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Old 11-08-2007, 07:38 AM   #1
Alex Megann
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Then why practice an art that is called Ai - Ki - Do which I believe roughly translates out to "the way of harmony with ki"? Perhaps you should rename the art you do as Aido which will then reflect more accurately reality as you see it.

regards,

Mark
Actually I believe it's Aiki-Do, where "Aiki" has a much more specific meaning than simply "Ai-Ki". I think you will find that the concept of "Aiki" in the Daito-Ryu tradition is very clearly defined.

"The way of harmony with ki" is a misleading and inaccurate translation of "aikido".

Alex
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Old 11-08-2007, 08:58 AM   #2
Mark Freeman
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Alex Megann wrote: View Post
"The way of harmony with ki" is a misleading and inaccurate translation of "aikido".
Alex
Hi Alex,

please provide the accurate translation of "aikido", thanks.

regards,

Mark

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Old 11-08-2007, 10:04 AM   #3
Alex Megann
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Hi Alex,

please provide the accurate translation of "aikido", thanks.

regards,

Mark
Mark,

Aikido is the Way of Aiki. Aiki is a centuries-old concept used in many Japanese budo, but particularly in Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu.

There is more information in the Wikipedia article on aiki, and the Daito-Ryu tradition defines several kinds of aiki, but Sokaku Takeda is recorded as summarising aiki thus:

The secret of aiki is to overpower the opponent mentally at a glance and to win without fighting.

Alex
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Old 11-08-2007, 01:25 PM   #4
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
Aikido is the Way of Aiki. Aiki is a centuries-old concept used in many Japanese budo, but particularly in Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu.

There is more information in the Wikipedia article on aiki, and the Daito-Ryu tradition defines several kinds of aiki, but Sokaku Takeda is recorded as summarising aiki thus:

The secret of aiki is to overpower the opponent mentally at a glance and to win without fighting.
Respectfully, you did not provide ANY translation of the term.

Compare: "Woowoo-do is the way of Woowoo. Woowoo is a centuries old concept used in .. [etc.] ... [Some] tradition defines several kinds of woowoo but [a guy] summarised woowoo as : the secret of woowoo is to overpower the opponent ....[etc.]"

More charitably, the term cannot presently be translated more than partly and roughyl for a given circumstance. The respective terms of reference do not map closely enough onto one another for any good translation. The concepts bundled in that term are unbundled in many different terms in English, at least, mostly.

There a reason we all use "ki" and aiki." Like "Geist" in German it must be understood in the original sense of the native tongue, then it can be wholesale adopted into the other tongue without translation. That does not mean a better translation is not ever possible, it just does not exist at this time.

I have my own thoughts on the matter, of a more unitary definition, but then, I like to play the heretic, so don't follow me.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 11-08-2007, 02:02 PM   #5
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

I woudl posit that "aiki" as defined by DRAJJ and the "aiki" in Aikido are different. Different intent for both the related arts. I can talk more about it later..

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Old 11-09-2007, 03:29 AM   #6
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

I certainly entertain the idea that the "aiki" of DRAJJ and the "aiki" of Ueshiba-ha (and Hirai-ha?) aikido are different. Leaving aside the question of whether they should be different, aikido people say they're different, Daito-ryu folk say they're different -- let's assume for the sake of argument that they are different.

From a linguistic standpoint, that they are different matters little. The "Aiki" of aikido and Daito-ryu is certainly distinct from the "aiki" in Toda-ha Buko-ryu's "Aiki no Koto", mentioned by Ellis Amdur in previous threads. What is for certain is that "aiki" is itself a single jukugo (compound), parsed separately from the "do". So in that respect, Alex is right in that as a starting point, we have to look at it as "the way of Aiki".

Now, how one interprets the meaning of "aiki" is up to each individual school or style. For Daito-ryu folk the "ki" might be esoteric -- "internal" energy. For others, exoteric -- tangible energy like momentum, speed, and velocity. For still others, all at the same time. Ultimately, how one defines "aiki" is dependent on how one defines "ki". "Ki" by itself just refers to energy. The question is, what kind of energy are you working with? Internal energy? External energy? Emotional energy?

