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Old 02-17-2009, 09:21 AM
Peter A Goldsbury AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
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Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

INTERLUDE
V: The Danger of Words or,
The Elephant in the Dojo: Distinguishing the Jumbo from the Mumbo
Part 1: Morihei Ueshiba's Elephant
...
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Last edited by akiy : 02-16-2009 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:18 PM   #25
Allen Beebe
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I think I have not been clear enough about my view on this. I include myself in the group that does not have much in the way of the "proprietary" knowledge and experience discussed. Like you I trained with a direct student of the Founder but my own teacher, while talking extensively about his experience training with O-Sensei did not have us duplicate his actual training regimen. So there's no question that I started with nothing more than a sort if "Saotome Ha" Ueshiba experience. And while having its own validity, it could be completely different than your own "Shirata Ha" Ueshiba experience which stand on its own.

While my ideas about these things are a work in progress, thanks to the efforts of folks like Peter, in the end I will probably only be able to speak with any authority about "George Ha Saotome Ryu Ueshiba Aikido" and my personal experience on the mat informs these ideas more than anything else.

As for others, it is only with the objective academic work done by people like Peter G who provide us with constantly evolving perspective on what the Founder did and did not do and say. So there may be folks who are structuring their training to match what they believe the Founder himself did, but that assessment changes as more research is done. So while they do have a sort of proprietary experience that the rest of us may not have, it doesn't mean that their picture of the Founder is true in any final sense either. But I value the input these folks have as it is very different than my own experience.
See? Just as I suspected!

"Our specific opinions share more in common than not."

I too can only feel safe speaking with authority about my own evolving opinions.

With continued respect,
Allen

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Old 02-19-2009, 09:23 PM   #26
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

Quote:
D H wrote: View Post
Edit time ran out
Peter
I understand we agree to the complexities of comparisons of the translation problems-your examples spoke to that.

I was only referrencing you in your "seeing what we do as waza" quote
Cheers
Dan
I may be off-base here, but the original quote is "seeing what we do as waza-related" in contrast to "sensei-related". In other words, Professor Goldsbury doesn't see aikido as a sui generis creation of one man, whom must then be emulated (either directly or via a lineage of transmission) in order to be able to do it, but rather as a much broader set of body skills (which is another way of saying "waza") which can be learned from a broad number of disparate teachers, such as Akuzawa, Ushiro, yourself, Sigman, etc.

Josh Reyer

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Old 02-19-2009, 10:03 PM   #27
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

Hi Dan,

It is nice to see you contributing again.

1) I agree with your opinion that Ueshiba was expounding upon, what was for him, at once phenomenal and nouminal reality.

2) I think Josh is right and re-stated Peter's views better than I could.

3) One of the other things that Peter is gently pointing to is something that certainly caught my eye when I first read Budo Renshu. This doesn't appear to be just my understanding but Peter's as well and Mr. Bieri touches upon it in his translation. Along with everything else, Ueshiba provides instruction for those intending *offensively attacking* from behind cautioning those performing such an attack that they may leave themselves vulnerable to reversal if they inadvertently assume they enjoy physical impunity due to the nature of their attack.

The fact that Aikido's founder was providing advisement on how to better assure the success of a surprise attack to a 1935 Japanese martially interested audience via written media shouldn't be too terribly surprising considering at that time he was teaching the same, in person, in multiple venues dedicated to that very pursuit. Certainly most, if not all, of his students of the time were privy to this.

All the best,
Allen

Last edited by Allen Beebe : 02-19-2009 at 10:14 PM.

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Old 02-19-2009, 10:11 PM   #28
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

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D H wrote: View Post
Hi Peter
Well that's reassuring.
So help me out here. Allowing that it isn't what you meant- what did you mean?
I guess I am still struggling with the phrasing. What do you see in what we or I do as all "waza related"? in your original quote? Can you see how Its confusing?
Dan
Well, for a start, there was a context to the first quote (which you shortened anyway), which you did not include.

The entire sentence goes:

"In terms of training I see aikido as a much more general 'waza-related' art. I would include in waza everything being done by Akuzawa Sensei, Ushiro Kenji Sensei, Dan Harden and Mike Sigman, insofar as it directly relates to aikido. It is no longer 'sensei' related, at least for me."

The context was a discussion with George Ledyard on what I called 'orthodox Aikikai ideology', especially orthodox Aikikai ideology that finds its expression in the imitation of some particular Aikikai shihan. So, the training I aim at is 'much more generally "waza-related"', in the sense that it includes more than what is espoused by the orthodox ideology (which is that training consists exclusively in techniques, as shown in the current Aikikai textbooks).

As I stated, I think there is a problem of vocabulary. For example, Kenji Ushiro has a complex progression from kata (型), through to kata (形), involving certain types of waza (技). Again, Ueshiba stated that there were no waza in his art, but gives 166 of them in Budo Renshu. Given that waza has a wider meaning than 'techniques', I would include, for example, the training in body skills that Akuzawa Sensei does.

