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Old 07-08-2011, 11:53 AM   #26
graham christian
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Yes and it's used in other Japanese arts, also, and I'll guarantee you that the karate and koryu styles that do use the term didn't get it from Aikido. If nothing else, a commonly known (in the Aikido world) example would be the basic jin/kokyu things that Ikeda Sensei got from Ushiro (karate). Then too, other terms were also used to describe the various ki skills in Japanese martial-arts (Reiki pops to mind as another term for Kokyu).

Frankly, given the fact that Ueshiba came from a very traditional culture, I don't think that there would be much tolerance for people using traditional terms in any way that they see fit. It just wouldn't fly; there wasn't that "words mean what I want them to mean", etc., that you see in a lot of the current western counter-culture.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
Reiki and kokyu? I know about Reiki and Ki.

Anyway, If other arts have kokyu as a term thats fine, that's what I was asking. Thank you.

The reasoning to do with 'at the time' and 'cultural tolerance' is where i depart as far as Ueshiba is concerned. For want of a better word the whole phenomena of Ueshiba at the time was that he was a kind of martial arts rebel, not a conformist. So travelling that path never leads to him but only to the past.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:07 PM   #27
DH
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
The folks translated as they did because they were there and understood the context and tones with which he was speaking so you cannot get better, plus they trained with him and were entrusted to do so by him....

....There's one famous teacher who explains quite clearly the reasons why he and others couldn't understand what O'Sensei was on about and says it was because of the time difference and not knowing or understanding the old religious tales etc. He then goes on to say he finally understood only after studying zen, a spiritual activity. Others will know of whom I speak as I can't remember exactly who that was.

It's not a matter of translating a word literally it's a matter of understanding conceptually. To understand conceptually you thus have to increase your spiritual awareness.
Regards.G.
Graham, your lack of understanding simply makes matters worse and really don't make any case worth having. In one paragraph you state THEY understood him because they trained with him, in another ...they couldn't understand till they went outside for spiritual awareness. Your argument is nonsense.

Arguing translation with Chris is rather ridiculous, you don't have the skills. I suggest you try asking him questions.

Translation
You fail to understand the difficulties in translating. As Chris has pointed out in rooms with native Japanese Budo-ka present;
In the separately published commentary on the book "Budo" you have;
1. The actual writing of Ueshiba in Japanese
2. Then you have the "explanation" in Japanese
3. Then you have the translation that can go either way
It is quite startling to see how many times none of the three line up.
From descriptions of six directions, intent, jumonji etc. All it proves is that many (I would guess most) of his students had no clue what he was talking about. Something which I squarely blame on Ueshiba. Takeda gave him and many others specific instruction. That's why Ueshiba had peers in his own era; Sagawa, Kodo, Hisa, etc.

I would interject here that I have seen the exact same translation problem between two Japanese Koryu teachers arguing over correct translation into English of one principle in their scroll; one saying this or that presents the concept more clearly, with the American listeners laughing and telling the Japanese "You just presented two completely different concepts to us from one sentence. Which is it?" Which started the argument all over again. When the actual waza was demonstrated...the physical lexicon was far more clear and it settled the debate.

It is also quite a stretch to say that you needed a religious connection to understand Ueshiba when many concepts (no not all) he talked about were all over the place in their own culture. I mean; heaven/earth/man, six directions, Kokyu power, aiki, were known. It certainly doesn't mean everyone understood them or could use them, just that they needed no religious connotation. Case in point: Heaven/ earth/man and six direction were known and taught in No dance. I have read manuscripts from 1783 discussing them and why they were needed.
As for those training with him getting and being able to translate? Guys like Chiba have publicly lamented that he was an idiot at the time (as have many of us) and wished he could go back. All he wanted at the time was for the old man to shut up so they could get back to the training. And that training, was the training that Ueshiba had just blasted them for not being his Aikido at all.
We should not be surprised at this. Taking young men in and six years later sending them out as 6th dan is a model for expanding an art, not for making highly polished and all knowing deshi we should be following.

Students fault or teacher
In a culture where may times the Budo lexicon was physical and not verbal, it can fall on the student to try to understand:
A case of three students:
Tohei said "All Ueshiba really taught us was how to relax."
Chiba said "No one knew what he was talking about, I couldn't wait for him to shut up so we could get back to training."
And yet Shirata....comes up with a series of power building exercises that include breath power, the use of kua and mingmen (as was the case in many JMA, not using those terms, but the mechanics), and some other interesting things more akin to DR than modern aikido!
Trying to make an argument for who had the best translating ability to what Ueshiba was saying is hilarious.

Dan

Last edited by DH : 07-08-2011 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:15 PM   #28
chillzATL
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Yes. I am.

