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Old 02-14-2005, 07:09 PM   #24
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
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Re: Has all the love gone?

David Valadez wrote:
There seems to be a second point, raised by Mr. Goldsbury, which is focusing on the accuracy of the Osensei translations relevant to the common understanding of "Aikido is Love." On this point, I would indeed say that the push for accurate translations is always going to be a significant issue. This is especially true when one is dealing with such context-specific terms like "love." However, I am not so sure that Mr. Goldsbury is suggesting that the notion of "Aikido is Love," or the common tendency to wish to understand Aikido as the cultivation of Love, is itself inaccurate or flawed and/or something the Founder did not do. I have read his post only as a call for accuracy regarding context. Perhaps Mr. Goldsbury can elaborate his position a bit more if he is suggesting we should understand more than this. (I'm sorry to say, my browser is not showing the kanji.)
Hello David,

I understood the original poster as arguing that O Sensei said that aikido is love; therefore we should not criticize someone's demonstration: it is good to have practice in any case, which is carrying out O Sensei's "legacy" and practising an art that leads to a better world, no matter whether the practice is correct or incorrect.

I disagree with a lot of things here, but what led me to do some research was the original premise, namely, that, O Sensei said that Aikido is Love and therefore, certain things followed.

Discounting those sources that simply give gobbets of the Founder in English, without any context, I went to the two main collections of discourses in Japanese: "Takemusu Aiki" and "Aiki Shinzui". The former is a collection of lectures given to the Byakko Shinko-kai (an offshoot of Omoto-kyo); the latter is a collection of discourse that have appeared in the "Aikido Shimbun", published by the Aikikai Hombu and edited for many years by the late Sadateru Arikawa Shihan. The Hombu has published Issues 1 to 509 on CD, so they are generally available. Both have been edited, but I cannot say to what extent O Sensei's original staements have been altered.

As I stated in the earlier long post, there is a large section in "Aiki Shinzui" with the general title 'Aiki is Aiki', which plays on the homophony of ai = harmonizing with AI = love. To translate AI-KI (love + KI) is difficult in English and even ai-KI (harmony + KI) is usually left as it is.

I translated the first discourse in this series, with the title "Ai wa arasowanai" = love does not dispute/argue/compete. 'Arasoi' (noun) 'arasou' (verb) has a wide range of meanings, covering e.g., disputes, arguments, quarrels, battles, contests for supremacy. This seems rather close to what the original poster suggested.

However, the discourse does not dwell on disputing so much, at least in the beginning, The main thrust here is that aikdo training will enable one to become fully in harmony with the movement/activity of the Universe (uchu) and in this situation there is no dsiputing or winning or losing, because one is in a situation of masakatsu agatsu katsuhayabi. The kokoro of the universe is the great AI: Kore wa jouge shihou, ko-ou-kon-rai, uchu no sumizumi ni made oyobu idai eaif de aru.

The whole discourse is peppered with Ueshiba's favourite phrases and I suspect that the vocabulary is heavily Omoto. AI (love) is at the very centre of the universe permeates it and yes, we all have a mission (clearly divine, but not stated here) to overcome the 'arasou kokoro'.

Does AI mean Christian love? I have not looked at the history of this word in Japanese, but it certainly covers it and has the same ambiguity as the English term (cf. people like De Rougemont and Nygren on eros and agape). Given the eclectic nature of Omoto-kyo, I would not be surprised if O Sensei included Xtian love also.

Nevertheless, O Sensei goes to great pains to emphasize\though not in this discourse\that aikido is shugyou: ascetic training. Thus, it begins and end with 'waza': commonly translated as techniques. Not just any old techniques, but good techniques\techniques which manifest and achieve harmony with the great AI.

A few years ago at the All-Japan Aikido Demonstration, the editor of Aikido Shimbun, mentioned earlier in this post, came and sat next to me and gave candid opinions and the demonstrations going on. Everybody came under sharp scrutiny, from 8th dan shihans to 6th kyuu beginners. He himself had stopped demonstrations many years before, because the shugyou aspect was too intense for some people to deal with and he refused to compromise.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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