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RonRagusa
01-04-2013, 01:31 PM
I'd note that nobody has argued against the validity or utility of moving around, evading, jumping, dodging or any related action as a martial tactic. If you watch Shirata (the source of that "immovable body" quote) you'll notice that he moves about quite a bit.

The difference of opinion comes as to what the definition of "Aiki" is - saying that "Aiki" isn't evasion doesn't mean that evasion is wrong, or even inadvisable. Donuts aren't "Aiki" either, but where would my day be without them? :D

To the people who think that all definitions of "Aiki" out to be accepted, that it's all good, what if I said something like "I was walking down the street and I turned to a teenager who was annoying me, kicked him in the nuts and broke both his arms, what wonderful Aiki!". Wouldn't you feel obligated to say something?

Best,

Chris

"When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki. In other words, you give him freedom." - Morihei Ueshiba

So is he wrong then?

Ron

Chris Li
01-04-2013, 01:34 PM
"When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki. In other words, you give him freedom." - Morihei Ueshiba

So is he wrong then?

Ron

I think that both Greg and Carsten addressed this point on another thread. No, I don't think he's wrong - but I think that a lot of people are misunderstanding what he's saying, and that if you look at this example of Aiki in the light of the body of his comments on Aiki that becomes fairly clear.

Best,

Chris

RonRagusa
01-05-2013, 08:57 AM
Chris Li wrote:

I think that both Greg and Carsten addressed this point on another thread. No, I don't think he's wrong - but I think that a lot of people are misunderstanding what he's saying, and that if you look at this example of Aiki in the light of the body of his comments on Aiki that becomes fairly clear.

Let's look at the quote again:

"When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki. In other words, you give him freedom." - Morihei Ueshiba

Now let's look at the quote in light of the 1935 film of Ueshiba demonstrating:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98yRuBkUBGQ

In the film he can clearly be seen evading attacks and exercising little or no overt control of his ukes' movements. Ueshiba, in the quote calls this Aiki and in the film demonstrates it. The problem with applying interpretations to someone's words is that interpretations are subjective opinions of what is being stated. But here we have Ueshiba saying, "When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki." backed up by visual evidence of him supporting his own statement.

Ron

akiy
01-05-2013, 10:17 AM
"When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki. In other words, you give him freedom." - Morihei Ueshiba
Curious -- does anyone have the original Japanese for the above quote and where I can read its context?

-- Jun

Chris Li
01-05-2013, 10:53 AM
Curious -- does anyone have the original Japanese for the above quote and where I can read its context?

-- Jun

I've seen it online somewhere, but I can't remember offline. I remember the translation as being fairly straight forward.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
01-05-2013, 10:58 AM
Chris Li wrote:

Let's look at the quote again:

"When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki. In other words, you give him freedom." - Morihei Ueshiba

Now let's look at the quote in light of the 1935 film of Ueshiba demonstrating:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98yRuBkUBGQ

In the film he can clearly be seen evading attacks and exercising little or no overt control of his ukes' movements. Ueshiba, in the quote calls this Aiki and in the film demonstrates it. The problem with applying interpretations to someone's words is that interpretations are subjective opinions of what is being stated. But here we have Ueshiba saying, "When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki." backed up by visual evidence of him supporting his own statement.

Ron

1) You're conflating a much earlier film with an interview done more than 20 years later in a different context. Nothing wrong with evading, but that doesn't mean that it's the same thing that he's talking about 20 years later in a different context. This is very different than if he had made a specific video demonstration in the context of the interview.
2) You're ignoring Greg and Carsten's comments on the subject.
3) You're ignoring a large body of discussion by Morihei Ueshiba in which he talks about "Aiki" in context in favor of a single out of context comment in an interview meant for popular consumption.

Best,

Chris

sorokod
01-05-2013, 11:20 AM
Another data point, interview with Gozo Shioda ( http://members.aikidojournal.com/private/interview-with-gozo-shioda/ )


Q. Did Ueshiba Sensei give names to techniques when he was teaching before the war?
A. He used the term irimi. He said that sokumen irimi and shomen irimi were also kinds of irimi. He would also say things like, "Irimi is the essence of aiki." Certainly other martial arts such as judo do not have iriminage. Maybe he used the names of techniques he was taught by Sokaku Takeda.

RonRagusa
01-05-2013, 11:34 AM
1) You're conflating a much earlier film with an interview done more than 20 years later in a different context. Nothing wrong with evading, but that doesn't mean that it's the same thing that he's talking about 20 years later in a different context. This is very different than if he had made a specific video demonstration in the context of the interview.
2) You're ignoring Greg and Carsten's comments on the subject.
3) You're ignoring a large body of discussion by Morihei Ueshiba in which he talks about "Aiki" in context in favor of a single out of context comment in an interview meant for popular consumption.

Best,

Chris

Chris, you can look at any of Ueshiba's clips on Youtube regardless of the era and see the same thing. He demonstrates a clear pattern in his movements that fully support the statement, regardless of how you choose to interpret his words. I chose the 1935 video precisely because he is doing prewar Aikido and in fact it looks pretty much the same as what Mark Murray refers to Modern Aikido.

Examples:

First, lots of leading, blending and very little overt control:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxxb2ctulEs

Here's one where he demonstrates a more power oriented Aiki:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoDK3XuvZWw

This one contains both aspects of Aiki:

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

You seem to be of the opinion that what I call two sides of the same Aiki coin cannot both be Aiki, or composite parts of the totality of Aiki. I don't see it that way and based on what I can see Ueshiba doing and reading from what you say is a pretty straightforward translation of his own words, I don't think he did either.

Ron

Chris Li
01-05-2013, 11:47 AM
Chris, you can look at any of Ueshiba's clips on Youtube regardless of the era and see the same thing. He demonstrates a clear pattern in his movements that fully support the statement, regardless of how you choose to interpret his words. I chose the 1935 video precisely because he is doing prewar Aikido and in fact it looks pretty much the same as what Mark Murray refers to Modern Aikido.

Examples:

First, lots of leading, blending and very little overt control:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxxb2ctulEs

Here's one where he demonstrates a more power oriented Aiki:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoDK3XuvZWw

This one contains both aspects of Aiki:

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

You seem to be of the opinion that what I call two sides of the same Aiki coin are mutually exclusive rather than complimentary. I don't see it that way and based on what I can see Ueshiba doing and reading from what you say is a pretty straightforward translation of his own words, I don't think he did either.

Ron

Again, I don't deny that he moved around, led, blended or whatever - I'm saying that he didn't call it Aiki. That's not based on a single quote from an interview designed for popular consumption. That's based on a body of written work.

There's nothing wrong with any of the things you're talking about, but just because Ueshiba shows something in a film doesn't mean that it's "Aiki" (or rather, it doesn't mean that what you're pointing out in the film is "Aiki"). Not everything is "Aiki". Even if Ueshiba does it.

I never said anything was mutually exclusive. I'm talking about the meaning of a particular term. Because people have not been clear about what "Aiki" means there has been an increasing tendency to characterize anything "Aikido-like" as "Aiki", which is just fine - but that doesn't mean that Ueshiba used it the same way.

