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Old 05-18-2005, 10:26 PM   #23
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Ron Tisdale wrote:
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...

Peter G., Jun, Don, any thoughts?
Peter is definately the best man for this job, but I'll offer my comments in the meantime in order to try to keep this interesting thread moving forward. CAVEAT EMPTOR.

Mike Sigman wrote:
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.
A little learning is a dangerous thing. It's Greek to me. No man is an island.

I wonder how many Americans know these come from Pope, Shakespeare, and Donne--English poets all. They're just so much a part of the culture that origins are obscured and probably irrelevant.

So to with Chinese influences in Japan. Reading into Shinto history, one will find many qualifications like this regarding "heaven and earth, fire and water, the six directions" and the nuances obtaining between Jpn, Ch, and Indian antecedents.

A position made stridently these days in scholarly circles (in explicit rebuttal to Imperial propaganda of the 30's and contemporary wishful thinking of the Jpn right) is that even the Kojiki is not the "essence" of Jp commonly claimed. Indeed, it was already largely influenced by Chinese thinking when promulgated. Embarrassingly, "Tenno", the term we translate as emperor, is a Taoist, i.e., a Chinese term. "Shinto" is also a Chinese word connoting in Jpn "the bad behavior of the gods" (remember a while back PAG calling the term "KANNAGARA" "Shinto with balls"? In the 30's, idealogues prefered this term to "Shinto" to avoid the unpleasant--and inescapable-- admission of Ch. influence on the "purity" of the Jpn.)

It's all well and good to find resemblances, but it is probably going too far to hold that "there is no reasonable doubt" though. I'd wager that the founder had quite enough grist for his mill in the Jpn tradition, consisting as it does of a lot of foreign influences.

I do like Mr. Sigman's demystification of Osensei's sayings, though. I agree that what Osensei said was pretty much canon in mystical practice and not at all out of mainstream esoteric--"for the initiated"--discourse. Most of us and even Osensei's students simply weren't initiated.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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