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Old 01-04-2013, 12:31 PM   #1
RonRagusa
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Re: Shiro Omiya Shihan on "Aiki"

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I'd note that nobody has argued against the validity or utility of moving around, evading, jumping, dodging or any related action as a martial tactic. If you watch Shirata (the source of that "immovable body" quote) you'll notice that he moves about quite a bit.

The difference of opinion comes as to what the definition of "Aiki" is - saying that "Aiki" isn't evasion doesn't mean that evasion is wrong, or even inadvisable. Donuts aren't "Aiki" either, but where would my day be without them?

To the people who think that all definitions of "Aiki" out to be accepted, that it's all good, what if I said something like "I was walking down the street and I turned to a teenager who was annoying me, kicked him in the nuts and broke both his arms, what wonderful Aiki!". Wouldn't you feel obligated to say something?

Best,

Chris
"When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki. In other words, you give him freedom." - Morihei Ueshiba

So is he wrong then?

Ron

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Old 01-04-2013, 12:34 PM   #2
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Re: Shiro Omiya Shihan on "Aiki"

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
"When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki. In other words, you give him freedom." - Morihei Ueshiba

So is he wrong then?

Ron
I think that both Greg and Carsten addressed this point on another thread. No, I don't think he's wrong - but I think that a lot of people are misunderstanding what he's saying, and that if you look at this example of Aiki in the light of the body of his comments on Aiki that becomes fairly clear.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-05-2013, 07:57 AM   #3
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Re: Shiro Omiya Shihan on "Aiki"

Chris Li wrote:

Quote:
I think that both Greg and Carsten addressed this point on another thread. No, I don't think he's wrong - but I think that a lot of people are misunderstanding what he's saying, and that if you look at this example of Aiki in the light of the body of his comments on Aiki that becomes fairly clear.
Let's look at the quote again:

"When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki. In other words, you give him freedom." - Morihei Ueshiba

Now let's look at the quote in light of the 1935 film of Ueshiba demonstrating:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98yRuBkUBGQ

In the film he can clearly be seen evading attacks and exercising little or no overt control of his ukes' movements. Ueshiba, in the quote calls this Aiki and in the film demonstrates it. The problem with applying interpretations to someone's words is that interpretations are subjective opinions of what is being stated. But here we have Ueshiba saying, "When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki." backed up by visual evidence of him supporting his own statement.

Ron

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Old 01-05-2013, 09:17 AM   #4
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Re: Shiro Omiya Shihan on "Aiki"

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
"When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki. In other words, you give him freedom." - Morihei Ueshiba
Curious -- does anyone have the original Japanese for the above quote and where I can read its context?

-- Jun

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Old 01-05-2013, 09:53 AM   #5
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Re: Shiro Omiya Shihan on "Aiki"

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Jun Akiyama wrote: View Post
Curious -- does anyone have the original Japanese for the above quote and where I can read its context?

-- Jun
I've seen it online somewhere, but I can't remember offline. I remember the translation as being fairly straight forward.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-05-2013, 09:58 AM   #6
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Re: Shiro Omiya Shihan on "Aiki"

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Chris Li wrote:

Let's look at the quote again:

"When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki. In other words, you give him freedom." - Morihei Ueshiba

Now let's look at the quote in light of the 1935 film of Ueshiba demonstrating:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98yRuBkUBGQ

In the film he can clearly be seen evading attacks and exercising little or no overt control of his ukes' movements. Ueshiba, in the quote calls this Aiki and in the film demonstrates it. The problem with applying interpretations to someone's words is that interpretations are subjective opinions of what is being stated. But here we have Ueshiba saying, "When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki." backed up by visual evidence of him supporting his own statement.

