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Old 06-28-2005, 08:40 AM   #17
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: doka of the day translator?

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
The issue relevant to this thread is to gauge the extent to which OSensei used his discourses, and especially his douka, as a code, which can be cracked if you already know whjagt he was talking about.
Obviously you're using "code" to indicate an obscured reference, Peter, not a systematic artifice containing a pattern or logic. Stevens, in one of his books (I think "The Essence of Aikido", but I don't have it by me), is pretty direct in saying something to the effect that doka are meant to be read and interpretted on several levels, so the idea of a "code", as you use the term, is already agreed upon by Stevens himself, in that regard.
In my opinion, the discussion in thread involves issues sketched above:

1. Given that the translator is translating a text, to what extent should the translator worry about the metaphor categories. For example, when O Sensei mentions 'Yamato-damashii', to what extent should the translator regard this as a metaphor for all that is good and wholesome in the human race?
2. If the text also embodies a 'code', known only to those who can crack the code, should the translation ALSO be a code-breaking device? Thus, to what extent should the translator make it known that that a particular phrase is REALLY a code word for something else entirely?
(snip #3 for clarity)
I think that Mike Sigman's concerns, which are clearly very important, involve Item 2.
Well, in regard to Item 2, Stevens clearly annotates his translations with explanations, to a certain degree. I.e., he attempts to explain the references, so he is already entered into the fray. If he had made no annotations, I would have said something like "I wonder if he knows these are common references", or something along those lines.

In several cases he misses the total reference and mentions some part of it, so I assumed it a pretty safe bet that Stevens didn't know what the mixing of heaven and earth, and a number of other things, meant and that they were common qigong references and directions. The suggestion that the whole collection of the same or similar sayings is somehow a sort of coincidence, particularly in light of all the discussions and demonstrations of ki things by Aikido higher-up, is an eye-brow raiser. However, I'd rather avoid any debate at that level and say that I meant no personal disrespect or denigration of Stevens (*nobody* can know everything and I certainly don't)... I was simply pointing out that the lack of his mention of standard ki-training references in his annotations indicates, at least to me, that he missed a potentially valuable clue.


Mike Sigman
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