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mathewjgano
07-02-2009, 01:06 PM
Today's doka reminded me of something I've thought about a few times w/ re: describing "the way." On one hand we have today's doka which says:
To the Technique of Tsurugi,
Neither brush nor word of mouth can render due service.
Saying nothing you must go forth
And so must you know (satori).
On the other hand I recall a doka which describes the art of the brush (pen?) as leading toward understanding. I just quickly tried to find it, but wasn't successful so hopefully someone with better familiarity can describe it in more detail.
At any rate, I find this interesting because it fits with my notions on the nature of understanding which I first found articulated "by" Socrates in which he claims basically that the only thing he knows is that he's ignorant. Of course that doesn't stop him from deliberating on all sorts of ideas.
Coincidentally, this is the main reason I've continued to post so much here on Aikiweb when I don't feel I train enough to offer much insight: in discussing ideas, I stimulate critical thinking and interpersonal communication skills...which is something, if not enough to attain satori.
What are your impressions?
And, any holes in my line of reasoning?
Take care all,
Matthew

CitoMaramba
07-02-2009, 05:41 PM
"Tsurugi" is the alternative pronounciation (kunyomi) of the Kanji 剣, which means "sword" and is often pronounced as "Ken" (onyomi). As in "Kendo" (剣道).
So, "Technique of Tsurugi" is "Technique of Sword".

akiy
07-02-2009, 05:50 PM
If it interests anyone, the original Japanese for this douka seems to be:

つるぎ技筆や口にはつくされず言ぶれせずに悟り行へ

Here's a thesis (in Japanese) by Higuchi Takanari sensei which references the above douka and compares it to a similar quote from Miyamoto Musashi's "The Book of Five Rings":

http://www.interq.or.jp/silver/sinomori/takemusu/takemusu.essay3.htm

Sorry -- no time for me to translate that section right now...

-- Jun

mathewjgano
07-02-2009, 06:34 PM
"Tsurugi" is the alternative pronounciation (kunyomi) of the Kanji 剣, which means "sword" and is often pronounced as "Ken" (onyomi). As in "Kendo" (剣道).
So, "Technique of Tsurugi" is "Technique of Sword".

Thank you, Inocencio. That is perhaps an obscure word for sword. What do you think about the ideas expressed in the doka? Or more to the point, what do you think about how it relates to the idea that words and ideas can support a path toward satori, even if perhaps not get one there?
Jun, thank you for the reference! I hope someone will be willing to translate the gist of it for me...my Japanese isn't so good.

Suru
07-02-2009, 09:38 PM
"To the Technique of Tsurugi,
Neither brush nor word of mouth can render due service.
Saying nothing you must go forth
And so must you know (satori)."

Does anyone else find this doka to be quite demoralizing when it comes to writing posts?

Drew

Buck
07-03-2009, 12:19 AM
yes, and with demoralizing, "shut up and train" is applicable as well.

-----------------------------------
Other thoughts on it:

Practice is what will bring deep understanding of technique, not how to explanation. Pretty obvious.

"Technique of Tsurugi" probably due to the Shinto thing O'Sensei is refering to Murakumo-no-Tsurugi a.k.a Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi. Whether O'Sensei is referring to the sword in terms of the Kojiki or the Nihonshoki, I don't have a clue. Or if he is referring to the sword in practical use - which is a long shot isn't it? I don't know. That is the mystery for me. It would make sense in either way and could refer to all the ways. That is if there is a prescribed method of use for the sword. If there is, it could apply to Aikido technique. And that would make sense. Otherwise, if he referred to the sword in terms of the Kojiki or the Nihonshoki then it seem such a reference would dictate inferring something about the sword in the role in plays in the Kojiki or the Nihonshoki that would tells us something applicable about doing Aikido technique. Or not. that it simple is an abstract preface referring to looking at practice as scared.

I don't read or speak Japanese, so it is a shot in the dark for me. But based on my assumptions that the Dokas are captions telling the keys to technique then what I said would make sense. Or at least be on the right path.

Buck
07-03-2009, 01:39 AM
For some reason by browser acted up and I only seen the one post by Drew, a.k.a Suru.

I wasn't directing that to anyone responding to the thread. "Shut up and train" is a phrase used often on the internet as a insult or a shut down. I am not using it in that way. I am reflecting the montra of less talking more training.

Matt,

I am unable to point out any holes in your reasoning. I am not comfortable doing that because that is not what I am about. Some people that is all they do. I am not one of them. Far as I am concerned I can't help you there.

I can give you my impressions. My impressions are generally reflected in what I said in my first post on the Doka. In light of my Browser working properly and reading your thoughts, I would say from whom or from what is O'Sensei referencing/citing/resoursing /drawing from is Musashi's "...Five Rings." Jun's and Inocencio's posts are ones I didn't initially see due to the browser malfunction. Gives a good idea O'Sensei is referring to sword application as well (based on Jun's and Inocencio's posts), and possibly the strategy and stuff dictated in the book by Musashi. To what extent or how, I don't know. I personally am betting O'Sensei is referring to all three things I mentioned in my first post. That is my impression.

mathewjgano
07-03-2009, 05:13 AM
I wasn't directing that to anyone responding to the thread. "Shut up and train" is a phrase used often on the internet as a insult or a shut down. I am not using it in that way. I am reflecting the montra of less talking more training.
I think that's the gist of the doka as well...and despite my actions reflecting otherwise, I think it's a crucial message on how to really progress. It's easy to get caught up in words and they can obfuscate as much as they can reveal.


I am unable to point out any holes in your reasoning. I am not comfortable doing that because that is not what I am about. Some people that is all they do. I am not one of them. Far as I am concerned I can't help you there.
Well I certainly respect that, but I rely on others to point out the things I may miss. I think that's the whole point to the dialectic: two heads are better than one. Then again I often think too much and feeding into that might not always be the best thing...particularly in light of this doka.:D

Gives a good idea O'Sensei is referring to sword application as well (based on Jun's and Inocencio's posts),
I'm fairly certain that he is. I like the zen idea that concepts always fall short of reality and as such, past a certain point, descriptions of swordsmanship are meaningless. Conceptually, I think I have a basic idea of what aiki is. But to use an analogy, my mental image has poor resolution. I can make out some basic shapes and colors, but it is nowhere near as crisp and complete an image as the reality. But, that's not to say descriptions can't be useful...why else would one bother to describe how they fall short?
And Drew, it's totally discouraging, but I'm a glutton for punishment.:)
Gambattemashyo.