Ron
1) You're conflating a much earlier film with an interview done more than 20 years later in a different context. Nothing wrong with evading, but that doesn't mean that it's the same thing that he's talking about 20 years later in a different context. This is very different than if he had made a specific video demonstration in the context of the interview.
2) You're ignoring Greg and Carsten's comments on the subject.
3) You're ignoring a large body of discussion by Morihei Ueshiba in which he talks about "Aiki" in context in favor of a single out of context comment in an interview meant for popular consumption.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-05-2013, 10:20 AM   #7
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Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

Another data point, interview with Gozo Shioda ( http://members.aikidojournal.com/pri...h-gozo-shioda/ )

Quote:
Q. Did Ueshiba Sensei give names to techniques when he was teaching before the war?
A. He used the term irimi. He said that sokumen irimi and shomen irimi were also kinds of irimi. He would also say things like, "Irimi is the essence of aiki." Certainly other martial arts such as judo do not have iriminage. Maybe he used the names of techniques he was taught by Sokaku Takeda.

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Old 01-05-2013, 10:34 AM   #8
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Re: Shiro Omiya Shihan on "Aiki"

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
1) You're conflating a much earlier film with an interview done more than 20 years later in a different context. Nothing wrong with evading, but that doesn't mean that it's the same thing that he's talking about 20 years later in a different context. This is very different than if he had made a specific video demonstration in the context of the interview.
2) You're ignoring Greg and Carsten's comments on the subject.
3) You're ignoring a large body of discussion by Morihei Ueshiba in which he talks about "Aiki" in context in favor of a single out of context comment in an interview meant for popular consumption.

Best,

Chris
Chris, you can look at any of Ueshiba's clips on Youtube regardless of the era and see the same thing. He demonstrates a clear pattern in his movements that fully support the statement, regardless of how you choose to interpret his words. I chose the 1935 video precisely because he is doing prewar Aikido and in fact it looks pretty much the same as what Mark Murray refers to Modern Aikido.

Examples:

First, lots of leading, blending and very little overt control:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxxb2ctulEs

Here's one where he demonstrates a more power oriented Aiki:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoDK3XuvZWw

This one contains both aspects of Aiki:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkRbVdmTmIA

You seem to be of the opinion that what I call two sides of the same Aiki coin cannot both be Aiki, or composite parts of the totality of Aiki. I don't see it that way and based on what I can see Ueshiba doing and reading from what you say is a pretty straightforward translation of his own words, I don't think he did either.

Ron

Last edited by RonRagusa : 01-05-2013 at 10:38 AM.

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Old 01-05-2013, 10:47 AM   #9
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Re: Shiro Omiya Shihan on "Aiki"

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Chris, you can look at any of Ueshiba's clips on Youtube regardless of the era and see the same thing. He demonstrates a clear pattern in his movements that fully support the statement, regardless of how you choose to interpret his words. I chose the 1935 video precisely because he is doing prewar Aikido and in fact it looks pretty much the same as what Mark Murray refers to Modern Aikido.

Examples:

First, lots of leading, blending and very little overt control:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxxb2ctulEs

Here's one where he demonstrates a more power oriented Aiki:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoDK3XuvZWw

This one contains both aspects of Aiki:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkRbVdmTmIA

You seem to be of the opinion that what I call two sides of the same Aiki coin are mutually exclusive rather than complimentary. I don't see it that way and based on what I can see Ueshiba doing and reading from what you say is a pretty straightforward translation of his own words, I don't think he did either.

Ron
Again, I don't deny that he moved around, led, blended or whatever - I'm saying that he didn't call it Aiki. That's not based on a single quote from an interview designed for popular consumption. That's based on a body of written work.

There's nothing wrong with any of the things you're talking about, but just because Ueshiba shows something in a film doesn't mean that it's "Aiki" (or rather, it doesn't mean that what you're pointing out in the film is "Aiki"). Not everything is "Aiki". Even if Ueshiba does it.

I never said anything was mutually exclusive. I'm talking about the meaning of a particular term. Because people have not been clear about what "Aiki" means there has been an increasing tendency to characterize anything "Aikido-like" as "Aiki", which is just fine - but that doesn't mean that Ueshiba used it the same way.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-05-2013, 10:49 AM   #10
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Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

Another data point, Interview with Noriaki Inoue ( http://members.aikidojournal.com/pri...riaki-inoue-2/ )

