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  #176  
Old 09-12-2008, 11:25 AM
Peter A Goldsbury AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
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Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

INTERLUDE
IV: Iemoto and Iwama

An earlier column (Column 5) finished with O Sensei retreating to his Aiki-en (Aiki Farm) in Iwama, leaving his son Kisshomaru in charge of the Tokyo dojo. There are a number of problems relating to Morihei Ueshiba's...
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Old 01-29-2009, 05:30 AM   #175
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Wow! You have the power to turn eager anticipation into horrified dread with just a few words . . . you must know kotodama!

Guess I should quit dreaming and live in naka ima.*

Kind regards,
Allen

*although, knowing me, I'll probably wind up in a suburb.
Well, I have not seen William Gleason's latest book yet, though it is on its way to me. Fear not, however, for all essential study aids will be provided (but you will need all your dictionaries to check whether I am right ).

By the way, can you access the Japanese Google website from the US--and can you cope with the Japanese. There is a vast amount of interesting stuff on 松竹梅.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 01-29-2009, 09:16 AM   #176
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Well, Prof. Stevens does teach a kata called sho chiku bai, and strangley enough, it is also used as a jumping off point for a more free-style aiki-kempo (sp?).

After all, you have to start somewhere, but once the basis is there, you may perhaps be able to "transcend"? As I remember, there were 3 sets, each one a little more involved.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:24 AM   #177
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Thanks for the encouragement Peter!

OK, I admit, I'm still looking forward to what you have in store for us in TIE 11 and 12. And, with 12,134 "views" to date, I'm guessing I'm not alone in that.

Sure hope your future book is a successful as your column.

Kind regards,
Allen

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Old 01-29-2009, 09:37 AM   #178
Allen Beebe
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Hi Ron,

I may very well be wrong, but I'm going to guess that this is either a restructuring or something soley of Prof. Stevens own creation.* (I seemd to notice that sort of thing happening the couple of times I visited Fukushi Daigaku after Sensei's death. Not that that is "wrong," or "bad" as long as the source of those changes are properly attributed IMO.) Therefore those Sho Chiku Bai are not directly relevant to the discussion of Ueshiba Morihei's understanding and attribution what Sho Chiku Bai represented to him.

Of course, all knswledgable sources of information can and more than likely should be considered as long as they are relevant to the parameters of the discussion.

FWIW,
Allen

*I'd check that with sources such as Funakoshi, Sakurai, and Adachi, etc. from Yamagata or Nakajima in Chiba.

(Funky post warning! I'm late to work and both kids are talking to me at the same time!!!!!!!)

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:37 AM   #179
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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先生、勝手ながら翻訳させて頂く存じます。
是非御修正をお聞かせになるよう、お願い申し上げます。

"December 13, 1954 Aikikai, Iwama Town, Ibaraki Prefecture

"Greetings. I am glad that you are in good health in these early days of winter.

"I exceedingly regret that we were not able to meet recently due to my trip to Wakayama.

"I had planned to see you as soon as I returned to Tokyo, but as I am extremely busy with a number of matters, and will not be in Tokyo for some time, I am afraid we must put off meeting yet again.

"Also, being old of age, I am also terribly busy having my teeth worked on.

"I would by all means like to make time to see you in the coming spring, so I humbly ask for your forgiveness for not meeting as promised, and hope that you will give me a chance to wish you a happy New Year.

"Until we meet again. Very, very sincerely yours,

"Ueshiba Morihei December 13

"Respectfully to Okawa Shumei Sensei
Nakatsu, Aiko County, Kanagawa Prefecture"
Thanks to Prof. Goldsbury for the letter text and Josh for the idiomatic translation. But a question arises.

The debate seems to be whether Moroihei Ueshiba genuinely changed his views in '40-'42 before the defeat, or simply pragmatically adjusted them after defeat in the new regime. I take the former view as the chronology (as I have said before) does not seem to fit the latter view. Furthermore, as I have said, I find significance in the Manchuria trips coinciding with this preemptive change of heart.

But the question is as to the letter -- for those who are more conversant in the idiomatic tongue -- what is in there to show that it is not simply a tatemae of avoidance of a former, and now disfavored, association? It seems (and if I take you wrongly, please correct me, Professor), that this is taken as evidence of continued interest and association with the problematic sort of nationalists. The letter itself seems more in keeping (to me) of Ueshiba's earlier and similar avoidance behavior in dealing with his separation from Takeda Sokaku.

