1. First, "aiki" is used by aikido people in much the same manner as "smurf" is used by the Smurfs. I think it is a loose term impregnated with personal belief and ideology. Because of the grip on personal and ideological perspective, we are hesitant to curtail the usage of the word.
2. There are first and second-hand accounts of the usage from O'Sensei. First-hand accounts (from O'Sensei) are in Japanese and require translation. By all accounts, to the West, the usage requires a cultural filter (both social and spiritual).
I assume the consistent use of "aiki" by O'Sensei implies that the seemingly paradoxical (or at least non-linear) contexts in which he used "aiki" were, in fact, intentional. This is a big component for my acceptance of a definition that needs to be specific enough as to be a definition, but flexible enough to encompass a myriad of perspectives.
I use the term "agape", I have also heard "empathy". The ability to understand and appreciate the object and advocate its relative position. It is this relationship that empowers me to physically (and non-physically) be invested in the general well-being of the object of my empathy, while still aligning my actions with my preservation. For now, this is the concept I believe O'Sensei intended when he used the term "aiki."
Who is convincing you that a cultural filter is needed all the time, and who is capable of providing it? Most of Ueshiba's own people immersed in his culture couldn't help could they? Yet Shirata could and he went out of his way to also explain it in practical terms clearly laid out.
The fact that someone can translate is only a starting point, and many times they offer steps in the wrong direction. *Cultural* references are not always relevant and not always germane to individual references found in the writings from any *single* culture IE the six direction training thread. Two translators couldn't help at all. They didn't ask, nor did they know that:
- The term itself had a well established meaning
- That it spanned hundreds of years
- That it was used throughout *three* cultures.
- That it was a distinctly martial reference
It's the same with aiki.
Ueshiba and Shirata both discussed practical means for creating aiki in a physical sense
Aiki is opposing powers
The mysteries of aiki are revealed in dual opposing spirals
Aiki is unification of the two ki's as opposing forces expressed through heaven/ earth/ man
Understanding Heaven and earth ki, stand on the floating bridge and release the mountain echo.
five and five makes ten, eight and two make ten
Stand and meet the enemy with guest hand and host hand.
These are NOT spiritual references, they are hitherto known and documented means to generate power. These guys were quoting known martial references
Martial and spiritual combine overlap and interplay throughout generations.
Everyone couched their martial terms in spiritual pursuits. Where did the founder of shinto ryu discover Heaven/ earth/ man and six direction training?
At the Katori shrine!!
Where do you find many of the references for internal training in India? Bhuddism.
There is no doubt what so ever that Ueshiba was a spiritual man and that he saw his aiki both as a martial skill and as something greater than a physical confrontation. I still find it interesting Both he and Shirata connected it to a way to live their life and pray to be one with God...through aiki.
Does one discount the other?
There is an interest in discussing the aiki people know
And the ones they cannot explain...are the very ones that gave Ueshiba power