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Old 07-15-2013, 02:36 AM   #25
Carsten Möllering
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Dojo: Hildesheimer Aikido Verein
Location: Hildesheim
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 931
Re: aikido in your country's language

I'm not sure, but maybe you didn't get my point.

I'm not talking about how to label aikidō. I don't care how to name it. I myself use terms like internal work or internal art, japanese budō, integration of in and yo and some more terms like that, when asked what I am teaching.
The name/label "aikidō" is only important to me, when asked, to which ryū/school/line of tradition - whatever you call it - I belong.

What I'm saying that you loose what - at least to my understanding - aikidō actually is, when you try to "explain it in a few short words". Whatever explanation/translation/periphrasis you will get, it will match you and your understanding of aikidō. But it will not match what aikidō is beyond your own experience and understanding.

When I translated aikidō into "my own language" and condensed it into "a few short words" as a beginner, my words where fundamentally different from how I translated it some years later. And looking back now on both versions, I can only be indulgent my former me ... I didn't know anything back then ... "Like it is allways in life, I think."

Mary, you are right: I did not get the lightness in your words. I think this is due to two reasons. First I mostly do not get the nuances of the foreign language. But sencond and more important I think, hermeneutics, translating, the usage of words ... all this, to me is a very serious issue. Our words, ours usage of words creates the world we live in.

Ron, as I said, I wanted to refer to translating aikidō and did not mean to discuss a new label or something like that.
I have the opinion that there are certain terms that cannot be translated i.e. brought into one's own language without loosing their meaning.

A more easygoing example is "hakama". Sure there exist some German words which come near. But none of them really fits. None of them really says just unmistakeable "hakama". There simply is no such word because there is no such piece of clothing in our culture. Every German word would cut off the meaning of "hakama" that goes beyond our own culture.

Accordingly we don't use the male ("der") or female ("die")definite article, which we have in German. But we use the neuter ("das") article, which indicates that there is no German equivalent for the foreign word:
Die Hose (trousers)
Der Hosenrock (pantskirt)
Das hakama

When you try to translate dō, you have to start with relating it to the dao in the chinese classics and to trace it's path from there to the usage in the japanese arts in general and the gendai budō in particular.
When you try to translate ki, you have to follow a simliar route: How is it related to the qi mentioned in Chinese texts and practiced in Chinese arts?
When you try to translate aiki, you have to talk about in and yo and their integration. Aswell as about the union of heaven-earth-man and a lot of other hings like that. Is the forumla "ki shin tai ichi" related to the work with and union of jin, qi and shen in Chinese arts? ...

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 07-15-2013 at 02:45 AM.
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