So does everyone else who was there at the time. Why do you think he was such a phenomenon? Because it was the same ?
Really? Most only had him as a frame of reference. They never felt anyone else with aiki. So how would they know that HIS aiki was actually different than Takeda, Sagawa, etc? Later in life he used it differently (rounding it out, projections), but most of the qualitative comparisons (the few) sound very similar.

Quote:
Basically, the past to do with fighting you can understand and 'physical ki' you can sort of get but that's as far as most go. Just admit he went much further than that and stated it was nothing to do with the thinking of the past or how you would like to translate it so you could relate it to other things.

Every time he was asked if it's like this or that in judo, or if he learned it from Takeda, or if it's sen no sen, etc. he answered no.
Maybe translaters can't translate no.
You're being over simplistic for the sake of your arguement or maybe you don't know the situations your'e quoting clearly. When asked about what he learned from Takeda he said he opened his eyes to budo.

Where are the words from Ueshiba himself saying that what he was doing in his later years, beyond the form and techniques, was any different than what he was doing in his younger years when he was taking on all comers and developing a reputation of being this budo monster?

Most who felt him from both eras have quotes talking about how his techniques changed, but you don't hear much talking about how he himself felt any less powerful than he did at the height of that reputation or even different. There's very little difference noted in the qualitative aspects of Ueshiba's aiki, only in how he did the techniques. This coming from the guys who are themselves noted as being most like Ueshiba in skill level...
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:16 PM   #29
Mike Sigman
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Reiki and kokyu? I know about Reiki and Ki.
Sometimes Kokyu-ho Undo would be called Reiki-no Undo. You have to understand that "kokyu" is essentially a physical expression of "Ki", in the traditional perspective. I.e., if you're pushing on an unmovable Ueshiba or Tohei, it would be perfectly correct to say he is demonstrating his "ki" or his "kokyu". Hence a kokyu-nage still uses "ki", although by usage, no one would call it a "ki throw" (AFAIK), since that tends to indicate the throws where you get an opponent to commit his forces (generally, his "ki", also) and throw himself.
Quote:
The reasoning to do with 'at the time' and 'cultural tolerance' is where i depart as far as Ueshiba is concerned. For want of a better word the whole phenomena of Ueshiba at the time was that he was a kind of martial arts rebel, not a conformist. So travelling that path never leads to him but only to the past.
Mmmmmm.... I think you can be a strict adherent to tradition and still be innovative, aggressive, etc. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your point, but you seem to be under the impression that IF Ueshiba used a large number of terms idiosyncratically and apart from the general usage (something unproven, at best), then it's OK for others to do the same? Or if others use terms to mean other things it might somehow be in accord with any purported non-traditional usage that Ueshiba *might* have used? I'm not sure I understand the gist of what you're looking for. I do know that Ueshiba's douka's, written references, etc., indicated a fairly rigorous agreement with the Chinese classics (which he also studied, as did most well-schooled Japanese).

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:38 PM   #30
graham christian
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Graham, your lack of understanding simply make matters worse and really don't make any case worth having. In one paragraph you state THEY understood him because they trained with him, in another ...they couldn't understand till they went outside for spiritual awareness. Your argument is nonsense.

Arguing translation with Chris is rather ridiculous, you don't have the skills. I suggest you try asking him questions.

Translation
You fail to understand the difficulties in translating. As Chris has pointed out in rooms with native Japanese Budo-ka present;
In the separately published commentary on the book "Budo" you have;
1. The actual writing of Ueshiba in Japanese
2. Then you have the "explanation" in Japanese
3. Then you have the translation that can go either way
It is quite startling to see how many times none of the three line up.
From descriptions of six directions, intent, jumonji etc. All it proves is that many (I would guess most) of his students had no clue what he was talking about. Something which I squarely blame on Ueshiba. Takeda gave him and many others specific instruction. Thats why Ueshiba had peers in his own era; Sagawa, Kodo, Hisa, etc.
I would interject here that I have seen the exact same translation problem between two Japanese Koryu teachers arguing over correct translation into English of one principle in their scroll; one saying this or that presents the concept more clearly, with the American listeners laughing and telling the Japanese "You just presented two completely different concepts to us from one sentence. Which is it?" Which started the argument all over again.
When the time came for the actual waza...the physical lexicon was far more clear and it settled the debate.

