Thread: kamae problem
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:13 AM   #103
Josh Reyer
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Re: kamae problem

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
There is also something very curious about Saito Sensei's explanation of hanmi on p.34. He states that the Founder did not use the term hanmi when the Japanese Budo volume was written, but the term appears in the Japanese text I quoted earlier.
I personally feel that there is a certain layer of, shall we say, politics in Saito's commentary on budo, in that a) it was interpreted through Saito's own understanding of aikido, and b) similarities with Saito's style are emphasized while differences are downplayed. At the same time, I don't there's much to be made of Saito's statement compared to Ueshiba's use of "hanmi" in the quoted section. What Saito is saying is that Ueshiba did not use "hanmi" in Budo as a term for what is now called the "hanmi" stance; he used "roppo ni hiraku". "Hanmi" is in the quoted section, but it is part of larger description of "aiki posture" that also includes "irimi". One could easily read that use of "hanmi" as supporting Saito's interpretation that "roppo ni hiraku" meant the same as what would later be called "hanmi". My translation of that sentence would go:

"Filling with spirit (kisei), open the feet in six directions, facing the enemy with the hanmi irimi posture of aiki."

(Interestingly, Steven's translation fails to account for the word "irimi", while introducing the absent term "flexible". Reason #3,847 why translations in general suck.)

In my opinion, 半身入身合氣ノ姿勢 (hanmi irimi aiki no shisei) could easily be read as appositive of "roppo ni hiraku". Further, you could replace all instances of "roppo ni hiraku" with "hanmi ni naru" and contextually it would still work.

Concerning Okamoto, I think his statement "I am eager to get as many meanings as I can out of the term" suggests to me that he may not be a reliable source for how Ueshiba understood "roppo ni hiraku" nor for how he used it in Budo. At least from semantic point of view.

And yet, and yet... John Stevens sometimes gets a bit of grief here about his translations, including from myself. I don't deny that what he puts in and what he leaves out sometimes has me scratching my head. On the other hand, he was a student of Shirata Rinjiro, a pre-war student of Ueshiba. It seems to me that he would be eminently qualified to translate such a text as Budo. Here is a 60 degree angle. Imagine one's lead foot at B and one's rear foot near the A, pointing towards D. Would this not be a perfectly acceptable hanmi, commonly seen in various aikido lines, if not the 90 degree hanmi apparently preferred by Saito?

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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