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Old 11-01-2012, 06:29 PM   #1
ChrisHein
 
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When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Being a non-Japanese speaking person, I really wouldn't know where to start looking for this, but I'm very curious. When did the word "Aiki" first appear in usage in the Japanese language, and in what context?

I have seen people write that "Aiki no jutsu" appears as early as teh 12th century. I have also heard that Takeda Sokaku basically came up with the word to describe what he was doing. Are there any old records that show early usage of the word? Has it only been used to relate to martial arts?

I was speaking with a friend of mine who has a degree Chinese literature. He told me that as far as he knows, the combination of and are not common in old Chinese literature, and thinks it must be the advent of the Japanese.

Anyways, I'm interested in some scholarly answers, we have all "heard this" and "heard that" but how early can the combination of those Kana be found, in what contexts and what source's can be sited? Thanks!

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Old 11-01-2012, 09:52 PM   #2
Ellis Amdur
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Chris - the oldest extant densho of Toda-ha Buko-ryu dates back to the mid-1800's. We have a set entitled 鏁鎌合気之事 Kusarigama Aiki no Koto. It is very possible that the name is older, because this was from the 14th generation of the ryu. But it's also possible that the school was a family tradition, previously, taught by word-of-mouth, without documentation.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:06 PM   #3
David Orange
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Chris - the oldest extant densho of Toda-ha Buko-ryu dates back to the mid-1800's. We have a set entitled 鏁鎌合気之事 Kusarigama Aiki no Koto. It is very possible that the name is older, because this was from the 14th generation of the ryu. But it's also possible that the school was a family tradition, previously, taught by word-of-mouth, without documentation.
Ellis Amdur
I can't recall the source, but I read somewhere that the original usage was in a text on swordsmanship and it did not imply a superior power at all, but more like a stalemate situation.

Does that sound at all familiar?

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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Old 11-01-2012, 11:24 PM   #4
Eric in Denver
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Karl Friday's book on Kashima Shinryu "Legacies of the Sword" talks about aiki v kiai. However, I am don't remember if he states any dates in relation to it.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:37 PM   #5
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
I can't recall the source, but I read somewhere that the original usage was in a text on swordsmanship and it did not imply a superior power at all, but more like a stalemate situation.

Does that sound at all familiar?

Thanks.

David
Hi David;

From the Shishida/Nariyama book where they talk about the historical Aiki
"The examples of Aiki include: "A situation in which two people stand facing each other", "When facing an enemy, this gets to the point of Aiki, waiting and seeing how one beats the other", "It is important to avoid fighting directly with an opponent's ki"."

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:55 PM   #6
David Orange
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Hi David;

From the Shishida/Nariyama book where they talk about the historical Aiki
"The examples of Aiki include: "A situation in which two people stand facing each other", "When facing an enemy, this gets to the point of Aiki, waiting and seeing how one beats the other", "It is important to avoid fighting directly with an opponent's ki"."
This was actually from an older source. I think it was presented as the first usage of 'aiki' in a Japanese document.

Too bad I don't know where I saw that, but it was not considered a favorable situation, as I recall.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:01 AM   #7
Josh Lerner
 
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
Being a non-Japanese speaking person, I really wouldn't know where to start looking for this, but I'm very curious. When did the word "Aiki" first appear in usage in the Japanese language, and in what context?

I have seen people write that "Aiki no jutsu" appears as early as teh 12th century. I have also heard that Takeda Sokaku basically came up with the word to describe what he was doing. Are there any old records that show early usage of the word? Has it only been used to relate to martial arts?

I was speaking with a friend of mine who has a degree Chinese literature. He told me that as far as he knows, the combination of and are not common in old Chinese literature, and thinks it must be the advent of the Japanese.

Anyways, I'm interested in some scholarly answers, we have all "heard this" and "heard that" but how early can the combination of those Kana be found, in what contexts and what source's can be sited? Thanks!
Hi Chris,

I've posted this here before, and it has nothing to do with martial arts, but the earliest known useage of the compound "aiki" in Chinese that I am aware of is in early Daoist texts that use the term to refer to parts of religious rituals that involve sexual intercourse. I'm not sure on dates, but I think the term shows up in the Mawangdui texts from the 2nd century BC, or at the latest in some later Han dynasty texts from the 1st or 2nd century AD. The meaning being "to join the qi".

Many Daoist medical practices, including some sexual practices, were transmitted to Japan via a 10th century text known as the Ishinpō. I'm not sure if that exact term is in that text, though.

For What It's Worth.

Josh
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:14 AM   #8
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

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David Orange wrote: View Post
This was actually from an older source. I think it was presented as the first usage of 'aiki' in a Japanese document.

Too bad I don't know where I saw that, but it was not considered a favorable situation, as I recall.
Well they were talking about historical definitions and I think maybe they give the source or at least Shishida gave it somewhere in another article. He is a bit of a budo historian. I'll check later.

Stalemate is always an unfavorable situation but you can see how that would be called harmonized energy. I also seem to recall the caveat that the to in stalemate were masters of their art.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:22 AM   #9
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Some great examples, thanks Ellis, Peter, and Josh for some very good references.

