perfect balance to itself it would have nothing to attract or hold the earth. The earth would orbit a diffuse gas cloud of the same mass of the sun at the same orbital distance from the center of mass of the cloud. I should point out that it is gravity that gives the sun the "perfect balance" of spherical structure as a very compact gas cloud.

2. The earth without its own rotation would have nothing worth saving. Analogizing gravity to Aiki (thanks again Ellis, very fruitful!), gravity does not care if the bodies rotate internally or not, although the dynamics of tides will vary depending on that additional source of forces and changing moments.

Most have their first clue about this when they run into someone with good structure...moving. They instantly sense hisd movements are superior. Weak structure, spinning about in a dance and tryng to meet or join is all but laughable. ... It is exactly why in/yo can be so powerful. And why most aikido is not.Your idea of it is self-limiting. Aikido, if it is truly in-yo ho (and we agree on that) must serve those who are naturally weak in structure as well as those who are strong in structure. Otherwise, there is no true yin to balance the yang in the art.

The applications may appear different, as the Roche limits of more structured vice more fluid orbital bodies may also differ. The same principles are in application, merely at different degrees of extension. As the coherence of structure improves through training, the art may move closer with greater safety and exposed to greater levels of energy (highly eccentric orbit) in the approach.

That does not mean that the principles of engagement at the limits of extension (appropriate to less structured bodies) are different or inferior, merely that they are not complete as a description of the totality of the art. Of course, neither is the "strong structure" model as a derogatory criticism -- to the extent that it neglects the operation at the limits of extension appropriate to less well-structured bodies.

At a higher level of training both internal strategies are available to the practitioner who develops both. Beginners start with the inherently weak structure model as an almost unavoidable premise. Their access to the coherence model ("strong structure") comes through training in perception and adjustment of form as much or more than physical rehabilitation or strengthening.

These represent differential focus in applying dynamic energy. Decoherence is just as powerful as coherence -- applied correctly. Strategic collapse of internal structure can destroy the support of any structure that comes to bear on it, regardless of its inherent strength..

DH
06-03-2007, 12:03 PM
Skipping past the long and irrelevant analogies to planetary bodies- I will key in on the comments about the idea of differences in movement in poorly structured bodies.
The thought of their even -being- poorly structured bodies in Japanese budo is anathema to everything budo was meant to be about in the first place. The main purpose wasn't about better ways to swing a sword or punch. If you read various interviews- just about every master class teacher talks about an Asian model of training in budo "to be strong." But none of them were talking about lifting. They were talking about a bujutsu body that created unusual strength through structure. The main purpose to budo was to build that structure. It has been thoroughly ruined over the last century or so and now it has become convoluted and about waza or quasi-spiritual pursuits. There are few men with any real knowledge of the truths of bujutsu movement anymore.
Aikido's "matching" and "blending" ain't it.
Oddly enough were one to more accurately understand the purpose of resolving the physical aspects of in/yo in our bodies- it more fully explains the mumbo jumbo quasi religious stuff they are trying to find and force fit into their aikido. Moreover, it would more accurately book match the Ueshiba model of a balanced and fully realized human living in accord with a balanced universe really well. And in the most curious and oddly poetic sense this physical realization will increase their power and sensitivity exponentially-along side their ability to neutralize and resolve an attack

But it is all but pointless to even talk about it anymore. The masses are irrevocably convinced there is nothing more to be had than what they do and know. Even something as simple as the central pivot, or even winding, is poorly understood and all but absent in the arts. Ill-expressed as "tenkan," the turning movement in aikido is empty of it's true potential. Absent of the potential power contained in a structured bodies central pivot, instead everyone mindless quotes "Turn when pushed- enter when pulled." and thinks they are saying something substantial. After all it's in several books.;)

Speaking to no one in particular......
The art of Aiki can only be understood when one removes the other person from the equation. In point of fact you will never understand it by seeking to fit, match, lead or blend. Until you unify Ki in you -you cannot unify ki in conflict.

But no worries, chances are:
a. No one will ever correct you
b. No one you know will ever know the difference anyway.
c. The few who do will not tell you how anyway
d. You will spend your life getting along with the group -very well.
The truth of Ai-ki-do will forever escape you, and instead you will end up doing Aikido along with everyone else. But hey-that’s all most folks only want to do to begin with.

George S. Ledyard
06-03-2007, 06:06 PM
. In other words, one controls the other by unifying "heart/mind" - - - - BUT this is not love - (the other "ai"). It means that one achieves such organization within oneself that one can pervasively influence the other in spite of themselves, so that they are "templated" to what your will.
Best

This would, in my opinion, be the place at which O-Sensei's "aiki" starts to differ from what he (and others I would guess) believed the more traditional meaning to be.

