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Mike Sigman
07-07-2011, 06:07 PM
Just for general discussion:

"Internal Strength" is a loose translation of the term "Nei Jin" (roughly: "Internal Trained Force Skill"). The point is that "neijin" is a very common term, so "Internal Strength" would be the closest translation that is generally suitable.

"Internal Power" I don't know anything about, but it seems to be a term that is a square peg in a round hole.

"Fa Jin" is also sometimes loosely intermixed with "Fa Li". "Fa Jin" is literally "attack jin"; "Fa Li" is literally "attack strength".... the implication in both is a *whole body shaking issuance of strength*. "Li" by itself is just the word for strength and often implies normal muscular strength.

"AiKi" implies a 'mixing of ki-strength' or a 'mixing of ki'. All strength and movement comes from ki in the body (which is interrelated with fascial strength), so a weight lifter can have 'strong ki', but he may not be able to manipulate that ki in the optimal way with his hara/middle/dantien. So if the aforementioned weight-lifter attacks someone who is skilled in 'internal strenght', there could be a mixing of forces which in turn defeats the weight-lifter. Hence, "Ai Ki".

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Chris Li
07-07-2011, 06:45 PM
Just for general discussion:

"Internal Strength" is a loose translation of the term "Nei Jin" (roughly: "Internal Trained Force Skill"). The point is that "neijin" is a very common term, so "Internal Strength" would be the closest translation that is generally suitable.

"Internal Power" I don't know anything about, but it seems to be a term that is a square peg in a round hole.

"Fa Jin" is also sometimes loosely intermixed with "Fa Li". "Fa Jin" is literally "attack jin"; "Fa Li" is literally "attack strength".... the implication in both is a *whole body shaking issuance of strength*. "Li" by itself is just the word for strength and often implies normal muscular strength.

"AiKi" implies a 'mixing of ki-strength' or a 'mixing of ki'. All strength and movement comes from ki in the body (which is interrelated with fascial strength), so a weight lifter can have 'strong ki', but he may not be able to manipulate that ki in the optimal way with his hara/middle/dantien. So if the aforementioned weight-lifter attacks someone who is skilled in 'internal strenght', there could be a mixing of forces which in turn defeats the weight-lifter. Hence, "Ai Ki".

FWIW

Mike Sigman

I don't think that I would say "mixing" in terms of the character for "ai" - maybe "combined" would be more literally accurate...

Best,

Chris

graham christian
07-07-2011, 06:50 PM
Mike.
You've spurred my interest again.

The terms and definitions are very clear and I learned something. I only have this question though:

Who said this is Aiki? Is that a personal view?

Plus Aiki implying a mixing of Ki or mixing of ki strength . Who said that? Is that a personal view, an internal arts view?

Regards.G.

Mike Sigman
07-07-2011, 06:52 PM
I don't think that I would say "mixing" in terms of the character for "ai" - maybe "combined" would be more literally accurate...
Fair enough, Chris, although the implication (as I meant it) is the same.

Mike

ChrisHein
07-07-2011, 06:57 PM
"AiKi" implies a 'mixing of ki-strength' or a 'mixing of ki'. All strength and movement comes from ki in the body (which is interrelated with fascial strength), so a weight lifter can have 'strong ki', but he may not be able to manipulate that ki in the optimal way with his hara/middle/dantien. So if the aforementioned weight-lifter attacks someone who is skilled in 'internal strenght', there could be a mixing of forces which in turn defeats the weight-lifter. Hence, "Ai Ki".


I think this definition of Aiki is not in alignment with what most of those who practice Aikido would call Aiki.

Mike Sigman
07-07-2011, 07:00 PM
Plus Aiki implying a mixing of Ki or mixing of ki strength . Who said that? Is that a personal view, an internal arts view?
It's an ancient and commonly used concept, Graham. While it's a revelation to most westerners, the concept of blending/mixing/combining with an opponent's "ki", it's a concept that has been around thousands of years. Reading the classics and being around Asian martial arts, Ueshiba would well have been acquainted with the term/idea. What's interesting is that once you understand the concept and think "Voila!", you begin to look around and say, "wait a minute.... I wonder if the old translation of 'using the opponent's strength' may have been more to the point of what they were saying?". In other words, there were lots of giveaways like "kuzushi" and "using the opponent's strength", but we all took them to mean the physical stuff that we could relate to in our own ignorance.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
07-07-2011, 07:01 PM
I think this definition of Aiki is not in alignment with what most of those who practice Aikido would call Aiki.I totally agree.

Mike

Chris Li
07-07-2011, 07:15 PM
Fair enough, Chris, although the implication (as I meant it) is the same.

Mike

Oh, I agree, I was just struck by the linguistic details :) .

Best,

Chris

David Orange
07-07-2011, 07:45 PM
..."Fa Jin" is also sometimes loosely intermixed with "Fa Li". "Fa Jin" is literally "attack jin"; "Fa Li" is literally "attack strength".... the implication in both is a *whole body shaking issuance of strength*. "Li" by itself is just the word for strength and often implies normal muscular strength.

Walking back from the grocer's just a moment ago, I thought of a big point that differentiates the "internal" methods from "external" or "non-internal" forms. And that is that attacking methods in the "external" forms like most karate (I won't say "all" karate) cause damage to the outside of the opponent's body in order to damage the inside of his body. But internal forms can damage the inside of the opponent's body without making a mark or causing clear damage to the outside of the body (i.e., rupturing internal organs without breaking the protective bones around them).

What do you think?

David

graham christian
07-07-2011, 08:52 PM
It's an ancient and commonly used concept, Graham. While it's a revelation to most westerners, the concept of blending/mixing/combining with an opponent's "ki", it's a concept that has been around thousands of years. Reading the classics and being around Asian martial arts, Ueshiba would well have been acquainted with the term/idea. What's interesting is that once you understand the concept and think "Voila!", you begin to look around and say, "wait a minute.... I wonder if the old translation of 'using the opponent's strength' may have been more to the point of what they were saying?". In other words, there were lots of giveaways like "kuzushi" and "using the opponent's strength", but we all took them to mean the physical stuff that we could relate to in our own ignorance.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

That's what I question. The term, not the idea. I've seen it mentioned to do with 'some' arts way back and never exactly the same.

The mixing, blending, combining? These words may well have been used in certain arts in the past and even today but they are not the terms mostly used by O'Sensei and thus his meaning for AI KI or even Ki.

He most usually used the words harmonizing, harmonizes.

The logic that O'Sensei knew about these historical and oriental views means that's what he meant is what I always disagree with for to me it's patently obvious he didn't.

That's why I like to find out what your view of Aiki is as different from O'Senseis not to make yours wrong but to see the difference.

It's simple really. Aiki prior to his AIKIDO had a meaning obviously and was no doubt to do with to whatever degree what you say. That's all good and useful to know and do and thus help make sense of some of Aikido.

However, his explanations of Aiki and bu and Budo and Ki were different and it's that difference which made Aikido. Such is my view.

I'm also learning from this that there are descriptions of heart, thus desire leads mind leads ki etc. Once again I then understand where others get these Ideas from and no doubt these are old chinese concepts from various arts.

However I have never heard or read of O'Sensei or Koichi Tohei giving that sequence or holding that belief. In fact Tohei said the sequence is simply spirit-mind-body or ki-mind-body.

This indeed may have led to those old heated debates between chinese and japanese as to Ki being different to chi.

This will at least give you how some in Aikido relate to Aiki and thus see other views of it as different and belonging to something else, whether it helps Aikido or not.

It's all interesting nonetheless.

Regards.G.

Chris Li
07-07-2011, 09:06 PM
The mixing, blending, combining? These words may well have been used in certain arts in the past and even today but they are not the terms mostly used by O'Sensei and thus his meaning for AI KI or even Ki.

He most usually used the words harmonizing, harmonizes.



Well, Ueshiba did sometimes use the term "harmonize", but much more often that's a mistranslation of the kanji for "Ai", which doesn't really mean "harmonize" in the sense that native English speakers usually use it.

Best,

Chris

Mike Sigman
07-07-2011, 09:20 PM
Walking back from the grocer's just a moment ago, I thought of a big point that differentiates the "internal" methods from "external" or "non-internal" forms. And that is that attacking methods in the "external" forms like most karate (I won't say "all" karate) cause damage to the outside of the opponent's body in order to damage the inside of his body. But internal forms can damage the inside of the opponent's body without making a mark or causing clear damage to the outside of the body (i.e., rupturing internal organs without breaking the protective bones around them).

What do you think?


I think that it's a separate discussion, David. I know *why* "internal strength" can do these things, but since I know it will be something "taught for the last 20 years" by some people, I leave it for them to explain now rather than after the fact. :D

Mike

Mike Sigman
07-07-2011, 09:23 PM
Well, Ueshiba did sometimes use the term "harmonize", but much more often that's a mistranslation of the kanji for "Ai", which doesn't really mean "harmonize" in the sense that native English speakers usually use it.
Actually, Chris, "combine" is perfect for what he meant. Or "vector addition". The problem becomes, as you can see, that the intention of the words is often very clean, but the knowledge of the translator is often very sparse. Once a translator understands the gist of jin/kokyu, a lot of these seeming mysteries boil down not to the "hidden secrets", but to the translator's lack of background.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

JW
07-08-2011, 12:08 AM
The mixing, blending, combining? These words may well have been used in certain arts in the past and even today but they are not the terms mostly used by O'Sensei and thus his meaning for AI KI or even Ki.

He most usually used the words harmonizing, harmonizes.


Wait, wait. The fact is he didn't use "harmonizing" or "harmonizes" at all! He used Japanese words, and you are talking about somebody's translations of that. Plus he used religious terminology. And he used references to the ancient literature. It is questionable for those of us who don't speak Japanese to say that "harmonize" is the correct translation and mix, blend, or combine are incorrect. But beyond the language issue, there is still far from a "correct answer" due to the strange terminology he used.

I don't want to put words in O-sensei's mouth. I don't have any agenda. But I really think we have a lot of work to do regarding understanding what he meant. So we do need to have these conversations. And we need to trace the kind of things that he said through a lot of mess in order to arrive at good translations.

Looking at the traditional meanings of neijin-related terms that O-sensei would have read is a good way to do it, and the cultural, historical, and religious analysis that people like Peter Goldsbury, Stan Pranin, and Ellis Amdur do is also an important and necessary task.

graham christian
07-08-2011, 01:07 AM
Well, Ueshiba did sometimes use the term "harmonize", but much more often that's a mistranslation of the kanji for "Ai", which doesn't really mean "harmonize" in the sense that native English speakers usually use it.

Best,

Chris

Says who? I know of times he said so maybe even five times in one explanation.

No mistranslation. I don't buy this historian knows best logic. Historians gather data and should just give their data, which Stanley Pranin for example is good at. His opinion however or any persons opinion given to him is that only. Any conclusions drawn are coloured by the personal beliefs and understandings.

Kanji can mean this and that. One word can have many meanings. Mostly I've seen that just as a way of avoiding what he said because people including those there at the time didn't understand what the word means even if he was to print it on their heads. They can't relate it to what he did so he must mean something else type of logic.

Some or even much of what he said was either translated by someone close to him, in the same time as he was saying it and who understood English very well thank you very much. No looking back years later, no lack of understanding him as a person, no Kanji.

Finally, using Ai when I was explaining Ki and what he said about Ki in respect to harmony shows another misinterpretation in english let alone japanese. ( a response to Mikes view of mixing ki, blending,)

Regards.G.

graham christian
07-08-2011, 01:34 AM
Wait, wait. The fact is he didn't use "harmonizing" or "harmonizes" at all! He used Japanese words, and you are talking about somebody's translations of that. Plus he used religious terminology. And he used references to the ancient literature. It is questionable for those of us who don't speak Japanese to say that "harmonize" is the correct translation and mix, blend, or combine are incorrect. But beyond the language issue, there is still far from a "correct answer" due to the strange terminology he used.

I don't want to put words in O-sensei's mouth. I don't have any agenda. But I really think we have a lot of work to do regarding understanding what he meant. So we do need to have these conversations. And we need to trace the kind of things that he said through a lot of mess in order to arrive at good translations.

Looking at the traditional meanings of neijin-related terms that O-sensei would have read is a good way to do it, and the cultural, historical, and religious analysis that people like Peter Goldsbury, Stan Pranin, and Ellis Amdur do is also an important and necessary task.

Sorry Jonathan but he did say. Hikitsuchi could repeat much of what O'Sensei said word for word for example. No mistranslation.
Tohei spoke good English. His son made sure of the proper translations as he was there to translate.

When it comes to religion and people trying to analyse it and compare this way and that invariably they miss what's staring them in the face. How can they analyse love and compassion and humility when they don't even know what it is in their own language? I don't know of a religion where the major enlightened people of it didn't say and preach about the power of love and compassion ans spirit, call it holy spirit, prana or whatever. The same words in many languages given over and over as lessons that few discipline themselves to understand. No mistranslation.

I could take maybe ten sentences from a thirty sentence piece and ask someone to demonstrate it. Most couldn't. I suppose all ten sentences must have had different meanings then. mmmm. Don't think so. You can relate them to whenever, whoever, however but the fact is you don't understand them.

As a famous modern seer said in music, 'don't believe the hype..'
ha, ha.

Regards.G.

Chris Li
07-08-2011, 01:53 AM
Says who? I know of times he said so maybe even five times in one explanation.

No mistranslation. I don't buy this historian knows best logic. Historians gather data and should just give their data, which Stanley Pranin for example is good at. His opinion however or any persons opinion given to him is that only. Any conclusions drawn are coloured by the personal beliefs and understandings.

Kanji can mean this and that. One word can have many meanings. Mostly I've seen that just as a way of avoiding what he said because people including those there at the time didn't understand what the word means even if he was to print it on their heads. They can't relate it to what he did so he must mean something else type of logic.

Some or even much of what he said was either translated by someone close to him, in the same time as he was saying it and who understood English very well thank you very much. No looking back years later, no lack of understanding him as a person, no Kanji.

Finally, using Ai when I was explaining Ki and what he said about Ki in respect to harmony shows another misinterpretation in english let alone japanese. ( a response to Mikes view of mixing ki, blending,)

Regards.G.

Says me - a professional translator. I've read everything Morihei Ueshiba ever published in the original Japanese, and I've translated for a number of the principles. I'd be happy to discuss specifics, if you have examples and can understand Japanese.