One thing that is quite clear, though, is that "ai" by no means means "harmony". To even get close to "harmony", the character for "ai" needs other modifying characters, like 和 (peace). "Ai" by itself indicates a joining and/or matching. It is not at all "harmonious", indicated by it's use other phrases: kiri-ai (a swordfight), tachiai (a duel, or else the violent crashing together at the beginning of a sumo bout), iiai (an argument), oshiai-heshiai (pushing and jostling). Any kind of joined interaction of two or more entities -- harmonious, dissonant, or otherwise -- is an "ai" of some kind. IMO, the English concept closest to this idea is "meeting", and it's colloquial equivalent, "getting together".

(As an aside, Ueshiba's pointed punning notwithstanding, there is no linguistic relationship between "ai" [meeting/joining] and "ai" [love]. "Ai" as love is a Chinese loanword. "Ai" as meeting is derived from the verb "au", which in Old Japanese was original "apu" -> "afu" -> "au".)

In his book "Budo", Ueshiba wrote "If he comes with ki, strike with ki; if he comes with water, strike with water; if he comes with fire, strike with fire." (Translation by John Stevens). Of course, I'd like to actually see the original Japanese, but this translation by itself perfectly indicates a native, idiomatic conception of "ai". It may seem rather confrontational or paradoxical to someone used to thinking of "aiki" as blending and harmonizing, but from a Japanese language standpoint, it matches-up fine (or, as they Japanese would say, ぴったり合う).

So, personally, I would translate "aikido" as "Way of Matching Energy". I like that translation because it is as universally applicable as "aikido". "Energy" is nicely vague, just like "ki", and just like compound "aiki", "Matching Energy" is semantically vague as to whether it's a transitive gerund, or a participle adjective. It could thus be used by Ueshiba-ha practitioners, Hira-ha practitioners, and even Daito-ryu folk.

Josh Reyer

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Old 11-09-2007, 05:10 AM   #7
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
In his book "Budo", Ueshiba wrote "If he comes with ki, strike with ki; if he comes with water, strike with water; if he comes with fire, strike with fire." (Translation by John Stevens). Of course, I'd like to actually see the original Japanese, but this translation by itself perfectly indicates a native, idiomatic conception of "ai". It may seem rather confrontational or paradoxical to someone used to thinking of "aiki" as blending and harmonizing, but from a Japanese language standpoint, it matches-up fine (or, as they Japanese would say, ‚‚‚‚‡‚).
Josh,

I spent some considerable time transcribing the text from the Japanese copy I possess, only to have the kanji appear as squiggles in the forum. And, yes, I know about the text encoding & forum options and I tried them all. To no avail.

If you want to see the Japanese text of what Stevens translated, send me a PM with your e-mail address.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 11-09-2007 at 05:12 AM.

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Old 11-09-2007, 06:52 AM   #8
Alex Megann
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

Thanks for the comments by Erick, Joshua and Peter who all got in before I had a chance to.

I don't have enought experience of Daito Ryu (a weekend with Shogen Okabayashi, a browse through "The Hidden Roots of Aikido" and various reading on the Web) to understand in depth the Daito-Ryu interpretation of "Aiki", except an appreciation that it is discussed much more explicitly in those arts than it is an most aikido dojos.

Since Joshua has supplied an excellent translation I, as a non-Japanese speaker, won't even try, but I have always understood it to mean "matching of energy".

I do know that "aiki" was an important enough conception for Morihei Ueshiba to worship a kami specifically assigned to it...

Alex
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:31 AM   #9
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

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Jeremy Hulley wrote: View Post
I woudl posit that "aiki" as defined by DRAJJ and the "aiki" in Aikido are different. Different intent for both the related arts. I can talk more about it later..
No..they are the same. It's only that many, if not most, do not understand either. There are men who can go from one to the next to Chinese arts and perform seamlessly one to the next.without pause. Aiki is in you. It is you, It begins and ends in you. It's not about an arts technique.

The Aiki that is so often seen in Ai..ki..do, the blending and moving yourself all around to move them? It is incorrect.
But, its been that way for so long that what is correct is rarely seen or known and the low level crap is now called ...correct. Supported by thousands, performed by all and sundry..it never-the-less leads you nowhere.
It's full speed... in the wrong direction.
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:24 AM   #10
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
No..they are the same. It's only that many, if not most, do not understand either. ... The Aiki that is so often seen in Ai..ki..do, the blending and moving yourself all around to move them? It is incorrect. ... It's full speed... in the wrong direction.
In a sense I agree with you and in another I don't. It is harmonics -- physical harmonics. The plucked string moves without ceasing and yet waves of motion at a critical length stand absolutely still. The motion and the stillness are two different things, but one thing also.

