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Old 10-25-2011, 11:49 AM   #13
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
Re: Correctly Translating and Understanding the Works and Teachings of Morihei Ueshib

Michael Varin wrote: View Post
This is an interesting and important topic, and has been brought up more frequently in recent threads.

I have only rudimentary Japanese language skills, so I will have to ask those of you here who have a deep understanding of the language and culture to contribute to this thread. Peter Goldsbury, Josh Reyer, and Chris Li come to mind, but anyone can pitch in.

I have always instinctively felt that John Stevens' translations left something to be desired. Of course, this is not to say that they have no value at all.

We may also have the benefit here of the translators being able to share how they arrived at their translation, or what they found lacking in the older translations.

I hope that we can all use this thread to compile these translations, so we can avoid the often tedious process of referring to and then searching for long lost threads, and then have a place to discuss them, compare them to older translations, and hopefully, come to a better understanding.
I am glad you realize the importance of correct translation
Whether this make sense to you or not...your welcome.
It has been rather an interesting 16 years; knowing what I know, seeing what I see in his movement and where it came from, talking about this stuff on the various forums and being told I was the one who didn't know what he was talking about. Years discussing the fact that Aikido is dual opposing spiral energy, aiki in yo ho, six directions, etc, and actually being laughed at here and elsewhere for stating what it was and that it is just about gone.

These new translations were a gift to me from Chris. I was floored when Chris read them in public for the first time and to hear my words as Ueshiba's own...(which have never been revealed in English) being read to me. Ueshiba's own words, sounding like he....was quoting me..... all these years.
We all had a grand laugh and I almost got emotional. All these years of arguing, and there they were all along; lying there in plain sight- much like all of Arikawa's books....locked up and left in the dust at Hombu.
They didn't know... and they didn't even know they should care. As Doshu told his friend a shihan now training this way "I can never do that...they would kill me. I have to do what my father did." So very sad.

I felt much the same about Sagawa's book. I had been shown and told certain things that I found alarming and all but unbelievable. I spent considerable money to get an early translation of that long before the book was published in English (something which Sagawa NEVER wanted to happen for now obvious reasons).
Only to find out everything I had been told and then had had been writing and saying on the forums for years; Never teach white people, Only teach one or two of your own, It is about body conditioning and not waza, Aiki is the union of opposites in you through -in yo ho and not about you and them...was proved to be absolutely spot on as well.

So here is another prediction for you.
As was demonstrated here starting at page three, it is a mistake to think that being able to read Japanese makes you capable of translating everything written in Japanese. In fact it was that type of thinking that led to the incredibly erroneous understandings you are hoping to correct. Further, if you had someone capable of understanding the terminology he was using as a well known training concept, it still would not help the vast majority of Aikido-ka reading, as they would not have a single clue how to make use of it.
And can take your list of potential translators. They are not only NOT going to help, they will only muddy the waters and deny all clarity. They have no idea of a) what to look for b) what the hell the words actually mean in the broader scope of internal training that Ueshiba Morihei was pursuing and will debate the well known phrases and training concepts as if they were alien words randomly strung together that they...need to ponder and wonder about in order to establish the text. I would suggest leaving them to spend a few years educating we move forward in agreement with the worlds internal artists; to whom the phrases and words and concepts are well known and rather mundane and would probably find laughable to debate.
It's okay not to know phrases. I didn't know certain Chinese phrases for similar concepts/ words in the TJMA. But you should recognize the concepts ad be able to communicate to other budo people. Something the early students of Aikido could not or would not do.
It is also okay not to know the lingo, but when tested by real experts be able to demonstrate competency. Something which aikido-ka fail at regularly.

This is only going to be important and remain important, when the community embraces that it was not taught these concepts, (as Chiba and Stevens admit..we didn't have a clue what he was talking about) and cannot demonstrate competency in them either. This step is crucial to moving forward.
Telling people to "Move their insides..." and leaving them to struggle, will no longer suffice. Established teachers are going to be increasingly pressured to teach or people will go elsewhere to learn.

So, regarding the translations....
I would suggest leaving the work to just a few people who are both professional translators and who are training internals with people who know what the hell they are doing. There are not an abundance of those around these parts and not one of them they are learning from are in Aikido.
Yet...if you ask them they will deny all definitions the aikido community is trying to force down their throats.
They will tell you flat out, that; through and through.
And as it turns out; is the exact definition almost word for word, that I have been telling you aikido is and always was for 16 years. Now coming from the mouth of your founder. It never could have been otherwise. It was so obvious in his movement and in his pedigree.
It's a new day.
I am working on a Book, to not only reveal these translations, but to place them in context to the Chinese teachings, demonstrating they were never O sensei's to begin with some are pure Daito ryu, some are Chinese, (some of his Doka are almost word for word copies of Chinese teachings) and then discuss how to practice them.
P.S. I am well aware of others who have been discussing some of this as well. But considering the animosity often demonstrated, I am keeing the discussion to only what I have been saying.

Last edited by DH : 10-25-2011 at 12:04 PM.
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