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Old 05-15-2012, 09:47 AM   #31
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
Re: Morihei Ueshiba: Untranslatable Words

Interesting. Why though is it put down to mistranslation generally or inability to teach?

I see Ueshiba when speaking as more of a lecturer, not a teacher. On the mat, a teacher. In private or with Uchideshi maybe a mixture of both but probably due to his personality more the lecturer.

Thus writing what he said, as he said it, would be best of course but it would then have to be taken as you would a lecture at university.

From there on it is the responsibility of the student to look into what the words from that lecture mean and how to conceive them properly and understand and apply. Thus in my view the problem is once again the student and nobody else.

No rush, no short cuts.

For instance, in the op regarding what O'Sensei said it ended up being translated as plus Ki. He himself laughed and agreed that that would do and that the translator would from then on be his translator. Thus he knew the problem.

So in the old traditional ways of some more enlightened folk he, in my opinion, chose to stick with giving the truth as it is and pointers towards attaining it and leaving the rest up to the student. Nothing wrong with that.

Let's take what he did say, let's take the actual words he used and ask do you understand them? Love and light. There you are, in plain English. Do you understand? Sometimes I wonder 'Do you want to understand?' (a serious question) For a serious student who did want to understand that particular piece of information given would have to research what it meant wouldn't they?

So the next question would be where to look. Take the data given and go look in the right places and find out for yourself is the way of the student. How many Aikido folk could equate Ki with love and light? Thus how many via that statement have a reality close to what he meant on that particular point.?

Then we come to the main topic of this thread, untranslatable words. I think it's more to do with untranslatable concepts, not words.

The two concepts of love and light being a prime example.

So slightly to do with whether the words were translated properly, slightly to do with method of teaching but mainly to do with getting the concept as given. All good students know this is a process and will take time.

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