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Old 07-21-2011, 01:41 PM   #51
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Re: kamae problem

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Szczepan,
A picture they say is worth a thousand words.Go to You Tube. Key in Biran on line. View the many vids there. Cheers, Joe.
Hello Joe,
Looks like you can't find right answer? or may be it is a next example of humor from England?

cheers

Nagababa

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Old 07-21-2011, 02:09 PM   #52
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Re: kamae problem

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Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Hello Joe,
Looks like you can't find right answer? or may be it is a next example of humor from England?

cheers
Dear Szczepan,
Maybe you should look closer?Anyway on the question of Kamae in the book Budo -teachings of the Founder of Aikido[Kodansha Press] on page39 on the question of Stance under notes. I quote. "During practice be ever mindful of your opponents stance and his relative distance:Assume accordingly a left or right stance.When the movement ends , it is essential that your feet should always be open at a 60 degree angle.If you face your opponents full of openings you will be at a great disadvantage.'' Un quote.
There are more comments on posture on this page39. Hope this helps, Cheers, Joe.
By the way I am a Scotsman , so I never tell English jokes!!
Cheers, Joe.
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:28 PM   #53
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Re: kamae problem

Kamae is an interesting issue for Aikido folks. I think we can basically talk about Kamae from three different standpoints. They are health, speed, and stability. As far as I am concerned, all three factors need to be considered.

Some of the "old style" kamae involve twisting of the foot to angles which any foot doctor will tell you is unhealthy for the knees. Stable, yes, but not healthy. So, I won't do that.

Some sword styles were designed to be done with armor. Their kamae tended to emphasize stable, balance movement because if you weren't stable, the weight of the armor alone could throw you off balance. Aikido folks don't tend to use these kamae except infrequently as movement is the hallmark of Aikido.

Some of the martial arts like kendo emphasize forward movement to the exclusion of everything else. So their kamae is designed for explosive forward movement and nothing else, not even stopping. Speed is the only real factor. Hips square, feet both forward.

Without getting into the many slight variations of Aikido hanmi, they all see to have some version of the front foot either straight forward or even turned out with the back foot ranging from 45 degrees to 90 degrees. I have see it all, and each teacher was fairly emphatic about about the "rightness" of the way they do it.

I would say that the practitioner shouldn't take much on simple faith. First look at the folks doing it as instructed... are they fast, are they slow, are they stable, or do they tip over easily? Aikido requires a stable platform that can be moved in an instant. It must be balanced and it must have the capacity for explosive movement without sacrificing stability.

I see very few folks who see to have worked this out. Folks tend to have either smooth movement or lots of stability. Each has issues. For the most part, Aikido folks are slow as molasses. Compared to other martial arts we move at slow speed. this is especially true of our weapons work but it is also true in our empty hand. We get very good at handling attacks from folks who can't move with both speed and power. It makes taking ones practice to a real high level almost impossible.

Rather than slavishly imitate another teacher's kamae, I would say really investigate what works for you. Find a stance that is stable, have folks push and pull from different angles and see if you really have a ground path. That's your platform for doing all your waza so it has to start there.

Then see if you can move quickly from that position without telegraphing your intentions with any preparatory movements. Can you simply move when required without extra weight shifts or loading movements? Most Aikido folks can't and it makes reading what you are about to do really easy for any experienced martial artist.

When you do move, do you have the kind of speed that would allow you to strike someone who didn't want to be struck? Otherwise, most of the practice is basically ersatz, with strikes that are wishful thinking rather than real.

If you look at how most Aikido folks stand, they are like a car at a drag race that is at the start but has the car in neutral. When the light turns green, the have to pushing the clutch, put the gear in gear, release the clutch, etc. The other guy is already down the course.

If your kamae is right for you, it should be possible to release your movement simply by picking up a foot, with no extra weight shifts or movements required. Pick up the front foot and you are exploding forward, pick up the back foot and you are zoning out. The whole body should be moving as a unit. Ideally, you should be able to move forward explosively and stop in an instant perfectly relaxed and capable of moving in any new direction as required. Weapons forms especially emphasize this principle but not many folks talk about it. Usually, the work is so slow you are not forced to really figure it out.