Quote:
Q. Would you talk about the name change from Daito-ryu aiki Jujutsu to Aiki Budo?
A. It was Onisaburo Deguchi Sensei who gave me the name "Aiki Budo". He said that "Daito-ryu Jujutsu" was not the right name for the art. He called Ueshiba Sensei and told him to stop calling it "Daito-ryu Jujutsu" and suggested that he should call it "aiki" instead. Ueshiba Sensei, in the beginning, was very hesitant to use the name "aiki" but later agreed. Later, I began to call the art "Aiki Budo". Until then it was called "Kobu Budo". Although Ueshiba Sensei said that "aiki is love", that is absurd. It is not that small. "A" is the voice of heaven. "liii" is ki. "Aaa" and "iki" are continuously in movement.
Since I had a sort of a father-child relationship with Ueshiba Sensei, I spoke clearly to him. I explained to him why we had to call the art "Aiki Budo" and suggested that he stop calling it "Kobu Budo." I said that if he continued calling it Kobu Budo, the art would certainly be destroyed sometime in the future and at that time he would return to the name "aiki". As I expected, the name became aiki after we lost the war. Ueshiba visited me at my home and said: "Looking at the way things have turned out the name ‘Kobu' is not appropriate so I have decided to use the name ‘aiki'. The art is now called ‘aikido'." I replied in the following manner: "Oh, I see. You aren't adding the name "Budo" as well?" At that time I was teaching my art as "Aiki Budo".

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Old 01-05-2013, 11:37 AM   #11
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Re: Shiro Omiya Shihan on "Aiki"

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I'm saying that he didn't call it Aiki.
And yet, in his own words, he did. I'll bow out now, as our positions have been clearly stated, and leave it to others to form their own opinions. Thanks Chris.

Ron

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Old 01-05-2013, 11:39 AM   #12
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Re: Shiro Omiya Shihan on "Aiki"

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I'm talking about the meaning of a particular term. Because people have not been clear about what "Aiki" means there has been an increasing tendency to characterize anything "Aikido-like" as "Aiki", which is just fine - but that doesn't mean that Ueshiba used it the same way.

Best,

Chris
So could you be clear and concise about how you believe Ueshiba used the term, "Aiki"?

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Old 01-05-2013, 02:08 PM   #13
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Re: Shiro Omiya Shihan on "Aiki"

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
So could you be clear and concise about how you believe Ueshiba used the term, "Aiki"?
Chris, I've already posted about it.

Ron's right, we're going around in circles, and I'm out too.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-05-2013, 02:10 PM   #14
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Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

Hmh....I thought you were very interested in this subject.

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Old 01-06-2013, 11:15 AM   #15
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Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

It seems to me that in order to have this discussion, we have to separate out the various hypotheses on the table. As I see it:

0) The null hypothesis--O-Sensei didn't use aiki in any specialized way, but just meant general good budo movement. Any attempt to find a more precise definition in his words is hopeless.

1) The inverse--O-Sensei used aiki to mean blending, matching your partner's attack, leading his momentum, pull when pushed/push when pulled.

2) O-Sensei used the term for a specific set of body skills with known concepts, langauge, and history. But especially post-war, as he looked to popularizing the art, he generalized the word to include peace, love, nonviolence and other good things.

3) O-Sensei used the term for a specific set of body skills and never stopped using it that way. But when he was talking to a general audience, especially after the war, he often spoke metaphorically. So "Aiki is love" should be understoold in the same way as "budo is love"--a metaphorical statement pointing to a larger truth, not intended to be taken literally.

In order to distinguish 2 and 3, we need to know the context and the date of any statement by O-Sensei so we can understand whether he was already looking forward to the popularization of the art, and so we can understand if he was speaking to the general public or to students who knew his method and could understand more technical explanations. For others using the term, we have similar questions--when did they say it, where did they learn about it, and how far along in his own development was the person who taught them the term?

Speaking off the cuff, because I'm travelling and don't have materials with me, I can't think of anything that contradicts 3. But I'm open to hearing otherwise.

Re Ron's video clips, you've made the point that O-Sensei also used momentum, evading, and leading uke. (Though in a lot of those clips there's more than that going on there. Look at how O-Sensei moves his body into uke, even when he appears to be moving uke around himself.)

