Ron Tisdale wrote:
Hi Mike, welcome back. This comment is somewhat interesting. I'd always heard that many of his comments come almost directly from the kojiki and sources like it. Not reading japanese myself, I really couldn't say...
Thanks, Ron. It was a good trip. I saw a good-sized Aikido dojo in Christchurch one day, but it was early in the day and they weren't open.
I don't know what's in the Kojiki, but regardless, "ki" is "qi", etc., and that all comes from the Chinese. As I said, the comments about combining heaven and earth, fire and water, the six directions, and all the rest in Ueshiba's doka leave no doubt that he was in possession of classical Chinese comments about developing qi, etc., and he was espousing those things as the basis of Aikido. Frankly, it surprised me, as I've commented before. If there was any reasonable doubt, I would have jumped on it and pointed it out. There is no reasonable doubt, though.
Let me reiterate that the vagaries in the various doka are sort of a classical brandishment of knowledge and qi/ki had a near-mystical, near-religious connotation among even some sets of the Chinese at that time, so those "poems" were actually sort of standard fare for the earlier times from which the knowledge probably came. Basically, I have to accept that I was wrong in my evaluations of the scope of ki knowledge in Japan and I have to adjust to the idea that this sort of stuff was pretty prevalent across Asia, despite the attempts to keep it "secret".
I doubt that many people in the current "senior" generations in western Aikido, karate, Taiji, etc., will acquire extensive skills in these methods of body use, but it should be helpful for the up and coming generations (the ones who are serious, that is) to get a foothold in what Ueshiba and others were talking about. It wasn't blarney about some mystical universal force that was important, it was the real body skills they attributed to that "force" that should be the focus of inquiries.
And while I realize that some people who are "ranked" in Aikido and other arts may feel "intimidated" by discussions of something they don't have a handle on... i.e., that's just defensive pride... it's still important to move forward and get as much knowledge and skill as is possible in this area that Ueshiba called the "blade of Aiki". The important point to realize is that the upcoming generations of a number of martial arts will indeed learn how to do these things (it has already started) and it will be obvious in retrospect what "ranked" teachers simply didn't really know how to do these things or who were just posturing with guesses. I.e., work never stops, does it?
Sorry I missed you in Boulder. Mark told me he met you and your teacher.