If you still insist that what you are doing is not waza, that's fine by me. My mistake.

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Old 02-19-2009, 11:13 PM   #29
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Well, for a start, there was a context to the first quote (which you shortened anyway), which you did not include.

The entire sentence goes:

"In terms of training I see aikido as a much more general 'waza-related' art. I would include in waza everything being done by Akuzawa Sensei, Ushiro Kenji Sensei, Dan Harden and Mike Sigman, insofar as it directly relates to aikido. It is no longer 'sensei' related, at least for me."

The context was a discussion with George Ledyard on what I called 'orthodox Aikikai ideology', especially orthodox Aikikai ideology that finds its expression in the imitation of some particular Aikikai shihan. So, the training I aim at is 'much more generally "waza-related"', in the sense that it includes more than what is espoused by the orthodox ideology (which is that training consists exclusively in techniques, as shown in the current Aikikai textbooks).

As I stated, I think there is a problem of vocabulary. For example, Kenji Ushiro has a complex progression from kata (型), through to kata (形), involving certain types of waza (技). Again, Ueshiba stated that there were no waza in his art, but gives 166 of them in Budo Renshu. Given that waza has a wider meaning than 'techniques', I would include, for example, the training in body skills that Akuzawa Sensei does.

If you still insist that what you are doing is not waza, that's fine by me. My mistake.
Thank you for explaining that Peter. I see what you meant. I also see our possible differences in usage of terms and goals and it helps me understand your references better.

My point of reference for defining Ueshiba and Takeda who both stated the art was formless all ties in with Larry's translation I mentioned earlier.
Framed in a more simplistic model, I believe they were interested much less in what their own specific intentions to "do" any one thing were- But rather they were watching / witnessing / experiencing what was "happening" when their trained unified bodies met- or interacted with anything or anyone. Thus, all the talk about Takemasu and spontaneous birthplace of aiki, the art being formless and based on defense all make sense within that framework.

Said another way, lets imagine or assume they were openly trying to invent an art. This incredible body skill they had developed was so overwhelming when matched with normal people that when normal people touched them all sorts of control mechanisms came to the fore. People grabbed them, they moved, and weird effects occurred causing people's bodies to get magnetically drawn in, controlled, motivated like magic, tossed, locked thrown, etc..
People started writing down, and trying to copy these effects.
These effects became the goal or model
The model was mimicked
The mimic became the diverse, seldom repeated, "techniques."

Hence the explanation for the dichotomy of Ueshiba looking at his guys and saying "the art" has no techniques and is formless and the guys saying "What do you call all that ....stuff?"
Because their bodies were not developed and trained as well, they-could not cause those effects so they "did" techniques. And he was talking miles over their heads.
Of course everyone gets favorite techniques and learns a repetoire of this or that and they share and build on them. but that's not the main point.

Waza
I would look at waza more in line with recorded rules of road. Lets take a body part as an example. When forces act on a shoulder, the shoulder does certain things, Lets call it learning the shoulder or as my teacher said the "wisdom of the shoulder." When someone grabs you, hits you, tries to throw you, and you move, it causes certain effects in the shoulder for anatomical reasons that are known. However, the way they react to you and your newly trained body is not the same as the way they react to some new guy who tries to copy the effect he just witnessed. But for you, you see and notice what your teacher told you about "the straights" all acting that way when you do this or that -is true- that "hey they all do that!" So while you are not really focused on doing something to the guy..it happens in a manner you are used to feeling and seeing- yet that effect is never your own goal. In the fullness of time you get increasingly used to your movements causing this stuff to happen. Yet..when you play with Judoka somehow they throw different, you play with X Y or Z art they act different. You? You're just still moving the way your connected body moves.
Again this increasingly enhanced body becomes the birthplace of all techniques without you thinking much of doing them.
Now, with no training of the mind / body connections- all of those poetic and colorful terms like piercing the heavens, the divine cross of aiki, aiki in yo ho, heaven earth man...have little to no meaning and people then have no clue as to what this all means.
Everything becomes mimic or technique based.

IME What I just said and just described is the logic behind the evolution of Ueshiba and "his" Aikido and the reason many didn't understand what they were seeing and feeling.
Today, the whole mindset of this type of training is opposite of most peoples experience, they don't have the body for it so they cannot "find" it. Hence technique based.training under one teacher or another.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-19-2009 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 02-20-2009, 02:17 AM   #30
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

Hello Dan,

One of the problems in approaching Morihei Ueshiba is that much of what he is supposed to have said has been published only in translation and it is a pity that there are no bilingual versions of any collections of his discourses in print. The Bieri translation of Budo Renshu would be too expensive reprint, certainly in the original format. So we have Prof Stevens, who gives an interpretation of what he thought Ueshiba might well have meant, which then, in the hands of some AikiWeb posters, becomes an authoritative statement of what he actually said.

