Thread: kamae problem
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:21 PM   #115
Josh Reyer
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Location: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi
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Re: kamae problem

All due respect, dont confuse translation abilities with the subject material. I was addressing the direct reading of Ueshiba's words (all others being secondary) as done by a professional translator, who is also an Aikido teacher and is also familiar with internal power terms and teachings.
We agree on what Ueshiba's actual words were. Fine. You want to debate that they are an "idea" open for debate. I am telling you it is an established principle.
I gave you another example of its use in Noh dancing and of Ueshiba himself acknowledging its use, which you left unaddressed.
No, Dan, you didn't give me another example of its use in Noh dancing; you gave me an unsourced paraphrase of a translation taken completely out of its context. I left it unaddressed because I have no way of evaluating the source material, nor the translation with such meager information.

Just because you don't know what six direction training is does not mean that others versed in it have to explain it to you in order for its pedagogy to be valid.
I've said nothing about pedagogy. I believe in six-direction training, I am hardly an internal training apostate. My point in all this has not been to deny nor to demand verification of its validity. My concern here is textual. The people here saying "ashi wo roppo ni hiraku" doesn't mean hanmi have essentially been saying, "take my word for it." Well, I'm completely open to being convinced, but so far no one's put together an argument other than that. I'm not even convinced of Saito's take on it, that it means hanmi. But when the original says "open your feet in six directions because fully facing the opponent is full of openings", and given the multiple experiences I have with Japanese budo terms having multiple meanings depending on the context, I have to admit that Saito has a case.

My point, as it always seems to in discussions of Japanese and translation, comes down to context. You folks have latched on to "six directions" and said, "IP! Not hanmi!" but I'm still waiting an explanation of how that makes sense in context. If it was just "Fill your body with ki and open your feet in six directions", I'd be right with you guys. When it's "Fill your body with ki, and open your feet in six directions, facing the enemy with the hanmi irimi posture of aiki," followed by "In practice, train so as to use a left or right kamae considering the enemy's kamae, always completing each movement with the feet open in six directions. Because there are too many openings, it's disadvantageous to fully face forward against the enemy." Well, I have my doubts that your contention fits the context. Again, which is not to say I'm 100% Saito is right, nor that I can't be convinced that you are right. Only that I remain unconvinced. Which may suit you fine. You may have no interest in convincing me.

I mean this respectfully but Saito, Stevens, Stan, Peter, you and one million Aikido-ka debating it, doesn't change a thing, other than you don't know what your founder was talking about and now want to debate a well known teaching model as if it is debatable in the first place BECUASE of your ignorance.
For the record, I am not an aikido-ka nor is Ueshiba my founder. I'm not debating a well-known teaching model, I'm pointing out, as a disinterested and uninterested outside observer, that there are textual, contextual problems with your argument. Let me put this way: I'm not arguing lexicon, I'm arguing syntax.

What if he wrote that aikido training must be consistent with the six harmonies.
What if the translator a) did not know the term b) screwed around and had it come out with something consistent with his understanding of aikido be in harmony with your opponent
Aikido-ka would accept it on the spot.
Anyone reading (with a better education) would laugh out loud.
Personally, I would laugh out loud, just because that would be such a ridiculous translation.

I hope this debate does not sour what has otherwise been positive communicaton between us.
I was intending to say not at all, not at all, but then...

Even with this recent attempt at translating an established model as "eddies and swirls" we both know about spiraling the legs;
...this pisses me off. I did not attempt to translate any "established model". I intentionally left "tomoe" untranslated to preserve the original meaning as much as possible. I then added a note that "tomoe means eddies and swirls", which is uncontestable, just to provide some context for people who don't have Japanese ability. If you then say, "tomoe in this case refers to spiraling the legs", fantastic! That's why I posted the damn thing in the first place. Don't assume my intentions.

Christopher Li wrote:
No offense to Josh - but this is how we got into trouble in the first place - translation without really understanding the terms being used, and just concluding that they make no sense unless changed into something else.
No, Chris, you misunderstand me. I'm not in favor of changing anything. I don't agree with what Stevens did. My point goes to notation or commentary, and includes everything from an explanation of six directions to simply saying, "We're not sure what this means." When I say "you could replace 'ashi wo roppo ni hiraku' with 'hanmi ni naru'' I'm not saying you should do that. And in fact my major gripe with Saito's special edition is that there is precious little of the original, and a whole lot of Saito's commentary.

In my opinion, all translations of budo material are flawed in that they can only reflect the understanding of the translator at that time. And that's a moving target. If we were to dump all of my Japanese ability into Dan, the Dan of 10 years ago may very well interpret that crux differently from the Dan of today and the Dan of 10 years from now. So the translation should, IMO, hew as close to the original as possible. But that will create confusing segments, and if possible, those segments should be augmented with some kind of annotation, preferably one that doesn't send someone off the wrong track. But no translation is going to be perfect. The written or spoken word is ill-suited to describe this stuff in the first place (be that IP or EP), and translation just adds another process on top of that.

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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