It is also quite a stretch to say that you needed a religious connection to understand Ueshiba when many concepts (no not all) he talked about were all over the place in their own culture. I mean; heaven/earth/man, six directions, Kokyu power, aiki, were known. It certainly doesn't mean everyone understood them or could use them, just that they needed no religious connotation. Case in point: Heaven/ earth/man and six direction were known and taught in No dance. I have read manuscripts from 1783 discussing them and why they were needed.
As for those training with him getting and being able to translate? Guys like Chiba have publicly lamented that he was an idiot at the time (as have many of us) and wished he could go back. All he wanted at the time was for the old man to shut up so they could get back to the training. And that training, was the training that Ueshiba had just blasted them for not being his Aikido at all.
We should not be surprised at this. Taking young men in and six years later sending them out as 6th dan is a model for expanding an art, not for making highly polished and all knowing deshi we should be following.

Students fault or teacher
In a culture where may times the Budo lexicon was physical and not verbal, it can fall on the student to try to understand:
Three students
Tohei said "All Ueshiba really taught us was how to relax."
Chiba "No one knew what he was talking about, I couldn't wait for him to shut up so we could get back to training."
And yet Shirata....comes up with a series of power building exercises that include breath power, the use of kua and mingmen (as was the case in many JMA, not using those terms, but the mechanics), and some other interesting things more akin to DR than modern aikido!
Trying to make an argument for who had the best translating ability to what Ueshiba was saying is hilarious.

Dan
Ah Dan. Back on speaking terms are we? That's nice.

Differenciation please. His son translated and of course he understood him better than many. Tohei understood as he was a spiritual person and also translated sometimes. The ones who said they didn't understand him, of which there are many are the ones I am referring to when saying that. The teacher who studied zen later and then understood was yet another point.

FOUR SEPARATE POINTS. Surely that's clear enough isn't it?

It may be hilarious to you Dan but I could demonstrate that you couldn't translate English if I asked you to do something using plain english.

You don't seem to be aware enough to understand my english. You think I am saying I know more about translating Japanese than Chris. Anyway, it's a nice surprise to hear your explosive expertise.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:48 PM   #31
JW
 
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
It's not a matter of translating a word literally it's a matter of understanding conceptually.
Well I think that's something we all agree on. So I am not going to cling to any specific translation. In terms of actual practice-- "harmonize" and "combine" both are fine. They're just different ways of describing something. And to really describe it you are going to need more than a few words.

Other than a few books I've read in the past, I am not of the same background as Mike. Despite this lack of shared background I've never thought what he is saying is in any way in conflict with what we do in aikido, when you fully interpret the entirety of what is being said. Just my personal impression.
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Old 07-08-2011, 01:14 PM   #32
Keith Larman
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

One thing I find rather hilarious about this discussion is that we've discussed rather extensively what the word "harmony" means just in English. It is hard to come up with a consensus on that word alone.

For instance...

Quote:
The combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect
- four-part harmony in the barbershop style
- the note played on the fourth beat anticipates the harmony of the following bar

The study or composition of musical harmony

The quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole
- delightful cities where old and new blend in harmony

An arrangement of the four Gospels, or of any parallel narratives, that presents a single continuous narrative text

Agreement or concord
- man and machine in perfect harmony
Okay, four or more definitions there. No translation issues yet. Just the word harmony. For me, classically trained in music, well, I will immediately focus in on asking what "pleasing" means. I find that requires some explication because singing in harmony and finding that pleasing assumes a musical system and context. It's like being raised on western classical music but then hearing music from some far away land that uses different notes and intervals. What is "harmonious" to my ears may not be pleasing to theirs and vice versa. So the whole "pleasing" aspect is firmly entrenches in some larger context.

My point here is that if you look further in the definitions you'll find words like "agreement" or "concord". "Man and machine in perfect harmony". That doesn't sound particularly like "pleasing" has anything to do with it. It's more about matching up, blending, fitting, or combining.

So to me, with a musical background, I don't necessarily associate pleasing as part of harmony. I find it pleasing sometimes depending on context, but it can still be in harmony and not be something I like. Harmony in a "key" sense might mean in the same key but different notes. Harmony in a rhythmic sense may mean simultaneous but not necessarily the same key, i.e., "they were playing the dissonant chord in harmony with each other."

So here you'll find people disagreeing as to whether harmony carries connotations of being "pleasing". It doesn't always. So which "harmony" are you talking about? Which harmony better "maps" to what ai means in Japanese? If the Japanese word doesn't necessarily carry the connotation of "pleasing" then a lot of the stuff that folk here in the west say about the meaning of "ai" is not-so-subtly off target. And that aspect is simply because we don't even agree on the meaning of the word harmony ourselves!

I would suggest paying attention to those who actually speak the language and also practice the art extensively. Things don't always "map" to each other well. Sometimes it's better to say "ai" kinda means something like harmony, combining, fitting (glove meet hand), etc. It may not carry all the connotations of the translated word. And understanding that requires some subtle and careful consideration.

