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Old 05-20-2007, 06:38 AM   #41
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

Josh Lerner wrote: View Post
Nelson's has "a(i)" as kunyomi, "go" as onyomi.
Potayto -Potahto. A thorough differential reading analysis requires determining whether the onyomi is 呉音, 唐音, or 唐音or more likely, in this instance, the kunyomi inverse of 慣用音, an assumption based on a true kunyomi homophone at the time of adoption. I know only enough to know it would need doing, not having the resources to do it. Given the acknowledged difficulties in the evolution of Japanese since the seventh and eighth centuries when recorded in the Kojiki, and when the T'ang Chinese pronunciations first made their way over, this is no trivial task. The near equivalent literary comparison in the evolution of English is "Beowulf."

This is well beyond our need here, anyway. The connotative meaning in the kanji remains, which is my only point. Unless, of course, one wants to make the connection between the concept 合"gě" = "measure of grain" and that of koshinage as hoisting a sack of rice.

Back to your original point criticizing the association with the Chinese phrase, 合 氣 -- h q:
Josh Lerner wrote: View Post
My guess is that whoever coined the term "aiki" was actually trying to distance themselves from the classical Chinese meaning of the compound "he qi", which originally referred to a Tianshi Daoist sexual rite from probably the 2nd or 3rd century AD. The term originally meant "the uniting of the qi". The qi involved being that of the two people, and knowing the Daoists, probably the qi of various constellations, stars and other things.
Since O Sensei specifically made the "Love-Ki" pun in the Doka and elsewhere, I would tend to doubt the suggested dissociation, or if intended, that it was at all successful, based on his usage.
There are some in this forum and elsewhere, that allow a much more direct route for the specific concept, teaching and terminology of "aiki" from China. Ellis Amdur has criticized any evidence of this in O Sensei's personal history, but the possibility of a deeper historical connection must be acknowledged in this context. I remain agnostic on that front.

I'll tend to agree with Jennifer that there may something to the tantric connection. Certainly O Sensei had Shingon training, which informed his views of kotodama in the Shinto tradition. (Back to the depths of linguistic history, the people chiefly responsible for bringing the T'ang era Chinese readings into Japan (in the eighth century) were the founders of Shngon and Tendai sects of Tantric Buddhism in Japan, who brought significant new Chinese Buddhist texts with them. To strengthen the timing of the connection even further, Kukai is attributed as the writer of the iroha poem, the basis for the ordering of the kana syllabary, forming the basis for making orderly associations between the earlier sound system (e.g. - Kojiki, ca. 7th cen.) and that of the contemporary Chinese T'ang writing he introduced, which is the basis for the 漢音 reading, the second oldest class of the onyomi.

A root idea in tantrism is about the resolution of the non-duality of experience through aspects of experience, especially nominally dual experiences. In the more titillating forms (suggested by your reading of 合 氣 -- h q as it relates to tantric Taoism) it involves resolving the non-duality of the male and female in their most intense experience of one another.

In a not too dissimilar way in terms of aikido and the fundamental principle of irimi-tenkan in the similarly intense experience of conflict -- resolving the non-duality of who enters and who is entered.

Interesting discussion, from everyone.


Erick Mead
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