Anyway, I would investigate this issue for yourself and find what really works for you and is healthy as well. There is a lot of stuff out there that is, according to this or that style, quite correct, but really doesn't work from the standpoint of the three considerations mentioned.

Personally, I had to spend a lot of time on this myself because I was always so big. I am the super tanker guy. If I do not move efficiently I would be so slow as to make much of what needs to be done impossible. Even before I lost my weight, I was able to occasionally actually get my teacher when we did sword. It took me a lot of years to get to that point but it was the constant attempt to do so that made me figure out how to move and stand efficiently for me. Whether it's any more than generally applicable to someone else's body type, I think has to be answered my the practitioner himself.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:02 PM   #54
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Re: kamae problem

Thank you George. That explanation was very helpful and made perfect sense to me.
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:46 PM   #55
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Re: kamae problem

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Szczepan,
Maybe you should look closer?Anyway on the question of Kamae in the book Budo -teachings of the Founder of Aikido[Kodansha Press] on page39 on the question of Stance under notes. I quote. "During practice be ever mindful of your opponents stance and his relative distance:Assume accordingly a left or right stance.When the movement ends , it is essential that your feet should always be open at a 60 degree angle.If you face your opponents full of openings you will be at a great disadvantage.'' Un quote.
There are more comments on posture on this page39. Hope this helps, Cheers, Joe.
By the way I am a Scotsman , so I never tell English jokes!!
Cheers, Joe.
The translation is, IMO, not quite right in some ways - incomplete in others. I would recommend that you go back and check the original Japanese if you're really interested in what the Founder said and meant.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-22-2011, 12:55 AM   #56
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Re: kamae problem

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
The translation is, IMO, not quite right in some ways - incomplete in others. I would recommend that you go back and check the original Japanese if you're really interested in what the Founder said and meant.

Best,

Chris
Dear Chris,
I do not have the Japanese original.Would you be so kind to translate the original and post it?
Cheers, Joe
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:24 AM   #57
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Re: kamae problem

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Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Chris,
I do not have the Japanese original.Would you be so kind to translate the original and post it?
Cheers, Joe
That turn's into a longish discussion. For example, at one point Ueshiba says "At the end of each movement always open your legs in 6 directions."

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-22-2011, 06:57 AM   #58
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Re: kamae problem

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
That turn's into a longish discussion. For example, at one point Ueshiba says "At the end of each movement always open your legs in 6 directions."

Best,

Chris
Go ahead Chris, it looks fascinating. Please take 5 minutes and translate!

Nagababa

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Old 07-22-2011, 08:00 AM   #59
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Re: kamae problem

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
That turn's into a longish discussion. For example, at one point Ueshiba says "At the end of each movement always open your legs in 6 directions."

Best,

Chris
Dear Chris,
Maybe O Sensei thought he was training Spiderman??
Cheers, Joe
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Old 07-22-2011, 05:44 PM   #60
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Re: kamae problem

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
That turn's into a longish discussion. For example, at one point Ueshiba says "At the end of each movement always open your legs in 6 directions."
WOW. I really hope this is not the sentence that was translated as 60 degrees. In case anyone is missing it this sounds like an example of Ueshiba talking about "internal" something or other. But I don't want to add noise to the discussion.
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Old 07-22-2011, 07:06 PM   #61
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Re: kamae problem

Anybody got opinions about where to go to find more reliable translations of O-Sensei's stuff?
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Old 07-22-2011, 07:10 PM   #62
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Re: kamae problem

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Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Anybody got opinions about where to go to find more reliable translations of O-Sensei's stuff?
Yeah. The original translations. Ha ha.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-22-2011, 07:54 PM   #63
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Re: kamae problem

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Anybody got opinions about where to go to find more reliable translations of O-Sensei's stuff?
[/quote]To stop the partner's Ki before they begin to move and then to direct their movement is not Aiki. Leaving our partners Ki to itself, we take the Stance of Truth; the Posture of Love, the Stance of the Power of the Compassion of Avalokiteshvara,-- Absolute Non-resistance. With this as central to our intense training, developing our inherent spirituality, together with a unified body/mind, and coming to know the very origin of the universe, Aiki begins.

O-Sensei[quote]

Do you mean like this Hugh?

Regards.G.
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:04 PM   #64
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Re: kamae problem

George, thank you for that long post. It has me recognizing some deficiencies in my training to start working on.

