Wendy Rowe wrote:
In your opinion, do John Stevens' translations better capture the subtle implications than Seiseki Abe's translations?
I want to dodge that one, if you don't mind. It's obvious that John Stevens has excellent credentials, translating abilities, etc. However, Ueshiba was privy to some ancient methods of developing the ki which obviously Stevens was not. Since Stevens didn't know what these procedures were, he did his best job of translating and missed what some of the references were for. Nothing against Stevens for that.... it happens all the time in many translations.
Glancing quickly at Stevens' translations and at the ones using Abe Sensei's interpretations (note they are not translations from Abe), Stevens' translations ring my bell quicker about what the original subject was (mainly because I'm familiar with the Chinese versions that have been translated to English). If I hadn't read Stevens' translations, I wouldn't have seen immediately that many of the doka are referring to old ki-development instructions and admonitions that derive from Shaolin Buddhism. It's important to note that these doka are vagaries that more often than not simply allow Ueshiba to mention classical references about ki development exercises, etc..... they do NOT give a specific-enough set of directions for them to be of any use to anyone in learning how, unfortunately. However, and this can't be emphasized enough, just knowing that these things are in the doka is enough of a pointer for anyone who is confused about which way to go.