There are other ways of approaching Ueshiba, but the way I have chosen here is to start from the Japanese text, and then see how far we get. This is the 'evidence'. A useful comparison with the two translations allows one to see what they left out, what they 'edited', what they thought was perhaps too difficult. So, for example, all the vocabulary on the soul, originally from omyodo, is missing--and this vocabulary still makes a lot of sense to the average Japanese I know here in Hiroshima.

I know that Larry Bieri and John Stevens are budoka, but this is a two-edged sword when approaching a text like Ueshiba's. Sure, they have a closer 'technical' idea of what he means than the average non-budoka Japanese, but I also suspect that they see things in the text that the budoka misses, especially the Japanese who is familiar with the Japanese of Ueshiba's vintage.

For example, Ueshiba writes waza in two ways: 技 and 業. The word has nine meanings in the Kojien. In modern Japanese the characters are not really interchangeable--and for both of the budo / bujutsu-related meanings, the preferred character is 技. But this does not appear to be the case for Ueshiba, who writes ushiro waza as 後業 in the Budo Renshu text. Of course, we really need to compare the Budo Renshu & Budo texts with all the other discourses and also with contemporary usage. This would take much time, which I suspect that neither the Bieris or John Stevens had.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 02-20-2009, 09:13 AM   #31
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Dan,

One of the problems in approaching Morihei Ueshiba is that much of what he is supposed to have said has been published only in translation and it is a pity that there are no bilingual versions of any collections of his discourses in print. The Bieri translation of Budo Renshu would be too expensive reprint, certainly in the original format. So we have Prof Stevens, who gives an interpretation of what he thought Ueshiba might well have meant, which then, in the hands of some AikiWeb posters, becomes an authoritative statement of what he actually said.

There are other ways of approaching Ueshiba, but the way I have chosen here is to start from the Japanese text, and then see how far we get. This is the 'evidence'. A useful comparison with the two translations allows one to see what they left out, what they 'edited', what they thought was perhaps too difficult. So, for example, all the vocabulary on the soul, originally from omyodo, is missing--and this vocabulary still makes a lot of sense to the average Japanese I know here in Hiroshima.

For example, Ueshiba writes waza in two ways: 技 and 業. The word has nine meanings in the Kojien. In modern Japanese the characters are not really interchangeable--and for both of the budo / bujutsu-related meanings, the preferred character is 技. But this does not appear to be the case for Ueshiba, who writes ushiro waza as 後業 in the Budo Renshu text. Of course, we really need to compare the Budo Renshu & Budo texts with all the other discourses and also with contemporary usage. This would take much time, which I suspect that neither the Bieris or John Stevens had.

Best wishes,

PAG
Hi Peter
What you describe is a real morass. While compelling, What method is available by which the only evidence we use (the actual written words he said) can become definitive? Your comment on "Comparing the test with other discourses and with contemporary usage" is of course a requirement for study but it has not availed much in the past by way of useful information for aikidoka to understand Ueshiba's path or method.
Were one to be seriously considering reading Ueshiba and understanding the material than reading his other discourses and comparing to contemporary sources?- Then I would suggest it would be wise to move the study past Ueshiba and incorporate other bujutsu that were "contemporary to him" in his time and form a frame of reference for some common understanding that existed in his time. This-may in fact offer a key in decifering his words "in their time." Something which I have not seen much of.

At any rate I attempted to offer a further twist for consideration. That the study of any material offered (the discounting of it's providence not considered) is in itself further complicated due to the fact that the translater is unfamiliar with the body of work they are attempting to discuss-Ueshiba's actual training method and goals. For that reason alone it would be wise(er) to stick with the most accurate word-for-word translation possible and put that out there for those who may actually have a better handle on the physical skills and concepts Ueshiba was advocating. Being that it has become even more obvious of late that there exists a body of work within the art of aikido that most in the art are unaware of --it is indeed -as you stated- a double edge sword. Budo men who just happen to be conversant in the language may be staged to just offer more confusion-not less.

Quote:
I know that Larry Bieri and John Stevens are budoka, but this is a two-edged sword when approaching a text like Ueshiba's. Sure, they have a closer 'technical' idea of what he means than the average non-budoka Japanese, but I also suspect that they see things in the text that the budoka misses, especially the Japanese who is familiar with the Japanese of Ueshiba's vintage.
Budoka, expertise, and two edge swords
Yes, In this we agree completely. I made an argument for being concerned with what they actually "see" and what they just think they "see."
I was asking folks to consider if the translations should be severely restricted so that they do not end up interpreting instead of simply translating the text of a body of material that by and large may be over their heads. While you might see an innate ability from men who happen to be in Budo- I see potential trouble. I have my own experience with some Koryu experts who have run into trouble "translating" the ancient Japanese in their own "technically" oriented densho, and more recent experiences with a person (we both know) who is very well versed in the materials and subject you are discussing here and who is also an accomplished Aikidoka. Some have considered both his work and his skills to be a rather serious study of both the material surrounding Ueshiba's belief and his physical art. I had asked you in a previous post to consider that he is now reconsidering much of what he thought --he- understood (due to his recent encounter with what he considers is most likely Ueshiba's actual training method) of the various text he has translated. To wit; that the method and what it is doing to his body and his Aikido seems to logically match up with much of the cryptic texts he has spent half his life muddling through and "translating." In that sense the entire concept of waza-as I suggested previously- might be erroneous from the start. As Ueshiba's entire framework for the origin of movement and interaction may be anathema to a…modern budo man reading his words.

