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Old 06-18-2008, 09:43 PM   #1
Dathan Camacho
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Meaning of Shisei

How would you interpret the phrase "Nage isn't in shisei" in an aikido context? Thanks, any feedback appreciated!
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Old 06-18-2008, 11:27 PM   #2
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

Quote:
Dathan Camacho wrote: View Post
How would you interpret the phrase "Nage isn't in shisei" in an aikido context? Thanks, any feedback appreciated!
I just looked up a definition of "posture."

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 06-19-2008, 05:56 AM   #3
Eric Webber
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

As I understand the term shisei, it refers to one's posture. The phrase in question I would interpret to mean the nage did not have a good body posture baseline during one or more points in the technique.
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Old 06-19-2008, 06:21 AM   #4
nekobaka
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

Is this not an example of where using japanese instead of equally useful english confused the meaning of the sentence? the japanese shisei and the english posture or stance is the same, and therefore I don't see any reason to use shisei in the first place.
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:44 AM   #5
Dazzler
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

Quote:
Ani Forbes wrote: View Post
Is this not an example of where using japanese instead of equally useful english confused the meaning of the sentence? the japanese shisei and the english posture or stance is the same, and therefore I don't see any reason to use shisei in the first place.
Why stop there? why not throw out all the japanese and replace the lot with english.

Throw out the silly uniform, dresses and dumb ettiquette too.

And mats...no one has mats in the street...lets get rid of those too.

And so it goes on.

Of course changing language might not help when you have french, poles, belgians et al in classes.

Heres what Tamura Sensei had to say about Shisei

SHISEI

Shisei is translated in English by: "position", "attitude" or "posture".
Sugata (Shi) means the "form", figure" or "stature". lkioi (Sei) signifies energy, vigour and vivacity. Shisei combines these meanings.

But the meaning of Shisei not only describes an exterior attitude; good form, deportment and bearing; but also an interior force visible from the outside in its external manifestations. For example, the vitality of a child is apparent from its vivacity, its bright eyes and its active movement.

How do we reach this Shisei? First, we must re-order the body which is like a vase containing Ki. To do this, the spinal column is extended and straight. If you feel that you are pushing the sky with your head, your spinal column will extend naturally. Be careful not to puff out your chest in a military manner. The shoulders should be relaxed, falling smoothly, the small of the back is not bent, the Ki is comfortably positioned in the Seika Tanden and the whole body is comfortably relaxed.

The great exponent of the sword, Miyamoto Musashi, says on the subject of martial Shisei:

"The face is calm, neither turned upwards, downwards or to the side; the eyes slightly closed without movement of the eyeballs; the brow unwrinkled; the eyebrows slightly gathered, the bridge of the nose straight; the chin neither stuck out or drawn in too much; the nape of the neck equally straight and the spinal column full of energy. Below the dropped shoulders the body is perfectly relaxed; the spinal column is in place; the buttocks drawn in; the legs, from the knees to the ankles are firmly set on the ground; the hips are not twisted; the stomach is firmly shaped".

In Aikido this is called "Sankakutai", a supple, balanced posture allowing free movement; a regular tetrahedron which is a cone from the side.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:48 AM   #6
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

Quote:
Ani Forbes wrote: View Post
Is this not an example of where using japanese instead of equally useful english confused the meaning of the sentence? the japanese shisei and the english posture or stance is the same, and therefore I don't see any reason to use shisei in the first place.
okay, I'll bite

...and while we're at it, let's get rid of all the silly latin words from the medical field. Using a dead language just makes it all so confusing. I mean, come on, wouldn't it be just grrrrreat if everyone could be a doctor? Wouldn't it?

Of course, it would be totally outlandish to consider that, while we don't have the context from which the statement was quoted, that perhaps, just maybe, the person saying it was Japanese?

Hope I didn't leave a mark...
okay, that last line might have been just a little sarcastic.

.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:49 AM   #7
Dathan Camacho
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

Thank you!
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Old 06-20-2008, 07:37 AM   #8
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

I'm with Ani. If it was a Japanese teacher, someone should teach him the word "posture" so he can use it in the future.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 06-20-2008, 09:43 AM   #9
nekobaka
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

easy now, sorry to offend.
There is an unlimited amount of japanese terms one can use, I would go as far to say that the posture that one describes as shisei is not unique to aikido, even if it is a very important aspect. what we teach in aikido is more important that the terms we give it. whether we call it posture, attitude, or whatever, as long as we get our idea across whether we use japanese or not is not the issue.

