Thread: One Liners
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Old 07-25-2002, 07:06 AM   #23
Chris Li
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Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,306
James Bostwick (sanskara) wrote:
Unfortunately, then he'll slip in a phrase like, "Surely, Morhihei was invicible or the strongest martial artist in the region," or some other unsubstantiated claim. And, of course, there are no footnotes to be found in his literature--something serious scholars always place after an unbelievable or likely to be challenged statement.
That's true, but it's also true that the bulk of what he's put out is not for serious scholarship - it's for popular consumption.
James Bostwick (sanskara) wrote:
He's obviously too close to the material to give an objective presentation, and makes no attempt to hide bias, or to even consider that others may come along and question his conclusions.
I don't think that there's anything wrong with bias - just so long as you don't attempt to represent yourself as being unbiased. Speaking as a professional translator, there are (roughly speaking) two types of translation, literal and interpretive. Literal translation is technically the most accurate - a direct translation, if you will. Interpretive translation is less technically accurate because it is filtered through the viewpoint of the translator, but it may actually be more faithful to the meaning of the original in many cases. Literal translation is usually the best for technical documents, factual material and so forth, but fails miserably when translating (for example) fiction or poetry. I've read the sources he refers to, and there's really no way to translate M. Ueshiba literally and preserve anything like the flavor he has or the impression that he made in Japanese and on Japanese people. IMO, John Stevens does as good a job at what he does as Stan Pranin does in his own areas - and the two areas are really quite seperate.
James Bostwick (sanskara) wrote:
So your relationship with him notwithstanding, there is just cause for people taking issue with his publications.
We don't really have a *relationship*, I've met him, spoken with him, and trained with him, but I'm not sure that whether or not he'd remember my name or not if we met tomorrow.
James Bostwick (sanskara) wrote:
And you, Chris, are the first to criticize any unsubstantiated claim made by anyone in Aikido forums you frequent, so you of all people should be equally hesitant to put the seal of approval on Stevens' work. For some reason you're not, though. I'm guessing it's because you have a personal relationship with him and not because you've thoroughly read the Japanese sources. I know others who have studied the sources and very much dislike Stevens' slant on the material.
See the above.
James Bostwick (sanskara) wrote:
I believe Kisshomaru Ueshiba himself showed some concern, albeit mostly in private, about the nature of the claims presented in Stevens' work--something to think about. As I believe you also trained with him, and he of all people should have known his Father's life story.
K. Ueshiba's presentation and approach is quite different, although I like it a great deal. I think that too much has been made out of the so-called "denunciation" of Stevens by Kisshomaru - if you examine the complaints that were made you'd see that most of them were quite minor. FWIW, K. Ueshiba also made some complaints about factual errors in Gozo Shioda's "Aikido Jinsei". Didn't do a bit to discredit Gozo Shioda in my eyes .



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