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dapidmini
06-17-2011, 01:47 PM
in my dojo, we're taught that the correct kamae is "L" shaped (front foot points forward and rear foot point outward). my dojo teaches aikikai aikido. is it the correct kamae? I've used the search function of this forum but I found nothing for the keyword "kamae".

anyway, there's this not-so-new student in my dojo that refuses to do the correct kamae as instructed. he says that if we stand that way, it will take more time to do a technique because we'll need to change foot. I've tried to explain to him that that's what various ashisabakis are for but he won't listen. I'm not the instructor and I don't like to waste my time saying the same thing over and over, so I just let him do as he likes(he stands with both feet adjacent sideways because he thinks that will allow him to move anywhere better).

btw, he's only joined our dojo for a couple months, brand new to aikikai aikido, only comes to train occasionally because of his supposedly tight work schedule (2-3 times a month), and have studied tomiki for less than 2 years (when I asked for the specific time-span, he said not too long but less than a couple years).

have you guys experienced something like this? how do you handle it?

Marie Noelle Fequiere
06-17-2011, 02:06 PM
Look, as far as I can tell, this is the king of guy you don't need to waste your time arguing with. Let him do as he pleases, and let him find out by himself who knows more, him or Sensei.
Meanwhile, use your precious time helping those who come to class with their cup empty, and are eager to have their money and time's worth of learning.

dapidmini
06-17-2011, 02:14 PM
...eager to have their money and time's worth of learning.

like this very much :D
and since you didn't mention anything about the kamae, I'll take it that it's correct?

oh and also, I need to correct my first post: he's joined our dojo for 4 months now.

Janet Rosen
06-17-2011, 02:40 PM
I agree with suggestion to leave him alone and let Sensei correct as he sees fit.
The correct kamei in any dojo is the one the dojo's chief instructor shows.

Shadowfax
06-17-2011, 02:46 PM
His training and how he does things is between him and your sensei. Unless he is doing something that is risking an injury to you I would just ignore it and keep training. Your teacher will take care of it if it is something he feels the need to address.

ninjaqutie
06-17-2011, 03:27 PM
Yours is correct for your dojo. Other places do things differently....

patf
07-17-2011, 10:15 PM
My aikido sensei says L kamae is most stable for Aikido.
* I believe him

My Iaido sensei says that parallel kamae is fastest for changing direction for sword work.
* I believe him

My chiropractor says that L kamae is bad for my hips.
* I believe him

Mario Tobias
07-18-2011, 12:04 AM
whenever I encounter a problem like this I always remember my sensei saying "too noisy! no talk! just train! I am teacha!"

sakumeikan
07-18-2011, 02:27 AM
I agree with suggestion to leave him alone and let Sensei correct as he sees fit.
The correct kamei in any dojo is the one the dojo's chief instructor shows.

Dear Janet,
If the instructor shows the incorrect footwork is this correct?I think not.Correct foot work is correct footwork.Incorrect footwork is not correct footwork.
As far as a beginner is concerned its important to get the footwork correct to avoid problems later.Once a bad/good habit is embodied in the student its very difficult to alter things.
Cheers, Joe.

sakumeikan
07-18-2011, 02:31 AM
My aikido sensei says L kamae is most stable for Aikido.
* I believe him

My Iaido sensei says that parallel kamae is fastest for changing direction for sword work.
* I believe him

My chiropractor says that L kamae is bad for my hips.
* I believe him
Dear Patrick,
Your comparing apples to oranges.Aikido /Iaido are not the same posture.Your chiropractor may well have an opinion here based on financial considerations.
Cheers, Joe.

Tim Ruijs
07-18-2011, 03:16 AM
The stance in Aikido is pretty unique for a reason (compared to other MA). Bad kamae prevents you from doing the exercises correctly. I would go so far as to say he is not a good partner. For this reason alone I would ask the teacher for help. He should be made aware of his role in the exercise and execute it as best as he can, regardless of his opinion about it.

robin_jet_alt
07-18-2011, 08:51 AM
My first sensei used L kamae with a straight front foot.

My next sensei used L kamae with a slightly out turned front foot.

My current sensei uses straight kamae. He has an extensive iaido background.

All 3 of them have good reasons for the way they stand.

I had knee problems when I trained with my second sensei.

sakumeikan
07-18-2011, 08:56 AM
Dear All,
If all else fails and the non kamae guy herein keeps standing in a manner like a judoka or iaido practioner a well directed gentle kick to his kneecap will soon make him shuffle into the correct stance.It may sound a bit non aiki, but it works for me.
Cheers, Joe.

sakumeikan
07-18-2011, 09:07 AM
My first sensei used L kamae with a straight front foot.

My next sensei used L kamae with a slightly out turned front foot.

My current sensei uses straight kamae. He has an extensive iaido background.

All 3 of them have good reasons for the way they stand.

I had knee problems when I trained with my second sensei.

Dear Robin,
I prefer no 2.However it takes a bit of time and effort to get used to it.No 2 opens up the hip joint.

No 3 I assume is a bit Iaido related, this is understandable.Nevertheless Iaido is not in terms of posture the same as the stance in Aikido body art or Aikiken/jo.These function on hamni.
No 1:Comfortable stance , ok as long as knee/s are relaxed and the toe /foot does not turn inward.
Cheers, Joe.

robin_jet_alt
07-18-2011, 09:21 AM
Hi Joe,

I agree with you on all of those points actually. I'm having trouble with a lot of things, including the stance at my new Dojo. Having said that, my sensei certainly seems to know what he is doing, even if it is a bit odd to me. He trained with Nishio sensei, which is apparently why things are a bit unfamiliar to.

Robin

Josh Reyer
07-18-2011, 09:30 AM
Dear Janet,
If the instructor shows the incorrect footwork is this correct?I think not.Correct foot work is correct footwork.Incorrect footwork is not correct footwork.
Which is the correct footwork? The feet pointing out style of Yoshinkan? The hanmi in the official works published by the Aikikai? The hanmi of Saito? The shizentai of Nishio? Once we establish this, we can start telling people to ignore their sensei.

Marc Abrams
07-18-2011, 09:34 AM
Dear All,
If all else fails and the non kamae guy herein keeps standing in a manner like a judoka or iaido practioner a well directed gentle kick to his kneecap will soon make him shuffle into the correct stance.It may sound a bit non aiki, but it works for me.
Cheers, Joe.

Joe:

You are kinder that I am! I typically will execute a fast front snap kick that stops within an inch of the groin area. I then talk about proper kamae as being a way to control both distance and the nature of the attack....

At another level, it is simply disrespectful for a student to do something other than what the teacher directs the students to do.

Marc Abrams

Janet Rosen
07-18-2011, 10:36 AM
Dear Janet,
If the instructor shows the incorrect footwork is this correct?I think not.Correct foot work is correct footwork.Incorrect footwork is not correct footwork.
As far as a beginner is concerned its important to get the footwork correct to avoid problems later.Once a bad/good habit is embodied in the student its very difficult to alter things.
Cheers, Joe.

Joe, I have been taught three different "correct" kamae used by three different shihan level instructors - depth of stance and angle of back foot being dependent on the school and style, so my answer stands as I'm not about to start arguing with any of them.

Basia Halliop
07-18-2011, 10:46 AM
To me the point isn't so much which hanmi is 'right', but more that if you are so very convinced your teacher is 'wrong' about such a fundamental thing as posture, why the heck do you want them to be your teacher?

If you don't want to learn what the teacher is teaching, don't take their class... ??

If someone like that is in your class, I'd probably kind of ignore it, personally. As someone else said, there are probably others in the class who would LOVE to have more personal attention and help instead.

JW
07-18-2011, 11:00 AM
Although I agree that those who come to class should make an effort to do what they are shown by the teacher--
this guy is could be really valuable for you! I love training with people who do things "differently." Since you know full well that you can at any moment kick him in the groin, you don't have to worry about anything (he does, not you!). So you get the chance to see if you can take balance, etc as you expect, even though this guy uses a different body shape than others.

Since he acts not as he is told, you get to see if your stuff works or if everyone else is just going along with you.

Also, when you are uke, does his stance choice allow you to regain balance more easily than you are used to? All great things to explore with him.

sakumeikan
07-18-2011, 11:16 AM
Joe:

You are kinder that I am! I typically will execute a fast front snap kick that stops within an inch of the groin area. I then talk about proper kamae as being a way to control both distance and the nature of the attack....

At another level, it is simply disrespectful for a student to do something other than what the teacher directs the students to do.

Marc Abrams
Hi Marc,
Nice to know someone appreciates my method of resolving this type of issue.Gee whiz, I have a fan at last!!Especially one who thinks alike. Cheers, Joe.

sakumeikan
07-18-2011, 11:25 AM
Joe, I have been taught three different "correct" kamae used by three different shihan level instructors - depth of stance and angle of back foot being dependent on the school and style, so my answer stands as I'm not about to start arguing with any of them.
Dear Janet,
Maybe the fact that three shihan taught different principles of kamae is the reason why so many aikidoka are mixed up?Its not about depth of foot etc its a question of presenting a half stance rather than a square on stance[ala Judoka] to you partner in a manner which precludes him /her from making a kick to the rear leg.Also you have to be approach [as Uke ] Tori not directly. Rather you make contact from a slightly angular position.This is apparent or should be in Shiho Nage.
As far as argueing with any Shihan is concerned thats being respectful.But it doesnt preclude you from having you own views or
assessing whether the input from the Shihan makes sense.Hopefully it should .
Cheers, Joe.

Chris Farnham
07-18-2011, 11:36 PM
Having said that, my sensei certainly seems to know what he is doing, even if it is a bit odd to me. He trained with Nishio sensei, which is apparently why things are a bit unfamiliar to me.

Robin
Robin
I train some with a Nishio influenced sensei myself and at least in my experience, it's not that the Nishio style throws out the L shaped hanmi stance but that in certain situations one moves into an iaido-eseque parallel stance as a part of the tai-sabaki. One example being Yokomenuchi shihonage/ and or iriminage. Nage begins in hanmi but the rear foot moves into a parallel position(a la iaido kamae) before the front steps back while Nage cuts down/redirects the attack with his/her arms. But that is just from my experience. I also originally came from a dojo that used the foot turned out stance which you referred to as stance 2 in your first post;the dojo-cho was a former kenshusei of Chiba sensei. I totally agree with Joe in regards to this stance. When your hip is flexible it is very stable and quite safe for your knee but if you have tight hips it can put a lot of undue strain on the knee. This might be the reason that the dojo-cho from my first dojo does a lot of yogic hip opening exercises at the beginning and end of class.

robin_jet_alt
07-19-2011, 12:20 AM
Robin
I train some with a Nishio influenced sensei myself and at least in my experience, it's not that the Nishio style throws out the L shaped hanmi stance but that in certain situations one moves into an iaido-eseque parallel stance as a part of the tai-sabaki. One example being Yokomenuchi shihonage/ and or iriminage. Nage begins in hanmi but the rear foot moves into a parallel position(a la iaido kamae) before the front steps back while Nage cuts down/redirects the attack with his/her arms. But that is just from my experience. I also originally came from a dojo that used the foot turned out stance which you referred to as stance 2 in your first post;the dojo-cho was a former kenshusei of Chiba sensei. I totally agree with Joe in regards to this stance. When your hip is flexible it is very stable and quite safe for your knee but if you have tight hips it can put a lot of undue strain on the knee. This might be the reason that the dojo-cho from my first dojo does a lot of yogic hip opening exercises at the beginning and end of class.

Thanks for the pointers Chris. I am still figuring out exactly what I'm meant to be doing. I just know that there have been a number of instances (such as the ones you described) where I have had my footwork corrected. This has been particularly pronounced whenever I have been holding a sword. Having said that, my weapons work is particularly rusty because I spent the last 4 years training with a student of Masatake Fujita who was famously quoted as saying "weapons practice is not part of Aikido". My sensei didn't necessarily agree with this statement, but he simply didn't teach weapons because he had never been taught.

sakumeikan
07-19-2011, 04:33 AM
Thanks for the pointers Chris. I am still figuring out exactly what I'm meant to be doing. I just know that there have been a number of instances (such as the ones you described) where I have had my footwork corrected. This has been particularly pronounced whenever I have been holding a sword. Having said that, my weapons work is particularly rusty because I spent the last 4 years training with a student of Masatake Fujita who was famously quoted as saying "weapons practice is not part of Aikido". My sensei didn't necessarily agree with this statement, but he simply didn't teach weapons because he had never been taught.

Dear Robin,
Having met Fujita Sensei I have never seen him teaching weapons.However his statement seem to be at odds with the fact that O Sensei/Saito Sensei/Tamura Sensei /Chiba Sensei /Nishio Sensei and others trained and taught weapons.This is quite clear from all the various sources[Dvds , You tube etc] where Aikido weapons are shown.Is there an authentic verifiable source whereby Fujita Senseis comments can be authenticated?
Cheers, Joe.

robin_jet_alt
07-19-2011, 06:07 AM
Dear Robin,
Having met Fujita Sensei I have never seen him teaching weapons.However his statement seem to be at odds with the fact that O Sensei/Saito Sensei/Tamura Sensei /Chiba Sensei /Nishio Sensei and others trained and taught weapons.This is quite clear from all the various sources[Dvds , You tube etc] where Aikido weapons are shown.Is there an authentic verifiable source whereby Fujita Senseis comments can be authenticated?
Cheers, Joe.

Well there is this article by Stanley Pranin.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=31

Otherwise I am just going by what I have been told.

I don't have anything against Fujita sensei. I trained for 4 years with his student after all. I was just stating why my weapons work is so rusty.

robin_jet_alt
07-19-2011, 06:32 AM
Also, I think he said something to that effect when I was at one of his workshops a few years ago. My memory's kind of hazy on that though.

Peter Goldsbury
07-19-2011, 07:05 AM
Dear Robin,
Having met Fujita Sensei I have never seen him teaching weapons.However his statement seem to be at odds with the fact that O Sensei/Saito Sensei/Tamura Sensei /Chiba Sensei /Nishio Sensei and others trained and taught weapons.This is quite clear from all the various sources[Dvds , You tube etc] where Aikido weapons are shown.Is there an authentic verifiable source whereby Fujita Senseis comments can be authenticated?
Cheers, Joe.

Hello Joe,

Stanley Pranin's comments can be found here:
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=31
Though they were made in 1996, they are still relevant.
There is also an interview here:
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=103

As you know, I first met Fujita Shihan in 1974 and took uke for him on his visits to Europe and the UK. Since he actually started the dojo in Hiroshima and often came to teach here, I knew him also on 'home ground', so to speak. I know that he was taught the family sword art, as was another Hombu official who, also, never used weapons there.

Fujita Shihan's position in the Honbu was unusual, to say the least. He trained at the Aikikai Hombu, but was not officially a Hombu 'deshi' and was not a member of the teaching staff. In fact, I was once present at a discussion with some of those who were Hombu 'deshi' and their reaction to my innocent suggestion that for foreign aikidoka Fujita Shihan was also a Hombu 'deshi' was very sharp, not to say acrimonious. I was surprised.

Fujita Shihan worked in the Aikikai office and was secretary / PA to Morihei Ueshiba in the last years of his life. When he retired he was head of the Aikikai General Affairs department, which was a very powerful position. Of course, there are omote and ura aspects to this position and I think this explains the general distrust with which he was regarded by some shihans. But he never learned aiki-ken and aiki-jo, which would be the staple for the weapons training taught within the Aikikai at the time (at Iwama and by Saito Shihan on his Sunday training at the Hombu).