For my own purposes- I would be more interested in a word for word translation rather than an interpretation and guess work. The poems and flowery lingo -as they are -have a real basis in physical training to me and could even be taught literally along with hands-on instruction of how to move and interact.

I think you are onto something in that the column truly highlights some glaring errors in prior work that many, if not most took as fact.
Thank you so much for your time.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-20-2009 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:05 PM   #32
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

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Hi Peter
What you describe is a real morass. While compelling, What method is available by which the only evidence we use (the actual written words he said) can become definitive? Your comment on "Comparing the test with other discourses and with contemporary usage" is of course a requirement for study but it has not availed much in the past by way of useful information for aikidoka to understand Ueshiba's path or method.
Were one to be seriously considering reading Ueshiba and understanding the material than reading his other discourses and comparing to contemporary sources?- Then I would suggest it would be wise to move the study past Ueshiba and incorporate other bujutsu that were "contemporary to him" in his time and form a frame of reference for some common understanding that existed in his time. This-may in fact offer a key in decifering his words "in their time." Something which I have not seen much of.
Dan
Good morning, Dan, (Out here it is 8 o'clock and I have just had breakfast.)

Agreed. There is some work being done in Japanese, but it is not of good quality. With regard to Ueshiba, I think that what you are doing, out in Massachusetts, and what I am doing, here in Hiroshima, should go hand in hand, and if Hiroshima were not so far away, you would have someone else knocking on your door.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 02-20-2009, 04:26 PM   #33
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Good morning, Dan, (Out here it is 8 o'clock and I have just had breakfast.)

Agreed. There is some work being done in Japanese, but it is not of good quality. With regard to Ueshiba, I think that what you are doing, out in Massachusetts, and what I am doing, here in Hiroshima, should go hand in hand, and if Hiroshima were not so far away, you would have someone else knocking on your door.

Best wishes,

PAG
Hi Peter
Oh I suspect we would have us some fun.

You know another interesting aspect I am starting to rethink is this.
Maybe Ueshiba was actually trying to say more than most have given him credit for, and was teaching those aspects as well.
What if
He was more than "the crazy ro angry old dude" or 'the saint" some have assigned him to play. What if he had vision for passing along his "vision?"
What if
He saw the difficulties in trying to pass along some difficult concepts-both spiritual and physical and knew he needed a means to have it last past the foibles of those directly under him.
What if
With forethought and planning he created a language of metaphor, poetry, and analogy to preserve those concepts? As a preacher friend once said to me, "How come they remember their favorite songs- but forget my sermon as soon as they're out the door?" Poetry and music lasts and can present a picture "stuck in time" and pure against the ages. Think of it. I read it today and it makes perfect sense to me –today- with what I am doing

Training and what he was teaching. As you know I was showing some things and up comes this person who had trained with Ueshiba and says, "That’s Ueshibas Aikido, they don't do that anymore, it's not in modern aikido.” Okay fine. How did they know that?
To those who say Ueshiba never taught this stuff...I ask
How did that person know and recognize it right away?
What if
Ueshiba “was” teaching it but most didn't want or care to do it they were caught up in waza. Didn't the old man say it over and over? "That's not my aikido!" How many times do we read and see references to pushing and testing with a myriad of students? Just recently I had the opportunity to talk to yet another DR student about the various solo training HIS teacher taught him and others he had learned from another DR teacher. What did he say? "Most guys just didn't want to do it!"
Maybe, just maybe the reasons it is hard to find what Ueshiba was practicing in much of the aikido practiced today...was not his fault after all.
Cheers
Dan

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Old 02-20-2009, 06:23 PM   #34
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

@ PAG

I wonder what, in light of this discussion, you think of the utility of the Sugawara edition with Bieri's parallel "functional" translation side by side with the more "literal" translation (I don;t have it to hand as I am travelling but I believe my edition also has the written Japanese -- (kana + romaji). It seems to answer closest to Dan's desire for the "word for word. However, it also seems a bit problematic for his proposed thesis that the set-piece waza were a "mistaken" aspect -- because those poetic/mythic images are cheek by jowl with the depictions of the set-piece waza -- and have been apparently so conjoined since they were originally published together in 1933, as I understand it. It certainly allows one to tentatively conclude they were intended to be construed together.

Since I view the poetic/mythic language as a means for describing mainly subjective impressions in nonetheless concrete or narrative terms, the pairing seems entirely complementary. If there anything from the native understanding that makes this construction of the work unreasonable or unsupportable?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-20-2009, 08:28 PM   #35
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

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@ PAG
.....It seems to answer closest to Dan's desire for the "word for word. However, it also seems a bit problematic for his proposed thesis that the set-piece waza were a "mistaken" aspect -- because those poetic/mythic images are cheek by jowl with the depictions of the set-piece waza -- and have been apparently so conjoined since they were originally published together in 1933, as I understand it. It certainly allows one to tentatively conclude they were intended to be construed together.

