Re: Article: What is Aiki? by George S. Ledyard
Excellent, clear approach to the manifestation of psychology in physical movement for aiki and ki musubi. Thanks.
Several of the images you used are very resonant, although I have not heard them put quite that way before. The "seam" image particularly, has rich possibilities. There is something related to that on the tip of my tongue -- but I cannot articulate it at the moment. It will come to me.
There is one image you did not touch on, but which relates particularly to a point you made on the engaged movement of aiki: "Rotation Resolves Conflict"
I have been pondering for a while now the image of "juuji" 十 the cross shape. (O-Sensei even called the art "juujido" in one Doka.)
My reasons for this contemplation are, in part, concerned with spiritual matters, because of the obvious ecumenical aspects of that image. But I equally wish to understand how O-Sensei saw its imagery as fundamentally depicting Aikido technique, since -- as I understand his meaning -- spirit and practice are coextensive.
A couple of serious points on imagery and then a bit (a very tiny bit) of a joke:
The juuji figure 十 symbolizes (in Japan, also) the union (Tenchi) of Heaven (the vertical) and Earth (the horizontal). One connotation of juu 十 is therefore "complete, or sufficient."
The cross is self-similar at all scales; the arms can extend from center to infinity without altering its shape (or its center). This is the irimi dimension of aiki.
It is also self-similar by rotation of ninety degrees. This is the tenkan dimension of aiki.
Movement directly toward the center (irimi) while the cross rotates about its center (tenkan), is a spiral.
Happo undo (eight directions) is the cross crossed (or "squared," yet another image) in saltire (diagonals, suggesting shikaku).
The attacker represents the vertical and the defender, the horizontal.
By entry and rotation (irimi-tenkan) the defender becomes vertical and the attacker ... horizontal.
ba-dum-pum. Here all week ...
I will leave on a bit of the ecumenical note that also interests me -- apropos of the joke and the image for its application in aikido:
"But many that are first will be last, and the last first." Matthew 19:30; Mark 10:31.