And it most certainly means trying to avoid picking and choosing meanings that fit with what *you* want it to mean because it best fits what *you* would like it to be. Conformation bias among other things.

To go another direction, a teacher of mine outside martial arts, Japanese native, explained "Ai" in this context to me like this. We were having a lovely lunch at a local family run Japanese restaurant. She reached out and grabbed her bowl of miso soup. These weren't industrial, plastic bowls but lovely hand made bowls with lovely lids. The lids fit perfectly sealing up the bowl, keeping the soup hot. She said "This is ai -- see how they fit? See how they work together as a whole? See how this lid doesn't fit your bowl? It only fits this one. When it is on the right bowl that is ai. And there is nothing more than that -- it just 'is'."

FWIW.

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Old 07-08-2011, 01:23 PM   #33
Mike Sigman
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Looks like the focus is on the word "Aiki". One comment I'd make is that I asked a native-born Chinese friend of mine (who's done martial arts his whole life) what he thought about the kanji for "Aikido". He said he was familiar with it and while the meaning is obvious (about the combining with an opponent's forces), it's wouldn't be the combination of kanji that a Chinese speaker would use. Point is that a lot of these arguments about what "aiki" is supposed to mean are probably overdone and it wouldn't really be an issue among competent martial-artists with internal strength skills.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-08-2011, 03:34 PM   #34
graham christian
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Looks like the focus is on the word "Aiki". One comment I'd make is that I asked a native-born Chinese friend of mine (who's done martial arts his whole life) what he thought about the kanji for "Aikido". He said he was familiar with it and while the meaning is obvious (about the combining with an opponent's forces), it's wouldn't be the combination of kanji that a Chinese speaker would use. Point is that a lot of these arguments about what "aiki" is supposed to mean are probably overdone and it wouldn't really be an issue among competent martial-artists with internal strength skills.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
Hi Mike. That's true, the focus was on the term as well as Ki and Kokyu and basically me interested in your view.

The problem with communication is not only translation. It's also to do with reality, different realities on the same thing. I like to hear others different realities.

When it comes to Ki or Kokyu it's interesting to hear others realities as well as harmony etc.

Many times it's not the same as mine. However I do know mine and apply it every day. Hopefully they do theirs.

The biggest reality is in real life. By hearing what others mean I can then relate it to people from the past I have shared training with and so see the difference.

I witnessed a hilarious event only two years ago to do with Ki verses chi. I was teaching Aikido after a Tai Chi class by some chinese Teacher.

As one of my students was also doing this Tai Chi I had turned up early to see how he was getting on. Because of this I think it caused one guy to tell another he knew Ki and another to argue with him that it's not the same and they proceeded to try and prove it to each other. For me it was very funny but I kept my laugh inside and tried to be 'invisible' and just wait for them all to get changed and leave.

It went from one scene to another. Now the teacher had got involved which led my student to ask him some questions and so he proceeded to show him. It was all very interesting from the side lines but I thought 'oh no, he seems to be trying to show me how superior chi is. I won't say what happened next but it does show how this superior and prove rubbish is pure stupidity. But people love it.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:10 PM   #35
Mike Sigman
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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The problem with communication is not only translation. It's also to do with reality, different realities on the same thing. I like to hear others different realities.
Well, anecdotes aside (I can tell plenty of my own), I don't think there are a lot of equally valid "realities". If you go back 6 or so years when I started posting a fair amount on AikiWeb, you can check that my "realities" haven't changed a bit nor am I now preaching anything new or revelatory in relation to my initial posts: the reason is to avoid this idea that there are changing realities and that each version or viewpoint is equally valid, depending upon your point of view.

Most of these things are fixed in stone (and the logic and results can be demonstrated), even though to the uninitiated it might appear that different 'opinions' or 'realities' can be valid.

I'm always open to valid and demonstrable argument, but when it comes to opinion or assertion on a superficial level I'm afraid that I'm not much of a player. If someone is thrown with "universal love", fine, but as they say in Missouri, "Show Me". If we're reduced, as is typical on many martial arts forums to "my theory is as valid as yours and I can kick anyone's butt to prove it" (professional fighters excepted), then I have to say what they say in California: "Passadena".

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:38 PM   #36
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

As the Taoists said, "He who knows, does not speak. And he who speaks, does not know." The problem, with the forums is the everyone speaks. So, how do you sort it out? The only way is to feel it.