Since I view the poetic/mythic language as a means for describing mainly subjective impressions in nonetheless concrete or narrative terms, the pairing seems entirely complementary. If there anything from the native understanding that makes this construction of the work unreasonable or unsupportable?
Eric
It isn't a question of whether or not they went together. The placement of the text to define a principle expressed in a "set-piece" waza does not make the principle singular in use. Nor does it mean the training (sometimes implied other times described) involved a waza specific end use.

Case in point is to read Peter's long evolutionary description of training…for preparedness. Then review where I outlined and expanded on his ideas as a means to manage force-in from any side. If you know what the training is that he is implying in the "set-piece" it is paramount and is just as viable for force from any direction. In fact it is displayed in other areas in the book. Ueshiba's discussion of the training required --in my view- was to express something along these lines; (and I could see him verbalizing it as he did so)
Regarding rear attacks.
"See these types of attacks demand this type of training…..nothing else will do. You cannot see behind you- so your spirit must be full and fully integrated with your body to always be "on" so that you can handle that attack on contact-in an instant." This has to do with maintained and opposing lines of intent and the conditioned bujutsu body it creates and the effect that has on a another body. And it's pointless in discussing it if you don't already do it. Again, it just means that the people who have trained in waza based methods (which is most everyone) and who tackle the translation of the work are simply flumoxed and need a decoder to understand what Ueshiba was saying.

As a model for training? I would venture that there are a hundred or so men here, who by now, know exactly what Peter and I am talking about and do this type of training as a regular practice. I know from phone calls and emails today regarding this column that they were surprised by Peters exhaustive attempt to define the differences, and delighted to be able to read this and understand the discussion completely.
So the concept of "set-piece" waza with non singular descriptions of body skills in use not only makes perfect sense to them, it is their preferred method of training. It makes perfect sense to them, as well.
And I have not touched on Ueshiba's exhaustive discourses which clearly and repetitively "define" the concept that both Peter and I are trying to portray here-that "the art is formless." and "Aiki is without form"
Nor have I discussed the well established provenance of it and from whom we all know that saying came.

In the fullness of time, a more litteral translation will serve those who actually train the way Ueshiba had been describing and aid them in a deeper understanding of what the founder was trying to say. Further, If those men can train with others who understand the language of the more spiritual aspects then I believe that for the first time a more fully realized picture of Ueshiba as a complete artists will finally be revealed.
We have seen where placing it in the hands of kata oriented people has gotten us. I'm up for a different take on him.
Cheers
Dan

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Old 02-20-2009, 09:29 PM   #36
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
For my own purposes- I would be more interested in a word for word translation rather than an interpretation and guess work.
Word-for-word, while conceivable for Latin and particularly Germanic-derived languages, is impossible for Japanese to English. Not only is the grammar and idiom too disparate, you run into the problem of what words to use.

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Old 02-20-2009, 10:17 PM   #37
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

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It isn't a question of whether or not they went together. The placement of the text to define a principle expressed in a "set-piece" waza does not make the principle singular in use. Nor does it mean the training (sometimes implied other times described) involved a waza specific end use.
Who said that it was singular? It is infinite. The disconnect here is in establishing what is meant in setting forth a particular exemplar as against a holistically but subjectively perceived whole, : a four note passage -- not a symphony; a cross-section, not a whole salami.

When I speak of "case" as a tutelary method (and suggest that "waza" are an example of this type of more general form of learning) -- waza is a term given to me -- not one chosen, just as Peter suggests. To assume that a "waza" or any set of "waza" IS Aiki is the height of foolishness, nor have I remotely maintained such. Case study works , but no one who has studied four or five or a hundred cases thinks that he really understands "the law" by virtue of those slices of the whole salami. After enough slices he gains a sense of the grain and variations in "salami" pattern -- not consciously -- intuitively, reflexively. The pattern in the cases instinctively gained in repetitions with variations (no one said waza were invariable or new waza could not be used to illustrate the same principles -- we do all the time). The pattern reveals itself in anything else to which it pertains so he can act reflexively, if needed in following the inherent pattern instinctively.

Waza considered as case study is an illustration -- and useful tool provided by the Founder -- a provision I am bound to respect and observe -- and to find how HE made THAT work and intended for it to work. The fact that others did not find that way to make it work or work as well does not excuse me. Nor does it demean others, like you who seek or have found other ways. I undertake my sense of observance freely -- and I have no basis to cease observing it -- nor to judge any who do not feel so bound, because the are equally free to reject or modify that observance.