Buck
07-03-2009, 09:41 AM
.

Yea, I didn't take in the Zen idea in to the picture, and agree it plays that part, sure. Langauge is limiting. I think the Zen phase goes, words lie. I think that means what your pointing out is there is a limitation and pitfalls when it comes to words and oral descriptions. Complex stuff indeed. :)

Peter Goldsbury
07-03-2009, 10:09 AM
On the other hand I recall a doka which describes the art of the brush (pen?) as leading toward understanding. I just quickly tried to find it, but wasn't successful so hopefully someone with better familiarity can describe it in more detail.
At any rate, I find this interesting because it fits with my notions on the nature of understanding which I first found articulated "by" Socrates in which he claims basically that the only thing he knows is that he's ignorant. Of course that doesn't stop him from deliberating on all sorts of ideas.

PAG. Why do you think that, 'that does not stop him from deliberating on all sorts of ideas'? Do you not think that there is an important context to Socrates' protestations of ignorance? (He was always arguing with people whom he really did believe were crucially ignorant about important ethical and political issues. Remember that Socrates was put to death by the very same people with whom he was arguing.)

If you really think that 'words lie', why do you both continue to post in these forums? You appear to be skeptics about the value of language ('words lie'), but you do not live out your skepticism. You enjoy displaying your skepticism, but you also assume that words do not 'lie', whenever you post your opinions. For you expect us all to believe that what you state in your words is true.

I am not telling you to stop posting; I am merely pointing out that what you say (words lie) and what you do (post lots of words which you believe to be true) does not match.

Best wishes,

PAG

mathewjgano
07-03-2009, 04:28 PM
PAG. Why do you think that, 'that does not stop him from deliberating on all sorts of ideas'? Do you not think that there is an important context to Socrates' protestations of ignorance? (He was always arguing with people whom he really did believe were crucially ignorant about important ethical and political issues. Remember that Socrates was put to death by the very same people with whom he was arguing.)
My guess is that he felt in the grand scheme of things he was essentially ignorant, but that individual points of knowledge were attainable. Or perhaps he simply felt that ignorance could be proven?

If you really think that 'words lie', why do you both continue to post in these forums? You appear to be skeptics about the value of language ('words lie'), but you do not live out your skepticism. You enjoy displaying your skepticism, but you also assume that words do not 'lie', whenever you post your opinions. For you expect us all to believe that what you state in your words is true.
I wouldn't say words lie; my understanding of the zen perspective might be mistaken. I would say words can get in the way sometimes and help find the way other times...a half-truth. My favorite analogy to use would be the three blind men and the elephant. All three had valid concepts even though the fullest context wasn't readily available.

I am not telling you to stop posting; I am merely pointing out that what you say (words lie) and what you do (post lots of words which you believe to be true) does not match.

Best wishes,

PAG
Well to be honest I do often feel conflicted in posting, despite my view that words aren't lies per se. I feel like I learn a lot from the folks here on Aikiweb, which is why I keep trying.
What is your view of the context you alluded to regarding Socrates?
Also, do you know the other doka I'm trying to recall?
Thank you for your reply!
Matthew

Peter Goldsbury
07-03-2009, 07:51 PM
My guess is that he felt in the grand scheme of things he was essentially ignorant, but that individual points of knowledge were attainable. Or perhaps he simply felt that ignorance could be proven?

What is your view of the context you alluded to regarding Socrates?

Thank you for your reply!
Matthew

Hello Matthew,

Ah, yes. It was Mr Burgess who used the phrase 'words lie'. I do not think that words ever lie; the people who use them do.

As for Socrates, we know about him only from Plato and Xenophon, who also had their own agendas. The knowledge we have is also coupled with burgeoning Greek interest in language and especially rhetoric. The sophists were pioneers of educational methodology and offered to teach virtue in their general courses, for which, like Takeda Sokaku, they charged a hefty fee.

Socrates allegedly believed that virtue could not be taught and had to be arrived at by a dialectical process he called aporia, leading to elenchos. Plato's early dialogues all have Socrates approaching those who claimed to be virtuous and seeking definitions of the said virtue: he always professed not to know the definition. Then, by a process of dialectical questioning, he reduced all his interlocutors to an intellectual and moral dilemma. However they tried to escape, this led to a self-contradiction, which they did not take kindly to, at all.

The sophists had a bad press at the hands of Socrates and Plato, but much of this was undeserved.

Best wishes, and please keep posting. (But continue to ask Rev Barrish about Japanese spiritual culture.)

PAG

Buck
07-03-2009, 09:09 PM
PAG. Why do you think that, 'that does not stop him from deliberating on all sorts of ideas'? Do you not think that there is an important context to Socrates' protestations of ignorance? (He was always arguing with people whom he really did believe were crucially ignorant about important ethical and political issues. Remember that Socrates was put to death by the very same people with whom he was arguing.)

If you really think that 'words lie', why do you both continue to post in these forums? You appear to be skeptics about the value of language ('words lie'), but you do not live out your skepticism. You enjoy displaying your skepticism, but you also assume that words do not 'lie', whenever you post your opinions. For you expect us all to believe that what you state in your words is true.

I am not telling you to stop posting; I am merely pointing out that what you say (words lie) and what you do (post lots of words which you believe to be true) does not match.

Best wishes,

PAG

Hello, PAG. It is very refreshing to have a well thought out response as your. It really is an honor, it isn't something you do allot, and it is probably due to you being very busy. Let me also say by no means do I not recognize your extensive scholarly knowledge. I want to start off on the right foot here.

