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Old 07-09-2011, 06:22 PM   #51
DH
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
I do understand him thank you.

You carry on trying.

Regards.G.
Well, this is where the rubber meets the road, Graham.
It's where serious and learned people start to approach the subject with some trepidation instead of hubris, as you can called out on your level of understanding. If you claim to understand him, then you are able to demonstrate his power....on the spot. People would know you and flock to you as you could not hide it.
It doesn't bode well for people to be making claims of "understanding Ueshiba" when they:
1. Cant even read what he actually said (that pretty much disqualifies most budo-ka).
2. They cannot do what he did (no measurable displays of unusual power and aiki).
3. They are visibly unable to effectively wield a weapon correctly.

Those three alone are pretty embarassing for folks making such claims, particularly these days; if they have a dojo and are on you tube and people know them as "just average," it makes it sound very much like it's all in their own hopeful imagination.

He was a tested and proven legend, with weapons and without.
People I have met who "claim" to understand him are...legends...in their own minds.

Most Budo people I know are not so cavalier in their comments. I would be a bit more..well, a lot more... cautious, were I you.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 07-09-2011 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 07-09-2011, 06:59 PM   #52
DH
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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On the one hand, I think we have failed miserably to understand his martial art. We display none of his skills.
On the other, few have researched enough to understand his real spiritual pursuits either.
Just what are we claiming we understand? It certainly isn't him.
I think aikido can be brilliant and one of the most powerful martial arts today. But not this way, not even close, you can't have it just because you want it and say you do. It costs more than that.
Dan
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:05 PM   #53
George S. Ledyard
 
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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
Hi Dan,
Personally, I am not sure we have any choice but to do an Aikido that is so personal that it is yours and yours alone. I don't have a problem with Graham or anyone else taking any idea from what they have read of O-Sensei's writings and making it their own. Just as I had no problem with Tom Read Sensei taking certain ideas from Science, Physics, and Mathematics, and creating a set of interpretations that describe what he is doing in his Aikido. If one gets too hung up on whether every concept is exactly scientifically accurate in the way he is using them, one will miss the overall point.

I think that the insights available to us within Aikido practice are infinite and intensely personal. I just want to folks to be clear. What one persons particular understanding of an idea may be can be perfectly valid and directly derived from their practice and their insight. That does not mean that it accurately reflects what the Founder meant when he described his art.

I do not in any way debate what the Founder said. It's what he meant when he said it that's the rub. You can develop your own understanding of what he was talking about through your own experience. But it's your experience, not necessarily what O-Sensei meant. That doesn't mean it's wrong either. It's just your truth.

O-Sensei represents a model to strive for in terms of skill and a challenge for us to re-conceptualize how we see ourselves and the world. Very few folks seemed to understand him very well when he was alive and I doubt more do now. I think it is important to try our best to understand him, while fully knowing that we will not end up with his Aikido but our own.

It's sort of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in Aikido. The more we do O-Sensei's Aikido the more it is our own and not his. If we are clear on that, he can serve as a wonderful inspiration and model for us. I do think it's a good idea to not get too into "projection" of our own wishes, desires, hopes and aspirations onto him.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:53 PM   #54
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
That's nothing against any of the translators, but any translation is going to be filtered through what you know and understand.
Exactly. If you go back 5 or 6 or 7 years, you'll see that I said exactly the same obvious thing (to this forum; other forums before this one) and took a lot of grief for it.

