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Old 03-16-2007, 03:10 PM   #130
Dojo: Kodokan
Location: Portland, OR
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 54
Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Regarding Budo Renshu and Budo as texts, I think Allen Beebe's comments over on AJ are apropos:
Within Aikido, "Budo" is certainly a very important text along with "Budo Renshu." I am lucky enough to posses a copy of Shirata sensei's "Budo" and value it greatly. I think it is important to note that, like other "sacred texts" this one is open to differences in interpretation as well.

Certainly Saito sensei's commentary is an important one and we are lucky that it is being made available for everyone to share. I received my copy of Shirata sensei's "Budo" at the time that Prof. John Stevens was working on his translation of Budo for Kodansha. I was fortunate to be present when Shirata sensei shared his interpretation, views and memories about Budo both at his house and at the local Budokan (in Shirata sensei's dressing room actually). During these private meetings sensei went over the book cover to cover providing both verbal and physical insights.

I share this because there are slight differences between the two books offered here, Kodansha's book and my recollections. That should not be surprising and IMHO is quite beneficial. I should think that students present around the time of Budo and Budo Renshu's publishing's would each have their own recollection, interpretation and understandings, as would post-war students who were aware of the text. (Saito sensei being notable among these.) My point is that, while commentary can be very important, thought provoking, and reveling, it should not be mistaken for the text on which it comments.

I started Aikido being told I was learning the "One True Way" and that all others were not only wrong but possibly immoral. I grew beyond this view and traveled to Japan to learn from the "others" only to have it insinuated, if not explicitly stated, over and over again that the last dojo I visited was wrong and theirs was the "One True Way." (For me Shirata sensei was the exception. He did Aikido as he understood it and openly recognized that "of course others do things differently.")

It would be a shame to have these great texts, and/or anyone's commentary "thumped" in yet another attempt to say, "See? Ours is the One True Way!" *

* The Way that can be told of is not an Unvarying Way;

The names that can be named are not unvarying names.

It was from the Nameless that Heaven and Earth sprang;

The named is but the mother that rears the ten thousand creatures, each after its kind. (chap. 1, tr. Waley[1])

Allen Beebe

Last edited by TomW : 03-16-2007 at 03:12 PM.

Tom Wharton

Kodokan Aikido - Puttin' the Harm in Harmony,
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