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Old 05-10-2007, 07:19 AM   #26
dbotari
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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John Matsushima wrote: View Post
. If one is serious about Aikido, then it is of course natural to want to know what the name means. However, many are right when comes to the fact that just knowing what aikido really means isn't going to lead to some grand enlightenment where the essence of aikido is revealed. But it does lead to more questions, which is important. Now that we know what ai, ki, and do really means, we will want to know more about it and practice even more.
We must practice, but we must also learn.
Maybe what we really need to discover is not what these terms mean to others but what they mean to us in our lives and practice. The search for answers, I believe, is more internal than external. It is developing meaning for yourself. Sure you can engage in discussions to help guide your self-discover process but fundamentally these question must be answered by each of us in a way that means something to us and our training.
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Old 05-11-2007, 08:19 AM   #27
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Dan Botari wrote: View Post
Maybe what we really need to discover is not what these terms mean to others but what they mean to us in our lives and practice. The search for answers, I believe, is more internal than external. It is developing meaning for yourself. Sure you can engage in discussions to help guide your self-discover process but fundamentally these question must be answered by each of us in a way that means something to us and our training.
Or maybe we can hold the question and the phenomenon of aikido in the universe will answer for itself; If we do more listening than talking; more senseing than thinking, more moving than resisting.
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Old 05-11-2007, 10:21 AM   #28
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Or maybe we can hold the question and the phenomenon of aikido in the universe will answer for itself; If we do more listening than talking; more senseing than thinking, more moving than resisting.
Do you view "the universe" as a separate entity from yourself? Your comment seems to suggest that if we are "passively receptive" the answers will come to us with no work needed no introspection or thought, "the universe" will just drop the answer into your head "one day".

To "new age" for me. If we take the eastern tradition (buddhist) that the goal is to become one with the universe, then we have the answers within us we just need to discover them. This takes some effort on our part. Introspection - to me a least- is not a passive exercise. It requires some of the hardest work and and a level of honesty (with yourself) that many are not willing to put forth.
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Old 05-11-2007, 11:55 AM   #29
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I think you have to be very careful with the idea of parsing a single word, even though it is a compound of several Chinese characters, in the way you would parse a Latin sentence....KOUHI (coffee)? The first character means 'ornamental hairpin' and the second means 'string of pearls'. But the 'real' meaning is the stuff we drink.

You can get into endless difficulties if you try to find the 'real' meaning of a word by means of some kind of theory about the relationships of the characters that make up the word. There is no 'real' meaning of 'kishoudai' apart from 'weather station'.
This noted, some of the many interpretations of "aikido" I recall are:

The Way of Harmony-many

The Way of Love-Osensei punning

The Way of Peace-John Stevens

Breath Unification Method-Tanahashi in Susan Perry's book

The Way to Get People to Do What You Want Them to Do-In Amdur's aikido book

Don J. Modesto
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Old 05-11-2007, 12:05 PM   #30
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

Hey Don,

I really like that last one!

Best,
Ron

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Old 05-11-2007, 06:23 PM   #31
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

Hey, Ron,

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
I really like that last one!

Best,
Ron
That makes you and me--two of us.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 05-11-2007, 08:22 PM   #32
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Dan Botari wrote: View Post
Do you view "the universe" as a separate entity from yourself? Your comment seems to suggest that if we are "passively receptive" the answers will come to us with no work needed no introspection or thought, "the universe" will just drop the answer into your head "one day".

To "new age" for me. If we take the eastern tradition (buddhist) that the goal is to become one with the universe, then we have the answers within us we just need to discover them. This takes some effort on our part. Introspection - to me a least- is not a passive exercise. It requires some of the hardest work and and a level of honesty (with yourself) that many are not willing to put forth.
I agree that some people are involved in that which you are referring to. I can hear that it has effected your ability to hear that training is that to which I'm referring. As a buddhist are you familiar with the term Mu? It means 'nothing' or 'everything' depending on your vantage point. As in mushin training ( no mindedly). This is when you can hear everything else that isn't your thoughts.In or out.

As for what my post sounds like it is suggesting:
Your interpretation is your own, your inferences of my thought process are completely generated from your experience and not my post and it is unfortunate that so much debris lies in the way when we ask for active listening.