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:57 PM   #55
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Well I agree with all of that, George. The disqualifier for me is hearing a claim to understand Ueshiba's aikido.
Aikido is so broad that pretty much anyone can do anything that they want and call it their aikido. Nothing wrong with that of course,
but it gets pretty funny in light of who we know, and who has spent so much time and money and agonizing research and sacrifice to understand the language, cultural context, immersion, rejection, physical loss...go on to study the koryu aspect of weapons handling, real aiki, decades of solo work... and then see every yahoo with an active imagination tell others they got it.... Particularly after watching what some people do.
I am not P.C. I am quite sure when the old man said "Do your own aikido." he meant something far different than "Do what ever you want!" His sense of ownership was pretty strong when he yelled at people and stuck around to lecture them on how what they were doing was not his aikido and then tell them things that were at least important to him so that they would understand what was needed to do his aikido.
So we can ask ourselves, how can he be expressing detailed concepts that are his aikido (and by the way, Chris blew me away with some quotes on six direction training and intent in Ueshiba's own words...that the translator did not get) and yet folks who don't have a clue can claim to understand him?
They are empty words.
It's better to say everyone is doing their own thing, because...like Chiba, they don't get it. At least he had the temerity and self realization to admit it and regret it.
Now look at a second removed step. Here we have Tohei saying he didn't get it either. That all he got from the old man was how to relax..and off he goes doing HIS aikido...and now two generations later; someone following someone, who
1. Knew the culture
2. Knew the old man personally
3. Knew at least some of concepts the old man was talking about
openly said he didn't understand the old man ...is now saying THEY understand the old man?
Sorry...this is better than television.

So who do we know that has actualized the physical model both internally and with skills in weapons and empt hand, and is able to express it freely then, without waza, waited to experience how that changed the mind and outlook on life and budo in so many ways, then fully researched and understand his spiritual quest and went through it, and how the physical changes would and could have been intertwined to produce a united whole, in them?
Claim to understand him?
Wouldn't you first have to know at least what the man said and then did? And then do the research to know what he said meant?
Thankfully, I've never met the teacher bold enough or dumb enough to say those words. They are happy to do their aikido and be fully realized in their own vision of it and get as close as they can.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 07-09-2011 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:00 PM   #56
graham christian
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Edit
On the one hand, I think we have failed miserably to understand his martial art. We display none of his skills.
On the other, few have researched enough to understand his real spiritual pursuits either.
Just what are we claiming we understand? It certainly isn't him.
I think aikido can be brilliant and one of the most powerful martial arts today. But not this way, not even close, you can't have it just because you want it and say you do. It costs more than that.
Dan
Interesting.

Before I answer any of your questions I would have to understand better two things.

1) Am I included in this 'we' mentioned above.

2) Are you an Aikidoka?

Regards.G.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:28 PM   #57
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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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.
Hi George -

I'm not conversant in the terms being discussed in this thread so I will paraphrase that quote above to read: "He who knows not does not speak." and remain silent regarding their meanings, implications and such.

However, I can say that after having spent some time with you at Marc's dojo I am able to discern more that we have to agree on than otherwise. Our methodologies may differ in their application but we are each on a path that leads to a common destination and that, at least, is to be celebrated. Did O Sensei not encourage his students to make Aiki their own and not simply try to copy him?

I hope that the next time you find yourself on the right hand coast that you will be able to stop by and sample a little of what Mary and I can offer of our way.

Best,

Ron

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Old 07-09-2011, 09:37 PM   #58
David Orange
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
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.
Reminds me of the legislator in Louisiana, concerning what language should be taught in the schools. He said, "I say we teach the language Jesus spoke in the Bible: English!"

Perhaps a better example (from my side) of translation of Eastern concepts into English is the Wilhelm/Baynes version of I Ching.

Richard Wilhelm, a German, went to China and studied the great classics with highest-level Chinese scholars and translated I Ching and Tao te Ching into German. Carey Baynes then translated Wilhelm's German into English.

This book, which I have cherished for nearly 40 years, is a beautiful presentation of I Ching. After I had explored it for several years, I suddenly got the "big picture" view of what I Ching is and it was a prodound vision.

Over more years than that, I have come to recognize the wonderful example this book gives us of translation of the Asian philosophies into Western languages.

