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Old 10-18-2010, 10:13 AM   #1
dps
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Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

In these teachings listen most
To the rhythm of the strike and thrust.
To train in the basics (omote)
Is to practice the very secrets of the art.

- Morihei Ueshiba

What is the meaning of this Doka and specifically omote?

David
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Old 10-22-2010, 07:00 PM   #2
Randall Lim
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

In these teachings listen most
To the rhythm of the strike and thrust.
To train in the basics (omote)
Is to practice the very secrets of the art.

- Morihei Ueshiba

What is the meaning of this Doka and specifically omote?

David
I believe it means not to chase after techniques. Not to acccumulate a wide variety of techniques superficially, but to master and keep on practising basic techniques like Shihonage, Kotegaeshi, Ikkyu & Iriminage.

Practice these basic techniques intently, making sure you get the ki-projection, connection , contact feeling, kokyu & hip-power right.

Omote means direct & basic. Simply: Master your basics.

I have come across black belts who can execute a wide variety of techniques, but I see no ki, connection or centredness.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:52 AM   #3
Mark Uttech
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Onegaishimasu. Saito Shihan once taught that omote is "going forward". That helps this doka make sense to me...

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:25 PM   #4
dps
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote: View Post
Onegaishimasu. Saito Shihan once taught that omote is "going forward". That helps this doka make sense to me...

In gassho,

Mark
"In these teachings listen most
To the rhythm of the strike and thrust.
To train in the basics (omote)
Is to practice the very secrets of the art."

Hello Mark,

How does that help you make sense of the Doka?

David
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Old 10-24-2010, 03:27 AM   #5
Mark Uttech
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Onegaishimasu, it helps by telling me to:
1) don't quit
2) keep going

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 10-24-2010, 07:45 AM   #6
Robert Calton
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Onegaishimasu, , I've definitely got a bit of resonance with this. As a white belt, and when I'm practicing the waza with my sensei, sometimes he will sink down into a stance, or apply some resistance which makes my "technique" ineffective. I've got to figure out what's going on - usually this comes back to something in "the basics." What's interesting still, is seeing this done with high-ranking people.

What this doka means to me is what people have already said: in everything you do, don't forget the basics of establishing kuzushi,
ki projection, blending, and all that good stuff we all love that might get lost in the translation of the physical aspect of the technique. Just going through the techniques will work in getting uke to the ground for sure, but if there's not that extra little internalized attention to the basics, you'll be missing something, everything. This can, as with any of the dokas, be applied to things outside of the dojo.

Peace and love!
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:25 PM   #7
Dan Rubin
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Omote and ura do not mean only "front" and "rear." They also mean "seen" and "hidden." I think that whoever translated this doka included the Japanese word omote to make clear what was meant by "basics." It's not just kihon, it's whatever can be seen, what's obvious, what's external. For example, "the rhythm of the strike and thrust."
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:25 PM   #8
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Quote:
Dan Rubin wrote: View Post
Omote and ura do not mean only "front" and "rear." They also mean "seen" and "hidden." I think that whoever translated this doka included the Japanese word omote to make clear what was meant by "basics." It's not just kihon, it's whatever can be seen, what's obvious, what's external. For example, "the rhythm of the strike and thrust."
According to this Japanese version of Doka, the word omote was used by the Founder.

教には打突拍子さとく聞け極意の稽古表なりけり

Kyo ni wa da-top'pyou-shi satoku kike gokui no keiko-omote narikeri.

However, it seems to refer to the omote (front/outer appearance) of keiko (practice), not explicitly kihon (the basics). Perhaps by just saying "the outer appearance of practice" it was feared that those doing only ki-no-nagare or trying to copy Osensei's embu would think they were doing enough? "Secrets" (himitsu) is actually "essence" (gokui) here but it seems like a valid way of interpreting it.

Carl
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:48 AM   #9
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Here are two more English versions of the same doka.

The Japanese reading given by John Stevens is different from that given by Carl Thompson:

Oshie ni wa uchitsuki hyoshi satoku kike gokui no keiko omote narikeri.

Stevens' translation:
Learn to sense the
rhythms of attacking
thrusts and cuts.
The secrets of training
lie right on the surface.


Another translation can be found in Budo Renshu:
When you instruct
Emphasize the strike and the thrust
For all the secret teachings
Are to be found in simple basics


FYI

P A Goldsbury
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:05 AM   #10
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

This discussion has become very interesting.