Oh gee, Socrates. That is a tough one for me. My knowledge of him is not beyond the average college courses in philosophy. There is the theory he never really existed and was a device of Plato's. I don't know the background on that theory to see if it on solid ground. But when I speak of Socrates that is something I always keep in my mind. Because it really can have an effect on how he is seen.

And what else comes to mind, is the Socratic method of teaching that I have encountered used by high school teachers, professors and lecturers. I have a professor was discussing his teaching methodology, which he said was the Socratic Method. I commented and said, "Didn't they kill Socrates for that?" Needless to say he wasn't happy with my comment. But hey, the professor didn't see it that way, just because I did...well.

Hypocritical, I guess of me, or just by years of being subjected the Socratic Method, and thus by default, I use the Socratic method on my employees. But, none of them have forced me to drink hemlock. I don't think it is a good teaching approach, I didn't like it. And I didn't force any teacher along with other students to force the professor to drink Hemlock. If any thing can be said, it is, I am not the best person to discuss Socrates. That is why I didn't comment when Matt brought him up.

I believe that discussing my comment on the Zen saying "words lie" is a good start to discussing your points and comments about what I said..

There is a limitation to what words can express and convey, and they do mislead. We all know that if you over the age of 5. Communication at best is difficult to get right, according to many authors on books that range from parenting, to marriage, to interpersonal communication, to business, to communication its self, self-help, psychology, and so on, and so on. And there are so many things that effect communication that has been about by professional that also could fill a city library. I think that has been established communication is difficult. To short cut all that, I used the Zen saying, and probably awkwardly and it didn't come across as well as intended or not received well due to those things that can effect decoding a message, again communication isn't an easy thing. As humans we have this need to communicate and that is a whole other subject. With out going into it too deeply, we as humans need to communicate in all sorts of ways with all sorts of stuff to other humans. It starts they say, as early as in the womb. Well I don't know about that but it is evident with new born babies we have a need to communicate. We are very noisy by nature. We all don't communicate the say way, speak the same language, and so on. Now we come full circle to the difficulty of communication. But from the perspective now then limitations of language that add to the difficulty of communication. It is not being skeptical of language rather the difficulty in terms of the limitations of language. Take for instance, all the different meanings words can have, you can look in the Oxford Dictionary the American version and find many definitions for so many words. Then take the same word and look it up in Merriam Webster Dictionary. Then compare those with a British Dictionary. Take the American English language and compare it to (I dare say) British English and all different dialects, colloquialism, synonyms, homonyms, style, etc. of both very similar languages. And then add the accuracy of words in general to convey meaning or an experience. In addition to that, we are school for over 20 years in the English language. Wow it's over-whelming isn't that we can communicate at all and I just touch upon the tip of the iceberg. I didn't even touch upon how there is specialized language for almost every industry, art, craft and so on. Or how there is double meaning and all those things that take place in language and communication. :crazy:

Yes, there is limitation to language was my point in relation to O'Sensei who didn't write his Doka in common or current Japanese language. I say that based on, I forget which of his students being interviewed, mentioned that when O'Sensei spoke on spiritual topics (and I am paraphrasing -- and I will quote later) he didn't understand the use of language O'Sensei was using. To me this says, O'Sensei had a different way of communicating that was and is difficult to understand. Because it seems he didn't use vernacular of the day for his Doka that where written in a poetic form(?).
With all that example and background info, I refer to words lie as, words don't convey everything, they are not accurate and it is difficult to communicate our thoughts and ideas, including opinions, comment and arguments. It isn't a platform of skepticism that I am launching from. Again an example of words lying, or in other words can mislead, which is an example in itself, are not always accurate all the time every time etc. we communicate to each other.

That being said, communication is work and I think is taken for granted, and misunderstood in many cases and situations in our lives. It is difficult to communicate. Language changes over time, in all sorts of ways, like definations, colloquialism, and all that other stuff related to language and communication. Finally, the last layer to the onion, which I forgot to add early is the percentage of language and communications relies on getting our message across as intended being dependant on body language, tone, inflection, and facial expressions, and more.

I don't expect people to think what I say is true, that is for others. I just would rather have people not get trapped in that sheeple trap. But to discuss, to engage, exchange, and that stuff in order to hopefully lead us to truth. I think that has been forgotten or lost in many circles.

Peter, thank you for taking the time, again, in providing your comments and feedback. I feel it is a great opportunity to communicate toward a path to possibly a truth(s). Truth(s) we either have forgotten or never knew, but can discover together. I think there lays the beauty and higher purpose of language, is to get past the lies. :)

mathewjgano
07-05-2009, 05:51 PM
Hello Matthew,
...Best wishes, and please keep posting. (But continue to ask Rev Barrish about Japanese spiritual culture.)

PAG

Hi Peter,
I just wanted to express thanks for your post. I think it's a good point that the sophists weren't as bad as most fans of Plato/Socrates would probably say (I know I've used the term primarily as a negative).
I'll definately have to make more efforts to learn from my sensei. For a while now this forum has served as a poor surrogate for such a unique perspective!
Thanks again,
Matthew

Peter Goldsbury
07-05-2009, 10:31 PM
I wouldn't say words lie; my understanding of the zen perspective might be mistaken. I would say words can get in the way sometimes and help find the way other times...a half-truth. My favorite analogy to use would be the three blind men and the elephant. All three had valid concepts even though the fullest context wasn't readily available.
Matthew

Matthew,

Why is this your favourite analogy? It seems to me to be an excessively limiting choice of analogy, rather like the glass being half empty, in preference to it being half full. Why not change the analogy to three sighted men, in the street, in a dispute with a cop about a parking ticket? It would be pretty pointless to quote to him Zen sayings like 'Words lie'.

I believe there is far too much negativity towards language on these forums. Some people seem to regard communication as a major struggle, with an extremely low success rate. It is as if there is some Form of Communication, out there in Plato's universe (along with his other Forms), of which all AikiWeb attempts at communication are pathetic attempts at instantiation, with nothing ever reaching the remotest proximity to the Form. If this is your model, well, it is a wonder that people ever open their mouths, or reach for their keyboards.