For one thing, the original writing in I Ching is very scant, but it is backed up by historical commentaries by masters of the subject, including Kings and scholars. In the early 20th Century, Wilhelm conferred deeply with master scholars on the original texts and the historical commentaries and translated it all into German. He gives the best possible translation he can of the original texts with frequent footnotes on the subtleties of meaning, followed by translations of the classical commentaries, also explained with footnotes, relating comments and concepts to western conventions and often, to the Bible. Carey Baynes translates all this from German into English with occasional reference to the subtle and multiple meanings of the German words Wilhelm used to translate from the Chinese! It's a wonderful window on human history and the subtle applications of human mind across cultures, over centuries. A beautiful book.

And one of the most beautiful things about it is that, with its multiple levels of meaning and clarification, one of the most important things it has to teach is that, while words are signposts along the path, even the original verson was intended to be broad and impossible to pin down precisely. It's definitely based on a three-level harmony of the eight trigram symbols in their 64 hexagram combinations, relating simultaneously to life within the home, within the country and within the universe. But like gazing from a mountaintop into a storm, you have to draw your own conclusions from the patterns of light and darkness you encounter. The answer will not be precisely prescribed for you.

So, yes, there are multiple levels of meaning and potentials in the original words, but direct reliance on translations (and some are worse than others) may completely miss the point.

Quote:
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.
Well put.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
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.
I think the translation for hexagram 19 of I Ching in Wilhelm/Baynes is a great example of this:

http://www.pantherwebworks.com/I_Chi...h11-20.html#19

Explaining the name of the hexagram, "Lin," Baynes writes:

"The Chinese word lin has a range of meanings that is not exhausted by any single word of another language. The ancient explanations in the Book of Changes give as its first meaning, "becoming great." "

So he begins with a linguistic exploration of the word and its possible interpretations, but then he moves into the conceptual sphere of the hexagram structure, itself, which is an integral part of why this particular arrangements of solid and broken lines is associated with that multiplicit Chinese "word," pronounced "Lin":

"What becomes great are the two strong lines growing into the hexagram from below; the light--giving power expands with them."

But then he's back to linguistic analysis (in translation of Wilhelm's observations):

"The meaning is then further extended to include the concept of approach, especially the approach of what is strong and highly placed in relation to what is lower. Finally the meaning includes the attitude of condescension of a man in high position toward the people, and in general the setting to work on affairs. This hexagram is linked with the twelfth month (January--February), when, after the winter solstice, the light power begins to ascend again." ending up relating the concepts directly to the unvarying progression of nature.

And for the Chinese, all this was containd not even in "words," but in a series of brush strokes presenting a picture of nature.

Japanese culture was also heavily steeped in these concepts, though at a remove, as it was with the Indian culture underlying the Chinese.

Quote:
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.

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.
Well said.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:02 AM   #59
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Did O Sensei not encourage his students to make Aiki their own and not simply try to copy him?

I hope that the next time you find yourself on the right hand coast that you will be able to stop by and sample a little of what Mary and I can offer of our way.
That was my understanding...

And yes, I would love to visit if I get over your way. Usually my visits to the East these days are so in and out. I'd love to take a bit more time at some point. Thanks for the invite...

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 07-10-2011, 05:29 AM   #60
Marc Abrams
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
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.
Graham:

In the world of academia, this position of your's has no room, is considered intellectually lazy. In the world of martial arts historians, your position has no room and is considered intellectually lazy. In the world of accomplished martial artists, your position has no room and is not taken seriously. Countless people have pointed this out to you and yet you cling to your world like a talisman rather than own-up to the vacuous nature of your position. You seem to live in a very small world that few take seriously. Look at the many replies to your posts from people you should be respecting and learning from (as opposed to your futile attempts to lecture to them).

Maybe you quiet down for awhile, get out and get some hands-on experience in the many areas that you believe that you are competent in and then check back in.... Doubt it will happen, but who knows....