Janet Rosen
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:41 AM   #65
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Re: kamae problem

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Anybody got opinions about where to go to find more reliable translations of O-Sensei's stuff?
I think you will find that Prof Stevens has pretty well cornered the market. Apart from translations made by Stan Pranin for Aiki News / Aikido Journal, and the Bieris for the bilingual edition of Budo Renshu, there is nothing else (in English, that is: there might well be translations in French and German).

Thus, if there are any who are dissatisfied with the translations of Prof Stevens, they have little choice but to do the spadework themselves and make their own, as I believe your own teacher has done, and as I have done for my own Aikiweb columns.

Anyway, the Japanese text of the passage quoted by Joe Curran in an earlier post (#52) has never been published. So, in accordance with Chris Li's suggestion in Post #55, here is the text, transcribed exactly as it appears on Page 9 of the 『武道 』 manual (the only difference being that my computer's dictionary, and Jun's too, does not include the older ways of writing some Chinese characters):

--------------------
第二 準 備 動 作

(一)構

氣勢ニヲ充實シ足ヲ六方ニ開キ半身入身合氣ノ姿勢ヲ以テ敵ニ對ス(第一圖)

總テ構ハ時、位置、土地ノ高低、其ノ時ノ勢等ニ因リ惟神ニ起ルモノニシテ常ニ構ハ心ニアルモノトス

足ノ踏ミ方ニハ外六方、内六方及外巴、内巴アリ練習ノ際ニ傅授ス

注意

練習ノ際シテハ敵ノ構、敵トノ間合ヲ考ヘ左或ハ右ノ構ヲ用フ動作ノ終リシ時兩足ハ常ニ六方ニ開キアル如ク練磨スル要ス

敵ニ正對スルハ隙多キヲ以テ不利トス
--------------------

The translation by Prof Stevens appears on p. 39, as Mr Curran has stated, but I am surprised that no one has mentioned the commentary on the Budo manual published by Stan Pranin. The discussion of the Japanese text quoted above occurs on pp. 34 and 35 and includes another photograph of Morihei Ueshiba.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 07-23-2011 at 12:50 AM.

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Old 07-23-2011, 01:38 PM   #66
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Re: kamae problem

Thanks to Prof G, Joe, and Chris. I was not taking this thread seriously at first and thought that Josh Reyer summed it up well. And now here we are talking about one of the most important issues in international aikido-- accurate translation of the founder.

I saw Stan Pranin's comment on the origin of written works here. (scoll down to comments) But I have not ordered that book yet. So, I hope the passage we are discussing is of known "authentic" origin. I'd better get that book!

I have only some low-level educational background in Japanese and some meager kanji skills from Chinese class. So you can be sure my main contribution to a conversation like this will be questions, not answers. So I'll throw them out there:

1. Did they not use hiragana in the old days?
2. I am ready to be shocked and apalled at the "60 degrees" translation. Am I right that 角 kaku would be used for degrees? It looks to me that one should "open the two legs to 6 directions," as Chris said.
3. What does 常 mean in the 2nd to last line (足ハ常ニ六方ニ開キアル)? Is it something like the 6-direction opening of the legs is maintained throughout?
4. Should people like me settle down and wait on this? The passage talks about 6 directions all through it (though I don't know what it is saying) and mentions internal and external 6 directions. This is so rich and interesting, is it true there are no people already working to publish new translations of passages like this? I know Stan Pranin wanted to do all of the Takemusu Aiki lectures but was stopped at 4. Are there copyright issues fighting against new translations?
Thanks all!
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:43 PM   #67
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Re: kamae problem

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
the Stance of the Power of the Compassion of Avalokiteshvara
Hi Graham, where does that translation come from? And do you know anything about the original Japanese text, such as, what name might have been used that was translated as Avalokiteshvara? Thanks!
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Old 07-23-2011, 02:33 PM   #68
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Re: kamae problem

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
Hi Graham, where does that translation come from? And do you know anything about the original Japanese text, such as, what name might have been used that was translated as Avalokiteshvara? Thanks!
Hi Jonathan.
O'Sensei often referred to the kamae of love. Thus I assume that a Buddha of compassion could also be used.