However, I believe it is a false model, along with all the other Forms. Moreover, Ueshiba's doka are, in my opinion, utterly unsuitable models of communication and the translations make them even worse. It is pointless even to attempt to understand them without some knowledge of the conventions of Japanese waka poetry.

These ponderings on the 'meaning' of the doka are due in large part to the excessive mystification / mysticization of language in aikido, with people going into agonies about the correct relationship of the 'do', the 'ki' and the 'ai'. If people start off with the idea that discourse about aikido is basically impossible to understand, their skepticism will be rewarded. Of course, its all his fault, the man who wrote the doka to begin with. :)

PAG

mathewjgano
07-06-2009, 02:26 AM
Matthew,

Why is this your favourite analogy? It seems to me to be an excessively limiting choice of analogy, rather like the glass being half empty, in preference to it being half full.
Hi Peter,
It's my favorite because it seems to fit with a lot of my experiences...the more negative ones, at any rate. I agree it is a glass is half empty view of perception and language, but I think that's its purpose, to illustrate the shortcomings of describing perceptions on the truth (some truths anyway).
Why not change the analogy to three sighted men, in the street, in a dispute with a cop about a parking ticket? It would be pretty pointless to quote to him Zen sayings like 'Words lie'.
To me it seems like the parking ticket is pretty much cut and dried: the sign said no parking. It might seem unjust, but it's not the cop's place to do anything about that...according to law, anyway. Or maybe I should ask how that analogy might positively describe the fact that perception isn't perfect to make sure I understand you. Maybe the analogy of the elephant is more fun? I know a lot of folks would rather paint something by coloring in the negative space around it...maybe it's just a matter of taste?

I believe there is far too much negativity towards language on these forums. Some people seem to regard communication as a major struggle, with an extremely low success rate.
You're probably right about the amount of negativity. I know I feel it's easier to throw my hands in the air, say, "well it's the nature (fault) of language, not my own inability to find the right words," and go on replying to the, Aikido does not work in a fight, thread. I suppose it comes down to laziness in many cases...and I know with as dogmatic as I've been at posting here (with the aim of using language to find a more complete understanding) I can also be pretty lazy about it.
Also, some folks don't like language as much as others. I have friends who would rather give an angry expression than articulate how they feel...and they certainly don't like to analyze it. Feeling it suffices for them.

It is as if there is some Form of Communication, out there in Plato's universe (along with his other Forms), of which all AikiWeb attempts at communication are pathetic attempts at instantiation, with nothing ever reaching the remotest proximity to the Form. If this is your model, well, it is a wonder that people ever open their mouths, or reach for their keyboards.
I hope I haven't implied this was my model. I wouldn't post here if I didn't think truth could be understood to some important degree. Indeed whenever I have felt the most right with the world is when I have sat down and held a conversation with myself. It's a little odd, but when I was in elementary school I used to sit in my closet (it was a fort!) and think about the things I experienced at school or with my friends, reasoning things out to myself. It's basically what I do here on Aikiweb except I'm looking for outside input.

However, I believe it is a false model, along with all the other Forms. Moreover, Ueshiba's doka are, in my opinion, utterly unsuitable models of communication and the translations make them even worse. It is pointless even to attempt to understand them without some knowledge of the conventions of Japanese waka poetry.
As a long-time poet I have the occasional tendancy to lean on the open-ended side of language...and in truth I believe it has hurt my earlier ability at precise and concise language. That said, I do think there is something to the constructivist model of learning, and that while it may be impossible, or nearly enough so, to understand O Sensei's poetic style, I think it can still spark meaningful insight on the part of the individual. I also think it's important for that individual to recognize the meaning is probably self-derived, particularly when we have folks like yourself, who have studied these things so deeply, telling us to beware of these shortcomings.

These ponderings on the 'meaning' of the doka are due in large part to the excessive mystification / mysticization of language in aikido, with people going into agonies about the correct relationship of the 'do', the 'ki' and the 'ai'. If people start off with the idea that discourse about aikido is basically impossible to understand, their skepticism will be rewarded. Of course, its all his fault, the man who wrote the doka to begin with. :)

PAG
I have a hard time with this because I consider myself to be a pretty realistic person (who doesn't though), but I have always loved mystical language...it's what attracted me to poetry in the first place. People have used this kind of language since pre-history I presume: if you see the Buddha on your road, kill him. It's not meant to be taken literally, and I think the problem arises when people confuse semantic meaning with abstract meaning. In my own case it's all an exercise...when I have a realistic view anyway. It's a mental exercise not unlike panning for gold. It takes a lot of effort for what is usually a few flecks of gold. But I enjoy the exercise and I do find a valuable nugget every now and then.
Then again, I'm often told i think too much.:)
I'm tired so I hope this is as lucid as it's felt while I was writing it.
Thank you for sharing your thinking, I do appreciate it!
Matt

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-06-2009, 04:08 AM
No one actually dealt with the doka, itself, so I thought I would redirect the thread back onto the importance that seems to have been lost in some ridiculous philosophical debate... hahaha, sorry, but my uncle was the head of the philosophy department of a major university and i grew up having those types of conversations when I was like 5. Didn't get him anywhere but crazy and all it did was teach me how to make others feel really stupid about their (stupid opinions...)

In any case... Not really sure if I should be sharing this, but since the original teaching was shared with me in a somewhat public setting it must not be too restricted of a teaching.

To the Technique of Tsurugi,
Neither brush nor word of mouth can render due service.
Saying nothing you must go forth
And so must you know (satori).

Tsurugi has a very special meaning and specific reference for it was taken from Kojiki as the model for a very specific teaching. The usage here is not as the word sword. The usage is icicle-sword - in other words an icicle used as a sword. There is both an omote and ura teaching of which I will give a brief introduction. The omote (first two lines of the doka) is a physical-based teaching of kokyu-ho leading to kokyu-nage. The ura (last two lines) relate to kotodama-no-gyo - meaning the specific practices of kotodama-ho leading to the actual application of kotodama at the very center of the spiraling kokyu. The oral teaching being most important, one can notice that each new line gives truer meaning to all of those that precede it. Meaning that one must actually understand the entire thing in order for even the first line to make any real sense.