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Case in point is to read Peter's long evolutionary description of training…for preparedness. ...."See these types of attacks demand this type of training…..nothing else will do. You cannot see behind you- so your spirit must be full and fully integrated with your body to always be "on" so that you can handle that attack on contact-in an instant." This has to do with maintained and opposing lines of intent and the conditioned bujutsu body it creates and the effect that has on a another body.
But what you are doing is simply substituting your words intended to create a concrete image of a subjective perception for HIS words intended to accomplish the same thing. I prefer to use mechanics when I do that (and some biomechanics) for similar purposes. While I don't challenge your approach, and I have nothing against it -- it is not that path of construction of HIS intent that I have taken. And "intent" is really the wrong word there. His "chosen form of expression" is closer to the mark.

And as I think we, between us, have demonstrated, "lost in translation" is not limited to Japanese or even bilingual interpretation. Conventions and systems of description can be devilishly hard to fit to one another in the same language -- so hard that even Peter has to mention the ubiquitous "IHTBF." I don't disagree, but it also has to be articulated in concept, Ueshiba clearly also felt that need. There are as many different styles of articulating, concretely, subjectively perceived realities of objectively effective actions or events, as there are styles of poetry or tales of myth, and equally a matter of often strong distinctions in taste.

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...it just means that the people who have trained in waza based methods (which is most everyone) and who tackle the translation of the work are simply flumoxed and need a decoder to understand what Ueshiba was saying.
I've been using the mode of construction that Goi suggested long before Peter related it, and written a fair bit in that mode.

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As a model for training? I would venture that there are a hundred or so men here, who by now, know exactly what Peter and I am talking about and do this type of training as a regular practice. So the concept of "set-piece" waza with non singular descriptions of body skills in use not only makes perfect sense to them, it is their preferred method of training. It makes perfect sense to them, as well.
And I have not touched on Ueshiba's exhaustive discourses which clearly and repetitively "define" the concept that both Peter and I are trying to portray here-that "the art is formless." and "Aiki is without form"
I cannot disagree. It is not without a defining shape, throughout, wherever and however you slice it, however. 理, ri or 木目mokume, 条理 jouri Waza are simply the cut revealing one dimension of grain

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We have seen where placing it in the hands of kata oriented people has gotten us. I'm up for a different take on him.
Give a man a submarine -- he may assume its a boat because nobody told him what it was really for. People who thought the waza are the art, were and always have been wrong. People who see the waza, properly used, as a way into the art, are not wrong (Budo Renshu shows that much), even if they have done it badly or with ill-advice in the premises. Even if you truly believe a better way exists. Baby & bathwater. Nothing can be all things to all people.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-20-2009 at 10:27 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-20-2009, 11:18 PM   #38
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

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Word-for-word, while conceivable for Latin and particularly Germanic-derived languages, is impossible for Japanese to English. Not only is the grammar and idiom too disparate, you run into the problem of what words to use.
The reason why I spent so much time quoting whole paragraphs of Japanese--and then breaking everything down into manageable segments, was to show how difficult it is to match Japanese and English word-for-word, or to give a translation that some would call 'literal'.

On the other hand, there is a need for something that is closer to the original than we have now.

Of course, I know that Josh is aware of this, so this is meant as a general observation, not as a response to Josh's post.

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Old 02-21-2009, 12:48 AM   #39
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

Perhaps that is the next other elephant in the room Dan -- men who are really serious about the training will need more than the techniques, more than the solo training, more than the weapon component, they will need to knuckle down and learn the language (antiquated Japanese) so they can read the words and understand the meaning of the message.

Most won't be willing to do the work that will be necessary.

(Oh, and then there is the psycho-religious technology, the next next other elephant.)

[and below that it's turtles all the way]

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Old 02-21-2009, 01:03 AM   #40
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

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I may be off-base here, but the original quote is "seeing what we do as waza-related" in contrast to "sensei-related". In other words, Professor Goldsbury doesn't see aikido as a sui generis creation of one man, whom must then be emulated (either directly or via a lineage of transmission) in order to be able to do it, but rather as a much broader set of body skills (which is another way of saying "waza") which can be learned from a broad number of disparate teachers, such as Akuzawa, Ushiro, yourself, Sigman, etc.
I think we need to be clear about the distinction between "aiki" and Aikido. Kuroda, Akuzawa, Ushiro, Mike S, Dan H, Toby Threadgill, Don Angier, etc all do arts that are based on "aiki". None of them do Aikido (although some of them have done so in the past).

The Founder gave Aikido a certain form as a foundation for training. He created a certain way of training. All this was distinct from what had gone before. In that sense Aikido was the creation of an individual, Morihei Ueshiba. While having a fair amount of room within its boarders for stylistic variation, personal approach, etc If one strays too far from the form created by the Founder it's not Aikido any more. It might be great Aiki. In fact it might be better "aiki" than what the Aikido folks are doing, but it's still not Aikido.