O-Sensei's spiritual experience caused him to a) identify with "the other" thereby removing the dichotomy of anyone controlling anyone else and b) make accord with the "Will of the Kami" the central focus of ones actions.The Kannagara no Michi or Divine Path is how O-Sensei saw his world. Misogi would purify ones intentions to the point which they were brought into accord with the Will of the Kami. So "aiki" moves from being a set of psycho / physical techniques to cause involuntary reaction in the other to being descriptive of the essential state of connection existing between all things (in which there is no other). Hence the phrase Take Musu Aiki in which the martial technique arises spontaneously from the state of aiki. Or, said another way, the state of aiki gives birth to martial technique.

This fundamental shift in orientation opens the door for the alternative use of ai = love in the term the aiki. You can see the shift from aiki being a description of technique used to create connection between opponents to a term that describes the connection that already exists and once the ai becomes "love", begins to describe the energetic nature of that connection.

Training then shifts away from discovering how to use the principle of aiki in ones technique to defeat another, towards using technique utilizing the principles of aiki as misogi to bring one into accord with the Will of the Kami.The idea being that in discovering the principles of aiki through training in Aikido technique, one is "templated" to the Divine Will.

This would be my understanding of how O-Sensei's use of the term was different from how it had been used before, even in the parent art of Daito Ryo Aikijutsu.

DH
06-03-2007, 08:32 PM
Ellis Amdur wrote:
In other words, one controls the other by unifying "heart/mind" - - - - BUT this is not love - (the other "ai"). It means that one achieves such organization within oneself that one can pervasively influence the other in spite of themselves, so that they are "templated" to what your will.
Best
George Writes
This would, in my opinion, be the place at which O-Sensei's "aiki" starts to differ from what he (and others I would guess) believed the more traditional meaning to be.
O-Sensei's spiritual experience caused him to a) identify with "the other" thereby removing the dichotomy of anyone controlling anyone else and b) make accord with the "Will of the Kami" the central focus of ones actions.The Kannagara no Michi or Divine Path is how O-Sensei saw his world. Misogi would purify ones intentions to the point which they were brought into accord with the Will of the Kami. So "aiki" moves from being a set of psycho / physical techniques to cause involuntary reaction in the other to being descriptive of the essential state of connection existing between all things (in which there is no other). Hence the phrase Take Musu Aiki in which the martial technique arises spontaneously from the state of aiki. Or, said another way, the state of aiki gives birth to martial technique.


And this is EXACTLY where my description of unified ki making unifying ki arises. Ellis is exactly correct and so am I. You fail to see where they are the same all while saying exactly the same thing to being descriptive of the essential state of connection existing between all things (in which there is no other). Hence the phrase Take Musu Aiki in which the martial technique arises spontaneously from the state of aiki. Or, said another way, the state of aiki gives birth to martial technique. . The physical state of aiki is resolved in/yo ho- unified ki.
Ueshiba's Aiki was unchanged from all his years in Daito ryu. They remained aiki-no-jutsu. Precisely Daito ryu Aiki.
You have commented on my ability to understand one (the physical) while not being able to understand the other (spiritual). Well, all due respect- I contend it is you who do not understand. How could someone if they do not understand the one (physical) they have no hope of seeing where it in fact creates the other (spiritual) Anyone can of course choose to believe in the spiritual, but it will remain mere concepts and models with correlation twixt the two.

This fundamental shift in orientation opens the door for the alternative use of ai = love in the term the aiki. You can see the shift from aiki being a description of technique used to create connection between opponents to a term that describes the connection that already exists and once the ai becomes "love", begins to describe the energetic nature of that connection.

Training then shifts away from discovering how to use the principle of aiki in ones technique to defeat another, towards using technique utilizing the principles of aiki as misogi to bring one into accord with the Will of the Kami.The idea being that in discovering the principles of aiki through training in Aikido technique, one is "templated" to the Divine Will.

This would be my understanding of how O-Sensei's use of the term was different from how it had been used before, even in the parent art of Daito Ryo Aikijutsu.


There is no "aiki as a set of principles and techniques." Those are martial arts. Principles and techniques....are not aiki.
The difference between the two are in the trained body. The internally trained body expresses itself in a retained balance that generates power-in-balance. When you contact it the one in balance has a keen sense of where your weight is , where your intent is and his ability to move his own body in balance becomes highly disruptive to your every intent or action. Thus you become one with him and he is still moving himself. It is powerful expressed this way as a connection in the grappling arts but in an instant it can break bones and generate knockout power.