So breaking it down line by line, then section by section, then taking it as a whole (but in reverse) the doka reads:

Line by line...
To the Technique of Tsurugi, To the technique of the instant and infinitely ever-expanding icicle
Neither brush nor word of mouth can render due service.absent of visible sign or giving any indication
Saying nothing you must go forthKotodama - in the moment before the word, as it echoes forward back to and through its source
And so must you know (satori)You are already, always - before, during and after.

Section by section...
To the Technique of Tsurugi,
Neither brush nor word of mouth can render due service.
echoing at the speed of light (faster than the written or spoken word which are extremely slowed down versions of the Kotodama - speech which is the first iteration of the empty kotodama and then writing which is the second, slower and more empty representation of the kotodama) the Nage pierces Uke's spirit with the expanding spirit-sword as it transforms from the running water form into the icicle form

Saying nothing you must go forth
And so must you know (satori).
The Kotodama moves outward back through the source of the echoing spiral and continues to do so in the presence of one who knows without question.

In its entirety, but in reverse...
The one who knows with one hundred percent of his spirit and will and without question gives birth to the reflection of the kotodma (echo of the source) as he allows the instant and infinite expansion of himself to reach out into all that is not him until he and it are one via the culmination of all things that move (water) transforming into one thing that is solid (icicle)

I hope that clears things up a bit... Let's wait for the students of the exalted charlatans come out and try and unravel this one... anyone? ...anyone? ...Beuller? Thought not! You may not know who they were/are... but I do.

On the other hand I recall a doka which describes the art of the brush (pen?) as leading toward understanding.

Oh, this is not the same teaching at all. However where the two relate is in the emptiness of the written word versus the hidden teaching of kokyu through shodo (calligraphy). This is why calligraphy of the founder has such value - especially the doka. It is not just about what he wrote which is often poorly translated and more often completely misunderstood, but is actually about how it was written. Scholars are so busy trying to tell us what they think the words mean when in actuality they should be looking at the way the words, themselves were written... but you didn't hear that from me.

At any rate, I find this interesting because it fits with my notions on the nature of understanding which I first found articulated "by" Socrates in which he claims basically that the only thing he knows is that he's ignorant.Socrates was right... he was ignorant... wash, rinse, repeat... wash, rinse, repeat...

Best in training to all

.

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-06-2009, 04:29 AM
Moreover, Ueshiba's doka are, in my opinion, utterly unsuitable models of communication and the translations make them even worse. It is pointless even to attempt to understand them without some knowledge of the conventions of Japanese waka poetry.Goldsbury Sensei,

I would complete agree that the translations make them worse. However I would tend to disagree that even a scholar's understanding or even mastery of "waka" would assit one in understanding O-Sensei's doka. I think that was also the point of them in the same way that Musashi wrote "Go Rin No Sho" as a handbook that would only make any real sense to one worthy of the teaching in the first place. As far as their communicative value to one who actually is worthy of the teachings, the doka hold some very interesting meaning and provide for a clear path of study and direction.

These ponderings on the 'meaning' of the doka are due in large part to the excessive mystification / mysticization of language in aikido, with people going into agonies about the correct relationship of the 'do', the 'ki' and the 'ai'. If people start off with the idea that discourse about aikido is basically impossible to understand, their skepticism will be rewarded. Of course, its all his fault, the man who wrote the doka to begin with. :)

PAG

It all reminds me of the word "obfuscatory" which is a word who's meaning is perfectly described in the word itself... However, if O-Sensei actually wanted to forward a syllabus for future study of worthy disciples after his death the doka in and of themselves are perfectly executed. All the information needed is in there. All one needs in addition to being able to see them is the oral teachings that accompany them and the door magically opens

best in training to all

.

Peter Goldsbury
07-06-2009, 05:02 AM
Hello Shaun,

Many thanks for response. A have appended a few comments to the text of your post.

Best wishes,

PAG

Goldsbury Sensei,

I would complete agree that the translations make them worse. However I would tend to disagree that even a scholar's understanding or even mastery of "waka" would assit one in understanding O-Sensei's doka. I think that was also the point of them in the same way that Musashi wrote "Go Rin No Sho" as a handbook that would only make any real sense to one worthy of the teaching in the first place. As far as their communicative value to one who actually is worthy of the teachings, the doka hold some very interesting meaning and provide for a clear path of study and direction.
PAG. Well, I think we will have to disagree. I did not mention 'scholarly understanding'; you supplied this gloss on what I actually stated. The Founder was writing in a tradition that began with the Man'yoshu and I think some understanding of this tradition--a tradition of poetry-writing, I emphasize, is of value in approaching the doka. Of course, one can argue that Morihei Ueshiba used poetry as the vehicle for something else, but the poetry is still the base vehicle, so to speak.

It all reminds me of the word "obfuscatory" which is a word who's meaning is perfectly described in the word itself... However, if O-Sensei actually wanted to forward a syllabus for future study of worthy disciples after his death the doka in and of themselves are perfectly executed. All the information needed is in there. All one needs in addition to being able to see them is the oral teachings that accompany them and the door magically opens.
PAG. Yes. Obfuscatory came to my mind, also. However, your baldly stated comment about oral teaching suggests that Shakespeare was perhaps in need of a commentary, since the poems 'in and of themselves' are not 'perfectly executed'. (If they were, there would be no need for the oral commentary.)

best in training to all.

And to you, too.

mathewjgano
07-06-2009, 02:16 PM
...and all it did was teach me how to make others feel really stupid about their (stupid opinions...)


Well to be fair, I do that pretty well on my own!:D
Thank you for describing the doka! I'll have to keep processing that a bit.

Peter,
was my post as ridiculous as Shuan described? If you have the time and desire, I would like to hear your thoughts on it too.
Take care all, and thank you again!
Matt

Buck
07-06-2009, 07:26 PM
Shaun,

Thank you.

