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Old 01-11-2007, 07:07 AM   #10
Josh Reyer
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Location: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi
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Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser

Ignatius Teo wrote:
It's not my definition... 和 is harmony and means something completely different to 合 which is to unite. Harmony of 氣 is very different to Union of 氣... hmmm... like "love" :P

You can cooperate with someone, but it need not necessarily be harmonious. For example, 合唱 is to sing together (as in a chorus), but unless everyone is "in unison", it could hardly be called "harmonious".
Indeed. I think of the term "tachi-ai" (standing together) which is an unharmonious crashing together of two sumo wrestlers at the beginning of a match. Or "ii-ai" (speaking together), which is an argument. "Oshi-ai, heshi-ai" an unharmonious shoving and jostling mob melee.

I don't have years of experience in aikido, and certainly no ability in "ki" or "aiki", but from a linguistic standpoint "ai" as "harmony" doesn't quite gel with my sense of the language.
合氣 literally means to join (with another's) 氣 - or rather loosely, to coordinate or join forces, or to be (spiritually) connected. It is not synergy, although synergy may be a result of such connection. It is not an attitude, but without the right attitude, there can be no aiki.

It is not a belief, but without the belief that we are all connected in some way, there is no aiki. It is certainly not a Zen koan, but enlightenment may open your eyes to the Great Path of aiki...

A subtle distinction, but a distinction nonetheless... if you catch my drift...
In his book Budo, Ueshiba makes an interesting statement:
Ueshiba Morihei wrote:
If you learn to control the universal elements within the human heart, you can respond according to the principles of water and fire, yin and yang, when an enemy attacks. If he comes with ki, strike with ki; if comes with water, strike with water; if he comes with fire, strike with fire.
That kind of idea (meet ki with ki, fire with fire, water with water) seems antithetical to most of the surface philosophy I've been exposed to in aikido, particularly in the States, although I imagine to many advanced practitioners the above makes some practical sense from the perspective of many years. But, again from my linguistic perspective, that is exactly the kind of image suggested by the term "aiki". Not a harmonious blending, but proactive matching of forces.

Last edited by Josh Reyer : 01-11-2007 at 07:10 AM.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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