But a quick scan through the same tape shows O-Sensei not evading at all--look at any of the ikkyu throws for a quick example. So that doesn't really help us figure out how O-Sensei used the term.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:35 PM   #16
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

Hugh - One thing you didn't include:

That Ueshiba included all of these definitions and more, not as an amalgam, but in the same way that light is both a particle and a wave, depending on the viewpoint of the observer. I truly do not think that Ueshiba had a public definition of aiki and a "real" one - they were all his definitions, and to him, all true. That is why, I think, people who wish to do so-called "O-sensei's aikido," while also studying IP/IS have more difficulty than someone studying a martial art that takes a technological approach. A lot of these arguments really come down to an insistence that one's preferred definition of aiki is correct. That there would be a single rather specific definition is almost surely true in most other martial arts that do internal training (although I once had a t'ai chi guy in Taiwan go into a screaming rage at me when he heard I did xingyi, because, he screamed, xingyi was too aggressive).
But what those in these arguments seem to have difficulty with is that Ueshiba himself gave equal valence to all possible definitions. Again - because I'm sure this will be misinterpreted by someone - that light is both wave and particle in nature does not mean that it is" half wave" and "half particle." Nor is it "both." It is, simultaneously, 100% each. Similarly, that "aiki is love" or "aiki is blending with the energy of one's attacker" or as Andrew Prochnow so elegantly put it, "Aiki is the result of one training their own body to be in unision with itself. Structure gives the Aiki a clear pathway to follow. Relaxation enables Aiki to travel through that structure. Intent is what fuels the Aiki in the body. When one comes into contact with one who has trained their body. Aiki is what is seen when the two meet," or even more definitions that surely the assiduous could find when researching Ueshiba's quotes and films, are all Ueshiba's aiki. In my opinion, if one wants to do aikido, one has to have the courage of not having such strong convictions - except that studying Ueshiba requires an acceptance of paradox.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 01-06-2013, 12:48 PM   #17
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Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
It seems to me that in order to have this discussion, we have to ...
Read everything on Aikido Journal - particularly the interviews of deshi pre/post war, read all of Peter Goldsbury columns, read Chris Li interpretations, find everything the founder ever published, said, was heard to say and the interpretations of first handers that were present. This is the baseline.

For those of us unable to read the original documents we have to rely on the translations of others (see PG columns for things to be aware of in this effort). We must also be cognizant that some interpretations and recollections are 'colored' by the times and context of the interview. In addition it may well be that the choice of terms used by the founder was purposely to obfuscate or overly generalize to address a wider audience (even those not actually practicing aikido) in order to spread the principles

Be aware that there are documents that are not publicly available. The founders library at Iwama sat untouched for many years (anyone that has seen that collection can comment on the size of the contents for reference). I only have third hand info but to say the room was packed would be not an exaggeration.

For my own bias I place extra weight on the story and implications surrounding the demonstration in from of the emperor and contrast that with most every other public demonstration - the difference is quite informative IMO.

Also vexing to me is the Kano Jigoro comment to the effect "that is real judo" contrated when finding comments like "that is the founders aiki" - all is not as it seems at first, second or even third glance and even concentrated effort is difficult.

The moral of the story seems to be that if one is not responsible for ones legacy then that effort falls onto the shoulders of others - they may not have a clear understanding so many details and vital info gets lost in the transition. As more of the 'old guard' fades into history the likelyhood of any certainty of slapping a label "authentic Ueshiba aiki" on anything becomes more and more difficult. In the absence of first hand accounts proclaiming a definition of "authentic Ueshiba aiki" then all we have are innuendo, circumstance, and best efforts. To be sure humanity has gotten along for millenia on flimsy 'proof' woefully short of 'modern' 'scientific' proof of certainty in most every field of knowledge.

If we are not interested in 'proof' then what are we arguing about? Why are we holding such a high standard of 'proof'? Are we willing to acknowledge and accept that at some point our demand for proof cannot be fulfilled so we must take some things on faith? Scientific certainty, beyond reasonable doubt, weight of circumstance, best guess on current understanding, Billy Bob says so.

Something to ponder ... 1000 years from now what will constitute proof of "authentic Ueshiba aiki"?