What gets me is that there are son many folks willing to argue these points based on ZERO personal knowledge. Dan H was in England... to my knowledge none of the folks who perpetually argue with him about these things attended. I assume it was the same when Mike taught overseas since I hadn't heard different. I think folks should take the example of Ron and Mary seriously. We had a number of discussions on-line and they showed up when I taught somewhat near them. It was clear that they had to go our of their way to do so. So they now can talk knowledgeably about what I do. We don't have to agree nor does anyone have to change anything he or she is doing. But we can now have a discussion which goes beyond strongly held opinions based on no information.

Some of these discussions remind me of talks I had with a friend from college who was "born again". He did not believe in evolution. You'd ask why the fossil record showed different and he'd say "it's a mystery." You'd ask where'd the fossils come from, he'd say God put them there. You'd ask "why would he do that? He'd reply, "It's a mystery." You have people here who are genuine experts in a certain area. People who know little or nothing in that area argue with them that they understand. When told that from everything they say it is clear they do not know, they simply reply they do.
It's idiotic.

Chris Li is an expert on the Japanese language, and unlike most translators has extensive knowledge of Aikido as a practitioner and has also studied Aikido more from an academic standpoint. Yet a person having few of these qualifications is going to sit down and argue with him about a point that he is in a perfect position to have an expert and informed opinion about.

I have no problem with arguing with Mike and Dan about what Aikido is and is not or what it could or should be. I can hold my own with most on the history angle and am happy to debate about areas where I have a different interpretation.

I try not to get into discussions at all about things that I either know nothing about or have only a remedial understanding of. I think the folks who post here should take the trouble to get some in person, hands on exposure to one of these folks so you understand what they are talking about. Take the trouble to read a single book like Ellis Amdur's Hidden in Plain Sight. We wouldn't be having some of these circular, never going anywhere discussions if more folks bothered to be informed about what they are talking about.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:59 PM   #37
stan baker
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

If you looked at what George wrote read it again

stan
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:59 PM   #38
Mike Sigman
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
As the Taoists said, "He who knows, does not speak. And he who speaks, does not know." The problem, with the forums is the everyone speaks. So, how do you sort it out? The only way is to feel it.
I dunno.... we went through a lot of this back in the 80's and 90's in the CMA's already. What happened generally was that the strong guys who could toss long-term "Tai Chi", etc., people around convinced them that what they were doing was the Real Stuff (tm). So a lot of people took off along that route instead of going to people with world-class expertise (e.g., Chen Xiaowang, Feng, and other people). What ultimately happened was that most of the enthusiasts wound up, after a few years, in dead ends. The real giveaway was then, and now, that the conversations stuck with the 'western masters' rather than where it belonged with the legitimate Asian experts. That would be my first suggestion (and it has been for years).... go see and feel the guys with world-recognized mastery and thus begin your comparison.

The comment about the Tao is more along the lines that it's very hard to describe by oral methods and needs to be felt, etc., to be understood. The problem tends to be now and was before (from my own observations) was that many people who claimed to be "seniors", "experts", and "teachers" were actually not very experienced in real martial arts and, in the case of the CMA in recent years, easily convinced by every White Crane, etc., master (usually just strong amateurs) that they were showing the Real Stuff (tm). Again, the real problem, IMO, was that they didn't bother to cross-check against the real big-dogs but instead stayed in the amateur ranks.

The solution.... don't stay in the amateur arena; go get a serious feel for some of the real experts in "internal martial arts", see what their bodies/strength feels like, etc., and then work your way back down into the art of your choice. Once you really know what "iron in cotton" etc., feels like, then you can make better choices of what is and isn't "internal strength". Make the jump up to the high so that you can define what the real thing is about and then sort out the best route to what you want to learn. IME most people aren't interested in any of this anyway, but the ones that are will be wasting their time to work their way UP the chain when they should go to the top and then work downward. I've given this type of advice for many years/decades and I think it still stands up.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

On the other hand, a lot of people have no idea what they're seeing and feeling and that's why so many real Asian experts just shrug off so much.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:21 PM   #39
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
I dunno.... we went through a lot of this back in the 80's and 90's in the CMA's already. What happened generally was that the strong guys who could toss long-term "Tai Chi", etc., people around convinced them that what they were doing was the Real Stuff (tm). So a lot of people took off along that route instead of going to people with world-class expertise (e.g., Chen Xiaowang, Feng, and other people). What ultimately happened was that most of the enthusiasts wound up, after a few years, in dead ends. The real giveaway was then, and now, that the conversations stuck with the 'western masters' rather than where it belonged with the legitimate Asian experts. That would be my first suggestion (and it has been for years).... go see and feel the guys with world-recognized mastery and thus begin your comparison.