Ueshiba saw the universal aspects of how one can perfect the dichotomy of energy in oneself and he recognized it and saw it echoed in the greater world, universe what have you.
He chose to demonstrate that in the physical manner that did not cause harm. A distinction that is not as major-as you claim.
Were one to take away his aiki his world vision would not have gone farther than Deguchi's.

The physical and spiritual aspects of aiki are one. They are involved in unifying in/yo in yourself. And THAT is where he saw- as you said- "an accord with the divine will." Once a person has attained aspects of this power, physical attacks on them become rather empty and pointless. The attacker is dealt with by being repulsed, spun away or captured with little harm. The interchange becomes rather pleasant and quite fun to do. The power generation can of course be massive and lead to breaks and knock out power by choice-which oddly enough peacenick Ueshiba did do. What -you- choose to do with the power of a body-in-balance is anyone’s personal choice. It is the reason I admired Ueshiba's vision.
Unified Ki is unifying Ki.
In/yo (Yin yang) is the nature of the world. Takemusu aiki will only come from in/yo ho trained and attained in oneself, by oneself, in solo training. There is a world of training and I'd suspect a whole new path in the paragraph above. But knowing the terminology and readiing the words will not get someone a single step closer to demonstrating it in their body.
Each one has to decide whether to do Ai-ki-do or Aikido. THey are two very different paths

gdandscompserv
06-03-2007, 08:46 PM
But knowing the terminology and readiing the words will not get someone a single step closer to demonstrating it in their body.
I very much agree with that statement.

DH
06-03-2007, 10:09 PM
Hmmm...words

I can say I am in hot pursuit of hibiki. Of becoming hibiki. We can debate if it preceeds or follows. Or, we can debate who, creates what. But all I can do is say it. At this point I am still profoundly dissapointed in my progress.
But it is an interesting idea from the kotodama; hibiki preceeding ki, or combined to express kokyu. All expressed and discussed in universal terms that seem etherial...till they knock you on your ass.

Erick Mead
06-04-2007, 09:31 AM
... that one achieves such organization within oneself that one can pervasively influence the other in spite of themselves, so that they are "templated" to what your will. Best Hence the phrase Take Musu Aiki in which the martial technique arises spontaneously from the state of aiki. Or, said another way, the state of aiki gives birth to martial technique. [/i][/b] . The physical state of aiki is resolved in/yo ho- unified ki.

Ueshiba's Aiki was unchanged from all his years in Daito ryu. They remained aiki-no-jutsu. Precisely Daito ryu Aiki.

There is no "aiki as a set of principles and techniques." Those are martial arts. Principles and techniques....are not aiki. The difference between the two are in the trained body.
...
The physical and spiritual aspects of aiki are one. They are involved in unifying in/yo in yourself. And THAT is where he saw- as you said- "an accord with the divine will."
...
Unified Ki is unifying Ki.
In/yo (Yin yang) is the nature of the world. Takemusu aiki will only come from in/yo ho trained and attained in oneself, by oneself, in solo training. A few points. Dan's contention is that few ( if anyone) practice (or seek after) Ueshiba's aiki. I think he is wrong, but let's leave that.

The Chinese proverb says that the first step to learning anything is to call it by its proper name. That is what this "parsing aikido" thread is exploring. What we are actually debating in discussing the "name" of anything is not the thing aimed at but the tutoring method.

Put this in Taoist terms to make the pedagogical point. The Nameless way begets the One, One begets Two, Two begets Three -- and Three begets the Ten Thousand Things. Dan is trying to teach people to learn the One -- directly. An awful big bite for many, many people. It is like the same terms of the Rinzai/Soto debate in different dress. Surely, a lot of "sleepy sitting" is just as useless as "mindless intellectualism" in paradox-wrestling, but the fault lies not in the method -- but the sincerity in doing either one of them

Problem is, most people are stuck on the phenomenal perception of events -- the Ten Thousand things. Dan criticizes the teaching of many, many techniques as a distraction from the direct route up the face of the cliff, going -- as he says -- the "wrong way."

His problem is in assuming that all people start the problem from the same position or with the same relative impediments to learning. That simply is not the case. He mistakes the purpose of techniques as embodiments (phenomena) as being about themselves. In fact, they are ultimately to be discarded, but are not useless per se, even if meant to be superseded along with the phenomenal perspective they represent.

