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Old 03-15-2007, 07:15 PM   #113
George S. Ledyard
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Location: Bellevue, WA
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Fred Little wrote: View Post
Robert Henricks' translation of the work in question was published by Ballantine in 1992.

Working from the oldest extant manuscript, in which the order of the two sections of the work are opposite the order more familiar from later manuscripts, Henricks retitled the work "Te Tao Ching."

In this older version, the shorter, pithier executive summary on how to rule comes first -- after all, the prince is a busy man and you can't expect him to read very long or very deeply -- the more philosophical section comes second.

All of the translations we have other than Henricks' started with a fundamentally incorrect assumption: that the work was primarily a work of philosophy and secondarily a work of practical statecraft.

Even in the case of Budo Renshu, there is evidence that the work was constructed from the notes of students and approved by Ueshiba for distribution to yudansha. And as George notes, everything else was cherrypicked and then massaged in the process of reorganization and translation.

In such a circumstance, the only definitive statement that is reasonably sound is that no definitive statements are terribly sound.


I picked up a copy of the new translation recently. It was a kick to see a newly discovered manuscript that was older than the ones I studied in school. Sort of like the Taoist Gnostic Gospels... Those were the days, back when I could just sit around all day and read cool stuff like that...

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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