George S. Ledyard wrote:
Thanks guys! ...
Anyway, this isn't meant to be an explanation of how O-Sensei understood these things. This is how I understand them. These are the principles which I use when I am doing my Aikido. Most people have read various books on Aikido and have heard many of these Japanese terms used but most folks have no actual idea what these terms mean in the practical sense of how they actually operate in technique and how they would go about training to develop this understanding.
The task of our day is to make aikido plain-spoken, but still inspiring in its choice of words. (I know for a fact that I fail on both counts.) This is how I think O-Sensei originally meant to be understood: plainly and with much feeling. He meant there to be no intellectual or emotional barriers to the art at all.
O-Sensei spoke of difficult things, but in terms of fairly common usage -- when he developed them. Even Omoto was popular precisely because it was a teaching of common language and feeling, not a comprehensive ideology. Even training in Japan today will hardly expose one to the same cultural environment in which aikido was understood when it was developed.
A Westerner would have to look very hard for such opportunities. Today, anything less than an graduate-level education (or better) in the underlying cultural history makes O-Sensei's original descriptions of aikido far more esoteric than he meant it to be -- or than it is.
This article is exactly what we need: the interpretation
of ideas, not just more translation of them. It is a direction that I hope will be promoted more widely. I hope that book will get written.
It is a very good start.