Best,

Chris

sorokod
01-05-2013, 11:49 AM
Another data point, Interview with Noriaki Inoue ( http://members.aikidojournal.com/private/interview-with-noriaki-inoue-2/ )


Q. Would you talk about the name change from Daito-ryu aiki Jujutsu to Aiki Budo?
A. It was Onisaburo Deguchi Sensei who gave me the name "Aiki Budo". He said that "Daito-ryu Jujutsu" was not the right name for the art. He called Ueshiba Sensei and told him to stop calling it "Daito-ryu Jujutsu" and suggested that he should call it "aiki" instead. Ueshiba Sensei, in the beginning, was very hesitant to use the name "aiki" but later agreed. Later, I began to call the art "Aiki Budo". Until then it was called "Kobu Budo". Although Ueshiba Sensei said that "aiki is love", that is absurd. It is not that small. "A" is the voice of heaven. "liii" is ki. "Aaa" and "iki" are continuously in movement.
Since I had a sort of a father-child relationship with Ueshiba Sensei, I spoke clearly to him. I explained to him why we had to call the art "Aiki Budo" and suggested that he stop calling it "Kobu Budo." I said that if he continued calling it Kobu Budo, the art would certainly be destroyed sometime in the future and at that time he would return to the name "aiki". As I expected, the name became aiki after we lost the war. Ueshiba visited me at my home and said: "Looking at the way things have turned out the name ‘Kobu' is not appropriate so I have decided to use the name ‘aiki'. The art is now called ‘aikido'." I replied in the following manner: "Oh, I see. You aren't adding the name "Budo" as well?" At that time I was teaching my art as "Aiki Budo".

RonRagusa
01-05-2013, 12:37 PM
I'm saying that he didn't call it Aiki.

And yet, in his own words, he did. I'll bow out now, as our positions have been clearly stated, and leave it to others to form their own opinions. Thanks Chris.

Ron

ChrisHein
01-05-2013, 12:39 PM
I'm talking about the meaning of a particular term. Because people have not been clear about what "Aiki" means there has been an increasing tendency to characterize anything "Aikido-like" as "Aiki", which is just fine - but that doesn't mean that Ueshiba used it the same way.

Best,

Chris

So could you be clear and concise about how you believe Ueshiba used the term, "Aiki"?

Chris Li
01-05-2013, 03:08 PM
So could you be clear and concise about how you believe Ueshiba used the term, "Aiki"?

Chris, I've already posted about it.

Ron's right, we're going around in circles, and I'm out too.

Best,

Chris

ChrisHein
01-05-2013, 03:10 PM
Hmh....I thought you were very interested in this subject.

hughrbeyer
01-06-2013, 12:15 PM
It seems to me that in order to have this discussion, we have to separate out the various hypotheses on the table. As I see it:

0) The null hypothesis--O-Sensei didn't use aiki in any specialized way, but just meant general good budo movement. Any attempt to find a more precise definition in his words is hopeless.

1) The inverse--O-Sensei used aiki to mean blending, matching your partner's attack, leading his momentum, pull when pushed/push when pulled.

2) O-Sensei used the term for a specific set of body skills with known concepts, langauge, and history. But especially post-war, as he looked to popularizing the art, he generalized the word to include peace, love, nonviolence and other good things.

3) O-Sensei used the term for a specific set of body skills and never stopped using it that way. But when he was talking to a general audience, especially after the war, he often spoke metaphorically. So "Aiki is love" should be understoold in the same way as "budo is love"--a metaphorical statement pointing to a larger truth, not intended to be taken literally.

In order to distinguish 2 and 3, we need to know the context and the date of any statement by O-Sensei so we can understand whether he was already looking forward to the popularization of the art, and so we can understand if he was speaking to the general public or to students who knew his method and could understand more technical explanations. For others using the term, we have similar questions--when did they say it, where did they learn about it, and how far along in his own development was the person who taught them the term?

Speaking off the cuff, because I'm travelling and don't have materials with me, I can't think of anything that contradicts 3. But I'm open to hearing otherwise.

Re Ron's video clips, you've made the point that O-Sensei also used momentum, evading, and leading uke. (Though in a lot of those clips there's more than that going on there. Look at how O-Sensei moves his body into uke, even when he appears to be moving uke around himself.)

But a quick scan through the same tape shows O-Sensei not evading at all--look at any of the ikkyu throws for a quick example. So that doesn't really help us figure out how O-Sensei used the term.

Ellis Amdur
01-06-2013, 01:35 PM
Hugh - One thing you didn't include:

That Ueshiba included all of these definitions and more, not as an amalgam, but in the same way that light is both a particle and a wave, depending on the viewpoint of the observer. I truly do not think that Ueshiba had a public definition of aiki and a "real" one - they were all his definitions, and to him, all true. That is why, I think, people who wish to do so-called "O-sensei's aikido," while also studying IP/IS have more difficulty than someone studying a martial art that takes a technological approach. A lot of these arguments really come down to an insistence that one's preferred definition of aiki is correct. That there would be a single rather specific definition is almost surely true in most other martial arts that do internal training (although I once had a t'ai chi guy in Taiwan go into a screaming rage at me when he heard I did xingyi, because, he screamed, xingyi was too aggressive).
But what those in these arguments seem to have difficulty with is that Ueshiba himself gave equal valence to all possible definitions. Again - because I'm sure this will be misinterpreted by someone - that light is both wave and particle in nature does not mean that it is" half wave" and "half particle." Nor is it "both." It is, simultaneously, 100% each. Similarly, that "aiki is love" or "aiki is blending with the energy of one's attacker" or as Andrew Prochnow so elegantly put it, "Aiki is the result of one training their own body to be in unision with itself. Structure gives the Aiki a clear pathway to follow. Relaxation enables Aiki to travel through that structure. Intent is what fuels the Aiki in the body. When one comes into contact with one who has trained their body. Aiki is what is seen when the two meet," or even more definitions that surely the assiduous could find when researching Ueshiba's quotes and films, are all Ueshiba's aiki. In my opinion, if one wants to do aikido, one has to have the courage of not having such strong convictions - except that studying Ueshiba requires an acceptance of paradox.

Ellis Amdur

Rob Watson
01-06-2013, 01:48 PM
It seems to me that in order to have this discussion, we have to ...

Read everything on Aikido Journal - particularly the interviews of deshi pre/post war, read all of Peter Goldsbury columns, read Chris Li interpretations, find everything the founder ever published, said, was heard to say and the interpretations of first handers that were present. This is the baseline.

For those of us unable to read the original documents we have to rely on the translations of others (see PG columns for things to be aware of in this effort). We must also be cognizant that some interpretations and recollections are 'colored' by the times and context of the interview. In addition it may well be that the choice of terms used by the founder was purposely to obfuscate or overly generalize to address a wider audience (even those not actually practicing aikido) in order to spread the principles

Be aware that there are documents that are not publicly available. The founders library at Iwama sat untouched for many years (anyone that has seen that collection can comment on the size of the contents for reference). I only have third hand info but to say the room was packed would be not an exaggeration.