That prior pattern is instructive in this regard. The motivation for that avoidance may be more than simplistic, it must be said. Before the war Okawa was involved in the provocative Mukden bombing that precipitated the Manchurian occupation in 1931 and was convicted and imprisoned for participation in the coup that assassinated Inukai in '32.

Okawa avoided trial as a Class A war criminal, only because he was losing his mind. It was unlikely to have been feigned, because he was diagnosed with general paresis secondary to chronic syphilis (also called paralytic dementia). His treatment improved his condition somewhat but not enough for him to stand trial - (Even after treatment he claimed to receive regular visitations from Emperor Meiji, Saigo Takamori and the Prophet Mohammed), and he (the arch-nationalist Japanese propagandist) spent his time in prison or hospital translating the Koran.

Okawa's motivation to visit a noted mystic such as Ueshiba is plain -- and Ueshiba's avoidance of him-- if that is what this was -- would reveal Ueshiba's mysticism as being all that more sober and stable. Okawa Shumei was likely to be very difficult person to be around -- he slapped Tojo's bare head out of nowhere in the middle of court proceedings before he was diagnosed, and tried to order him about like an Indian man-servant -- in German.

That 'avoidance' interpretation is, however, also consistent with the "Damascus moment" view of the '40-'42 mystical vision reports. The letter seems to indicate an awful lot of scheduling problems for a man largely retired from public life, whose son has taken the day-to-day reins for him.

I am not saying the letter is conclusive evidence of the specific reasons for the tatemae -- but in context the tatemae seems completely apparent.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-29-2009 at 10:48 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:36 PM   #180
Howard Popkin
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Al,

Okamoto taught me Sho Chiku Bai Kata, Hakutsuru Kata, Ozeki Kata, Geikeikan Kata...etc, Dai Nama Bieru Kata was my favorite.



Be well,

Howard
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:06 PM   #181
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Al,

Okamoto taught me Sho Chiku Bai Kata, Hakutsuru Kata, Ozeki Kata, Geikeikan Kata...etc, Dai Nama Bieru Kata was my favorite.



Be well,

Howard
Skipped over the Awamori and Katsutori Katas did he ... ?

Not to mention the "Men no Kawaya" no Kata at the end of training -- but I suppose that is, generally speaking, a solo suburi

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:54 PM   #182
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Al,

Okamoto taught me Sho Chiku Bai Kata, Hakutsuru Kata, Ozeki Kata, Geikeikan Kata...etc, Dai Nama Bieru Kata was my favorite.



Be well,

Howard
Perhaps these kata are the source of the Kuden "Learn and Forget?"

Kampai,
Allen

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Old 01-29-2009, 03:02 PM   #183
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

I'm sure if I could learn, forgetting would not be a problem...


Ron Tisdale
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:27 PM   #184
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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I'm sure if I could learn, forgetting would not be a problem...

Ron,

Howard is out your way-ish. If you brought him a bottle, I'm sure he would be happy to lead by example! (Don't bring cooking sake though. One ought not allow low level spirits to inhabit one's being!)

Allen

Oops, bad advice. (Just re-read his post) Bring Howard where he can get good draft beer. The Pacific Northwest is famous for it delicious draft beers for example. Why not join him on a trip out here?

Last edited by Allen Beebe : 01-29-2009 at 03:37 PM. Reason: Dai Nama Biiru

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Old 01-29-2009, 03:35 PM   #185
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Yeah, I've been meaning to get up his way for some time now...

Only one problem...I HATE New York! NOT going to drive there, and not a fan of the subway either...

I'm just a stuck in the mud suburbanite I guess...

Best,
Ron

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Old 01-29-2009, 05:26 PM   #186
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Peter,

I'm sorry I missed that this was a question earlier.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
By the way, can you access the Japanese Google website from the US--
Yes I can.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
and can you cope with the Japanese.
I hesitate to say. (My hesitation is definitely NOT a false modesty BTW. )

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
There is a vast amount of interesting stuff on 松竹梅.
I'll definitely give it a look. If you have any particular links in mind, please feel free to PM them to me, or post them here, of course, if you think they are relevant.

Kind regards,
Allen

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Old 01-29-2009, 05:56 PM   #187
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Ho Ho! THANKS Peter!

This is great!!!

Allen

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Old 01-30-2009, 11:11 AM   #188
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Thanks to Prof. Goldsbury for the letter text and Josh for the idiomatic translation. But a question arises.