Best,

Chris

JW
07-08-2011, 02:03 AM
But the fact is he said :ai: and :ai: :ki:, rather than specifically chosing "harmonize" instead of "combine" or "merge" or any other English term. The folks you mention translated as they did, that I will not argue, and there must have been some reason for the 10th dan rank promotions. But Tohei openly dismissed the way O-sensei presented his thoughts (in terms of kami, etc. see his interviews), so are we really entertaining the idea that Tohei fully respected the intricacies of the religious overtones in O-sensei's lectures? Combined with the famous "when I look back, no one is following me" comment from O-sensei, I do think it remains to be demonstrated if anyone ever has really understood and interpreted for us the entirety of what O-sensei said. Point being-- I don't see any one english term being correct when translating terms like aiki.

But... this is the non-aikido forum. The terms in the OP are the point. Mike, "aiki" and "IP" are the only terms in your list that are not directly related to Chinese (or older) usage. I get conceptually how aiki fits, but is there any direct link just in terms of terminology?

chillzATL
07-08-2011, 07:20 AM
Says who? I know of times he said so maybe even five times in one explanation.

No mistranslation. I don't buy this historian knows best logic. Historians gather data and should just give their data, which Stanley Pranin for example is good at. His opinion however or any persons opinion given to him is that only. Any conclusions drawn are coloured by the personal beliefs and understandings.

Kanji can mean this and that. One word can have many meanings. Mostly I've seen that just as a way of avoiding what he said because people including those there at the time didn't understand what the word means even if he was to print it on their heads. They can't relate it to what he did so he must mean something else type of logic.

Some or even much of what he said was either translated by someone close to him, in the same time as he was saying it and who understood English very well thank you very much. No looking back years later, no lack of understanding him as a person, no Kanji.

Finally, using Ai when I was explaining Ki and what he said about Ki in respect to harmony shows another misinterpretation in english let alone japanese. ( a response to Mikes view of mixing ki, blending,)

Regards.G.

Are you saying that you think Ueshiba's concept of aiki was different from everyone elses? He felt that his aiki, when he was calling it aiki-jujitsu, aiki-bujitsu, or aiki-budo and especially when someone else named it aikido for him, was different than Takeda's when he started calling it aiki-jujitsu? Or when Sagawa mentions his father taking notes about what Takeda was teaching them and writing "apply aiki here", that this was all somehow different than what Ueshiba, who learned of aiki from the same place, considered his aiki to be?

Mike Sigman
07-08-2011, 08:28 AM
But Tohei openly dismissed the way O-sensei presented his thoughts (in terms of kami, etc. see his interviews), so are we really entertaining the idea that Tohei fully respected the intricacies of the religious overtones in O-sensei's lectures? Good point and it speaks to Graham's interpretation of kokyu as universal love. Kokyu has to do with a special type of trained force skill and you can call it love or donkey or lemonade, but it is what it is, despite any terminology changes. Tohei was saying that in his interview where Ueshiba referred to Kami but Tohei dismissed it as simply dropping of the center. In that case they could both do a certain I.S. trick and knew how to do it, but Ueshiba artificially painted the trick with Kami. Was he wrong to do so? Who cares, as long as he could do the trick correctly? If he couldn't do the trick correctly but did something else and called it Kami, that would not make it the same I.S. trick. The same idea holds true with calling "Kokyu" "universal love"..... the discussion is moot unless actual kokyu skill is being used, isn't it?

2 cents.

Mike

graham christian
07-08-2011, 11:16 AM
Are you saying that you think Ueshiba's concept of aiki was different from everyone elses? He felt that his aiki, when he was calling it aiki-jujitsu, aiki-bujitsu, or aiki-budo and especially when someone else named it aikido for him, was different than Takeda's when he started calling it aiki-jujitsu? Or when Sagawa mentions his father taking notes about what Takeda was teaching them and writing "apply aiki here", that this was all somehow different than what Ueshiba, who learned of aiki from the same place, considered his aiki to be?

Yes. I am.

So does everyone else who was there at the time. Why do you think he was such a phenomenon? Because it was the same ?

Most admit they didn't understand him and they all spoke Japanese. So obviously it was not only different but outside of their definitions of Aiki.

How can you take a 'fact' like someone gave him the name 'Aikido' and say that means x,y,z? That thinking treats him like an idiot as if he would just accept any name and wasn't too interested.

Basically, the past to do with fighting you can understand and 'physical ki' you can sort of get but that's as far as most go. Just admit he went much further than that and stated it was nothing to do with the thinking of the past or how you would like to translate it so you could relate it to other things.

Every time he was asked if it's like this or that in judo, or if he learned it from Takeda, or if it's sen no sen, etc. he answered no.
Maybe translaters can't translate no.

Regards.G.

graham christian
07-08-2011, 11:37 AM
But the fact is he said :ai: and :ai: :ki:, rather than specifically chosing "harmonize" instead of "combine" or "merge" or any other English term. The folks you mention translated as they did, that I will not argue, and there must have been some reason for the 10th dan rank promotions. But Tohei openly dismissed the way O-sensei presented his thoughts (in terms of kami, etc. see his interviews), so are we really entertaining the idea that Tohei fully respected the intricacies of the religious overtones in O-sensei's lectures? Combined with the famous "when I look back, no one is following me" comment from O-sensei, I do think it remains to be demonstrated if anyone ever has really understood and interpreted for us the entirety of what O-sensei said. Point being-- I don't see any one english term being correct when translating terms like aiki.

But... this is the non-aikido forum. The terms in the OP are the point. Mike, "aiki" and "IP" are the only terms in your list that are not directly related to Chinese (or older) usage. I get conceptually how aiki fits, but is there any direct link just in terms of terminology?

The folks translated as they did because they were there and understood the context and tones with which he was speaking so you cannot get better, plus they trained with him and were entrusted to do so by him.

You can search for something that someone ie: Tohei, dismissed and try to use that to serve some idea if you like and then everyone can say 'even Tohei said' How silly can you get.

It wasn't Toheis way of presentation. Tohei was not of that religion. So it's obvious rather than an example. The one connecting factor that led Tohei, Hikitsuchi and others TO understand him was that they did a spiritual practice.

There's one famous teacher who explains quite clearly the reasons why he and others couldn't understand what O'Sensei was on about and says it was because of the time difference and not knowing or understanding the old religious tales etc. He then goes on to say he finally understood only after studying zen, a spiritual activity. Others will know of whom I speak as I can't remember exactly who that was.

It's not a matter of translating a word literally it's a matter of understanding conceptually. To understand conceptually you thus have to increase your spiritual awareness.

Regards.G.

graham christian
07-08-2011, 11:41 AM
Good point and it speaks to Graham's interpretation of kokyu as universal love. Kokyu has to do with a special type of trained force skill and you can call it love or donkey or lemonade, but it is what it is, despite any terminology changes. Tohei was saying that in his interview where Ueshiba referred to Kami but Tohei dismissed it as simply dropping of the center. In that case they could both do a certain I.S. trick and knew how to do it, but Ueshiba artificially painted the trick with Kami. Was he wrong to do so? Who cares, as long as he could do the trick correctly? If he couldn't do the trick correctly but did something else and called it Kami, that would not make it the same I.S. trick. The same idea holds true with calling "Kokyu" "universal love"..... the discussion is moot unless actual kokyu skill is being used, isn't it?

2 cents.

Mike

Hi Mike. Was the term Kokyu used prior to O'Sensei in martial arts?

Regards.G.

Chris Li
07-08-2011, 12:01 PM
The folks translated as they did because they were there and understood the context and tones with which he was speaking so you cannot get better, plus they trained with him and were entrusted to do so by him.



The general rule of translation is that you always translate into your native language. The reason being that, even for very good non-native speakers, it's just too easy to slip up on the nuances.

Best,

Chris

Mike Sigman
07-08-2011, 12:32 PM
Hi Mike. Was the term Kokyu used prior to O'Sensei in martial arts?
Yes and it's used in other Japanese arts, also, and I'll guarantee you that the karate and koryu styles that do use the term didn't get it from Aikido. If nothing else, a commonly known (in the Aikido world) example would be the basic jin/kokyu things that Ikeda Sensei got from Ushiro (karate). Then too, other terms were also used to describe the various ki skills in Japanese martial-arts (Reiki pops to mind as another term for Kokyu).

Frankly, given the fact that Ueshiba came from a very traditional culture, I don't think that there would be much tolerance for people using traditional terms in any way that they see fit. It just wouldn't fly; there wasn't that "words mean what I want them to mean", etc., that you see in a lot of the current western counter-culture.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

graham christian
07-08-2011, 12:53 PM
Yes and it's used in other Japanese arts, also, and I'll guarantee you that the karate and koryu styles that do use the term didn't get it from Aikido. If nothing else, a commonly known (in the Aikido world) example would be the basic jin/kokyu things that Ikeda Sensei got from Ushiro (karate). Then too, other terms were also used to describe the various ki skills in Japanese martial-arts (Reiki pops to mind as another term for Kokyu).

Frankly, given the fact that Ueshiba came from a very traditional culture, I don't think that there would be much tolerance for people using traditional terms in any way that they see fit. It just wouldn't fly; there wasn't that "words mean what I want them to mean", etc., that you see in a lot of the current western counter-culture.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Reiki and kokyu? I know about Reiki and Ki.

Anyway, If other arts have kokyu as a term thats fine, that's what I was asking. Thank you.

The reasoning to do with 'at the time' and 'cultural tolerance' is where i depart as far as Ueshiba is concerned. For want of a better word the whole phenomena of Ueshiba at the time was that he was a kind of martial arts rebel, not a conformist. So travelling that path never leads to him but only to the past.

Regards.G.

DH
07-08-2011, 01:07 PM
The folks translated as they did because they were there and understood the context and tones with which he was speaking so you cannot get better, plus they trained with him and were entrusted to do so by him....

....There's one famous teacher who explains quite clearly the reasons why he and others couldn't understand what O'Sensei was on about and says it was because of the time difference and not knowing or understanding the old religious tales etc. He then goes on to say he finally understood only after studying zen, a spiritual activity. Others will know of whom I speak as I can't remember exactly who that was.

It's not a matter of translating a word literally it's a matter of understanding conceptually. To understand conceptually you thus have to increase your spiritual awareness.
Regards.G.
Graham, your lack of understanding simply makes matters worse and really don't make any case worth having. In one paragraph you state THEY understood him because they trained with him, in another ...they couldn't understand till they went outside for spiritual awareness. Your argument is nonsense.

Arguing translation with Chris is rather ridiculous, you don't have the skills. I suggest you try asking him questions.

Translation
You fail to understand the difficulties in translating. As Chris has pointed out in rooms with native Japanese Budo-ka present;
In the separately published commentary on the book "Budo" you have;
1. The actual writing of Ueshiba in Japanese
2. Then you have the "explanation" in Japanese
3. Then you have the translation that can go either way
It is quite startling to see how many times none of the three line up.
From descriptions of six directions, intent, jumonji etc. All it proves is that many (I would guess most) of his students had no clue what he was talking about. Something which I squarely blame on Ueshiba. Takeda gave him and many others specific instruction. That's why Ueshiba had peers in his own era; Sagawa, Kodo, Hisa, etc.

I would interject here that I have seen the exact same translation problem between two Japanese Koryu teachers arguing over correct translation into English of one principle in their scroll; one saying this or that presents the concept more clearly, with the American listeners laughing and telling the Japanese "You just presented two completely different concepts to us from one sentence. Which is it?" Which started the argument all over again. When the actual waza was demonstrated...the physical lexicon was far more clear and it settled the debate.

It is also quite a stretch to say that you needed a religious connection to understand Ueshiba when many concepts (no not all) he talked about were all over the place in their own culture. I mean; heaven/earth/man, six directions, Kokyu power, aiki, were known. It certainly doesn't mean everyone understood them or could use them, just that they needed no religious connotation. Case in point: Heaven/ earth/man and six direction were known and taught in No dance. I have read manuscripts from 1783 discussing them and why they were needed.
As for those training with him getting and being able to translate? Guys like Chiba have publicly lamented that he was an idiot at the time (as have many of us) and wished he could go back. All he wanted at the time was for the old man to shut up so they could get back to the training. And that training, was the training that Ueshiba had just blasted them for not being his Aikido at all.
We should not be surprised at this. Taking young men in and six years later sending them out as 6th dan is a model for expanding an art, not for making highly polished and all knowing deshi we should be following.

Students fault or teacher
In a culture where may times the Budo lexicon was physical and not verbal, it can fall on the student to try to understand:
A case of three students:
Tohei said "All Ueshiba really taught us was how to relax."
Chiba said "No one knew what he was talking about, I couldn't wait for him to shut up so we could get back to training."
And yet Shirata....comes up with a series of power building exercises that include breath power, the use of kua and mingmen (as was the case in many JMA, not using those terms, but the mechanics), and some other interesting things more akin to DR than modern aikido!
Trying to make an argument for who had the best translating ability to what Ueshiba was saying is hilarious.

Dan

chillzATL
07-08-2011, 01:15 PM
Yes. I am.

So does everyone else who was there at the time. Why do you think he was such a phenomenon? Because it was the same ?

Really? Most only had him as a frame of reference. They never felt anyone else with aiki. So how would they know that HIS aiki was actually different than Takeda, Sagawa, etc? Later in life he used it differently (rounding it out, projections), but most of the qualitative comparisons (the few) sound very similar.

Basically, the past to do with fighting you can understand and 'physical ki' you can sort of get but that's as far as most go. Just admit he went much further than that and stated it was nothing to do with the thinking of the past or how you would like to translate it so you could relate it to other things.

Every time he was asked if it's like this or that in judo, or if he learned it from Takeda, or if it's sen no sen, etc. he answered no.
Maybe translaters can't translate no.

You're being over simplistic for the sake of your arguement or maybe you don't know the situations your'e quoting clearly. When asked about what he learned from Takeda he said he opened his eyes to budo.

Where are the words from Ueshiba himself saying that what he was doing in his later years, beyond the form and techniques, was any different than what he was doing in his younger years when he was taking on all comers and developing a reputation of being this budo monster?

Most who felt him from both eras have quotes talking about how his techniques changed, but you don't hear much talking about how he himself felt any less powerful than he did at the height of that reputation or even different. There's very little difference noted in the qualitative aspects of Ueshiba's aiki, only in how he did the techniques. This coming from the guys who are themselves noted as being most like Ueshiba in skill level...

