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Chris Li 02-26-2012 11:35 PM

Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
The next blog installment...

Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
Why we don't know how to stand up and walk.

http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/...budo-and-kamae

Best,

Chris

Ernesto Lemke 02-27-2012 01:03 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Thanks Chris, I enjoyed that one too! And so the plot thickens....
;)

Oh and why we aren't examining it more closely? Well, that's where you come in! :D

Peter Goldsbury 02-27-2012 01:36 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Hello Ernesto,

I began to examine the Japanese texts of Budo Renshu and Budo in my TIE columns. I myself have both texts in Japanese, but I suspect that the number of people in the same situation, and who also contribute to AikiWeb, is very small. Chris Li has pointed out the discrepancies between the Stevens translation (Stevens did not supply the Japanese text) and the actual Japanese original.

Since the art of translation is a largely matter of making enlightened choices, I think you still need a commentary on the actual text, which explains why the translator has chosen from the possibilities available in those places where there is a choice to be made.

Best wishes,

PAG

Ernesto Lemke 02-27-2012 02:25 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 303937)
I began to examine the Japanese texts of Budo Renshu and Budo in my TIE columns. I myself have both texts in Japanese, but I suspect that the number of people in the same situation, and who also contribute to AikiWeb, is very small.

Hello Peter,

Well, let me add that "that's where Chris and you come in!" But if either Ellis, Fred, Allen, Dan and others start chiming in, I'll have to include their names as well....:D

Like you state, the number of individuals who are in the position to offer a qualitative and well founded opinion AND who also offer that opinion on Aikiweb is indeed really very small. That said, the information these people offer do add to what is already "out there." Chris raises several legitimate questions that, in light of the angle of his Blogs, need to be addressed even if one is unwilling to accept there exists such a thing as IP/IT/IS/Aiki etc.
There are Aikiweb readers and posters who do not find anything meaningful or worthwile in that, and there are those who do.
But that is somewhat besides the point isn't it, even though it does influence the way one deals with Chris' questions.

These are Ueshiba's own words. Not the words of an IP/Aiki partisan though maybe brought to us through the lens of one. Of course, one can choose to ignore Chris' point of reference and interpret Ueshiba's words differently but then that becomes a matter of choice. Either deliberate in ignoring those questions or deliberate in ignoring the implications.

All of this, however, can easily become an intellectual debate that really does end in person when faced with the skill that is IP/Aiki. That skill is so overwhelmingly convincing in the physical reality that it's hard to maintain anything other to the contrast. Offering my own experience as a counter argument to there being nothing substansive to IP/Aiki to those who have not felt, is really the weakest of arguments of course. So, up untill everyone has felt, we are left dealing with eachother via the written media that is Aikiweb.

To me, all of this is very exciting and I'm mostly sitting this one out and enjoy the ride. It would be interesting to see a solid counter argument to Chris' findings though. I can't think of one so far. Can you? ;)

Lee Salzman 02-27-2012 04:02 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Chris, one thing I would caution is using any terminology from CMA, especially yiquan, at face value.

Yiquan terminology is used quite blandly, really more to describe overt physical forms of exercises. So if yiquan talks about six-directions, it could mean moving in any one of six directions, not all of them at once. And then when direction is talked about, in the context of something like 'li', it is often more expedient to interpret it as 'unity of action' or 'one action' than as 'direction'.

I think what you are talking about here is more closely termed in yiquan and even other CMA, "hun yuan". And even then, the explicit focus is universal (= all-pervading/all-directions), not six and not quantized - the universe is undivided.

So even when six directions is talked of by Morihei Ueshiba did he really mean six, or did he mean all and rather used six as a simplified figurative terminology? And even if he meant six here, did he mean it that six is where you start, and that there was a higher unspoken of universal level, or did he simply not realize to train more than six, or did he think six was all that is necessary despite?

We need to be careful with such comparisons as this. Though there are similarities, there are also noteworthy differences that should be addressed...

ewolput 02-27-2012 04:39 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Translation of a text can give several interpretations.
On the Sangenkai blog, reference is made to "Illustrated Explanations of Chen Family Taijiquan"
Once Qi of the hand moves to the back of the foot, then big toe simultaneously closes with the hand and only at this moment (one can) step firmly.

In my text :
When the hand qi flows from the heel to the big toe thereby closing the loop and gathering energy, you can take a firm stance.

I am sure if we have several translations by different persons of the Morihei Ueshiba texts, we will have different interpretations, even when the translation is made by a person who knows the art.
As for the text on "Illustrated Explanations of Chen Family Taijiquan" , we see in the 1st we can take a step firmly
while the other says : you can take a firm stance.