Peter Goldsbury
07-06-2009, 07:46 PM
Hello Matthew,

Your discussion with me in this forum concerned Socrates, which was not ridiculous at all. The relevance to the thread, however, is more open to question. Since Jun regularly posts a daily doka in English on the AikiWeb top page, it is quite reasonable that people will discuss them. Since I have read them in Japanese, and have also read other waka / tanka, I appreciate the difficulties of understanding the Japanese and making an accurate translation that also reads well.

I am sure that Mr Ravens will respond as he thinks fit. However, Shaun has had the very good fortune to train with Abe Seiseki Sensei, who taught O Sensei calligraphy and, of course, learned from him aikido and the results of his own studies in kototama gaku. Abe Sensei has made a special study of O Sensei's doka (and you can find references in Japanese on the Web).

You can find the profile of Takanari Higuchi here:
http://www.interq.or.jp/silver/sinomori/takemusu/takemusu.career.htm
Higuchi was a student of Tanaka Bansen in Osaka and, incidentally, Abe Seiseki entered this dojo not long after it opened in the 1950s. Higuchi runs or ran the Takemusu Kai and has published much interesting material in Japanese.

Please remember that English translations of O Sensei's writings are a very fragile basis from which to conduct serious AikiWeb discussions on what he thought, especially about something as important--and difficult--as kotodama. I am not being condescending here: I am simply stating a fact, which has become obvious to me over the years. So these discussions really do end up sometimes like the three blind men discussing an elephant. My suggestion that you often consult with the Rev. Barrish was not even half joking.

Best wishes,

PAG

mathewjgano
07-06-2009, 10:55 PM
Hello Matthew,

Your discussion with me in this forum concerned Socrates, which was not ridiculous at all. The relevance to the thread, however, is more open to question.

I just want to make sure I'm holding my own as best I can; if I'm speaking without reason I'd certainly like to know. I'm trying to be more intellectually rigorous that I have in the past. :uch:

Shaun has had the very good fortune to train with Abe Seiseki Sensei, who taught O Sensei calligraphy and, of course, learned from him aikido and the results of his own studies in kototama gaku.
He certainly has a unique vantage and I really appreciate his efforts to explain things!
I also intend on utilizing my access to Rev. Barrish more than I have. I've been discussing Aikido for enough years now that I should have more knowledge than i do and the same is just as true for Shinto.
At any rate, thanks for the reply.
Take care,
Matt

Ron Tisdale
07-07-2009, 01:45 PM
Matthew, Shaun and Peter, but especially Matthew,

I have enjoyed reading your posts in this thread, they give me much to think about. Please continue!

Best,
Ron (nothing to contribute but my support)

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-07-2009, 06:55 PM
Matthew, Shaun and Peter, but especially Matthew,

I have enjoyed reading your posts in this thread, they give me much to think about. Please continue!

Best,
Ron (nothing to contribute but my support)

Ron-San,

I, too, support the thread. Proper and analytic dissection of O-Sensei's doka is of paramount importance to understanding O-Sensei's Aikido. This is like the missing link in archeology, but is much less discussed or even known. I typically don't say much (er, the recent kotodama thread) when it comes to people messing around in the aikido sandbox as most Aikidoka - senior, book publishing ones included are simply not willing, able or ready to hear information which would totally invalidate their often well-meaning, but completely off the mark viewpoint. There are entire schools of thought that I know to be absolutely worthless, but who am I to dethrone other's teachers, masters and long-held mystical derivations which are far from O-Sensei's meaning and intention. I know this because O-Sensei, himself said so... for whatever that may be worth to some. My viewpoint is that sometimes it pays to spend an inordinate amount of time traveling off the path if only to discover how important it is not to ever do that again...

In this case, since the teaching was somewhat public, recorded (several versions, by me at least) and truly inaccessible without the oral teaching, I found it important enough to offer a small, but somewhat guiding hand back onto the path of reality concerning this particular doka. Not that the ensuing philosophical debate wasn't interesting. It was given my particular communicative slant. However, I just hate to see something which has a clear path of study be so bastardized by such an irrelevant, while by all means, interesting philosophical debate.

O-Sensei's art, and the clear path of study he left has been mistakenly brought forward by countless Shihan who did not take the necessary interest in the very detailed lectures given over a period of three and a half decades. This is sad and correctable, but only so by Aikidoka who adopt a different mentality from those who were only interested in techniques and the accumulation of mere physical level interests and pursuits.

You and I, both, have an interest in the aiki-based "power" of which Mike S. Dan H and Akuzawa Sensei speak. However, none of that will be enough to lead us even to the place where O-Sensei's art began. It will surely not lead us to the place to which O-Sensei, himself brought his own study. We can and should look to go beyond this place, as O-Sensei spoke to that very fact, himself. The importance lies in three (3) critical areas/teachings that are at the verge of being forgotten/supplanted by the meaningless meanderings of a recent self-appointed scholar, regardless of the fact that he missed his own teacher's relationship to this very thing and misled the entire current generation of seekers of the way of the founder of Aikido... Go figure.

best in training to all...

.

mathewjgano
07-08-2009, 03:21 AM
The importance lies in three (3) critical areas/teachings that are at the verge of being forgotten/supplanted by the meaningless meanderings of a recent self-appointed scholar, regardless of the fact that he missed his own teacher's relationship to this very thing and misled the entire current generation of seekers of the way of the founder of Aikido... Go figure.

best in training to all...

Hi Shaun,
First, what are the 3 critical areas?

Also, regarding scholars (all are essentially self-appointed in my view), haven't the leading minds in most fields disagreed at one point or another? I recall my anthropology classes in which the question came up on whether race was a valid concept or not. Both seemed to have their points based on valid interpretations of data.
At any rate it seems all the more important for folks to share their perspectives. Going back to my favorite little analogy, if the three blind men stop their conversation, they continue with their respective perspectives, but through communication and debate they might stumble upon the golden question (patent pending)...like most other major advances in human history seem to have come about from. (I ended in a preposition on purpose...I'm such a rebel!)
Now that's ridiculous!:p
Take care, and seriously, thank you for offering a translation! I'm still digesting.