The comment about the Tao is more along the lines that it's very hard to describe by oral methods and needs to be felt, etc., to be understood. The problem tends to be now and was before (from my own observations) was that many people who claimed to be "seniors", "experts", and "teachers" were actually not very experienced in real martial arts and, in the case of the CMA in recent years, easily convinced by every White Crane, etc., master (usually just strong amateurs) that they were showing the Real Stuff (tm). Again, the real problem, IMO, was that they didn't bother to cross-check against the real big-dogs but instead stayed in the amateur ranks.

The solution.... don't stay in the amateur arena; go get a serious feel for some of the real experts in "internal martial arts", see what their bodies/strength feels like, etc., and then work your way back down into the art of your choice. Once you really know what "iron in cotton" etc., feels like, then you can make better choices of what is and isn't "internal strength". Make the jump up to the high so that you can define what the real thing is about and then sort out the best route to what you want to learn. IME most people aren't interested in any of this anyway, but the ones that are will be wasting their time to work their way UP the chain when they should go to the top and then work downward. I've given this type of advice for many years/decades and I think it still stands up.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

On the other hand, a lot of people have no idea what they're seeing and feeling and that's why so many real Asian experts just shrug off so much.
Hi Mike,
I totally understand what you are saying... I even agree. But I think it is important to maintain perspective. Most of the folks doing Aikido, even teaching Aikido, have no actual expectation of ever reaching some illustrious "top level". They'd be happy if someone could just help them take their stuff up a couple levels.

It is clear to me that virtually any exposure to this stuff, can change ones Aikido quite a lot. I have some kyu ranked folks whose work has gotten light years better with just a bit or work on IS skills. My own Aikido has gone to an entirely different level and continues to change and I am by no means anything more than a beginner at this work.

Sometimes these discussions between "experts" end up in debates about issues that are simply far above most of everyone's "pay grade". While I understand that you feel that there are "false paths" that won't, in the end' deliver the goods, that is really coming from your position as a world class practitioner of these skills. Most folks don't care because they are never going to practice enough to get to that level anyway.

Rather than be "exclusive" about finding folks to get exposure to these skills, I think we should be "inclusive". Some exposure is better than no exposure. Exposure to someone who is adequate is better than exposure to no one.

Too often these discussions are like a couple of guys from the NFL discussing the fine points of the professional game to an audience made up of high school players. It just doesn't need to be that refined yet.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:05 PM   #40
DH
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
We wouldn't be having some of these circular, never going anywhere discussions if more folks bothered to be informed about what they are talking about.
For me, ten thousand words of debate on the internet always end....in person. One person shows their way of doing something...another shows theirs....no more debate. And then usually friendships are forged as well.
Arguing terminology goes no where. Contrary to some of the rhetoric written here and elsewhere, grandmaster level ICMA teachers not only argue over definitions, they argue over the use of the body method and they argue over the meaning of the so called classics as well. It's no different than JMA Shihan arguing over power and aiki. So one group trying to own definitions as a narrow absolute over another is frankly rather amateurish and needy to me. It's what people are capable of doing and how they are doing it and whether they are capable of teaching it that matters.

The internet has incredible potential..unfortunately not every thing is beneficial.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 07-08-2011 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:53 PM   #41
Mike Sigman
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Hi Mike,
I totally understand what you are saying... I even agree. But I think it is important to maintain perspective. Most of the folks doing Aikido, even teaching Aikido, have no actual expectation of ever reaching some illustrious "top level". They'd be happy if someone could just help them take their stuff up a couple levels.

It is clear to me that virtually any exposure to this stuff, can change ones Aikido quite a lot. I have some kyu ranked folks whose work has gotten light years better with just a bit or work on IS skills. My own Aikido has gone to an entirely different level and continues to change and I am by no means anything more than a beginner at this work.

Sometimes these discussions between "experts" end up in debates about issues that are simply far above most of everyone's "pay grade". While I understand that you feel that there are "false paths" that won't, in the end' deliver the goods, that is really coming from your position as a world class practitioner of these skills. Most folks don't care because they are never going to practice enough to get to that level anyway.

Rather than be "exclusive" about finding folks to get exposure to these skills, I think we should be "inclusive". Some exposure is better than no exposure. Exposure to someone who is adequate is better than exposure to no one.

Too often these discussions are like a couple of guys from the NFL discussing the fine points of the professional game to an audience made up of high school players. It just doesn't need to be that refined yet.
Hi George:

I think basically that you're saying that *some* progress is better than no progress.... and if you go back and look, I've said the same thing a number of times. What I'm suggesting is not a debate, yada, yada, but that if people are really interested in "internal strength" they should go look at some of the big dogs and get a feel for what the movement, power, etc., feels like, first. A big mistake was made by a number of people in the CMA's early on in that the exposure was very limited and anyone who could "kick their butt" became the narrowly-focused standard. In fact, if you go look at the western "push hands tournaments" now, you can see what the "I can kick your butt" type stuff led to eventually.... nothing like the original arts that they purportedly represent. And yeah, if you talk to a lot of these guys they're all better than the level in China, yet none of them can ever name a well-respected fighter that they've taken on. I.e., there's a tendency to try and close down the conversation, which is always a flag-raiser. To be fair, most western martial-arts enthusiasts are happy living in this limited world, so a lot of these differences are rhetorical.