On a side note, after doing aikido for many years in japanese, I no longer know how to properly explain it in english. I am involved in translating my sensei's writing in english, and it's very difficult. shisei doesn't cause me problems, there are a lot of other words that are much more difficult to translate.

for example: tanden, sabaki, osaekomi, and whatnot

The main point is that we want what my sensei is saying to be accessible to a variety of people, not just those who know a lot about aikido. The longer you practice, sure, you should know these terms in japanese, but for those just starting, it's easier to remember if they use english if nothing is lost in the translation.
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:01 AM   #10
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

I think it's a valuable discussion here. If the goal is to make Aikido more accessible, it will be vital to transmit what is meant rather than what it is called.

While technical terms in Japanese are useful for a very good reason, they are only useful as the abbreviations they are meant to be when, as Ani says, the listener/reader has fairly detailed knowledge of the subject (not necessarily via aikido). To others they remain simply empty esoterics.

On the other hand, giving a local translation is useful for transferring some of the aspects that the term implies, and many other words will be needed to fill in the gaps caused by cultural disassociation. Either way, for a full understanding, the listener/reader must learn the subject.

I believe it is critical to translate into local languages both the terms and the thinking that goes into how they are used.

Anyone can bandy about foreign phrases and hide behind them without offering proof that s/he knows what is actually going on; using Japanese in conjunction with knowledge, on the other hand, can be a very useful shortcut once everyone is on the same playing field. Thus, it may not be necessary to count in Japanese except for fun, but attacks and defenses in the syllabus are often much more convenient to name using Japanese words, while the individual movements can of course be explained in local language. Japanese people use English terms for specific boxing techniques and terms from other non-Japanese sports too (forget the nationalistic period!), they did not go and make life more difficult than it already is by inventing Japanese expressions for them. They also know it is cool to use foreign words now and then
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:20 AM   #11
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

It's funny to me that practitioners in Japan are often trying to get less Japanese into their training and practitioners in the west are trying to do the opposite.

I guess Gaijin is Gaijin no matter where you're at.
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Old 07-12-2008, 01:45 PM   #12
Christopher Creutzig
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote: View Post
On the other hand, giving a local translation is useful for transferring some of the aspects that the term implies, and many other words will be needed to fill in the gaps caused by cultural disassociation. Either way, for a full understanding, the listener/reader must learn the subject.
Certainly true. OTOH, I wouldn't want to start talking about "attacker" and "defender" while at the same time explaining to the kids that we are not trying to have a competition and trying to avoid confrontation. (Sorry to sound like an aiki-bunny. I don't think a bunch of six- to twelve-year olds, mostly beginners, should learn Aikido starting from fighting.) I'd much rather talk about nage or shite and uke and explain one aspect at a time of what I use these terms as. Which terms would you suggest? "The guy doing the technique" and the "receiver"? (Actually, most of the time, I'm using "I" and the name of my training partner. Whatever.)

Oh, and I never bought into "first technique" etc. as a useful name, at least for beginners. While I understand enough Japanese to more or less hear ikkyo as the same thing, I'm (afaik) the only one in our dojo and just giving strange, yet pronouncable, names to the exercises seems to work rather well. Using the same ones as the rest of the aikido world does not seem such a bad idea, either.
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:17 AM   #13
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

Quote:
Christopher Creutzig wrote: View Post
Certainly true. OTOH, I wouldn't want to start talking about "attacker" and "defender" while at the same time explaining to the kids that we are not trying to have a competition and trying to avoid confrontation. (Sorry to sound like an aiki-bunny. I don't think a bunch of six- to twelve-year olds, mostly beginners, should learn Aikido starting from fighting.) I'd much rather talk about nage or shite and uke and explain one aspect at a time of what I use these terms as. Which terms would you suggest? "The guy doing the technique" and the "receiver"? (Actually, most of the time, I'm using "I" and the name of my training partner. Whatever.)

Oh, and I never bought into "first technique" etc. as a useful name, at least for beginners. While I understand enough Japanese to more or less hear ikkyo as the same thing, I'm (afaik) the only one in our dojo and just giving strange, yet pronouncable, names to the exercises seems to work rather well. Using the same ones as the rest of the aikido world does not seem such a bad idea, either.
"Thrower" and "Receiver" could work. But the point is not really "no Japanese", but rather judicious and idiomatic usage that facilitates the best understanding for the student. "Shite/nage", "uke", "ikkyo, etc." are aikido-specific terms which are useful to know and provide a connection to the Japanese roots of the art. They're the shibboleths and jargon of the worldwide aikido community.