As for the statement that 'weapons practice is not part of aikido', well, I think it is demonstrably false as it stands. To make the statement true, one has to change the goal posts so much that soccer becomes something like cricket. However, one person whom you should talk to is Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan, who in my (albeit limited) experience has never taught a weapons class. Both Mitsunari Kanai and Akira Toheo taught weapons, but not Yamada. I am sure you remember Chiba Shihan's uchikomi training, standing and kneeling, which I first encountered at the Chiswick dojo.

Do you have the set of Saito Sensei's old volumes? If you do, you should notice that the prefaces, written by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Gozo Shioda, Shoji Nishio and another person I do not know, were not translated into English. Kisshomaru gives his own views on the weapons training his father practised in Iwama and I fail to understand why it was not translated. I have translated Kisshomaru's comments and posted them somewhere on Aikiweb, but I forget where.

Finally, there is a huge ambivalence about weapons training in the Hombu. It seems to be a taboo subject at present, but the issue still lingers. Here is an example.

In 2010 the IAF took part in the SportAccord Combat Games in Beijing and gave a demonstration. You might have heard bad reports about this, but you should discount them. Some people believed that the IAF was introducing competition in aikido though the back door, but this is completely untrue.

Since the IAF was planning to give a demonstration in China, which has a very long tradition of martial arts, no tradition of aikido to speak of--and potentially very vivid memories of scars inflicted by the Japanese military in World War II (the same military who practised aikido with General Tojo in Manchuria), a few of us in the IAF thought long and hard about what kind of aikido demonstration to give. You might remember Terry's demonstrations in Liverpool and I am sure you have done similar demonstrations in the northeast. What do you demonstrate to a potentially critical Chinese audience?

Well, we planned a demonstration that included all the usual tanto-, tachi-, jo- dori, but also Aiki-ken and Aiki-jo, but this was almost sabotaged by the All-Japan Aikido Federation, which is really the Aikikai, but with a democratic fig-leaf. One of the participants at a meeting (who was a longtime student of Mitsunari Kanai Shihan) was asked: can you really state that kumi-tachi and kumi-jo constitute the essence of aikido? Unfortunately, there was no one from Iwama present at that meeting to give a good answer. As it turned out, we left the content of the demonstrations to the participants themselves, and aiki-ken and aiki-jo did feature quire prominently.

So, to come back to your question after a long detour, my own aikido teacher in Hiroshima, M Kitahira Sensei, who has serious rank in jo-do, stopped teaching weapons at the dojo (shortly after I arrived in Japan), on the grounds that O Sensei believed that such training was not necessary. On the other hand, M Sekiya Sensei, K Chiba's father-in-law, told me (also shortly after I arrived in Japan) to find a teacher and train in a koryu weapons system, in order to give the required depth to my aikido training. My regret is that to have followed Sekiya Sensei's advice would have meant a total break from my own teacher.

Best wishes,

PAG

EDIT: This is a long post and Robin posted while I was composing it--in the middle of a large typhoon.

robin_jet_alt
07-19-2011, 07:27 AM
Hope you are doing well in the typhoon Peter. We are still just getting a bit of rain. I expect we will have a bit more wild weather tomorrow.

Peter Goldsbury
07-19-2011, 10:50 AM
Hope you are doing well in the typhoon Peter. We are still just getting a bit of rain. I expect we will have a bit more wild weather tomorrow.

It passed us by earlier today, just the fringes.

sakumeikan
07-19-2011, 02:24 PM
Dear Peter,
Thanks for your comments on the question of Weapons.In my time here in Britain/U.S.A primarily studying with Chiba Sensei we /I was exposed to Weapons work in the early 70s by Sensei.To this day Chiba Sensei is constantly working and evaluating the study of Aikiken /Aikijo /Batto Ho.
The other influences in respect of weapons work was of course Saito Sensei who came to the U.K early 70s.I also have very fond memories of Sekiya Sensei and his beautifully executed swordwork.
Since O Sensei did not have a codified system of weapons work it suggest to me that in most cases the development of weapon work was largely based on a teachers own personal study to a great extent.
Certainly Chiba Sensei encourages students to acquire skills in Batto Ho. I must confess my knees cannot handle this so I leave this to the young turks.
Hope you didnt get too wet recently. Being an ex Brit rain should be a doddle for you. Cheers, Joe.

NagaBaba
07-19-2011, 02:58 PM
There no such things like “universal best of all kamae”. Sometimes your body/feet position must be aligned, sometimes must be square with parallel feet. All depends of the goal that you want to achieve. Paying too much attention to the external form may result that you will not develop any content.

As far as kicking somebody that has square kamae, this is very risky activity. We use to establish square kamae as an ‘easy target’ as an ambush for those nave minds who will commit to an attack. It is enough to turn hips in the moment of the contact to smash them down to unify with tatami, really no effort LOL

Marc Abrams
07-19-2011, 03:54 PM
There no such things like universal best of all kamae. Sometimes your body/feet position must be aligned, sometimes must be square with parallel feet. All depends of the goal that you want to achieve. Paying too much attention to the external form may result that you will not develop any content.

As far as kicking somebody that has square kamae, this is very risky activity. We use to establish square kamae as an easy target as an ambush for those nave minds who will commit to an attack. It is enough to turn hips in the moment of the contact to smash them down to unify with tatami, really no effort LOL

Szczepan:

I have seen very, very few Aikidoka who if caught in a square kamae would ever be able to stop a front snap kick when the distance is close enough not to have to step to kick. I am not talking about naive minds, but experienced fighters.

Your general point about not getting too caught up in the external form is a good point that takes a lot of experience in kumite to achieve.

Regards,

marc abrams

sakumeikan
07-20-2011, 05:53 AM
There no such things like universal best of all kamae. Sometimes your body/feet position must be aligned, sometimes must be square with parallel feet. All depends of the goal that you want to achieve. Paying too much attention to the external form may result that you will not develop any content.

As far as kicking somebody that has square kamae, this is very risky activity. We use to establish square kamae as an easy target as an ambush for those nave minds who will commit to an attack. It is enough to turn hips in the moment of the contact to smash them down to unify with tatami, really no effort LOL
Dear Szcepan,
All I can say if you think you can stand in a square posture at close range with an experienced kicker I think you a either1.very good indeed 2.The kickers are poor in relation to the mae geri.
I have seen /experienced guys who can apply kicks that are fast and powerful.Certainly I would not put myself in a position like you describe.Guys who know how to kick are in my mind hardly naive minds.Any kick /punch at close range is potentially dangerous.To think otherwise is foolish.Cheers, Joe.

grondahl
07-20-2011, 06:26 AM
Its intresting that Nishio sensei who also had some experience in karate (4th or 5th dan?) chose a square posture for basic training.

Why on earth should anyone stand close enough to get kicked in the groin without the kicker needing to move first?

phitruong
07-20-2011, 07:30 AM
there are many different kind of kicks from various angles that it won't matter which kamae you are in, you are still going to get kick. many aikido folks expect single attack, one punch, one grab, one kick. how many out there expect a punch and kick at the same time or a yokomen strike and low knee cap round house at the same time? i'd bet, not many.

personally, i preferred natural kamae as in what you do normally standing around with friends and family. that way i will practicing kamae, tai sabaki as i walk around normally. which meant i practice all the time, instead of waiting to get on the mat to practice. i could rack up hours and hours of practice daily. the main thing for me about kamae is how do i move smoothly, efficiently, and at will to any place i want and my body doesn't fight me, i.e. my thought and my body movement are one.

NagaBaba
07-20-2011, 08:31 AM
Szczepan:

I have seen very, very few Aikidoka who if caught in a square kamae would ever be able to stop a front snap kick when the distance is close enough not to have to step to kick. I am not talking about naive minds, but experienced fighters.

Your general point about not getting too caught up in the external form is a good point that takes a lot of experience in kumite to achieve.

Regards,

marc abrams
Well Marc, in your previous post from this topic you was talking about YOURSELF delivering a kick. Are you experienced fighter? :D

NagaBaba
07-20-2011, 09:13 AM
Dear Szcepan,
All I can say if you think you can stand in a square posture at close range with an experienced kicker I think you a either1.very good indeed 2.The kickers are poor in relation to the mae geri.
I have seen /experienced guys who can apply kicks that are fast and powerful.Certainly I would not put myself in a position like you describe.Guys who know how to kick are in my mind hardly naive minds.Any kick /punch at close range is potentially dangerous.To think otherwise is foolish.Cheers, Joe.
Hello Joe,
Your are not reading carefully my posts. Additionally, first you were talking about gentle kick, now suddenly we can see fast escalation to "experienced kicker" at close range. I suppose in your next post you will talk about facing top MMA artists in formula K1 or UFC? hahahahahah

You simply don't understand what square kamae means and when is used for. I'm not your teacher, so I'll not lecture you how should you practice.

However, have you ever asked yourself why judo folks use such kamae and not million others from Koryu? Well, me, I ask myself such strange questions. What I did notice, that such kamae is very useful when I want to throw someone who is not cooperating with me. Then I continued to analyze why other postures are not allowing me to do it so easily. In conclusion, all these going down to a simple biomechanics of human body.

I need a proper alignment of my body to enter to the attack and I need completely other alignment of my body in the moment of throwing. As every kamae has his strong and weak points, I have to be able to switch kamae to replace, if necessary, weak point initial kamae by strong point other kamae, on the fly!

These are only high level pointers (we are searching here to define problem, responses for question WHAT?), I'll not enter here into details (that would be discussion on realization, so responses for question HOW).
cheers

NagaBaba
07-20-2011, 09:21 AM
there are many different kind of kicks from various angles that it won't matter which kamae you are in, you are still going to get kick. many aikido folks expect single attack, one punch, one grab, one kick. how many out there expect a punch and kick at the same time or a yokomen strike and low knee cap round house at the same time? i'd bet, not many.

personally, i preferred natural kamae as in what you do normally standing around with friends and family. that way i will practicing kamae, tai sabaki as i walk around normally. which meant i practice all the time, instead of waiting to get on the mat to practice. i could rack up hours and hours of practice daily. the main thing for me about kamae is how do i move smoothly, efficiently, and at will to any place i want and my body doesn't fight me, i.e. my thought and my body movement are one.
I agree on many points here. In my opinion, ppl obsessed with one particular kamae are missing a point completely. Because aikido is about interaction, where nothing is predefined, there are not deaths, static situations, things are changing constantly. There is not one generic response for all questions in our life, so there is not one generic kamae for all martial situations.

sakumeikan
07-20-2011, 09:42 AM
Hello Joe,
Your are not reading carefully my posts. Additionally, first you were talking about gentle kick, now suddenly we can see fast escalation to "experienced kicker" at close range. I suppose in your next post you will talk about facing top MMA artists in formula K1 or UFC? hahahahahah

You simply don't understand what square kamae means and when is used for. I'm not your teacher, so I'll not lecture you how should you practice.

However, have you ever asked yourself why judo folks use such kamae and not million others from Koryu? Well, me, I ask myself such strange questions. What I did notice, that such kamae is very useful when I want to throw someone who is not cooperating with me. Then I continued to analyze why other postures are not allowing me to do it so easily. In conclusion, all these going down to a simple biomechanics of human body.

I need a proper alignment of my body to enter to the attack and I need completely other alignment of my body in the moment of throwing. As every kamae has his strong and weak points, I have to be able to switch kamae to replace, if necessary, weak point initial kamae by strong point other kamae, on the fly!

These are only high level pointers (we are searching here to define problem, responses for question WHAT?), I'll not enter here into details (that would be discussion on realization, so responses for question HOW).
cheers
Dear Szczepan,
Rather than say that I do not read posts carefully,I would suggest you do not fully appreciate my warped sense of humour.When I mentioned a gentle kick to the leg I was making a vain attempt at humour.You apparently did not see the joke.
Now you state I do not understand square posture.I would turn this around and suggest you are not quite familiar why aikidoka use hamni.Then again I also dont know you /or your teacher.
Now as far as Judo posture is concerned please dont try and tell my granny how to suck eggs[I hope this saying is known to you].
Prior to me taking up Aikido I was a young Judoka. In this capacity I met and trained with world class judoka.I will not bore you listing them since in most cases they are either long since retired or are dead.So I think I am fairly conversant with Judo footwork/posture.Rather than ask your self the questions why not try Judo?You will then understand the differences/sameness.
As you say each posture has its good points and bad.If you get results using or adapting certain footwork , wonderful.
I also had a little chuckle when you suggested my next comment would be about facing MMa /K1 fighters.
Unless they have a division in MMA related to guys aged 70+
I think I will give this aspect a miss.Hope you are well.
Cheers, Joe.

Marc Abrams
07-20-2011, 10:46 AM
Well Marc, in your previous post from this topic you was talking about YOURSELF delivering a kick. Are you experienced fighter? :D

Szczepan:

Yes, I am an experienced fighter. Both in tournaments when I was a lot younger and with some street fights scattered in throughout the years, along with a bout of working as a bouncer at a big night club. I am experienced in striking arts, grappling arts and Aikido. I hope that answers your question.

Back to the issue at hand, ADVANCED martial artists can and should use a square kamae as long as the distance between the two is still at an approach (as opposed to closing distance). This is not stuff to teach beginners or even intermediate people (in my own opinion).

So, what about you, are you an experienced fighter?

Regards,

Marc Abrams

NagaBaba
07-20-2011, 01:15 PM
So, what about you, are you an experienced fighter?

Regards,

Marc Abrams
Not at all!
I don't practice aikido for fighting purposes. So I'll be very careful not to enter into close mae if I meet you one day, promised ;)

NagaBaba
07-20-2011, 01:37 PM
Dear Szczepan,
Rather than say that I do not read posts carefully,I would suggest you do not fully appreciate my warped sense of humour.When I mentioned a gentle kick to the leg I was making a vain attempt at humour.You apparently did not see the joke.
Now you state I do not understand square posture.I would turn this around and suggest you are not quite familiar why aikidoka use hamni.Then again I also dont know you /or your teacher.
Now as far as Judo posture is concerned please dont try and tell my granny how to suck eggs[I hope this saying is known to you].
Prior to me taking up Aikido I was a young Judoka. In this capacity I met and trained with world class judoka.I will not bore you listing them since in most cases they are either long since retired or are dead.So I think I am fairly conversant with Judo footwork/posture.Rather than ask your self the questions why not try Judo?You will then understand the differences/sameness.
As you say each posture has its good points and bad.If you get results using or adapting certain footwork , wonderful.
I also had a little chuckle when you suggested my next comment would be about facing MMa /K1 fighters.
Unless they have a division in MMA related to guys aged 70+
I think I will give this aspect a miss.Hope you are well.
Cheers, Joe.
Hello Joe,
If it is true you did actually practice with world class judoka, you are familiar, that they use almost identical kamae like in sword practice or in boxing. We in aikido struggle to have similar agility in all directions as in boxing, and our roots are from sword practice what would be a good reason to adopt all time such strange posture as L kamae?

In L kamae you cant walk naturally in such kamae, can you? Your shoulders, hips, backbone, knees and feet are twisted each in different direction so cant align whole body in the way to deliver maximum power in one point. You cant create your power from big toe of back foot. Even if you create some modest power from shoulders, you cant shift it efficiently thru the joints to your attacker.

I fail to see a single advantage, really.