For my own bias I place extra weight on the story and implications surrounding the demonstration in from of the emperor and contrast that with most every other public demonstration - the difference is quite informative IMO.

Also vexing to me is the Kano Jigoro comment to the effect "that is real judo" contrated when finding comments like "that is the founders aiki" - all is not as it seems at first, second or even third glance and even concentrated effort is difficult.

The moral of the story seems to be that if one is not responsible for ones legacy then that effort falls onto the shoulders of others - they may not have a clear understanding so many details and vital info gets lost in the transition. As more of the 'old guard' fades into history the likelyhood of any certainty of slapping a label "authentic Ueshiba aiki" on anything becomes more and more difficult. In the absence of first hand accounts proclaiming a definition of "authentic Ueshiba aiki" then all we have are innuendo, circumstance, and best efforts. To be sure humanity has gotten along for millenia on flimsy 'proof' woefully short of 'modern' 'scientific' proof of certainty in most every field of knowledge.

If we are not interested in 'proof' then what are we arguing about? Why are we holding such a high standard of 'proof'? Are we willing to acknowledge and accept that at some point our demand for proof cannot be fulfilled so we must take some things on faith? Scientific certainty, beyond reasonable doubt, weight of circumstance, best guess on current understanding, Billy Bob says so.

Something to ponder ... 1000 years from now what will constitute proof of "authentic Ueshiba aiki"?

ChrisHein
01-06-2013, 02:06 PM
Hugh - One thing you didn't include:

That Ueshiba included all of these definitions and more, not as an amalgam, but in the same way that light is both a particle and a wave, depending on the viewpoint of the observer. I truly do not think that Ueshiba had a public definition of aiki and a "real" one - they were all his definitions, and to him, all true. That is why, I think, people who wish to do so-called "O-sensei's aikido," while also studying IP/IS have more difficulty than someone studying a martial art that takes a technological approach. A lot of these arguments really come down to an insistence that one's preferred definition of aiki is correct. That there would be a single rather specific definition is almost surely true in most other martial arts that do internal training (although I once had a t'ai chi guy in Taiwan go into a screaming rage at me when he heard I did xingyi, because, he screamed, xingyi was too aggressive).
But what those in these arguments seem to have difficulty with is that Ueshiba himself gave equal valence to all possible definitions. Again - because I'm sure this will be misinterpreted by someone - that light is both wave and particle in nature does not mean that it is" half wave" and "half particle." Nor is it "both." It is, simultaneously, 100% each. Similarly, that "aiki is love" or "aiki is blending with the energy of one's attacker" or as Andrew Prochnow so elegantly put it, "Aiki is the result of one training their own body to be in unision with itself. Structure gives the Aiki a clear pathway to follow. Relaxation enables Aiki to travel through that structure. Intent is what fuels the Aiki in the body. When one comes into contact with one who has trained their body. Aiki is what is seen when the two meet," or even more definitions that surely the assiduous could find when researching Ueshiba's quotes and films, are all Ueshiba's aiki. In my opinion, if one wants to do aikido, one has to have the courage of not having such strong convictions - except that studying Ueshiba requires an acceptance of paradox.

Ellis Amdur

This is a very nice post.

Also, just simply the idea, and I think Mr. Amdur presents that above (please correct me if I'm wrong), Ueshiba and Takeda were both using the word to represent what they were doing. That could be lot's of different things. They both claimed it, and used it to represent them. After them, their students did the same. So we have lot's of different, legitimate definitions of the word.

Janet Rosen
01-06-2013, 02:47 PM
...that light is both wave and particle in nature does not mean that it is" half wave" and "half particle." Nor is it "both." It is, simultaneously, 100% each....In my opinion, if one wants to do aikido, one has to have the courage of not having such strong convictions - except that studying Ueshiba requires an acceptance of paradox.
Ellis Amdur

Ellis, thank you for so gracefully articulating what has been in my head.

akiy
01-06-2013, 03:23 PM
In my opinion, if one wants to do aikido, one has to have the courage of not having such strong convictions - except that studying Ueshiba requires an acceptance of paradox.
Well stated, Ellis. I agree completely.

-- Jun

akiy
01-06-2013, 03:42 PM
To add a bit of fodder to this discussion regarding Morihei Ueshiba's use of the term "aiki"...

Last night, I had some time so I went and translated the first couple of passages that mentioned "aiki' that I found in "Takemusu Aiki," a collection of transcripts of lectures by Morihei Ueshiba by Hideo Takahashi. I believe these passages were first published in 1958 in publications put out by the Byakko Shinkokai. The bulk of the original text of "Takemusu Aiki" is, for my uneducated mind, pretty difficult to get through due to its many esoteric references to texts outside of my own knowledge like the Kojiki, metaphoric/philosophic/religious terms from the Ōmotokyō religion, and kotodama. The below translations are mine, so any mistakes therein are also mine.

(Peter Goldsbury pointed out to me that there are also translations of "Takemusu Aiki" done by Sonoko Tanaka on the Aikido Journal member's site, for those seeking an alternative translation.)

-- Jun

「今や、我々は与えられたる神業を失墜せんように、慈となり、光となって、神のみ子たるところの身の本分をつくし、宇宙建国完成、人の完成の業に奉仕し、顕幽神三界にわた り、世々をあげて和合し、経綸を進むるは、我々の完成の道であり、それは合気の実行であります。」(pg 31)

"At present, in order for us to not lose the divine work that was given to us, we must fulfill our duties as children of god by becoming kindness and by becoming light; we must enter into the service of working towards a universal nation and the completion of mankind, to cross over into the three worlds of the senses, the spirit, and the divine; and, our harmonizing with the entirety of the worlds and advancing the order of the state (country) is the path for our completion. This is the realization of aiki."

「合気の道は愛を守るの道であります。愛なくばこの世の一切は成り立たないのです。故に合気の真の働きが無ければこの世はつぶれると私は信じているのでありま す。
そのために、顕幽神三界にわたって、この世を守っていかなければありません。それは最勝妙如来の現れであります。
合気とは、宇宙の中心に立って、ただよえる世を立直す役目を持っておる処の一つの道であります。」(pg 33)

"The path of aiki is the path to protect love. Without love, this world does not hold up at all. Therefore, without the work of the truth of aiki, I believe that this world will collapse.
In order to do this, we must cross over into the three worlds of the senses, the spirit, and the divine in order to keep protecting this world. This will be the manifestation of the goddess of mercy (Sahasrabhuja arya avalokitesvara).
Aiki is to stand at the center of the universe and is one path of conduct that has the responsibility of righting the drifting world."

ChrisHein
01-06-2013, 05:12 PM
I've been working on getting through the translations of takemusu Aiki on Aikido Journal. I've read them and reread them. It becomes clear very quickly, that Ueshiba had a very large world of imagery, history, and legend that he was working with. It's very hard to get through this material because I constantly find myself having to look up what the image/legend he was pointing to means.

He was a complex fellow.

Thanks for the translation Jun!

ChrisHein
01-06-2013, 05:14 PM
Does Koichi Barish have a translation of this? It would be interesting to hear his take.---I looked here is something I found:

http://video.yandex.ru/users/aikifreedo/view/105/?cauthor=aikifreedo&cid=8#

at 3:48 He's referencing this material.