Marc Abrams
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:49 AM   #61
graham christian
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Graham:

In the world of academia, this position of your's has no room, is considered intellectually lazy. In the world of martial arts historians, your position has no room and is considered intellectually lazy. In the world of accomplished martial artists, your position has no room and is not taken seriously. Countless people have pointed this out to you and yet you cling to your world like a talisman rather than own-up to the vacuous nature of your position. You seem to live in a very small world that few take seriously. Look at the many replies to your posts from people you should be respecting and learning from (as opposed to your futile attempts to lecture to them).

Maybe you quiet down for awhile, get out and get some hands-on experience in the many areas that you believe that you are competent in and then check back in.... Doubt it will happen, but who knows....

Marc Abrams
Marc.
I respect everyone thank you.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-10-2011, 08:56 AM   #62
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Graham, I like to hear your perspectives. I have retired from these discussions because they are not discussions. They are marketing platforms.
Some people want to find common ground. Some people want to be the authoritive voice of what is the right way.
Discussion is impossible in that atmosphere. What we resist against gets stronger.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:33 AM   #63
Patrick Hutchinson
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

"I do understand him thank you.
You carry on trying."

"I respect everyone thank you."

Riiight.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:36 AM   #64
gates
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Words are a symbolic representation of thoughts, ideas etc. They have both subjective and objective meanings, the multitude of connotations either intended or interpreted is difficult to establish, especially in the context of you are talking about.

It is important that if discussions are going to take place in this media that we are clear about the limitations. But personally I can a gain a lot from Mike's straightforward pragmatic analysis, even at this distance (with hopefully all the connotations of 'distance' intended)

Analysis has a very useful place in understanding, albeit limited to an intellectual understanding. Whereby the thing is broken down in component parts. Seeing these pieces "as the whole' is however a mistake. (Just as 1-2-3 learning 'can' lead to people to place stopping points in movements where none were intended, MHO)

To understand the subject "absolutely", real understanding can only come through intuition. This can only be gained from experiential learning. You could look at 10,000 pictures of Tokyo and imagine what it is like but you would never really "know" what it is like. Snap shots from a multitude of varied reference points is nothing near actually being there.

So why bother? Why bother reading or partaking in these discussions at all? Personally I feel if they are done carefully and with full knowledge of the limitations then something useful can be gained. If I cant go to Tokyo and feel what it is like then looking at pictures may give me a sense of what it is like serve as inspiration to get me there.

I always interpreted the reason the 'person who knows does not speak, and the person who speaks does not know' is because the person who knows, knows (intuitively), and knows the futility in expressing it. Those who speak do so as they need the affirmation from others to know they are right (because really in their hearts the intuition is not there).

However there are those who do know (absolutely), and want to guide other along the path. (This is the hardest thing to do in the world and where all the great sages run into trouble, symbolic explanations are exactly that - symbolic (and words are symbols))

When those with an absolute understanding do decide to talk it is a starting point. If we can grasp intellectually what they are talking about then this might lead us one day to an intuitive understanding, but it never more that a sign saying "head that way".

Thanks all for the sign posts !!!

Why does Zen use Koans, is is not exactly to point towards this intrinsic illumination?

Last edited by gates : 07-10-2011 at 09:44 AM.

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Old 07-10-2011, 09:56 AM   #65
DH
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Graham, I like to hear your perspectives. I have retired from these discussions because they are not discussions. They are marketing platforms.
Some people want to find common ground. Some people want to be the authoritive voice of what is the right way.
Discussion is impossible in that atmosphere. What we resist against gets stronger.
Resist what?
Ideas?
All your founder talked about, (and comically even more so in his non-translated words) is what we are talking about.
And your choice of words to frame the discussion "marketing platform," and Graham using "scam artist" is interesting.
I wonder, since your founder made quite a bit of money and at times accepted benefactors, and since he gave, then broke his vow to his teacher regarding money, what kind of scam artist, snake oil salesman and con man... would you two, call him?

