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Old 01-17-2012, 03:57 PM   #10
Chris Li
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Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,300
Re: Aiki and Kokyu Ryoku

We can see that the meaning of aiki in this doka is a universal one. The path of aiki clearly means the path of aikido. It is not a limited or technical meaning. There is no possible way that it could mean �the path of internal power that illuminates all people opening the world...'

O Sensei used aiki in this universal sense here so it is hardly conceivable that he used it in a different sense in his other writings. So when I read the word aiki by O Sensei I take it to mean aikido.
The issue with aiki and internal power is actually a little more complex, but without getting into that right now - it's entirely conceivable. "Aiki" has a specific technical meaning, one that predates Ueshiba, and one that he was trained in - I would think it even more inconceivable that he'd take that word and slap it as a label on an entirely different concept.

On the other hand, it's clear that he's talking about a more expanded definition of "Aiki". Expanded meaning "based upon" rather than "differentiated from". It's pretty clear from things like Take Musu Aiki that he linked his technical training in "Aiki" into a more spiritual definition. But take away the technical process and you break the system - you may have something good, but it won't be the same as what he was doing.

If we break the word into its component parts it gets even more unlikely that it can mean internal power. Ai 合 あい means meet or fit or join. Awase and awaseru - blending or uniting - are written with the same Japanese character.

Ki 気 きmeans energy or spirit or life force or intention.

So aiki can mean joining of energy or spirit. Or energy or spirit becoming one. That's the real meaning of aiki. It's not what people who don't do aikido want it to mean. It is not possible to construe a meaning of internal power from these kanji.
But are we actually worshiping a Roman god when we practice "martial arts"? It can get tricky when breaking down things into their parts - English idiom, for example, is by definition something that has a different meaning from the sum of its parts.

As above, "Aiki" has a meaning which pre-dates Ueshiba, one in which he was trained, and one which he taught - over a span of more than twenty years.

Finally I want to get back to internal power, the real power of all martial arts. In aikido the effortless power developed by great budoka is called kokyū ryoku. Breath power.
"合気は息の妙"なり" - "Aiki is the mysterious working of the breath." Morihei Ueshiba



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