It would be very interesting to have some comments of the translator why he/she chooses his interpretation.

Just a "quick" thought about translating and understanding the Ueshiba text.

Chris Li 02-27-2012 08:10 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 303937)
Hello Ernesto,

I began to examine the Japanese texts of Budo Renshu and Budo in my TIE columns. I myself have both texts in Japanese, but I suspect that the number of people in the same situation, and who also contribute to AikiWeb, is very small. Chris Li has pointed out the discrepancies between the Stevens translation (Stevens did not supply the Japanese text) and the actual Japanese original.

Since the art of translation is a largely matter of making enlightened choices, I think you still need a commentary on the actual text, which explains why the translator has chosen from the possibilities available in those places where there is a choice to be made.

Best wishes,

PAG

All good points, and I'm not trying to bash John (although it may seem that way sometimes). John always says that his goal was mainly to get stuff out there - to provide some kind of access to as many people as possible (as I mentioned, some of the material that he's translated isn't even available in Japanese anymore).

To that end, it had to be presented in a form that would be relatively digestible in small doses. If you presented, for example, a single Doka in the way that it ought to be presented, with a full page of explanation and dissection (and I've done a couple myself) - it may well be that only a very tiny audience would actually end up reading the thing.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li 02-27-2012 08:14 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Lee Salzman wrote: (Post 303944)
Chris, one thing I would caution is using any terminology from CMA, especially yiquan, at face value.

Yiquan terminology is used quite blandly, really more to describe overt physical forms of exercises. So if yiquan talks about six-directions, it could mean moving in any one of six directions, not all of them at once. And then when direction is talked about, in the context of something like 'li', it is often more expedient to interpret it as 'unity of action' or 'one action' than as 'direction'.

I think what you are talking about here is more closely termed in yiquan and even other CMA, "hun yuan". And even then, the explicit focus is universal (= all-pervading/all-directions), not six and not quantized - the universe is undivided.

So even when six directions is talked of by Morihei Ueshiba did he really mean six, or did he mean all and rather used six as a simplified figurative terminology? And even if he meant six here, did he mean it that six is where you start, and that there was a higher unspoken of universal level, or did he simply not realize to train more than six, or did he think six was all that is necessary despite?

We need to be careful with such comparisons as this. Though there are similarities, there are also noteworthy differences that should be addressed...

Could be - and I'm really not trying to argue a proof, although even moving in six different directions (or all directions, if we take it for "many") would be interesting because it's so different from "opening your feet at a 60 degree angle".

What I'm trying to do it to open the conversation a little bit, to get people to see some of the problems, and some of the possibilites that actually exist.

The real meat is, as the Founder said, "taught in practice".

Best,

Chris

Chris Li 02-27-2012 08:18 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Eddy Wolput wrote: (Post 303947)
Translation of a text can give several interpretations.
On the Sangenkai blog, reference is made to "Illustrated Explanations of Chen Family Taijiquan"
Once Qi of the hand moves to the back of the foot, then big toe simultaneously closes with the hand and only at this moment (one can) step firmly.

In my text :
When the hand qi flows from the heel to the big toe thereby closing the loop and gathering energy, you can take a firm stance.

I am sure if we have several translations by different persons of the Morihei Ueshiba texts, we will have different interpretations, even when the translation is made by a person who knows the art.
As for the text on "Illustrated Explanations of Chen Family Taijiquan" , we see in the 1st we can take a step firmly
while the other says : you can take a firm stance.

It would be very interesting to have some comments of the translator why he/she chooses his interpretation.

Just a "quick" thought about translating and understanding the Ueshiba text.

I think that it's important for people to realize that any translation (mine included) is going to be filtered through the lens of that translator's opinions and knowledge. In other words, you can never really trust a translation 100%, although of course some translations will have more obvious problems than others.

There's a real problem in Aikido in that many translations are accepted without translation, and without even consideration of the possibility that things were missed.

Of course, the problem exists on the Japanese side as well - you can see that in the many uchi-deshi who stated flat out that they didn't understand what the Founder was talking about.

Best,

Chris

chillzATL 02-27-2012 08:38 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Chris,

I know that you have a job outside of translating stuff like this for us, but can't you just drop what you're doing and get it ALL done already?

great read, your blog is RSS'd.

Chris Li 02-27-2012 09:22 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote: (Post 303954)
I think that it's important for people to realize that any translation (mine included) is going to be filtered through the lens of that translator's opinions and knowledge. In other words, you can never really trust a translation 100%, although of course some translations will have more obvious problems than others.