Some train better beginning with the motion and then grasping the stillness that they then happen upon when they are attending to critical orientation. Some train better with the stillness and the criticality of the orientation of the operative elements in themselves, and then find ways to apply it in moving themselves and others. If the training through motion does not lead to stillness then the practice is wrong -- by the same token, if training through stillness does not lead to motion it is also wrong. The truth is both, and in that, something else emerges altogether.

The difference in points of view in these debates, I am coming to conclude, is largely a product of differences in natural kinesthetic perception bias in the learner. As I mentioned there are several types -- like the visual perception bias in many optical illusions. Some minds default to one image, some to the other, and only with difficulty are able to resolve the ambiguity between them that IS the complete picture of the truth as it is. A more dynamic example of these forms of perception bias and how they are both naturally defaulted in one direction or the other, and how they may be consciously manipulated, once realized, may be seen here: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/sto...81-661,00.html

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 11-09-2007, 12:20 PM   #11
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Alex Megann wrote: View Post
Mark,

Aikido is the Way of Aiki. Aiki is a centuries-old concept used in many Japanese budo, but particularly in Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu.
Alex
I totally agree and - plug - that is exactly what I say in my little book/web site. I received the odd critical email saying it's ki, not aiki, or its the way of harmony, or harmonising with ki etc., but I ignored them all. I have received positive comments too. Anyway, for me at least, it is The Way of Aiki. No one told me this - I just had to figure it out for myself becuase wherever you go you hear people rattling on about ki. The only thing in common is that - if you open your eyes - you will see more than a few who have no clue what they are doing even after 20 years of training. Also, I believe it to be the same in Daito-Ryu as it is in Aikido.

I hate the word ki as it sends you off at a tangent. Search for aiki, not ki.

Just my 2c.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 11-09-2007 at 12:25 PM.

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Old 11-09-2007, 01:16 PM   #12
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
One thing that is quite clear, though, is that "ai" by no means means "harmony"....
Another archived post.

What a great resource you multilinguals are. Thanks for taking the trouble to compose and post this, Josh.

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Old 11-09-2007, 05:38 PM   #13
Erick Mead
 
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Ki Symbol Re: Defining "Aikido"

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Now, how one interprets the meaning of "aiki" is up to each individual school or style. For Daito-ryu folk the "ki" might be esoteric -- "internal" energy. For others, exoteric -- tangible energy like momentum, speed, and velocity. ...
One thing that is quite clear, though, is that "ai" by no means means "harmony". To even get close to "harmony", the character
for "ai" needs other modifying characters, like 和 (peace).
O Sensei may or may not have approved any English translations of his works (I am not aware of any evidence that he did, in fact), but his son clearly did. From his works "harmony" has become the most well-accepted attribution flowing directly from his usage of it. It is apt in the physics of what occurs, a point that is true in too many ways for me to describe in this thread, but I have dwelt on them elsewhere.

The term "Aiki" seems old enough in its provenance to not necessarily track the compounds ( such as with "wa") you suggest for "harmony" as are used more modernly. Is there anything that establishes that point one way or the other? In at least one Doka he does juxtapose "aiki" directly with "harmony" in Abe's translation and I seem to remember, although I do not have Stevens parelle translation handy at the moment that he used 和 "wa" specifically in that context.

O Sensei was a scholar (autodidact or not) of ancient sources and in reading Kojiki, and Motoori's commentaries on it, he was unavoidably schooled in aspects of linguistic questions and their significance. His punning and stress on kotodama is a clue to his interest in the uses of language as a source of deeper meaning. However, his interest was primarily literary and mystical, not linguistic. (Too?) many have spoken to the mystical, but short shrift is given to the literary aspects. In my opinion that is where we should primarily look, to his literary usage and imagery.

Given that the etymology of the decomposed character itself ( some times unreliable, but valid in this case) is basically 入 一 口"join-one-gate." There are clues of that precise imagery in the Doka to O Sensei's intended usage.

Abe Sensei notes that Izanami (she who invites) cleansed herself of the filth of death upon her escape from the underworld at the "Odo" ("narrow river mouth") in Awagihara. Stevens translates that linguistically as "the small gate." Abe instead gives its literary significance as a mythological place. ("Gate" and "mouth" are also the same character 口, which composes into "Ai" as 口"join-one-gate."