So let me be clear on this. Nothing drops in your lap ( And if it did and you weren't prepared, you wouldn't know it). You work for it. You train mother f99999ing hard for it and you train the idiot out of your own head until you can hear the genius that is universal law ( by the way the universe is within and without) and not your stupid thoughts about this or that. When the freight express, known as aikido to some, delivers its goods into your training you will have been listening well enough to get it. You discover that what you are 'doing' is piss against what is 'being'. And then you will certainly rise to the occassion. When you hit that wall at a million miles an hour you will realize that nothing about this is passive. You just better hope you've got the ukemi to back it up.

So keep training as hard as you do and as hard as I have. Maybe someday we'll meet and I'll have more written language for this and you'll have more ears to hear it. Most likely our training will speak the volumes our words cannot. Hopefully, we'll learn some truth from our training and hear the voice of the universe that breathes through it ( or the pulse of the universe as it beats. O' Senseis words, not my own particular new age bulls55t).

Peace Out and Not so PC on the West Coast.

jen smith

By the way, I've worked extremely hard for anything I have gained. I don't have a right to it.I don't deserve it. I'm not entitled to it. I'm gratefully graced with it, though.

Also, my use of the word you is not intended directly toward you; it is a word that means Me and One.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 05-11-2007 at 08:33 PM.

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Old 05-11-2007, 08:45 PM   #33
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Dan Botari wrote: View Post
Do you view "the universe" as a separate entity from yourself? Your comment seems to suggest that if we are "passively receptive" the answers will come to us with no work needed no introspection or thought, "the universe" will just drop the answer into your head "one day".

To "new age" for me. If we take the eastern tradition (buddhist) that the goal is to become one with the universe, then we have the answers within us we just need to discover them. This takes some effort on our part. Introspection - to me a least- is not a passive exercise. It requires some of the hardest work and and a level of honesty (with yourself) that many are not willing to put forth.
'Mu'

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Old 05-18-2007, 01:28 PM   #34
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Do symbol Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I think you have to be very careful with the idea of parsing a single word, even though it is a compound of several Chinese characters, in the way you would parse a Latin sentence.

... 'Aikido' does not usually appear in Japanese kanji dictionaries, because it is a made-up word... some non-Japanese try to find the 'real' meaning of the word by decomposing it into the characters, perhaps because it makes them feel good when they train. This is fine. I have no problems with this, just so long as they do not then suggest that this decomposition is the 'real' meaning of the word.
To me the issue is why the Founder chose those words.The language issues are more about what he intended to signify by using them. The connotations raised by the phrase are more important than their denotative meanings.

This is revealed in some respects explicitly by his pun on "ai" ="love" and in the Takemusu Aiki lectures, if one takes the time to understand his points of reference. One cannot understand O Sensei well unless there is an element of poetic reading.

On the poetic front, "ai-ki-do" 合 氣 道 is onyomi, meaning it is pronounced (more or less) as a Japanese pidgin of Classical Chinese. The connotations appropriate to onyomi in poetry are Chinese in origin, with whatever other gloss the Japanese have given it, not unlike Latinate words in English.

Classical Chinese was transmitted to Japan before the development of modern compounds (two characters typical per word/idea). Plural is by context, or number marker. Chinese syntax is precedential in word order: subject/predicate; modifier/modified, verb/object, and the order of sentence/clause structure, typically: topic, predicate, comment. Reading it in the Classical Chinese manner may thus give a variety of associations or connotations appropriate to poetic license.

合 氣 道 -- h q do

合 h -- n. musical note; v. to fit, join, gather

氣 q -- n. air; weather; vital breath; (coll.) v. -- to make angry; to get angry; to be enraged)

道 do -- n. direction; way; method; road; path; principle; truth; reason; skill; method; Tao (Taoism); a measure word; (coll.) v. to say; to speak; to talk

So variously, 合 氣 道 can be read to connote quite a few things from the onyomi connotations that O-Sensei said in other ways more expressly, elsewhere:

-- Principle of gathering vital breath

-- Joining of airy (empty) road(s) (At the empty crossroad -- i.e.- complete freedom to move)

-- Way of gathering (empty) air

-- Way of joining (empty) air

-- Method of joining to anger

-- Way of meeting spirit

and most colloquially, (and I love this one):

-- Music for angry conversation

In no particular order, O-Sensei has spoken or written explicitly about the importance to aikido of:

-- juji (the cross-symbol ),
-- the void and joining with it;
-- ki-musubi - the spirit of connection;
-- harmonizing word-spirits (kotodama)
-- forms of breath and joining them together

... among others.

