I'm not sure I can handle this important topic concisely, because
all I have is a few examples that might be relevant , At this
point I don't feel capable of writing definitions or a complete essay.
Kokyu is a favorite topic, though, and as for Ai, I remember, after I had gotten out of training due to several different circumstances
leading from job change such as marrying the friend that got
me into building trades when the family publishing firm downsized...
As a construction gopher, and cooking for Chuck, my husband,
schedule was very tight. It was easier to train when I had
been a proofreader, with flexible hours.
Still, I would drop down to the local dojo to watch Saturday seminars, maybe twice a year, Lorraine Di Anne Shihan (I believe )from Western Massachusetts the senpai of the local shidoin Ray Farinato, and Seiichi Sugano Shihan who came out from NYAikikai
around an hour away from us in the southwestern corner
I was often late, regrettably, and often had to leave early. Sometimes there was a pot luck afterwards at
Ray and Margaret's house, but I hesitated to ask questions,
because I was just a spectator and not currently training. At
the time, I was embarrassed about that.
So why the long intro? It's because in other threads people
often found the meaning of Ai to be a stumbling block or a
bone of contention. I met with the answer a few years ago and
it stuck in my mind even before joining Aikiweb this past
november. The word I heard was affection as I slid in the door
invisibly behind some standees to get to the seating area.
It's not just a sentiment, though. It should be the groundwork when we train, hard or soft training, it comes out of respect for our
training partners. And it has the (like wow) cosmic feeling of
what binds the universe together. Someday I'll have to ask
Ray, a good friend of myself and my husband, what that means
in scientific terms. Ray is a PHD chemist...
I love the other aspects of this thread, but since O Sensei
spoke so much about the universe, God and human beings
(and the kami, which Ichihashi Sensei once called, Hataraki,
the workings of God, making Japanese religion not seem to
really be polytheistic) I guess I will let this stand as my first
post on this thread, and maybe post later.
I didn't hear the context of that one word affection, then the
demonstration of ma ai, balance, footwork continued and
I tried to absorb what I could, hoping to train again some day.
But I leave it up to the rest of you to use this word in the thread
if you want. It comes from a good source.
There was the affection when Ray, Lorraine and Sugano
Senseis were teaching and practicing with the class, and
the participants practicing together, and in the snack and
orange and water breaks and at the pot lucks, but many
Aikidoka over the years have read and heard that this thing
is also what holds the universe together and "produces and
protects all beings in Nature" Therefore the human and the
cosmic are one and the same.