Going back to some of what was said about Kito Ryu in HIPS and what I have gleaned from some historical Aiki research, Aiki waza should have the ability to totally anchor ones attacker to the ground on contact (To - falling), or float their weight (Ki - rising) on contact so balance is taken totally and immediately on contact with a person who has the right skills. A third expression of Aiki waza (and attributed to internal training I think) is that skill of "disappearing" when one attempts to strike or grab, part of which comes from manipulation of ma ai (space) and leading of ones attacker. Another part of this comes from skill in powerful, sudden, relaxed, fully controlled movement.
This reminds me of the symbol of Shodokan - taken from the Ten no Maki of Kito Ryu -
The last line in Tomiki's descriptions says "This symbol is composed of red representing fire, blue representing water and white representing infinite space."
Imho: Red = Fire = rising (Ki) = floating kuzushi, Blue = water = falling(To) = grounding kuzushi, White = infinite space = ma ai control and leading (effects being "disappearing" and creation of a "void" with movement). These are all found in the Nanahon no Kuzushi exercise aka Nage no Kata Omote.
I may be reaching here but it seems like Tomiki may have left a lot of information lying around in plain sight for us to discover.
Of course I also reserve the right to be totally wrong.
How is anyone sure of his meaning regardles of his skill?
There are other reasons for teachers to adopt more classical vernacular and symbology in their formal presentations that had not to do with their present state of understanding. In other words, Tomiki's choice for formal presentaion might have gone beyond "prettying up his symbol" to a choice of keeping it in line and validating it with a classical model. His own explanation might have revealed his level of understanding and have been stated "in plain site"
instead of hidden in plain site.
There are any number of very good men from the aiki line who really have no vernacular worth discussing in regards to the classical paradigm in what they did.
I think there is a pronounced tendency of late to revisit some of these things and "add" meaning that we may know is true (of classical models) to Japanese teachers who really only borrowed it for use in formally validating their symbols and arts.
Case in point; below is the full quote with Tomiki's expanded definition (bold added to accent his own
The inspiration for this symbol comes from one of the old texts of Kitoryu Jujitsu called Ten no Maki (Scroll of Heaven). This text explains that the characters meaning rise and fall represent the opposites active and passive respectively. Being active can lead to victory but so can being passive by weakness overcoming strength.
The character meaning rise signifies the power of fire, the character meaning fall signifies the power of water. The sun is a source of energy and water has no form or thought but simply adapts to its environment. However, water has the power to outrival everything, to nourish all things yet remain humble. These are the strengths of the most virtuous people and it is said that virtue is the same as water in this sense.
This symbol is composed of red representing fire, blue representing water and white representing infinite space.
Head of Shodokan
28th March 1976
Coupled with the Japanese tendency to like to find multiple meanings in things, and the well used admonitions given here over and over that the translations are not always trustworthy (contextually and culturally) it can get a bit hazy.
I had a similar conversation with a friend about another VERY capable teacher in the aiki lineage line choosing to use a model of the six-directions in his arts symbol and the presumption that it could mean the classical model of six direction training. I did an ahah! Upon discussion it had absolutely nothing to do with the classical model but it sure sounded compelling-on the surface. Particularly with who he was.
At a point I think we have to be willing to accept that many of the Asian teachers didn't get it either (in whole or in part) and we need to carefully examine where we may be just grasping at straws to retrofit an understanding to a teacher who never had anything beyond a cursory intention of trying to "look" classical in their formal symbology, regardless of their abilities, as opposed to those who knew exactly what they were talking about, but could not really do much, on to all of those somewhere in between. Further, are we willing to accept or discuss that some of the guys we know who did "get it" and got it rather well, in the end really had "gotten it" intuitively and had no classical vernacular to use in the first place, while others had direct training models to go by?
That is a whole other discussion to be had.
I'm not making a statement other than to point out that presumption- either way- can discredit the discussion.
Like Larry, of course I also reserve the right to be totally wrong! Wait I didn't state anything-I just asked questions.