Rich imagery, well chosen -- in many facets

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 05-18-2007, 01:53 PM   #35
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Dan Botari wrote:
Do you view "the universe" as a separate entity from yourself? Your comment seems to suggest that if we are "passively receptive" the answers will come to us with no work needed no introspection or thought, "the universe" will just drop the answer into your head "one day".
Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
'Mu'
If the universe were entirely coincident with myself -- I would never be surprised. It is neither coincident nor non-coincident. So, my answer to the koan is a little different from yours:

"Boo!"

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 05-18-2007, 11:59 PM   #36
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
On the poetic front, "ai-ki-do" 合 氣 道 is onyomi, meaning it is pronounced (more or less) as a Japanese pidgin of Classical Chinese. The connotations appropriate to onyomi in poetry are Chinese in origin, with whatever other gloss the Japanese have given it, not unlike Latinate words in English.
Actually, "ai" is kunyomi. The onyomi of that character is "go". The compound "aiki" is a mixture of onyomi and kunyomi - if it was read entirely as onyomi it would be "goki". It's rare to have a word mix the two, but it does happen.

My guess is that whoever coined the term "aiki" was actually trying to distance themselves from the classical Chinese meaning of the compound "he qi", which originally referred to a Tianshi Daoist sexual rite from probably the 2nd or 3rd century AD. The term originally meant "the uniting of the qi". The qi involved being that of the two people, and knowing the Daoists, probably the qi of various constellations, stars and other things.

Josh
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Old 05-19-2007, 11:07 AM   #37
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
If the universe were entirely coincident with myself -- I would never be surprised. It is neither coincident nor non-coincident. So, my answer to the koan is a little different from yours:

"Boo!"
"BU"

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Old 05-19-2007, 11:16 AM   #38
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Actually, "ai" is kunyomi. The onyomi of that character is "go". The compound "aiki" is a mixture of onyomi and kunyomi - if it was read entirely as onyomi it would be "goki". It's rare to have a word mix the two, but it does happen.

My guess is that whoever coined the term "aiki" was actually trying to distance themselves from the classical Chinese meaning of the compound "he qi", which originally referred to a Tianshi Daoist sexual rite from probably the 2nd or 3rd century AD. The term originally meant "the uniting of the qi". The qi involved being that of the two people, and knowing the Daoists, probably the qi of various constellations, stars and other things.

Josh
So, why not the tantric union of two peple in the context of martial relations as they ascend in conciousness toward the realization of their own 'stellar' divinity?( as modeled by the universe). A martial 'roll in the hay', if you will.

By the way, in the discussion 'the meaning of doka' I put forth a related and poetic response to the question 'what do you mean by doka?'. I use it to mean we are 'songs of the way' or 'poems of the way'. Just thought I'd mention it here rather than posting again. Thanks.

"I know not why, but martial men ( and women) are given to love."
Sir Francis Bacon

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Old 05-19-2007, 07:01 PM   #39
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Josh Lerner wrote: View Post
Actually, "ai" is kunyomi. The onyomi of that character is "go".
Do you know that it is kunyomi or do you assume so just because "go' is also onyomi? It's not a binary thing. There are often more than one Chinese pronunciation for the same character, and thus more than one possible onyomi reading.

合 "Ai" is cognate to Chinese 合 "h" with the same basic tropes of meanings in both Japanese and Chinese. Both readings are onyomi, from my perspective. The other onyomi you note is 合 "go," cognate to Chinese 合"gě" which is another pronunciation for the same character 合 -- meaning a certain measure of grain or other produce.

While O Sensei valued farming, I don't see a direct or even connotative connection.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 05-19-2007, 10:32 PM   #40
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Do you know that it is kunyomi or do you assume so just because "go' is also onyomi? It's not a binary thing. There are often more than one Chinese pronunciation for the same character, and thus more than one possible onyomi reading.
Nelson's has "a(i)" as kunyomi, "go" as onyomi. Nelson's is pretty limited and incomplete, though, so let's check some Japanese language dictionaries.

The Obunsha Kanwa Jiten (a modern Japanese - Chinese dictionary) has "go", "katsu", "gatsu" and "kou" as onyomi, and a(u) and a(i) as kunyomi.

The Kanjigen (basically a Japanese dictionary of classical Chinese) has the same as the Obunsha.

