Geez Erick, you use such big words, how are the simpletons like me supposed to understand anything???
. If I may so approach the bench and resound the Big Green Drum...
I agree that many people try to follow the words and teachings of O'Sensei without going to deeply into it. Is it really neccessary that we have a complete understanding of Omoto-kyo or Shinto, or of every other thing that had an influence on O'Sensei's life to understand his teachings? It is quite a task to take on, but even though, is it necessary, or even possible? The intricate and deep study of Omoto-kyo philosophy may give some insight as to the meanings of things he mentioned in his lectures, but how much did HE or his closest students really know about Omoto-kyo? I know some very devout and religious Christians who practice and pray diligently everyday and can even quote the bible, but they are not expert theologans. I am saying merely that perhaps we are looking to deeply into this. I do believe that in studying Aikido, the study of Japanese culture and expecially the language does help to reveal its true nature. As for O'Sensei's writings in particular, I don't believe we can accurately depict what was going on in his head when he said those things, and then if he would still agree with those same things he said today. I myself have kept a personal journal of my thoughts and ideas since I have begun my journey in Aikido, and sometimes I even look back at things which I wrote years ago and think, "What the heck I mean by that?". I have heard that Saotome sensei sometimes regrets the videos that he made because people analyze them to much and fail to understand the big picture. How many people try so hard to understand the writings of the bible, yet come up with so many interpretations? Is it possible to understand truth through words?
So, until I someday master the Japanese Language, and can read his writings myself, I'm just going to go with the following explanation of Ichi Rei, San Gen, Shi Kon, Hachi Riki to mean; the one spirit of the universe (or emptiness); the three fundamentals of Irimi, Kokyu, and Tenkan (or the plum, the bamboo, and the pine); and the eight powers of movement, calm, extension, contraction, solid, fluid, unification, and division (heaven and earth). I can't for the life of me remember Shi Kon off the top of my head right now.
I so rest my case Erick, and plead guilty to the charge of ignorance. (By the way, ikkyo is the one where uke falls down on the floor )