The caterpillar does not become the butterfly by act of will but by cooperation in the process of its nature. Aiki, in other words. This includes cooperating with phenomenal processes even as we transform them into something else. Some are by nature more attuned to Oneness, and others are more attuned to the changes of the phenomenal world. Neither will progress except in accord with their nature. Neither is fundamentally distinct

The purpose of the techniques is not to multiply the forms of phenomena. It actually represents a tremendous simplification of the existing multiplied, uncounted, ineffective variations of habitual movements of people as they move about their lives. The waza method also rigorizes them (misogi). That makes the forms themselves more defined. (and therefore more fragile and boundaries more easily broken).

Misogi of practice also makes the mind more fluid. (Arbitrarily) defined forms create cracks in the bucket of the teaching floating in the stream of aiki. When the cracks are perceived -- the mind and training can pass beyond the vessel of the teaching into the wider stream. If thrown headfirst at the beginning most untrained people would likely perceive this as drowning -- with the equally predictable result of froth and flailing, or conversely, resigned sinking. (I've taught swimming, and seen both.)

Aikido as it is practiced (indeed all budo regimens) seem at first to have many, many (too many) techniques. But those represent the first step of reducing the number of perceived movements (phenomena) and the degrees of distinction between them. It is an approachable path from the phenomenal perspective, whereas Dan's cliff is forbidding. I know the mountain is a hoary old metaphor, but it is still repeated many thousands of years later -- because it is true and useful.

At a certain point the usefulness of distinguishing between the different modes of kotegaeshi, shihonage, iriminage or tenchinage merge into one concept of action. The trees thin out a certain elevation and the peak only intermittently seen up to that point -- comes into constant view. At another point -- that concept of action merges with one or two others. And eventually you arrive at your desired Singularity. Difference is the path -- Dan's traverse up the cliff face, or the switchback trail up the back of the ridge. Are their more places to become lost or lose sight of the singular goal on the less steep grade? Surely. Are those people necessarily lost merely because they are on it? Hardly. But when they stumble, the point of recovery is good deal closer or, at least, a great deal less precarious.

Point being, Ueshiba's aiki points even beyond that One ans singular poiont -- to the Numberless, the Nameless. Takemusu Aiki. The road from Ten Thousand to Three, and then Two and then One -- and then -- Not Then... Dan is correct that the One is a thing to be attained ( fr. L. attingere -- "to touch, to arrive at,"). Dan is wrong that it is to be attained in only one way - or that one way is necessarily better than another when it is not in accord with one's nature. Dan is wrong if he means that the One is a thing to be grasped, possessed, or a place in which to dwell. "I went to the rock to hide my face / But the rock cried out / No hiding place/ There's no hiding place / Down here." One must move on -- even from the One.

The Unnumbered Takemusu Aiki and the Ten Thousand techniques are not apart from one another -- but they are not the same, either. The mountain is again the mountain, the river again the river. But at a point it was both and This and Other, but neither of them. And then we moved on. This is the lesson of both Western Scripture and Fudo. At some point we all come down from the mountain. Even Moses came down from the mountain, and still was left to deal with the mess "down here" from which there is "no hiding."

That was and is Ueshiba's Aiki -- from the perspective of this particular One.

Erick Mead
06-04-2007, 09:35 AM
Hmmm...words ... I can say I am in hot pursuit of hibiki. Of becoming hibiki. Yes. Yamabiko.

But wait -- surely, surely, you do not mean Hibiki.

"Hibiki Dan" :D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiki_Dan

Tom H.
06-04-2007, 10:37 AM
His problem is in assuming that all people start the problem from the same position or with the same relative impediments to learning.
Having seen Dan work with myself and others, I'm pretty sure that "simply is not the case". :p

He's also not the only one I think that says technique is not what you train, it's what you do after you've trained. Yiquan comes to my mind (e.g. Lam Kam Chuen).

Erick Mead
06-04-2007, 11:21 AM
His problem is in assuming that all people start the problem from the same position or with the same relative impediments to learning. Having seen Dan work with myself and others, I'm pretty sure that "simply is not the case". :p There is admittedly strong self-selection ( Dan has said this) from both sides in your choices of training. So, this is not proof of anything. You and the others feel the need to seek what Dan feels prepared to offer and he offers it it to those who feel the need. A circular argument.

Not that you are wrong in your observation of what works for you all (and evidently for Dan). Your observation is just not complete nor inconsistent with mine. You have all sought out what you believe or feel will work for you and thus is presumably true to your natures if you are receiving more benefit from it than from other training you may have experienced.