So you're right. *I* don't know for a fact that "ai" is kunyomi. But those arrogant Japanese sure seem to think *they* do. It is their language, so I'll defer to them.

Josh
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Old 05-20-2007, 06:38 AM   #41
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Nelson's has "a(i)" as kunyomi, "go" as onyomi.
Potayto -Potahto. A thorough differential reading analysis requires determining whether the onyomi is 呉音, 唐音, or 唐音or more likely, in this instance, the kunyomi inverse of 慣用音, an assumption based on a true kunyomi homophone at the time of adoption. I know only enough to know it would need doing, not having the resources to do it. Given the acknowledged difficulties in the evolution of Japanese since the seventh and eighth centuries when recorded in the Kojiki, and when the T'ang Chinese pronunciations first made their way over, this is no trivial task. The near equivalent literary comparison in the evolution of English is "Beowulf."

This is well beyond our need here, anyway. The connotative meaning in the kanji remains, which is my only point. Unless, of course, one wants to make the connection between the concept 合"gě" = "measure of grain" and that of koshinage as hoisting a sack of rice.

Back to your original point criticizing the association with the Chinese phrase, 合 氣 -- h q:
Quote:
Josh Lerner wrote: View Post
My guess is that whoever coined the term "aiki" was actually trying to distance themselves from the classical Chinese meaning of the compound "he qi", which originally referred to a Tianshi Daoist sexual rite from probably the 2nd or 3rd century AD. The term originally meant "the uniting of the qi". The qi involved being that of the two people, and knowing the Daoists, probably the qi of various constellations, stars and other things.
Since O Sensei specifically made the "Love-Ki" pun in the Doka and elsewhere, I would tend to doubt the suggested dissociation, or if intended, that it was at all successful, based on his usage.
There are some in this forum and elsewhere, that allow a much more direct route for the specific concept, teaching and terminology of "aiki" from China. Ellis Amdur has criticized any evidence of this in O Sensei's personal history, but the possibility of a deeper historical connection must be acknowledged in this context. I remain agnostic on that front.

I'll tend to agree with Jennifer that there may something to the tantric connection. Certainly O Sensei had Shingon training, which informed his views of kotodama in the Shinto tradition. (Back to the depths of linguistic history, the people chiefly responsible for bringing the T'ang era Chinese readings into Japan (in the eighth century) were the founders of Shngon and Tendai sects of Tantric Buddhism in Japan, who brought significant new Chinese Buddhist texts with them. To strengthen the timing of the connection even further, Kukai is attributed as the writer of the iroha poem, the basis for the ordering of the kana syllabary, forming the basis for making orderly associations between the earlier sound system (e.g. - Kojiki, ca. 7th cen.) and that of the contemporary Chinese T'ang writing he introduced, which is the basis for the 漢音 reading, the second oldest class of the onyomi.

A root idea in tantrism is about the resolution of the non-duality of experience through aspects of experience, especially nominally dual experiences. In the more titillating forms (suggested by your reading of 合 氣 -- h q as it relates to tantric Taoism) it involves resolving the non-duality of the male and female in their most intense experience of one another.

In a not too dissimilar way in terms of aikido and the fundamental principle of irimi-tenkan in the similarly intense experience of conflict -- resolving the non-duality of who enters and who is entered.

Interesting discussion, from everyone.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 05-20-2007, 07:43 AM   #42
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Do you know that it is kunyomi or do you assume so just because "go' is also onyomi? It's not a binary thing. There are often more than one Chinese pronunciation for the same character, and thus more than one possible onyomi reading.

? "Ai" is cognate to Chinese ? "h" with the same basic tropes of meanings in both Japanese and Chinese. Both readings are onyomi, from my perspective. The other onyomi you note is ? "go," cognate to Chinese ?"g?" which is another pronunciation for the same character ? -- meaning a certain measure of grain or other produce.

While O Sensei valued farming, I don't see a direct or even connotative connection.
I think, strictly on the basis of this last sentence that a cruise through 'What is the binding force of O'Senseis Aikido' would be fun( another thread here on the web). As one comes to the conclusion that there is no connecton in the language to suggest certain ties ( to , humorously, farming) I find myself in another place of understanding where it points to it more; a place where I hear an implicit humor of nature. The more it comes apart for one purpose the more it looks like something else.To Me.
O'Sensei also called aikido the place where 'five meets five'. Now how did he write that and was he playing with the terms go and go? It becomes intellectually taxing to tear it all apart ( I sure appreciate the amazing wealth of knowledge that some of you are bringing.WOW!) and at the same time very enjoyable to watch the concepts dance. Wherever there is joy and flow, I tend to find a relevant connection. Perhaps it is all just so simple in it's nature that it is complex to the intellect. I'm enjoying the great conversation and the intelligent and insightful education I'm getting. Especially thanks to Eric Mead for the awesome knowledge and stimulating posts.