If you go look at the current "internal martial-arts" forums it's still western dominated with a lot of focus on self, "my teacher", and so on, but with very little representation or analysis of what the real 'big-dogs' do. Some skill is a good step forward... what I'm suggesting is that people who are truly interested at least go get a 'feel' comparison with whatever big-dogs they can so that they can get an idea of what might be involved in the more complete training. It's a lot more difficult and complex than the conversations have approached so far, so my point is for the truly interested to get out and look around as much as possible... and I'm not knocking the fact that the conversation has moved as far as it has.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-08-2011, 10:09 PM   #42
graham christian
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

George.
So you don't believe O'Sensei said true budo is love? So you don't believe he said ai is harmony and also he said ai is love? So you don't believe he said Aikido cannot be anything but a martial art of love? So you don't believe that he said the mind of an Aikidoist must be peaceful and totally nonviolent?

Maybe you don't. I do. I don't care how many gold stars someone has for I have my opinion shared by many and others have theirs. Nothing wrong with that. I don't care if a 1st kyu disagrees with me as there's nothing wrong with that also.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:27 PM   #43
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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George.
So you don't believe O'Sensei said true budo is love? So you don't believe he said ai is harmony and also he said ai is love? So you don't believe he said Aikido cannot be anything but a martial art of love? So you don't believe that he said the mind of an Aikidoist must be peaceful and totally nonviolent?

Maybe you don't. I do. I don't care how many gold stars someone has for I have my opinion shared by many and others have theirs. Nothing wrong with that. I don't care if a 1st kyu disagrees with me as there's nothing wrong with that also.

Regards.G.
Nowhere did I even refer to any of the statements you are quoting. But the issue at hand is twofold. First, the issue of translation. English terms seldom have the precise meaning they do in a given foreign language. I majored in Asian religions as an undergraduate. I read a lot of works on Buddhism in translation. Scholars have adopted a number of general conventions about how certain words get translated. Sunyata (Sanskrit) is almost always translated as Emptiness. But you actually have to study the subject to understand that the word has multiple levels of meaning which simply are not contained in the English word emptiness. And the English word has shades of meaning for us that are not what was originally intended.

O-Sensei used words that had meanings that were not common usage even for the Japanese. If you didn't have some classical training in Shinto and the Kojiki and weren't familiar with how the Omotokyo folks used their terminology, you couldn't understand what O-Sensei was saying, even if you were a native speaker. Even if you did have that background, if you did not also do martial arts, his usage wouldn't have been clear.

Then take that problem and compound it by putting his words into English. "Ai" has certain usage in Japanese for the average person. In the martial arts it has another level of meaning which would not be familiar to the average Japanese who does not train. Then O-Sensei, by combining traditional usage with his unique spiritual experience gave the same term another level of meaning. Then his words got translated into English (and a host of other foreign languages). The folks who did this had to arrive at certain conventions about how to translate these Japanese terms. They picked what seemed like the closest word or phrase with had some of the flavor of the Founder's intention. But, the English words do not have the precise meaning they do in Japanese and one needs to both train in some "Aiki" related art and put a lot of work into educating himself to be able to give these English conventions the proper shade of meaning.

This is an evolving process... Doing work with Dan Harden and Gleason Sensei on internal skills has actually opened up a whole new window on how O-Sensei's spiritual ideas came directly out of his training experience. Dan H doesn't discuss this stuff very frequently but he actually has a huge amount to say on the subject and if you are doing the training and have some idea what he is talking about you can see quite clearly that much of what has passed for conventional understanding of the Founders words are inaccurate and lacking the subtlety and dept of the original concepts.

So when someone like Chris Li says you are wrongly interpreting some word or phrase used by the Founder, I am going with him every day. He has the language expertise, he has done extensive research specifically on the Founder's writings, he does Aikido and has for a long time, and he is familiar with internal training concepts which I believe are essential to understanding a lot of what the Founder talked about.

I'm not saying that we don't all supply our own meanings to these ideas through our own experience and training. But I am saying it is a common mistake to take ones own ideas and impose them onto interpretations of the Founder's intentions.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 07-09-2011 at 03:30 PM.