Anyway, in answer to your question on original Japanese text, no I don't have that academic knowledge. I can refer you to source though and you can if you want to get in touch with him and he will answer your queries no doubt. He actually trained with O'Sensei.

I'll send you the link in a private message.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-23-2011, 02:44 PM   #69
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Re: kamae problem

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I think you will find that Prof Stevens has pretty well cornered the market. Apart from translations made by Stan Pranin for Aiki News / Aikido Journal, and the Bieris for the bilingual edition of Budo Renshu, there is nothing else (in English, that is: there might well be translations in French and German).
Thanks much. <Scurries off to hunt up sources.>
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Old 07-23-2011, 06:17 PM   #70
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Re: kamae problem

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
I was not taking this thread seriously at first and thought that Josh Reyer summed it up well. And now here we are talking about one of the most important issues in international aikido-- accurate translation of the founder.

I saw Stan Pranin's comment on the origin of written works here. (scoll down to comments) But I have not ordered that book yet. So, I hope the passage we are discussing is of known "authentic" origin. I'd better get that book!
Hello Jonathan,

If you look at Stan Pranin's Aikido Journal website and scroll down to the blog for July 21, you will see a still shot of Saito Morihiro holding a book. The book is entitled 武道 Budo and is the book from which the Japanese text was taken in my earlier post. My own copy is dated June, Showa 13 (1938) and signed Ueshiba Moritaka. The provenance of this book has been discussed by Stan extensively. It is of interest to note that the much maligned Kisshomaru is uke in many of the photographs that are included with the Japanese text.

Best wiishes

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 07-23-2011 at 06:23 PM.

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Old 07-23-2011, 06:35 PM   #71
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Re: kamae problem

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
1. Did they not use hiragana in the old days?
They did, but things weren't as standardized as they are now. Hiragana was associated with flowery, "beautiful" writing, often used when kanji were written in a flowing script such as gyousho or sousho, or even without kanji at all. It was also thus still associated with "women's" writing. Katakana, OTOH, was often used when one was writing "print" style, for clear, easy to read characters, and more pragmatic matter of fact content. See, for example, Tanizaki Jun'ichiro's novel, "The Key", which is written in epistolary format representing the respective diaries of a husband and wife. The husband writes his diary in kanji and katakana, while the wife write's hers purely in hiragana.

Quote:
2. I am ready to be shocked and apalled at the "60 degrees" translation. Am I right that 角 kaku would be used for degrees? It looks to me that one should "open the two legs to 6 directions," as Chris said.
No, "degrees" is written with 度. 角 represents angles/corners. Thus 四角 - four corners = square. 三角 - three angles = triangle.

Quote:
3. What does 常 mean in the 2nd to last line (足ハ常ニ六方ニ開キアル)? Is it something like the 6-direction opening of the legs is maintained throughout?
常に - tsune ni - means "always, ever".

Quote:
4. Should people like me settle down and wait on this? The passage talks about 6 directions all through it (though I don't know what it is saying) and mentions internal and external 6 directions. This is so rich and interesting, is it true there are no people already working to publish new translations of passages like this? I know Stan Pranin wanted to do all of the Takemusu Aiki lectures but was stopped at 4. Are there copyright issues fighting against new translations?
Thanks all!
Well, in the Special "Budo" edition of Saito Morihiro's "Takemusu Aikido" series, is not a complete translation of the original book, but rather Saito's commentary on the original book, with only a few passages used verbatim. However, the use of "roppou" does come up there, and is interpreted by Saito (and Mr. Pranin) as "hanmi", suggesting that the term "hanmi" was not used by Ueshiba at that time, and that "roppou" was borrowed from kabuki.

Josh Reyer

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Old 07-23-2011, 10:27 PM   #72
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Circle Re: kamae problem

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
4. Should people like me settle down and wait on this? The passage talks about 6 directions all through it (though I don't know what it is saying) and mentions internal and external 6 directions. This is so rich and interesting, is it true there are no people already working to publish new translations of passages like this? I know Stan Pranin wanted to do all of the Takemusu Aiki lectures but was stopped at 4. Are there copyright issues fighting against new translations?
Thanks all!
I think you should prepare for a long wait. I have never checked, but I have a hunch that the number of people in Japan who have actually read the published output of Morihei Ueshiba in Japanese is very small. (The Japanese who have come to my house and looked at my own Japanese aikido library have been somewhat surprised and there is usually a rueful confession that, no, they have not actually read Ueshiba's published writings, with the explanation that they are 'difficult'.) The number of people outside Japan must be miniscule.