Abe also says that O Sensei described Aiki as being born from the thrashing of Izanagi (He who invites) in his cleansing there. At a "narrrow river mouth" whorls of water back up at the constriction, some open and become progressively still in the upstream pool, while some become tighter and tighter as they enter the nozzle and gain much speed, at the throat of the stream. These images are not accidents and they all relate. There are many more.

O Sensei used the image of the joining of heaven and earth by the floating bridge, fire and water in the change of self, the sexual connotations of the mutually inviting divine couple, and also the cross figure (juji). These recurrent motifs are of the same basic trope with the different images in some respects interchangeable.

Properly read, that is a powerful literary source for his intended usage on these points, for which we need not depend on more general linguistics. The imagery is of two seemingly independent components nevertheless joined at one and only one narrowly defined connection, diametrically different, and yet performing the same function in the same essential manner, reversed of one another in dynamic. Moreover, as the river image and the larger myth involving Izanagi and Izanami make clear, either one alone is condemned to death. If one dies the other must revive it, and if they conflict with one another in battling death they condemn each other to continue in death, but if they act together then they both return to life.

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
In his book "Budo", Ueshiba wrote "If he comes with ki, strike with ki; if he comes with water, strike with water; if he comes with fire, strike with fire." (Translation by John Stevens). Of course, I'd like to actually see the original Japanese, ...
If you get the original from Prof. Goldsbury, please do us all the the favor of re-publishing it here.

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
So, personally, I would translate "aikido" as "Way of Matching Energy". I like that translation because it is as universally applicable as "aikido". "Energy" is nicely vague, just like "ki",
But Ki, while ineffable in some respects is not vague that way. It is equally congealing as well as airy, the eight powers imagery betrays that aspect clearly enough. I made the point elsewhere that the concept of Ki from more general sources is one that combines the aspects of energy as we view it with the aspects of mass -- as a synthetic whole, and so energy is not really apt, standing alone.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:11 PM   #14
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
O Sensei may or may not have approved any English translations of his works (I am not aware of any evidence that he did, in fact), but his son clearly did. From his works "harmony" has become the most well-accepted attribution flowing directly from his usage of it.
Well, first, Kisshomaru was hardly an expert in English, let alone Japanese-English translation. I have no idea how involved he was in the editing process, and I doubt he had the bilingual knowledge necessary to comment authoritatively on various translations.

I do know, however, that he was very concerned with spreading aikido as a peaceful martial art, and his father often used phrases such as 融和 and 和合, so if an English speaking student of his said, "Way of Harmony with Ki" was a good translation of "aikido", it wouldn't surprise me if Kisshomaru said, "Sounds good, go with that." My issue has never been that "Way of Harmony with Ki" "Art of Peace", etc. aren't acceptable glosses for Ueshiba-style aikido, merely that over-reliance on these glosses by non-speakers of Japanese has led to many people misinterpreting the original components. There is a xerox effect.

Quote:
Given that the etymology of the decomposed character itself ( some times unreliable, but valid in this case) is basically 入 一 口"join-one-gate." There are clues of that precise imagery in the Doka to O Sensei's intended usage.
Let's stop right there. First, 入 is not "join". It means (and has always meant) "to enter" or alternatively, "to put into (something)". Thus, while 入社 may mean "join in a company" and 入部 may mean "join a club", and 入門 may mean "join an organization", what they are really referring to is entering a company, club, organization.

Second, the top radical of 合 is not 入, it is 人 (hito, person). Semantically, this makes no difference (as I explain below), but it makes a big difference when writing the character.

Third, more often than not, the component characters that make up a kanji are not actually derived from the characters they seem to be! This is a big mistake made by native and non-native speakers alike. And 合 is a perfect example. It looks like it's made up of 人一口. But in fact those are just modern stylized renderings of what originally was a picture of a lid being placed over a hole.

Cf. Kanjigen, a Japanese character dictionary:
Quote:
会意。「かぶせるしるし+口(あな)」で、穴にふたをかぶせてぴたりあわせることを示す
My translation
"Associative compound. Made up of 'Covering symbol + opening (hole)', it indicates a lid being placed and perfectly fit over a hole."

If you want to create folk-etymologies, or rely on what you perceive Ueshiba's folk-etymologies to be in order to expand your personal research of your aikido, more power to you. But those can't be pointed to as "the definition of aiki". The term "aiki" predated Ueshiba (and Takeda), and the term "aikido" was coined by Hirai Minoru and adopted by Ueshiba later. (According to an interview with Ueshiba in the back of vol. 2 of Stan Pranin's 上芝盛平と合気道, Ueshiba himself said that his art was too big to be named by he, himself, so he adopted "aikido" because it seemed good enough.)

Quote:
If you get the original from Prof. Goldsbury, please do us all the the favor of re-publishing it here.
且つ人の心は水火萬有を司るものなれば是の水火陰陽の理に依りて敵若し氣を以て当たれば氣にあたり水をもって来れば水に当たり火を以て来れば火に当たり今日の化学戦の上に 想を馳せ練磨することを肝要とす。

As Professor Goldsbury did, I've kept the original kanji as far as possible, and changed the katakana to hiragana.

Quote:
But Ki, while ineffable in some respects is not vague that way. It is equally congealing as well as airy, the eight powers imagery betrays that aspect clearly enough. I made the point elsewhere that the concept of Ki from more general sources is one that combines the aspects of energy as we view it with the aspects of mass -- as a synthetic whole, and so energy is not really apt, standing alone.
Ki itself is generally not apt standing alone, which is why the Chinese and Japanese combine it with other words: 天気 - weather, 元気 - vitality, 電気 - electricity, etc, etc. In general, all Japanese words carry certain connotations not present in their best English translations, and vice versa. That's the essential, unavoidable flaw of translation, and why it's best to work with original material whenever possible.

Josh Reyer

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Old 11-09-2007, 08:53 PM   #15
stan baker
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

I don't know if people realize but Dan may be one the few in the world that can actually do what he is talking about.

stan
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:31 PM   #16
Charles Hill
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

Hi Josh,

I think I basically understand and agree with what you have written, but have a problem of how you seem to define "harmony." I think the difference between harmonious and dissonant is the intention by which two or more elements are brought together. For example, the harmony involved in bebop jazz is quite dissonant to those not familiar with yet, yet quite attractive to those that are. I believe that harmony equals "any kind of joined interaction between two entities" if the result is the one desired. Thus for me, the word harmony as a def. of ai is correct.

Charles
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:34 PM   #17
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Let's stop right there. First, 入 is not "join". It means (and has always meant) "to enter" or alternatively, "to put into (something)". ...Third, more often than not, the component characters that make up a kanji are not actually derived from the characters they seem to be! ...
A point I began my observations with. Your objection is needlessly narrow. Its Chinese antecedent is well attested and has the same pronunciation, moreover, as 和 (another level of connection to the concept of "harmony" held out in Western translations). 入 "ru" means "enter, come into and join," and the orthographic distinction is without difference in the context, in any event, as you say.

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
But in fact those are just modern stylized renderings of what originally was a picture of a lid being placed over a hole...
That is not in the Chinese etymologies attested that I have reference to. Other attested etymologies of the Chinese is 亼 "ji" + 口 "kou", "gather" + "gate/entrance." Another that holds that 亼 is an inverted mouth joined to another mouth. The character 合 is itself attested by several thousand years back to oracle script, and has no independent development in Japan. 合 is used for musical notes. "Harmony" is not a stretch as translation here, nor should its usage be overly criticized on the grounds of objection you raise.

Josh, your counting coup aside, while all in good fun, the ENTIRE point of post, and that you did not address, was that literary usage is the better guide to meaning for our purposes than disconnected etymological debates. There is no evidence that O Sensei cared much about that aspect of language.

Literary usage requires larger context (your last criticism of me, as I recall). There is lots of evidence of his literary interest in Kojiki and of his phonological interest in kotodama (dare I say, "musical"). The etymological points I raised were expressly in recognition of their problematic limitsand from that mainly to show a consistency of theme, more clearly seen in the usage of his literary sources. More to the point, in translation literary usage develops themes of meaning in relation and allows for the ambiguities to be washed out through several layers of context.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 11-09-2007, 10:47 PM   #18
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

Just reading the above - is there any wonder no one understands ...

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Old 11-09-2007, 10:52 PM   #19
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
A point I began my observations with. Your objection is needlessly narrow. Its Chinese antecedent is well attested and has the same pronunciation, moreover, as 和 (another level of connection to the concept of "harmony" held out in Western translations). 入 "ru" means "enter, come into and join," and the orthographic distinction is without difference in the context, in any event, as you say.
I said the semantic difference is not relevant. In other words, it doesn't matter that the top of 合 has the same shape of "person", just as it wouldn't matter if it were, in fact, "enter". The etymology of the character is unrelated to the coincidental resemblance of one of its components to another character.

The fact that the component is written like 人 and not 入 is simply FYI.

Quote:
合 is used for musical notes. "Harmony" is not a stretch as translation here, nor should its usage be overly criticized on the grounds of objection you raise.
It is also used as a measure of volume and capacity. Which means as much as its use in musical notation. I'm all for a global, holistic understanding of words being used in multiple contexts. That doesn't mean we can throw the native idiom to the wind. I've said many times before, if one wants to define "aiki" as "harmony of ki" with regards to one's personal understanding of aikido, that's great. That's a big leap, though, to "ai means 'harmony'". Harmony has implications that "ai" does not have, and vice versa.

Quote:
Josh, your counting coup aside, while all in good fun, the ENTIRE point of post, and that you did not address, was that literary usage is the better guide to meaning for our purposes than disconnected etymological debates. There is no evidence that O Sensei cared much about that aspect of language.
That's fine for Osensei. But he's not my guide here, and on the whole I don't think he should be used as the arbiter of semantic meaning. The word "aiki" preceded him; he did not coin it. He did not name his art "aikido"; it was given that name by others. The phrase "aiki" (and the word "aikido") continues to be used outside the Ueshiba aikido context. So, rather than try to plumb the depths of the Kojiki for some coded understanding of how Ueshiba may have viewed the kanji 合, I argue for an idiomatic understanding of the words. I feel it is especially important in contexts such as these, where the vast majority of people have no facility in the Japanese language, and must work from what other people tell them. So, when someone goes off the idiomatic reservation, I feel its important that they clearly express that they are doing so.

As I said, you're free to use whatever folk-etymologies you think will help your understanding. That's my position. I have no interest in debating their validity or lack thereof, which is why I didn't address the rest of your post. I was merely addressing your misunderstanding regarding the composition of the 合 character. You specifically said
Quote:
Given that the etymology of the decomposed character itself ( some times unreliable, but valid in this case) is basically 入 一口"join-one-gate."
I was merely pointing out that the etymology of the decomposed character is not in any way "join-one-gate".

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 11-09-2007, 10:59 PM   #20
Josh Lerner
 
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Literary usage requires larger context (your last criticism of me, as I recall).
Hi Eric,

I could be wrong, but just in case you are referring to the argument we had months ago about the word "aiki", I am (or, uh, was, I guess) a different Josh. We apparently have two language geek Joshes on Aikiweb who own copies of Kanjigen. You must just draw us like moths to a lightbulb.

Josh (Reyer) - I went to school in Nagoya. Please tell me you aren't also going to Nanzan and studying Iwama aikido.

Josh (Lerner)

Last edited by Josh Lerner : 11-09-2007 at 11:06 PM. Reason: Added more layers of coincidence
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Old 11-10-2007, 12:28 AM   #21
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

Well, I don't go to Nanzan.

I didn't participate in that thread because you were already making all the points that I would, and I thought that having another "Josh ____er" in the thread would just be confusing for all involved! (Plus, having to argue that "ai" is kunyomi would have made my head explode.)

Still, I believe Erick could be referring to this thread. Or perhaps our arguments over translation in the "Baseline Skillsets" thread.

Last edited by Josh Reyer : 11-10-2007 at 12:36 AM.

Josh Reyer

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Old 11-10-2007, 08:06 AM   #22
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

My apologies on misattributing the prior discussion. What's another Josh? ( more or less)
Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
That's fine for Osensei. But he's not my guide here, and on the whole I don't think he should be used as the arbiter of semantic meaning. The word "aiki" preceded him; he did not coin it.
I think there is our disconnect. I do not view language disconnected from the stories we use it to tell or the stories we tell about it. It is one thing. I have cause to believe O Sensei was also of a similar opinion. I know there are large schools of thought in linguistics and language going the other way, but I am not in agreement with them, and I am in good company in this perspective.

Your earlier point is that interpretation given may properly vary according to use. My focus is O Sensei's interpretation for this art. The thread is, after all "defining aikido" not the "defining aiki," and analytically breaking the "aiki" from O Sensei's expressed understanding is of value only to provide context, and only denotative context, at that.

