Peter A Goldsbury
In some way, my experience has been different to yours. For the first ten years of my aikido life, I never studied anything about the Founder. His sayings, selected by Kisshomaru Ueshiba in his early book Aikido made very little sense, but I talked quite often with K Chiba about his life as a deshi. This is partly what made me decide to come to Japan: to learn Japanese so that I could study Morihei Ueshiba on his own terms, so to speak.
In this respect, I was making use of my previous training in the Classics. Aquinas wrote perceptive commentaries on Aristotle, which he read in Latin, translated from the Greek by the Arabs. And he was heavily biased, also. So I thought it best to start at the beginning and read Aristotle in Greek, which meant reading Plato and the Presocratics, also. Of course, you can benefit from reading Aristotle in English, but I think you need a commentary, if only to help you find your way. A complex text like his Metaphysics is very difficult to understand.
Given you process and prospective I am curious about many things. If you would so kindly give your opinions on the following:
1. You stated that you "didn't read any of the founders words until after 10 years of your aikido study." How did this affect your reading of his words? Would it have been beneficial to you to read them before or during your initial practice of martial art?
2. Did his words have a "physical affect" on the next ten years of your practice?
3. Did the "editing" by his family, and others give you a "compare and contrast" that made your "technique" better?
4. Did your prior knowledge of Plato, Socrates and the Greek classics through latin/arab/ and Greek make more clear the Founders "universal" words? Did it also give you a perspective that might have "prejudiced" your views of O'Sensei's words?
I wonder if there is a "truth" that speaks out through all the filters? Do our words of interpretation taint the meanings of said truth? Do you think that "body language through the exhibition of technique" is perhaps the closest we can get to O'Sensei's meanings.
Lastly, more boldly...how close do you think O'Sensei was to said truth...comparing him to past "masters"?
Thank you so much for your input and perspective.
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola