Thread: kamae problem
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Old 07-29-2011, 09:30 AM   #127
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
Re: kamae problem

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)
I think it's a wise decision to review the technical background in both of those cases. For people who make the written word a passion, I think proprietary technical jargon with known and established meanings would be looked at contextually within their given industry differently than as a random assemblage of words to be translated at face value.

Is it fair to say you achived technical mastery of car manufacturing and Medicine or even all the terminology associated with those processes?
Is it fair to say that any of Ueshiba's translators have acheived the same?

I haven't seen the same due diligence applied to the background of Ueshiba's arts. Instead I have seen a rather remarkable ignorance, disinterest, and even attempts to suppress it. This was done in an attempt at myth making, to set Ueshiba apart as a singular genius. In any event, in light of our well documented realizations of who he was.

I also think too much is assumed of the mastery of those who translated-something which I have taken issue with for many years. , I think it is probably just as wise to seek some technical background on the arts and principles that obviously drove Ueshiba.

On the Noh Dance scroll translated into a book:
Interestingly, I was giving a seminar on internal power and a women listening got rather animated while I was giving a demonstration. The outline was maintaining six direction awareness in a type of walking drill we were working on. My little talk outlined six direction requirements, how it fit in with a Tohei model and what it did to the body and how it affected an opponent. The next day she brought a text copied from a Museums privately published translation given to them as a gift from a Japanese Noh troupe. She was part of that effort as a dance exhibit the book cost almost three hundred dollars)
Think of the consistency in the cascade of events surrounding this text.
Key points:
1. A Noh troupe arrives, discusses and teaches dance (to dancers) and the ability to balance and remain stable and outlines six direction training, a known principles.
2. They provide another schools teachings of the same thing.
3. The dancer remembers that instruction and why it mattered.
4. She buys and reads the museum book that interestingly enough WAS translated by a professional who had expertise in the material being translated and the term and the description of its use are a match to what she had learned.
She meets me ten years later. What I am discussing matches what she had learned and I include the reference to the only other ten dan awarded by Ueshiba to a dancer, She recognized the material, she has a prior background from classes with a Noh school, along with text from a manual.

So to sum up:
You have a principle that is known in China, also known in Japan
Used in different cultures Budo
Used by Dancers
Was recognized in a dancer and highly praised by Ueshiba-remember his words were something like "He gets it"
What is... "it?"
Curiously that man (Ueshiba) also used many other Internal principles of movement
Forty years later a women meets a Japanese dance troupe who explains it
They display a book from the 1780's accurately translated that outlines what it is and why it is important.
She meets me ten years later and...
Full circle I start discussing a term and movement principle that is old and has pedagogy in China and Japan...

It appears we agree, that not knowing the material, can lead to endless and ridiculous speculation. Let's take another well known term (or for unaware translators, consider it a collection or assemblage of individual words) in budo such as "heaven/ earth /man."
Our intrepid translator stares at this strange and unusual assemblage of words...he puts pen to paper.
Educated ICMA and JMA people would find it hilarious to read a translation by an aikido student who starts with...embrace the heavenly spirit while standing on the earth and realize yourself as a human.
It is and was a term with known meaning and use within the subject matter; Budo. It was known by many...except...our intrepid translator.

Kanji and words sometimes offer choices as to meaning. Take Josh and Chris Li's choice of Tomoe.
To Josh, reading the word in context; Eddie and swirl makes no practical sense. To anyone in Budo, eddie and swirl makes no sense either.
To Chris, who has a better education in the principles relating to Ueshiba's studies, he picks the other definition for tomoe; Spiral.
Oddly enough, spiraling the legs in and out in opposition makes perfect sense if you knew Datio ryu, koryu, anything at all about ICMA.
Same word, translators choice of meaning that contextually fits and makes sense to about a million people....outside of aikido!.

Again, this raises that niggling question. Why, did these translators, not know?
Ellis's thread with the interview with Ueshiba answers that clearly.
"Why can we not do what you do, Sensei?" O-Sensei's reply was direct, simple and final, "Because you don't understand yin and yang."

In this case allow me a bit of humor
"Why can we not translate what you say, Sensei?" O-Sensei's reply was direct, simple and final, "Because you don't understand in-yo ho."

Last edited by DH : 07-29-2011 at 09:44 AM.
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