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Old 02-21-2009, 06:10 AM   #41
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

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Perhaps that is the next other elephant in the room Dan -- men who are really serious about the training will need more than the techniques, more than the solo training, more than the weapon component, they will need to knuckle down and learn the language (antiquated Japanese) so they can read the words and understand the meaning of the message.
Most won't be willing to do the work that will be necessary.
(Oh, and then there is the psycho-religious technology, the next next other elephant.)
Interesting and I agree.
There are however several possible permutations to that
Example: What if the reverse were true?
1. What if you have highly accomplished Aikido men who are well versed in the language, became versed in the old archaic Japanese, became versed in the concepts espoused by Ueshiba and then pursued an education of those concepts in context of the culture itself so that they would better understand Ueshiba? Then...they started to make a study of the physical concepts of aiki that Ueshiba himself explored?
I would say that would make those men poised to become a seriously authoritative voice on understanding a more complete Ueshiba, and more complete aikido and to be seriously daunting in the physical execution of their understanding.
Do these men exist?
Where are they?
What are- they- doing?

Lets consider Josh's idea
Quote:
Josh writes: Professor Goldsbury doesn't see aikido as a sui generis creation of one man, whom must then be emulated (either directly or via a lineage of transmission) in order to be able to do it, but rather as a much broader set of body skills (which is another way of saying "waza") which can be learned from a broad number of disparate teachers, such as Akuzawa, Ushiro, yourself, Sigman, etc.
Ueshiba didn't see it as sui generis either. He was pointing to a path that he believed was established. He continued to talk about what the way of aiki was, and was far less concerned with an established fixed form; 123.
The idea of Ueshiba's way of aiki goes far beyond a physical form of kata. By its nature it was meant to incorporate the mind / spirit/ /body to the point of making the practitioner a channel for the gods. He himself thought he was a channel. To that end he was very much concerned with the idea that each person had to seek out his own path to enlightenment. To make their way of aiki- their own. If you really get to the heart of this belief system it becomes impossible for there to ever be ONE AIKIDO. In fact the notion of THE ONE AIKIDO is anathema to everything Ueshiba was pointing to in the first place. It simply must be an individual focus and path or it ceases to be valid in the first place. As he said over and over "You must make it your own."

I do not believe that Ueshiba ever intended the art to be a formalized martial pursuit. Just as Judo got dragged into sport competition-much to the dismay of Kana...I wonder if Aikido got dragged into what it is today...much to the dismay of Ueshiba?
As I continue to meet teachers of the art with decades of experience they disagree with this idea of a fixed form that "is" aikido-so do I.

Be that as it may, we are concerning ourselves here with trying to understand -Ueshiba's- intentions not someone else's-not even that of his Deshi. It seems clear by Ueshiba's own directives that Aiki was formless and the the study of the way of aiki...do was to have been an expression of that mind/ body/ spiritual union. His waza demonstrated his rejection of a form, his words supported that at every turn. In fact even a reasonable study of his life and his physical actions defies any notion of a fixed form in any manner. The way is not in the form or in the forming and formalizing of them. He was actively trying to rid himself of the trap of thinking in or of forms.

This brings me back to Peter's column and my response of the Poetry and the language Ueshiba used to convey his wishes for aikido. It is well known that he stood in rooms and talked and showed things and his students were lost. Unable to grasp the concepts being discussed they many times wrote him off and just wanted to practice. I was reminded of this last week when I was teaching two aikido teachers. One of whom said to the group at break. "I have never even heard of this material before. I don't understand it, even with it being explained in plain English. I am lost."
I mention this to again highlight that it is more than probable that Ueshiba was -in fact- trying to communicate, (and it appears he was successful with some people) but that the entire model; the physical and the spiritual was so alien to the young men and other accomplished Budo men that were training with him that they were lost.
I am not surprised then to see Ueshiba write down some concepts in poetic form, so that they remained locked, inaccessible to the athletic fighters and hobbyist that were sure to come. They remained a beacon for the rare few that were like him.

Peter used the bible in several passages. I am reminded of Christ telling his followers "you are not ready to hear what I have to say." So he told them a story of a man who owned an orchard, who hired workers at dawn and agreed to pay X dollars, then hired workers at lunch but offered them the same as the workers who started at dawn, then 5 minutes before closing he offered new workers the same amount of money for 5 minutes work. When the other workers complained the owner said I made a deal with each of you and to each I kept my word. So it is with the Kingdom of heaven.." He was trying to explain grace and unmerited forgiveness handed out to each but in a culture deeply inculcated in eye for an eye and guilt. What did he use to keep his message clean? Analogies and parables-stories locked in time,
Why? Because even those who walked with him卹epeatedly asked him questions demonstrating clearly that.they didn't get it.
No I am not comparing Ueshiba to Christ. Not even close. I am using an example for communication through analogy, poetry, or parable used to "lock concepts in place" and keep them from being mucked up by followers and do gooders who corrupted the message later.
Thankfully Christ's words lived past that generation for future followers to unlock.
So did Ueshiba's.
Although some look at the thousands doing aikido and call it Ueshiba's Aikido? I have never thought that to be true. In fact I think it's glaringly obvious that it is NOT true at all.
Cheers
Dan
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:40 AM   #42
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I think we need to be clear about the distinction between "aiki" and Aikido. Kuroda, Akuzawa, Ushiro, Mike S, Dan H, Toby Threadgill, Don Angier, etc all do arts that are based on "aiki". None of them do Aikido (although some of them have done so in the past).