Eric in Denver
01-06-2013, 08:31 PM
light is both wave and particle in nature does not mean that it is" half wave" and "half particle." Nor is it "both." It is, simultaneously, 100% each.

My brother-in-law is an astrophysicist and I was asking him about this coming from my social sciences background. His take on it was a little a different. It isn't so much that it is both, but that our current model aren't precise or accurate enough to explain light, thus it appears in current models as both particles and waves. This does not have to do with a dual nature to light, it has to do with a failure of our understanding of the universe.

I wonder if Ueshiba's own various uses of the word aiki are similar -- he hadn't really fully grasped what he was reaching for either, and was doing the best he could with the imperfect paradigms he had to work with.

Ellis Amdur
01-06-2013, 09:43 PM
Eric - that's possible, and surely on some level, true. On the other hand, your brother-in-law, is suggesting that there is a way beyond the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, in which any measuring device we use to determine the nature of an entity effects the nature of the entity. (Which we may be seeing here regarding all these definitions of aiki).

Regarding Ueshiba, however, I don't quite see how what your bro-in-law states translates - the limit of a simile is that it is bounded by the degree of similitude.

Since Ueshiba apparently chose to apply a term to a number of apparently different, even contradictory experiences, thoughts, attitudes, I doubt very much that were he less bewildered, he might have called his spiritual ideas, for one example, by some other term. On the contrary, I think it's clear, despite others' wishes to the contrary, that for him, aiki had the same nature, despite its different forms and all his different assertions. The simile that I offered was for "us," not Ueshiba, Because he appeared to find no paradox whatsoever in these various "irreconcilable" definitions.

People, (after I noticed the quote in Alan Ruddock's account) quote Ueshiba as saying that "you do not understand yin and yang" (actually, he said, Izanagi and Izanami, and it would be facile to assert that there are no nuances of difference here - it was changed to the former because the interlocutor decided that people wouldn't understand and they were, after all,in his opinion, the same). I've no doubt that, on one level, he was referring explicitly to a key of what one trains for internal power. I've also no doubt that, by choosing sectarian Shinto terms, that he was referring to an essential Japanese character to true knowledge. I've also no doubt that on a macro level, he was asserting that a tolerance for all paradoxes in his definition were necessary. Hence, for him, Shioda didn't get it. (he said so). And Tohei didn't get it. Not all of it.

I'll never "get over" that on his death bed he cried out for Tomiki Kenji. Perhaps a lesson to everyone, including his son, that what Tomiki offered was part of the paradox to be embraced as well.

Ellis Amdur

ChrisHein
01-06-2013, 10:58 PM
I'll never "get over" that on his death bed he cried out for Tomiki Kenji. Perhaps a lesson to everyone, including his son, that what Tomiki offered was part of the paradox to be embraced as well.

Ellis Amdur

While this is stuff for another thread, I think it's very interesting. I have been making a study of Tomiki Sensei's work of late, I've found it very enlightening!

Eric in Denver
01-07-2013, 12:19 AM
Eric - that's possible, and surely on some level, true. On the other hand, your brother-in-law, is suggesting that there is a way beyond the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, in which any measuring device we use to determine the nature of an entity effects the nature of the entity. (Which we may be seeing here regarding all these definitions of aiki).

Regarding Ueshiba, however, I don't quite see how what your bro-in-law states translates - the limit of a simile is that it is bounded by the degree of similitude.



Are you referring to the observor effect? That isn't quite what the bro-in-law was getting at. He was saying that the way particles and waves are defined mean they are insufficient to explain light. It isn't that light is both a particle and a wave, it is neither, and the concepts of particle and wave are insufficient. They work well when talking about sound, ocean waves, molecules of water, dust, but they don't work well for light.

I see that as being a worthwhile point to consider. Fire-water, heaven-earth, dual spirals, in-yo, Izanagi-Izanumi, triangle-square-circle, kototama, shihonage, push tests, reverse breathing, none of these are sufficient to explain what Ueshiba meant by aiki. Each might explain some tiny facet, but adding them all together doesn't equal aiki any more than particle plus wave equals light. That means any time he uses these terms, they will be inexact representations of aiki. So, my line of thinking is that it is likely he recognized the inconsistencies in what he was saying, but there wasn't really a good way around it.

But, I could be wrong.

Ellis Amdur
01-07-2013, 12:37 AM
Nah - I do not think he saw any inconsistency whatsoever. That's the whole point.
Only we do.

Ellis Amdur

Peter Goldsbury
01-07-2013, 12:49 AM
Nah - I do not think he saw any inconsistency whatsoever. That's the whole point.
Only we do.

Ellis Amdur

I agree with Ellis. I believe that Morihei Ueshiba was using a certain kind of what has been called 'cultural logic' and I also believe that this is very hard for people to grasp, especially those who have been brought up to think in another kind of cultural logic.

Best wishes,

Michael Varin
01-07-2013, 02:04 AM
I really appreciate what both Ellis and Peter contributed to this thread.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-07-2013, 03:32 AM
Regarding Takemusu Aiki translations to western languages, I think I've mentioned before this one; http://www.editionsducenacle.com/2.1_autour-de-ueshiba.html (still not completed).

Alex Megann
01-07-2013, 06:26 AM
Again - because I'm sure this will be misinterpreted by someone - that light is both wave and particle in nature does not mean that it is" half wave" and "half particle." Nor is it "both." It is, simultaneously, 100% each.
Ellis Amdur

I agree with Ellis. I believe that Morihei Ueshiba was using a certain kind of what has been called 'cultural logic' and I also believe that this is very hard for people to grasp, especially those who have been brought up to think in another kind of cultural logic.


I think Ellis's analogy is actually pretty profound.

The mathematics of quantum theory is precise and extremely accurate, and mostly unambiguous: in particular, it has little to say about whether a photon is a wave or a particle. It is only those of us in the "real" world who insist on trying to describe tiny particles using languages that have evolved in the human-sized universe, and so get flummoxed when an entity like a photon appears to sit simultaneously in what seem to us incompatible categories.

I don't speak Japanese, but I know enough to understand that exact translation between languages, especially of the esoteric sayings of Morihei Ueshiba, is often impossible, since the meanings of words tend to be highly dependent on the cultural context. Peter's differences in "cultural logic" between Ueshiba's world and ours are a little like the artificial paradoxes that occur when we try to describe quantum behaviour using English (or even Japanese or Urdu).

Alex

phitruong
01-07-2013, 08:52 AM
using esoteric and religous names for martial arts aren't new. the chinese did it for awhile. for example, "buddha warrior attendant pounding the crap out of you" or "kwan yin (goddes of mercy) brushes her hair and put on make-up" and so on. doesn't mean it religious. mostly it sounded cool which is better than pounding your head and kick your balls. vanity is part of asian heritage. don't take it too seriously.

Ellis Amdur
01-07-2013, 09:22 AM
Phi - It's not true, in general regarding Asian traditional martial arts (in the two koryu I'm licensed, the names chosen for waza or kata have multi-layered meanings).
And in regards to Ueshiba, it's definitely not true.
You are asserting that Ueshiba meant nothing by his spiritual references. That is not born out by the facts. Terry Dobson described traveling with him and he stated that every night he spent the bulk of the night praying.