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Old 05-20-2007, 04:54 PM   #43
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Potayto -Potahto. A thorough differential reading analysis requires determining whether the onyomi is 呉音, 唐音, or 唐音or more likely, in this instance, the kunyomi inverse of 慣用音, an assumption based on a true kunyomi homophone at the time of adoption.
I stand in awe of both your ability to obfuscate simple ideas and your ability to cut and paste from the "onyomi" article on Wikipedia. You pasted 唐音 twice, by the way. Don't forget to hit ctrl C again after highlighting 漢音, otherwise you'll do double pastes like that .

I will still, however, point out that the pronounciation of that character as "ai" comes not from any Chinese reading of the word but from that kanji's use to represent the initial sound of the verb a(u) or a(wasu/seru). That would be the "yamatokotoba" from the Wikipedia article.

Look in any Japanese dictionary of kanji that has an index of onyomi and kunyomi, such as the Kanjigen I cited above, and look under "ai". You will find some characters with that onyomi (such as the one for "love"), but this "ai" will not be among them. Why? Because it is not onyomi. Looks like onyomi, smells like onyomi, but brother, it ain't onyomi.

But since you brought up the fact that you don't have the resources to determine which pronounciation are which type of onyomi, and I do happen to have the resources (i.e. a standard kanji dictionary and a spare two minutes), here is the breakdown -

gou (with the historical spelling gafu), gatsu, katsu - 慣用音
gou (with the historical spelling gofu) - 呉音
kou (with the historical spelling kafu) - 漢音

I don't know what "kunyomi inverse of 慣用音" means, nor do I know what you mean by "an assumption based on a true kunyomi homophone at the time of adoption."

Using "ai" in compounds is exactly like the compound "tabemono", with "tabe", from the verb "taberu"/"to eat", being used to form a noun phrase. In fact, most of the time, when this character is used in a compound and pronounced "ai", the "i" is actually written in hiragana, the way it would be for any native Japanese verb that was turned into a noun phrase. There are a few times, such as "aiki", where the hiragana "i" is left out, but they are the rare exception, not the rule. And, as I noted in my first post, there are times when some kunyomi are used in compounds with onyomi, as with "aiki" and "aifuku" (meaning clothing for spring or fall). But, again, it is not the norm.

All of which doesn't really matter in terms of your theory of onyomi and Chinese poetry anyway, since Ueshibe didn't invent the word. It had been in use in Daito-ryu as a technical term for a specific type of skill, and I've heard of a few references here and there that point to its use in other koryu that are older than Daito-ryu. The fact that Ueshiba liked to pun on "ai"/love has nothing to do with the creation of the compound "aiki" or the fact that it is pronounced with a mixture of onyomi and kunyomi.

Hope this helps.

Josh
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Old 05-20-2007, 07:46 PM   #44
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
To me the issue is why the Founder chose those words.The language issues are more about what he intended to signify by using them. The connotations raised by the phrase are more important than their denotative meanings.
Cleary, our respective standponts are different. A person's intention in his/her choice and use of words used adds another, different, aspect to the question, which is even harder to answer than the initial post in this thread.

This morning, while having breakfast I opened my Asahi Shimbun and read the main story, about safety issues in foodstuffs imported from China. It was 'normal' newspaper Japanese: the usual blend of kanji compounds, hiragana particles and endings, with some katakana words. I did not need to break down any of the compounds to find the 'real' meaning, or ask the further question of what the reporter intended by the words he chose. The words themselves were enough. I think this is where we need to start, even with the discourses of Morihei Ueshiba.

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
This is revealed in some respects explicitly by his pun on "ai" ="love" and in the Takemusu Aiki lectures, if one takes the time to understand his points of reference. One cannot understand O Sensei well unless there is an element of poetic reading.
PAG. Well, I supplement my own studies of the Takemusu Aiki lectures by reading contemporary Japanese, mainly literature of a similar period and somewhat earlier. Punning is a favourite device, as is the practice of exploiting the nuances conveyed by the variations in kanji compounds, or even by the avoidance of kanji and the use of kana. In the Takemusu Aiki discourses Ueshiba mainly discusses 'aiki', as suggested by the title of the lectures.

