View Single Post
Old 01-03-2012, 08:22 PM   #180
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Peterborough, NH
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 653
Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Well, that *is* the debate about what the proper use of the term is, and I guess this is as good a place to have it as any.

The thing is that with people like Andy, who appears not to have seen a lot of the IS/IP debate over the past years, you have to start with the idea that there's actually a debate to be had. Look at the exchange between him and Chris--if "internal power" has always meant only some misty spiritual awareness, how's he to know it means something quite specific here?

And "here" isn't the whole Aikiweb community, either. There are still a lot of folks who have followed the arguments and still aren't on board.

I am on board, but I understand why It's contentious. We could say, here's this new set of techniques called DH-waza and it's better than yours so you should learn it. And that would be bad enough. But we want to do worse--we want to say here's this old set of techniques called what teachers have always called it--"aiki" in Japan or "internal power" more generally. And, so sorry, the way you've all been using those words is missing the essence completely. And no, we don't want to cede the use of those words because they have actual historical meaning.

People have the right to demand that the case be made, and it has been made in my opinion, but it's scattered across lots of posts and personal contact--a lot of the language really only resonates if you know the internal feeling it's pointing to. It takes a lot of work to see the whole picture. And every new guy who comes along has to make the same journey over again. Maybe somebody should write a book or something.

And yes, the old translations have not been any help at all. BTW, I ran across another good example in Prof. Goldsbury's monumental Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation #11, where he discusses translations of Budo and Budo Renshu. Here's a translation from Budo by Larry Bieri, copied whole hog from the good professor's column:


Itsu ushiro kara tori ni kitemo ushiro ni me wo tsukete ite kokoro no mado ga zenshin ni hirakare fui no tekishu ni atte mo sassoku ushiro ga reitai icchi shite binkatsuna hataraki wo nasaneba naranu.

Whenever an enemy comes to grab you from the rear, you should open on to your whole body the window of the spirit (Kokoro), which has eyes facing even to the rear. Your back must move instantly and vigorously with soul and body unified in response to the unexpected attack.
And here, Stevens translating Budo, with the same words but different orthography (and how literate Japanese manage to stay sane I do not know):


Itsu ushiro kara tori ni kitemo ushiro ni me wo tsukete ite kokoro no mado ga zenshin ni hirakare fui no tekishu ni atte mo sassoku ushiro ga reitai icchi shite binkatsuna hatara wo nasaneba naranu.

as soon as the opponent attempts to grab you from the rear, you must open the eyes of your heart and the window of your mind, follow your intuition, and move swiftly and surely to the proper position to counter the attack.
Ouch. It seems clear that the first translation is trying to transmit real training advice, though the language is cumbersome and perhaps obscure (move your back vigorously?). The second seems to value flowery metaphor over fidelity to the original text. I'm afraid Stevens felt that he had to produce a book that people could understand--but all the real training information was in the hard-to-understand bits.

(Woo, first real post of the new year contains a tribute to TIE, which is a totally amazing series of columns. Happy New Year!)
  Reply With Quote