Phi, sometimes you try too hard to be funny.

Ellis Amdur

Krystal Locke
01-07-2013, 10:14 AM
Eric - that's possible, and surely on some level, true. On the other hand, your brother-in-law, is suggesting that there is a way beyond the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, in which any measuring device we use to determine the nature of an entity effects the nature of the entity. (Which we may be seeing here regarding all these definitions of aiki).


The observer effect is not actually related to the uncertainty principle. Heisenberg offered the observer effect as an incorrect explanation for the uncertainty principle. He did not understand that the difficulty he was having simultaneously and precisely observing position and momentum in particles was due to inherent properties of quantum systems.

The observer effect is not inescapable in most observations, and in systems in which it is a factor, it can be adjusted for by including the observer in the system studied. Even in quantum mechanics, in which the effect is inevitable and large, the effect is understandable enough to be controlled for.

There does seem to be a huge and necessary observer effect in human interactions, and human psychology is such an imprecise field that providing controls is very difficult, impractical in daily, non-experimental interactions.

I do take your point and agree with it about the observer effect and the aiki wars, I am just so much of a geek that I cannot let a common misconception about the uncertainty principle lie. The brother in law is not rewriting physics.

DH
01-07-2013, 10:51 AM
How many martial artists did/do the same thing as Ueshiba? There are so many examples it's hardly worth mentioning.
How is it that Takeda had solo training drills to produce (as Sagawa noted) an aiki body for power and told Sagawa not to talk about it....yet. he also said with aiki he could read minds and sort pout peoples skills on site using "aiki?"

The founder of a Koryu discussed Heaven/Earth/Men producing power that made his Ken unstoppable and then later in life discussed Heaven/Earth/Man as a way to be one with the universe and embrace your role as a true human being.

You might as well quote Kondo and a famous Koryu teacher who both say (with a sword in their hand) that budo is about living and not dying..

It's equally fascinating to meet, hear and read the many definitions of yin and yang offered by some of the ICMA master level guys who have power as well. Particularly when they wax on about the grand universal ideas of yin/yang theory and Qi affecting entire countries persona, down to communities, down to families and then. to individuals.

Then....They get into practical use of Yin/yang and qi in a martial art and what they then say, makes very real practical results for physical power and disruptive movement. As stated Takeda and Sagawa had solo training as aiki to produce power and low and behold so did Ueshiba. And they all called it aiki as well.

So when asked, all of the above examples would give an expansive wonderful and pithy commentary on their particular shtick being grand, multi-facted, multi-layered, and a deep and worthy life long pursuit. How many people want to say "I spent my life studying better ways to kill people."

It is interesting to note Inue (quoting Ueshiba) saying that due to the loss in WW2, he thought he had to remove budo from the name. And much of Ueshiba's "aiki is love" rhetoric really started to crank up.

So hearing any individual teacher (with power) discuss common terms that are known for producing power then wax on about his grand vision is a twice told tale

I think i'ts fine that people have discovered all sorts of things in their Aikido:
Aiki is love
Aiki will change the world
The verbal interaction at work as aiki
Remaining centered with an attacker or even an angry wife as aiki. And I am NOT down playing that skill either
Aikido is big and there is a lot in it that is fun, that is healing, and that builds community.
None of which ever explained Ueshiba's power.

What actually did produce his power he defined as well.
We do have documented and known terms that he also used as descriptions of aiki, and he used them specifically when being asked about martial usage. The terms he used were known for developing physical power.
Remove the internal practices he described and you will find that Ueshiba's colorful versions of grander aiki have not produced his power in anyone. Not that that is a bad thing. But if you are looking for it, you are not going to find it in his lofty ideas.

Anyone can establish equal value on the term "aiki" or yin and yang just by agreeing to agree.
Aiki is love
Aiki produces an atemi that is lethal
Standing in the midst of Heaven/earth/man releases the mountain echo
Not the weight of a feather can be added, nor can a fly alight that does not induce rotation.
Through change, ten thousand endings, but only through one theory, the union of opposites

Which one(s) addresses the state of man, which one(s) are a very practical means to deliver disruptive power?

Personal choices:
*Just a little side note: In the past no one used to tackle the missing power issue. It is routinely skirted around. Ueshiba produced power. He discussed that as aiki as well, didn't he? Yet, for decades...no...discussion about how that aiki was supposed to be created. Instead everyone just bragged on him as amazing and then went back to "Aiki is love," "Aiki is evading."
Fine by me, but it is damn peculiar that to date I've never met anyone who had unusual power who got it by following "aiki is love" or "yin and yang makes you one with the universe."
But they keep saying it..
However you...can get it...by understanding the terms Ueshiba used, what they meant and how to train them.

I can understand if people want to make the case that the vast majority of people in TMA don't really want unusual power or even argue that it simply doesn't exist (that's the new rhetoric about Ueshiba as well, that he really was not unusual). I know quite few people who are very happy with their practices, as is.
But they certainly cannot make the case that aiki is love ever got Ueshiba or any other live human being the sort of unusual physical power Ueshiba was noted for. Not that there's anything wrong with that either. As we can see, today many people could care less.

Dan

Eric in Denver
01-07-2013, 11:01 AM
Nah - I do not think he saw any inconsistency whatsoever. That's the whole point.
Only we do.

Ellis Amdur

I agree with Ellis. I believe that Morihei Ueshiba was using a certain kind of what has been called 'cultural logic' and I also believe that this is very hard for people to grasp, especially those who have been brought up to think in another kind of cultural logic.

Best wishes,

Fair enough, perhaps he did have it all figured out and was able to explain it perfectly. I am content if we agree to disagree on this point.

akiy
01-07-2013, 11:05 AM
I think i'ts fine that people have discovered all sorts of things in their Aikido:
Aiki is love
Aiki will change the world
The verbal interaction at work as aiki
Remaining centered with an attacker or even an angry wife as aiki. And I am NOT down playing that skill either
Aikido is big and there is a lot in it that is fun, that is healing, and that builds community.
None of which ever explained Ueshiba's power.

I don't think this thread is trying to explain Ueshiba's physical "power." I think doing so would derail this language discussion. If you wish to discuss that particular topic any further, please start a new thread.

-- Jun

DH
01-07-2013, 11:18 AM
I don't think this thread is trying to explain Ueshiba's physical "power." I think doing so would derail this language discussion. If you wish to discuss that particular topic any further, please start a new thread.

-- Jun
Okay then. I can see leaving out explaining his power.
But it would seem relevant to be quoting him answering questions on what aiki is by:
Drawing a circle and explaining Aiki is opposing powers.
Or
The mysteries of aiki are revealed in dual opposing spirals..I'll leave that unfinished yet it is a body method for producing power.
Or when asked describing detailed Chinese terminology for martial movement...as aiki.

I think we should at least agree that Ueshiba used the term aiki to describe his physical power repeatedly and it's use in interacting in martial movement? Stating things like "once you move this way, no one can stop you." should at least offer value to a relevant discussion on Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

No need to discuss what it means or how to do it, just that when asked... he did say these things were aiki.
Dan

akiy
01-07-2013, 11:34 AM
No need to discuss what it means or how to do it, just that when asked... he did say these things were aiki.