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On the poetic front, "ai-ki-do" 合 氣 道 is onyomi, meaning it is pronounced (more or less) as a Japanese pidgin of Classical Chinese. The connotations appropriate to onyomi in poetry are Chinese in origin, with whatever other gloss the Japanese have given it, not unlike Latinate words in English.
Like Josh Lerner, I think that 'ai' is a kun reading and that the compound is of recent origin, coined by the addition of 'DOU' to the 'ai-KI' already in use. This was done by the Japanese government around 1942, but Morihei Ueshiba could clearly live with the term, even if he did not himself choose it. Much of Takemusu Aiki lectures and also the Aiki Shinzui newspaper columns discuss the 'added value' given by Ueshiba to an established term. So I agree with you that we need to study how he used the term: an Augustinian theory of language is of not much use here.

But we need to be careful. Last Saturday I had a meeting with my kanji teacher, who is a retired professor of literature. He was reading Practical Criticism, by I A Richards and wanted me to 'translate' into English a nonsense verse offered by Richards. Richards took Verse XV of Milton's On the Morning of Christ's Nativity and made up a verse with the same rhyme scheme and very similar cadences. But it was nonsense: a poetic version of a Sokal hoax. My teacher thought that the nonsense verse had to have a 'deeper' meaning, that could be put into English. Richards' intention was quite clear: to argue that some poetry sounds good but does not make much sense.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 05-20-2007 at 07:49 PM.

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Old 05-20-2007, 09:36 PM   #45
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Josh Lerner wrote: View Post
I stand in awe of both your ability to obfuscate simple ideas
Careful, your sarcasm is showing.

When I want to do scholarly linguistic argument, I''ll make a note of your critique. When I want to make a point about suggestive poetic references of concepts with some historical and developmental connections to O Sensei, Wikipedia is as good as any ready source for kanji/hanzi to cut and paste. I stand by my points ...

The kanji -- onyomi or otherwise -- is a jumping off point to the Chinese, as a poetic subtext available to and, by some substantial layers of reference, significant to O Sensei -- nothing more. I was fairly clear about that and the limits of my observation.

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Josh Lerner wrote: View Post
I don't know what "kunyomi inverse of 慣用音" means,
It means the inverse of the kan yo-on wrong/invented/mistaken "onyomi" that became so widespread that they are accepted as such not withstanding. Kind of like false etymologies in English, after a while there's no point arguing it anymore. (Kind of like this esoteric kanji-reading issue.)
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Josh Lerner wrote: View Post
... nor do I know what you mean by "an assumption based on a true kunyomi homophone at the time of adoption."
The inverse process is where there are independent homophones in both Japanese and Chinese at the time of adoption that are cognate even before the introduction of the kanji. The later classification into kunyomi/onyomi can arbitrarily pick one as "kunyomi", even though the Chinese is the original associated with the kanji.
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Josh Lerner wrote: View Post
... compounds ... written in hiragana, ... a noun phrase. ... not the norm. ... All of which doesn't really matter in terms of your theory of onyomi and Chinese poetry anyway, since Ueshibe didn't invent the word.
Who said I said that? You are not a poet, I take it. O Sensei was. Perhaps not the most accomplished of poets, but accepting that and exploring all systems of reference to guage his layers of meaning are valid and useful explorations.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 05-20-2007, 10:33 PM   #46
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Careful, your sarcasm is showing.
D'oh! And here I am, thinking I'm so subtle.

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
When I want to do scholarly linguistic argument, I''ll make a note of your critique.
My critique is specifically of your attempts at a scholarly linguistic argument. Because none of your scholarly-sounding reasoning about reading "aikido" as a Chinese poetic compound is based on scholarly linguistics. It's not even based on simple undergraduate level linguistics. If you don't want to be criticised from a scholarly point of view, you would be better off not trying to sound scholarly. Criticism of each other is what scholars do, you know. And I'm not even a scholar. Just an ex-scholar wannabee.