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-08-2009, 01:44 PM
Hi Shaun,
First, what are the 3 critical areas?
Matthew,

Unfortunately, for the moment, I am precluded from stating them simply. However, I have on these very pages alluded to them many times over. Suffice it to say that O-Sensei left very clear markings for anyone who wanted to follow his path after he was no longer with us. One hint - it is most certainly not found in Daito-Ryu, nor in the tenets of any religion. I am most certainly not the only one who knows these things. It is for certain that many people know these things. I guess that sometimes when they feel like it matters, they pass the information along to those who for one reason or another meet their standards for transmission.

Also, regarding scholars (all are essentially self-appointed in my view), haven't the leading minds in most fields disagreed at one point or another? I recall my anthropology classes in which the question came up on whether race was a valid concept or not. Both seemed to have their points based on valid interpretations of data.
At any rate it seems all the more important for folks to share their perspectives. Going back to my favorite little analogy, if the three blind men stop their conversation, they continue with their respective perspectives, but through communication and debate they might stumble upon the golden question (patent pending)...like most other major advances in human history seem to have come about from. (I ended in a preposition on purpose...I'm such a rebel!)
Now that's ridiculous!:p You lost me at, "scholars..." What I can say is that, regardless of opinions O-Sensei left a very clear path for us to follow. Anyone, and I do mean anyone who tells you otherwise, regardless of their pedigree, talent, skill, likability or what have you simply is quite mistaken. Anything else they are selling is in my book (one I will most likely write one day so that some future scholars can endlessly pontificate as to what I meant) should also be met with incredulity, a wink and smile. Most assuredly, I won't pay a dime for it. You shouldn't either.

Take care, and seriously, thank you for offering a translation! I'm still digesting.

I would love to hear your thoughts after your sort through them... either here or via private message if you so choose.

...best in training to all.

.

Peter Goldsbury
07-08-2009, 06:26 PM
Hello Matthew,

I see that you joined AikiWeb in 2005, Shaun joined in 2002, which was a year after I became a member. I state this as an oblique way of asking whether you regularly use the archive of posts here and in other forums like Aikido Journal and E-Budo. I recommend that you do so. Of relevance to this thread are threads on Omoto Theology and a number of threads on Misogi (no-gyo). The interpretation of the Kojiki (especially the deities mentioned in the first book) is also a major area, as is kotodama, but there are not many threads on these difficult topics.

It should also be clear to you by now that my general approach to these questions, and Shaun's, are different in some respects.

Best wishes,

PAG

mathewjgano
07-08-2009, 06:34 PM
Hello Matthew,

I see that you joined AikiWeb in 2005, Shaun joined in 2002, which was a year after I became a member. I state this as an oblique way of asking whether you regularly use the archive of posts here and in other forums like Aikido Journal and E-Budo. I recommend that you do so. Of relevance to this thread are threads on Omoto Theology and a number of threads on Misogi (no-gyo). The interpretation of the Kojiki (especially the deities mentioned in the first book) is also a major area, as is kotodama, but there are not many threads on these difficult topics.

It should also be clear to you by now that my general approach to these questions, and Shaun's, are different in some respects.

Best wishes,

PAG

Peter,
I don't use the archives, but I will start reading through them. Thank you for the suggestion!
Take care,
Matthew

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-23-2009, 10:49 AM
Hi Shaun,
First, what are the 3 critical areas?

Matthew,

Only because it came up in another thread I felt that a hint would be welcome. Read the following post (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=235287&postcount=70) and ask yourself the same basic questions that Mr. Holliop asks himself. They are interesting questions, one that deserve answers. The funny thing is that depending on who you ask you will receive a very different story, most of which would be only slightly on the mark. It is so aptly quoted in a Pink Floyd song, "It's a battle of words, and most of them are lies..." Of course in this case, I wouldn't call them lies, but rather it is simply that people aren't really looking for the answer because when they find the answer it will:
invalidate their current training methods
invalidate their current teacher's training methods
invalidate their current teacher/dojo/organization...
require them to reprioritize their own training
require them to reevaluate their own potential/limitations/abilities/talent/understanding... err, credentials???
and most importantly

require them to start from scratch



O-Sensei did in fact designate specific essentials as core to his Aikido. He also set up a way (path, michibiku) for students to both locate and train in these essentials after he was gone. He left absolutely clear markers to locate them and designated specific teachers under whose direction these skill sets could be trained. The information is clearly out there and has been all along.

The conversation of late as to Internals being discussed in that thread is only one area to be studied. I pointed out that things were missing from Aikido years ago on these very pages. My views were "put aside" at that time. No worries... I am sure I will find it very ironic when the next round of "Aikido needs X or it isn't Aikido" comes about. Once again some future group of outsides will come across one of these markers in their own training. They will point out that no one in Aikido is making X a point of their training and how people within Aikido need to go through "them" to rediscover it. I am sure their opinions will be put aside for a while, status quo, and all that. At some point, however, Aikidoka, themselves will realize something is missing from their training. They will look to their seniors, their teachers and to their organization and wonder, "Where are these things?" and even eventually ask themselves, "Why hath Aikido forsaken me?" as has recently occurred, and will possibly look outside of Aikido to find their answers. This is not a bad thing necessarily, as it is always good to look around and not keep one's head in the sand. However it does do Aikido and O-Sensei a great disservice, because the efforts he made to allow for the dissemination of his art are being ignored.

The core essentials of O-Sensei's art have always been there, are not kept secret, are trained in every day at dojos around the world. They are most certainly part and parcel in understanding, practicing, applying and living a life of Aiki. In some respects, I look forward to the day when I can speak openly about these things. However certain things will have to take place that I am not looking forward to, but that is the circle within which we all must exist. In any case, I am sure that regardless of what I say or when I say it, there are those who already understand, there will be those who will understand, there will be those who will not be able to understand, and those who do not want to understand. In other words, nothing will really change much, if at all.

Best in training to all...