Sure -- I think it would be fruitful to engage in a discussion regarding Morihei Ueshiba's use of the term "aiki" also having that interpretation as well.

And, I know it's been done in the past, but including explicit references, either included within the post or via a URL link, to the original text or translation would be very welcome.

Thanks,

-- Jun

phitruong
01-07-2013, 11:56 AM
Phi - It's not true, in general regarding Asian traditional martial arts (in the two koryu I'm licensed, the names chosen for waza or kata have multi-layered meanings).
And in regards to Ueshiba, it's definitely not true.
You are asserting that Ueshiba meant nothing by his spiritual references. That is not born out by the facts. Terry Dobson described traveling with him and he stated that every night he spent the bulk of the night praying.
Ellis Amdur

i stand rightly corrected. question for you or those who know, does the usage of religious teminologies/names have some implication on philosophy as well as technical in martial techniques/principles?

Demetrio Cereijo
01-07-2013, 12:12 PM
i stand rightly corrected. question for you or those who know, does the usage of religious teminologies/names have some implication on philosophy as well as technical in martial techniques/principles?

As a kind of shamanistic possession.

You could find "Marishiten: Buddhist Influences on Combative Behavior" by David A. Hall* (in Koryu Bujutsu: Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan (http://www.koryu.com/bookstore/cover.html)) worth reading.

*His dissertation about this subject is more ellaborated, but longer and heavier. With all due respect, appropriate for a more scholarly place than a internet forum, IMHO.

Ellis Amdur
01-07-2013, 12:13 PM
Phi - the short answer is yes. If you'd care to start a new thread in the language section, here, I'll be happy to give you my understanding from the koryu I train, perhaps later on today.

Ellis

hughrbeyer
01-07-2013, 12:26 PM
People, (after I noticed the quote in Alan Ruddock's account) quote Ueshiba as saying that "you do not understand yin and yang" (actually, he said, Izanagi and Izanami, and it would be facile to assert that there are no nuances of difference here - it was changed to the former because the interlocutor decided that people wouldn't understand and they were, after all,in his opinion, the same).

I've heard this before, but what's the source? Is there original Japanese somewhere, and is that it?

I ask because as you say, I think it's important. So far as I can tell, when O-Sensei went off on Izanagi and Izanami he was talking about dual opposing spirals--a concept which includes yin and yang but adds layers of complexity, and makes this particular quote much more specific to the IS/IP skills.

Since Ueshiba apparently chose to apply a term to a number of apparently different, even contradictory experiences, thoughts, attitudes, I doubt very much that were he less bewildered, he might have called his spiritual ideas, for one example, by some other term. On the contrary, I think it's clear, despite others' wishes to the contrary, that for him, aiki had the same nature, despite its different forms and all his different assertions.

So when asked, all of the above examples would give an expansive wonderful and pithy commentary on their particular shtick being grand, multi-facted, multi-layered, and a deep and worthy life long pursuit. How many people want to say "I spent my life studying better ways to kill people."

Which doesn't necessarily make the spiritual insight irrelevant. Nor does O-Sensei's experiences in WW2--especially if he really was close to some of the more nationalistic elements in Japan before the war--mean that the spiritual insights he came to aren't valid. People are allowed to mature as they age.

But the point you raise about power is, I think, critical for considering the relationship between aiki the marital skill and aiki as spiritual enlightenment. The people you mention came to the spiritual insight through development of the body skill which led to physical power. Is that a coincidence?

There are all kinds of spiritual insight placing us in relationship to the divine, however you understand that. What's unique about this particular path? Does it matter that it's based on mastery over the self and the imposition of harmony on the self ("imposition" in that it doesn't happen naturally--you have to work at it), and the use of that organized, centered self to impose order on the world? ("Impose" in this sense being different from "force"--just as I can't force a technique, but have to allow it to happen through the use of my organized body and movement.)

And what about the converse? If you pursue a martial art which is centered on power but not aiki (karate, boxing), what spiritual insight comes from that? Looking at the top boxers in the US right now, I'm inclined to say, "not much." What's the difference in power from aiki?

And what if you pursue an art which basically doesn't care about martial effectiveness? Do you end up with an art which produces neither power nor spiritual development? Aiki-no-michi might be a counter-example--anybody have any experience with it?

My own attitude is that body and mind are trained together, and it matters how and with what intent you train the body. And that, I think, leads back to Ellis' point of view, and how O-Sensei could refer to these very different things as "aiki"--and why he could promote Aikido as an art of love--not because you could avoid the hard work but because through the hard work you got achieve spiritual enlightenment.

jonreading
01-08-2013, 02:32 PM
I'd note that nobody has argued against the validity or utility of moving around, evading, jumping, dodging or any related action as a martial tactic. If you watch Shirata (the source of that "immovable body" quote) you'll notice that he moves about quite a bit.

The difference of opinion comes as to what the definition of "Aiki" is - saying that "Aiki" isn't evasion doesn't mean that evasion is wrong, or even inadvisable. Donuts aren't "Aiki" either, but where would my day be without them?

To the people who think that all definitions of "Aiki" out to be accepted, that it's all good, what if I said something like "I was walking down the street and I turned to a teenager who was annoying me, kicked him in the nuts and broke both his arms, what wonderful Aiki!". Wouldn't you feel obligated to say something?

Best,

Chris
"When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki. In other words, you give him freedom." - Morihei Ueshiba

So is he wrong then?

Ron

1. First, "aiki" is used by aikido people in much the same manner as "smurf" is used by the Smurfs. I think it is a loose term impregnated with personal belief and ideology. Because of the grip on personal and ideological perspective, we are hesitant to curtail the usage of the word.

2. There are first and second-hand accounts of the usage from O'Sensei. First-hand accounts (from O'Sensei) are in Japanese and require translation. By all accounts, to the West, the usage requires a cultural filter (both social and spiritual).

Now...

I assume the consistent use of "aiki" by O'Sensei implies that the seemingly paradoxical (or at least non-linear) contexts in which he used "aiki" were, in fact, intentional. This is a big component for my acceptance of a definition that needs to be specific enough as to be a definition, but flexible enough to encompass a myriad of perspectives.

I use the term "agape", I have also heard "empathy". The ability to understand and appreciate the object and advocate its relative position. It is this relationship that empowers me to physically (and non-physically) be invested in the general well-being of the object of my empathy, while still aligning my actions with my preservation. For now, this is the concept I believe O'Sensei intended when he used the term "aiki."

PeterR
01-10-2013, 03:43 AM
While this is stuff for another thread, I think it's very interesting. I have been making a study of Tomiki Sensei's work of late, I've found it very enlightening!

That is a whole issue in itself - many see Tomiki as randori forgetting that he was probably the most studied of the lot. He immersed himself in the Omoto-kyo writings to better understand Ueshiba ( his dojo still has the Omoto-kyo shrine) and to say he was just after a collection of techniques to supplement his judo really does not do him justice. Pigeon holing people and ideas is a weakness shared by all.

