"Strict prohibition" - as I said, I'm not arguing about the translation.
As I said, I don't think that it's such a black and white issue. You seem to be arguing for an either/or - but that's rarely the way that things work out in Japan, no matter that the statement seems to imply that it does.
I tend to agree with Chris here -- and I have quite a few years experience of living here and seeing this for myself. I have discussed this at length elsewhere and so there is no need to repeat it here. However, there are two other translations of the text quoted in Kisshomaru Ueshiba's Aikido
and some might like to compare them.
In Kisshomaru Ueshiba's book, the reference is on Page 180. The text I have, the 1973 reprint, prints the quotation as part of a paragraph. Here is the paragraph in full.
"In Aikido we control the opponent's mind before we face him. That is we draw him into ourselves. We go forward in life with this attraction of our spirit, and attempt to command a whole view of the world.
We ceaselessly pray that fights should not occur. For this reason we strictly prohibit matches in Aikido. Aikido's spirit is that of loving attack and that of peaceful reconciliation. In this aim we bind and unite the opponent with the will power of love. By love we are able to purify others."
The Japanese original can be found in Aikido Giho
, on pp. 262-263. It is a combination of two paragraphs, but not all of the paragraphs have been translated into English. Here are the two paragraphs in Japanese. The part translated in Aikido
is in bold type.
◯ 合気道は相手が向かわない前に、こちらでその心を自己の自由にする。自己の中に吸収してしまう。つまり精神の引力の働きが進むのです。そしてこの世界を一目に 見るのです。
◯ 一国を侵略し一人を殺すことではなく、みなそれぞれに処を得させて生かし、世界大家族としての集いとなって、一元の営みの分身分業として働けるようにするのが、合気道 の目標であり、宇宙建国の大精神であります。これが明治御大帝の大御心であったと、今日なお仰いでおります。絶えずこの祈りによって争いをさせんようにする。だから合気道は試合を厳禁している。がその実は大なる愛の攻撃精神、和合平和への精神である。それがために自己の愛の念力 をもって相手を全部からみむすぶ。愛があるから相を手浄めることができるのです。
The Japanese original is taken almost verbatim from the Takemusu Aiki
discourses and there is a note on p. 264 of Aikido Giho
to the effect that the Doshu Memoir [道主言志録] consists of selections from notes taken of the lectures given by Morihei Ueshiba that appeared in the Byakko Shinko Kai magazine. The lectures were given from 1958 onwards.
The Japanese original of the second paragraph was also quoted by Kisshomaru Ueshiba in his biography of Morihei Ueshiba and the English translation is given below (from A Life in Aikido
"It is foolish to invade someone else's country, killing people and achieving the illusion of victory. The objective of Aikido mirrors that of the spirit of the foundation of the universe: for all to have a place to call home, to be part of the same family, to work of children of the same creative source. Even today, I truly believe that this was what the Emperor Meiji had in mind. It is for this that we always pray, avoiding conflict at all cost. For this reason I prohibit competition in Aikido. However, the love which is part of Aikido actively seeks concord and peace. Thus, one should encompass the opponent with the energy of love; in this way you can cleanse him.
" (A Life in Aikido
, p. 43.)
John Stevens has translated parts of Takemusu Aiki
and his rendering of the paragraph is on p. 99.
"Aikido is always concerned with the spiritual side of things, not the material. Aikido is meant to bring out the best in people, to lead us along the proper path. Its basis is love. The purpose of Aikido is to help fulfill our mission to bring peace and harmony to this world. That is why there are no competitive matches in Aikido, no contests. We attack with the power of Love, and we wield weapons of harmony and peace. We bind our opponents with the power of Love. We purge our opponents of aggression.
Translation is an art as well as a science and I would consider all three translators highly competent, but there are some differences -- which is why I prefer to have the Japanese original as a point of comparison, if only to see what has been omitted. It is quite clear that Morihei Ueshiba stated that there was no place for shiai
, but, of course, shiai
is not the only term for 'competition' in Japanese.