Mike Sigman
07-08-2011, 01:16 PM
Reiki and kokyu? I know about Reiki and Ki. Sometimes Kokyu-ho Undo would be called Reiki-no Undo. You have to understand that "kokyu" is essentially a physical expression of "Ki", in the traditional perspective. I.e., if you're pushing on an unmovable Ueshiba or Tohei, it would be perfectly correct to say he is demonstrating his "ki" or his "kokyu". Hence a kokyu-nage still uses "ki", although by usage, no one would call it a "ki throw" (AFAIK), since that tends to indicate the throws where you get an opponent to commit his forces (generally, his "ki", also) and throw himself.
The reasoning to do with 'at the time' and 'cultural tolerance' is where i depart as far as Ueshiba is concerned. For want of a better word the whole phenomena of Ueshiba at the time was that he was a kind of martial arts rebel, not a conformist. So travelling that path never leads to him but only to the past.
Mmmmmm.... I think you can be a strict adherent to tradition and still be innovative, aggressive, etc. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your point, but you seem to be under the impression that IF Ueshiba used a large number of terms idiosyncratically and apart from the general usage (something unproven, at best), then it's OK for others to do the same? Or if others use terms to mean other things it might somehow be in accord with any purported non-traditional usage that Ueshiba *might* have used? I'm not sure I understand the gist of what you're looking for. I do know that Ueshiba's douka's, written references, etc., indicated a fairly rigorous agreement with the Chinese classics (which he also studied, as did most well-schooled Japanese).

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

graham christian
07-08-2011, 01:38 PM
Graham, your lack of understanding simply make matters worse and really don't make any case worth having. In one paragraph you state THEY understood him because they trained with him, in another ...they couldn't understand till they went outside for spiritual awareness. Your argument is nonsense.

Arguing translation with Chris is rather ridiculous, you don't have the skills. I suggest you try asking him questions.

Translation
You fail to understand the difficulties in translating. As Chris has pointed out in rooms with native Japanese Budo-ka present;
In the separately published commentary on the book "Budo" you have;
1. The actual writing of Ueshiba in Japanese
2. Then you have the "explanation" in Japanese
3. Then you have the translation that can go either way
It is quite startling to see how many times none of the three line up.
From descriptions of six directions, intent, jumonji etc. All it proves is that many (I would guess most) of his students had no clue what he was talking about. Something which I squarely blame on Ueshiba. Takeda gave him and many others specific instruction. Thats why Ueshiba had peers in his own era; Sagawa, Kodo, Hisa, etc.
I would interject here that I have seen the exact same translation problem between two Japanese Koryu teachers arguing over correct translation into English of one principle in their scroll; one saying this or that presents the concept more clearly, with the American listeners laughing and telling the Japanese "You just presented two completely different concepts to us from one sentence. Which is it?" Which started the argument all over again.
When the time came for the actual waza...the physical lexicon was far more clear and it settled the debate.

It is also quite a stretch to say that you needed a religious connection to understand Ueshiba when many concepts (no not all) he talked about were all over the place in their own culture. I mean; heaven/earth/man, six directions, Kokyu power, aiki, were known. It certainly doesn't mean everyone understood them or could use them, just that they needed no religious connotation. Case in point: Heaven/ earth/man and six direction were known and taught in No dance. I have read manuscripts from 1783 discussing them and why they were needed.
As for those training with him getting and being able to translate? Guys like Chiba have publicly lamented that he was an idiot at the time (as have many of us) and wished he could go back. All he wanted at the time was for the old man to shut up so they could get back to the training. And that training, was the training that Ueshiba had just blasted them for not being his Aikido at all.
We should not be surprised at this. Taking young men in and six years later sending them out as 6th dan is a model for expanding an art, not for making highly polished and all knowing deshi we should be following.

Students fault or teacher
In a culture where may times the Budo lexicon was physical and not verbal, it can fall on the student to try to understand:
Three students
Tohei said "All Ueshiba really taught us was how to relax."
Chiba "No one knew what he was talking about, I couldn't wait for him to shut up so we could get back to training."
And yet Shirata....comes up with a series of power building exercises that include breath power, the use of kua and mingmen (as was the case in many JMA, not using those terms, but the mechanics), and some other interesting things more akin to DR than modern aikido!
Trying to make an argument for who had the best translating ability to what Ueshiba was saying is hilarious.

Dan

Ah Dan. Back on speaking terms are we? That's nice.

Differenciation please. His son translated and of course he understood him better than many. Tohei understood as he was a spiritual person and also translated sometimes. The ones who said they didn't understand him, of which there are many are the ones I am referring to when saying that. The teacher who studied zen later and then understood was yet another point.

FOUR SEPARATE POINTS. Surely that's clear enough isn't it?

It may be hilarious to you Dan but I could demonstrate that you couldn't translate English if I asked you to do something using plain english.

You don't seem to be aware enough to understand my english. You think I am saying I know more about translating Japanese than Chris. Anyway, it's a nice surprise to hear your explosive expertise.

Regards.G.

JW
07-08-2011, 01:48 PM
It's not a matter of translating a word literally it's a matter of understanding conceptually.

Well I think that's something we all agree on. So I am not going to cling to any specific translation. In terms of actual practice-- "harmonize" and "combine" both are fine. They're just different ways of describing something. And to really describe it you are going to need more than a few words.

Other than a few books I've read in the past, I am not of the same background as Mike. Despite this lack of shared background I've never thought what he is saying is in any way in conflict with what we do in aikido, when you fully interpret the entirety of what is being said. Just my personal impression.

Keith Larman
07-08-2011, 02:14 PM
One thing I find rather hilarious about this discussion is that we've discussed rather extensively what the word "harmony" means just in English. It is hard to come up with a consensus on that word alone.

For instance...

The combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect
- four-part harmony in the barbershop style
- the note played on the fourth beat anticipates the harmony of the following bar

The study or composition of musical harmony

The quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole
- delightful cities where old and new blend in harmony

An arrangement of the four Gospels, or of any parallel narratives, that presents a single continuous narrative text

Agreement or concord
- man and machine in perfect harmony

Okay, four or more definitions there. No translation issues yet. Just the word harmony. For me, classically trained in music, well, I will immediately focus in on asking what "pleasing" means. I find that requires some explication because singing in harmony and finding that pleasing assumes a musical system and context. It's like being raised on western classical music but then hearing music from some far away land that uses different notes and intervals. What is "harmonious" to my ears may not be pleasing to theirs and vice versa. So the whole "pleasing" aspect is firmly entrenches in some larger context.

My point here is that if you look further in the definitions you'll find words like "agreement" or "concord". "Man and machine in perfect harmony". That doesn't sound particularly like "pleasing" has anything to do with it. It's more about matching up, blending, fitting, or combining.

So to me, with a musical background, I don't necessarily associate pleasing as part of harmony. I find it pleasing sometimes depending on context, but it can still be in harmony and not be something I like. Harmony in a "key" sense might mean in the same key but different notes. Harmony in a rhythmic sense may mean simultaneous but not necessarily the same key, i.e., "they were playing the dissonant chord in harmony with each other."

So here you'll find people disagreeing as to whether harmony carries connotations of being "pleasing". It doesn't always. So which "harmony" are you talking about? Which harmony better "maps" to what ai means in Japanese? If the Japanese word doesn't necessarily carry the connotation of "pleasing" then a lot of the stuff that folk here in the west say about the meaning of "ai" is not-so-subtly off target. And that aspect is simply because we don't even agree on the meaning of the word harmony ourselves!

I would suggest paying attention to those who actually speak the language and also practice the art extensively. Things don't always "map" to each other well. Sometimes it's better to say "ai" kinda means something like harmony, combining, fitting (glove meet hand), etc. It may not carry all the connotations of the translated word. And understanding that requires some subtle and careful consideration.

And it most certainly means trying to avoid picking and choosing meanings that fit with what *you* want it to mean because it best fits what *you* would like it to be. Conformation bias among other things.

To go another direction, a teacher of mine outside martial arts, Japanese native, explained "Ai" in this context to me like this. We were having a lovely lunch at a local family run Japanese restaurant. She reached out and grabbed her bowl of miso soup. These weren't industrial, plastic bowls but lovely hand made bowls with lovely lids. The lids fit perfectly sealing up the bowl, keeping the soup hot. She said "This is ai -- see how they fit? See how they work together as a whole? See how this lid doesn't fit your bowl? It only fits this one. When it is on the right bowl that is ai. And there is nothing more than that -- it just 'is'."

FWIW.

Mike Sigman
07-08-2011, 02:23 PM
Looks like the focus is on the word "Aiki". One comment I'd make is that I asked a native-born Chinese friend of mine (who's done martial arts his whole life) what he thought about the kanji for "Aikido". He said he was familiar with it and while the meaning is obvious (about the combining with an opponent's forces), it's wouldn't be the combination of kanji that a Chinese speaker would use. Point is that a lot of these arguments about what "aiki" is supposed to mean are probably overdone and it wouldn't really be an issue among competent martial-artists with internal strength skills.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

graham christian
07-08-2011, 04:34 PM
Looks like the focus is on the word "Aiki". One comment I'd make is that I asked a native-born Chinese friend of mine (who's done martial arts his whole life) what he thought about the kanji for "Aikido". He said he was familiar with it and while the meaning is obvious (about the combining with an opponent's forces), it's wouldn't be the combination of kanji that a Chinese speaker would use. Point is that a lot of these arguments about what "aiki" is supposed to mean are probably overdone and it wouldn't really be an issue among competent martial-artists with internal strength skills.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Hi Mike. That's true, the focus was on the term as well as Ki and Kokyu and basically me interested in your view.

The problem with communication is not only translation. It's also to do with reality, different realities on the same thing. I like to hear others different realities.

When it comes to Ki or Kokyu it's interesting to hear others realities as well as harmony etc.

Many times it's not the same as mine. However I do know mine and apply it every day. Hopefully they do theirs.

The biggest reality is in real life. By hearing what others mean I can then relate it to people from the past I have shared training with and so see the difference.

I witnessed a hilarious event only two years ago to do with Ki verses chi. I was teaching Aikido after a Tai Chi class by some chinese Teacher.

As one of my students was also doing this Tai Chi I had turned up early to see how he was getting on. Because of this I think it caused one guy to tell another he knew Ki and another to argue with him that it's not the same and they proceeded to try and prove it to each other. For me it was very funny but I kept my laugh inside and tried to be 'invisible' and just wait for them all to get changed and leave.

It went from one scene to another. Now the teacher had got involved which led my student to ask him some questions and so he proceeded to show him. It was all very interesting from the side lines but I thought 'oh no, he seems to be trying to show me how superior chi is. I won't say what happened next but it does show how this superior and prove rubbish is pure stupidity. But people love it.

Regards.G.

Mike Sigman
07-08-2011, 06:10 PM
The problem with communication is not only translation. It's also to do with reality, different realities on the same thing. I like to hear others different realities.
Well, anecdotes aside (I can tell plenty of my own), I don't think there are a lot of equally valid "realities". If you go back 6 or so years when I started posting a fair amount on AikiWeb, you can check that my "realities" haven't changed a bit nor am I now preaching anything new or revelatory in relation to my initial posts: the reason is to avoid this idea that there are changing realities and that each version or viewpoint is equally valid, depending upon your point of view.

Most of these things are fixed in stone (and the logic and results can be demonstrated), even though to the uninitiated it might appear that different 'opinions' or 'realities' can be valid.

I'm always open to valid and demonstrable argument, but when it comes to opinion or assertion on a superficial level I'm afraid that I'm not much of a player. If someone is thrown with "universal love", fine, but as they say in Missouri, "Show Me". If we're reduced, as is typical on many martial arts forums to "my theory is as valid as yours and I can kick anyone's butt to prove it" (professional fighters excepted), then I have to say what they say in California: "Passadena".

FWIW

Mike Sigman

George S. Ledyard
07-08-2011, 08:38 PM
As the Taoists said, "He who knows, does not speak. And he who speaks, does not know." The problem, with the forums is the everyone speaks. So, how do you sort it out? The only way is to feel it.

What gets me is that there are son many folks willing to argue these points based on ZERO personal knowledge. Dan H was in England... to my knowledge none of the folks who perpetually argue with him about these things attended. I assume it was the same when Mike taught overseas since I hadn't heard different. I think folks should take the example of Ron and Mary seriously. We had a number of discussions on-line and they showed up when I taught somewhat near them. It was clear that they had to go our of their way to do so. So they now can talk knowledgeably about what I do. We don't have to agree nor does anyone have to change anything he or she is doing. But we can now have a discussion which goes beyond strongly held opinions based on no information.

Some of these discussions remind me of talks I had with a friend from college who was "born again". He did not believe in evolution. You'd ask why the fossil record showed different and he'd say "it's a mystery." You'd ask where'd the fossils come from, he'd say God put them there. You'd ask "why would he do that? He'd reply, "It's a mystery." You have people here who are genuine experts in a certain area. People who know little or nothing in that area argue with them that they understand. When told that from everything they say it is clear they do not know, they simply reply they do.
It's idiotic.

Chris Li is an expert on the Japanese language, and unlike most translators has extensive knowledge of Aikido as a practitioner and has also studied Aikido more from an academic standpoint. Yet a person having few of these qualifications is going to sit down and argue with him about a point that he is in a perfect position to have an expert and informed opinion about.

I have no problem with arguing with Mike and Dan about what Aikido is and is not or what it could or should be. I can hold my own with most on the history angle and am happy to debate about areas where I have a different interpretation.

I try not to get into discussions at all about things that I either know nothing about or have only a remedial understanding of. I think the folks who post here should take the trouble to get some in person, hands on exposure to one of these folks so you understand what they are talking about. Take the trouble to read a single book like Ellis Amdur's Hidden in Plain Sight. We wouldn't be having some of these circular, never going anywhere discussions if more folks bothered to be informed about what they are talking about.

stan baker
07-08-2011, 08:59 PM
If you looked at what George wrote read it again

stan

Mike Sigman
07-08-2011, 08:59 PM
As the Taoists said, "He who knows, does not speak. And he who speaks, does not know." The problem, with the forums is the everyone speaks. So, how do you sort it out? The only way is to feel it.
I dunno.... we went through a lot of this back in the 80's and 90's in the CMA's already. What happened generally was that the strong guys who could toss long-term "Tai Chi", etc., people around convinced them that what they were doing was the Real Stuff (tm). So a lot of people took off along that route instead of going to people with world-class expertise (e.g., Chen Xiaowang, Feng, and other people). What ultimately happened was that most of the enthusiasts wound up, after a few years, in dead ends. The real giveaway was then, and now, that the conversations stuck with the 'western masters' rather than where it belonged with the legitimate Asian experts. That would be my first suggestion (and it has been for years).... go see and feel the guys with world-recognized mastery and thus begin your comparison.

The comment about the Tao is more along the lines that it's very hard to describe by oral methods and needs to be felt, etc., to be understood. The problem tends to be now and was before (from my own observations) was that many people who claimed to be "seniors", "experts", and "teachers" were actually not very experienced in real martial arts and, in the case of the CMA in recent years, easily convinced by every White Crane, etc., master (usually just strong amateurs) that they were showing the Real Stuff (tm). Again, the real problem, IMO, was that they didn't bother to cross-check against the real big-dogs but instead stayed in the amateur ranks.