Perhaps the many meanings of omote and ura have been discussed in the forums before. Just to add an additional aside I was told by a Daito Ryu teacher that in Daito Ryu (at least at the time O Sensei studied it) omote and ura had completely different meanings. Omote meant doing the (direct) technique and ura meant doing a kaeshi waza.

we can make our minds so like still water, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:30 PM   #11
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

All the different possibilities for translation highlight the importance of getting to know the intentions of the original speaker as closely as possible. No easy task, since the Founder has passed away but this kind of discussion helps.

Btw: as those who are familiar with kanji will know, there is the on-yomi (Chinese reading) and the kun-yomi (Japanese reading) for different characters. The readings I used from the original Japanese were the on-yomi for “teaching” and “strike and thrust” but the kun-yomi probably fits the Doka-form better (there is an extra syllable in o-shi-e). I imagine Stevens checked with a few experts.
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:28 PM   #12
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Here's another (simpler) version:

From our teachings:
Listen well for the chance to strike
Omote is the ultimate keiko

we can make our minds so like still water, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life
w b yeats


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Old 10-26-2010, 03:05 AM   #13
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post

Stevens' translation:
Learn to sense the
rhythms of attacking
thrusts and cuts.
The secrets of training
lie right on the surface.
Are they uke's attacking and thrusts we are to sense?

dps

Last edited by dps : 10-26-2010 at 03:18 AM.
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:13 AM   #14
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post

Another translation can be found in Budo Renshu:
When you instruct
Emphasize the strike and the thrust
For all the secret teachings
Are to be found in simple basics


FYI
Since the Budo Renshu is before WWII and O'Sensei did not break down his teaching into Ikkyo, nikkyo, etc, what are the basics, the way to strike and thrust?

dps
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:17 AM   #15
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

In any poem there is ambiguity, often deliberate. There are several points here that are open to interpretation as Carl pointed out. I don't think the Budo Renshu translation is very accurate. Oshie here - if it is oshie - I like Carl's rhythm and I can imagine O Sensei saying Kyou ni wa...! - is definitely not about teaching. It's the handed down teachings. And John Stevens' translation is nice but quite free.

Strike and thrust is one verb (strike/thrust) not two

Rhythm can also mean chance

Secrets was already mentioned as a free translation of essence (or ultimate)

The rhythm/beat/chance of the strike can be yours or the uke's. I take it as tori's because this is all about omote. And O Sensei's aikido was saki no saki (which was in another thread). As Mark said: going forward.

But that's just my interpretation. In the end you have to make your own.

Last edited by niall : 10-26-2010 at 04:29 AM.

we can make our minds so like still water, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:35 AM   #16
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Well, I think before translating and interpreting what O Sensei wrote we should have the original manuscript.

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Old 10-26-2010, 06:52 AM   #17
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Well, I think before translating and interpreting what O Sensei wrote we should have the original manuscript.
And even then I would never assure any translation, for that I think you must have known O'Sensei and his thoughts and know very well the original japanese for that epoch

Last edited by carina reinhardt : 10-26-2010 at 06:58 AM.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:27 AM   #18
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Well, I think before translating and interpreting what O Sensei wrote we should have the original manuscript.
I doubt anyone changed the Founder's words in the original Japanese. The problem is how to interpret them, even in that original Japanese, let alone into a foreign language.

For example here is one website in Japanese discussing the meaning of the Doka including this one
http://sasaki-aiki.com/article3_94.php
Quote:
合気道の形と「わざ」は秘儀であり、表と裏があるが、極意の稽古は表であると教えられている。楽な裏に逃げないで、表をしっかり修行せよとの教えである。
Roughly: The shape of Aikido (and its techniques) is the secret sanctum, there is omote (the outer form) and ura (the inner form) but the essence of practice is taught as the omote. Don't flee to the comfortable ura, the teachings are granted through strict practice of the omote.