The publishing firm Kodansha has a long connection with the Ueshiba family and so it was fitting that Kodansha International published the translations of Morihei Ueshiba's writings that have appeared to date. However, Kodansha International is largely a publisher of illustrated coffee-table books on Japan--and in any case is no more. They did not publish academic books and a scholarly edition of Ueshiba's writings, which is what I think is necessary, would not have been profitable. So the translations, or interpretations, of John Stevens fill a niche in the market. They do give some indication of what Ueshiba stated, even meant, but omit the background and anything that could be regarded as 'difficult'. (I have corresponded with the editor at Kodansha, by the way, and so I speak from some experience.)

In any case, there are those who believe that the translations of Prof Stevens do indeed reveal the 'essence' of Morihei Ueshiba's thinking (hence the popularity of selections like Perpetual Peace). As I stated, Stevens caters for a niche in the market.

Best wishes,

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Old 07-23-2011, 11:59 PM   #73
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Re: kamae problem

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
In any case, there are those who believe that the translations of Prof Stevens do indeed reveal the 'essence' of Morihei Ueshiba's thinking (hence the popularity of selections like Perpetual Peace). As I stated, Stevens caters for a niche in the market.

Best wishes,
EDIT.
I mistook the title, which is The Art of Peace. The vast majority of the reviews on Amazon.com are very favorable. Only one or two disparage the waste of paper and compare the work unfavorably with The Art of War.

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Old 07-24-2011, 01:16 AM   #74
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Re: kamae problem

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
They did, but things weren't as standardized as they are now. Hiragana was associated with flowery, "beautiful" writing, often used when kanji were written in a flowing script such as gyousho or sousho, or even without kanji at all. It was also thus still associated with "women's" writing. Katakana, OTOH, was often used when one was writing "print" style, for clear, easy to read characters, and more pragmatic matter of fact content. See, for example, Tanizaki Jun'ichiro's novel, "The Key", which is written in epistolary format representing the respective diaries of a husband and wife. The husband writes his diary in kanji and katakana, while the wife write's hers purely in hiragana.

No, "degrees" is written with 度. �' represents angles/corners. Thus 四�' - four corners = square. 三�' - three angles = triangle.

常に - tsune ni - means "always, ever".

Well, in the Special "Budo" edition of Saito Morihiro's "Takemusu Aikido" series, is not a complete translation of the original book, but rather Saito's commentary on the original book, with only a few passages used verbatim. However, the use of "roppou" does come up there, and is interpreted by Saito (and Mr. Pranin) as "hanmi", suggesting that the term "hanmi" was not used by Ueshiba at that time, and that "roppou" was borrowed from kabuki.
Sure, what Josh says. I'll put up a translation, but it may take a while, I'm playing with Mike Sigman this week and with Takeshi Yamashima next week. Of course, Josh could do it (hint) .

When I look at the special edition of Budo it seems to me that the English translation, and even much of the Japanese commentary has a few problems. For example, in the section on suwariwaza kokyu-ho on page 154 Ueshiba's original Japanese reads "Always turn both palms inward, put strength/power ("chikara") into your fingertips, focus your intent and push down the enemy with the feeling of swinging a sword."

Saito's Japanese got the "strength/power in your fingertips" right, but the English translation reads "put ki energy into your fingertips", although both Japanese texts use "chikara", not "ki". Also, both Saito's Japanese and the English translation omit "focus your intent" part which seems, to me, an essential element - if not the essential element.

As far as kamae, both Saito's commentary and the English translation represent "always open your legs in six directions" as an archaic way of saying "hanmi", but I have my doubts, especially given the other problems in the other translations.

Best,

Chris

Last edited by Chris Li : 07-24-2011 at 01:19 AM.

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Old 07-24-2011, 01:29 AM   #75
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: kamae problem

Hello Chris,

Do you have the Japanese text of Budo? There is quite a lot missing from the explanation on p. 154 of the Saito volume.

Best wishes,

PAG

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