That does not mean that it is true for all, the great majority, or even a sizeable plurality. It is not grounds for expanding the premise of a training model drawn from (largely) unconscious preferences as a model for everyone, even when personally verified, because your experience may not be representative. Of course, the same is true for the advocates of waza and kokyu undo instruction or other variant forms.

The differences is in the adaptability of the approaches to instruction. The cliff-climbers can generally make the hike -- while the reverse is rarely true. And the cliff climbers may take some vertical pitches from trail leg to trail leg and short-cut the well-trod paths here and there. Note however: they may miss important and informative perspectives of the peak and the upper trails that come in view only from certain specific positions on the trail, and which, if skipped over they may never see.

DH
06-04-2007, 12:44 PM
Yes. Yamabiko.

But wait -- surely, surely, you do not mean Hibiki.

"Hibiki Dan" :D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiki_Dan

You rock Eric
Though I expected the response from a younger crowd-as thats where I heard of it.
There are several references on other sites. I loved the "loudest battlecry-but utterly useless technique" comment myself.:D There are other ones -supposedly related - who are just as bad. I guess he is a useless character in the game.
I was made aware when I started talking about being an echo and having no resistence to force-a whole other internal training comment and I used the term Hibiki. The response I got was hilarious and it all went downhill from there. :cool:
It is appropriate to use yamabiko for the larger idea but hey... with the general opinion of me around here I just couldn't resist. It's just too damn funny. It's almost as funny as the Dan Harden male gigalo website they pulled out on E-Budo
Dan Habiki. Lovely, just lovely.

On a serious note, I dissagree with your take on other points. There's a surprise huh? I just don't have time to respond right now maybe later..
Thanks anyway see ya.

DH
06-04-2007, 01:29 PM
A few points. Dan's contention is that few ( if anyone) practice (or seek after) Ueshiba's aiki. I think he is wrong, but let's leave that.

No. I think everyone, or at least most, are in fact hoping to do that very thing. I just think that many, if not most, are running in circles-literally- while doing so.

The Chinese proverb says that the first step to learning anything is to call it by its proper name. That is what this "parsing aikido" thread is exploring. What we are actually debating in discussing the "name" of anything is not the thing aimed at but the tutoring method.

But you must know the name and what it means in order to enter a debate over it's tutoring method. I claim no expertise, But I contend you do not understand what the name implies.

Put this in Taoist terms to make the pedagogical point. The Nameless way begets the One, One begets Two, Two begets Three -- and Three begets the Ten Thousand Things. Dan is trying to teach people to learn the One -- directly. An awful big bite for many, many people. It is like the same terms of the Rinzai/Soto debate in different dress. Surely, a lot of "sleepy sitting" is just as useless as "mindless intellectualism" in paradox-wrestling, but the fault lies not in the method -- but the sincerity in doing either one of them

Your very definitions of how I am right or wrong and why I cannot make a definitive statement applies to your own observations about me. Your logic makes it impossible for anyone to discuss anything definitively. It renders all discussion meaningless.

No one, not one "needs to learn through ten thousand techniques"
Anyone and everyone can clearly learn to approach the art from the source or from "the one" as you call it. In truth it is the only way to approach it. Whether you start from there or learn it backwards like most –if and when you start to get it –you got it from understanding you and your body well. Not from anything you ever did to anyone by blending. Otherwise you never got it and were just blending for your whole life
And I and others can get you there faster and more efficiently then any of these waza laden methods.
Period.
Problem is, most people are stuck on the phenomenal perception of events -- the Ten Thousand things. Dan criticizes the teaching of many, many techniques as a distraction from the direct route up the face of the cliff, going -- as he says -- the "wrong way."

His problem is in assuming that all people start the problem from the same position or with the same relative impediments to learning. That simply is not the case. He mistakes the purpose of techniques as embodiments (phenomena) as being about themselves. In fact, they are ultimately to be discarded, but are not useless per se, even if meant to be superseded along with the phenomenal perspective they represent.

I make no assumptions about where folks are when they come to me. I simply share with them what I do. For some stragner reason it seems to instanly change the way they think and move. THe approach to the problem hets resolved very quickly as they all- for some strange reason- see where the arts, all become one. Inside them
And you my friend have not been privy to the look of startled surprise on the faces of so many who have struggled for years to make things work , and in a moment I make so many things clear to them. In my hands, I have them begin to understand how to do these things, about the use of their own bodies. Nor have you seen the anger and sense of betrayal from their years of struggle- when in an afternoon I have them doing aiki no jutsu of Daito ryu or kokyu of aikido in efficient ways they thought not possible. In short that their skills shot up immediately, and with the beginnings of an understanding of the pieces.
It is THEE reason you hear no one. NOT ONE who has trained here either countering me or agreeing with you. Why Eric? It's not arrogance. It's honesty of purpose and training. Because I share with a blatant honesty and openness that has an immediate impact on peoples skills and understanding or their given art. and it goes uphill from there. With all due respect you simply do not know what you are talking about. Either with what I know, how I share it, nor what happens when I do.