Marc Abrams
07-20-2011, 01:57 PM
Not at all!
I don't practice aikido for fighting purposes. So I'll be very careful not to enter into close mae if I meet you one day, promised ;)

Szczepan,

I do not practice Aikido for fighting purposes either. I use this practice to take the fight out of a fight. Funny enough, training in Aikido has made me better when I do fight. Hopefully one day, we will meet, since neither of us are fighting the other, the distance should be close enough to train together with mutual respect and close enough to toast down the suds later. First round is on me.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Phil Van Treese
07-20-2011, 02:12 PM
Why worry about "correct" kamae??? In my school we teach from a natural stance---as it would be on the street should you be attacked. From whatever position you are in is where you must react from and not wasting time to get into a stance. From whatever position you are in, you then flow into your waza using the attacker's strength etc against him. Don't worry about the "correct" position but rather the correct execution of your waza. How your sensei shows kamae should be the norm for your class.

sakumeikan
07-20-2011, 04:02 PM
Hello Joe,
If it is true you did actually practice with world class judoka, you are familiar, that they use almost identical kamae like in sword practice or in boxing. We in aikido struggle to have similar agility in all directions as in boxing, and our roots are from sword practice -- what would be a good reason to adopt all time such strange posture as L kamae?

In L kamae you can't walk naturally in such kamae, can you? Your shoulders, hips, backbone, knees and feet are twisted each in different direction so can't align whole body in the way to deliver maximum power in one point. You can't create your power from big toe of back foot. Even if you create some modest power from shoulders, you can't shift it efficiently thru the joints to your attacker.

I fail to see a single advantage, really.
Dear Szczepan,
A picture they say is worth a thousand words.Go to You Tube. Key in Biran on line. View the many vids there. Cheers, Joe.

Mario Tobias
07-20-2011, 09:00 PM
an ideal stance for me is where you can adequately respond to an attack. if you are in the street and somebody suddenly attacks you, do you have time to go to kamae? I doubt it. One of the few colleagues I've been training with whos also has been in a lot of streetfights also doesn't like his would be opponents to know he knows martial arts or that he's intending to defend himself by going into a kamae stance. Going into a stance would give it away and make his opponents more aggressive. so I think launching a response from a no stance is more realistic. Timing for the response/blending for an attack is more important IMHO. If your timing sucks, will your kamae save you?

hughrbeyer
07-20-2011, 09:53 PM
I'm wondering if this whole discussion of kamae is too limited. Surely you don't just assume a kamae and wait for someone to clobber you? Surely you move from kamae to kamae throughout the encounter, starting from before your attacker moves into striking range? (Unless you're taken by surprise, of course.) So really, the question is, what's the appropriate kamae to move into to receive the initial attack? And that, of course, will depend entirely on what the initial attack is.

graham christian
07-20-2011, 10:03 PM
an ideal stance for me is where you can adequately respond to an attack. if you are in the street and somebody suddenly attacks you, do you have time to go to kamae? I doubt it. One of the few colleagues I've been training with whos also has been in a lot of streetfights also doesn't like his would be opponents to know he knows martial arts or that he's intending to defend himself by going into a kamae stance. Going into a stance would give it away and make his opponents more aggressive. so I think launching a response from a no stance is more realistic. Timing for the response/blending for an attack is more important IMHO. If your timing sucks, will your kamae save you?

Hi Mario.
I like it. For practice purposes you can learn the different kamae, whether 'square' or 'natural' and if you really study them both you can learn a lot.

However, once the body is used to moving in such fashion then the emphasis changes. As an example I would say you are now learning to move from centre without having to focus on which foot is where as they will naturally move.

So as you say in the street if someone attacks you from the side then at that moment you are in a sideways on kamae. I bet no ones been trained in that one. ha. ha. It's now about moving and blending with whatever is there and is more to do with the factors you describe.

All things have their right place and right perspective.

Regards.G.

NagaBaba
07-21-2011, 02:35 PM
I'm wondering if this whole discussion of kamae is too limited. Surely you don't just assume a kamae and wait for someone to clobber you? Surely you move from kamae to kamae throughout the encounter, starting from before your attacker moves into striking range? (Unless you're taken by surprise, of course.) So really, the question is, what's the appropriate kamae to move into to receive the initial attack? And that, of course, will depend entirely on what the initial attack is.

I understand kamae as a training tool that strongly influence the conditioning of your body AND influence the way how you execute the techniques. So the choice of some strange kamae will distort the techniques. As a consequence it will deform the content that those techniques are supposed to build in students body. So transmission of the Founder legacy will no longer be possible.

Coming back to your question, every technique have similar stages, and the moment of interception of the attack is only one of them. The requirement of each stage is different when it comes to kamae so you must understand it, learn and know how to apply automatically in different circumstances. It will not come in spontaneous way; it is a conscious learning process.

NagaBaba
07-21-2011, 02:41 PM
Dear Szczepan,
A picture they say is worth a thousand words.Go to You Tube. Key in Biran on line. View the many vids there. Cheers, Joe.
Hello Joe,
Looks like you can't find right answer? :p :D or may be it is a next example of humor from England? :eek: :cool:

cheers

sakumeikan
07-21-2011, 03:09 PM
Hello Joe,
Looks like you can't find right answer? :p :D or may be it is a next example of humor from England? :eek: :cool:

cheers
Dear Szczepan,
Maybe you should look closer?Anyway on the question of Kamae in the book Budo -teachings of the Founder of Aikido[Kodansha Press] on page39 on the question of Stance under notes. I quote. "During practice be ever mindful of your opponents stance and his relative distance:Assume accordingly a left or right stance.When the movement ends , it is essential that your feet should always be open at a 60 degree angle.If you face your opponents full of openings you will be at a great disadvantage.'' Un quote.
There are more comments on posture on this page39. Hope this helps, Cheers, Joe.
By the way I am a Scotsman , so I never tell English jokes!!
Cheers, Joe.

George S. Ledyard
07-21-2011, 07:28 PM
Kamae is an interesting issue for Aikido folks. I think we can basically talk about Kamae from three different standpoints. They are health, speed, and stability. As far as I am concerned, all three factors need to be considered.

Some of the "old style" kamae involve twisting of the foot to angles which any foot doctor will tell you is unhealthy for the knees. Stable, yes, but not healthy. So, I won't do that.

Some sword styles were designed to be done with armor. Their kamae tended to emphasize stable, balance movement because if you weren't stable, the weight of the armor alone could throw you off balance. Aikido folks don't tend to use these kamae except infrequently as movement is the hallmark of Aikido.

Some of the martial arts like kendo emphasize forward movement to the exclusion of everything else. So their kamae is designed for explosive forward movement and nothing else, not even stopping. Speed is the only real factor. Hips square, feet both forward.

Without getting into the many slight variations of Aikido hanmi, they all see to have some version of the front foot either straight forward or even turned out with the back foot ranging from 45 degrees to 90 degrees. I have see it all, and each teacher was fairly emphatic about about the "rightness" of the way they do it.

I would say that the practitioner shouldn't take much on simple faith. First look at the folks doing it as instructed... are they fast, are they slow, are they stable, or do they tip over easily? Aikido requires a stable platform that can be moved in an instant. It must be balanced and it must have the capacity for explosive movement without sacrificing stability.

I see very few folks who see to have worked this out. Folks tend to have either smooth movement or lots of stability. Each has issues. For the most part, Aikido folks are slow as molasses. Compared to other martial arts we move at slow speed. this is especially true of our weapons work but it is also true in our empty hand. We get very good at handling attacks from folks who can't move with both speed and power. It makes taking ones practice to a real high level almost impossible.

Rather than slavishly imitate another teacher's kamae, I would say really investigate what works for you. Find a stance that is stable, have folks push and pull from different angles and see if you really have a ground path. That's your platform for doing all your waza so it has to start there.

Then see if you can move quickly from that position without telegraphing your intentions with any preparatory movements. Can you simply move when required without extra weight shifts or loading movements? Most Aikido folks can't and it makes reading what you are about to do really easy for any experienced martial artist.

When you do move, do you have the kind of speed that would allow you to strike someone who didn't want to be struck? Otherwise, most of the practice is basically ersatz, with strikes that are wishful thinking rather than real.

If you look at how most Aikido folks stand, they are like a car at a drag race that is at the start but has the car in neutral. When the light turns green, the have to pushing the clutch, put the gear in gear, release the clutch, etc. The other guy is already down the course.

If your kamae is right for you, it should be possible to release your movement simply by picking up a foot, with no extra weight shifts or movements required. Pick up the front foot and you are exploding forward, pick up the back foot and you are zoning out. The whole body should be moving as a unit. Ideally, you should be able to move forward explosively and stop in an instant perfectly relaxed and capable of moving in any new direction as required. Weapons forms especially emphasize this principle but not many folks talk about it. Usually, the work is so slow you are not forced to really figure it out.

Anyway, I would investigate this issue for yourself and find what really works for you and is healthy as well. There is a lot of stuff out there that is, according to this or that style, quite correct, but really doesn't work from the standpoint of the three considerations mentioned.

Personally, I had to spend a lot of time on this myself because I was always so big. I am the super tanker guy. If I do not move efficiently I would be so slow as to make much of what needs to be done impossible. Even before I lost my weight, I was able to occasionally actually get my teacher when we did sword. It took me a lot of years to get to that point but it was the constant attempt to do so that made me figure out how to move and stand efficiently for me. Whether it's any more than generally applicable to someone else's body type, I think has to be answered my the practitioner himself.

robin_jet_alt
07-21-2011, 08:02 PM
Thank you George. That explanation was very helpful and made perfect sense to me.

Chris Li
07-21-2011, 11:46 PM
Dear Szczepan,
Maybe you should look closer?Anyway on the question of Kamae in the book Budo -teachings of the Founder of Aikido[Kodansha Press] on page39 on the question of Stance under notes. I quote. "During practice be ever mindful of your opponents stance and his relative distance:Assume accordingly a left or right stance.When the movement ends , it is essential that your feet should always be open at a 60 degree angle.If you face your opponents full of openings you will be at a great disadvantage.'' Un quote.
There are more comments on posture on this page39. Hope this helps, Cheers, Joe.
By the way I am a Scotsman , so I never tell English jokes!!
Cheers, Joe.

The translation is, IMO, not quite right in some ways - incomplete in others. I would recommend that you go back and check the original Japanese if you're really interested in what the Founder said and meant.

Best,

Chris

sakumeikan
07-22-2011, 01:55 AM
The translation is, IMO, not quite right in some ways - incomplete in others. I would recommend that you go back and check the original Japanese if you're really interested in what the Founder said and meant.

Best,

Chris
Dear Chris,
I do not have the Japanese original.Would you be so kind to translate the original and post it?
Cheers, Joe

Chris Li
07-22-2011, 02:24 AM
Dear Chris,
I do not have the Japanese original.Would you be so kind to translate the original and post it?
Cheers, Joe

That turn's into a longish discussion. For example, at one point Ueshiba says "At the end of each movement always open your legs in 6 directions."

Best,

Chris

NagaBaba
07-22-2011, 07:57 AM
That turn's into a longish discussion. For example, at one point Ueshiba says "At the end of each movement always open your legs in 6 directions."

Best,

Chris

Go ahead Chris, it looks fascinating. Please take 5 minutes and translate!

sakumeikan
07-22-2011, 09:00 AM
That turn's into a longish discussion. For example, at one point Ueshiba says "At the end of each movement always open your legs in 6 directions."

Best,

Chris

Dear Chris,
Maybe O Sensei thought he was training Spiderman??
Cheers, Joe

JW
07-22-2011, 06:44 PM
That turn's into a longish discussion. For example, at one point Ueshiba says "At the end of each movement always open your legs in 6 directions."


WOW. I really hope this is not the sentence that was translated as 60 degrees. In case anyone is missing it this sounds like an example of Ueshiba talking about "internal" something or other. But I don't want to add noise to the discussion.

hughrbeyer
07-22-2011, 08:06 PM
Anybody got opinions about where to go to find more reliable translations of O-Sensei's stuff?

graham christian
07-22-2011, 08:10 PM
Anybody got opinions about where to go to find more reliable translations of O-Sensei's stuff?

Yeah. The original translations. Ha ha.

Regards.G.

graham christian
07-22-2011, 08:54 PM
Anybody got opinions about where to go to find more reliable translations of O-Sensei's stuff?

[/QUOTE]To stop the partners Ki before they begin to move and then to direct their movement is not Aiki. Leaving our partners Ki to itself, we take the Stance of Truth; the Posture of Love, the Stance of the Power of the Compassion of Avalokiteshvara, Absolute Non-resistance. With this as central to our intense training, developing our inherent spirituality, together with a unified body/mind, and coming to know the very origin of the universe, Aiki begins.

O-Sensei[QUOTE]

Do you mean like this Hugh?

Regards.G.

Janet Rosen
07-22-2011, 11:04 PM
George, thank you for that long post. It has me recognizing some deficiencies in my training to start working on.

Peter Goldsbury
07-23-2011, 01:41 AM
Anybody got opinions about where to go to find more reliable translations of O-Sensei's stuff?

I think you will find that Prof Stevens has pretty well cornered the market. Apart from translations made by Stan Pranin for Aiki News / Aikido Journal, and the Bieris for the bilingual edition of Budo Renshu, there is nothing else (in English, that is: there might well be translations in French and German).

Thus, if there are any who are dissatisfied with the translations of Prof Stevens, they have little choice but to do the spadework themselves and make their own, as I believe your own teacher has done, and as I have done for my own Aikiweb columns.

Anyway, the Japanese text of the passage quoted by Joe Curran in an earlier post (#52) has never been published. So, in accordance with Chris Li's suggestion in Post #55, here is the text, transcribed exactly as it appears on Page 9 of the 『武道 』 manual (the only difference being that my computer's dictionary, and Jun's too, does not include the older ways of writing some Chinese characters):

--------------------
第二 準 備 動 作

(一)構

氣勢ニヲ充實シ足ヲ六方ニ開キ半身入身合氣ノ姿勢ヲ以テ敵ニ對ス(第一圖)

總テ構ハ時、位置、土地ノ高低、其ノ時ノ勢等ニ因リ惟神ニ起ルモノニシテ常ニ構ハ心ニアルモノトス

足ノ踏ミ方ニハ外六方、内六方及外巴、内巴アリ練習ノ際ニ傅授ス

注意

練習ノ際シテハ敵ノ構、敵トノ間合ヲ考ヘ左或ハ右ノ構ヲ用フ動作ノ終リシ時兩足ハ常ニ六方ニ開キアル如ク練磨スル要ス

敵ニ正對スルハ隙多キヲ以テ不利トス
--------------------

The translation by Prof Stevens appears on p. 39, as Mr Curran has stated, but I am surprised that no one has mentioned the commentary on the Budo manual published by Stan Pranin. The discussion of the Japanese text quoted above occurs on pp. 34 and 35 and includes another photograph of Morihei Ueshiba.

JW
07-23-2011, 02:38 PM
Thanks to Prof G, Joe, and Chris. I was not taking this thread seriously at first and thought that Josh Reyer summed it up well. And now here we are talking about one of the most important issues in international aikido-- accurate translation of the founder.

I saw Stan Pranin's comment on the origin of written works here. (scoll down to comments) (http://blog.aikidojournal.com/blog/2011/03/04/o-senseis-spiritual-writings-where-did-they-really-come-from-by-stanley-pranin/) But I have not ordered that book yet. So, I hope the passage we are discussing is of known "authentic" origin. I'd better get that book!

