George S. Ledyard
I moved this over to the Spiritual Thread so that I could continue the discussion without it being considered "drift".... First, there is the fairly incomprehensible mythology of the Kojiki in the first place. What of each of these characteristics possessed by this God mean? What is their spiritual significance? ... Then you have O-Sensei's interpretation of these things. ... Peter suggested that I revisit the Take Musu Aiki material ... it has helped me reach my current understanding of the role K. Ueshiba has played in making Aikido an art that has spread world wide and affected so many people on a deep level.
The Take Musu Aiki material is virtually incomprehensible. ... There was absolutely no linear exposition of an idea; rather he moved from a concept to a myth to Kototama and back and switched concepts so rapidly that following any line of reason was impossible ... It is my own experience that this effort made it possible for us to actually develop some connection between our physical training, the actual techniques of the art as we practice it, and the concepts and insights which the Founder tried to demonstrate and clearly felt were the point of training.
I am of the opinion that much of what O Sensei tried to relate was theoretical in an particular idiom and that he percieved the essence of the concepts tying it together, but was unable, owing to his experience and personality, to express his theoretical understanding in any clearer way.
In that, I think his son, as you note, admirably took up the challenge to tie down those concepts in his own way. And so we in turn are obliged in our practice of the art to tie them down to a construct in our way also. To the extent that we do so, we help make the art more comprensehensible to its students. To the extent we have to struggle with it (and we do) we make it more our own as much as it is his.
The concepts that O Sensei relates are self-consistent, at least in physical terms of a number of images he relates in the Takemusu Aiki material and elsewhere. In the Doka he also speaks of some fairly concrete things expressed in poetic ways.
Yamabiko -- the mountain echo, ( i.e -- an echo that reinforces itself and goes on and on); He speaks of red and white jewels imparting control over the ebb and flow of tides, images of subtle, but irresistible, cyclic power. He speaks of the demon snake and the spirit of bees -- images relating very low frequency and very high frequency vibrations, also cycles, a concept actually called "harmonics."
He speaks of two concepts, the concept of juji 十字 -- the cross-- a joining of heaven and earth, forming a 90 degree angle, and of resonance of that self-reinforcing echo. Two pendular systems interacting at 90 degrees create complex harmonic motion -- plots of which have striking similarity to images captured of aikido in dynamic motion. Resonance, the over-driving of both positive and negative phases (ten-chi) occurs at 90 degrees phase difference between two interacting cycles. See here: http://techtv.mit.edu/file/874/
So if you are 90 degrees offset in phase interval (maai -- temporally or spatially) you drive the companion oscillation (the attack) to resonance. In addition to inreasing both highs and lows, it shifts the combined peak energy forward or back in time or space from what by the attacking signal alone would have done. Thus, as O Sensei said about disregarding sente entirely -- it does not matter if you are ahead or behind the attack -- as long as the interval is precisely correct at 90 degrees -- a resonance is driven in the system.
In short, there is much of concrete theoretical and practical relevance to pull out of his "spiritual" or mythological work and to see in parallel with an aspect of physical practices like furitama, funetori, or tekubi furi.