Point being, Ueshiba's aiki points even beyond that One ans singular poiont -- to the Numberless, the Nameless. Takemusu Aiki. The road from Ten Thousand to Three, and then Two and then One -- and then -- Not Then... Dan is correct that the One is a thing to be attained ( fr. L. attingere -- "to touch, to arrive at,"). Dan is wrong that it is to be attained in only one way - or that one way is necessarily better than another when it is not in accord with one's nature. Dan is wrong if he means that the One is a thing to be grasped, possessed, or a place in which to dwell. "I went to the rock to hide my face / But the rock cried out / No hiding place/ There's no hiding place / Down here." One must move on -- even from the One.

The Unnumbered Takemusu Aiki and the Ten Thousand techniques are not apart from one another -- but they are not the same, either. The mountain is again the mountain, the river again the river. But at a point it was both and This and Other, but neither of them. And then we moved on. This is the lesson of both Western Scripture and Fudo. At some point we all come down from the mountain. Even Moses came down from the mountain, and still was left to deal with the mess "down here" from which there is "no hiding."

That was and is Ueshiba's Aiki -- from the perspective of this particular One.

Well written, well constructed, total nonsense.
The trained body presents in/yo it is held tensions of the universe it is the connection in man that echoes with the fabric of all things. When we are in balance and others are not they are easily moved in accordance with their measure of balance in themselves. And even that is disrupted by a choice of will to attack and disrupt further. The reason strength is mentioned so much with Ueshiba, and point you and so many others are ill equipped to understand is that the strength is emblematic of the internal connection on several levels. It is a type of current and flow in a body unfamiliar and it is the contact with it that is highly disruptive of others efforts.
To that end, the one with the internal strength of Aikido does not blend and need to match to move others, he simply exists and moves. His will predominates while not resisting at all. Learning it from ten years or ten thousand techniques is simply the saddest, most staggeringly stupid way to learn it imaginable. And it is thee reason many martial artists suck and can't really fight worth beans, and the remainder are merely good technical fighters.
Neither captured or understand the true power potential in us all.
Those that do know- know there are faster ways to get there. And there are real experts who can do so
Ai-ki-do
not
Aikido

DH
06-04-2007, 01:47 PM
Just wanted to add that I still contend there are real masters of these things who can't or just won't teach how to do these things specifically. They parcel it out to us in doses. Finding fellow students and getting them to share is a great step up to the next, then the next. For most of us- its all we can do. It's why I don't call myself a teacher.

Erick
While I dissagree with you all ove the place-I wanted to say thanks for your taking the time to be nice about it. I hope to meet one day and have it be pleasant.

Erick Mead
06-04-2007, 03:15 PM
Glad you liked the Hibiki Dan bit. Teenage son. I osmose. No one, not one "needs to learn through ten thousand techniques" ... Anyone and everyone can clearly learn to approach the art from the source or from "the one" as you call it. And I and others can get you there faster and more efficiently then any of these waza laden methods. For you, yes, I suppose. Me, I'm coming along fine. Others? Maybe. Maybe not. The question is whether they are prepared to go where you are ready to take them. Your own post discloses a measure of people who were frustrated in the gentle path, so what you report is not only not surprising, it is much to be expected. But, as a result, you cannot escape the blinders of self-selection in the people that you are teaching and the inferences and conclusions you draw from their reported reactions and frustrations.

As I said, your students may not be representative. Experience of many sincere, very knowledgeable teachers around the country says otherwise. There are large classes of people who see the world from a different perspective -- not without its own flaws, certainly, but a style of learning that may be as ill-suited to your paradigm as those who seek you out are ill-suited to the one in mainstream aikido.

The way things are now, you cannot very effectively rebut the self-selection fallacy that underlies your point, because it is in the data reported to you. To correct it you need more data. Teaching a broad sample of persons successfully with your methods would tend rebut this counter-argument. In a more cooperative mode, even if it failed in part, it may help to find ways to better identify students and their needs in learning this stuff more effectively. That is what I perceive to be occurring in Ikeda Sensei's project with Saotome Shihan's blessing in the Aikido summer camp workshops featuring Ushiro Sensei and others.