There's a real problem in Aikido in that many translations are accepted without translation, and without even consideration of the possibility that things were missed.

Of course, the problem exists on the Japanese side as well - you can see that in the many uchi-deshi who stated flat out that they didn't understand what the Founder was talking about.

Best,

Chris

Oops, I meant "accepted without question".

Best,

Chris

Chris Li 02-27-2012 09:24 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Jason Casteel wrote: (Post 303955)
Chris,

I know that you have a job outside of translating stuff like this for us, but can't you just drop what you're doing and get it ALL done already?

great read, your blog is RSS'd.

Thanks, but I'd prefer to stay married. :D

Best,

Chris

phitruong 02-27-2012 10:57 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote: (Post 303960)
Thanks, but I'd prefer to stay married. :D

Best,

Chris

married is overrated! so get to the translation already! and stop hosting those party animals which i won't name names like dan and howie! :D

phitruong 02-27-2012 11:08 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
would you have an idea the six internal directions? i thought the six directions, 6H, referred to 3 external and 3 internal from chinese lore.

Chris Li 02-27-2012 11:18 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Phi Truong wrote: (Post 303974)
would you have an idea the six internal directions? i thought the six directions, 6H, referred to 3 external and 3 internal from chinese lore.

In Japanese they'd usually refer to six harmonies (六合) - the internal and external harmonies (内六合、外六合), and that would be slightly different.

There is a place where Ueshiba mentions this, but I haven't dug into it enough to be sure that's what he was pointing at.

Best,

Chris

phitruong 02-27-2012 11:31 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote: (Post 303977)
In Japanese they'd usually refer to six harmonies (六合) - the internal and external harmonies (内六合、外六合), and that would be slightly different.

There is a place where Ueshiba mentions this, but I haven't dug into it enough to be sure that's what he was pointing at.

Best,

Chris

also, what are the "kami principles"? anything like Zeus to human which is either crispy or extra crispy? :)

Chris Li 02-27-2012 11:51 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Phi Truong wrote: (Post 303982)
also, what are the "kami principles"? anything like Zeus to human which is either crispy or extra crispy? :)

Well, it's like the "Peter Principles", but it wasn't a best seller. :)

Actually, what it says, is "make (yourself) that which give rise to Kannagara". "Kannagara" (as in "Kannagara no Michi", the "Way of the Gods") means something along the lines of "keeping the heart of the Gods" - so..."aligned with the principles of the Kami" for a more simplified representation.

Best,

Chris

Peter Goldsbury 02-27-2012 04:49 PM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote: (Post 303952)
All good points, and I'm not trying to bash John (although it may seem that way sometimes). John always says that his goal was mainly to get stuff out there - to provide some kind of access to as many people as possible (as I mentioned, some of the material that he's translated isn't even available in Japanese anymore).

To that end, it had to be presented in a form that would be relatively digestible in small doses. If you presented, for example, a single Doka in the way that it ought to be presented, with a full page of explanation and dissection (and I've done a couple myself) - it may well be that only a very tiny audience would actually end up reading the thing.

Best,

Chris

You make some good points and I, too, am not trying to bash John Stevens, as you put it. However, there is a great risk that in presenting someone like Morihei Ueshiba to 'as many people as possible', you end up with 'Ueshiba-lite' and I think the aikido world suffers too much from the consequences of this already.

PAG

Chris Li 02-27-2012 05:00 PM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 304061)
You make some good points and I, too, am not trying to bash John Stevens, as you put it. However, there is a great risk that in presenting someone like Morihei Ueshiba to 'as many people as possible', you end up with 'Ueshiba-lite' and I think the aikido world suffers too much from the consequences of this already.

PAG

True, and here's the tension between Kisshomaru's vision and Morihei's, although I suppose that in the end Morihei at least tacitly agreed to what was happening.

I wonder if either of them could see where it was going - and whether that mattered to them in the contexts of their respective goals.

Best,

Chris

gregstec 02-27-2012 05:22 PM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote: (Post 304063)
True, and here's the tension between Kisshomaru's vision and Morihei's, although I suppose that in the end Morihei at least tacitly agreed to what was happening.

I wonder if either of them could see where it was going - and whether that mattered to them in the contexts of their respective goals.

Best,

Chris

I am certainly no way as knowledgeable in this area as you and Peter, but it appears to me that their respective goals were light years apart - just my opinion.

Greg

Ellis Amdur 02-27-2012 06:33 PM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Sorry to jump back to a previous portion of the thread, but several questions are raised by the question of roppo (not that I have answers).