A word like "shisei", OTOH, has a perfectly understandable and idiomatic non-Japanese counterpart in the language of any aikido practitioner. The word has no special aikido-specfic meaning in Japanese. The budo connotations noted by Dazzler above can be communicated just as easily in English using the word "posture" or "bearing".

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 07-14-2008, 11:28 AM   #14
Dazzler
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

I see that Josh..

For me ...if student doesn't understand the language of the dojo then I think they put some effort into learning it.

For others the view is lets make it simpler for the student.

Each to their own. I'll continue to use this terminology because I'm comfortable with it.

If others choose not to...well thats their choice and it doesn't affect me.

Cheers

D
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Old 07-14-2008, 11:59 AM   #15
Lyle Bogin
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

Using Japanese terms encourages us to look for meaning. I'm all for them. And a fancy work for "stance" is a good one.

Is there a difference between Shisei and Kamae?
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:39 PM   #16
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
I see that Josh..

For me ...if student doesn't understand the language of the dojo then I think they put some effort into learning it.

For others the view is lets make it simpler for the student.

Each to their own. I'll continue to use this terminology because I'm comfortable with it.

If others choose not to...well thats their choice and it doesn't affect me.

Cheers

D
Hey, as long as your students understand whatever you're saying, that's the important thing, isn't it?

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:39 AM   #17
Dazzler
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Re: Meaning of Shisei

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Hey, as long as your students understand whatever you're saying, that's the important thing, isn't it?
Yes.

Lyle - I'll say yes.

I've already posted Tamura Senseis words on shisei. Heres what he says about Kamae.

Cheers

D

KAMAE

In Budo it is often said:

"It is Kamae which is important."

Kamae is not the sole property of Budo but also belongs to other arts: flowers, calligraphy and tea. In football, boxing and tennis Kamae is equally important. in the Japanese language Kamae means "to prepare oneself' or "to put oneself on guard". The verb "Kamaeru" is translated as "to build", "to construct", "to prepare", "to learn intensively" and "to be on the alert". The Chinese character of Kamae is comprised of the radical "Wood" followed by an element representing a mortice and tenon signifying the indissoluble structure of carpentry. Kamae in Budo is to take the most advantageous position possible in relation to Aite. When armed one finds oneself against an adversary or when two armies are face to face; in all, Kamae is important.

However, Kamae is only translated in this form. It consists simultaneously of the power of Ki and the ability to perceive every detail. In Kendo the Kamae of Kendo; in Judo the Kamae of Judo; in tennis the Kamae of tennis; and in Aikido Hanmi no Kamae (profile guard) is used.

Begin in a good, natural standing position (Shizentai), legs apart at the same width as the shoulders and the left foot forward of the right foot which can pivot: We now have guard on the left, Hidari Hanmi. Alternatively, we have guard on the right, Migi Hanmi.

If the two adversaries take the same guard, the right or left foot in front, we obtain Ai Hanmi no Kamae. If, on the contrary, the two adversaries have an opposite guard, the right foot of one and the left foot of the other forward, it is Gyaku Hanmi no Kamae. Now, if in Hidari Hanmi, the left foot (or in Migi Hanmi the right foot) advances a pace as in irimi and the back foot follows, the big toe in line with the heel and the thumb of the left hand (or right hand) forward, we are in the posture or guard call "Hitoemi" or "Ura Sankaku".

With a sword Migi Hanmi is used. With the Jo or bare hands the left hand guard (Hidari Hanmi) is the basic guard.

Why is Hitoemi the fundamental guard of Aikido?

Because Hitoemi allows easy movement, to face any attacks and to be able to use and assimilate any technique. However, it is necessary to surpass Kamae. True Kamae is no Kamae; to be able to respond to an attack no matter where or what and whatever your position.

O'Sensel says:

"Do not look at the eyes of Aite; the heart is weakened by the eyes of Aite. Do not look at the sword of Aite; the spirit is weakened by the sword of Aite. Do not look at Aite; you absorb the Ki of Aite."

The Bu of truth is the practice seeking to absorb Aite In his totality.

"I stand simply."

I leave this to your thought. Keep it within you.
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