Thread: kamae problem
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:47 AM   #122
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
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Re: kamae problem

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Dan's post about content aside, I've found that both you and Peter have shown the best translation abilities. While you may (or may not, I don't know) scratch your head at the words you translate, you have been far, far closer than anyone else I've read. I don't know if either of you realised that, so I thought I'd say it, er write it. Thanks!

Thank you. It is good to know that we seem to do some things right. Unlike Chris Li, I am not a professional translator and nor, I believe, is Josh Reyer. I once translated the text of a technical video for our local car manufacturer and, on another occasion, the text of a lecture on brain death for the prefectural medical association, but I had to spend so much time in mastering the technical background in both cases (Chris Li is quite right here) that I decided never to do this very often. I do not need to do it for money.

However, I do not think that translation is such a zero-sum game as seems to be suggested. I think it is much more a matter of degrees. I think in this way because I have been usually translating Japanese literature, stuff written by people like Tanizaki, Shimazaki Toson, Shiba Ryotaro, Abe Kobo, or Hara Tamiki.

Any translation skills I possess have arisen as a result of having tenure in a Japanese public university. As a professor, I had to have a knowledge of spoken and written Japanese sufficient for handling the very delicate matter of promotions (a professor has to persuade all the other professors to vote in favor of the chosen candidate--and it is not only the candidate who suffers if the vote is not in favor). So for 25 of the past 30-odd years I have lived here, I was taught Japanese by several people, but reading Japanese by a very conservative professor (whose teaching method consisted entirely of having me read aloud the Japanese, make a verbal translation, and then a 'real' translation--of the kind of literature being written when Morihei Ueshiba was alive) to read and translate the same kind of Japanese as Morihei Ueshiba would have written.

If he had written any--and there's the rub. I have Japanese texts of everything in prose published under the name of Morihei Ueshiba and I am not convinced that he himself actually wrote any of it, including the text of the Budo volume.

However, be that as it may. I have not had the time to do it thoroughly, so I might be mistaken, but as far as I can see 六方, as in:




does not appear at all in the 1933 Budo Renshu manual and appears in the 1938 Budo volume only in the passages I have quoted above. I was surprised at its non-appearance in the 1933 Budo Renshu volume, since the Bieri translation occasionally uses the term hamni in English to explain some of the diagrams. Unless, of course, it is assumed that those for whom this manual was intended knew the concept already, for, of course, they knew they were doing Daito-ryu.

So, one can ask: why would Morihei Ueshiba have used the term 六方 only once, and in the introductory section of the Budo volume, which was a manual apparently intended for the use of the Japanese military (the above supposition being based on the introductions to the two English versions)?

Since I have the benefit of living in a Japanese language community, I consulted a few Japanese colleagues about the meaning of 六方. The answers were interesting, to say the least. They all answered that, given the way it was written, the term meant six directions and listed the directions. So there was no problem here. When I pressed them further and asked about the use of the term in kabuki, they invariably speculated that the six directions of roppo fumu meant that the kabuki actor was demonstrating his exhibitionist walking skill outwards, for everyone to see. In other words, the main direction was from the actor to the audience. There was no suggestion that六方was a two-way process, or a balance between two opposing directions. The only suggestion that it might be came from a colleague who practices Okinawan karate.

In the dictionary, an alternative reading of 六方 in kabuki is 六法, which has a completely different nuance, for 法 means law and『六法 』is the title of a volume of legal codes. This is curious, but my colleagues suggested that kabuki actors, like Noh actors, were not at liberty to vary the content of their training.

In a much earlier response to Hugh Beyer (Post # 96), I stated that,

"There might well be a connection with the use of the term roppo in kabuki and internal training. However, for this I would be more interested in looking at how kabuki actors were trained and in seeing if there is any link with the training of Noh actors, who also used a very distinctive way of walking."

In a later post (#106), Dan Harden mentioned a scroll from a school of Noh dance.

"I've read sections of a translated training scroll for a now defunt no dance school from the 1780's, in which it is stated to move while mainting six directions and it stated why. That it allows you to remain stable and maintain perfect balance in order to float acorss the floor."

It would be very good to know more details about this scroll, who wrote it and why, so that I can find the Japanese text, if it is publicly accessible.

Presumably, the same kind of stability and perfect balance would have been maintained by the kabuki actors, except that the latter do not really float when they make their roppo exits.

I have long thought that there is a link in the discourse on internal training between the initial discourses of Kukai on sanmitsu and shugyou and the martial arts, via shugendo, noh, sado, and later kabuki and other arts that became popular in the Genroku era.

In fact I wonder whether there was not a similar loss of 'training intensity' in the Genroku period, when supposedly exclusive 'samurai' arts became available to those who had never had the chance to do the intensive training required for the really exclusive internal knowledge.

Anyway, on this note I take my leave from AikiWeb for a while. I will be travelling in Europe and this will provide a welcome break from the forums.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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