I have only some low-level educational background in Japanese and some meager kanji skills from Chinese class. So you can be sure my main contribution to a conversation like this will be questions, not answers. So I'll throw them out there:

1. Did they not use hiragana in the old days?
2. I am ready to be shocked and apalled at the "60 degrees" translation. Am I right that 角 kaku would be used for degrees? It looks to me that one should "open the two legs to 6 directions," as Chris said.
3. What does 常 mean in the 2nd to last line (足ハ常ニ六方ニ開キアル)? Is it something like the 6-direction opening of the legs is maintained throughout?
4. Should people like me settle down and wait on this? The passage talks about 6 directions all through it (though I don't know what it is saying) and mentions internal and external 6 directions. This is so rich and interesting, is it true there are no people already working to publish new translations of passages like this? I know Stan Pranin wanted to do all of the Takemusu Aiki lectures but was stopped at 4. Are there copyright issues fighting against new translations?
Thanks all!

JW
07-23-2011, 02:43 PM
the Stance of the Power of the Compassion of Avalokiteshvara

Hi Graham, where does that translation come from? And do you know anything about the original Japanese text, such as, what name might have been used that was translated as Avalokiteshvara? Thanks!

graham christian
07-23-2011, 03:33 PM
Hi Graham, where does that translation come from? And do you know anything about the original Japanese text, such as, what name might have been used that was translated as Avalokiteshvara? Thanks!

Hi Jonathan.
O'Sensei often referred to the kamae of love. Thus I assume that a Buddha of compassion could also be used.

Anyway, in answer to your question on original Japanese text, no I don't have that academic knowledge. I can refer you to source though and you can if you want to get in touch with him and he will answer your queries no doubt. He actually trained with O'Sensei.

I'll send you the link in a private message.

Regards.G.

hughrbeyer
07-23-2011, 03:44 PM
I think you will find that Prof Stevens has pretty well cornered the market. Apart from translations made by Stan Pranin for Aiki News / Aikido Journal, and the Bieris for the bilingual edition of Budo Renshu, there is nothing else (in English, that is: there might well be translations in French and German).

Thanks much. <Scurries off to hunt up sources.> :)

Peter Goldsbury
07-23-2011, 07:17 PM
I was not taking this thread seriously at first and thought that Josh Reyer summed it up well. And now here we are talking about one of the most important issues in international aikido-- accurate translation of the founder.

I saw Stan Pranin's comment on the origin of written works here. (scoll down to comments) (http://blog.aikidojournal.com/blog/2011/03/04/o-senseis-spiritual-writings-where-did-they-really-come-from-by-stanley-pranin/) But I have not ordered that book yet. So, I hope the passage we are discussing is of known "authentic" origin. I'd better get that book!

Hello Jonathan,

If you look at Stan Pranin's Aikido Journal website and scroll down to the blog for July 21, you will see a still shot of Saito Morihiro holding a book. The book is entitled 武道 Budo and is the book from which the Japanese text was taken in my earlier post. My own copy is dated June, Showa 13 (1938) and signed Ueshiba Moritaka. The provenance of this book has been discussed by Stan extensively. It is of interest to note that the much maligned Kisshomaru is uke in many of the photographs that are included with the Japanese text.

Best wiishes

Josh Reyer
07-23-2011, 07:35 PM
1. Did they not use hiragana in the old days?
They did, but things weren't as standardized as they are now. Hiragana was associated with flowery, "beautiful" writing, often used when kanji were written in a flowing script such as gyousho or sousho, or even without kanji at all. It was also thus still associated with "women's" writing. Katakana, OTOH, was often used when one was writing "print" style, for clear, easy to read characters, and more pragmatic matter of fact content. See, for example, Tanizaki Jun'ichiro's novel, "The Key", which is written in epistolary format representing the respective diaries of a husband and wife. The husband writes his diary in kanji and katakana, while the wife write's hers purely in hiragana.

2. I am ready to be shocked and apalled at the "60 degrees" translation. Am I right that 角 kaku would be used for degrees? It looks to me that one should "open the two legs to 6 directions," as Chris said.
No, "degrees" is written with 度. 角 represents angles/corners. Thus 四角 - four corners = square. 三角 - three angles = triangle.

3. What does 常 mean in the 2nd to last line (足ハ常ニ六方ニ開キアル)? Is it something like the 6-direction opening of the legs is maintained throughout?
常に - tsune ni - means "always, ever".

4. Should people like me settle down and wait on this? The passage talks about 6 directions all through it (though I don't know what it is saying) and mentions internal and external 6 directions. This is so rich and interesting, is it true there are no people already working to publish new translations of passages like this? I know Stan Pranin wanted to do all of the Takemusu Aiki lectures but was stopped at 4. Are there copyright issues fighting against new translations?
Thanks all!
Well, in the Special "Budo" edition of Saito Morihiro's "Takemusu Aikido" series, is not a complete translation of the original book, but rather Saito's commentary on the original book, with only a few passages used verbatim. However, the use of "roppou" does come up there, and is interpreted by Saito (and Mr. Pranin) as "hanmi", suggesting that the term "hanmi" was not used by Ueshiba at that time, and that "roppou" was borrowed from kabuki.

Peter Goldsbury
07-23-2011, 11:27 PM
4. Should people like me settle down and wait on this? The passage talks about 6 directions all through it (though I don't know what it is saying) and mentions internal and external 6 directions. This is so rich and interesting, is it true there are no people already working to publish new translations of passages like this? I know Stan Pranin wanted to do all of the Takemusu Aiki lectures but was stopped at 4. Are there copyright issues fighting against new translations?
Thanks all!

I think you should prepare for a long wait. I have never checked, but I have a hunch that the number of people in Japan who have actually read the published output of Morihei Ueshiba in Japanese is very small. (The Japanese who have come to my house and looked at my own Japanese aikido library have been somewhat surprised and there is usually a rueful confession that, no, they have not actually read Ueshiba's published writings, with the explanation that they are 'difficult'.) The number of people outside Japan must be miniscule.

The publishing firm Kodansha has a long connection with the Ueshiba family and so it was fitting that Kodansha International published the translations of Morihei Ueshiba's writings that have appeared to date. However, Kodansha International is largely a publisher of illustrated coffee-table books on Japan--and in any case is no more. They did not publish academic books and a scholarly edition of Ueshiba's writings, which is what I think is necessary, would not have been profitable. So the translations, or interpretations, of John Stevens fill a niche in the market. They do give some indication of what Ueshiba stated, even meant, but omit the background and anything that could be regarded as 'difficult'. (I have corresponded with the editor at Kodansha, by the way, and so I speak from some experience.)

In any case, there are those who believe that the translations of Prof Stevens do indeed reveal the 'essence' of Morihei Ueshiba's thinking (hence the popularity of selections like Perpetual Peace). As I stated, Stevens caters for a niche in the market.

Best wishes,

Peter Goldsbury
07-24-2011, 12:59 AM
In any case, there are those who believe that the translations of Prof Stevens do indeed reveal the 'essence' of Morihei Ueshiba's thinking (hence the popularity of selections like Perpetual Peace). As I stated, Stevens caters for a niche in the market.

Best wishes,

EDIT.
I mistook the title, which is The Art of Peace. The vast majority of the reviews on Amazon.com are very favorable. Only one or two disparage the waste of paper and compare the work unfavorably with The Art of War.

Chris Li
07-24-2011, 02:16 AM
They did, but things weren't as standardized as they are now. Hiragana was associated with flowery, "beautiful" writing, often used when kanji were written in a flowing script such as gyousho or sousho, or even without kanji at all. It was also thus still associated with "women's" writing. Katakana, OTOH, was often used when one was writing "print" style, for clear, easy to read characters, and more pragmatic matter of fact content. See, for example, Tanizaki Jun'ichiro's novel, "The Key", which is written in epistolary format representing the respective diaries of a husband and wife. The husband writes his diary in kanji and katakana, while the wife write's hers purely in hiragana.

No, "degrees" is written with 度. �' represents angles/corners. Thus 四�' - four corners = square. 三�' - three angles = triangle.

常に - tsune ni - means "always, ever".

Well, in the Special "Budo" edition of Saito Morihiro's "Takemusu Aikido" series, is not a complete translation of the original book, but rather Saito's commentary on the original book, with only a few passages used verbatim. However, the use of "roppou" does come up there, and is interpreted by Saito (and Mr. Pranin) as "hanmi", suggesting that the term "hanmi" was not used by Ueshiba at that time, and that "roppou" was borrowed from kabuki.

Sure, what Josh says. I'll put up a translation, but it may take a while, I'm playing with Mike Sigman this week and with Takeshi Yamashima next week. Of course, Josh could do it (hint) :) .

When I look at the special edition of Budo it seems to me that the English translation, and even much of the Japanese commentary has a few problems. For example, in the section on suwariwaza kokyu-ho on page 154 Ueshiba's original Japanese reads "Always turn both palms inward, put strength/power ("chikara") into your fingertips, focus your intent and push down the enemy with the feeling of swinging a sword."

Saito's Japanese got the "strength/power in your fingertips" right, but the English translation reads "put ki energy into your fingertips", although both Japanese texts use "chikara", not "ki". Also, both Saito's Japanese and the English translation omit "focus your intent" part which seems, to me, an essential element - if not the essential element.

As far as kamae, both Saito's commentary and the English translation represent "always open your legs in six directions" as an archaic way of saying "hanmi", but I have my doubts, especially given the other problems in the other translations.

Best,

Chris

Peter Goldsbury
07-24-2011, 02:29 AM
Hello Chris,

Do you have the Japanese text of Budo? There is quite a lot missing from the explanation on p. 154 of the Saito volume.

Best wishes,

PAG

Chris Li
07-24-2011, 02:39 AM
Hello Chris,

Do you have the Japanese text of Budo? There is quite a lot missing from the explanation on p. 154 of the Saito volume.

Best wishes,

PAG

Yes, I know - I mentioned it because of the problems with the text they cite and the explanation provided - even with the English translation of Saito's Japanese explanation.

I have some of the pages from "Budo", but I lost quite a few in one of my moves across the Pacific.

Best,

Chris

Carsten Mllering
07-24-2011, 05:56 AM
... the Bieris for the bilingual edition of Budo Renshu, there is nothing else (in English, that is: there might well be translations in French and German).
There is no German edition of budo renshu.
And the German text of budo is not translated from Japanese but taken from the English edition. And is "revised" again.

Peter Goldsbury
07-24-2011, 08:41 AM
There is no German edition of budo renshu.
And the German text of budo is not translated from Japanese but taken from the English edition. And is "revised" again.

Hello Carsten,

Do you know how it has been revised, I assume by comparison with the English edition by John Stevens?

PAG

hughrbeyer
07-24-2011, 08:55 AM
As far as kamae, both Saito's commentary and the English translation represent "always open your legs in six directions" as an archaic way of saying "hanmi", but I have my doubts, especially given the other problems in the other translations.

Yeah? But if true, that's a really interesting way to think about hanmi.

DH
07-24-2011, 02:10 PM
Yeah? But if true, that's a really interesting way to think about hanmi.
Again I would say Ueshiba knew what he was talking about and trying to point out in several areas. It doesn't say much for the translators awareness though. As Stan has pointed out very little of what the founder actually wrote is out there, It's worse when we consider that the little there is a translation by those so unfamiliar as to make the effort almost meaningless. Maybe it's become as bland a template as the families calculated choice to form a bland, rather generic, Aikido; a backdrop on which to write over what ever you wish it to be and call it good.
To me it's watching someones waza and not having a clue as to what is really going on, and then writing a book about what you just saw.
Dan

JW
07-24-2011, 05:01 PM
Hello Prof G and Josh Reyer, thank you for the excellent replies. I do know of the book Budo (the story of how excited Saito Sensei was when he first saw it is one of my favorites) but regarding authenticity, I was just referring to the discussion of its provenance. Since I haven't read that discussion, I assumed the worst, meaning that I was afraid it was not directly from the founder, but I will set that aside until I read Stan Pranin's comments on that.

Regarding kamae, roppo, and kabuki:
This is very interesting. Earlier I assumed "roppō" was a direct reference to the internal martial arts concept. Now it has been made clear that it could be a reference to Kabuki. (Admittedly there is a shared origin there, but not necessarily identical meanings at the time that Budo was written.) I guess any of these could be true:
- O-sensei was reappropriating a Kabuki term to refer to a specific kamae (hanmi)
- roppō was a term coined in Kabuki (or in the Shinto ritual precursers said to be the origin of the term in kabuki), and O-sensei was writing using that term to refer to an old concept in martial arts
- roppō was a term actually used in martial arts already (separate from Kabuki), like "sanchin," and O-sensei learned about the use of it from Takeda, and was referring to that.

I don't like the first one because in Kabuki, roppo is supposed to refer to a type of walking movement, but in these passages from Budo, it seems to refer to something that is to be paid attention to even apart from movement. So something like the other 2 possibilities seem more likely, which means we are back where we started:
the translations are bad, and also Saito Sensei's comments do not shed much light on the meaning that was intended in the original text.

hughrbeyer
07-24-2011, 05:19 PM
I have to say, it throws me for a loop that O-Sensei was so hard to understand that even Japanese can't agree on the right way to simply write his words down. Still, I love these little glimpses of what he might have meant.

JW
07-24-2011, 06:25 PM
I have to say, it throws me for a loop that O-Sensei was so hard to understand that even Japanese can't agree on the right way to simply write his words down. Still, I love these little glimpses of what he might have meant.

Hugh, have you seen the interview quote where someone remembers him saying that even he doesn't understand the things he himself says?
I think both Tohei and Shioda remembered things to this effect.

He said he is a vessel for messages from the Kami, so he doesn't necessarily understand what comes out of his mouth.

Personally I don't think that is too nuts, but I do think it is very idealistic.

dps
07-24-2011, 10:22 PM
Hugh, have you seen the interview quote where someone remembers him saying that even he doesn't understand the things he himself says?
I think both Tohei and Shioda remembered things to this effect.

He said he is a vessel for messages from the Kami, so he doesn't necessarily understand what comes out of his mouth.

Personally I don't think that is too nuts, but I do think it is very idealistic.

Would this way of speaking be taught or encouraed by the Omoto religion?

The equivalent in Christianity to speaking in tongues?

dps

JW
07-24-2011, 10:33 PM
Would this way of speaking be taught or encouraed by the Omoto religion?

The equivalent in Christianity to speaking in tongues?

dps

Well AFAIK they were actual words and sentences, unlike the speaking in tongues. It could very well have been a part of Omoto's way of doing things.. they did have chinkon kishin practices. But at any rate, O-sensei's thought process and understanding of the universe was Omoto-influenced to say the least, so no matter how you slice it I think the things that came out of his mouth must be understood through the lens of that religion, but I guess we all realize that.

Peter Goldsbury
07-25-2011, 08:46 AM
Hugh, have you seen the interview quote where someone remembers him saying that even he doesn't understand the things he himself says?
I think both Tohei and Shioda remembered things to this effect.

He said he is a vessel for messages from the Kami, so he doesn't necessarily understand what comes out of his mouth.

Personally I don't think that is too nuts, but I do think it is very idealistic.

Ah, Jonathan, I think you are muddying the waters here.

I agree with Dan Harden that it is best to assume that M Ueshiba was well aware of what he was doing with the Budo volume and that he approved what was stated there. Remember that the Budo volume was produced as a practical manual for the Japanese military, about to fight a major war in South Asia, and so we can perhaps assume that the explanations were understood by those instructors who were supposed to teach the rank and file.

