.....It seems to answer closest to Dan's desire for the "word for word. However, it also seems a bit problematic for his proposed thesis that the set-piece waza were a "mistaken" aspect -- because those poetic/mythic images are cheek by jowl with the depictions of the set-piece waza -- and have been apparently so conjoined since they were originally published together in 1933, as I understand it. It certainly allows one to tentatively conclude they were intended to be construed together.
Since I view the poetic/mythic language as a means for describing mainly subjective impressions in nonetheless concrete or narrative terms, the pairing seems entirely complementary. If there anything from the native understanding that makes this construction of the work unreasonable or unsupportable?
It isn't a question of whether or not they went together. The placement of the text to define a principle expressed in a "set-piece" waza does not make the principle singular in use. Nor does it mean the training (sometimes implied other times described) involved a waza specific end use.
Case in point is to read Peter's long evolutionary description of training…for preparedness. Then review where I outlined and expanded on his ideas as a means to manage force-in from any side. If you know what the training is that he is implying in the "set-piece" it is paramount and is just as viable for force from any direction. In fact it is displayed in other areas in the book. Ueshiba's discussion of the training required --in my view- was to express something along these lines; (and I could see him verbalizing it as he did so)
Regarding rear attacks.
"See these types of attacks demand this type of training…..nothing else will do. You cannot see behind you- so your spirit must be full and fully integrated with your body to always be "on" so that you can handle that attack on contact-in an instant."
This has to do with maintained and opposing lines of intent and the conditioned bujutsu body it creates and the effect that has on a another body. And it's pointless in discussing it if you don't already do it. Again, it just means that the people who have trained in waza based methods (which is most everyone) and who tackle the translation of the work are simply flumoxed and need a decoder to understand what Ueshiba was saying.
As a model for training? I would venture that there are a hundred or so men here, who by now, know exactly what Peter and I am talking about and do this type of training as a regular practice. I know from phone calls and emails today regarding this column that they were surprised by Peters exhaustive attempt to define the differences, and delighted to be able to read this and understand the discussion completely.
So the concept of "set-piece" waza with non singular descriptions of body skills in use not only makes perfect sense to them, it is their preferred method of training. It makes perfect sense to them, as well.
And I have not touched on Ueshiba's exhaustive discourses which clearly and repetitively "define" the concept that both Peter and I are trying to portray here-that "the art is formless." and "Aiki is without form"
Nor have I discussed the well established provenance of it and from whom we all know that saying came.
In the fullness of time, a more litteral translation will serve those who actually train the way Ueshiba had been describing and aid them in a deeper understanding of what the founder was trying to say. Further, If those men can train with others who understand the language of the more spiritual aspects then I believe that for the first time a more fully realized picture of Ueshiba as a complete artists will finally be revealed.
We have seen where placing it in the hands of kata oriented people has gotten us. I'm up for a different take on him.