The solution.... don't stay in the amateur arena; go get a serious feel for some of the real experts in "internal martial arts", see what their bodies/strength feels like, etc., and then work your way back down into the art of your choice. Once you really know what "iron in cotton" etc., feels like, then you can make better choices of what is and isn't "internal strength". Make the jump up to the high so that you can define what the real thing is about and then sort out the best route to what you want to learn. IME most people aren't interested in any of this anyway, but the ones that are will be wasting their time to work their way UP the chain when they should go to the top and then work downward. I've given this type of advice for many years/decades and I think it still stands up.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

On the other hand, a lot of people have no idea what they're seeing and feeling and that's why so many real Asian experts just shrug off so much.

George S. Ledyard
07-08-2011, 09:21 PM
I dunno.... we went through a lot of this back in the 80's and 90's in the CMA's already. What happened generally was that the strong guys who could toss long-term "Tai Chi", etc., people around convinced them that what they were doing was the Real Stuff (tm). So a lot of people took off along that route instead of going to people with world-class expertise (e.g., Chen Xiaowang, Feng, and other people). What ultimately happened was that most of the enthusiasts wound up, after a few years, in dead ends. The real giveaway was then, and now, that the conversations stuck with the 'western masters' rather than where it belonged with the legitimate Asian experts. That would be my first suggestion (and it has been for years).... go see and feel the guys with world-recognized mastery and thus begin your comparison.

The comment about the Tao is more along the lines that it's very hard to describe by oral methods and needs to be felt, etc., to be understood. The problem tends to be now and was before (from my own observations) was that many people who claimed to be "seniors", "experts", and "teachers" were actually not very experienced in real martial arts and, in the case of the CMA in recent years, easily convinced by every White Crane, etc., master (usually just strong amateurs) that they were showing the Real Stuff (tm). Again, the real problem, IMO, was that they didn't bother to cross-check against the real big-dogs but instead stayed in the amateur ranks.

The solution.... don't stay in the amateur arena; go get a serious feel for some of the real experts in "internal martial arts", see what their bodies/strength feels like, etc., and then work your way back down into the art of your choice. Once you really know what "iron in cotton" etc., feels like, then you can make better choices of what is and isn't "internal strength". Make the jump up to the high so that you can define what the real thing is about and then sort out the best route to what you want to learn. IME most people aren't interested in any of this anyway, but the ones that are will be wasting their time to work their way UP the chain when they should go to the top and then work downward. I've given this type of advice for many years/decades and I think it still stands up.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

On the other hand, a lot of people have no idea what they're seeing and feeling and that's why so many real Asian experts just shrug off so much.

Hi Mike,
I totally understand what you are saying... I even agree. But I think it is important to maintain perspective. Most of the folks doing Aikido, even teaching Aikido, have no actual expectation of ever reaching some illustrious "top level". They'd be happy if someone could just help them take their stuff up a couple levels.

It is clear to me that virtually any exposure to this stuff, can change ones Aikido quite a lot. I have some kyu ranked folks whose work has gotten light years better with just a bit or work on IS skills. My own Aikido has gone to an entirely different level and continues to change and I am by no means anything more than a beginner at this work.

Sometimes these discussions between "experts" end up in debates about issues that are simply far above most of everyone's "pay grade". While I understand that you feel that there are "false paths" that won't, in the end' deliver the goods, that is really coming from your position as a world class practitioner of these skills. Most folks don't care because they are never going to practice enough to get to that level anyway.

Rather than be "exclusive" about finding folks to get exposure to these skills, I think we should be "inclusive". Some exposure is better than no exposure. Exposure to someone who is adequate is better than exposure to no one.

Too often these discussions are like a couple of guys from the NFL discussing the fine points of the professional game to an audience made up of high school players. It just doesn't need to be that refined yet.

DH
07-08-2011, 10:05 PM
We wouldn't be having some of these circular, never going anywhere discussions if more folks bothered to be informed about what they are talking about.
For me, ten thousand words of debate on the internet always end....in person. One person shows their way of doing something...another shows theirs....no more debate. And then usually friendships are forged as well.
Arguing terminology goes no where. Contrary to some of the rhetoric written here and elsewhere, grandmaster level ICMA teachers not only argue over definitions, they argue over the use of the body method and they argue over the meaning of the so called classics as well. It's no different than JMA Shihan arguing over power and aiki. So one group trying to own definitions as a narrow absolute over another is frankly rather amateurish and needy to me. It's what people are capable of doing and how they are doing it and whether they are capable of teaching it that matters.

The internet has incredible potential..unfortunately not every thing is beneficial.
Dan

Mike Sigman
07-08-2011, 10:53 PM
Hi Mike,
I totally understand what you are saying... I even agree. But I think it is important to maintain perspective. Most of the folks doing Aikido, even teaching Aikido, have no actual expectation of ever reaching some illustrious "top level". They'd be happy if someone could just help them take their stuff up a couple levels.

It is clear to me that virtually any exposure to this stuff, can change ones Aikido quite a lot. I have some kyu ranked folks whose work has gotten light years better with just a bit or work on IS skills. My own Aikido has gone to an entirely different level and continues to change and I am by no means anything more than a beginner at this work.

Sometimes these discussions between "experts" end up in debates about issues that are simply far above most of everyone's "pay grade". While I understand that you feel that there are "false paths" that won't, in the end' deliver the goods, that is really coming from your position as a world class practitioner of these skills. Most folks don't care because they are never going to practice enough to get to that level anyway.

Rather than be "exclusive" about finding folks to get exposure to these skills, I think we should be "inclusive". Some exposure is better than no exposure. Exposure to someone who is adequate is better than exposure to no one.

Too often these discussions are like a couple of guys from the NFL discussing the fine points of the professional game to an audience made up of high school players. It just doesn't need to be that refined yet.Hi George:

I think basically that you're saying that *some* progress is better than no progress.... and if you go back and look, I've said the same thing a number of times. What I'm suggesting is not a debate, yada, yada, but that if people are really interested in "internal strength" they should go look at some of the big dogs and get a feel for what the movement, power, etc., feels like, first. A big mistake was made by a number of people in the CMA's early on in that the exposure was very limited and anyone who could "kick their butt" became the narrowly-focused standard. In fact, if you go look at the western "push hands tournaments" now, you can see what the "I can kick your butt" type stuff led to eventually.... nothing like the original arts that they purportedly represent. And yeah, if you talk to a lot of these guys they're all better than the level in China, yet none of them can ever name a well-respected fighter that they've taken on. I.e., there's a tendency to try and close down the conversation, which is always a flag-raiser. To be fair, most western martial-arts enthusiasts are happy living in this limited world, so a lot of these differences are rhetorical.

If you go look at the current "internal martial-arts" forums it's still western dominated with a lot of focus on self, "my teacher", and so on, but with very little representation or analysis of what the real 'big-dogs' do. Some skill is a good step forward... what I'm suggesting is that people who are truly interested at least go get a 'feel' comparison with whatever big-dogs they can so that they can get an idea of what might be involved in the more complete training. It's a lot more difficult and complex than the conversations have approached so far, so my point is for the truly interested to get out and look around as much as possible... and I'm not knocking the fact that the conversation has moved as far as it has.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

graham christian
07-08-2011, 11:09 PM
George.
So you don't believe O'Sensei said true budo is love? So you don't believe he said ai is harmony and also he said ai is love? So you don't believe he said Aikido cannot be anything but a martial art of love? So you don't believe that he said the mind of an Aikidoist must be peaceful and totally nonviolent?

Maybe you don't. I do. I don't care how many gold stars someone has for I have my opinion shared by many and others have theirs. Nothing wrong with that. I don't care if a 1st kyu disagrees with me as there's nothing wrong with that also.

Regards.G.

George S. Ledyard
07-09-2011, 04:27 PM
George.
So you don't believe O'Sensei said true budo is love? So you don't believe he said ai is harmony and also he said ai is love? So you don't believe he said Aikido cannot be anything but a martial art of love? So you don't believe that he said the mind of an Aikidoist must be peaceful and totally nonviolent?

Maybe you don't. I do. I don't care how many gold stars someone has for I have my opinion shared by many and others have theirs. Nothing wrong with that. I don't care if a 1st kyu disagrees with me as there's nothing wrong with that also.

Regards.G.

Nowhere did I even refer to any of the statements you are quoting. But the issue at hand is twofold. First, the issue of translation. English terms seldom have the precise meaning they do in a given foreign language. I majored in Asian religions as an undergraduate. I read a lot of works on Buddhism in translation. Scholars have adopted a number of general conventions about how certain words get translated. Sunyata (Sanskrit) is almost always translated as Emptiness. But you actually have to study the subject to understand that the word has multiple levels of meaning which simply are not contained in the English word emptiness. And the English word has shades of meaning for us that are not what was originally intended.

O-Sensei used words that had meanings that were not common usage even for the Japanese. If you didn't have some classical training in Shinto and the Kojiki and weren't familiar with how the Omotokyo folks used their terminology, you couldn't understand what O-Sensei was saying, even if you were a native speaker. Even if you did have that background, if you did not also do martial arts, his usage wouldn't have been clear.

Then take that problem and compound it by putting his words into English. "Ai" has certain usage in Japanese for the average person. In the martial arts it has another level of meaning which would not be familiar to the average Japanese who does not train. Then O-Sensei, by combining traditional usage with his unique spiritual experience gave the same term another level of meaning. Then his words got translated into English (and a host of other foreign languages). The folks who did this had to arrive at certain conventions about how to translate these Japanese terms. They picked what seemed like the closest word or phrase with had some of the flavor of the Founder's intention. But, the English words do not have the precise meaning they do in Japanese and one needs to both train in some "Aiki" related art and put a lot of work into educating himself to be able to give these English conventions the proper shade of meaning.

This is an evolving process... Doing work with Dan Harden and Gleason Sensei on internal skills has actually opened up a whole new window on how O-Sensei's spiritual ideas came directly out of his training experience. Dan H doesn't discuss this stuff very frequently but he actually has a huge amount to say on the subject and if you are doing the training and have some idea what he is talking about you can see quite clearly that much of what has passed for conventional understanding of the Founders words are inaccurate and lacking the subtlety and dept of the original concepts.

So when someone like Chris Li says you are wrongly interpreting some word or phrase used by the Founder, I am going with him every day. He has the language expertise, he has done extensive research specifically on the Founder's writings, he does Aikido and has for a long time, and he is familiar with internal training concepts which I believe are essential to understanding a lot of what the Founder talked about.

I'm not saying that we don't all supply our own meanings to these ideas through our own experience and training. But I am saying it is a common mistake to take ones own ideas and impose them onto interpretations of the Founder's intentions.

graham christian
07-09-2011, 04:29 PM
Really? Most only had him as a frame of reference. They never felt anyone else with aiki. So how would they know that HIS aiki was actually different than Takeda, Sagawa, etc? Later in life he used it differently (rounding it out, projections), but most of the qualitative comparisons (the few) sound very similar.

You're being over simplistic for the sake of your arguement or maybe you don't know the situations your'e quoting clearly. When asked about what he learned from Takeda he said he opened his eyes to budo.

Where are the words from Ueshiba himself saying that what he was doing in his later years, beyond the form and techniques, was any different than what he was doing in his younger years when he was taking on all comers and developing a reputation of being this budo monster?

Most who felt him from both eras have quotes talking about how his techniques changed, but you don't hear much talking about how he himself felt any less powerful than he did at the height of that reputation or even different. There's very little difference noted in the qualitative aspects of Ueshiba's aiki, only in how he did the techniques. This coming from the guys who are themselves noted as being most like Ueshiba in skill level...

Jason. How do you come to the conclusion that most had never felt anyone with Aiki?

As to most who felt him from different eras not mentioning difference in qualitative aspects? I think it quite the opposite is the case.

Regards.G.

graham christian
07-09-2011, 04:35 PM
Where are the words from Ueshiba himself saying that what he was doing in his later years, beyond the form and techniques, was any different than what he was doing in his younger years when he was taking on all comers and developing a reputation of being this budo monster?

Come on Jason.

Do I really have to teach you?

Regards.G.

Chris Li
07-09-2011, 04:57 PM
O-Sensei used words that had meanings that were not common usage even for the Japanese. If you didn't have some classical training in Shinto and the Kojiki and weren't familiar with how the Omotokyo folks used their terminology, you couldn't understand what O-Sensei was saying, even if you were a native speaker. Even if you did have that background, if you did not also do martial arts, his usage wouldn't have been clear.

Very true. When I first read "Take Musu Aiki" in Japanese one of my biggest problems was that I had no one to consult with - even though I was living in Japan at the time. Most Japanese (even long term Aikido students and teachers) just looked at it and shook their heads.


This is an evolving process... Doing work with Dan Harden and Gleason Sensei on internal skills has actually opened up a whole new window on how O-Sensei's spiritual ideas came directly out of his training experience. Dan H doesn't discuss this stuff very frequently but he actually has a huge amount to say on the subject and if you are doing the training and have some idea what he is talking about you can see quite clearly that much of what has passed for conventional understanding of the Founders words are inaccurate and lacking the subtlety and dept of the original concepts.

Also very true. The internal training methods offer a window into what the Founder was doing, and into his philosophy, which grew clearly and directly from that training. So many, many things have become clearer. It has also become clear how many English translations and even Japanese explanations of the Founder's words were so far off the mark. That's nothing against any of the translators, but any translation is going to be filtered through what you know and understand.

Best,

Chris

graham christian
07-09-2011, 05:04 PM
'm not saying that we don't all supply our own meanings to these ideas through our own experience and training. But I am saying it is a common mistake to take ones own ideas and impose them onto interpretations of the Founder's intentions

Yes George I agree we do all supply our own ideas through our own experience and training.

To take our own ideas and impose them on to interpretations as a mistake? I disagree.

Regards.G.

graham christian
07-09-2011, 05:15 PM
Very true. When I first read "Take Musu Aiki" in Japanese one of my biggest problems was that I had no one to consult with - even though I was living in Japan at the time. Most Japanese (even long term Aikido students and teachers) just looked at it and shook their heads.

Chris. This is precisely my point. I did not question your ability to translate. You yourself question others translations. Thus certain people using it to say I'm questioning you ability is misleading.

Regards.G.

DH
07-09-2011, 05:26 PM
To take our own ideas and impose them on to interpretations as a mistake? I disagree.