So I think the issue is a translation issue, rather than anything related to the Omoto practice of chinkon kishin, which is known about here in Japan and has been studied in a context quite unrelated to Ueshiba and aikido. In any case, this manual was produced in 1938, many years after the practice of chinkon kishin had been stopped in Omoto. It is a further question--and a very interesting question--to what extent the practice of chinkon kishin in Omoto was related to Ueshiba's own personal training methods.

Whoever wrote the text of the Budo volume used the phrase 六方 and Ueshiba was happy with this and signed off on it. The fact that the phrase was used in kabuki is a start, but does not cast much light on what the phrase meant to Ueshiba.

The next question is whether the translation of John Stevens (60 degree angle), which is the only one publicly available at the moment, conveys what Ueshiba actually meant. The Kodansha editors were clearly satisfied, but there are grounds for thinking that it does not convey what Ueshiba meant and that they did not really have a clue.

On the other hand, there are no grounds for believing that 六方 means anything related to internal training. Of course, it might do, in the way that phrases from the 道歌 have been construed as a code for such training. The consequence is that a translator who does not understand IT is judged incapable of translating 六方 correctly (i.e., in accordance with what the IT believers think that Ueshiba really meant). I do not believe that this is correct. If it were correct, and if you generalize the hypothesis, it would render the practice of translation largely impossible.

As an analogy, consider the following. In one of my university classes, I require my students (non-native graduate students) to write a detailed description in English of a bicycle and how to ride one, for the benefit of someone who has never seen a bicycle. They have two tasks: first to make the description and explanation in their own language, in concepts they are easy with; secondly to translate this into English.

There are loads of conceptual issues here, apart from translation, one of which is IHTBF, or IHTBDB (it has to be done beforehand). Unless you have actually learned how to ride a bicycle and have actually ridden one, you cannot teach someone else how to do it. However, this is a different issue to that of explaining in words how to perform a complex physical action and many students confuse these issues and wrongly assume that teaching someone how to ride a bicycle is the same as describing what someone is actually doing when they are riding one.

Of course it might be a complex psycho-physical action, but in this case you also have to explain how the extra element of 'intent' actually leads to movement of the feet on the pedals and beyond. I can think of some Tohei-esque explanations. Extend ki right through your pedals and handlebars; mount the bicycle with a feeling of joy, and assume a roppo stance against all other road users (especially in London). Keep weight underside, i.e., below the saddle. Be totally relaxed, especially when using the brake and accelerator pedals. Etc etc.

Best wishes,

phitruong
07-25-2011, 09:43 AM
He said he is a vessel for messages from the Kami, so he doesn't necessarily understand what comes out of his mouth.

Personally I don't think that is too nuts, but I do think it is very idealistic.

maybe he ate one too many mushrooms behind Iwama shrine :)

sakumeikan
07-25-2011, 10:22 AM
maybe he ate one too many mushrooms behind Iwama shrine :)
Dear Phi,
I have been in the presence of a few mediums who use auditory links to spirits.i have also had an experience with of trance spirit doctor ie a man who adopted the persona of a dead doctor.
Since the Kami are in a sense a type of spirit, it may well be that O Sensei might have been a medium?. cheers, Joe.
Ps Lets not quote the old joke here!!

Chris Li
07-25-2011, 10:24 AM
On the other hand, there are no grounds for believing that 六方 means anything related to internal training. Of course, it might do, in the way that phrases from the 道歌 have been construed as a code for such training. The consequence is that a translator who does not understand IT is judged incapable of translating 六方 correctly (i.e., in accordance with what the IT believers think that Ueshiba really meant). I do not believe that this is correct. If it were correct, and if you generalize the hypothesis, it would render the practice of translation largely impossible.

Translators generally specialize in particular fields for that very reason - you can't translate something that you don't understand well. The more specialized the topic is the more important that becomes.

If I'm translating a medical text, it is important that I can actually understand what the text is saying, or else it's pretty easy to run into problems with the translated text. That's why you often see medical translation done by people who are actually medical doctors.

Then you have to consider whether or not the translators have altered the text for (often quite reasonable) reasons of their own. Take the Takemusu Edition of Budo translation - the translation is clearly altered, with "ki energy" substituted for "strength".

Best,

Chris

phitruong
07-25-2011, 10:34 AM
thought this is an interesting read about translation of martial arts stuffs

http://ejmas.com/jalt/jaltart_kennedy_0202.htm

Janet Rosen
07-25-2011, 11:01 AM
thought this is an interesting read about translation of martial arts stuffs

http://ejmas.com/jalt/jaltart_kennedy_0202.htm

That is a really really good article! and the basic points apply to any two cultures/languages.

Peter Goldsbury
07-25-2011, 11:39 AM
Translators generally specialize in particular fields for that very reason - you can't translate something that you don't understand well. The more specialized the topic is the more important that becomes.

If I'm translating a medical text, it is important that I can actually understand what the text is saying, or else it's pretty easy to run into problems with the translated text. That's why you often see medical translation done by people who are actually medical doctors.

Then you have to consider whether or not the translators have altered the text for (often quite reasonable) reasons of their own. Take the Takemusu Edition of Budo translation - the translation is clearly altered, with "ki energy" substituted for "strength".

Best,

Chris

Absolutely. I am aware of these issues, having been brought up in translating the Greek and Latin Classics. You have to establish the text first and then go on from there.

JW
07-25-2011, 12:02 PM
..and, don't forget 90% of bike riding is atemi (especially when sharing roads with fixed-gear-riding maniacs!!).

Thanks Prof Goldsbury, it is true that I muddied the waters a bit. Hugh's comment seemed general and it brought to my mind this general relationship b/w Ueshiba and confusion of meaning. But it was silly of me to suggest a connection b/w that issue and the printed text of a training manual.

I would disagree on the "largely impossible" comment on 2 fronts. I agree that the ideal translator would have an identical life history to the author. But if the text is about budo, then a budoka should do. We just shouldn't have so many budoka who are not shown internal theory. It is said that there are supposedly thousands of people doing internal training-- even if not great at it or deep into it, they would be much better translators than a neophyte. The bilingual fraction of those has got to be low, but considering the fact that this stuff is teachable provided one really doesn't like keeping secrets-- we shouldn't be struggling to find translators. I suppose one could argue that I am looking forward to an ideal near future rather than practically looking at the past or present.
The other reason I think translation should have gone much better: if someone writes 六方 and you don't know what it means, you don't write "60 degrees," unless "60 degrees" can legitimately be written that way. You could put a literal translation ("6 directions" or "6 facets"), with a footnote that a technical term has been employed, about which the translator does not understand. It is an admission of ignorance that can potentially salvage the translation, rather than a requirement for understanding (which would of course be better than salvage). Maybe that's just personal taste.

there are no grounds for believing that 六方 means anything related to internal training.
I underestimated this before because I thought it was an old term. But at least, Mike Sigman pointed out here (http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showpost.php?p=389883&postcount=19) that "sanchin" is an old term. So beyond poetic license, it does sound like a related technical term.

wrongly assume that teaching someone how to ride a bicycle is the same as describing what someone is actually doing when they are riding one.

I just want to point out how much I agree that this issue is important. I love objective analysis but "what happens" is for me a separate pursuit than understanding "how does one make it happen."

hughrbeyer
07-25-2011, 04:22 PM
On the other hand, there are no grounds for believing that 六方 means anything related to internal training.

It may not. But, not being any sort of Japanese language expert, I went off to my trusty google to read about roppo in kabuki and got this: "Its [roppo's] literal meaning is 'six directions' and the term may have been derived from the purification ceremony of low ranking priests where they referred to heaven, earth, east, west, north and south", which seems to wrap the whole discussion up into one tight little ball.

So maybe I'm just be free-associating, but the internal training we're doing right now uses "6 directions" to talk about a specific way of balancing ki; and my sensei has been using this language when teaching sword work; and I'm finding that using the "6 directions" concept combined with practical teaching of sword are changing my hanmi in interesting and powerful ways.

To find that O-Sensei may have been teaching basic hanmi this way from the beginning is... interesting.

Carsten Mllering
07-26-2011, 05:44 AM
Do you know how it has been revised, I assume by comparison with the English edition by John Stevens?
I just looked it over when I thought of bying the German edition. What I didn't do. So I can't give a detailed comparison.

But the German edition was edited by a publisher who is known to emphasize the "love and harmony aspects" of aikido and also the "aikido outside the dojo aspects".
The "martial" aspects do not interest him in the same way.
He is the owner of one of the only two dojo in Germany which follow Tohei sensei.

This "weighting" of different "aspects" of aikido can be found in his Text.

I remember one example:
There is one passage where Stevens translates - my words - 'in real battle/fight strike your opponents face with full force'.
This sentence simply doesnt't exist in the German Text.
Whether - or how - it is found in the Japanese Text I don' tknow?

Peter Goldsbury
07-26-2011, 06:43 AM
It may not. But, not being any sort of Japanese language expert, I went off to my trusty google to read about roppo in kabuki and got this: "Its [roppo's] literal meaning is 'six directions' and the term may have been derived from the purification ceremony of low ranking priests where they referred to heaven, earth, east, west, north and south", which seems to wrap the whole discussion up into one tight little ball.

So maybe I'm just be free-associating, but the internal training we're doing right now uses "6 directions" to talk about a specific way of balancing ki; and my sensei has been using this language when teaching sword work; and I'm finding that using the "6 directions" concept combined with practical teaching of sword are changing my hanmi in interesting and powerful ways.

To find that O-Sensei may have been teaching basic hanmi this way from the beginning is... interesting.

Yes, of course. Do not misunderstand me. There might well be a connection with the use of the term roppo in kabuki with internal training. However, for this I would be more interested in looking at how kabuki actors were trained and in seeing if there is any link with the training of Noh actors, who also used a very distinctive way of walking.

The Google link you cited about the purification of low ranking priests is from the blog of Michael Glenn, of the Bujinkan Dojo of Santa Monica, but he gives no source for his suggestion. A monolingual Japanese dictionary simply lists the six directions as a primary use of the term, without any reference to low ranking priests. The use in kabuki is further down the list, and is preceded by the reference to the swaggering gait of dandified Edo samurai. Glenn also quotes the AJ interview with Seigo Okamoto, who also discusses the uses of roppo, including his explanation of roppo wo fumu in kabuki. Okamoto Sensei's explanation is somewhat different from that given by Saito Sensei in the Budo volume and this suggests to me a difference in Okamoto's understanding of the term and Saito's.

There is also something very curious about Saito Sensei's explanation of hanmi on p.34. He states that the Founder did not use the term hanmi when the Japanese Budo volume was written, but the term appears in the Japanese text I quoted earlier.

Best wishes,

phitruong
07-26-2011, 07:34 AM
That is a really really good article! and the basic points apply to any two cultures/languages.

yup. as someone who live in two cultures, i can definitely say there are things, mostly cultural context, that don't translate.

Chris Li
07-26-2011, 10:29 AM
There is also something very curious about Saito Sensei's explanation of hanmi on p.34. He states that the Founder did not use the term hanmi when the Japanese Budo volume was written, but the term appears in the Japanese text I quoted earlier.

Best wishes,

Which says quite a lot about what Saito Sensei may have understood or misunderstood.

Best,

Chris

JW
07-26-2011, 11:23 AM
There is also something very curious about Saito Sensei's explanation of hanmi on p.34. He states that the Founder did not use the term hanmi when the Japanese Budo volume was written, but the term appears in the Japanese text I quoted earlier.


That is curious-- my understanding is that Saito did not meet him until 8 years after Budo was produced. Wouldn't Saito have been a 10 year old boy in Iwama who had never heard of Ueshiba at the time?

hughrbeyer
07-26-2011, 09:05 PM
The Google link you cited about the purification of low ranking priests is from the blog of Michael Glenn, of the Bujinkan Dojo of Santa Monica, but he gives no source for his suggestion.

Oops, I didn't post a reference, did I? I actually found the text I quoted here: http://www.creative-arts.net/kabuki/Breakdown/Dramatic%20content.htm and the page is copyrighted by Michael Spencer. Somebody seems to have been cribbing from somebody. He provides an email link, so I went ahead and fired off a query. I'll post here if I hear anything back from him.

Peter Goldsbury
07-26-2011, 09:56 PM
Yes, I found the site you accessed as well. Both sites are copyrighted. Translators worth their salt have monolingual dictionaries and I have an old one. The reference to the monks is given as the second definition, but as an older use of the term, rather than an explanation of its origin.

hughrbeyer
07-26-2011, 10:12 PM
I see. Thanks for the info. I somehow suspected all this was not news to you. :-)

Josh Reyer
07-27-2011, 01:13 AM
There is also something very curious about Saito Sensei's explanation of hanmi on p.34. He states that the Founder did not use the term hanmi when the Japanese Budo volume was written, but the term appears in the Japanese text I quoted earlier.

I personally feel that there is a certain layer of, shall we say, politics in Saito's commentary on budo, in that a) it was interpreted through Saito's own understanding of aikido, and b) similarities with Saito's style are emphasized while differences are downplayed. At the same time, I don't there's much to be made of Saito's statement compared to Ueshiba's use of "hanmi" in the quoted section. What Saito is saying is that Ueshiba did not use "hanmi" in Budo as a term for what is now called the "hanmi" stance; he used "roppo ni hiraku". "Hanmi" is in the quoted section, but it is part of larger description of "aiki posture" that also includes "irimi". One could easily read that use of "hanmi" as supporting Saito's interpretation that "roppo ni hiraku" meant the same as what would later be called "hanmi". My translation of that sentence would go:

"Filling with spirit (kisei), open the feet in six directions, facing the enemy with the hanmi irimi posture of aiki."

(Interestingly, Steven's translation fails to account for the word "irimi", while introducing the absent term "flexible". Reason #3,847 why translations in general suck.)

In my opinion, 半身入身合氣ノ姿勢 (hanmi irimi aiki no shisei) could easily be read as appositive of "roppo ni hiraku". Further, you could replace all instances of "roppo ni hiraku" with "hanmi ni naru" and contextually it would still work.

Concerning Okamoto, I think his statement "I am eager to get as many meanings as I can out of the term" suggests to me that he may not be a reliable source for how Ueshiba understood "roppo ni hiraku" nor for how he used it in Budo. At least from semantic point of view.

And yet, and yet... John Stevens sometimes gets a bit of grief here about his translations, including from myself. I don't deny that what he puts in and what he leaves out sometimes has me scratching my head. On the other hand, he was a student of Shirata Rinjiro, a pre-war student of Ueshiba. It seems to me that he would be eminently qualified to translate such a text as Budo. Here (http://www.craftsmanspace.com/images/stories/geometry/angles_and_shape_construction/Construction_of_a_60_degree_angle.gif) is a 60 degree angle. Imagine one's lead foot at B and one's rear foot near the A, pointing towards D. Would this not be a perfectly acceptable hanmi, commonly seen in various aikido lines, if not the 90 degree hanmi apparently preferred by Saito?

MM
07-27-2011, 09:01 AM
Do you have the set of Saito Sensei's old volumes? If you do, you should notice that the prefaces, written by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Gozo Shioda, Shoji Nishio and another person I do not know, were not translated into English. Kisshomaru gives his own views on the weapons training his father practised in Iwama and I fail to understand why it was not translated. I have translated Kisshomaru's comments and posted them somewhere on Aikiweb, but I forget where.


Hello Peter,
I hope life is treating you well. As for the above reference, did you mean the one I've quoted below?

