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Old 07-12-2009, 02:39 PM   #40
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 405
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Re: Japanese Aikido Teachers - Translation

This moment of deja vu brought to you by Monty Python.

Since this is a thread about teaching and translation, why not set aside the factual matter of the propositions for the moment, since no one can seem to agree on those?

Let's ask instead: what is the utility of each of these two propositions to the practicioner of aikido?

The first proposition says that aikido either resembles or descends from skills evident in the Chinese and whatever other nearby martial arts. So what will the practicioner find there? A bunch of insular camps of martial artists all doing their own thing, with no one providing any single skill set that anyone will peg as Morihei Ueshiba's practice. They will find things that may cause some small insight into what they were doing, but nothing that illuminates the whole, or anyone willing or able to teach such a thing (meaning - to be exactly as skilled as Morihei Ueshiba).

The second proposition says that aikido is most directly derived from Daito Ryu, that Morihei Ueshiba had no real significant investment in other martial arts, whether Japanese or foreign in origin, and that where he differed from Daito Ryu at all is his own progression of things he learned from there. What's a practicioner to find there? A bunch of insular camps of martial artists all doing their own thing, with no one providing any single skill set that anyone will peg as Morihei Ueshiba's practice. They will find things that may cause some small insight into what they were doing, but nothing that illuminates the whole, or anyone willing or able to teach such a thing (again, meaning - to be exactly as skilled as Morihei Ueshiba).

And if you want to be extra ironic, pose a third proposition, the excluded middle, of the practicioner just studying aikido. What will he find there? A bunch of insular camps of martial artists all doing their own thing, with no one providing any single skill set that anyone will peg as Morihei Ueshiba's practice. They will find things that may cause some small insight into what they were doing, but nothing that illuminates the whole, or anyone willing or able to teach such a thing (again, meaning - to be exactly as skilled as Morihei Ueshiba).

You're back to... what is aikido? I think the way they structure obscenity laws already figured this out, the judge just says: "I'll know it when I see it". Let a thousand flowers bloom. When the people advancing one proposition or another produce people of sufficient skill (and to their credit, they are all trying), and if other people see something in them that catches their interest enough to say "that is what aikido should be", I think that is the only way anything will ever be solved. Proof in pudding. Do the work and let the results stand on their own. Might makes right. Yada yada.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 07-12-2009 at 02:54 PM.
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