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Old 03-08-2012, 12:09 PM   #76
Gerardo Torres
Location: SF Bay Area
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 197
Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae

Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
The language by itself is only valuable so long as it points to concepts we can actually agree upon. And if we are agreed upon the concepts, then the language is not worth much, I would go so far as to say it is even worthless or less than worthless. This is especially problematic because terms like spirals or six directions can be very flowery and poetic, so you can attach way too many stupid and unproductive meanings to them that sound similar. So just giving people a new set of words to misinterpret seems sketchy.
I think that if people educated themselves in these concepts and models -- which didn't originate with Ueshiba but are much older -- there would be less room for misinterpretation. Reading is only part of the educational process -- one cannot fully realize how this language ties to Ueshiba's aikido without going out and training with people who can demonstrate and teach these things.

I am not actually sure we accomplish much merely by pointing out that we mistranslated his verbiage. It's a start, but then you need to prove that when he said six directions he meant the certain concept you are thinking of, rather than, say, decontracted activations and some killer shamanic weed that made everything feel sooooo cosmic and totally made his ki tingle. That's the real task you face.
Six directions, etc., are concepts that can be traced back to practices both in Japan and abroad long before Ueshiba's time, so if one knows these historical sources and understands such models, and can recognize the results in Ueshiba's movement and identify the words he used, then one can safely assume that Ueshiba was referring to those older models. Deconstructed activations, loving ki, etc., are stuff people invented after Ueshiba's time, so how can Ueshiba have been doing those things?

There's no shortage of people in the world talking about dantiens or yin-yangs or qi or yi or li or jin(g) or taiji or... And then you watch them move on video or such, and it can border on embarassing.
Or to put it one other way: what matters here is the specific training models and the results they produce, not what we call them, since it's all just made-up English labels for stuff anyway. May as well just call it fibewudgetmiklenok, so long as it labels a concrete physical experience that has already been adequately taught. So what are we trying to show? That M. Ueshiba used some set of words, or that he used a specific training model that we can actually dissect and use, especially when we seem so hesitant to really define that meaningful concrete training model?
I agree that results are the most important thing. But a common language would help though, as it would bring people together working on common goals. As for you last questions, I think that efforts such as this blog help clarify both the language and tie that language to specific known and proven training models.
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