But the question is as to the letter -- for those who are more conversant in the idiomatic tongue -- what is in there to show that it is not simply a tatemae of avoidance of a former, and now disfavored, association? It seems (and if I take you wrongly, please correct me, Professor), that this is taken as evidence of continued interest and association with the problematic sort of nationalists. The letter itself seems more in keeping (to me) of Ueshiba's earlier and similar avoidance behavior in dealing with his separation from Takeda Sokaku.
Well, I passed the letter by my Japanese native-speaker 'guinea-pig' earlier this evening and he did not think that there was any tatemae of avoidance in the wording of the letter. The wording was quite consistent with an apology from one acquaintance to another about a projected meeting. This is consistent with the view that Ueshiba continued his friendship with Okawa in spite of his own change of attitude in 1940-1942 and in spite of what befell the latter at the end of the war. Ueshiba was also a friend of Konoe Fumimaro and probably would have continued this friendship had Fumimaro not commited suicide.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 01-30-2009, 11:44 PM   #189
Allen Beebe
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Hi Peter,

Thanks to your suggestion I've been using spare moments to snoop around using Japanese Google (Hoodah Thunk?) and ran across this:

http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/shun-q/doka3h-2.HTML

Kinda cool seeing O-sensei's doka in O-sensei's hand with Abe sensei's take on it.

Thanks again,
Allen
(I'm having fun! A whole other world of "stuff" to pick through.)

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 01-31-2009, 04:59 AM   #190
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Hello Allen,

I am glad you found the Abe site. There are quite a few more. In addition, look for material centering on Osaka and Wakayama. There is quite a lot of material written by the late Takaoka Sensei and reminiscences by and about Bansen Tanaka. I have not found much by Shirata Sensei yet, but this is because I have not had the time to look hard enough. And Google is not the only Japanese search engine...

I am so glad that I bought my i-Mac... It is the top-of-the-range 24 inch screen model, with the maximum speed and the maximum available memory. My main regret is that I did not learn classical Japanese earlier.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 01-31-2009, 11:15 AM   #191
Allen Beebe
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Confused Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
There is quite a lot of material written by the late Takaoka Sensei and reminiscences by and about Bansen Tanaka. I have not found much by Shirata Sensei yet, but this is because I have not had the time to look hard enough. And Google is not the only Japanese search engine...
I've run across some Takaoka sensei articles already! I haven't noticed any by Bansen Tanaka or Shirata sensei yet, but I've only just started. Do you have any other preferred Japanese search engines that you can recommend?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I am so glad that I bought my i-Mac... It is the top-of-the-range 24 inch screen model, with the maximum speed and the maximum available memory. My main regret is that I did not learn classical Japanese earlier.
I'm using a Mac too. (My wife converted me by sitting at her mac calmly after the fourth crash and rebuild of my PC several years ago. ) It was tops when I bought it a year and a half ago . . . but that is ancient history in computer time. I just bought a 28" monitor which I use with it in the dojo (believe it or not!)

Hey! At least you can say that you learned classical Japanese. Everyday Japanese is challenging enough for me and I've written furigana by the classical text in my Sutra books! (I tell myself it is Hoben! )

Do you use JEDict on your Mac? It doesn't replace specialized dictionaries but it is pretty powerful. Doug's suggestion of loading Rikaichan into Firefox was a boon that helped me with my inhearant laziness . . . too lazy to switch screens . . . now THAT is lazy!!!

I'm hooked . . . more late nights for me .

All the best,
Allen

(Now if Tom would finish those book shelves I could unbury my boxes of dictionaries . . . sorry Tom, couldn't help myself.)

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 02-01-2009, 05:40 AM   #192
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Hello Allen,

Since I use two massive Japanese monolingual dictionaries in book form (the 14-volume Kokugo Daijiten, and Morohashi's Dai Kanwa Jiten in 13 volumes), I have never felt the need to use Internet resources. However, the student who comes to check my Japanese always uses the Internet and always Google. He knows where to look much more than I do.

My student is now a university lecturer at Hirodai and for Column 11 we have gone word by word through O Sensei's discourses (the sections I chose to discuss) and this was a major learning experience. He confesses to know less classical Japanese than I do, but I think he is being polite--and has the native intuition that I lack. However, even he confessed to being stumped by some of O Sensei's kanji combinations and even more by the contents. You will see.

I am pleased that you have not lost your Japanese after returning to the States and I am very pleased that some AikiWeb members like Josh Reyer are serious students of the language.