Regards.G.
For some of us....our goal was to try to understand what he was doing and talking about.
For others they use him as a totem..while really only pointing to themselves.
I think the end results have been rather transparent.
Imagining you have the wherewithall to contend with or equal such expertise and layover any ol idea on to his skills and written works has brought Aikido to where it is today.
Dan

graham christian
07-09-2011, 05:36 PM
For some of us....our goal was to try to understand what he was doing and talking about.
For others they use him as a totem..while really only pointing to themselves.
I think the end results have been rather transparent.
Imagining you have the wherewithall to contend with or equal such expertise and layover any ol idea on to his skills and written works has brought Aikido to where it is today.
Dan

I do understand him thank you.

You carry on trying.

Regards.G.

DH
07-09-2011, 07:22 PM
I do understand him thank you.

You carry on trying.

Regards.G.
Well, this is where the rubber meets the road, Graham.
It's where serious and learned people start to approach the subject with some trepidation instead of hubris, as you can called out on your level of understanding. If you claim to understand him, then you are able to demonstrate his power....on the spot. People would know you and flock to you as you could not hide it.
It doesn't bode well for people to be making claims of "understanding Ueshiba" when they:
1. Cant even read what he actually said (that pretty much disqualifies most budo-ka).
2. They cannot do what he did (no measurable displays of unusual power and aiki).
3. They are visibly unable to effectively wield a weapon correctly.

Those three alone are pretty embarassing for folks making such claims, particularly these days; if they have a dojo and are on you tube and people know them as "just average," it makes it sound very much like it's all in their own hopeful imagination.

He was a tested and proven legend, with weapons and without.
People I have met who "claim" to understand him are...legends...in their own minds.

Most Budo people I know are not so cavalier in their comments. I would be a bit more..well, a lot more... cautious, were I you.
Dan

DH
07-09-2011, 07:59 PM
Edit
On the one hand, I think we have failed miserably to understand his martial art. We display none of his skills.
On the other, few have researched enough to understand his real spiritual pursuits either.
Just what are we claiming we understand? It certainly isn't him.
I think aikido can be brilliant and one of the most powerful martial arts today. But not this way, not even close, you can't have it just because you want it and say you do. It costs more than that.
Dan

George S. Ledyard
07-09-2011, 08:05 PM
For some of us....our goal was to try to understand what he was doing and talking about.
For others they use him as a totem..while really only pointing to themselves.
I think the end results have been rather transparent.
Imagining you have the wherewithall to contend with or equal such expertise and layover any ol idea on to his skills and written works has brought Aikido to where it is today.
Dan

Hi Dan,
Personally, I am not sure we have any choice but to do an Aikido that is so personal that it is yours and yours alone. I don't have a problem with Graham or anyone else taking any idea from what they have read of O-Sensei's writings and making it their own. Just as I had no problem with Tom Read Sensei taking certain ideas from Science, Physics, and Mathematics, and creating a set of interpretations that describe what he is doing in his Aikido. If one gets too hung up on whether every concept is exactly scientifically accurate in the way he is using them, one will miss the overall point.

I think that the insights available to us within Aikido practice are infinite and intensely personal. I just want to folks to be clear. What one persons particular understanding of an idea may be can be perfectly valid and directly derived from their practice and their insight. That does not mean that it accurately reflects what the Founder meant when he described his art.

I do not in any way debate what the Founder said. It's what he meant when he said it that's the rub. You can develop your own understanding of what he was talking about through your own experience. But it's your experience, not necessarily what O-Sensei meant. That doesn't mean it's wrong either. It's just your truth.

O-Sensei represents a model to strive for in terms of skill and a challenge for us to re-conceptualize how we see ourselves and the world. Very few folks seemed to understand him very well when he was alive and I doubt more do now. I think it is important to try our best to understand him, while fully knowing that we will not end up with his Aikido but our own.

It's sort of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in Aikido. The more we do O-Sensei's Aikido the more it is our own and not his. If we are clear on that, he can serve as a wonderful inspiration and model for us. I do think it's a good idea to not get too into "projection" of our own wishes, desires, hopes and aspirations onto him.

Mike Sigman
07-09-2011, 08:53 PM
That's nothing against any of the translators, but any translation is going to be filtered through what you know and understand.
Exactly. If you go back 5 or 6 or 7 years, you'll see that I said exactly the same obvious thing (to this forum; other forums before this one) and took a lot of grief for it. ;)

Mike Sigman

DH
07-09-2011, 08:57 PM
Well I agree with all of that, George. The disqualifier for me is hearing a claim to understand Ueshiba's aikido.
Aikido is so broad that pretty much anyone can do anything that they want and call it their aikido. Nothing wrong with that of course,
but it gets pretty funny in light of who we know, and who has spent so much time and money and agonizing research and sacrifice to understand the language, cultural context, immersion, rejection, physical loss...go on to study the koryu aspect of weapons handling, real aiki, decades of solo work... and then see every yahoo with an active imagination tell others they got it.... Particularly after watching what some people do.
I am not P.C. I am quite sure when the old man said "Do your own aikido." he meant something far different than "Do what ever you want!" His sense of ownership was pretty strong when he yelled at people and stuck around to lecture them on how what they were doing was not his aikido and then tell them things that were at least important to him so that they would understand what was needed to do his aikido.
So we can ask ourselves, how can he be expressing detailed concepts that are his aikido (and by the way, Chris blew me away with some quotes on six direction training and intent in Ueshiba's own words...that the translator did not get) and yet folks who don't have a clue can claim to understand him?
They are empty words.
It's better to say everyone is doing their own thing, because...like Chiba, they don't get it. At least he had the temerity and self realization to admit it and regret it.
Now look at a second removed step. Here we have Tohei saying he didn't get it either. That all he got from the old man was how to relax..and off he goes doing HIS aikido...and now two generations later; someone following someone, who
1. Knew the culture
2. Knew the old man personally
3. Knew at least some of concepts the old man was talking about
openly said he didn't understand the old man ...is now saying THEY understand the old man? ;)
Sorry...this is better than television.

So who do we know that has actualized the physical model both internally and with skills in weapons and empt hand, and is able to express it freely then, without waza, waited to experience how that changed the mind and outlook on life and budo in so many ways, then fully researched and understand his spiritual quest and went through it, and how the physical changes would and could have been intertwined to produce a united whole, in them?
Claim to understand him?
Wouldn't you first have to know at least what the man said and then did? And then do the research to know what he said meant?
Thankfully, I've never met the teacher bold enough or dumb enough to say those words. They are happy to do their aikido and be fully realized in their own vision of it and get as close as they can.
Cheers
Dan

graham christian
07-09-2011, 09:00 PM
Edit
On the one hand, I think we have failed miserably to understand his martial art. We display none of his skills.
On the other, few have researched enough to understand his real spiritual pursuits either.
Just what are we claiming we understand? It certainly isn't him.
I think aikido can be brilliant and one of the most powerful martial arts today. But not this way, not even close, you can't have it just because you want it and say you do. It costs more than that.
Dan

Interesting.

Before I answer any of your questions I would have to understand better two things.

1) Am I included in this 'we' mentioned above.

2) Are you an Aikidoka?

Regards.G.

RonRagusa
07-09-2011, 09:28 PM
As the Taoists said, "He who knows, does not speak. And he who speaks, does not know." The problem, with the forums is the everyone speaks. So, how do you sort it out? The only way is to feel it.

Hi George -

I'm not conversant in the terms being discussed in this thread so I will paraphrase that quote above to read: "He who knows not does not speak." and remain silent regarding their meanings, implications and such.

However, I can say that after having spent some time with you at Marc's dojo I am able to discern more that we have to agree on than otherwise. Our methodologies may differ in their application but we are each on a path that leads to a common destination and that, at least, is to be celebrated. Did O Sensei not encourage his students to make Aiki their own and not simply try to copy him?

I hope that the next time you find yourself on the right hand coast that you will be able to stop by and sample a little of what Mary and I can offer of our way.

Best,

Ron

David Orange
07-09-2011, 10:37 PM
Nowhere did I even refer to any of the statements you are quoting. But the issue at hand is twofold. First, the issue of translation. English terms seldom have the precise meaning they do in a given foreign language. I majored in Asian religions as an undergraduate. I read a lot of works on Buddhism in translation. Scholars have adopted a number of general conventions about how certain words get translated. Sunyata (Sanskrit) is almost always translated as Emptiness. But you actually have to study the subject to understand that the word has multiple levels of meaning which simply are not contained in the English word emptiness. And the English word has shades of meaning for us that are not what was originally intended.

Reminds me of the legislator in Louisiana, concerning what language should be taught in the schools. He said, "I say we teach the language Jesus spoke in the Bible: English!"

Perhaps a better example (from my side) of translation of Eastern concepts into English is the Wilhelm/Baynes version of I Ching.

Richard Wilhelm, a German, went to China and studied the great classics with highest-level Chinese scholars and translated I Ching and Tao te Ching into German. Carey Baynes then translated Wilhelm's German into English.

This book, which I have cherished for nearly 40 years, is a beautiful presentation of I Ching. After I had explored it for several years, I suddenly got the "big picture" view of what I Ching is and it was a prodound vision.

Over more years than that, I have come to recognize the wonderful example this book gives us of translation of the Asian philosophies into Western languages.

For one thing, the original writing in I Ching is very scant, but it is backed up by historical commentaries by masters of the subject, including Kings and scholars. In the early 20th Century, Wilhelm conferred deeply with master scholars on the original texts and the historical commentaries and translated it all into German. He gives the best possible translation he can of the original texts with frequent footnotes on the subtleties of meaning, followed by translations of the classical commentaries, also explained with footnotes, relating comments and concepts to western conventions and often, to the Bible. Carey Baynes translates all this from German into English with occasional reference to the subtle and multiple meanings of the German words Wilhelm used to translate from the Chinese! It's a wonderful window on human history and the subtle applications of human mind across cultures, over centuries. A beautiful book.

And one of the most beautiful things about it is that, with its multiple levels of meaning and clarification, one of the most important things it has to teach is that, while words are signposts along the path, even the original verson was intended to be broad and impossible to pin down precisely. It's definitely based on a three-level harmony of the eight trigram symbols in their 64 hexagram combinations, relating simultaneously to life within the home, within the country and within the universe. But like gazing from a mountaintop into a storm, you have to draw your own conclusions from the patterns of light and darkness you encounter. The answer will not be precisely prescribed for you.

So, yes, there are multiple levels of meaning and potentials in the original words, but direct reliance on translations (and some are worse than others) may completely miss the point.

O-Sensei used words that had meanings that were not common usage even for the Japanese. If you didn't have some classical training in Shinto and the Kojiki and weren't familiar with how the Omotokyo folks used their terminology, you couldn't understand what O-Sensei was saying, even if you were a native speaker. Even if you did have that background, if you did not also do martial arts, his usage wouldn't have been clear.

Well put.

Then take that problem and compound it by putting his words into English. "Ai" has certain usage in Japanese for the average person. In the martial arts it has another level of meaning which would not be familiar to the average Japanese who does not train. Then O-Sensei, by combining traditional usage with his unique spiritual experience gave the same term another level of meaning. Then his words got translated into English (and a host of other foreign languages). The folks who did this had to arrive at certain conventions about how to translate these Japanese terms. They picked what seemed like the closest word or phrase with had some of the flavor of the Founder's intention. But, the English words do not have the precise meaning they do in Japanese and one needs to both train in some "Aiki" related art and put a lot of work into educating himself to be able to give these English conventions the proper shade of meaning.

I think the translation for hexagram 19 of I Ching in Wilhelm/Baynes is a great example of this:

http://www.pantherwebworks.com/I_Ching/bk1h11-20.html#19

Explaining the name of the hexagram, "Lin," Baynes writes:

"The Chinese word lin has a range of meanings that is not exhausted by any single word of another language. The ancient explanations in the Book of Changes give as its first meaning, “becoming great.” "

So he begins with a linguistic exploration of the word and its possible interpretations, but then he moves into the conceptual sphere of the hexagram structure, itself, which is an integral part of why this particular arrangements of solid and broken lines is associated with that multiplicit Chinese "word," pronounced "Lin":

"What becomes great are the two strong lines growing into the hexagram from below; the light–giving power expands with them."

But then he's back to linguistic analysis (in translation of Wilhelm's observations):

"The meaning is then further extended to include the concept of approach, especially the approach of what is strong and highly placed in relation to what is lower. Finally the meaning includes the attitude of condescension of a man in high position toward the people, and in general the setting to work on affairs. This hexagram is linked with the twelfth month (January–February), when, after the winter solstice, the light power begins to ascend again." ending up relating the concepts directly to the unvarying progression of nature.

And for the Chinese, all this was containd not even in "words," but in a series of brush strokes presenting a picture of nature.

Japanese culture was also heavily steeped in these concepts, though at a remove, as it was with the Indian culture underlying the Chinese.

This is an evolving process... Doing work with Dan Harden and Gleason Sensei on internal skills has actually opened up a whole new window on how O-Sensei's spiritual ideas came directly out of his training experience. Dan H doesn't discuss this stuff very frequently but he actually has a huge amount to say on the subject and if you are doing the training and have some idea what he is talking about you can see quite clearly that much of what has passed for conventional understanding of the Founders words are inaccurate and lacking the subtlety and dept of the original concepts.

So when someone like Chris Li says you are wrongly interpreting some word or phrase used by the Founder, I am going with him every day. He has the language expertise, he has done extensive research specifically on the Founder's writings, he does Aikido and has for a long time, and he is familiar with internal training concepts which I believe are essential to understanding a lot of what the Founder talked about.

I'm not saying that we don't all supply our own meanings to these ideas through our own experience and training. But I am saying it is a common mistake to take ones own ideas and impose them onto interpretations of the Founder's intentions.

Well said.

David

George S. Ledyard
07-10-2011, 01:02 AM
Did O Sensei not encourage his students to make Aiki their own and not simply try to copy him?

I hope that the next time you find yourself on the right hand coast that you will be able to stop by and sample a little of what Mary and I can offer of our way.

That was my understanding...

And yes, I would love to visit if I get over your way. Usually my visits to the East these days are so in and out. I'd love to take a bit more time at some point. Thanks for the invite...

Marc Abrams
07-10-2011, 06:29 AM
Yes George I agree we do all supply our own ideas through our own experience and training.

To take our own ideas and impose them on to interpretations as a mistake? I disagree.

Regards.G.

Graham:

In the world of academia, this position of your's has no room, is considered intellectually lazy. In the world of martial arts historians, your position has no room and is considered intellectually lazy. In the world of accomplished martial artists, your position has no room and is not taken seriously. Countless people have pointed this out to you and yet you cling to your world like a talisman rather than own-up to the vacuous nature of your position. You seem to live in a very small world that few take seriously. Look at the many replies to your posts from people you should be respecting and learning from (as opposed to your futile attempts to lecture to them).

Maybe you quiet down for awhile, get out and get some hands-on experience in the many areas that you believe that you are competent in and then check back in.... Doubt it will happen, but who knows....