1. When Ueshiba said, "In footwork there is an external six directions and an internal six directions as well as an outer spiral and an internal spiral, this will be taught in practice," did he keep his "promise." In other words, did he actually explicitly teach this, or was it that he manifested it and assume those worthy would "steal" it - or absorb by osmosis.
2. As Lee Saltzman pointed out earlier, (with my caveat in italics) there's not doubt that the core complete skills of qi and jin and tantien, etc., are the same, in the same way that there is a discipline of physics or mathematics. But . . . Each martial art may emphasize a circumscribed subset of those skills. That may be all they know. That may be what they choose to emphasize. We cannot clearly determine exactly what Ueshiba meant by HIS roppo. There's no doubt in my mind, whatsoever, that he is referencing the same general material that is described in the Chen t'ai chi text, but that doesn't mean he meant the same thing in detail. In other words, they were both talking about physics (a term used as a metaphor, here), maybe even quantum physics, but one might have been using a cyclotron and the other a Large Hadron Collider.
3. As Takeda was almost illiterate, it is unlikely that he referenced this literature, that O-sensei nearly quotes at times (not the Chen manual, which was not accessible, even to most Chinese, but the general Chinese literature). Did Ueshiba find this literature (remember that the Misogikai practices were, in fact, an extracted and rewritten into Shinto version of Chinese training texts, at least in part, but they were almost surely Shaolin-type texts) later, recognize it and say, "here's a document for what I've been doing!" OR, was this literature so common amongst educated Japanese (Kiichi Hogen certainly was - heck, I knew about his legends) that it was something he'd read about and then "had his eyes opened to true budo" when he physically experienced it? Or - uh-oh - there's always the danger that he did what so many do - he got a some level of physical skill and then, because the terms sounded right, (and given their historical cachet, sounded cool), said, "that's what I'm doing."

With all his students, why didn't he produce equals or superiors if he did teach this in practice?

Ellis Amdur

Lee Salzman 02-27-2012 10:02 PM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Ellis Amdur wrote: (Post 304069)
With all his students, why didn't he produce equals or superiors if he did teach this in practice?

Maybe it was... hidden in plain sight? *badum tish* :D

Lee Salzman 02-27-2012 10:26 PM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Ellis Amdur wrote: (Post 304069)
With all his students, why didn't he produce equals or superiors if he did teach this in practice?

Actually, one thing I wanted to add to that, and it is not worth more than a pence, certainly not two... But I have realized during the past year that certain methodologies of teaching can REALLY only function under very direct supervision, as in, one-on-one private teaching. Without someone who can just stand there for, well, hours and literally dissect your body top to bottom from the outside and do it again and again, it is probably going to be all but impossible transmit certain ideas, not intellectually, but into the body. That is the difficulty, not in the concepts, but in the implementation.

So, maybe Morihei Ueshiba really was teaching, but his, ahem, broadcast model was simply not really taking the time with a select few to ensure that things really were being understood, not just in the squishy area inside the skull, but everywhere else in the body? Perhaps that is where he might have differed from Takeda in producing students?

Sacha Cloetens 02-28-2012 02:57 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Ellis Amdur wrote: (Post 304069)
With all his students, why didn't he produce equals or superiors if he did teach this in practice?

Ellis Amdur

Dear,

I seem to recall from previous threads that one Daitu Ryo proponent ( was it Sagawa? ) stated, that Takeda specifficaly instructed him to only teach 4 or 5 ( and certainly not foreigners).
If so, would Takeda have instructed O Sensei otherwise?
Did the 4 or 5 Takeda produced, produce more than 4 or 5 themselves ?
If others respected this instruction, why wouldn't O Sensei?
How would one proceed to select those 4 or 5 willing and able?
If O sensei actually made a selection, when would this have occured? - before/during/after the war?
If before /during the war, did they survive & have the chance develop and teach themselves?
Would that be openly known or rather secluded?

half a cent.
cheers,
Sacha

Tenyu 03-02-2012 12:25 AM

Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae
 
Quote:

Lee Salzman wrote: (Post 304097)
But I have realized during the past year that certain methodologies of teaching can REALLY only function under very direct supervision, as in, one-on-one private teaching. Without someone who can just stand there for, well, hours and literally dissect your body top to bottom from the outside and do it again and again, it is probably going to be all but impossible transmit certain ideas, not intellectually, but into the body. That is the difficulty, not in the concepts, but in the implementation.

I haven't had more than three students in one Aiki weapons class, and I know with certainty I wouldn't be able to give the depth of individual attention conducive to learning with more, even four students would be pushing it. This isn't to say larger class sizes aren't productive but teachers and future teachers need instruction with only one or two peers at most for a significant portion of their class training if they're to make real progress.


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