Of course, I can see more clearly the constraints that John Stevens was working under when he did his translations of O Sensei's discourses. He made choices that I would not have made, but his achievement is remarkable, nonetheless. The problem for me is that he has given O Sensei in English the status of aikido Holy Writ and I think this is unfortunate.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 02-01-2009, 07:55 AM   #193
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
My main regret is that I did not learn classical Japanese earlier.
You and me both. Granted I'm not dealing with Aikido material but I understand the pain having about 30 Edo period densho to sort through in the next several years myself. Somehow I think I already have my life's work in front of me here and the old guys keep dumping more and more of it on me

Rennis
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Old 02-01-2009, 08:28 AM   #194
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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You and me both. Granted I'm not dealing with Aikido material but I understand the pain having about 30 Edo period densho to sort through in the next several years myself. Somehow I think I already have my life's work in front of me here and the old guys keep dumping more and more of it on me

Rennis
On this note, I took up the study of kanbun last year.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:00 PM   #195
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
However, even he confessed to being stumped by some of O Sensei's kanji combinations and even more by the contents. You will see.

I am pleased that you have not lost your Japanese after returning to the States and I am very pleased that some AikiWeb members like Josh Reyer are serious students of the language.

Of course, I can see more clearly the constraints that John Stevens was working under when he did his translations of O Sensei's discourses. He made choices that I would not have made, but his achievement is remarkable, nonetheless. The problem for me is that he has given O Sensei in English the status of aikido Holy Writ and I think this is unfortunate.
Let me ask a dumb question. If O Sensei intended to be understood (let us assume this is so, since he troubled to lecture and to write the Doka) and native and scholarly Japanese speakers have trouble grasping categorically what he meant -- then do we not have to ask the question if his language and intent was precisely outside of category in many respects -- of Japanese or any other language? This may make it less accessible in some respects, but more accessible without regard to strict language in another sense. Image and intimation speaks more than any category. On empirical grounds his communication mode has some demonstrated merit, whether it was a deliberately chosen or simply fortuitous strategy. .

As to holy writ that goes too far, obviously, and a point that also bugs me about Stevens. And despite some axe-handle familiarity with the language -- I have no realistic hopes of approaching the problem with the language's more properly surgical tools.

But writing about the holy is often walking in the "places between" (in either the Celtic or the Taoist sense) that defy commonplace category. The Japanese have enshrined him, perhaps merely because he defied their categories -- why should anyone else be different? Kotodama is an open invitation to ringing the changes on associational interpretation, so why should the native speakers have all the fun?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-02-2009, 04:15 AM   #196
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Let me ask a dumb question.
Why did you call it a dumb question?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
If O Sensei intended to be understood (let us assume this is so, since he troubled to lecture and to write the Doka) and native and scholarly Japanese speakers have trouble grasping categorically what he meant -- then do we not have to ask the question if his language and intent was precisely outside of category in many respects -- of Japanese or any other language? This may make it less accessible in some respects, but more accessible without regard to strict language in another sense. Image and intimation speaks more than any category. On empirical grounds his communication mode has some demonstrated merit, whether it was a deliberately chosen or simply fortuitous strategy.
It would cover too much ground and involve too much repetition, for me to answer these questions or to discuss the issues raised, until after the next two columns have appeared. Of course, this does not prevent others from having a go.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 02-02-2009, 06:41 AM   #197
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Quote:
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Let me ask a dumb question. If O Sensei intended to be understood (let us assume this is so, since he troubled to lecture and to write the Doka) and native and scholarly Japanese speakers have trouble grasping categorically what he meant -- then do we not have to ask the question if his language and intent was precisely outside of category in many respects -- of Japanese or any other language? This may make it less accessible in some respects, but more accessible without regard to strict language in another sense. Image and intimation speaks more than any category. On empirical grounds his communication mode has some demonstrated merit, whether it was a deliberately chosen or simply fortuitous strategy.
IMO, it is all a question of idiom and context. Ueshiba was a man educated pre-war, working within a very specialized cosmology, and describing with words what has long been referred to in budo circles as "that which cannot be described with words." Naturally, it's very, very difficult to reach an understanding of what he was saying without an idea of his particular context and idiom.

This issue is hardly unique to aikido. In a series of lectures on budo in general, and kenjutsu in particular, Yagyu Toshinaga described this problem with the terms "hontai" 本体 - the essential form, and the "hongen" 本源 - the essential source of martial arts.