Marc Abrams

graham christian
07-10-2011, 08:49 AM
Graham:

In the world of academia, this position of your's has no room, is considered intellectually lazy. In the world of martial arts historians, your position has no room and is considered intellectually lazy. In the world of accomplished martial artists, your position has no room and is not taken seriously. Countless people have pointed this out to you and yet you cling to your world like a talisman rather than own-up to the vacuous nature of your position. You seem to live in a very small world that few take seriously. Look at the many replies to your posts from people you should be respecting and learning from (as opposed to your futile attempts to lecture to them).

Maybe you quiet down for awhile, get out and get some hands-on experience in the many areas that you believe that you are competent in and then check back in.... Doubt it will happen, but who knows....

Marc Abrams

Marc.
I respect everyone thank you.

Regards.G.

Mary Eastland
07-10-2011, 09:56 AM
Graham, I like to hear your perspectives. I have retired from these discussions because they are not discussions. They are marketing platforms.
Some people want to find common ground. Some people want to be the authoritive voice of what is the right way.
Discussion is impossible in that atmosphere. What we resist against gets stronger.

Patrick Hutchinson
07-10-2011, 10:33 AM
"I do understand him thank you.
You carry on trying."

"I respect everyone thank you."

Riiight.

gates
07-10-2011, 10:36 AM
Words are a symbolic representation of thoughts, ideas etc. They have both subjective and objective meanings, the multitude of connotations either intended or interpreted is difficult to establish, especially in the context of you are talking about.

It is important that if discussions are going to take place in this media that we are clear about the limitations. But personally I can a gain a lot from Mike's straightforward pragmatic analysis, even at this distance (with hopefully all the connotations of 'distance' intended)

Analysis has a very useful place in understanding, albeit limited to an intellectual understanding. Whereby the thing is broken down in component parts. Seeing these pieces "as the whole' is however a mistake. (Just as 1-2-3 learning 'can' lead to people to place stopping points in movements where none were intended, MHO)

To understand the subject "absolutely", real understanding can only come through intuition. This can only be gained from experiential learning. You could look at 10,000 pictures of Tokyo and imagine what it is like but you would never really "know" what it is like. Snap shots from a multitude of varied reference points is nothing near actually being there.

So why bother? Why bother reading or partaking in these discussions at all? Personally I feel if they are done carefully and with full knowledge of the limitations then something useful can be gained. If I cant go to Tokyo and feel what it is like then looking at pictures may give me a sense of what it is like serve as inspiration to get me there.

I always interpreted the reason the 'person who knows does not speak, and the person who speaks does not know' is because the person who knows, knows (intuitively), and knows the futility in expressing it. Those who speak do so as they need the affirmation from others to know they are right (because really in their hearts the intuition is not there).

However there are those who do know (absolutely), and want to guide other along the path. (This is the hardest thing to do in the world and where all the great sages run into trouble, symbolic explanations are exactly that - symbolic (and words are symbols))

When those with an absolute understanding do decide to talk it is a starting point. If we can grasp intellectually what they are talking about then this might lead us one day to an intuitive understanding, but it never more that a sign saying "head that way".

Thanks all for the sign posts !!!

Why does Zen use Koans, is is not exactly to point towards this intrinsic illumination?

DH
07-10-2011, 10:56 AM
Graham, I like to hear your perspectives. I have retired from these discussions because they are not discussions. They are marketing platforms.
Some people want to find common ground. Some people want to be the authoritive voice of what is the right way.
Discussion is impossible in that atmosphere. What we resist against gets stronger.
Resist what?
Ideas?
All your founder talked about, (and comically even more so in his non-translated words) is what we are talking about.
And your choice of words to frame the discussion "marketing platform," and Graham using "scam artist" is interesting.
I wonder, since your founder made quite a bit of money and at times accepted benefactors, and since he gave, then broke his vow to his teacher regarding money, what kind of scam artist, snake oil salesman and con man... would you two, call him?

I think using these words when discussing ideas your own founder prescribed to is unfortunate and only serves to lower the bar. There are kinder, more even handed reasons to explain why Ueshiba did what he did. There are kinder, more even handed ways to examine our motives and the positive results these discussions are having on the aikido community.
It's a matter of choice, Mary.
Always remember when you take a swipe at us and our efforts...you are also saying that hundreds of your fellow aikido teachers...are fools for continually taking part. You are in a sense calling many experienced people like Ikeda, Gleason, Bernath, and Ledyard, dupes or fools.
What is really going on is that instead of being sold a bill of goods by a successful marketing platfom devised by scam artists, they are experiencing the reality of ideas that your own founder talked about with his own students....ideas that Chiba now regreat not adhering to.
Not very kind or even smart, Mary.
Dan

DH
07-10-2011, 11:18 AM
Come to think of it, how delighted would Ueshiba be to know there are dozens of teachers and students from other arts...standing in rooms discussing the ideas that fueled his vision, the same ideas that he was trying to get across to his students.
And that in 2011, Aikido schools would be the vehicle for hosting bridge seminars bringing together people from ICMA, Koryu. MMA, Karate, and Daito ryu to discuss those same ideas. Building a community.
It's wonderful.
Dan

George S. Ledyard
07-10-2011, 12:31 PM
One of my favorite books was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. One of the concepts Pirsig talked about, which he illustrated by the differences between how he approached the maintenance of his motorcycle from the way his son in law did.

He identified two broad approaches. One was the scientific / rational approach. This was the linear thinking, right brain, way of looking at and analyzing the world. Aikido history, philosophy, even technique can be approached with this world view quite nicely.

The other, which he called the "Groovy" approach (this was the seventies) which was the non-liner, left brain, intuitive approach to the world. This is the subjective world of "how does it feel". What is the meaning for me, does it feel right, what do I believe on an intuitive level. Faith usually is a part of thinking in this way of processing.

As Pirsig pointed out, folks who have these two ways of processing usually make each other crazy. They are not generally compatible.

If you want to talk about what O-Sensei said, then you are in the area of history. As long as you stay with his recorded talks or are reading his own writings, then there isn't much room for debate. It's all in the "record". It's in the are of "what did he mean" that we run into issues.

So, a statement, written in English, that O-Sensei said this or that is already flawed from the start because O-Sensei did not speak English.He never actually uttered those words. If we wish to know what he did, in point of fact say,we have to read or listen to his ACTUAL words. Now if I were to do that, which I have, I wouldn't understand a thing because oh, I don't speak or read Japanese. So to even get started, I require a "translator".

I need that translator to provide me with his best take on what was actually said or written in the form of the English that best fits. But no matter how well he does this, there will need to be additional explanation on the part of the translator about the shades of meaning the Japanese words have that they do no have in English. This requires considerable expertise. It is primarily a rational, linear thinking enterprise, based on knowledge of the person being translated and his background, the subject matter, the historical context, idiomatic usage of the language, and on and on. Doing this well requires an "expert". Discussion of whether the translator has done this well or not requires an equivalent expertise because it is a rational / analytical process of discussion.

But, as Pirsig points out, the folks from the "groovy" camp usually feel that the real meaning, which is intuitive anyway, gets lost in these discussions. Since reality is more experiential and subjective, then everyone's point of view is equally valid. So-called "facts" simply interfere with the pursuit if subjective truth.

The fact is that everyone is a mix of these two ways of processing. Few people are extremely one or the other. But studies have been done that would indicate that most folks tend to fall more on the "groovy" side of things than the rational / analytical. There was a study in which they took two groups of folks and gave each group an explanation of a certain event. One group was given a detailed description of the event in question. They were then asked their opinions about what had happened.

The other group was given only a very sketchy description of what had happened, fairly ambiguous. They were also asked their opinions on what had happened. Then, they were given all the details that had been left out, making the event far more clear.

But when they were then asked their opinions about what had happened, there was almost no movement whatever from their original opinions about what had happened. In other words no amount of additional factual information changed their perception of what had taken place.

I have seen this in arguing politics with my Father. He will make some statement and I will give him fact. after fact, that seemingly refute his statement. But, it actually has no effect on his belief that the statement is true. No amount of factual information will change his "belief" because it is "belief", experientially based opinion.

It applies equally well the other direction. One of the reasons I did not continue to graduate school in Buddhist Studies, which was essentially my major as an undergraduate, was my sense that, while my professors knew vast amounts of history and philosophy and could analyze every aspect of the Buddhist texts and Buddhist thought, they would never via academic study and rational analysis actually understand Buddhism. Buddhist practice was at its essence meant to provide a direct experience of the true nature of things and this experience was, in some ways, not even compatible with the rational, objective, process... at least it couldn't be accessed that way.

So you can see the problem in these discussions. You have two somewhat opposed ways of processing. One group of folks approaches these discussions from the linguistic, historical, comparative religions, approach coupled with highly technical ways of looking at the practice. They come from the rational . analytical side of things.

The other group of folks have a more "Zen" type sense of things. Their opinions are based on their own experience of what is true and what is not. They have a subjective overlay on things that trumps mere facts when in discussion. They are far more concerned with what something "means" than the actual facts that could actually be obscuring the meaning.

When folks from these two ways of processing get into interactions it can lead to bad feelings. Neither really understands the other. In Pirisg case, he was quite proud of the fact that he had used his analytical ability and mechanical knowledge to fix a problem with his son in law's motorcycle using a piece of aluminum from a beer can. His son in law wasn't happy with the fact that his bike now worked properly, nor that the solution was so simple and elegant. He was actually offended by the idea that his very cool, very expensive motorcycle could be fixed with something so prosaic as a piece of beer can. It wasn't "groovy" and didn't fit his subjective sense of what his motorcycle was about. For Pirsig it was a mechanical device for his son in law it was invested with more "meaning".

The only way for folks from these two different ways of processing to have a discussion is to stick to expression which is from their own understanding but not try to have the other agree or disagree. So, if someone makes a statement that "The Founder said thus and so" it is a statement about something that purports to be fact. That immediately takes the discussion into the realm of the analytical / rational. Any result is likely to feel highly unsatisfying to the intuitive / experiential folks.

On the other hand, if someone says, O-Sensei was translated as saying this, and this is the meaning of what he was saying for me, well, that is fact and can't be debated. It is your understanding of what was meant. Whether others are persuaded to believe that as well needs to, on some level, be irrelevant because once we get into trying to persuade others, we necessarily get into these rational / analytical discussions. If one simply states what ones own experience is and how that informs ones own belief that such and such is true, the folks for whom that opinion resonates will believe it as well based on how their own intuitive sense of the rightness of it works.

This is, of course, highly unsatisfying for the rational / analytical folks because they want the discourse. They want to debate and pull out facts, etc.

There are folks, like myself, who in psychological testing fall right in the middle of these two ways of processing. I can go either way and still find the ideas worth while. But I try to stay aware of which version of reality I am coming from at any given time.

Discussions of the Founder are totally prone to fall into very divergent interpretations based on these different ways of experiencing reality. I personally do not think either way offers a satisfying understanding by itself. I try to approach my understanding of the Founder and his art from both angles. When they seem to disagree, then I try to take a harder look at where my thinking / feeling brain is diverging and this can became an area for more study.

Mike Sigman
07-10-2011, 12:43 PM
I really screwed up throwing "Aiki" into the mix of words I was trying to clarify, didn't I? :rolleyes: "How" anything works seems to be beyond the capabilities of most public forums, but it's fun to watch the car wrecks. :D

Mike Sigman

graham christian
07-10-2011, 12:50 PM
Graham, I like to hear your perspectives. I have retired from these discussions because they are not discussions. They are marketing platforms.
Some people want to find common ground. Some people want to be the authoritive voice of what is the right way.
Discussion is impossible in that atmosphere. What we resist against gets stronger.

Thank you Mary.

I find it fascinating so I learn from every attack. Sometimes it's like being in a Dojo. Sometimes you lose your centre and then those who have waited for that moment make the most of it. Why 'get out more' when this is a good training ground?

Regards.G.

graham christian
07-10-2011, 12:52 PM
"I do understand him thank you.
You carry on trying."

"I respect everyone thank you."

Riiight.

I respect all who are trying to understand him, why shouldn't I?

Regards.G.

graham christian
07-10-2011, 01:23 PM
I really screwed up throwing "Aiki" into the mix of words I was trying to clarify, didn't I? :rolleyes: "How" anything works seems to be beyond the capabilities of most public forums, but it's fun to watch the car wrecks. :D

Mike Sigman

As I recall we were on subject discussing our different views and one person at least benefited and opened a new thread on the matter. All good. He thanked both you and me, I don't know if you saw that and responded.

The rest is history as they say. Ha, ha.

Regards.G.

Mike Sigman
07-10-2011, 01:37 PM
I don't know if you saw that and responded.
If there's another thread that I was expected to respond to, I can't seem to find it. If someone would p.m. me please.

M.

graham christian
07-10-2011, 01:45 PM
If there's another thread that I was expected to respond to, I can't seem to find it. If someone would p.m. me please.

M.

Thoughts on Ki, Aiki, Aikido etc. Posted under Training.

PhillyKiAikido
07-10-2011, 01:48 PM
If there's another thread that I was expected to respond to, I can't seem to find it. If someone would p.m. me please.

M.

Mike,

I was the person who was inspired by your discussions and thanked both of you. The thread was originally posted here but moved to the Training forum by the moderator. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=287432

Thanks again.

Ting

DH
07-10-2011, 04:38 PM
Right now reading some of these debates over defining of terms sounds just like the same Budo huff and puff, this time over wanting a shared vocabulary rather than over actual skills.

As for terms:
Internal Strength, or Internal skill or Internal power? I have read and heard of any number of ICMA teachers and or their translators use those terms interchangeably; So saying "IP: This I do not know, sounds like a square peg in a round hole" is disingenuous or purposefully misleading.
Of course Ii, translated means strength, but other than some minor clarification of that as a talking point, it's a small distinction to a popular term. Sort of like arguing over the definition of aiki and saying two people meeting energy is something you never heard of. Anyone conversant is also aware of the modern use of terms.

You might as well argue over the kanji used for Jin;(勁) underground river on the left, next to strength on the right and explain how that is going to help someone get intent to make it happen. It's not going to get anyone anywhere soon.
Or argue over the many Japanese arts that use the same internal mechanics as the ICMA (some are laid out in their scrolls and yet none of their people ever knew the Chinese terms for the same thing and had their own. There are JMAers who can launch people across the room with appropriate internal power who do not know and quite frankly could care less about the Chinese terms fajin or fali.