Peter G. years ago gave me a copy of Tomiki's Budo-ron. By coincidence I was looking at it this morning while separating books to be chucked and those to immigrate with me to the UK in just over 2 weeks. I wish that text would be translated but alas not yet.

ChrisHein
01-10-2013, 12:08 PM
Peter G. years ago gave me a copy of Tomiki's Budo-ron. By coincidence I was looking at it this morning while separating books to be chucked and those to immigrate with me to the UK in just over 2 weeks.

If you find any Aikido books that are not going to make the migration- I'll send you shipping to "chuck" them my way!:)

DH
01-10-2013, 01:22 PM
1. First, "aiki" is used by aikido people in much the same manner as "smurf" is used by the Smurfs. I think it is a loose term impregnated with personal belief and ideology. Because of the grip on personal and ideological perspective, we are hesitant to curtail the usage of the word.

2. There are first and second-hand accounts of the usage from O'Sensei. First-hand accounts (from O'Sensei) are in Japanese and require translation. By all accounts, to the West, the usage requires a cultural filter (both social and spiritual).

Now...

I assume the consistent use of "aiki" by O'Sensei implies that the seemingly paradoxical (or at least non-linear) contexts in which he used "aiki" were, in fact, intentional. This is a big component for my acceptance of a definition that needs to be specific enough as to be a definition, but flexible enough to encompass a myriad of perspectives.

I use the term "agape", I have also heard "empathy". The ability to understand and appreciate the object and advocate its relative position. It is this relationship that empowers me to physically (and non-physically) be invested in the general well-being of the object of my empathy, while still aligning my actions with my preservation. For now, this is the concept I believe O'Sensei intended when he used the term "aiki."
Who is convincing you that a cultural filter is needed all the time, and who is capable of providing it? Most of Ueshiba's own people immersed in his culture couldn't help could they? Yet Shirata could and he went out of his way to also explain it in practical terms clearly laid out.
The fact that someone can translate is only a starting point, and many times they offer steps in the wrong direction. *Cultural* references are not always relevant and not always germane to individual references found in the writings from any *single* culture IE the six direction training thread. Two translators couldn't help at all. They didn't ask, nor did they know that:

The term itself had a well established meaning
That it spanned hundreds of years
That it was used throughout *three* cultures.
That it was a distinctly martial reference


It's the same with aiki.
Ueshiba and Shirata both discussed practical means for creating aiki in a physical sense
Aiki is opposing powers
The mysteries of aiki are revealed in dual opposing spirals
Aiki is unification of the two ki's as opposing forces expressed through heaven/ earth/ man
Understanding Heaven and earth ki, stand on the floating bridge and release the mountain echo.
five and five makes ten, eight and two make ten
Stand and meet the enemy with guest hand and host hand.
These are NOT spiritual references, they are hitherto known and documented means to generate power. These guys were quoting known martial references

Martial and spiritual combine overlap and interplay throughout generations.
Everyone couched their martial terms in spiritual pursuits. Where did the founder of shinto ryu discover Heaven/ earth/ man and six direction training?
At the Katori shrine!!

Where do you find many of the references for internal training in India? Bhuddism.

There is no doubt what so ever that Ueshiba was a spiritual man and that he saw his aiki both as a martial skill and as something greater than a physical confrontation. I still find it interesting Both he and Shirata connected it to a way to live their life and pray to be one with God...through aiki.

Does one discount the other?
There is an interest in discussing the aiki people know
And the ones they cannot explain...are the very ones that gave Ueshiba power

ChrisHein
01-10-2013, 02:49 PM
I think one of the big problems we have is assumption, and the certainty that the assumptions are correct. This, I believe has led us more astray than any other device we've used...

There is no need for hurry.

PeterR
01-10-2013, 06:59 PM
If you find any Aikido books that are not going to make the migration- I'll send you shipping to "chuck" them my way!:)
That one went to the sea voyage pile.

With respect to the term Aiki - I doubt that even in historical times, in cultural context, it had any clear meaning. Much as I like and can relate to some of those historical definitions the terms use was more broad - almost like a catch-all. Ueshiba if anything was even less precise.

For anyone to say what Ueshiba actually meant requires a lot of assumption (presumption).

Cady Goldfield
01-10-2013, 07:43 PM
I think one of the big problems we have is assumption, and the certainty that the assumptions are correct. This, I believe has led us more astray than any other device we've used...


The only evident problem we have is that some have done a prodigious amount of actual research AND physical training that bring the scholarly and the technical together, to offer credible theory... while others use conjecture that is entirely unreenforced by scholarship and technical know-how.

DH
01-10-2013, 10:41 PM
I'm not interested in technical know how or a discussion of it per se, I am interested in taking each definition at face value and knowing what it means.

1. Aiki as evading... isn't debated.
2. Aiki as a spiritual reference isn't debated either.....even though many don't know his references and what they meant to him, they don't debate it they discuss it and all agree its over their head. Often they take poor explanations at face value because..well they admit they don't know the reference points.
3 Aiki that are exact quotes and known trading modalities for internal power? They get thrown out as hogwash or included as part of some esoteric meandering because most people don't know. Thus we have a dilemma.
People don't know much about these other aiki expressions and training models, what they meant, where they came from or that there are *real* *live* humans walking the earth who DO know these things....


For that reason I would agree with assumptions Just not the way it is being offered.

Openly choosing to disregard definitions of aiki that Ueshiba considered vital to his daily exercises and studies and quoted repeatedly has been done before. It's a twice told tale.
Dan

akiy
01-10-2013, 11:28 PM
Hi folks,

Rather than making this thread into condemnation for people who do not include certain interpretations of how Morihei Ueshiba used the term "aiki" or how some are using certain interpretations within their physical/technical practice, please turn the discussion towards discussing the interpretations themselves.

Thank you,

-- Jun

ChrisHein
01-10-2013, 11:33 PM
That one went to the sea voyage pile.

With respect to the term Aiki - I doubt that even in historical times, in cultural context, it had any clear meaning. Much as I like and can relate to some of those historical definitions the terms use was more broad - almost like a catch-all. Ueshiba if anything was even less precise.

For anyone to say what Ueshiba actually meant requires a lot of assumption (presumption).

The more I read and learn the more I am forced to agree with this. As much as I would like to put "Ueshiba's idea of Aiki" in a little box, it's nearly impossible.

I think simply sticking to the word Aikido, when referencing our system is best.

Michael Varin
01-11-2013, 02:45 AM
Ai: match, fit, suit, join, combine, unite, coincide, agree.

Ki: air, atmosphere, spirit, mind, heart, will, intention, feelings, a mood, nature, a disposition, attention, care, a sign, an indication.

These are basic, no frills definitions. I find that it is best to start from the most obvious and mundane. These will not provide the final answer, and can likely be argued in any direction. But, whatever phenomena people, Morihei included, had in mind, I doubt seriously that the characters ai and ki were randomly selected.

Drawing a circle and explaining Aiki is opposing powers.
Or
The mysteries of aiki are revealed in dual opposing spirals.

