Rupert Atkinson wrote:
I disagree - I would say takemusu means 'birth of martial' (as that is what the characters literally mean) and such pertains to the idea we have to create 'the martial' in our training. It also, for me anyway, contains the idea that while aiki itself can mean harmony / fluidity etc., there is also a strong 'martial' element that needs development, hence takemusu-aiki. It has been said by many to be the idea of creating spontaneous technique, and I agree with that, but I also see it as more than that, i.e. the kind of harmony with your surroundings that, for instance, both a tiger (the hunter) or the deer (the hunted) have in order to survive. Nature is in balance, and being 'martial' for us, means becoming in tune with that nature (that we have long since lost). There is no winner or loser - just balance - just the martial nature of nature.
I agree that this phrase conatins all of these elements. In order for spontaneous martial techniques to appear or be created one has to be in that state of Aiki which I think O-Sensei saw as following the Kannagare no Michi, the Way of the Kami. In this state it is not one's own ego-directed consciousness which directs the action but rather the energies of the interaction play out naturally, technique becomes what it needs to be for the situation, including the creation of new technique.
The state of aiki or the Kannagara no Michi cannot be separated from the harmony with nature you talk about. They are integrally connected in my understanding of what O-Sensei meant. The discussions elsewhere about O-sensei and farming touched on this.
If we say that being "martial" for us means being in harmony with our natural environment, I would just say that it must be O-Sensei's re-worked view of what martial is (Love) as opposed to what it had traditionally meant (which O-sensei felt was more about destruction; hence his statements that True Budo is Love).
Don't you just love these simple phrases that take about two pages to even begin to define?