There are just as many debates within the ICMA community over the meaning of the same terms and uses (including master class students of the same teacher who also argue over interpretations of the classics) as there is in the JMA, case in point:
Sagawa and Ueshiba under the same teacher and one saying the other didn't get it.
Daito ryu teachers who privately say Aikido-ka don't understand aiki.
The Yagyu Shihan telling Ark the other guys didn't want to train what was in their scroll so they don't get Yagyu.
Shihan like Yamaguchi, Arikawa, Tohei and Shirata arguing over Aiki.
Tohai and Kisshomaru
And then try to push here for a proper definition of terms.
Good luck with that....

For the most part most of the modern ICMA group had more information and still suffers from the same fate as the JMA; not knowing how to use it.
For that matter, I have now met any number, of people who've attended these IP, IS (call them whatever you want) seminars with masterclass people and other amateur teachers, for years and years and once met...they've got nothing much either.
We will have to see just how successful this "let's define and all agree on the terms and talk about it"... business turns out when people have to get down to actually doing the work and producing.

Dan

hughrbeyer
07-10-2011, 04:48 PM
George Sensei: Bringing in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance should be pretty much guaranteed to derail a thread, but it's not clear this one was on the rails anyway, so I'll jump in.

Remember that Pirsig actually reconciles the "two ways of seeing the world," at least to his own satisfaction, in the story of putting together the grill (I think) at the end of the first half. He references the instructions on assembling a Japanese bicycle which start "To assemble Japanese bicycle require great peace of mind" and talks about what it means that a culture would start assembly instructions by telling you what state of mind you have to be in to be successful.

As I understand it, he sees that the two points of view come together at the point that they hit reality. Your motorcycle runs or it doesn't. Your bicycle is in one piece or not. Your Aikido works, or it doesn't. There's a limit to how far you can drift off into subjectivity and still be effective.

And to achieve the "groovy" "go with the flow" state, as I understand him, you have to immerse yourself in the details. Once you have understood the relationship between the parts of your motorcycle so well you don't have to think about, you can immerse yourself in the fixing process without sweating the details. You can have great peace of mind and still end up with a functioning bicycle.

I think the application to Aikido is immediate. If you have the technical grounding solid, then you can have Aikido that flows naturally. If you don't, then you're like the guy who doesn't want to deal with the details of his bike. Your Aikido doesn't work. There are no shortcuts.

Mike Sigman
07-10-2011, 05:02 PM
Right now reading some of these debates over defining of terms sounds just like the same Budo huff and puff, this time over wanting a shared vocabulary rather than over actual skills.

As for terms:
Internal Strength, or Internal skill or Internal power? I have read and heard of any number of ICMA teachers and or their translators use those terms interchangeably; So saying "IP: This I do not know, sounds like a square peg in a round hole" is disingenuous or purposefully misleading. OK..... the common, widely used term is "nei jin". That's where the translation of "internal strength" comes from. If you think a good translation for "jin" is "power", go for it. I was just explaining why it's not a good choice, since "power" is not a good translation of "jin". In terms of what I originally posted, I don't see anything else relative.

Mike Sigman

graham christian
07-10-2011, 05:15 PM
Words are a symbolic representation of thoughts, ideas etc. They have both subjective and objective meanings, the multitude of connotations either intended or interpreted is difficult to establish, especially in the context of you are talking about.

It is important that if discussions are going to take place in this media that we are clear about the limitations. But personally I can a gain a lot from Mike's straightforward pragmatic analysis, even at this distance (with hopefully all the connotations of 'distance' intended)

Analysis has a very useful place in understanding, albeit limited to an intellectual understanding. Whereby the thing is broken down in component parts. Seeing these pieces "as the whole' is however a mistake. (Just as 1-2-3 learning 'can' lead to people to place stopping points in movements where none were intended, MHO)

To understand the subject "absolutely", real understanding can only come through intuition. This can only be gained from experiential learning. You could look at 10,000 pictures of Tokyo and imagine what it is like but you would never really "know" what it is like. Snap shots from a multitude of varied reference points is nothing near actually being there.

So why bother? Why bother reading or partaking in these discussions at all? Personally I feel if they are done carefully and with full knowledge of the limitations then something useful can be gained. If I cant go to Tokyo and feel what it is like then looking at pictures may give me a sense of what it is like serve as inspiration to get me there.

I always interpreted the reason the 'person who knows does not speak, and the person who speaks does not know' is because the person who knows, knows (intuitively), and knows the futility in expressing it. Those who speak do so as they need the affirmation from others to know they are right (because really in their hearts the intuition is not there).

However there are those who do know (absolutely), and want to guide other along the path. (This is the hardest thing to do in the world and where all the great sages run into trouble, symbolic explanations are exactly that - symbolic (and words are symbols))

When those with an absolute understanding do decide to talk it is a starting point. If we can grasp intellectually what they are talking about then this might lead us one day to an intuitive understanding, but it never more that a sign saying "head that way".

Thanks all for the sign posts !!!

Why does Zen use Koans, is is not exactly to point towards this intrinsic illumination?

Keith.
Nice post, interesting.

You know, when I was a baby I learned how to crawl and then I learned how to walk.

I did this through a process called study. What was the purpose of this thing called study? It was to do.

Once I could do then and only then did I know how to walk.

No books, no academia. Natural.

Later I learned how to talk and later than that found there were loads of academics who thought they knew yet couldn't do. Yet they were called experts. A strange world.

As you say then it is discovered that if you want to communicate your understanding in order to help others you bump in to intellectuals who 'know best.'

Someone changed the purpose. The purpose of study is to be able to talk about it for many academics. Useful as walking libraries or computers but not as doers so much or even good teachers.

Of course it is those intellectuals who see someone without their 'credentials' do something with ease and fun, let's say someone going in and teaching some kids some maths or music or whatever, as 'very intuitive' or 'groovy' or who knows what. So there they are stroking their beards being all self important. mmm.

People arn't trained to recognise who knows in this intellectual, data memory world, and wonder why it gets so messy.

For me only the intellectual mind could see O'Sensei as someone who gave out Dan Grades willy nilly as if he was stupid or didn't care or whatever else they come up with.

Of course it appears that way and you can dig up data to back up the argument. I could say Tohei was sent out to teach without any grade and then just given a 4th or 5th Dan and that Tomiki was just given an 8th Dan and then go on to justify how that proves the lack of structure and even understanding of O'Sensei with regards to the scene. All very intellectual, with data to back it up and even Tohei himself not understanding it. But is it TRUE.

I see it in a way that makes perfect sense. O'Sensei knew exactly what he was doing and why and those students went on to validate his decisions by their actions in spreading Aikido.

Quite simple really.

Regards.G.

Mike Sigman
07-10-2011, 05:56 PM
For the most part most of the modern ICMA group had more information and still suffers from the same fate as the JMA; not knowing how to use it.
For that matter, I have now met any number, of people who've attended these IP, IS (call them whatever you want) seminars with masterclass people and other amateur teachers, for years and years and once met...they've got nothing much either.
We will have to see just how successful this "let's define and all agree on the terms and talk about it"... business turns out when people have to get down to actually doing the work and producing.
This is actually a good point and relative to Aikido and many other arts.

If you look at most martial-arts tomes from China, Japan, Korea, etc., you'll see that they spend a certain amount of time upfront justifying their relationship to the traditional and accepted theory, explaining the basic reasoning. O-Sensei and many other martial artists used the same types of justification in their writings, indicating that they were tying their knowledge and art to the proven concepts from long ago. Maybe O-Sensei could have convinced more people by just going out and beating them up (you see that with a lot of the 'push hands' crowd as a way to prove that what they're doing is 'internal strength', etc.).... but at some point people need to be able to legitimately describe what they're doing.

I absolutely agree that a lot of people use the buzzwords and don't have a lot in the way of legitimate internal strength, but most of the reason a lot of that happens is that it's so hard to get legitimate information. Because it's so hard to get legitimate information, a lot of people simply make up stuff as they go along (mostly using buzzwords, as they learn them) and one of the few ways to get an idea of what's really going on is to get people to define what they're doing. Hence, the efforts on this forum and others to get people to accurately describe what they're doing.... it serves a purpose. But now we're back to the discussion of just how much discussion is helpful and how much just gives the next generation of buzzword ammunition to teach their students. An endless debate. My point is that discussion does serve some purpose, as long as it's meaningful and informed discussion.

Mike Sigman

George S. Ledyard
07-10-2011, 06:21 PM
As I understand it, he sees that the two points of view come together at the point that they hit reality. Your motorcycle runs or it doesn't. Your bicycle is in one piece or not. Your Aikido works, or it doesn't. There's a limit to how far you can drift off into subjectivity and still be effective.

Ah, talk about a can of worms... I have yet to meet anyone who is teaching who thinks his or her Aikido doesn't work. It all depends on what you mean when you say "works". I would say that there is virtually no agreement about what a statement like this means.

If there were competition in our art, things would a a lot more clear. My wife is a Western style Fencer, epee to be precise. In fencing it is impossible to go around thinking you know more than you do if you engage in competition. If you are wrong, you lose. You can't maintain that you were good when you sucked. It's simple. There are folks in fencing just as any place else who are somewhat delusional about how good they are. But they either do not get out and compete at all, or they only compete within their own school or locally. They do the big fish in the small pond thing. Even that can be challenged. When my wife first moved to Seattle with her former husband the local fencing scene was pretty low key. She came down from Alaska having only had men to practice with and she and her ex started a school. She went on to win a national title. She told me a number of women quit fencing when she came to town and started competing locally. They couldn't maintain their illusions any more.

Does "works" mean that, like the Founder, you could have your experience equivalent in another martial art come through the door and you could hold your own? There would be a lot fewer dojos around if that were considered important.

Or does "works" mean being able to do your Aikido with a seriously committed uke who is attacking within the standard Aikido paradigm but who will reverse you if you make a mistake. Even within the traditional paradigm, a lot of folks out there would have trouble making their stuff work if their ukes weren't tanking. If folks had to do their Aikido against ukes who had speed and real power in their attacks, there would be a lot of embarrassment.

Yet, as I said, I know of no one teaching who would actually admit that their stuff didn't "work". If you mention certain scenarios, they might state that Aikido isn't about fighting or some such, but they won't say their Aikido doesn't "work". As long as you don't go anywhere you would get tested, if you can keep to yourself and just work with the folks who agree to cooperate you can maintain the illusion that your Aikido "works".

Anyway, such a discussion would go farther afield than we would like. Too much emotional investment, too much time and effort invested as well. Everyone's Aikido "works", at least everyone who has put some time in. I don't think you'd get past that to have further discussion.

Mike Sigman
07-10-2011, 06:39 PM
Ah, talk about a can of worms... I have yet to meet anyone who is teaching who thinks his or her Aikido doesn't work. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I don't think that conflating "it works" or "it's martial" or "I can kick your butt" is much more than a diversion if the topic is internal strength, etc. For instance, there can be a good, strong Xingyi or Karate fighter who has no (or minimal) internal strength, yet who will try to divert the topic to "it works and I can kick butt with it". It's sort of the typical situation where a karate dojo gets some big, strong kick-ass student (natural athlete) who wins a few tournaments and suddenly "Our Style Works so it must be the Real Thing!". Really? Can every student in that dojo now kick butt? Of course not... so it's a bogus argument meant to take in beginners.

The questions about Aikido and internal strength are a lot more obvious and ready for discussion than many other arts because the discussion and philosophy in Aikido is so obviously grounded in the terminology and demonstration (by Ueshiba, Tohei, Shioda, et al) of internal strength parameters. Not everything that "works" in Aikido is really internal-strength though.... that's the crux of it, still.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

hughrbeyer
07-10-2011, 09:44 PM
Yes, true enough. The analogy breaks down if you haven't got a shared definition for "works." Even in my own practice, if uke landed on the mat but only because I muscled him down, I don't consider my technique to have "worked."

Sacha Cloetens
07-13-2011, 11:59 AM
Hi Graham,

You stated:

"You know, when I was a baby I learned how to crawl and then I learned how to walk.

I did this through a process called study. What was the purpose of this thing called study? It was to do.

Once I could do then and only then did I know how to walk.

No books, no academia. Natural.

Later I learned how to talk and later than that found there were loads of academics who thought they knew yet couldn't do. Yet they were called experts. A strange world."

I'd like to refer to an interview with Tanaka Bansen , one of the founders direct ( pre-war) students, in Aikido Journal.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=366

"(...) O-Sensei’s body at that time was amazing. In the old days there was no bath in the house so we went out to a public bath. However, Sensei said he would not take a bath after somebody else had taken one. So I used to make a special request of the owner of the public bath and took Sensei there around three o’clock in the afternoon. When I used soap to wash his back I was scolded. He said soap was not necessary to wash him. However, when I rubbed his back only with a towel it made a thumping sound. When I told him it was hard for me to wash his back, he responded, “Is it really?” (Laughter) Then, after that, when I touched his back again, it had already become soft. Anyway, Sensei had muscles bulging out all over his body. It was really hard work to take him to a bath and wash him every day. Sensei used soap only to wash his hands and face but never for his body. I stopped using soap on my back from that time on.( ...)"

How does one "do" that ?

How comes one minute O' senseis body feels one way ( Back is rock-hard - making a "thumping" sound - (like cotton over steel maybe- ? ))
and the next minute - at will - it's all soft ?

How come there were "muscles bulging al over his body" - although at that time O sensei was already past his prime & retired in Iwama?

Is there any explanation at all for this phenomenon in your aikido -paradigm?

Could you replicate this?
If not, why not ? - Lack of intuition or lack of schooling ?

Futhermore you refer i. a. to douka as a reliable source of what the founder actually said & stated.

I'd like to refer to Mr Goldsburry's collums " Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation".
Aparantly most of what the founder said or wrote has been edited by others before being published ( in Japanese) & being translated.
To what extend then, are these text reliable as a source for what was actually meant?

As a final point.
To my information (but i could be wrong ) part of the reason O senseis students didn't understand what he was saying, was due to the fact that the students born right before during & after the war didn't recieve much shinto education since it was strongly associated with pre-war "state-shintoism" & therefore they simply lacked his references.
Their basic schooling hadn't been the same.
Pretty much comparable in the west to the knowledge of classical greek & latin nowadays, compared tot 50 years ago.

Regards,
Sacha

DH
07-14-2011, 12:34 AM
Hi Sacha
Of course you might want to consider that there are plenty of people who have power to various degrees and can do things in this vein- like making their body hard through breath power ;)
And who also do not know shinto or Omoto kyo and could care less.
As for the idea that those who learned Shinto or Omoto ad read the classics would then understand the mental/physical processes that got Ueshiba there?
Where are they?

Takeda was known for that as well. feeling soft then wham! hard as nails. So are several DR people.
As I said to those here who go on and on about Ueshiba's supposed "growth" in power after Takeda... due to 'other" practices that were not done in DR. Where are those people?