The form is in the physical practice, be it kata or conditioning exercises. The source is the theoretical framework on which the form is built. Without the form, the theory is nothing. Without the source, the form is empty, just a house of cards. The budo have used a variety of philosophies to structure their theory. For some it was Buddhism, Zen or Mikkyo, for others it was Shinto, for Kano it was early western kineseology, for Ueshiba it was Omoto. But the theory is not self-sustaining. It requires the physical practice for understanding.

For example, of late I've been reading Heiho Kadensho, a treatise on the martial arts (Shinkage-ryu in specific) written by Yagyu Munenori in the early 1600s. The edition was prepared by Watanabe Ichiro, a respected historian specializing in budo. It's been commented on by Imamura Yoshio, another budo historian who's specialized in the Yagyu family. Although both have done tremendous work in reading, interpreting, and preparing these kinds of documents for publication, they both shoot wide of the mark on several key points, simply because they aren't interpreting the documents back through the physical process, as was intended, nor were they given the oral teachings that decoded some of the written material.

I think Ueshiba, like Yagyu Munenori, intended to be understood, but only by those who had put in the work to reach the physical understanding that he had. If there's one thing I think Professor Goldsbury's columns here have made abundantly clear, Ueshiba was not operating with the intention of cogently taking his students from point A to point Z. Rather, he gave them his understanding of the system of the world, and he expected them to put in the physical work to illuminate that understanding.

So naturally, to truly understand Ueshiba's words, one needs to understand his context, physical and metaphysical. That would require a study of the things he studied, the way he studied them. It would require the mat time, as both sides inform the other.

I do not say that this is all necessary to do aikido (although a case could be made that it is in order to do "Ueshiba's aikido"), but I think it is necessary to understand how and what he wrote about aikido.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 02-02-2009, 11:29 AM   #198
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
... what has long been referred to in budo circles as "that which cannot be described with words." Naturally, it's very, very difficult to reach an understanding of what he was saying without an idea of his particular context and idiom.
Well said.

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
I think Ueshiba, like Yagyu Munenori, intended to be understood, but only by those who had put in the work to reach the physical understanding that he had. If there's one thing I think Professor Goldsbury's columns here have made abundantly clear, Ueshiba was not operating with the intention of cogently taking his students from point A to point Z. Rather, he gave them his understanding of the system of the world, and he expected them to put in the physical work to illuminate that understanding.
FWIW, this manner of thinking stems from Oyomei-gaku -- and I firmly agree. Action and knowledge are one.

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
So naturally, to truly understand Ueshiba's words, one needs to understand his context, physical and metaphysical. That would require a study of the things he studied, the way he studied them. It would require the mat time, as both sides inform the other.

I do not say that this is all necessary to do aikido (although a case could be made that it is in order to do "Ueshiba's aikido"), but I think it is necessary to understand how and what he wrote about aikido.
... And then here we part company -- slightly, over the "natural" assumption from which you take the thought further. There is immense value of course in delving into O Sensei's words and meanings to elaborate his imagery further.

But I take issue with the thought, almost passed over in your comment, that HIS conceptual context of his images of the art was paramount for OUR learning of the art and grasping the significance of the images he employed.

I would go with your first impulse and say that the practice of the art is the only suitable context. From that all of his concrete imagery can be made sense of, with relatively little cultural subtlety (apart from knowing what image the words describe, of course).

This is very much in-line with Prof. Goldsbury's comment about being told bay a senior Japanese he could not understand something because he was not born Japanese and raised in Japan -- to which he replied that he simply smiled enigmatically and said nothing. (Kudos to him BTW for that wonderfully ironic reflexion of casual prejudices.)

There is evidence that Ueshiba believed that his imagery was more universal than is often given credit. Certinaly Oomoto held this as a tenet of its syncretistic fatih, if nothing else. But deeper than that the Shinto root of this comprehension is as thoroughly naturalistic and concrete as it is lively and imaginitive. There is no "deity" in the Shinto pantheon (apart from of the Sanshin Zouka -- who seem defy otherwise rampant anthropomorphizing) that is more "perfect" than any human -- just more powerful and just as flawed in their own ways -- concrete human attributes writ large and spectacularly for examination or example.

Consider the various yokai traditions for instance -- an ancient umbrella taking a life and mind of its own -- this is myth coursing in and through concrete function. If you use something enough (well or badly) it takes on a life of its own (good or bad, accordingly) . This is very much the same sensibility as Aikido as I see it. Any person of any culture can imagine the "desires" and "fears" of the awakened umbrella, because they flow from what it is and what ir does in a naturalistic sense. Knowing what the inanimate thing "wants" to do is understanding and cooperating with its nature. -- Aiki in our context.