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Old 01-06-2013, 01:06 PM   #18
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Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Hugh - One thing you didn't include:

That Ueshiba included all of these definitions and more, not as an amalgam, but in the same way that light is both a particle and a wave, depending on the viewpoint of the observer. I truly do not think that Ueshiba had a public definition of aiki and a "real" one - they were all his definitions, and to him, all true. That is why, I think, people who wish to do so-called "O-sensei's aikido," while also studying IP/IS have more difficulty than someone studying a martial art that takes a technological approach. A lot of these arguments really come down to an insistence that one's preferred definition of aiki is correct. That there would be a single rather specific definition is almost surely true in most other martial arts that do internal training (although I once had a t'ai chi guy in Taiwan go into a screaming rage at me when he heard I did xingyi, because, he screamed, xingyi was too aggressive).
But what those in these arguments seem to have difficulty with is that Ueshiba himself gave equal valence to all possible definitions. Again - because I'm sure this will be misinterpreted by someone - that light is both wave and particle in nature does not mean that it is" half wave" and "half particle." Nor is it "both." It is, simultaneously, 100% each. Similarly, that "aiki is love" or "aiki is blending with the energy of one's attacker" or as Andrew Prochnow so elegantly put it, "Aiki is the result of one training their own body to be in unision with itself. Structure gives the Aiki a clear pathway to follow. Relaxation enables Aiki to travel through that structure. Intent is what fuels the Aiki in the body. When one comes into contact with one who has trained their body. Aiki is what is seen when the two meet," or even more definitions that surely the assiduous could find when researching Ueshiba's quotes and films, are all Ueshiba's aiki. In my opinion, if one wants to do aikido, one has to have the courage of not having such strong convictions - except that studying Ueshiba requires an acceptance of paradox.

Ellis Amdur
This is a very nice post.

Also, just simply the idea, and I think Mr. Amdur presents that above (please correct me if I'm wrong), Ueshiba and Takeda were both using the word to represent what they were doing. That could be lot's of different things. They both claimed it, and used it to represent them. After them, their students did the same. So we have lot's of different, legitimate definitions of the word.

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Old 01-06-2013, 01:47 PM   #19
Janet Rosen
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Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
...that light is both wave and particle in nature does not mean that it is" half wave" and "half particle." Nor is it "both." It is, simultaneously, 100% each....In my opinion, if one wants to do aikido, one has to have the courage of not having such strong convictions - except that studying Ueshiba requires an acceptance of paradox.
Ellis Amdur
Ellis, thank you for so gracefully articulating what has been in my head.

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Old 01-06-2013, 02:23 PM   #20
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Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
In my opinion, if one wants to do aikido, one has to have the courage of not having such strong convictions - except that studying Ueshiba requires an acceptance of paradox.
Well stated, Ellis. I agree completely.

-- Jun

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Old 01-06-2013, 02:42 PM   #21
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Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

To add a bit of fodder to this discussion regarding Morihei Ueshiba's use of the term "aiki"...

Last night, I had some time so I went and translated the first couple of passages that mentioned "aiki' that I found in "Takemusu Aiki," a collection of transcripts of lectures by Morihei Ueshiba by Hideo Takahashi. I believe these passages were first published in 1958 in publications put out by the Byakko Shinkokai. The bulk of the original text of "Takemusu Aiki" is, for my uneducated mind, pretty difficult to get through due to its many esoteric references to texts outside of my own knowledge like the Kojiki, metaphoric/philosophic/religious terms from the Ōmotokyō religion, and kotodama. The below translations are mine, so any mistakes therein are also mine.

(Peter Goldsbury pointed out to me that there are also translations of "Takemusu Aiki" done by Sonoko Tanaka on the Aikido Journal member's site, for those seeking an alternative translation.)

-- Jun

「今や、我々は与えられたる神業を失墜せんように、慈となり、光となって、神のみ子たるところの身の本分をつくし、宇宙建国完成、人の完成の業に奉仕し、顕幽神三界にわた り、世々をあげて和合し、経綸を進むるは、我々の完成の道であり、それは合気の実行であります。」(pg 31)

"At present, in order for us to not lose the divine work that was given to us, we must fulfill our duties as children of god by becoming kindness and by becoming light; we must enter into the service of working towards a universal nation and the completion of mankind, to cross over into the three worlds of the senses, the spirit, and the divine; and, our harmonizing with the entirety of the worlds and advancing the order of the state (country) is the path for our completion. This is the realization of aiki."