Just like I ask "Where were the bathrooms?" to those tell me stories...I ask "Where are these guys Ueshiba trained with in these methods who have power?" There are plenty of people studying, reading the classics, chanting, breathing, praying...and?,
All I see ...weirdly...are the guys in DR.
Is it possible that there were martial artists who had that kind of power and remained 'unknown" in martial art circles?
Baloney!!
They would have been known on contact..
Of course there are other methods, no problems with that. But in Japan in that era, outside of aikijujutsu ..where are they?
Dan.

,

Howard Prior
07-14-2011, 08:01 AM
I'd like to refer to an interview with Tanaka Bansen, one of the founders direct ( pre-war) students...

Just a quick note here on a man I remember a bit. I don't think I'm giving anything away in saying that in 1985 Tanaka sensei pooh poohed at least a bit of the practice at the Tokyo honbu dojo. On the other hand, he told me that practicing aikido was sufficient, that no additional outside-of-class practice was necessary. I have no doubt about the veracity of the first sentiment. I think he may, how shall I put it, have been pulling my leg on the second.

Another note: Tanaka sensei maintained that aikido was not about circles, that it was about spirals.

Funny how time plays tricks. I remember the second floor tatami and the doorway to the left of the front of the room that must have led to the changing area. Just where the toilet was, or just where the shower, escapes me.

Howard

Walker
07-14-2011, 11:13 AM
"Where is the toilet?"

I think I saw that in a movie once...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1MkjmbdHUM

[note for Allen: look, it's one of those newfangled color talkies!]

DH
07-14-2011, 11:39 AM
Hi Doug
Good grief look at that cast!!
Anyway...It's surprisingly effective when you encounter BS, eh?
When suspect stories are told, there are so many unlikely details to be questioned. I go after the odd ball ones.
Dan

jester
07-14-2011, 01:30 PM
If folks had to do their Aikido against ukes who had speed and real power in their attacks, there would be a lot of embarrassment.

Dojo Bashing used to be in Vogue!

-

jester
07-14-2011, 02:09 PM
How comes one minute O' senseis body feels one way and the next minute - at will - it's all soft ?

How come there were "muscles bulging al over his body"


Tensing or flexing makes your muscles makes them harder. Relaxing them makes them softer. Body type size has a lot to do with it. O'sensei was pretty short. If he was over 6 feet tall, it might have been different.

Training all your life is also a major factor. I used to work for a Kung-Fu/Karate shop and the owner was super solid and up there in age.

I saw him balance on one leg and squat down to the ground with the other leg fully extended, then get back up without using his hands or arms.

A lifetime of training and body conditioning is why he can do that.

-

DH
07-14-2011, 02:38 PM
Tensing or flexing makes your muscles makes them harder. Relaxing them makes them softer. Body type size has a lot to do with it. O'sensei was pretty short. If he was over 6 feet tall, it might have been different.


Nonsense. And if you think flexing is all there was to it then...well...that explains most martial artists, doesn't it?
Dan

jester
07-14-2011, 03:17 PM
If you think flexing is all there was to it then...
Dan

I was discussing back washes and old people. Not sure I went much farther into it than that. :p

Please let me in on what you know.

-

DH
07-14-2011, 03:53 PM
I was discussing back washes and old people. :p
-
I was discussing your founder ya know,,,the t-o-p-i-c.
Not sure I went much farther into it than that.
Not sure you are capable of it.
Please let me in on what you know.
Cheese is delicious.

jester
07-14-2011, 03:58 PM
I was discussing your founder ya know,,,the t-o-p-i-c.

Not sure you are capable of it.

Cheese is delicious.

Interesting posting style! Since we've never met, I love the way you make assumptions! I guess it's easier than answering basic questions. Great diversionary tactic!!

Next you'll be saying Jack Lalane secretly studied IP. :D

I do agree with the cheese comment though.

-

DH
07-14-2011, 04:06 PM
Interesting posting style! Since we've never met, I love the way you make assumptions! I guess it's easier than answering basic questions. Great diversionary tactic!!

Next you'll be saying Jack Lalane secretly studied IP. :D

I do agree with the cheese comment though.

-
All you have ever given me was drive-by posts lacking any substance, while challenging what I say, than expecting me to fill you in and tell you what I know. It all sounds strangely familiar.

"Fill me in on what you know"... might work in a school yard. In keeping with that, I might ask..."Why should I?"
I am disinclined to play that game.
After meeting people from the internet face to face, it has had a tendency to unstop certain people's ears while offering them a chance to be more polite.. all at the same time. It's more fun....and sincere.
Dan

DH
07-14-2011, 04:11 PM
Interesting posting style! Since we've never met, I love the way you make assumptions! I guess it's easier than answering basic questions. Great diversionary tactic!!

Next you'll be saying Jack Lalane secretly studied IP. :D

I do agree with the cheese comment though.

-
And you avoided the topic, did not add to it, did not acknowledge that you avoided it, did not address that you DO or do not know something of substance as to what may be going on with the idea of soft and hard, for that matter anything of substance other than external.
Drive by
Don't know how Jack entered into the discussion...I was talking about Ueshiba. Ever hear of him?

I like warm brie over crackers, with wine
Dan

jester
07-14-2011, 04:41 PM
"Fill me in on what you know"... might work in a school yard. In keeping with that, I might ask..."Why should I?"
I am disinclined to play that game.
Dan

WTF are you talking about?? You act like I'm trying to steal your secret cheese recipe or something. :blush:

I sent you the following PM the other day which you might have missed.
Can you define what you see as IP?

It might make things more clear for me.

Thanks

Tim

In another unrelated thread I never hear the term "Connection" used before so I asked what people think it is and got a straight answer. Now I ask what you think IP is and it turns into a song and dance routine.

I might be a Drive by Poster though. I post on what I think is interesting at the time. Here's (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=287827&postcount=89) my original post. Please let me know what part of your response HERE (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=287828&postcount=90) had substance?

I think the last part of my statement said "A lifetime of training and body conditioning is why he can do that."

That's also where the Jack Lalanne comment came from.

-

Thomas Campbell
07-14-2011, 05:01 PM
I like warm brie over crackers, with wine
Dan

I like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain.

Have we met somewhere?

:D

graham christian
07-14-2011, 05:19 PM
Hi Graham,

You stated:

"You know, when I was a baby I learned how to crawl and then I learned how to walk.

I did this through a process called study. What was the purpose of this thing called study? It was to do.

Once I could do then and only then did I know how to walk.

No books, no academia. Natural.

Later I learned how to talk and later than that found there were loads of academics who thought they knew yet couldn't do. Yet they were called experts. A strange world."

I'd like to refer to an interview with Tanaka Bansen , one of the founders direct ( pre-war) students, in Aikido Journal.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=366

"(...) O-Sensei's body at that time was amazing. In the old days there was no bath in the house so we went out to a public bath. However, Sensei said he would not take a bath after somebody else had taken one. So I used to make a special request of the owner of the public bath and took Sensei there around three o'clock in the afternoon. When I used soap to wash his back I was scolded. He said soap was not necessary to wash him. However, when I rubbed his back only with a towel it made a thumping sound. When I told him it was hard for me to wash his back, he responded, "Is it really?" (Laughter) Then, after that, when I touched his back again, it had already become soft. Anyway, Sensei had muscles bulging out all over his body. It was really hard work to take him to a bath and wash him every day. Sensei used soap only to wash his hands and face but never for his body. I stopped using soap on my back from that time on.( ...)"

How does one "do" that ?

How comes one minute O' senseis body feels one way ( Back is rock-hard - making a "thumping" sound - (like cotton over steel maybe- ? ))
and the next minute - at will - it's all soft ?

How come there were "muscles bulging al over his body" - although at that time O sensei was already past his prime & retired in Iwama?

Is there any explanation at all for this phenomenon in your aikido -paradigm?

Could you replicate this?
If not, why not ? - Lack of intuition or lack of schooling ?

Futhermore you refer i. a. to douka as a reliable source of what the founder actually said & stated.

I'd like to refer to Mr Goldsburry's collums " Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation".
Aparantly most of what the founder said or wrote has been edited by others before being published ( in Japanese) & being translated.
To what extend then, are these text reliable as a source for what was actually meant?

As a final point.
To my information (but i could be wrong ) part of the reason O senseis students didn't understand what he was saying, was due to the fact that the students born right before during & after the war didn't recieve much shinto education since it was strongly associated with pre-war "state-shintoism" & therefore they simply lacked his references.
Their basic schooling hadn't been the same.
Pretty much comparable in the west to the knowledge of classical greek & latin nowadays, compared tot 50 years ago.

Regards,
Sacha

Hi Sacha.
Not quite sure why you quote my post and then talk about learning with and without shinto education and different schooling. My point was about study without books and schooling.

On how does one do that? (relating to O'Sensei and bath)

That sounds so simple to me I don't see the big emphasis. Of course I could replicate this, it's not rocket science. I think you have too much significance on it. Plus it's not schooling or intuition obviously, It's someone DOING something and thus is ability.

Finally to do with translations. ' Most of' type statements are too vague for me to give any credence to. That comes under 'generalization'

Taking such negative generalizations and concluding that therefore anything recorded in such a fashion is very suspect actually makes translators sound like a waste of time. So from Buddha to Ghandhi to any past figure of different language.....huh, need I say more.

Another point is if a person is so sure of a mistranslation then they can print the same thing with the changed or missing words can't they?

It's very simple really. A word can't have 2000 meanings so you can repeat the sentence and indeed paragrah with one meaning and see if it makes sense, and then do the same with the other meanings and end up with the right usage more often than not if you have the vaguest idea of what the persons talking about.

Anyway, I have already explained about this with other factors to enter into it so I need say no more on the subject.

Regards.G.

Lorel Latorilla
07-14-2011, 05:48 PM
WTF are you talking about?? You act like I'm trying to steal your secret cheese recipe or something. :blush:

I sent you the following PM the other day which you might have missed.

In another unrelated thread I never hear the term "Connection" used before so I asked what people think it is and got a straight answer. Now I ask what you think IP is and it turns into a song and dance routine.

I might be a Drive by Poster though. I post on what I think is interesting at the time. Here's (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=287827&postcount=89) my original post. Please let me know what part of your response HERE (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=287828&postcount=90) had substance?

I think the last part of my statement said "A lifetime of training and body conditioning is why he can do that."

That's also where the Jack Lalanne comment came from.

-

I dont think Dan likes to get it in with new posters who have a bone to pick, so I feel compelled to write some amateur thoughts.

But basically, it's not that simple--a lifetime of training and conditioning will not give you the same body that Ueshiba had. When guys talk about having "soft" and "hard" here, "hard" does not mean stiff to the point where it is hard for you to move. It is a relaxed "hardness" that I believe, if I were to hazard a guess (Im not at this level yet), comes from coiling (some people call it winding) the fascia that lies under your skin. I dont know the physiological reason why it makes the body hard, but it just does. If you go on youtube and watch Okinawan Karate peeps do this standing exercise called "sanchin", they're doing some "coiling" stuff. Sometimes you see people hitting them and you can see how "hard" they are.

JW
07-14-2011, 07:08 PM
Hi Tim, if I may interject..
By the numbers under their names, Dan has about 2600 posts here, and Mike has 4000. Now granted about 1000 of each of those are probably them yelling at each other! But that aside, there remains about 4600 posts here pretty much all dedicated to answering your question!

So although it may seem frustrating at first (believe me, been there), if you are really interested, the answer to your question is quite thoroughly laid out. It's just that it doesn't start with a 3-line PM that took about 6.2 seconds to write.. it starts with weeks of catch-up reading.. then some self-questioning... then some exploration and turning your life upside down......
Anyway just talking from my limited personal experience.

DH
07-15-2011, 12:27 PM
I dont think Dan likes to get it in with new posters who have a bone to pick, so I feel compelled to write some amateur thoughts.
I get these one or two line emails from people;
Tell me what you know...
Hey, tell me what you think internal means and I'll see if I agree...
Hey, Here's my number, call me...I want to talk with you.
And my all time, hands down, favorite?.
I decided I want you to teach me, how do I join
Good grief. I don't know these people and they're more casual than my own friends. I could start a thread on the nature and shear volume of my private email. Some of it is truly hilarious.
Cheers
Dan

jester
07-15-2011, 02:09 PM
I get these one or two line emails from people;
Tell me what you know...
Hey, tell me what you think internal means and I'll see if I agree...
Hey, Here's my number, call me...I want to talk with you.
And my all time, hands down, favorite?.
I decided I want you to teach me, how do I join
Good grief. I don't know these people and they're more casual than my own friends. I could start a thread on the nature and shear volume of my private email. Some of it is truly hilarious.
Cheers
Dan

I sent a few of them. I don't have a clue what IP is hence my inquiries. Talking for a few minutes clears things up and is much better than going back and forth on the internet.

I get people wanting to talk to me for design work or to discuss projects all the time and I've never met any of them. Even if they don't hire me I try to educate them and point them in the right direction.

Maybe I'm just used to that and don't see it as out of the ordinary. If you want to talk cheese, let me know. :D

p.s. if you need a logo, let me know.

-

chillzATL
07-15-2011, 02:31 PM
Good grief. I don't know these people and they're more casual than my own friends. I could start a thread on the nature and shear volume of my private email. Some of it is truly hilarious.
Cheers
Dan

You kind of invite that on yourself though Dan. It has to be better than the nasty ones, which I'm sure you've gotten plenty of over the years...

Anyone ever tell you you look like Gene Hackman?

Thomas Campbell
07-15-2011, 03:36 PM
I get these one or two line emails from people;
[I]Tell me what you know...

I've given up on e-mailing or PMing Dan. You're much more likely to get a response if you hold up a sign like this:

http://southernoregonliving.com/image_store/uploads/8/4/2/5/6/ar127160258265248.jpg

substituting "Internal Power" for "a quarter," and stand by Exit 10 on the Massachussetts Turnpike for awhile to see what happens.

;)

Ernesto Lemke
07-15-2011, 04:43 PM
Anyone ever tell you you look like Gene Hackman?

Uhuh...more like Robert de NIro meets Henry Winkler. I kid you not!

"Aaaaeeeyyy! Are you talking to me? Exactamundo!"

chillzATL
07-15-2011, 06:09 PM
Uhuh...more like Robert de NIro meets Henry Winkler. I kid you not!

"Aaaaeeeyyy! Are you talking to me? Exactamundo!"

no way, compare:

http://images.tvrage.com/people/31/91126.jpg

to any of the pics of him here. Might as well be Hackman holding that puffer.

this is possibly the best threadjack ever.

Ernesto Lemke
07-16-2011, 01:03 AM
"What are you stupid or what?"
"You're such a potsie!"

:D