Hi Peter, spent several months in Japan last year - and managed to get to the big course last Sept. - Saw you but only briefly - you are too busy! Now back in NZ. Anyway - aiki - to me it is THE thing we need to be aiming to get. Not the waza. I have been after it since about 2000 and have learned a lot. It is definitely worth chasing. Next time we meet I'll show you what I have discovered, if you ask :-) Explaining is impossible. Sad thing is though, people are happy with their waza so don't seem interested - why - because it destroys their concept of waza completely. And I mean completely. Just my 2c.
Yes, I remember we had a brief conversation at the Yoyogi Centre in Tokyo and, yes, I will certainly ask you what you have discovered when we next meet. Some of my Dutch friends are studying aiki and those who are members of the dojos I look after do so with my strong encouragement. The problem with waza, however, is that Morihei Ueshiba used them throughout his life. He might well have used them as vehicles for doing something else, but he still used them. The question then is: was he using the term in the commonly-accepted sense of 'techniques', or was his concept more inclusive?
The 'Way of Harmonizing Ki'-type explanation / translation occurs on the Aikikai's website, but only in the English section. It is symptomatic of a way of thinking according to which it is thought necessary to have a nice, tidy explanation of how all the parts of a compound word written in Chinese characters fit together. People often do this with the constituent parts of a character and the temptation here is to believe that after you have gone through this procedure you have a deeper understanding of the word. I think the tendency is less common here and I think the reason is that compound words written in Chinese characters are just words, after all, with definite meanings, of the type you can find in the dictionary.