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=258771

Ueshiba Kisshomaru gives a sketch of his own thoughts about this in an unusual place. The early volumes of the late Saito Morihiro Shihan, entitled Traditional Aikido: Sword, Stick, Body Arts, are being republished, but the ‘Greetings', penned by Kisshomaru—and also by Shioda Gozo and Nishio Shoji, were not originally translated into English. Kisshomaru's ‘Greeting' deserves a second look here. Perhaps as a counterbalance to the immense role and influence of Iwama in aikido history and folklore, Kisshomaru is at pains to underline his own training with the sword at the hands of his father. (As usual, AikiWeb Japanese addicts can try their hand at a translation.)

開祖は常に"剣の理合いを体に現したものが合気道の動きである。"と言われたものです。更 に"体術で基礎を体得し、然る後、剣を持つのが常道である。合気道に於いて体の基礎が出来ない者に剣を持たせる事は、生兵法という者になる。"と修行者を いましめて居られた事も記憶しています。故に合気道に於いて一般的に多数の初心稽古をする場合は、剣を用いないのが通常となっています。
 然し、合気道に於いて剣理を体得する事は非常に大切な事です。
 故に開祖は、昭和9年頃から私に剣を習えと指示され、開祖が態々古流の剣では名人と言わ れていた師範を東京の本部道場に招かれ、開祖立ちあいのもとで、真の剣の修業させられたものです。外に私は一般的な剣道も僅か乍ら修業致しました。
 故に昭和11年頃から昭和20年の終戦に至る迄、開祖の演武会等に於ける剣の相手は常に私 がおせつかったものです。
 開祖の指示で私が剣の修業をしていた当時、"其の剣に合気の気を生かしてこそ、まことの剣 法となるのだ。此の剣理を理解する事が合気道上達の近道だ。"と言われたものです。
 最近、合気道は非常な勢いて普及しています。合気人口は90万とも言われています。其の 反面、修業者多数のため、場所其の他の制的で、剣の修業がともすればおろそかになり勝ちの現況です。その盲点を、そうであってはならずという事で、斉藤さ んの今回の出版は、修行者に対し誠に時宜を得た警鐘ともなりましょう。(Saito Morihiro, Traditional Aikido, Vol. 1, 1973, Minato Research, p. 6.)


I'll shift focus here and quote Chris Li.


When I look at the special edition of Budo it seems to me that the English translation, and even much of the Japanese commentary has a few problems. For example, in the section on suwariwaza kokyu-ho on page 154 Ueshiba's original Japanese reads "Always turn both palms inward, put strength/power ("chikara") into your fingertips, focus your intent and push down the enemy with the feeling of swinging a sword."

Saito's Japanese got the "strength/power in your fingertips" right, but the English translation reads "put ki energy into your fingertips", although both Japanese texts use "chikara", not "ki". Also, both Saito's Japanese and the English translation omit "focus your intent" part which seems, to me, an essential element - if not the essential element.

As far as kamae, both Saito's commentary and the English translation represent "always open your legs in six directions" as an archaic way of saying "hanmi", but I have my doubts, especially given the other problems in the other translations.

Best,

Chris

As many people are finding out, "intent" is actually a very critical training element for aiki. Here we have Ueshiba talking directly about intent.

Again I would say Ueshiba knew what he was talking about and trying to point out in several areas.
Dan

and


I agree with Dan Harden that it is best to assume that M Ueshiba was well aware of what he was doing with the Budo volume and that he approved what was stated there.


If we take it as factual that Ueshiba knew what he was talking about, then perhaps we should be looking for what Ueshiba *meant*. As Chris mentioned above, Ueshiba talked about focusing one's intent. We can debate what "intent" meant, but we shouldn't be substituting other words for it. If Ueshiba said to open the feet in six directions, we shouldn't be looking at a 60 degree stance, but rather what Ueshiba meant by "6 directions" as there are many meanings for it. Of course, there are only a few meanings for that phrase in the internal arts. :)

I personally feel that there is a certain layer of, shall we say, politics in Saito's commentary on budo, in that a) it was interpreted through Saito's own understanding of aikido, and b) similarities with Saito's style are emphasized while differences are downplayed. At the same time, I don't there's much to be made of Saito's statement compared to Ueshiba's use of "hanmi" in the quoted section. What Saito is saying is that Ueshiba did not use "hanmi" in Budo as a term for what is now called the "hanmi" stance; he used "roppo ni hiraku". "Hanmi" is in the quoted section, but it is part of larger description of "aiki posture" that also includes "irimi". One could easily read that use of "hanmi" as supporting Saito's interpretation that "roppo ni hiraku" meant the same as what would later be called "hanmi". My translation of that sentence would go:

"Filling with spirit (kisei), open the feet in six directions, facing the enemy with the hanmi irimi posture of aiki."

(Interestingly, Steven's translation fails to account for the word "irimi", while introducing the absent term "flexible". Reason #3,847 why translations in general suck.)

In my opinion, 半身入身合氣ノ姿勢 (hanmi irimi aiki no shisei) could easily be read as appositive of "roppo ni hiraku". Further, you could replace all instances of "roppo ni hiraku" with "hanmi ni naru" and contextually it would still work.

Concerning Okamoto, I think his statement "I am eager to get as many meanings as I can out of the term" suggests to me that he may not be a reliable source for how Ueshiba understood "roppo ni hiraku" nor for how he used it in Budo. At least from semantic point of view.

And yet, and yet... John Stevens sometimes gets a bit of grief here about his translations, including from myself. I don't deny that what he puts in and what he leaves out sometimes has me scratching my head. On the other hand, he was a student of Shirata Rinjiro, a pre-war student of Ueshiba. It seems to me that he would be eminently qualified to translate such a text as Budo. Here (http://www.craftsmanspace.com/images/stories/geometry/angles_and_shape_construction/Construction_of_a_60_degree_angle.gif) is a 60 degree angle. Imagine one's lead foot at B and one's rear foot near the A, pointing towards D. Would this not be a perfectly acceptable hanmi, commonly seen in various aikido lines, if not the 90 degree hanmi apparently preferred by Saito?

And we come to hanmi ...

Why are we substituting that word for roppo ni hiraku if we are going to take Ueshiba at his word. Shouldn't we, rather, be discussing exactly what Ueshiba meant by roppo ni hiraku? We've all read the Modern Aikido translations multiple times and that has gotten us where? In the 42 years since Ueshiba's death, the aikido world has trod hanmi to death and failed to reach any of the Aikido great's abilities or skills. Perhaps it is time to actually take Ueshiba at his words and search for their meaning rather than substitute terms we are more familiar with? Aiki was never "familiar" to martial artists. It was THE secret. Familiarity breeds normalcy. Ueshiba was anything but normal.

All IMO,
Mark

Edit: My post was meant to address the public and not one single person. Wasn't sure if that was clear.

DH
07-27-2011, 10:06 AM
What Saito is saying is that Ueshiba did not use "hanmi" in Budo as a term for what is now called the "hanmi" stance; he used "roppo ni hiraku".
Interesting to read he NEVER used the term Hanmi and instead opted for six directions.
Why?
He knew what he was talking about.
Stevens doesn't
Were his works to have been discussed with a better educated group of people, they would have preserved what he actually said. It is worth considering that even those who read it in it's orignal form didn't know and didn't much care either as stated by interviews with some deshi.
At least there could have been a chance that the non Japanese might have done some research and got a better education were they to have has access to the original meaning, even if only spawned by curiosity.

Another reference to six directions form Ueshiba
Interesting that the only other ten dan he awarded was to a no dancer because he "got it."
I've read sections of a translated training scroll for a now defunt no dance school from the 1780's, in which it is stated to move while mainting six directions and it stated why. That it allows you to remain stable and maintain perfect balance in order to float acorss the floor.

I think it is interesting that the person who translated that was more than likely ignorant of the subject yet purposefully left the words intact. Those ignorant of the topic can argue it is a coincidence, those familair will say, " Of course it is in keeping with a known principle".
Thankfully it was not translated by a budo guy!

you could replace all instances of "roppo ni hiraku" with "hanmi ni naru" and contextually it would still work.
Really? According to who? Words are words and are all equal? I guess all phrasing is interchangeable when you don't know the value of what they actually mean.
Hanmi as a subsitute not only does not work, it will not "do" for the practioner any thing near what the founder was both doing himself and trying to express to an ignorant audience. That he used six direction training as part of an overal model to attain power and balance is what someone who is trying to understand his power would be after.
Again it has a pedagogy in the martial arts. All that people are doing is demonstrating their ignorance of the subject and going a long way to demonstrate it in their budo as well.

And yet, and yet... John Stevens sometimes gets a bit of grief here about his translations, including from myself. ...
...he was a student of Shirata Rinjiro, a pre-war student of Ueshiba. It seems to me that he would be eminently qualified to translate such a text as Budo.
No, not even close, in fact these authors with a passing knowledge of the subject often do as much damage as good; substituting their own knowledge in one area to mask a profound ignorance in an other. I've read any number of books on forging katana that have " facts" that are flat out wrong. And in their bibliographies, we find other books with unchallenged, mistakes as well.
Shirata had a series of power building exercises more akin to what Ueshiba was actually doing and fitting in with Daito ryu and Chinese arts. I have trained with one of Shirata's deshi who did not have a good handle on what they were for. Mr. Stevens is yet another example of that.

Few have managed to replicate the founders power and skill, and the translators ignorance of a training process has helped to obliterate even the few written clues he left.
Dan

Josh Reyer
07-27-2011, 02:00 PM
Why are we substituting that word for roppo ni hiraku if we are going to take Ueshiba at his word. Shouldn't we, rather, be discussing exactly what Ueshiba meant by roppo ni hiraku?Not to put too fine a point on it, but that's exactly what we are doing. Ueshiba wrote "ashi wo roppo ni hiraku". Saito, a long time student who had more hands-on time with Ueshiba than anyone this board said, "That meant 'hanmi'." What we're doing now is discussing the validity of that. Did Ueshiba mean something to do with IP by that? Maybe. Maybe not. That's the discussion. The fact is, contextually, Saito's contention makes sense. In Ueshiba's own words he contrasts "ashi wo roppo ni hiraku" with "seitai" -- fully facing the opponent from the front.

Interesting to read he NEVER used the term Hanmi and instead opted for six directions.
Why?
He knew what he was talking about.
Stevens doesn't.As Professor Goldsbury notes, Ueshiba did use the term hanmi, and as I noted, linked it directly with "ashi wo roppo ni hiraku". Further, it was not Stevens who translated it as hanmi. In fact, no one has. Stevens translated it "roppo ni hiraku" as "60 degrees" (the use of hanmi is in the original). Roppo is left untranslated in Saito's special edition of Budo, with a note from Pranin that it means "six directions" and an explanation from Saito that it referred to hanmi.

Really? According to who? Words are words and are all equal? I guess all phrasing is interchangeable when you don't know the value of what they actually mean.
Hanmi as a subsitute not only does not work, it will not "do" for the practioner any thing near what the founder was both doing himself and trying to express to an ignorant audience. That he used six direction training as part of an overal model to attain power and balance is what someone who is trying to understand his power would be after.
Dan, I respect your reputation, vouched for by many others of excellent standing. But you are speaking beyond your knowledge here. I am not saying words are interchangeable. I'm not saying that "roppo" means "hanmi". What I am saying is that Saito has a basis for his argument given the use of the term in context. Replace "ashi wo roppo ni hiraku" with "hanmi ni naru", and the sentences maintain complete semantic and contextual sense. There's no stretch, no squinting needed. That doesn't mean it's correct. But as of yet, no one's provided a better explanation of just what Ueshiba meant by "open the feet in six directions", and how that relates to hanmi, irimi, maai, and not facing the enemy fully facing forward. If you have one, I'm all ears. So far, all we have is people saying "Well, technically he didn't specifically say 'hanmi'; he said 'open the feet in six directions'." That doesn't address the problem. The purpose of translation is to communicate ideas from one language to the other. "Open the feet in six directions", the direct translation, makes no sense prima facie; it requires some note or explanation of what that term means.

No, not even close, in fact these authors with a passing knowledge of the subject often do as much damage as good; substituting their own knowledge in one area to mask a profound ignorance in an other. I've read any number of books on forging katana that have " facts" that are flat out wrong. And in their bibliographies, we find other books with unchallenged, mistakes as well.
Shirata had a series of power building exercises more akin to what Ueshiba was actually doing and fitting in with Daito ryu and Chinese arts. I have trained with one of Shirata's deshi who did not have a good handle on what they were for. Mr. Stevens is yet another example of that.

Few have managed to replicate the founders power and skill, and the translators ignorance of a training process has helped to obliterate even the few written clues he left.Is it your contention then, that this can be learned from reading things? I'm of the opinion that it cannot. Why are people even looking there? No one's going to unlock the key from reading Ueshiba's writings because he didn't mean for the writings to do that. The writings, such as they are, are meant to call to mind things already learned, the key already unlocked.

And one more thing that seems to be greatly overlooked. Let's review Okamoto Seigo's comments again:
Roppo can be understood in a variety of ways, such as the roppo of roppogumi [six groups of chivalrous young men who used to wander the city streets in the Edo period]. Or it can be equated with the roppo from the kabuki term roppo o fumu of Benkei [a priest of the early Kamakura period and a famous retainer of Yoshitsune Minamoto. Roppo o fumu means to make one's exit with bold gestures along the runway]. However, I usually compare roppo to gaming dice to describe techniques which can deal with any situation from any direction, top or bottom, front or back, right or left, like the faces of dice. But these techniques do not have square angles like dice but are round, forming six (roku) infinite circles. I am eager to get as many meanings as I can out of the term.
Okamoto, who I believe is generally believed to have garnered some understanding of aiki/IP, illustrates a point well understood by anybody who has some exposure to classical budo documents: one word can mean many things. I can, for example, give you three different meanings to the phrase "the sound of wind and water" all coming from the same line of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. All valid, and all distinct. I can do the same for each of the terms "Shinmyoken", "Katsuninken", and "Setsuninto". Sometimes "kurai" refers to physical posture; sometime it refers to position vis-a-vis maai.

Does "roppo" mean the six directions of north, south, east, west, up and down? Absolutely.
Was Ueshiba referring to that when he wrote "ashi wo roppo ni hiraku"? Not necessarily. And frankly, insisting that it does here is just doing what Stevens and Saito/Pranin did: trying to read Ueshiba's mind through one's own understanding. And though you might be more proficient in the body skills than either of them, that doesn't make you right in this case. They may have better information informing their translation than you do.

Josh Reyer
07-27-2011, 02:10 PM
To further add fuel to the fire, we have this sentence from Professor Goldsbury's quotation:

足ノ踏ミ方ニハ外六方、内六方及外巴、内巴アリ練習ノ際ニ傅授ス

A no-frills, fairly direct translation with no attempt at the cruces would be:
"The ways of stepping the feet are outside-roppo, inside-roppo as well as outside-tomoe and inside-tomoe. This is taught in practice."

Tomoe means "eddy, swirl". This sentence is notable for being completely ignored by Stevens and Saito/Pranin. Stevens throws in a completely made up sentence that bears the slightest of resemblance to the original. Anyone want to take a crack at those terms?

Chris Li
07-27-2011, 02:22 PM
To further add fuel to the fire, we have this sentence from Professor Goldsbury's quotation:

m~jnOZAZyObAbAKmۃjX

A no-frills, fairly direct translation with no attempt at the cruces would be:
"The ways of stepping the feet are outside-roppo, inside-roppo as well as outside-tomoe and inside-tomoe. This is taught in practice."

Tomoe means "eddy, swirl". This sentence is notable for being completely ignored by Stevens and Saito/Pranin. Stevens throws in a completely made up sentence that bears the slightest of resemblance to the original. Anyone want to take a crack at those terms?

