Two points: I don't have the exact quote in front of me, but in about 1922, Ueshiba was quoted in Admiral Takeshita's diary as saying - "Aiki is the art of making other people do what you want." - see Harden above.
And with all the writing about how old "aiki" is, remember another word, also using the composite of "onyomi and kunyomi" - KIAI - which is always, and definitely has been always read that way, not "goki." Kiai clearly is the art of making the other do what you want - and in Araki-ryu, for example, this is done by manipulation of one's own stance, one's attitude and one's internal state - and this is linked (as it is in Jikishin-kage-ryu) with the manipulation of different aspects of gogyo - yin/yang. The distinction is usually considered as that kiai, whether predominantly yin or yang in it's energy exerted on the other, is on a larger level, a YANG state - you actively express your will on the other - centrifugal force, if you will. Aiki (see below), whether the dominant energy is yin or yang, is, on a larger level, a YIN state - it is gravitational.
Aiki, which was referred to in some ryu as soshin (I have no ability to reproduce kanji, but the first character, so, is ki-hen/moku-hen (tree/eye) and means something similar to "ai") and shin = kokoro. In other words, one controls the other by unifying "heart/mind" - - - - BUT this is not love - (the other "ai"). It means that one achieves such organization within oneself that one can pervasively influence the other in spite of themselves, so that they are "templated" to what your will.
Interesting and informative as always. For five years I have been discussing and debating with the boys a project with that very same name. I chose .....Soshin for its multiple meaning potential.
The kanji for "so" I used was for "twin" or "Dual" but "mutual" works just as well, thanks Peter. and "shin" as kokoro.
Hence "Twin heart" .
The idea being a play on words: old/new, traditional / live, empty hand /weapon, In/yo, contradictory force ai and Kia.
Never once did I consider the idea of bodies moving at just the right speed or distance for timing which most folks mistakenly associate as "aiki."
The idea of "so" meaning to make others do what you want by way of aik-ki is, in the end going to prove confusing for most exponents of the martial arts. I honestly think we have been struggling under a misinterpretation from decades. Eric's idea of orbiting relatonships in perfect balance is the the quintessential example of what is wrong with aikido. Why aikido works best against "other" folks doing aikido. And why Uehsiba disasociated himself from it and stated repeatedly that "this is not my aikido.
In/yo has to be worked in you, harnessed and resolved in you (to what ever degree we train it) Aiki is about energy in you. Without that firmly in place you have nothing. The movement aspects -what is yin what is yang ceases to have meaning. It' all in/yo all yin and yang. This is idea of making a yin movement or "leading" relationship is merely a furtherence of external martial arts; Kissomaru's understanding, not his Dad's.
The very essence of the failure in understanding is exhibited in the nature of the body turning. The most perfect example of what has been left out is demonstrated in entering.
Both are demonstrated as individual acts when they are not. they are mutual acts in a single person's body. The proper execution has nothing at all to do with the other person.
In his own way Eric is expressing an understanding forstered on him by teachers, so it can't be helped.
I'll give you a clearer picture Eric. Planets don't solely by relationship. They work by exhibiting perfect balance unto themselves. Without that their can be no relationshoip. Meaning-long before you ever considered viewing a relationship between two bodies in motion there were two entities in balance to themselves.
1.WIthout the sun being in perfect balance to itelf it would have nothing to attract or hold the earth.
2. The earth without its own rotation would have nothing worth saving.
They exhbit internal power in being. In /yo revealed. The body is capable of perfecting this in itself as well. And when it does so it becomes much more powerful in any relationship to another object.
Most have their first clue about this when they run into someone with good structure...moving. They instantly sense hisd movements are superior. Weak structure, spinning about in a dance and tryng to meet or join is all but laughable. So the real key is what makes the sun express itself in balance? What makes the earth whole and have an intregal structure? It is understanding what makes the human body- and the generations of chinese and Japanese who have done countless hours of solo training-express itself so well that it can repel or attract and manipulate other bodies that is the first step.
It is exactly why in/yo can be so powerful.
And why most aikido is not.