In the Kojiki-den, O Sensei's necessary source material for reading the Kojiki, the significance of things like "folk-etymology" to the context of O-Sensei's literary underpinnings in that text is plain. Kotodama is very much a process of the assocational and transformational aspects of sound and its meaning. Kojiki-den is a running argument about how the various kanji in the book should be read in Japanese. Even Motoori has been criticized for his "reach" in making some associations that fit his avowed political interest, and language is more subject to manipulation in view of present interest than in view of unchanging truth.

Meaning disregards history when other usage and understandings (even fanciful ones) are preferred or become associated. In American English, as example, "liberal" is a very dangerous word to try to apply, from historic evidence of its semantic boundaries, that same limit to its present semantic range.

O Sensei was a visionary, not a scholar, although he valued scholarship. It is more critical in understanding O Sensei's interpretation to have the concepts and relationship he COULD reasonably have associated with those meanings (scholarly-correct or not) than any far more accurate and historically sound etymology. The correspondence with his literary usage as a whole reveals the truth of it. .

As disclosed in his lectures, kotodama associational riffs and mythic imagery formed his visionary process, and folk-etymologies are of a piece with that kind of use of language. They are basically capsule stories about how we mean what we mean.

Lewis' Humpty Dumpty was at least half right. (See, if you get the literary allusion you know exactly what I mean, even though I didn't say it in so many words. If you don't, it is utterly opaque.)

Last edited by Erick Mead : 11-10-2007 at 08:10 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 11-11-2007, 07:42 PM   #23
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

I was looking back at the archive on this topic and I found this, which given O Sensei's attention to chinkon kishin is worth revisting:
Quote:
Keith Engle (July 3, 2000 at 12:10pm) wrote:
...You know "ki" is really difficult to translate into English as we all know. But it's very easy to translate into Greek. Concept for concept it matches up with the Greek word "pneuma", a word you'll find all over the place in the Bible. Just about any time you see the words "spirit" or "breath" in scripture, it's a translation of the word "pneuma". When it says God breathed into Adam, it could also be translated as God put His Spirit into Adam. So here's the thing: the words "holy", "whole", and "health" all come from the same word. Holiness is oneness with the divine. When a broken bone heals, it becomes whole. The "Ai" of
Aikido is often translated as "harmony", but I think it's more accurate to translate it as "making whole" or "joining together". The syllable is foung in the word for plywood, and I hardly think they mean "wood of harmony". "Wood joined together" makes more sense. Osensei said on several occasions that his art was about joining with the divine. If becoming whole with the divine is "holy", and "ki" is spirit as written about in the Bible, I think it's not the least bit unreasonable to translate "Aikido" as "The Way of the Holy Spirit". ... Where "holy" means "making whole"... .

I'm reminded by something Jay Gluck wrote in Aikido Journal a couple years ago. There's footage of Osensei tossing around some MP's on a rooftop. At on point, they surround him, and when they come to get him, he just calmly walks past them. I love the still from this, because you see all these guys really obviously focussed on the center of their circle. But Osensei is casually standing off to one side. So Jay Gluck, who I believe was the camera operator, wrote that he showed this film to a missionary in Japan, who was put in mind of an episode in the New Testament when Jesus went to preach in His home town. In His usual way, He pretty much pissed off the locals, and they picked Him up and took Him out to the edge of town to dump Him off a cliff. Except when they got there, He just turned around and walked away. Apparently, Jay told this to Osensei, who said something along the lines of "of course. He was one with the divine and would have known Aikido instinctively."

I'm no expert on Japanese, and you could argue with how accurate it is to translate "Aikido" as "The Way of the Holy Spirit". But to me, that's what Aikido is.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 11-11-2007, 11:51 PM   #24
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Then why practice an art that is called Ai - Ki - Do which I believe roughly translates out to "the way of harmony with ki"?
The following is from the English language versions of the Hombu and Ibaraki Shibu dojo websites:

Quote:
At the heart of Aikido is the Eastern concept of Ki -- the universal creative principle. Aikido seeks to unite this universal Ki with the Ki (life force or breath) found within each person. Literally, Aikido translates as "the way of harmony with Ki".
Carl
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Old 11-12-2007, 03:45 AM   #25
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Re: Defining "Aikido"

http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/index.htm
"At the heart of Aikido is the Eastern concept ofハKi --the universal creative principle."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God
God (IPA: /ɡɒd/) most commonly refers to the deity worshipped by followers of monolatrist and monotheistic religions, whom they believe to be the creator and ruler of the universe.

Makes sense to me.

David
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