Peter A Goldsbury
Many thanks for your response. I have been following the discussions in several threads and had a problem of whether to put the post in the Language thread or here. Since it was a response to what Christopher Li stated in Post #52 about what I would call Japanese attitudes to logic, I put it here, but it is relevant to the issues being discussed in the language thread.
If I want to find the reason why O Sensei prohibited competition I would read his discourses and since I can read Japanese, I would read them in the original. As I stated in my post, I found three different translations of the same statements forbidding competition, but was struck by what had been omitted in Kisshomaru Ueshiba's "Memoir of the Master", and I cannot find any explanation from Mr Tanahashi and Mr Maurer in their "Translators'Forward" at the front of the book. As it happens, Hideo Takahashi gives an explanation at the end of the Japanese edition of Takemusu Aiki about how the discourses published therein were made and Aikido Giho notes that they were selected from notes made during Morihei Uesiba's lectures to the Byakko Shinko Kai, which is an offshoot of Omoto-kyou.
In your post, you mention the "real intention behind wanting to know if and why O Sensei prohibited competition" and I assume that by "real intention" you mean something other than the explanations given in the discourses. However, I do not entirely agree with you.
A few years ago I held a meeting with Okumura Shigenobu and Tada Hiroshi, both Hombu shihans, in order to clarify the views of Morihei Ueshiba about competition. The thread in the Language forum was begun many years before this meeting and when I contributed to the thread, I had not read all of O Sensei's discourses published in Japanese. Since then, I rectified this omission, but was struck by Morihei Ueshiba's rather disdainful attitude to ‘Western sports'. (His treatment of this can be found in one of Stan Pranin's articles in the Aikido Journal forum.) The meeting was very fruitful and I learned much about O Sensei's thinking from two of his close students.
Did I have a "real intention behind wanting to know if and why O Sensei prohibited competition"? Other than trying to clarify for myself why he forbade matches, I do not think so. Was I trying to "find an excuse not to refrain from them"? Absolutely not. I took up aikido many years ago because it was not a competitive sport and have never changed my attitude.
P A Goldsbury
Thanks so very much for your attention to this subject and my responses, Mr. Goldsbury.
In the zoo are signs that say "Feeding the Animals is Prohibited."
People who understand the purpose and intention of the ban don't pose the question "what's the philosophy behind it," because they understand - even if they want to feed the animals.
There are some who have no desire to feed the animals who still might ask about the reasons for the ban out of curiosity or for their edification. I imagine that this is an apt analogy to your cited inquiry.
There are others who ask because they want
to feed the animals and are looking for a loop hole.
I see what you mean, Mr. Goldsbury. I was only referring to the former and latter groups.
I had approached the original question "What is the philosophy behind that Aikido shouldn't have competitions?" at the level of intention. It could be a question raised out of curiosity, but the answers given in support of non-competition generally reflect the idea competition would be detrimental because it is antithetical to the (disputable) principles of aikido (those responders get why you are not supposed to feed the animals).
Other answers argue that competition in aikido has benefits, and the inquiry into the philosophy of non-competition is ignored. These seem to me to be like those who want
to feed the animals, so they might be looking for rationale (The animals have a special diet
- they really mean don't throw junk food in their pens
). Some will look for rationale to ignore it (They are fed on a schedule
- That big bear is hungry now and a peanut is not going to ruin his appetite
). Others challenge the veracity of the prohibition (they don't really mean it, they had to put up that sign for legal purposes
, or, The Panda keeper is actually Chinese and the words he was quoted for the sign may or may not mean prohibited
). The answers they receive may or may not change their minds about feeding the animals/(competition in aikido), but it was the desire to feed the animals that prompted their question. Those were who I was speaking to and of.
So I what I meant to convey by my declaration is those who believe that aikido is best served without the addition of competition wouldn't be asking the question. They have an answer that they feel is backed up by their own understanding of the nature of both aikido and competition.
In terms of a practical answer, only those who do not see the discrepancy in the purpose of aikido and that of competitive arts would pose the question.
Unless they are just asking out of curiosity! Then the answer can only be "Nobody knows because there has apparently never been a 100% accurate, agreed upon translation of anything Osensei ever said!"
It is clear you have studied Osensei's policies. Do you think they originated from principle or from arbitrary preferences?
When I see "strictly prohibited" or other phrases that seem pretty clear to me, I have to wonder how "off" a translation can be to render the words "strictly prohibited" from something less direct, something that would mean that somehow competition is okay, like "allowed on a specific limited basis." You would certainly know more than me ten thousand times over, and you have made it clear that perhaps it isn't as clear as it seems.
But entering the world of "philosophy behind no competitions" what seems to be most important is understanding of why aikido would
be set apart from other arts that actually encourage competition.
If Osensei only prohibited aikido because he had a disdain for Western sports, doesn't it follow that his was an arbitrary command? "No competition because Osensei says so. He doesn't like Western sports so competitions are off the menu."
But then, why would Osensei feel that way about Western sports?
Could it be that he did not see aikido as competitive because the goals of his practice were different from the goals of competitive activities?
My most esteemed reader, Mr. Goldsbury, the depth of your knowledge of Morihei Ueshiba cannot even be bushed by my paltry, ground level knowlege, all born from English translations.
But is it not true that the great body of Osensei's teachings, if hefted onto a balance, would tip toward aikido being more about producing a mutually beneficial ending to conflict than one in which someone loses while the other wins?
Unless I am mistaken about Osensei, then it would stand to reason the principle for prohibiting competition must be similar to the principle which distinguishes aikido from competitive martial arts.