A "tomoe" is a spiral - it makes complete sense for anybody who's spent time with Dan...

Best,

Chris

hughrbeyer
07-27-2011, 02:52 PM
Saito, a long time student who had more hands-on time with Ueshiba than anyone this board said, "That meant 'hanmi'." What we're doing now is discussing the validity of that.

Acutally, if I understand the discussion, we're in agreement that roppo means hanmi, just from the point of view of where the feet go. I think the debate is about whether "roppo" is a more insightful term than "hanmi", having richer implications and ties to other concepts.

So Saito may be correct in saying "O-Sensei meant put your feet like this", but we still may prefer the older term for the insight it offers. None of this would matter much, except that if O-Sensei's teachings have been over-simplified, then important aspects of his art have been forgotten. We're sifting through his writings for clues that will help recover them.

DH
07-27-2011, 03:43 PM
Hi Josh
All due respect, dont confuse translation abilities with the subject material. I was addressing the direct reading of Ueshiba's words (all others being secondary) as done by a professional translator, who is also an Aikido teacher and is also familiar with internal power terms and teachings.
We agree on what Ueshiba's actual words were. Fine. You want to debate that they are an "idea" open for debate. I am telling you it is an established principle.
I gave you another example of its use in Noh dancing and of Ueshiba himself acknowledging its use, which you left unaddressed.

Just because you don't know what six direction training is does not mean that others versed in it have to explain it to you in order for its pedagogy to be valid.
1. I have stood in rooms with dozens of Martial artists and gave instruction "Maintain six directions in your stance" and everyone there knew what I was referring to. No explanation needed.

Hanmi does not cut it, and it is a piss poor reflection on his teaching to say: .
Ueshiba said stand in Hanmi
When he really said
Open your legs in Six direction awareness. You can stand in hanmi all day long and never accomplish six direction awareness in your body.

I mean this respectfully but Saito, Stevens, Stan, Peter, you and one million Aikido-ka debating it, doesn't change a thing, other than you don't know what your founder was talking about and now want to debate a well known teaching model as if it is debatable in the first place BECUASE of your ignorance.
At last Chiba had the guts to say he didn't get it and didn't care.

Go study the internal arts. When you hear the term for the umpteenth thousandth time along with a host of others Ueshiba used...you might understand his level of education included well establised principles not subject to debate by you or anyone else.
What if he wrote that aikido training must be consistent with the six harmonies.
What if the translator a) did not know the term b) screwed around and had it come out with something consistent with his understanding of aikido be in harmony with your opponent
Aikido-ka would accept it on the spot.
Anyone reading (with a better education) would laugh out loud.

Stevens, Saito and Pranin would not have had to read Ueshiba's mind were they educated in the same principles Ueshiba was educated in would they? Had they followed through with some research they could have fleshed out a broader meaning or better still, would have understood what Ueshiba was saying in the first place..

Presupposing that being versed in one area makes you qualified in another is just a mistake; choosing to remain unaware with better access to research, and information is purposeful.
I hope this debate does not sour what has otherwise been positive communicaton between us.
All the best
Dan

MM
07-27-2011, 05:26 PM
To further add fuel to the fire, we have this sentence from Professor Goldsbury's quotation:

足ノ踏ミ方ニハ外六方、内六方及外巴、内巴アリ練習ノ際ニ傅授ス

A no-frills, fairly direct translation with no attempt at the cruces would be:
"The ways of stepping the feet are outside-roppo, inside-roppo as well as outside-tomoe and inside-tomoe. This is taught in practice."

Tomoe means "eddy, swirl". This sentence is notable for being completely ignored by Stevens and Saito/Pranin. Stevens throws in a completely made up sentence that bears the slightest of resemblance to the original. Anyone want to take a crack at those terms?

Even before Chris posted, I was chuckling at your translation, pointing, and going, spirals! LOL. Sorry, it was just too funny to see another translation of Ueshiba pointing to internal principles.

Dan's post about content aside, I've found that both you and Peter have shown the best translation abilities. While you may (or may not, I don't know) scratch your head at the words you translate, you have been far, far closer than anyone else I've read. I don't know if either of you realised that, so I thought I'd say it, er write it. Thanks!

Mark

DH
07-27-2011, 09:39 PM
Joshua Reyer wrote:
To further add fuel to the fire, we have this sentence from Professor Goldsbury's quotation:
‘ƒm"ƒ~•ƒjƒnŠO˜Z•A"˜Z•‹yŠO"bA""bƒAƒŠ—Kƒmƒj˜ŽƒX
A no-frills, fairly direct translation with no attempt at the cruces would be:
"The ways of stepping the feet are outside-roppo, inside-roppo as well as outside-tomoe and inside-tomoe. This is taught in practice."

Tomoe means "eddy, swirl". This sentence is notable for being completely ignored by Stevens and Saito/Pranin. Stevens throws in a completely made up sentence that bears the slightest of resemblance to the original. Anyone want to take a crack at those terms?

A "tomoe" is a spiral - it makes complete sense for anybody who's spent time with Dan...
Best,
Chris
Hi Chris
Makes more and more sense as time goes on doesn't it? Even with this recent attempt at translating an established model as "eddies and swirls" we both know about spiraling the legs; since spiraling the legs is ages old (and the founder mentioned spiraling elsewhere as well), what do we do now... debate something millions know about and where it fits in with so many other arts? And with whom?

Once again, when we finally get to read the actual words we read established concepts that all fit and make sense.
This bring up another question tied in with Josh's observation.
"Well, technically he didn't specifically say 'hanmi'; he said 'open the feet in six directions'." That doesn't address the problem. The purpose of translation is to communicate ideas from one language to the other. "Open the feet in six directions", the direct translation, makes no sense prima facie; it requires some note or explanation of what that term means.
Since we now have had his actual words laid out, those educated in certain principles he was discussing can understand the clear reference with no notation.
There are possibly a thousand or so modern aikido-ka here who understand that particular reference; both historically and practically
How come his early deshi did not?

I am sure there will apologist who will say that they did, and they chose a dumbed down version to translate for us outsiders. If you want to go there, then show me the use of Ueshiba's correct terminology within the his early deshi's teachings. I have never heard of them or read further references to them. I have read most of the material published. Where is it?

I suggest, (as several deshi also admit) that they didn't get it and they didn't care. and were actually not capable of nor versed in these concepts and hence had no real ability to translate them correctly. Some have even admitted they regret not listening to him more.

We may have some interesting days ahead as people capable of the translation work get more experienced and conversant in internal principles and skills that Ueshiba was actually doing and researching.
Dan

Chris Li
07-27-2011, 10:07 PM
Hi Chris
Makes more and more sense as time goes on doesn't it? Even with this recent attempt at translating an established model as "eddies and swirls" we both know about spiraling the legs; since spiraling the legs is ages old (and the founder mentioned spiraling elsewhere as well), what do we do now... debate something millions know about and where it fits in with so many other arts? And with whom?

Well, it's clear to me - I would think that the case is getting solid enough that it ought to be clear to everybody. There are just too many telltale markers.

This bring up another question tied in with Josh's observation.
"Well, technically he didn't specifically say 'hanmi'; he said 'open the feet in six directions'." That doesn't address the problem. The purpose of translation is to communicate ideas from one language to the other. "Open the feet in six directions", the direct translation, makes no sense prima facie; it requires some note or explanation of what that term means.

No offense to Josh - but this is how we got into trouble in the first place - translation without really understanding the terms being used, and just concluding that they make no sense unless changed into something else.


I suggest, (as several deshi also admit) that they didn't get it and they didn't care. and were actually not capable of nor versed in these concepts and hence had no real ability to translate them correctly. Some have even admitted they regret not listening to him more.

We may have some interesting days ahead as people capable of the translation work get more experienced and conversant in internal principles and skills that Ueshiba was actually doing and researching.
Dan

However innocently it happened - we were bamboozled. Now's our chance to get back on track - I just hope that we don't f**k it up.

Best,

Chris

hughrbeyer
07-27-2011, 10:24 PM
The best part about this is that we have the whole paper trail in this example. It's like finding a missing evolutionary link in paleontology. We can see how O-Sensei used a term with IS principles; how that term was simplified into another purely external term; how that term, with none of the original context, is now the one used and taught. Presto, an internal art turns into an external art.

Josh Reyer
07-28-2011, 12:21 AM
All due respect, dont confuse translation abilities with the subject material. I was addressing the direct reading of Ueshiba's words (all others being secondary) as done by a professional translator, who is also an Aikido teacher and is also familiar with internal power terms and teachings.
We agree on what Ueshiba's actual words were. Fine. You want to debate that they are an "idea" open for debate. I am telling you it is an established principle.
I gave you another example of its use in Noh dancing and of Ueshiba himself acknowledging its use, which you left unaddressed. No, Dan, you didn't give me another example of its use in Noh dancing; you gave me an unsourced paraphrase of a translation taken completely out of its context. I left it unaddressed because I have no way of evaluating the source material, nor the translation with such meager information.

Just because you don't know what six direction training is does not mean that others versed in it have to explain it to you in order for its pedagogy to be valid.I've said nothing about pedagogy. I believe in six-direction training, I am hardly an internal training apostate. My point in all this has not been to deny nor to demand verification of its validity. My concern here is textual. The people here saying "ashi wo roppo ni hiraku" doesn't mean hanmi have essentially been saying, "take my word for it." Well, I'm completely open to being convinced, but so far no one's put together an argument other than that. I'm not even convinced of Saito's take on it, that it means hanmi. But when the original says "open your feet in six directions because fully facing the opponent is full of openings", and given the multiple experiences I have with Japanese budo terms having multiple meanings depending on the context, I have to admit that Saito has a case.

My point, as it always seems to in discussions of Japanese and translation, comes down to context. You folks have latched on to "six directions" and said, "IP! Not hanmi!" but I'm still waiting an explanation of how that makes sense in context. If it was just "Fill your body with ki and open your feet in six directions", I'd be right with you guys. When it's "Fill your body with ki, and open your feet in six directions, facing the enemy with the hanmi irimi posture of aiki," followed by "In practice, train so as to use a left or right kamae considering the enemy's kamae, always completing each movement with the feet open in six directions. Because there are too many openings, it's disadvantageous to fully face forward against the enemy." Well, I have my doubts that your contention fits the context. Again, which is not to say I'm 100% Saito is right, nor that I can't be convinced that you are right. Only that I remain unconvinced. Which may suit you fine. You may have no interest in convincing me.

I mean this respectfully but Saito, Stevens, Stan, Peter, you and one million Aikido-ka debating it, doesn't change a thing, other than you don't know what your founder was talking about and now want to debate a well known teaching model as if it is debatable in the first place BECUASE of your ignorance. For the record, I am not an aikido-ka nor is Ueshiba my founder. I'm not debating a well-known teaching model, I'm pointing out, as a disinterested and uninterested outside observer, that there are textual, contextual problems with your argument. Let me put this way: I'm not arguing lexicon, I'm arguing syntax.

What if he wrote that aikido training must be consistent with the six harmonies.
What if the translator a) did not know the term b) screwed around and had it come out with something consistent with his understanding of aikido be in harmony with your opponent
Aikido-ka would accept it on the spot.
Anyone reading (with a better education) would laugh out loud.Personally, I would laugh out loud, just because that would be such a ridiculous translation.

I hope this debate does not sour what has otherwise been positive communicaton between us.I was intending to say not at all, not at all, but then...

Even with this recent attempt at translating an established model as "eddies and swirls" we both know about spiraling the legs;...this pisses me off. I did not attempt to translate any "established model". I intentionally left "tomoe" untranslated to preserve the original meaning as much as possible. I then added a note that "tomoe means eddies and swirls", which is uncontestable, just to provide some context for people who don't have Japanese ability. If you then say, "tomoe in this case refers to spiraling the legs", fantastic! That's why I posted the damn thing in the first place. Don't assume my intentions.

No offense to Josh - but this is how we got into trouble in the first place - translation without really understanding the terms being used, and just concluding that they make no sense unless changed into something else.No, Chris, you misunderstand me. I'm not in favor of changing anything. I don't agree with what Stevens did. My point goes to notation or commentary, and includes everything from an explanation of six directions to simply saying, "We're not sure what this means." When I say "you could replace 'ashi wo roppo ni hiraku' with 'hanmi ni naru'' I'm not saying you should do that. And in fact my major gripe with Saito's special edition is that there is precious little of the original, and a whole lot of Saito's commentary.

In my opinion, all translations of budo material are flawed in that they can only reflect the understanding of the translator at that time. And that's a moving target. If we were to dump all of my Japanese ability into Dan, the Dan of 10 years ago may very well interpret that crux differently from the Dan of today and the Dan of 10 years from now. So the translation should, IMO, hew as close to the original as possible. But that will create confusing segments, and if possible, those segments should be augmented with some kind of annotation, preferably one that doesn't send someone off the wrong track. But no translation is going to be perfect. The written or spoken word is ill-suited to describe this stuff in the first place (be that IP or EP), and translation just adds another process on top of that.

DH
07-28-2011, 01:31 AM
Josh
What do you propose to do with training concepts and principles that are established, defined and known but the translator is totally ignorant of? Invent your own meanings by choosing the wrong words?
What do you propose when the speaker states he uses this concept, and the translator uses terminology that defies those concepts and other times fails to mention them at all?
I say it's on the translator.
Research can provide clarity to phrases that, taken at face value, at first "make no sense" to the translator. In so doing you can preserve "intact" the phrases and meanings of words that define the concept that will later be recognized by the informed reader.

However, faced with an unknown phrase, we see the translator opt to satisfy the presumed ignorance of a potential reader by re-interpreting a phrase and interjecting their own ignorance of the subject.

For you personally to think that leaves these established concepts up for debate until you are satisfied is of no interest to me. I have debated this with the community for twenty years and the community failed to deliver on their end in person-I didn't.
What you think, what I think is meaningless, anyway. The concepts were old ten generations ago. They are what they are and Ueshiba was stating them.

...this pisses me off. I did not attempt to translate any "established model". I intentionally left "tomoe" untranslated to preserve the original meaning as much as possible. I then added a note that "tomoe means eddies and swirls", which is uncontestable, just to provide some context for people who don't have Japanese ability. If you then say, "tomoe in this case refers to spiraling the legs", fantastic! That's why I posted the damn thing in the first place. Don't assume my intentions.
Hey, sorry for pissing you off. Truly.
You offered "eddies and swirls" for tomoe when you could have offered spiral, but you didn't. Why? It would have been my first choice.

"Tomoe" used as spiraling of the legs in and out is again an established concept. In another translated work he talks about spiraling opposite sides of the body as well. A translator familiar with these budo concepts and faced with a choice would pick words that defined the accepted model, in this case spiraling. As such it was a good example of not knowing what definition to use for a word or description through ignorance of the subject.
We probably would have had a better idea of what Ueshiba actually said if a Daito ryu or Chinese budo guy had helped translate his martial concepts.
Cheers
Dan

phitruong
07-28-2011, 06:59 AM
a question or two for you learned gentlemen and ladies. what is the translation of hanmi? is it natural stance or walking natural stand? they are two different things. natural stance is feet parallel shoulder width apart. natural walking stance is one foot in front of the other shoulder width apart. also, since we have two feet, how do we point our feet in six direction (alien species don't count)? and what are the six directions? i know the IS/IP answer, but would like to know the normal physical answer, i.e. non-IS/IP answer.

something you might want to consider that asian languages are filled with symbolism and imagery, even when you thought it's plainly stated, it's not. take for example, in vietnamese, we talked about "travel to the 4 seas". it doesn't mean we travel to the 4 seas, but it meant to "travel the world", i.e. travel all over the world. similar to shihonage, it's not the 4 corners throw as interpreted by a number of folks, but it meant around the world, as in spinning in full circle.

i am telling you that them asians are annoying. why couldn't they just use plain english??!!! :)

Patrick Hutchinson
07-28-2011, 10:12 AM
hanmi: half-something or other
half-assed?