That is the real point of Jim Sorrentino's invite, actually, to see if the reports given to you are reflective of a real difference of result, or simply an artifact of a categorical difference in learning styles By successfully introducing your methods to a wider and more representative body of aikido students, you can accomplish that. There really is no other way to make the determination.

Well written, well constructed, total nonsense. Thank you. It is a gift. I can't take credit. That is something of my point, actually, as I made it earlier, in my emphasis on the poetic and non-rational sense of the kanji and their many associational clouds of meaning.

Learning these things is fundamentally NOT a logical enterprise. Why? Because learning such things involves working on the very assumptions from which the logic of the martial action proceeds, and therefore, logic does not (and cannot) operate at that level of learning or perception of new concepts. We are schooling intuitive premises, not operational efficiencies. It is one reason why these debates are interminable -- and why it also must be so, and everyone should simply resign themselves to the turn of this particular wheel from time to time. .
When we are in balance and others are not they are easily moved in accordance with their measure of balance in themselves. ...
To that end, the one with the internal strength of Aikido does not blend and need to match to move others, he simply exists and moves. His will predominates while not resisting at all. One word refutes this. Sword. I occasionally perform the odd good cut in a mess of tameshi giri when we have done it -- and the good one's involve about as much resistance as there is to unzipping a jacket (and almost the same sound, actually, in the tatami) -- hardly any resistance at all -- on the part of the target, that
is.

Learning it from ten years or ten thousand techniques is simply the saddest, most staggeringly stupid way to learn it imaginable. ...
Those that do know- know there are faster ways to get there. I hope you understand that it does, it must, seem that way to you, and very likely most who seek you out. But that does not necessarily make it so, on either point. All relevant perspectives on the nature and shape of the goal are not to be had simply by arriving at the "destination" sooner or more directly. If you climb a mountain, you climb THE MOUNTAIN. Not merely the peak.

There is a "TWO," before we get to the ONE in the progressive elimination of distinctions in phenomenal perception. From my perspective, and that of a teacher I greatly respect who has both seriously considered and seems to respect your views as far as they go, your One is but one half of the TWO. The other element of the TWO is more predominantly about the things (movement, blending) you dismiss, but which actually form a coherent whole. From that perspective, an intermediate position on your proverbial cliff-shortcut is equivalent to the intermediate position on the winding, twisting trail coming from the other perspective. Both are only unified close to the top.

In fact, this is a recurrent theme of learning: at any stage we may give in for a while to the temptation of assuming that This -- FINALLY -- is IT. We tarry and fail to move on, and violate the first and last rule of budo, and risk getting skewered, literally or figuratively for our lapse. I have done this. We have all done this. I will very likely do it again. But at some point I have always moved on -- so far.

DH
06-04-2007, 04:09 PM
Erick
The entirety of your post suggest that all training and all truths are subective. and therefore there is no constant to be trained in-no underlying truth. So each has to go show or train increasgingly larger numbers of people to gather a consensus enough to make a whole other construct of Aikido.
The entire discussion becomes a non-starter so...yah... er...ok.

Takeda and Ueshiba were in fact real and their training method and the way to get there is well established across many arts in Asia. It doesn't need to be "proved" or validated by ignorant masses of westerners to have worth. I think its all too clear that the masses never got it in the first place-so seeking validation from them is a bit ridiculous-even comical. Those who know- know. Those who don't quickly realize those who do. And it is not just in Aikido the truth is universal. The rest is just sharing training methods.

The truth of Aikido does exist and it is a living model to follow. It is replicable and teachable and not subject to -for example- the whims and composite belief systems of new age shaman seekers, nor technique-junkies. It's real and it begins and ends inside with solo training.
Some can demonstrate very real aspects of his arts power. Others do techniques.

Erick Mead
06-05-2007, 08:29 AM
Erick, The entirety of your post suggest that all training and all truths are subective. and therefore there is no constant to be trained in-no underlying truth. So each has to go show or train increasingly larger numbers of people to gather a consensus enough to make a whole other construct of Aikido.
The entire discussion becomes a non-starter so...yah... er...ok. No. I am suggesting that the objective truth is larger than you credit. And that the subjective modes of experiencing that objective truth are more varied than you would allow.