I think using these words when discussing ideas your own founder prescribed to is unfortunate and only serves to lower the bar. There are kinder, more even handed reasons to explain why Ueshiba did what he did. There are kinder, more even handed ways to examine our motives and the positive results these discussions are having on the aikido community.
It's a matter of choice, Mary.
Always remember when you take a swipe at us and our efforts...you are also saying that hundreds of your fellow aikido teachers...are fools for continually taking part. You are in a sense calling many experienced people like Ikeda, Gleason, Bernath, and Ledyard, dupes or fools.
What is really going on is that instead of being sold a bill of goods by a successful marketing platfom devised by scam artists, they are experiencing the reality of ideas that your own founder talked about with his own students....ideas that Chiba now regreat not adhering to.
Not very kind or even smart, Mary.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 07-10-2011 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:18 AM   #66
DH
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Come to think of it, how delighted would Ueshiba be to know there are dozens of teachers and students from other arts...standing in rooms discussing the ideas that fueled his vision, the same ideas that he was trying to get across to his students.
And that in 2011, Aikido schools would be the vehicle for hosting bridge seminars bringing together people from ICMA, Koryu. MMA, Karate, and Daito ryu to discuss those same ideas. Building a community.
It's wonderful.
Dan
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:31 AM   #67
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

One of my favorite books was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. One of the concepts Pirsig talked about, which he illustrated by the differences between how he approached the maintenance of his motorcycle from the way his son in law did.

He identified two broad approaches. One was the scientific / rational approach. This was the linear thinking, right brain, way of looking at and analyzing the world. Aikido history, philosophy, even technique can be approached with this world view quite nicely.

The other, which he called the "Groovy" approach (this was the seventies) which was the non-liner, left brain, intuitive approach to the world. This is the subjective world of "how does it feel". What is the meaning for me, does it feel right, what do I believe on an intuitive level. Faith usually is a part of thinking in this way of processing.

As Pirsig pointed out, folks who have these two ways of processing usually make each other crazy. They are not generally compatible.

If you want to talk about what O-Sensei said, then you are in the area of history. As long as you stay with his recorded talks or are reading his own writings, then there isn't much room for debate. It's all in the "record". It's in the are of "what did he mean" that we run into issues.

So, a statement, written in English, that O-Sensei said this or that is already flawed from the start because O-Sensei did not speak English.He never actually uttered those words. If we wish to know what he did, in point of fact say,we have to read or listen to his ACTUAL words. Now if I were to do that, which I have, I wouldn't understand a thing because oh, I don't speak or read Japanese. So to even get started, I require a "translator".

I need that translator to provide me with his best take on what was actually said or written in the form of the English that best fits. But no matter how well he does this, there will need to be additional explanation on the part of the translator about the shades of meaning the Japanese words have that they do no have in English. This requires considerable expertise. It is primarily a rational, linear thinking enterprise, based on knowledge of the person being translated and his background, the subject matter, the historical context, idiomatic usage of the language, and on and on. Doing this well requires an "expert". Discussion of whether the translator has done this well or not requires an equivalent expertise because it is a rational / analytical process of discussion.

But, as Pirsig points out, the folks from the "groovy" camp usually feel that the real meaning, which is intuitive anyway, gets lost in these discussions. Since reality is more experiential and subjective, then everyone's point of view is equally valid. So-called "facts" simply interfere with the pursuit if subjective truth.

The fact is that everyone is a mix of these two ways of processing. Few people are extremely one or the other. But studies have been done that would indicate that most folks tend to fall more on the "groovy" side of things than the rational / analytical. There was a study in which they took two groups of folks and gave each group an explanation of a certain event. One group was given a detailed description of the event in question. They were then asked their opinions about what had happened.

The other group was given only a very sketchy description of what had happened, fairly ambiguous. They were also asked their opinions on what had happened. Then, they were given all the details that had been left out, making the event far more clear.

But when they were then asked their opinions about what had happened, there was almost no movement whatever from their original opinions about what had happened. In other words no amount of additional factual information changed their perception of what had taken place.