Chris Li
07-28-2011, 10:19 AM
hanmi: half-something or other
half-assed?

Well I'm certainly half an ass, but I'm really trying to become a full one :) .

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
07-28-2011, 11:59 AM
No, Chris, you misunderstand me. I'm not in favor of changing anything. I don't agree with what Stevens did. My point goes to notation or commentary, and includes everything from an explanation of six directions to simply saying, "We're not sure what this means." When I say "you could replace 'ashi wo roppo ni hiraku' with 'hanmi ni naru'' I'm not saying you should do that. And in fact my major gripe with Saito's special edition is that there is precious little of the original, and a whole lot of Saito's commentary.

You could replace it with a lot of things while keeping it, as you said, "semantically correct". I like to play Mad Libs too :) .

My point was that this kind of phrase is a marker for a certain kind of training - and if you've done that kind of training the meaning becomes almost painfully clear. Now, once may be a coincidence, but the telltales are scattered through Ueshiba's writings with such frequency that I wonder why most people (including me) didn't realize that they were getting smacked in the face with this earlier.

Best,

Chris

DH
07-28-2011, 12:37 PM
You could replace it with a lot of things while keeping it, as you said, "semantically correct". I like to play Mad Libs too :) .

My point was that this kind of phrase is a marker for a certain kind of training - and if you've done that kind of training the meaning becomes almost painfully clear. Now, once may be a coincidence, but the telltales are scattered through Ueshiba's writings with such frequency that I wonder why most people (including me) didn't realize that they were getting smacked in the face with this earlier.

Best,

Chris
I think it is fair to say that unless you have had it explained, it really isn't that clear. Stop and consider, how many Aikido Shihans do you see moving in accord with your new awareness?

Which raises the other uncomfortable, but again obvious fact, that must logically follow, is this new information supports my contention;
Contrary to popular belief the vast majority of his students -including the famous translators- really didn't have a clue and just didn't get it.
Just like Ueshiba said..."This...is not....my...aikido"
Now add the reference in Ellis's Post here (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=288924&posted=1#post288924) where the student Henry (Kono) gave O-sensei his birthday card, he asked him, "Why can we not do what you do, Sensei?" O-Sensei's reply was direct, simple and final, "Because you don't understand yin and yang."
Not only have things not changed, many who do not have exceptional skill, nor any obvious and unusual power are as confidant in their mistaken paths today as they were then.
As I used to say on the Aikido list
"Aikido, full speed....in the wrong direction."
The only difference is that now, today, with greater exposure to information and training, one by one, they see it and are going back to the origin.
Exploring the principles of the founders Aiki.
It isn't popular to say, but even O sensei said it.
It really is a tale of two aikidos.
Those doing Aikido™
Those doing the way of aiki
All the best
Dan

Peter Goldsbury
07-29-2011, 07:47 AM
Dan's post about content aside, I've found that both you and Peter have shown the best translation abilities. While you may (or may not, I don't know) scratch your head at the words you translate, you have been far, far closer than anyone else I've read. I don't know if either of you realised that, so I thought I'd say it, er write it. Thanks!

Mark

Thank you. It is good to know that we seem to do some things right. Unlike Chris Li, I am not a professional translator and nor, I believe, is Josh Reyer. I once translated the text of a technical video for our local car manufacturer and, on another occasion, the text of a lecture on brain death for the prefectural medical association, but I had to spend so much time in mastering the technical background in both cases (Chris Li is quite right here) that I decided never to do this very often. I do not need to do it for money.

However, I do not think that translation is such a zero-sum game as seems to be suggested. I think it is much more a matter of degrees. I think in this way because I have been usually translating Japanese literature, stuff written by people like Tanizaki, Shimazaki Toson, Shiba Ryotaro, Abe Kobo, or Hara Tamiki.

Any translation skills I possess have arisen as a result of having tenure in a Japanese public university. As a professor, I had to have a knowledge of spoken and written Japanese sufficient for handling the very delicate matter of promotions (a professor has to persuade all the other professors to vote in favor of the chosen candidate--and it is not only the candidate who suffers if the vote is not in favor). So for 25 of the past 30-odd years I have lived here, I was taught Japanese by several people, but reading Japanese by a very conservative professor (whose teaching method consisted entirely of having me read aloud the Japanese, make a verbal translation, and then a 'real' translation--of the kind of literature being written when Morihei Ueshiba was alive) to read and translate the same kind of Japanese as Morihei Ueshiba would have written.

If he had written any--and there's the rub. I have Japanese texts of everything in prose published under the name of Morihei Ueshiba and I am not convinced that he himself actually wrote any of it, including the text of the Budo volume.

However, be that as it may. I have not had the time to do it thoroughly, so I might be mistaken, but as far as I can see 六方, as in:

氣勢ニヲ充實シ足ヲ六方ニ開キ半身入身合氣ノ姿勢ヲ以テ敵ニ對ス

and

足ノ踏ミ方ニハ外六方、内六方及外巴、内巴アリ練習ノ際ニ傅授ス

does not appear at all in the 1933 Budo Renshu manual and appears in the 1938 Budo volume only in the passages I have quoted above. I was surprised at its non-appearance in the 1933 Budo Renshu volume, since the Bieri translation occasionally uses the term hamni in English to explain some of the diagrams. Unless, of course, it is assumed that those for whom this manual was intended knew the concept already, for, of course, they knew they were doing Daito-ryu.

So, one can ask: why would Morihei Ueshiba have used the term 六方 only once, and in the introductory section of the Budo volume, which was a manual apparently intended for the use of the Japanese military (the above supposition being based on the introductions to the two English versions)?

Since I have the benefit of living in a Japanese language community, I consulted a few Japanese colleagues about the meaning of 六方. The answers were interesting, to say the least. They all answered that, given the way it was written, the term meant six directions and listed the directions. So there was no problem here. When I pressed them further and asked about the use of the term in kabuki, they invariably speculated that the six directions of roppo fumu meant that the kabuki actor was demonstrating his exhibitionist walking skill outwards, for everyone to see. In other words, the main direction was from the actor to the audience. There was no suggestion that六方was a two-way process, or a balance between two opposing directions. The only suggestion that it might be came from a colleague who practices Okinawan karate.

In the dictionary, an alternative reading of 六方 in kabuki is 六法, which has a completely different nuance, for 法 means law and『六法 』is the title of a volume of legal codes. This is curious, but my colleagues suggested that kabuki actors, like Noh actors, were not at liberty to vary the content of their training.

In a much earlier response to Hugh Beyer (Post # 96), I stated that,

"There might well be a connection with the use of the term roppo in kabuki and internal training. However, for this I would be more interested in looking at how kabuki actors were trained and in seeing if there is any link with the training of Noh actors, who also used a very distinctive way of walking."

In a later post (#106), Dan Harden mentioned a scroll from a school of Noh dance.

"I've read sections of a translated training scroll for a now defunt no dance school from the 1780's, in which it is stated to move while mainting six directions and it stated why. That it allows you to remain stable and maintain perfect balance in order to float acorss the floor."

It would be very good to know more details about this scroll, who wrote it and why, so that I can find the Japanese text, if it is publicly accessible.

Presumably, the same kind of stability and perfect balance would have been maintained by the kabuki actors, except that the latter do not really float when they make their roppo exits.

I have long thought that there is a link in the discourse on internal training between the initial discourses of Kukai on sanmitsu and shugyou and the martial arts, via shugendo, noh, sado, and later kabuki and other arts that became popular in the Genroku era.

In fact I wonder whether there was not a similar loss of 'training intensity' in the Genroku period, when supposedly exclusive 'samurai' arts became available to those who had never had the chance to do the intensive training required for the really exclusive internal knowledge.

Anyway, on this note I take my leave from AikiWeb for a while. I will be travelling in Europe and this will provide a welcome break from the forums.

Best wishes,

hughrbeyer
07-29-2011, 09:45 AM
A welcome break from the forums? Oh, that's cold. :sorry:

Have a good trip, professor, and thank you for your contributions to this discussion. Between you, Dan, Chris, Josh, and the rest, I'm feeling all kinds of enlightened.

Peter Goldsbury
07-29-2011, 10:22 AM
A welcome break from the forums? Oh, that's cold. :sorry:

Have a good trip, professor, and thank you for your contributions to this discussion. Between you, Dan, Chris, Josh, and the rest, I'm feeling all kinds of enlightened.

You would not believe the number of posts I have constructed over the years but then thought better of submitting. Being away from the forums for a while helps one to keep a good sense of proportion and to realize that the world of aikido does not revolve around Aikiweb.

Best wishes,

PAG

hughrbeyer
07-29-2011, 10:25 AM
Oh, yeah. Internet forums are like a box of chocolates. One's good, but too many and you can get really sick of them.

Chris Li
07-29-2011, 10:29 AM
You would not believe the number of posts I have constructed over the years but then thought better of submitting. Being away from the forums for a while helps one to keep a good sense of proportion and to realize that the world of aikido does not revolve around Aikiweb.

Best wishes,

PAG

Of course not! The universe revolves around...me 宇宙即我・我即宇宙 :)

Best,

Chris

DH
07-29-2011, 10:30 AM
I once translated the text of a technical video for our local car manufacturer and, on another occasion, the text of a lecture on brain death for the prefectural medical association, but I had to spend so much time in mastering the technical background in both cases (Chris Li is quite right here)

Peter
I think it's a wise decision to review the technical background in both of those cases. For people who make the written word a passion, I think proprietary technical jargon with known and established meanings would be looked at contextually within their given industry differently than as a random assemblage of words to be translated at face value.

Is it fair to say you achived technical mastery of car manufacturing and Medicine or even all the terminology associated with those processes?
Is it fair to say that any of Ueshiba's translators have acheived the same?

I haven't seen the same due diligence applied to the background of Ueshiba's arts. Instead I have seen a rather remarkable ignorance, disinterest, and even attempts to suppress it. This was done in an attempt at myth making, to set Ueshiba apart as a singular genius. In any event, in light of our well documented realizations of who he was.

I also think too much is assumed of the mastery of those who translated-something which I have taken issue with for many years. , I think it is probably just as wise to seek some technical background on the arts and principles that obviously drove Ueshiba.

On the Noh Dance scroll translated into a book:
Interestingly, I was giving a seminar on internal power and a women listening got rather animated while I was giving a demonstration. The outline was maintaining six direction awareness in a type of walking drill we were working on. My little talk outlined six direction requirements, how it fit in with a Tohei model and what it did to the body and how it affected an opponent. The next day she brought a text copied from a Museums privately published translation given to them as a gift from a Japanese Noh troupe. She was part of that effort as a dance exhibit the book cost almost three hundred dollars)
Think of the consistency in the cascade of events surrounding this text.
Key points:
1. A Noh troupe arrives, discusses and teaches dance (to dancers) and the ability to balance and remain stable and outlines six direction training, a known principles.
2. They provide another schools teachings of the same thing.
3. The dancer remembers that instruction and why it mattered.
4. She buys and reads the museum book that interestingly enough WAS translated by a professional who had expertise in the material being translated and the term and the description of its use are a match to what she had learned.
She meets me ten years later. What I am discussing matches what she had learned and I include the reference to the only other ten dan awarded by Ueshiba to a dancer, She recognized the material, she has a prior background from classes with a Noh school, along with text from a manual.

So to sum up:
You have a principle that is known in China, also known in Japan
Used in different cultures Budo
Used by Dancers
Was recognized in a dancer and highly praised by Ueshiba-remember his words were something like "He gets it"
What is... "it?"
Curiously that man (Ueshiba) also used many other Internal principles of movement
Forty years later a women meets a Japanese dance troupe who explains it
They display a book from the 1780's accurately translated that outlines what it is and why it is important.
She meets me ten years later and...
Full circle I start discussing a term and movement principle that is old and has pedagogy in China and Japan...

It appears we agree, that not knowing the material, can lead to endless and ridiculous speculation. Let's take another well known term (or for unaware translators, consider it a collection or assemblage of individual words) in budo such as "heaven/ earth /man."
Our intrepid translator stares at this strange and unusual assemblage of words...he puts pen to paper.
Educated ICMA and JMA people would find it hilarious to read a translation by an aikido student who starts with...embrace the heavenly spirit while standing on the earth and realize yourself as a human.
It is and was a term with known meaning and use within the subject matter; Budo. It was known by many...except...our intrepid translator.

Kanji and words sometimes offer choices as to meaning. Take Josh and Chris Li's choice of Tomoe.
To Josh, reading the word in context; Eddie and swirl makes no practical sense. To anyone in Budo, eddie and swirl makes no sense either.
To Chris, who has a better education in the principles relating to Ueshiba's studies, he picks the other definition for tomoe; Spiral.
Oddly enough, spiraling the legs in and out in opposition makes perfect sense if you knew Datio ryu, koryu, anything at all about ICMA.
Same word, translators choice of meaning that contextually fits and makes sense to about a million people....outside of aikido!.



Again, this raises that niggling question. Why, did these translators, not know?
Ellis's thread with the interview with Ueshiba answers that clearly.
"Why can we not do what you do, Sensei?" O-Sensei's reply was direct, simple and final, "Because you don't understand yin and yang."

In this case allow me a bit of humor
"Why can we not translate what you say, Sensei?" O-Sensei's reply was direct, simple and final, "Because you don't understand in-yo ho."
Cheers
Dan

dps
07-29-2011, 10:49 AM
Of course not! The universe revolves around...me ‡™即ˆ‘ƒˆ‘即‡™ :)

Best,

Chris

You have competition for that honor.

dps

Peter Goldsbury
07-29-2011, 07:27 PM
Of course not! The universe revolves around...me 宇宙即我・我即宇宙 :)

Best,

Chris

My text encoder will not allow me to read the non-English part of your post.

Chris Li
07-29-2011, 07:38 PM
My text encoder will not allow me to read the non-English part of your post.

"Uchuu soku ware - ware soku uchuu" - "The universe is me, I am the universe" :)

Best,

Chris

gregstec
08-07-2011, 06:30 PM
anyway, there's this not-so-new student in my dojo that refuses to do the correct kamae as instructed. he says that if we stand that way, it will take more time to do a technique because we'll need to change foot. I've tried to explain to him that that's what various ashisabakis are for but he won't listen. I'm not the instructor and I don't like to waste my time saying the same thing over and over, so I just let him do as he likes(he stands with both feet adjacent sideways because he thinks that will allow him to move anywhere better).



Hello. I am jumping in to this late and I have not read the rest of the posts in this thread - so I am sure what I am going to say may have been brought out by others already - however, here is my input nonetheless.

The new student is correct, a more natural stance gives you better balance overall and allows for instantaneous movement in any direction without having to shift weight before moving your feet - we do this in the form of Daitoryu I study as well as in the IP/IS training we do - and since I have incorporated that in my Aikido waza, it works well in that environment also.

Greg

Chikai Aikidoka
08-16-2011, 05:37 PM
Kamae by O'sensei?!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDC23K54XHk&t=4m23s