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Old 06-10-2008, 10:33 PM   #38
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
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Re: Kisshomaru as Interpretor of the Founder's Words

I got my copy of the book today and started reading. Frankly, I'm not too hopeful, although I'll keep going when I can. It's a tough, mind-boggling read that is not like I imagined from more coherent commentaries on waza, general principles, and so forth.

Reading this book I think it's just gone through too many stages, some of which are unknown. Sure, I see fairly straightforward references to ki as a physical skill, but Stevens mixes up his translation of "ki", IMO, so that I have to sometimes go back to be sure which "ki" was "breath", which one was "spirit", which one was ki skill, kokyu skill, and so on.

What I think happened (note that this is just a first opinion) was something along the lines of: O-Sensei spoke obliquely (not clearly) and in some form of flowery language (whether he was affecting this, copying traditional form, etc., I don't know). This stuff was editted and Stevens then translated from the flowery with an indeterminate accuracy and was hindered by the fact that he didn't understand the physical and nuanced references to what "ki" is in the substantive sense (he seems to have the possible non-substantive parts covered). It's just too many steps.

What few things I can see reasonably clearly seem once again to be general "classical" observations. However, that's just my preliminary opinion and I'll keep reading. But my intuition is that this translation isn't going to yield much fruit in terms of substantive information. I'd be happy to hear other peoples' opinions if they've read the book.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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