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
The inverse process is where there are independent homophones in both Japanese and Chinese at the time of adoption that are cognate even before the introduction of the kanji.
What independent homophones are you talking about that are cognate with each other? Maybe if you can explain that, I'll have a better idea of what you are talking about. Are you talking about "he" and "ai"? The Chinese "he" and Japanese "ai" of "aikido" are neither cognates nor homophones. "Ai", as I've explained several times now, comes from the native Japanese verb a(u), and has nothing to do with any historical Chinese pronounciation. If the Japanese had never had any contact with China, they would still have used the verb "aimasu" and made noun phrases that started with "ai". If you have some actual reference to cite that proves otherwise, please post it.

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
The later classification into kunyomi/onyomi can arbitrarily pick one as "kunyomi", even though the Chinese is the original associated with the kanji.
"Ai" as kunyomi is not arbitrary. "Ai" was never taken from a Chinese pronounciation. Look at all the Japanese references you can. For anyone who can read Japanese and is willing to do just a little research, it's as plain as day.

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Who said I said that?
I said you said that, obviously. Maybe I misunderstood your reasoning. You wrote -

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
On the poetic front, "ai-ki-do" 合 氣 道 is onyomi, meaning it is pronounced (more or less) as a Japanese pidgin of Classical Chinese. The connotations appropriate to onyomi in poetry are Chinese in origin, with whatever other gloss the Japanese have given it, not unlike Latinate words in English.

Classical Chinese was transmitted to Japan before the development of modern compounds (two characters typical per word/idea). Plural is by context, or number marker. Chinese syntax is precedential in word order: subject/predicate; modifier/modified, verb/object, and the order of sentence/clause structure, typically: topic, predicate, comment. Reading it in the Classical Chinese manner may thus give a variety of associations or connotations appropriate to poetic license.
I took your reasoning to be the following, based on what you wrote above -

a) "aikido" is onyomi
b) onyomi is a Chinese way of reading kanji
c) reading "aikido" as onyomi is therefore a Chinese way of reading the compound
d) "The connotations appropriate to onyomi in poetry are Chinese in origin"
e) therefore the word "aikido" can be parsed according to the way Chinese compounds are parsed in classical Chinese poetry, and doing so will give us an insight into what Ueshiba wanted to say.

Which of these steps doesn't reflect what you are trying to say?
The reasoning, if this is what you are trying to say, is faulty, because the very first step is not true, and because Ueshiba had nothing to do with the creation of the word "aiki".

Awaiting further clarification . . .

Josh
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Old 05-20-2007, 10:38 PM   #47
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
The words themselves were enough. I think this is where we need to start, even with the discourses of Morihei Ueshiba.
Respectfully, I disagree. Words at their best are portmanteaus of connotation in culture and history. When they lose that incultured scheme of associations they become the merely utilitarian devices you suggest -- as Latin and Latinate words have become outside of the Catholic Church. The problem is doubly difficult in jumping a large language/culture barrier as between Egnlish and Japanese and their respective schemes of assocations.
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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Like Josh Lerner, I think that 'ai' is a kun reading and that the compound is of recent origin, coined by the addition of 'DOU' to the 'ai-KI' already in use.
I defer to your opinion. I acknowledge with Josh that the "aiKI" term is much older, and it is that more that the addition of the DOU (or O sensei's preferred "aiki no michi") that concerns me The point being, as Josh's intial response interestingly pulled up, the association with Chinese tantric terminology, and the association that raises in the Shingon background, both with O Sensei personally, in his education as well as the historical connections with Japanese writing, and the influence of Shingon mantrayana on kotodama. I find frustraing the attitude of many (present company excluded) in merely throwing up one's hands and simultaneously blaming /ignoring Omoto and its syncretism in looking at these ideas. That is is an excuse for not looking further, not an answer.

Omoto did put together bits from very real streams of thought and a reasonably deep and incultured grasp of those origins will help inform the basis from which O Sensei thought and related his understanding of the essentials of the art. Physically, his art is a wonder of robust subtlety in connection. I give his intellectual effort at least as much credit for subtlety in its connections. But then, I like Whitehead.

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
... So I agree with you that we need to study how he used the term: an Augustinian theory of language is of not much use here.
I agree -- chickens and eggs are pretty much inseparable except in very narrow slices of time. I am interested in the mainline of the evolution as well as the siderails and later influences of "abandoned" or leapfrog ideas, more than discovering which advocate of which system at what time had bragging rights at any given point in the progression.