This is often foreign to minds of modern prejudice. It is prerational -- not irrational. But this interplay between concrete action or object and the conceptual image given a developmental life of sorts, is appealing at very basic levels. This is a part of why aikido has spread so far so fast -- IMO. It speaks to the remnant of unschooled childlike intellect in each of us that simply loves this sort of play. That play can be simple or complex depending on the capacities of the persons concerned, but the same spirit should be in the effort, at whatever level.

It is for this reason that I take O Sensei's comment to Terry Dobson as being more indicative of this kind of universalizing intent through the lively concreteness of both practice and image. Dobson asked about the meaning of the triangle circle and square. O Sensei wouldn't tell him -- although of course he could and did describe it for others elsewhere at other times. "Find out for yourself," was the answer. The task was given for Terry Dobson to contextualize the image consistent with his own concrete practice and his own sense of liveliness, not according to O Sensei's playing of the same game.

One does not understand chess or go by being given the endgame positions of someone else's game -- one has to play the whole thing to get there. Of course, no two games are alike, though the rules, the field and the operative parts do not change from game to game. Aikido is a game that in the brutal reality of its complete context has winners and losers, of course, but that is not why we practice the game -- merely to win or avoid losing. One would not understand chess if one quit playing because one was routinely beaten.

In this analogy, perhaps too much effort is sometimes spent trying to make some fortuitous combinations of the application of those rules in a justifiably well-admired game -- into additional rules (or worse yet, as though they were some sort of meta-rules dictating the sequence of play). The why of the play is more important that the what or the how, and the play itself is more important than the why, how or what results -- it is self-justifying.

Your move.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-02-2009, 03:30 PM   #199
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Why did you call it a dumb question?
Well, I say dumb, because it is essentially the naive response to his communication -- that he simply meant what he said. I note right off the bat that does not imply necessarily grasping immediately the meaning of what he did say.

Leaving aside the doe-eyed hagiographer perspective (which is distasteful for many reasons) there seems two other more critical (and one of them distinctly less charitable) schools of thought on the matter. These days, it seems like the more critical the approach, the more it is approved of as clever, and the more clever something is reputed to be, the more likely to be right. There is a series of logical fallacies in that statement, but it is not that hard to find people who operate from such postures these days, explicitly or implicitly, and on these and other topics.

Your approach for what it is worth is more in the "Joe Friday" "just the facts, ma'am" school, although the facts that you choose to examine seem to lean one way or the other at times. If you have a bias in this regard it is hinted at, only. My job is to deal in hints, so please forgive if I read too much in and take it for what is intended, as a point of observation, only, of the larger discussions ongoing.

The more charitable critical view seems to believe or to use as an operating thesis that he did NOT intend to to communicate anything useful in his communications, and that they were for him like honeycomb to bees. He did it because he could not do anything else. To ask the bee what the comb means is a foolish inquiry. "He could not possibly mean such a thing; therefore, he is deluded/demented/confused by his mystical enthusiasm." In its stronger version this approaches an idiot savant hypothesis, a superlatively gifted and yet quaintly limited sort of individual.

The less charitable thesis seems to make the hinge of the war conversion a stalking horse for a suspicion of his declared motives, a sort a crypto-cultural imperialism in mystical dress. No Doubt the genuine crypto-cultural imperialism of Deguchi's Oomoto lends this view some patina of credence, but it does not stand well on its own. In a strong version it would seem very much "conspiracy theory" stuff -- as though the Japanese Odessa File is -- oh, any day now -- going to come to spectacularly to light and all the schemes be laid bare.

I have no doubt that Morihei Ueshiba was as hardbitten an imperialist as was, say Churchill, in his day. The suggestion of the wartime conversion as cover for a later ulterior agenda, I find lacking in evidence (so far), and the evidence of lingering associations is not evidence.

Both of those are lacking in persuasive force for me. The associational evidence is certainly there and not to be denied -- but what does it mean? How is it to be made more than mere conviction by inuendo of others' earlier views? Especially what does it tell us when his own views he declared changed and removed himself from most public association almost three years before it became politic to do so?

The naive assumption persuades more, to me. So, it was a dumb question.

And all that said --- I look forward eagerly to such of those perspectives as your next installments may address.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-02-2009 at 03:33 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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