The Founder gave Aikido a certain form as a foundation for training. He created a certain way of training. All this was distinct from what had gone before. In that sense Aikido was the creation of an individual, Morihei Ueshiba. While having a fair amount of room within its boarders for stylistic variation, personal approach, etc If one strays too far from the form created by the Founder it's not Aikido any more. It might be great Aiki. In fact it might be better "aiki" than what the Aikido folks are doing, but it's still not Aikido.
Hi George
I don't think any of those named think they are doing aikido either. And considering the level of discourse in the thread...I think everyone here knows that.
I don't agree about there being an aikido "form" though And aiki? I and most (or maybe all I dunno) other aikido teachers who train here might argue with you all the day long whether or not the means and training methods -I-do produces aikido's "aiki" and works seemlessly in the art. But that's neither here nor there and best left for another thread or cold beer.
Dan

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Old 02-21-2009, 07:18 AM   #43
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

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[and below that it's turtles all the way]
Pecan? Or Walnut?

Dark or Milk Chocolate?

Feel free to regard this note as either a pointless digression, a wry meditation on the nature of translation, a commentary on the mental state that leads discussants (myself included) to engagement with this subject, or some yet woolier and irreducible combination of all of the above.


Best,

Fred Little

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Old 02-21-2009, 07:38 AM   #44
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

Just a quick note to add that we often overlook the fact that Morihei Ueshiba was already a grown up man when he started training with Sokaku Takeda. In 1915 he was already 32 and had participated in a war. In my opinion from very early on he had enough maturity to reflect on the meaning of his budo training, in terms of personal discovery (physical, psychological, ethical).

He also had access to a very charismatic man, Onisaburo Deguchi, which has probably helped him expand his range of expression, from purely functional technical advice to poetry, as his own researches and discoveries were getting more and more difficult to explain.

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Old 02-21-2009, 07:53 AM   #45
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

Hello Fred,

お久し振りでございます。Or, more formally, 長い御無沙汰致します。

How about the translations etc?

Best,

PAG

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Old 02-21-2009, 08:04 AM   #46
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

Hello Ludwig,

Understood, but what do you actually do, when you have to translate O Sensei's discourses into German? Do you give up, because O Sensei's Japanese is too difficult to explain / ineffable to translate? Or do you take the hint from your forbears, who translated Shakespeare into (I believe) excellent German?

Very best wishes,

PAG

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Just a quick note to add that we often overlook the fact that Morihei Ueshiba was already a grown up man when he started training with Sokaku Takeda. In 1915 he was already 32 and had participated in a war. In my opinion from very early on he had enough maturity to reflect on the meaning of his budo training, in terms of personal discovery (physical, psychological, ethical).

He also had access to a very charismatic man, Onisaburo Deguchi, which has probably helped him expand his range of expression, from purely functional technical advice to poetry, as his own researches and discoveries were getting more and more difficult to explain.

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Old 02-21-2009, 09:20 AM   #47
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

Hi Professor,

My remark was obviously not directed at you (you do a great job with your essays and I'm certain you are already aware of O Sensei's age when he wrote his different pieces), it was more a general word of caution about interpreting Kaiso's words.

I have the impression that his poetic style could easily be seen as the reflection an overly idealistic and naive vision of reality, and for that reason his writings could be dismissed by some practitioners.

Also, I simply emit the hypothesis that his chosen mode of expression is the result of, if not a consciously deliberate choice, at least of a deep maturing process.

Having translated a few articles and interviews into french for AikidoJournal, I am aware of the traditional "traduttore, tradittore" (translator/traitor) dilemma. Your present column seems to indicate the japanese language poses its own problems, especially in the case we're discussing.

Hope I made myself slightly clearer.

Best,
Ludwig

PS : my mother language is French, and my German is awful

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Old 02-21-2009, 11:16 AM   #48
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

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Hi George
I don't think any of those named think they are doing aikido either. And considering the level of discourse in the thread...I think everyone here knows that.
I don't agree about there being an aikido "form" though And aiki? I and most (or maybe all I dunno) other aikido teachers who train here might argue with you all the day long whether or not the means and training methods -I-do produces aikido's "aiki" and works seemlessly in the art. But that's neither here nor there and best left for another thread or cold beer.
Dan
Hi Dan,
I put a response up on the Training forum so this wouldn't drift.
- George

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Old 02-22-2009, 06:32 AM   #49
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

Professor Goldsbury,

What is your opinion of the following thoughts.:

.1. The illness and death of O'Sensei's father as a major influence in changing his budo(?) journey from a search for maximum martial effectiveness to an expression of his religious beliefs.

2. An ongoing change in usage and meaning of the words he used, because of the ongoing developement of his religious thoughts, as a source of confusion to his students.

David

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