I have seen this in arguing politics with my Father. He will make some statement and I will give him fact. after fact, that seemingly refute his statement. But, it actually has no effect on his belief that the statement is true. No amount of factual information will change his "belief" because it is "belief", experientially based opinion.

It applies equally well the other direction. One of the reasons I did not continue to graduate school in Buddhist Studies, which was essentially my major as an undergraduate, was my sense that, while my professors knew vast amounts of history and philosophy and could analyze every aspect of the Buddhist texts and Buddhist thought, they would never via academic study and rational analysis actually understand Buddhism. Buddhist practice was at its essence meant to provide a direct experience of the true nature of things and this experience was, in some ways, not even compatible with the rational, objective, process... at least it couldn't be accessed that way.

So you can see the problem in these discussions. You have two somewhat opposed ways of processing. One group of folks approaches these discussions from the linguistic, historical, comparative religions, approach coupled with highly technical ways of looking at the practice. They come from the rational . analytical side of things.

The other group of folks have a more "Zen" type sense of things. Their opinions are based on their own experience of what is true and what is not. They have a subjective overlay on things that trumps mere facts when in discussion. They are far more concerned with what something "means" than the actual facts that could actually be obscuring the meaning.

When folks from these two ways of processing get into interactions it can lead to bad feelings. Neither really understands the other. In Pirisg case, he was quite proud of the fact that he had used his analytical ability and mechanical knowledge to fix a problem with his son in law's motorcycle using a piece of aluminum from a beer can. His son in law wasn't happy with the fact that his bike now worked properly, nor that the solution was so simple and elegant. He was actually offended by the idea that his very cool, very expensive motorcycle could be fixed with something so prosaic as a piece of beer can. It wasn't "groovy" and didn't fit his subjective sense of what his motorcycle was about. For Pirsig it was a mechanical device for his son in law it was invested with more "meaning".

The only way for folks from these two different ways of processing to have a discussion is to stick to expression which is from their own understanding but not try to have the other agree or disagree. So, if someone makes a statement that "The Founder said thus and so" it is a statement about something that purports to be fact. That immediately takes the discussion into the realm of the analytical / rational. Any result is likely to feel highly unsatisfying to the intuitive / experiential folks.

On the other hand, if someone says, O-Sensei was translated as saying this, and this is the meaning of what he was saying for me, well, that is fact and can't be debated. It is your understanding of what was meant. Whether others are persuaded to believe that as well needs to, on some level, be irrelevant because once we get into trying to persuade others, we necessarily get into these rational / analytical discussions. If one simply states what ones own experience is and how that informs ones own belief that such and such is true, the folks for whom that opinion resonates will believe it as well based on how their own intuitive sense of the rightness of it works.

This is, of course, highly unsatisfying for the rational / analytical folks because they want the discourse. They want to debate and pull out facts, etc.

There are folks, like myself, who in psychological testing fall right in the middle of these two ways of processing. I can go either way and still find the ideas worth while. But I try to stay aware of which version of reality I am coming from at any given time.

Discussions of the Founder are totally prone to fall into very divergent interpretations based on these different ways of experiencing reality. I personally do not think either way offers a satisfying understanding by itself. I try to approach my understanding of the Founder and his art from both angles. When they seem to disagree, then I try to take a harder look at where my thinking / feeling brain is diverging and this can became an area for more study.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:43 AM   #68
Mike Sigman
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

I really screwed up throwing "Aiki" into the mix of words I was trying to clarify, didn't I? "How" anything works seems to be beyond the capabilities of most public forums, but it's fun to watch the car wrecks.

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:50 AM   #69
graham christian
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Graham, I like to hear your perspectives. I have retired from these discussions because they are not discussions. They are marketing platforms.
Some people want to find common ground. Some people want to be the authoritive voice of what is the right way.
Discussion is impossible in that atmosphere. What we resist against gets stronger.
Thank you Mary.