「合気の道は愛を守るの道であります。愛なくばこの世の一切は成り立たないのです。故に合気の真の働きが無ければこの世はつぶれると私は信じているのでありま す。
そのために、顕幽神三界にわたって、この世を守っていかなければありません。それは最勝妙如来の現れであります。
合気とは、宇宙の中心に立って、ただよえる世を立直す役目を持っておる処の一つの道であります。」(pg 33)

"The path of aiki is the path to protect love. Without love, this world does not hold up at all. Therefore, without the work of the truth of aiki, I believe that this world will collapse.
In order to do this, we must cross over into the three worlds of the senses, the spirit, and the divine in order to keep protecting this world. This will be the manifestation of the goddess of mercy (Sahasrabhuja arya avalokitesvara).
Aiki is to stand at the center of the universe and is one path of conduct that has the responsibility of righting the drifting world."

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Old 01-06-2013, 04:12 PM   #22
ChrisHein
 
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Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

I've been working on getting through the translations of takemusu Aiki on Aikido Journal. I've read them and reread them. It becomes clear very quickly, that Ueshiba had a very large world of imagery, history, and legend that he was working with. It's very hard to get through this material because I constantly find myself having to look up what the image/legend he was pointing to means.

He was a complex fellow.

Thanks for the translation Jun!

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Old 01-06-2013, 04:14 PM   #23
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Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

Does Koichi Barish have a translation of this? It would be interesting to hear his take.---I looked here is something I found:

http://video.yandex.ru/users/aikifre...ifreedo&cid=8#

at 3:48 He's referencing this material.

Last edited by ChrisHein : 01-06-2013 at 04:26 PM.

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Old 01-06-2013, 07:31 PM   #24
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Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
light is both wave and particle in nature does not mean that it is" half wave" and "half particle." Nor is it "both." It is, simultaneously, 100% each.
My brother-in-law is an astrophysicist and I was asking him about this coming from my social sciences background. His take on it was a little a different. It isn't so much that it is both, but that our current model aren't precise or accurate enough to explain light, thus it appears in current models as both particles and waves. This does not have to do with a dual nature to light, it has to do with a failure of our understanding of the universe.

I wonder if Ueshiba's own various uses of the word aiki are similar -- he hadn't really fully grasped what he was reaching for either, and was doing the best he could with the imperfect paradigms he had to work with.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:43 PM   #25
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"

Eric - that's possible, and surely on some level, true. On the other hand, your brother-in-law, is suggesting that there is a way beyond the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, in which any measuring device we use to determine the nature of an entity effects the nature of the entity. (Which we may be seeing here regarding all these definitions of aiki).

Regarding Ueshiba, however, I don't quite see how what your bro-in-law states translates - the limit of a simile is that it is bounded by the degree of similitude.

Since Ueshiba apparently chose to apply a term to a number of apparently different, even contradictory experiences, thoughts, attitudes, I doubt very much that were he less bewildered, he might have called his spiritual ideas, for one example, by some other term. On the contrary, I think it's clear, despite others' wishes to the contrary, that for him, aiki had the same nature, despite its different forms and all his different assertions. The simile that I offered was for "us," not Ueshiba, Because he appeared to find no paradox whatsoever in these various "irreconcilable" definitions.

People, (after I noticed the quote in Alan Ruddock's account) quote Ueshiba as saying that "you do not understand yin and yang" (actually, he said, Izanagi and Izanami, and it would be facile to assert that there are no nuances of difference here - it was changed to the former because the interlocutor decided that people wouldn't understand and they were, after all,in his opinion, the same). I've no doubt that, on one level, he was referring explicitly to a key of what one trains for internal power. I've also no doubt that, by choosing sectarian Shinto terms, that he was referring to an essential Japanese character to true knowledge. I've also no doubt that on a macro level, he was asserting that a tolerance for all paradoxes in his definition were necessary. Hence, for him, Shioda didn't get it. (he said so). And Tohei didn't get it. Not all of it.

I'll never "get over" that on his death bed he cried out for Tomiki Kenji. Perhaps a lesson to everyone, including his son, that what Tomiki offered was part of the paradox to be embraced as well.

Ellis Amdur

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