Of course this hasty translation of the interpretation is also only an interpretation, coloured heavily by my own language ability and understanding of the subject matter.
Quote:
Niall Matthews wrote: View Post
In any poem there is ambiguity, often deliberate. There are several points here that are open to interpretation as Carl pointed out. I don't think the Budo Renshu translation is very accurate. Oshie here - if it is oshie - I like Carl's rhythm and I can imagine O Sensei saying Kyou ni wa...! - is definitely not about teaching. It's the handed down teachings. And John Stevens' translation is nice but quite free.
I didn't have the "official" reading to hand when I wrote out the Romanisation and chose kyo because oshie would normally be written 教え (distinguished by the okurigana) but as I understand it, it could just be the single kanji 教 in something like an old poem. I mainly just wanted to show that the word omote was there in the original and kihon wasn't. However, I gather that there is a distinct beat to Doka and there seems to be a bias for kun-yomi and as I said, Stevens probably checked.
Quote:
Niall Matthews wrote: View Post
The rhythm/beat/chance of the strike can be yours or the uke's. I take it as tori's because this is all about omote. And O Sensei's aikido was saki no saki (which was in another thread). As Mark said: going forward.
I recall the thread and my own comment
Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
This reminded me of an old interview with Osensei:
http://www.aiki-shuren-dojo.com/pdf/Go%20no%20sen.pdf
Carl
Osensei said his aikido was a state of continuous victory. To me, sen-no-sen and suchlike imply an opponent one is competing with.

Kind regards

Carl
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:08 AM   #19
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
I doubt anyone changed the Founder's words in the original Japanese.
People sometimes make mistakes when transcribing texts,

Quote:
The problem is how to interpret them, even in that original Japanese, let alone into a foreign language.
We should accept there will be always some kind of bias.

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Old 10-26-2010, 10:11 AM   #20
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

How you come to understand these things is personal. If it helps you take a new look at something you previously took for granted, then the doka has done its job. So it's not necessary to understand exactly what Ueshiba meant, only that it brings new or deeper understanding to you and your training.

I generally dislike John Stevens translations, but this is the one I like best of those translated thus far.
Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Stevens' translation:
Learn to sense the
rhythms of attacking
thrusts and cuts.
The secrets of training
lie right on the surface.
For me it says: All the secrets are right in front of you, Aiki is in the rhythm and timing of the attack (theirs or yours).

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Old 10-26-2010, 11:37 AM   #21
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Quote:
Stevens' translation:
Learn to sense the
rhythms of attacking
thrusts and cuts.
The secrets of training
lie right on the surface.

Another translation can be found in Budo Renshu:
When you instruct
Emphasize the strike and the thrust
For all the secret teachings
Are to be found in simple basics
I think there is some old school translation interpretation here... In looking at older arts and texts, and considering many of these doka to precede what we know as the aikido curriculum, I find two points of issue:
1. I believe there is a distinction between kihon and omote, but these concepts are similar in application in regards to aikido. In older arts I have heard foundational techniques referred to as omote (public) in the sense of basic and direct technique. These same arts reserve ura to describe the inner teachings of the art (that which is not seen by outsiders).
2. I believe there is a distinction between waza and kata, but these concepts are similar in application in regards to aikido. I think the controlled learning environment which constrains uke's response is more appropriately called kata. I think the spontaneous application of technique (waza) happens less.

We do not find "technique" (waza) as part of the translation, but rather "basics" (kata?). We also get a reference to omote that corresponds to an seen/unseen interpretation. This sounds like old-school language.

I believe this doka refers to the refinement of basic kata as the [instructional] source for advanced aikido. More specifically, the evolution of timing (rhythm) matures the application of kata.

The use of omote is to identify basic principles (kata?) as the source of aikido, both beginning and advanced. I think a point of note is the confirmation that the secrets of aikido should not be occlusive or hidden in instruction.

I think we also are looking at understanding kata to embody core principles of training, not represent actual technique (kyo v. kajo).

There is a lot of classical language that probably is better interpreted by by someone familiar with koryu arts.
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Old 10-26-2010, 12:23 PM   #22
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Another translation can be found in Budo Renshu:
When you instruct
Emphasize the strike and the thrust
For all the secret teachings
Are to be found in simple basics
Aikido is 90% atemi.

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Old 10-27-2010, 01:09 AM   #23
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Aikido is 90% atemi.
Please read Epistemic Viciousness in the Martial Arts by
Gillian Russell in How do armbar?
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:53 AM   #24
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Quote:
Carina Reinhardt wrote: View Post
Please read Epistemic Viciousness in the Martial Arts by Gillian Russell in How do armbar?
Why there when you can read it here?

And, most important, how your suggestion relates to the issue at hand?

Last edited by Demetrio Cereijo : 10-27-2010 at 01:55 AM.

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Old 10-27-2010, 04:39 AM   #25
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Re: Doka of the Day - October 18, 2010

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Why there when you can read it here?

And, most important, how your suggestion relates to the issue at hand?
Your believing Aikido is 90% atemi
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