.

mathewjgano
07-23-2009, 12:02 PM
Matthew,

Only because it came up in another thread I felt that a hint would be welcome. Read the following post (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=235287&postcount=70) and ask yourself the same basic questions that Mr. Holliop asks himself. They are interesting questions, one that deserve answers.
Best in training to all...

.
Hi Shaun,
Well I certainly agree with what he was saying...or at least seemed to be implying, in that I don't think physical ability is necessarily the only benchmark...according to O Sensei, as I guess his intent to have been. It may be central, but not the center of importance. This idea resonates deeply with me because, speaking for myself, being physically powerful is pretty unimpressive; to my mind, having a structure that is impeturbable is a waste without a keen mind and a stout, other-regardig heart...er...applying it for the benefit of the world around us to whatever extent we can do so. That's just my opinion, and granted I'm a bit of an idealist, but what we do with our power is what actually carries importance to me, specifically, how we help make Things better, so when it comes to learning the "secret" to "real" power, I'm less inclined to be super motivated. Don't get me wrong, I see real serious value to real serious power, but I see it as maybe 33% of the whole.
At any rate, before I go off on a tangent about how everyone should help make the world a better place by being more other-regarding and feeding starving kids in Cambodia (Everyone, please consider donating to PEPY, CCF, etc.:D ), I'd like to express my appreciation for your efforts to illuminate some of this stuff. I'll try and post a response to your description of the doka soon so we can see what we may see of what I might see.
Take care,
Matt

Basia Halliop
07-23-2009, 12:46 PM
I'm actually a she, but other than that, carry on with your conversation.

mathewjgano
07-23-2009, 04:03 PM
I'm actually a she, but other than that, carry on with your conversation.

For the record I deferred to Mr. Raven's use of "Mr.":p
Whew! Dodged that one! :D

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-29-2009, 05:09 PM
I'm actually a she, but other than that, carry on with your conversation.

Basia,

Whew! That's a relief. I thought your name was kind of feminine, but with names that are not typically American, it is unfortunately easy for me to go either way. In this case, I went with male, as there was a higher chance that you were a guy, as more guys than girls practice martial arts, but then again... in this case I was clearly off by more than 50 %....

Best in training to you and all...

.

rob_liberti
07-30-2009, 07:37 AM
they will point out that no one in Aikido is making X a point of their training and how people within Aikido need to go through "them" to rediscover it

That was not my experience with Mike or Dan. And if you recall I wasn't all that friendly with Mike. But to give them both their props, they both spent a whole lot of time asking if there were people in aikido who had the skills they were so interested in. To my knowledge, Mike is not teaching anything other than workshops - there is no agenda to build up a student base that I can see. As for Dan, I know him to be actively trying to avoid more students coming in so he can focus on the utility of the skills (which is a lot more interesting than focusing on the building/establishing of them) so I'm pretty sure there is no agenda to get people to go through him either. From where I am standing it appears that Dan is trying to teach aikido teachers so that aikido students can learn those skills within their own art.

I'm sure there are OTHER aspects to O-sensei's vision of aikido other than just aiki - no one was ever suggesting otherwise. I would imagine those aspects to cover more of the "do" part, while the "aiki" seems to apply a bit more to what Dan and Mike have been trying to help us out with.

Rob

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-30-2009, 02:56 PM
That was not my experience with Mike or Dan. And if you recall I wasn't all that friendly with Mike. But to give them both their props, they both spent a whole lot of time asking if there were people in aikido who had the skills they were so interested in. To my knowledge, Mike is not teaching anything other than workshops - there is no agenda to build up a student base that I can see. As for Dan, I know him to be actively trying to avoid more students coming in so he can focus on the utility of the skills (which is a lot more interesting than focusing on the building/establishing of them) so I'm pretty sure there is no agenda to get people to go through him either. From where I am standing it appears that Dan is trying to teach aikido teachers so that aikido students can learn those skills within their own art.

I'm sure there are OTHER aspects to O-Sensei's vision of aikido other than just aiki - no one was ever suggesting otherwise. I would imagine those aspects to cover more of the "do" part, while the "aiki" seems to apply a bit more to what Dan and Mike have been trying to help us out with.

RobHi Rob,

Well as far as making friends here on AikiWeb, I would say that Mike and Dan are there own worst enemies. Now I say that with two caveats, the first being they have been here a long time now, and like annoying siblings, we have come to love them and can't really imagine what life would be like without them. Second, I am no better at making friends than they... although I am sure most would say that over the years we have, as a collective group of sometimes irreverent and needy children, gotten much better at it as time goes on.

Otherwise, if you check the record, I have always advocated people go and check out what it is that Dan and Mike are doing. I am a true believer that whatever it is they are sharing is good for everyone to get to feel with their own two hands. It is nice to see them come out from the shadows and mystery that DRAJ and CMA are most often shrouded in. Regardless of whether Dan, Mike or I are right, wrong, or partially right and wrong about our opinions, people may adopt methods to better learn quality movement. Hopefully that will translate into developing meaningful skills for them and any future students that come along their way.

Things have developed nicely over the past few years. I am sure they will continue to do so. My hope is that as Dan, Mike, Akuzawa Sensei and others help shed the misconceptions about what it is they are doing by sharing with martial artists from around the globe that they may come across the right group of Aikidoka who will help them shed their own misconceptions about something being missing from the art of Aikido, itself.

I am sometimes referred to as a "naysayer" but again, if you check the record, I was politely saying something was missing back in the early 1990's. I tried to elucidate that with the interviews and articles that I conducted and published and distributed out just as Stanly did with his Aiki-News. People really weren't that receptive to the obvious statements that some very senior people were making at the time. In some ways, perhaps today's "climate change" will warm things up enough that after the pursuit for body skills winds down and Aikidoka come back to the "What is missing from Aikido" question, they may rediscover those articles, re-read them and come to their own conclusions about what is really missing from their then current practice. I am passionate that things not get lost, too. However, when it comes to preserving O-Sensei's Aikido, I have a more complete picture to share than merely the transmission of body skills.

FWIW

Best in training to you and all...

.