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Old 07-09-2011, 03:29 PM   #44
graham christian
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
Really? Most only had him as a frame of reference. They never felt anyone else with aiki. So how would they know that HIS aiki was actually different than Takeda, Sagawa, etc? Later in life he used it differently (rounding it out, projections), but most of the qualitative comparisons (the few) sound very similar.

You're being over simplistic for the sake of your arguement or maybe you don't know the situations your'e quoting clearly. When asked about what he learned from Takeda he said he opened his eyes to budo.

Where are the words from Ueshiba himself saying that what he was doing in his later years, beyond the form and techniques, was any different than what he was doing in his younger years when he was taking on all comers and developing a reputation of being this budo monster?

Most who felt him from both eras have quotes talking about how his techniques changed, but you don't hear much talking about how he himself felt any less powerful than he did at the height of that reputation or even different. There's very little difference noted in the qualitative aspects of Ueshiba's aiki, only in how he did the techniques. This coming from the guys who are themselves noted as being most like Ueshiba in skill level...
Jason. How do you come to the conclusion that most had never felt anyone with Aiki?

As to most who felt him from different eras not mentioning difference in qualitative aspects? I think it quite the opposite is the case.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:35 PM   #45
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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Where are the words from Ueshiba himself saying that what he was doing in his later years, beyond the form and techniques, was any different than what he was doing in his younger years when he was taking on all comers and developing a reputation of being this budo monster?
Come on Jason.

Do I really have to teach you?

Regards.G.

Last edited by akiy : 07-09-2011 at 05:06 PM. Reason: Fixed quote tag
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:57 PM   #46
Chris Li
 
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
O-Sensei used words that had meanings that were not common usage even for the Japanese. If you didn't have some classical training in Shinto and the Kojiki and weren't familiar with how the Omotokyo folks used their terminology, you couldn't understand what O-Sensei was saying, even if you were a native speaker. Even if you did have that background, if you did not also do martial arts, his usage wouldn't have been clear.
Very true. When I first read "Take Musu Aiki" in Japanese one of my biggest problems was that I had no one to consult with - even though I was living in Japan at the time. Most Japanese (even long term Aikido students and teachers) just looked at it and shook their heads.

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
This is an evolving process... Doing work with Dan Harden and Gleason Sensei on internal skills has actually opened up a whole new window on how O-Sensei's spiritual ideas came directly out of his training experience. Dan H doesn't discuss this stuff very frequently but he actually has a huge amount to say on the subject and if you are doing the training and have some idea what he is talking about you can see quite clearly that much of what has passed for conventional understanding of the Founders words are inaccurate and lacking the subtlety and dept of the original concepts.
Also very true. The internal training methods offer a window into what the Founder was doing, and into his philosophy, which grew clearly and directly from that training. So many, many things have become clearer. It has also become clear how many English translations and even Japanese explanations of the Founder's words were so far off the mark. That's nothing against any of the translators, but any translation is going to be filtered through what you know and understand.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-09-2011, 04:04 PM   #47
graham christian
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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'm not saying that we don't all supply our own meanings to these ideas through our own experience and training. But I am saying it is a common mistake to take ones own ideas and impose them onto interpretations of the Founder's intentions
Yes George I agree we do all supply our own ideas through our own experience and training.

To take our own ideas and impose them on to interpretations as a mistake? I disagree.

Regards.G.

Last edited by akiy : 07-09-2011 at 05:07 PM. Reason: Fixed quote tag
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:15 PM   #48
graham christian
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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Very true. When I first read "Take Musu Aiki" in Japanese one of my biggest problems was that I had no one to consult with - even though I was living in Japan at the time. Most Japanese (even long term Aikido students and teachers) just looked at it and shook their heads.
Chris. This is precisely my point. I did not question your ability to translate. You yourself question others translations. Thus certain people using it to say I'm questioning you ability is misleading.

Regards.G.

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Old 07-09-2011, 04:26 PM   #49
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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Graham Christian wrote:
To take our own ideas and impose them on to interpretations as a mistake? I disagree.

Regards.G.
For some of us....our goal was to try to understand what he was doing and talking about.
For others they use him as a totem..while really only pointing to themselves.
I think the end results have been rather transparent.
Imagining you have the wherewithall to contend with or equal such expertise and layover any ol idea on to his skills and written works has brought Aikido to where it is today.
Dan
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:36 PM   #50
graham christian
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
For some of us....our goal was to try to understand what he was doing and talking about.
For others they use him as a totem..while really only pointing to themselves.
I think the end results have been rather transparent.
Imagining you have the wherewithall to contend with or equal such expertise and layover any ol idea on to his skills and written works has brought Aikido to where it is today.
Dan
I do understand him thank you.

You carry on trying.

Regards.G.
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