I'm curious. Can anyone provide the source and brief explanation behind the translation for the above quotes? I can't remember off the top of my head where Morihei used that language.

mrlizard123
01-11-2013, 04:20 AM
Ai: match, fit, suit, join, combine, unite, coincide, agree.

Ki: air, atmosphere, spirit, mind, heart, will, intention, feelings, a mood, nature, a disposition, attention, care, a sign, an indication.

These are basic, no frills definitions. I find that it is best to start from the most obvious and mundane. These will not provide the final answer, and can likely be argued in any direction. But, whatever phenomena people, Morihei included, had in mind, I doubt seriously that the characters ai and ki were randomly selected.

Drawing a circle and explaining Aiki is opposing powers.
Or
The mysteries of aiki are revealed in dual opposing spirals.

I'm curious. Can anyone provide the source and brief explanation behind the translation for the above quotes? I can't remember off the top of my head where Morihei used that language.

Chris Li would probably be able to answer this, from his blogs I can see this which looks like it could be a paraphrase of:

There's even a section in "Aiki Shinzui" (a collection of essays by Morihei Ueshiba) called 合気は息の妙用なり ("Aiki is the mysterious working of Iki (breath).").

[snip]

In "Takemusu Aiki" the word "Kokyu" is actually annotated in many places to be pronounced, phonetically, "iki".

So where does "iki" come from? Here's a quick hint:

合気道の呼吸法によるイキ(息)は、右に螺旋して舞い昇り、左に螺旋して舞い下り、水火のムスビ(産霊・結び)が生ずる。

The "Iki" (breath) of Aikido's kokyu-ho winds up in a spiral on the right, winds down in a spiral on the left, and gives rise to the connection between Water ("I") and Fire ("ki").
Source: Aikido Sangenkai Blog (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-04-15/aiki-iki-kokyu-heng-ha-and-aun)

Worth giving Chris' blogs a read through if you've not had opportunity as yet.

Disclaimer; there are undoubtedly many other passages and writings which may be closer to the above quote but this is an example of Ueshiba using this language, I am not qualified to make the translations myself but see no reason to question Chris'. I'm sure there are others here who can translate the above for themselves and debate the detail/interpretation.

Chris Li
01-11-2013, 09:15 AM
I'm curious. Can anyone provide the source and brief explanation behind the translation for the above quotes? I can't remember off the top of my head where Morihei used that language.

That particular quote appears here (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-06-24/morihei-ueshiba-budo-and-kamae-part-3).

Best,

Chris

DH
01-11-2013, 11:31 AM
As Chris continues to translate, it becomes abundantly clear that Ueshiba was (as I have continued to state) not even using his own ideas for aiki.
THEY WERE NOT HIS DISCOVERY
Many things he says were actual quotes of known work

1. If we keep asking what Ueshiba meant by aiki and not what westerners think about aiki than I would suggest reading what our subject-Ueshiba Morihei actually said on the subject (correctly translated)
Then as Chris and others are doing
2. Find out what his sources were.

were they his discoveries?
Did that have a pedagogy?
What did they mean when used in context from many sources?
what did they mean to him?


Once you establish that, you simply cannot, with any degree of credibility ignore ALL of his references which tie in as well to accepted and credible doctrine of internal training. They are simply inescapable reference points. His thoughts on evading, explicated in detail by Shirata outline the starting point as internal training in order to create and immovable body IN MOTION. Then he discusses how that tied together creates invinicible positioning. These descriptions of aiki
Aiki is the joining of two ki's as opposing forces expressed in heaven earth man
Aiki is dual opposing spirals (repetative quote left out)

Give life and breath to his thoughts on
Aiki is evading

We are discussing Ueshiba's aiki are we not?
I for one am interested in what gave him such crazy power. Since I am interested in his power and where he thought it tied into his world view, I take his quotes on aiki in their fullness and try to understand what they mean.

People keep stating we need to understand cultural reference for his spirtual descriptions. Okay
Discuss them________________________
We need to understand the cultural references for his Aiki as internal power dynamics
Discuss them________________________
Chris is.
Dan

jonreading
01-11-2013, 12:36 PM
A couple of things have come up that I think I can address...

Who is convincing you that a cultural filter is needed all the time, and who is capable of providing it?
The opposite, actually. Many of the interpreted translations I have read I now feel flavored the original meanings. When I read Chris' translations, I am like, "wow, that makes way more sense." However, I am not literate in Japanese, nor am I familiar with the Eastern culture. I understand these things influence language and I still need assistance within those contexts. We have so many more bi-lingual capable martial artists who can revise what we know...

For anyone to say what Ueshiba actually meant requires a lot of assumption (presumption).
I think it requires the presumption of elite persons capable of deciphering what was going on to undertake the challenge of figuring out what was going on. I think we need to start somewhere and if educated guesses are the beginning, then let's get going. There are guys out there whose guesses I would rather accept than most of the facts in aikido books.

I think several people have commented, but aiki is a fairly straight-forward definition in many other martial arts. For some reason, "aikido" is the art that has the biggest problem with aiki. That should be because the study is expansive, but I am not so sure that is the actual reason.

phitruong
01-11-2013, 01:05 PM
Chris Li would probably be able to answer this, from his blogs I can see this which looks like it could be a paraphrase of:

Source: Aikido Sangenkai Blog (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-04-15/aiki-iki-kokyu-heng-ha-and-aun)

Worth giving Chris' blogs a read through if you've not had opportunity as yet.


every time i read that blog, i started to see more stuffs. either i need new reading glasses or since the legalization of certain weed in a certain state, it might affect my seeing things, from a distance, through the internet (doesn't weed affects ki from a distance?). i still blamed Chris Li for it, out of spite, and because i can and he couldn't do anything to me, since he's way over the other side of the country. :)

Michael Varin
01-12-2013, 03:13 AM
That particular quote appears here (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-06-24/morihei-ueshiba-budo-and-kamae-part-3).

Best,

Chris

Thanks.

akiy
01-12-2013, 05:05 PM
I have moved the posts regarding 'Tomiki Kenji's Attribution of Ueshiba's Skill to "Muscular Training"' to this new thread:

Tomiki Kenji's Attribution of Ueshiba's Skill to "Muscular Training" (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22164")

Thanks,

-- Jun

Rupert Atkinson
02-08-2013, 02:10 PM
To me, aiki is not love or peace wiffle waffle. If that is what you think it to be, then you will never learn it in terms of being able to manipulate people using their own effort. To me, aiki is a method and a skill and if you develop it your waza go from being waza that you do yourself into waza that uke almost casues upon himself. You need skill, timing, harmony, coordination etc etc etc and of course, you need to develop your power, but the right kind of power, and that would be ... kokyu ryoku. After you can do that, then, you can waffle on about peace.

Dan Richards
02-09-2013, 12:14 PM
... you will never learn it in terms of being able to manipulate people using their own effort.
Aiki has nothing to do with "manipulating" people. Aiki is on a completely different level.

mrlizard123
02-09-2013, 01:12 PM
Aiki has nothing to do with "manipulating" people. Aiki is on a completely different level.

Depends on your definition of "manipulate" but if you use:

"Handle or control (a tool, mechanism, etc.), typically in a skillful manner"

It seems to fit to me.