The point is not what he did with it, per se. Who is interested in dead knowledge? Aikido is a living thing -- it has a history, ancestral connections, and simultaneously a certain freedom as as well as destiny encoded in that background. I explore these things to see what it is, what it can be and has connection to, and what we can consider doing with it that is true to its makeup.

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
But it was nonsense: a poetic version of a Sokal hoax. My teacher thought that the nonsense verse had to have a 'deeper' meaning, that could be put into English. Richards' intention was quite clear: to argue that some poetry sounds good but does not make much sense.
That is a sadly narrow view of the poetic universe. Surely, there is broader middle path between the confines of your teacher and Derrida.

My borogroves remain quite mimsy, thank you ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 05-20-2007, 11:17 PM   #48
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Respectfully, I disagree. Words at their best are portmanteaus of connotation in culture and history. When they lose that incultured scheme of associations they become the merely utilitarian devices you suggest -- as Latin and Latinate words have become outside of the Catholic Church. The problem is doubly difficult in jumping a large language/culture barrier as between English and Japanese and their respective schemes of assocations. ...
Well, as I said, our respective standpoints appear to be different. However, I did not make the general suggestion that words are merely utilitarian devices, as you appear to think. With a language like Japanese, where the writing is unusually complex, the words are indeed an 'incultured scheme of associations'. I said that the words on the page were, had to be, starting points. With the Asahi newspaper report the words on the page, difficult as they were to understand, were sufficient for a general grasp of the story.

Of course, if I wanted to compare the objectivity and reporting styles of the Asahi Shinbun, compared with, say, the Yomiuri Shinbun, then the reporter's emphasis and choice of words would be highly relevant.

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
That is a sadly narrow view of the poetic universe. Surely, there is broader middle path between the confines of your teacher and Derrida. ...
I am confused. Whose view do you mean here? Richards' view, my teacher's view, or my view?
Richards compared Milton with a nonsense verse that sounded very similar and asked his readers what exactly Milton had that the other lacked.
My teacher, who is an established Japanese scholar in English & Japanese literature, thought that Richards was implying more than he wrote, i.e., that the words on the page, though very odd, were another example of 'an incultured scheme of associations' and asked me to explain the scheme.
As for my view, I think you cannot gauge my view of the poetic universe from my posts in this thread.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 05-20-2007 at 11:19 PM.

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Old 05-21-2007, 12:05 AM   #49
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

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Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
So, why not the tantric union of two peple in the context of martial relations as they ascend in conciousness toward the realization of their own 'stellar' divinity?( as modeled by the universe). A martial 'roll in the hay', if you will.

"I know not why, but martial men ( and women) are given to love."
Sir Francis Bacon
Sorry Jennifer, I didn't mean to ignore your post.

To put it as delicately as I can, I think the tantric idea of union has unfortunately already been taken advantage of by a number of aikido instructors, and not in a healthy way. Maybe it's just because I've spent more time in the aikido community than I have in other martial communities, so my data pool is skewed, but it seems to be a pattern.

Outside of that, however, I don't know how much of a historical connection there actually is between the original use of the term in China and the later Japanese use. Although I suggested the Japanese might have purposefully not used the Chinese pronounciation in order to distinguish a different meaning of the compound, it is probably just as likely that they had no idea about the previous use of the term, and it's just a coincidence that the two characters were put together again in one compound.

Without knowing who first used the term in Japan, and to what extent the Japanese at the time were aware of obscure Han dynasty Daoist sexual practices, we just don't know. However, given how much obscure Daoist information which was lost in China has been preserved in Japan under different names, it could go either way.

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Old 05-21-2007, 12:41 AM   #50
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Re: Parsing ai ki do

One line of Toda-ryu, founded shortly before 1600, became the family naginata style of the Suneya family. There are no documents, however, before the mid-1800's, when Suneya Rosuke and Suneya Satoko did a reorganization and public release of their version of the art - Toda-ha Buko-ryu. Relevant to this discussion is that within the chuden level kata is a section referred to as Aiki no Koto. This referred to a set of kata in which the kusarigama (uketachi) opposed naginata (shitachi), a most improbable match. It is obvious within the kata that the kusarigama is used to force the naginata to cut in certain exact angles. Precision is taught with the "threat" that if the naginata fails, s/he will hit the kusarigama wielder (teacher or senior) on the head or hands. In this case, "aiki" - used as a phrase long before Daito-ryu - means "fitting together."

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