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Old 11-02-2012, 12:58 AM   #10
David Orange
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Well they were talking about historical definitions and I think maybe they give the source or at least Shishida gave it somewhere in another article. He is a bit of a budo historian. I'll check later.

Stalemate is always an unfavorable situation but you can see how that would be called harmonized energy. I also seem to recall the caveat that the to in stalemate were masters of their art.
Better stale than dead, huh?

Currently watching Yojimbo and it's put me in that mood. What a great movie.

So you're still in Japan, are you?

Best to you.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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Old 11-02-2012, 02:24 AM   #11
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Well they were talking about historical definitions and I think maybe they give the source or at least Shishida gave it somewhere in another article. He is a bit of a budo historian. I'll check later.

Stalemate is always an unfavorable situation but you can see how that would be called harmonized energy. I also seem to recall the caveat that the to in stalemate were masters of their art.
Shishida discusses aiki on pp. 311 - 313 of his book 武道の教育力. There was an earlier discussion on aiki where I quoted the whole passage. Josh Reyer translated it.

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Old 11-02-2012, 03:11 AM   #12
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

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David Orange wrote: View Post
Better stale than dead, huh?
So true.

Quote:
Currently watching Yojimbo and it's put me in that mood. What a great movie.
Also true.

Quote:
So you're still in Japan, are you?
Not quite. Living in Shanghai and not getting back to Japan nearly enough. Just lazy in changing my profile. Actually may be making a move real soon but the other way. Work VISA is in the system.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:39 AM   #13
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Shishida discusses aiki on pp. 311 - 313 of his book 武道の教育力. There was an earlier discussion on aiki where I quoted the whole passage. Josh Reyer translated it.

PAG
And after some wonderfully inventive searching I find

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...t=18203&page=6

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:54 AM   #14
Cliff Judge
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

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Josh Lerner wrote: View Post
I've posted this here before, and it has nothing to do with martial arts, but the earliest known useage of the compound "aiki" in Chinese that I am aware of is in early Daoist texts that use the term to refer to parts of religious rituals that involve sexual intercourse.
Let me guess - to be any good at those rituals involved many many hours of intense solo training, and once you get your hands on high-ranking practitioners you realize most of them move like Tom, Dick, or Harry?
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:08 AM   #15
David Orange
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
And after some wonderfully inventive searching I find

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...t=18203&page=6
I think that's it.

Lengthy and detailed and really worthy of very careful reading because it's serious discussion among knowledgeable people, which is where I always get lost..



Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:22 AM   #16
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Let me guess - to be any good at those rituals involved many many hours of intense solo training, and once you get your hands on high-ranking practitioners you realize most of them move like Tom, Dick, or Harry?
depends on how you did solo training. some solo training help you build strength and stamina, some are just premature. and i believed Dick moved quite different than Tom and Harry. i believed Tom and Harry dropped the balls in their solo practices.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:14 AM   #17
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

But we have it from a good authority that solo training does not give you hairs on the palms of your hands.
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:11 AM   #18
Scott Harrington
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Regarding the phrase "aiki" or "aiki no jutsu" and its introduction to the vocabulary of usage in martial arts, it will certainly take someone well versed in the Japanese language to do the research.

The earliest English reference I am aware of is the 1912 book,"The Fighting spirit of Japan" by E.J. Harrison where "aiki" is mentioned several times, and associated with the Shinden Isshin ryu.

In the latest DVD by Kondo Katsuyuki, current Headmaster of the main-line Daito-ryu, he mentions the phrase "aiki" is written about in a book by Sato (kyoju-dairi) called "Japanese Spirit" which was written a few years after Sato had begun his training in Daito ryu (1902.)

There is a Japanese publication written in 1892 (and later reprints) regarding "Aiki" and various aspects of training in this esoteric martial art.

As to an even earlier reference that can be documented of "aiki no jutsu", it pops up in a semi-novelization of the famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi in 1887. The kanji for "ki" is an out-dated one - 氣.

So, the term "aiki" and its understanding in a martial way were already mainstreamed by the late 1880's.

On a personal note, I am not a believer that Onisaburo Deguchi convinced Takeda Sokaku or Ueshiba Morihei to add the term "Aiki to the Daito-ryu jujutsu name. Further research is needed.

Scott Harrington
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:18 AM   #19
Cliff Judge
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

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Scott Harrington wrote: View Post
As to an even earlier reference that can be documented of "aiki no jutsu", it pops up in a semi-novelization of the famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi in 1887. The kanji for "ki" is an out-dated one - 氣.
It might be good to clarify that "out-dated" in this case simply means they simplified the character when they standardized the kanji in the 20th century. That's the "real" character for ki, there, its not like an alternate, or something that might have some other reading.
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:47 AM   #20
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Good point Cliff, the turn of the century kanji (19th to 20th) were much more 'difficult' and chinese-like, making documents 60 to 70 years hard for current native reader - not impossible, just 'difficult.'

Another phrase pops up - 合氣術 which translates as "Aiki technique or skill." This is a 1920 reference.

Scott Harrington

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Old 11-02-2012, 01:06 PM   #21
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Thanks for all the references, I've got some afternoon reading now!

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Old 11-02-2012, 01:29 PM   #22
Janet Rosen
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Re: When did the word "Aiki" first appear?

Love Aikiweb!

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