Takeda and Ueshiba were in fact real and their training method and the way to get there is well established across many arts in Asia. It doesn't need to be "proved" or validated by ignorant masses of westerners to have worth. I think its all too clear that the masses never got it in the first place-so seeking validation from them is a bit ridiculous-even comical. You mistake my point. Of course, the art needs no proof in its own objective terms. It is what is. The point of this discussion is that it does need communicating to people who have no (or very few) points of reference to understand its significance and its differnt approach from their "normal" assumptions about physical power and repsonses to it.

The point of parsing or deconstructing the word and concept of ai-ki-do is to see what means may allow those unfamiliar with it as such, to gain a better understanding of it. The difference between us is that students of O-Sensei, spoken or unspoken, tend to have a sense of mission about their practice. It is in full flower in this forum. Plainly, you have a similar sense from a different source. It may be in accord fundamentally, but coming from a different source is different in its terms of reference. It is therefore a source of potential misunderstanding. Common references are important to mutual intelligibility, and this is true of non-verbal as well as verbal forms of communication.

The truth of Aikido does exist and it is a living model to follow. It is replicable and teachable and not subject to -for example- the whims and composite belief systems of new age shaman seekers, nor technique-junkies. Umm. Shaman? No, I have a priest and Church and need no substitutes, and make no apologies. I do not allow that perspective to stop me from speaking to people in terms they may be more likely to hear. In this discussion about what "ai-ki-do" means as an expressed concept, all the ways in which that communication can occur are worth considering. The medium is not the message.

You are correct that people who may view "technique collection" as the end of discussion, are making this mistake. But you are, also, in assuming that mistake to be inherent to the medium of communicating the aiki through technique. Technique is one medium, as compared with, say kokyu undo, which are complementary practices toward the same end.

The involvement of a partner with independent will in connection with us in technique is the physical equivalent of a koan. That requires us to resolve what we learn on our own in kokyu undo and the movement of our own centered bodies, but in a way that does not provoke the 1-2-3 of attack-response-reply in our partnered interaction.

To the extent that technique practice results in that cookbook causal progression -- it is ineffective training in my view. To the extent that it allows us to break that paradigm, it is achieving its purpose -- so that chi no kokyu and/or ten no kokyu (the composite elements of TWO in the Taoist epistemology I suggested) are expressed in the partner in the same way that they are expressed in ourselves.

As I have said before, I have not read anything described physically or performance-wise by you or anyone taking your point of view that does not answer to one or another of kokyu undo practices I have seen or done. Your criticism of what "ai-ki-do" is in the sense of how we "ought" to arrive at that knowledge (beyond admittedly sloppy practice in some quarters) seems on closer examination, in the context of proper kokyu undo practice, to largely be a distinction without a difference. If it is anything else, that can only be seen in a broader framework of training, absent the self-selection problem, as I suggested.

DH
06-05-2007, 03:49 PM
Hi Erick
I just re-read the last two posts and I think I failed to respond to your points. I think I was more or less stuck on a few points of my own. I have to train tonight but i wanted to address a few points when I can.

Mike Haftel
07-05-2007, 09:40 AM
One thing that I find interesting is that the translation of Aikido is generally said to be "The Art of Peace," or "The Way of Peace and Harmony."

However, Wado is an art which has a more fitting translation of "The Art of Peace," or "The Way of Peace and Harmony."

As far as I knew, "Wa" was the Japanese term for "harmony" or "peace;" especially in a social, group, or even a physical context.

"Aiki" is something else entirely.

I like the analogy that someone else brought up about the lid fitting the pot, especially since that is what the kanji for Ai is. And, that could bring to mind the aspect of "blending" which is present in arts such as Aikido and Daito Ryu -- something which fits, just so. Something that blends.

I can see where Aiki and Wa could be used in the same context.

But, most importantly, who cares? Does it really matter what Aiki means? You could call it "young duck squats on log." It wouldn't change anything really.

I could be wrong, though.

Erick Mead
07-05-2007, 10:00 AM
Does it really matter what Aiki means? You could call it "young duck squats on log." It wouldn't change anything really.Shame on you. Such deep secrets of the art should not be bandied about among the uninitiated like that.

Next thing you know, you'll be telling them about "old turtle lies in wait" and then its all over but the shouting.

And by no means tell anyone about the penguins. Shhh!

http://home.earthlink.net/~jimbaker6/aa/history.htm

:p

Mike Haftel
07-05-2007, 10:07 AM
Shame on you. Such deep secrets of the art should not be bandied about among the uninitiated like that.

Next thing you know, you'll be telling them about "old turtle lies in wait" and then its all over but the shouting.

And by no means tell anyone about the penguins. Shhh!

http://home.earthlink.net/~jimbaker6/aa/history.htm

:p

hahah. Nice.