I find it fascinating so I learn from every attack. Sometimes it's like being in a Dojo. Sometimes you lose your centre and then those who have waited for that moment make the most of it. Why 'get out more' when this is a good training ground?

Regards.G.
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:52 AM   #70
graham christian
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Patrick Hutchinson wrote: View Post
"I do understand him thank you.
You carry on trying."

"I respect everyone thank you."

Riiight.
I respect all who are trying to understand him, why shouldn't I?

Regards.G.
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:23 PM   #71
graham christian
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
I really screwed up throwing "Aiki" into the mix of words I was trying to clarify, didn't I? "How" anything works seems to be beyond the capabilities of most public forums, but it's fun to watch the car wrecks.

Mike Sigman
As I recall we were on subject discussing our different views and one person at least benefited and opened a new thread on the matter. All good. He thanked both you and me, I don't know if you saw that and responded.

The rest is history as they say. Ha, ha.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:37 PM   #72
Mike Sigman
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
I don't know if you saw that and responded.
If there's another thread that I was expected to respond to, I can't seem to find it. If someone would p.m. me please.

M.
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:45 PM   #73
graham christian
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
If there's another thread that I was expected to respond to, I can't seem to find it. If someone would p.m. me please.

M.
Thoughts on Ki, Aiki, Aikido etc. Posted under Training.
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:48 PM   #74
PhillyKiAikido
 
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
If there's another thread that I was expected to respond to, I can't seem to find it. If someone would p.m. me please.

M.
Mike,

I was the person who was inspired by your discussions and thanked both of you. The thread was originally posted here but moved to the Training forum by the moderator. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=287432

Thanks again.

Ting
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:38 PM   #75
DH
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Re: Terms: I.S., I.P., Neijin, Fajin, Aiki, etc.

Right now reading some of these debates over defining of terms sounds just like the same Budo huff and puff, this time over wanting a shared vocabulary rather than over actual skills.

As for terms:
Internal Strength, or Internal skill or Internal power? I have read and heard of any number of ICMA teachers and or their translators use those terms interchangeably; So saying "IP: This I do not know, sounds like a square peg in a round hole" is disingenuous or purposefully misleading.
Of course Ii, translated means strength, but other than some minor clarification of that as a talking point, it's a small distinction to a popular term. Sort of like arguing over the definition of aiki and saying two people meeting energy is something you never heard of. Anyone conversant is also aware of the modern use of terms.

You might as well argue over the kanji used for Jin;(勁) underground river on the left, next to strength on the right and explain how that is going to help someone get intent to make it happen. It's not going to get anyone anywhere soon.
Or argue over the many Japanese arts that use the same internal mechanics as the ICMA (some are laid out in their scrolls and yet none of their people ever knew the Chinese terms for the same thing and had their own. There are JMAers who can launch people across the room with appropriate internal power who do not know and quite frankly could care less about the Chinese terms fajin or fali.

There are just as many debates within the ICMA community over the meaning of the same terms and uses (including master class students of the same teacher who also argue over interpretations of the classics) as there is in the JMA, case in point:
Sagawa and Ueshiba under the same teacher and one saying the other didn't get it.
Daito ryu teachers who privately say Aikido-ka don't understand aiki.
The Yagyu Shihan telling Ark the other guys didn't want to train what was in their scroll so they don't get Yagyu.
Shihan like Yamaguchi, Arikawa, Tohei and Shirata arguing over Aiki.
Tohai and Kisshomaru
And then try to push here for a proper definition of terms.
Good luck with that....

For the most part most of the modern ICMA group had more information and still suffers from the same fate as the JMA; not knowing how to use it.
For that matter, I have now met any number, of people who've attended these IP, IS (call them whatever you want) seminars with masterclass people and other amateur teachers, for years and years and once met...they've got nothing much either.
We will have to see just how successful this "let's define and all agree on the terms and talk about it"... business turns out when people have to get down to actually doing the work and producing.

Dan
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