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Old 05-12-2004, 04:03 AM   #51
Charles Hill
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote:
Ueshiba O' Sensei would often say "Aikido is true budo".
I have since this quote in other threads here but I have to admit I have never read it elsewhere. Where can I find it?

Charles Hill
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Old 05-12-2004, 04:09 AM   #52
Charles Hill
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
by Morihei Ueshiba (Osensei): Read everything you can get your hands on while remaining cautious about the translations.
David,

What do you think is wrong with the translations that are out there? It is interesting that you didn`t write the same for the Musashi work as there is some dubious translations of the Five Rings book.

Charles Hill
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Old 05-12-2004, 04:10 AM   #53
Charles Hill
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
by Morihei Ueshiba (Osensei): Read everything you can get your hands on while remaining cautious about the translations.
David,

What do you think is wrong with the translations that are out there? It is interesting that you didn`t write the same for the Musashi work as there are some dubious translations of the Five Rings book.

Charles Hill
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Old 05-12-2004, 10:42 AM   #54
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
Absolute obedience was part of what we call bushido, after all. The values we like, we have no need to call bushido. And if we leave out those we don't, it's no longer bushido, is it. With caveats, Mr. Valadez' constant wariness of anachronism, e.g., taking only those values of which we do approve from this artificial construct of bushido, changes the thing and the result need not/cannot even be called bushido. Lots of other times, folk, and circumstances have valued, discipline, loyalty, etc.

Thanks for the stimulating discussion.
There are basicly two different streams that branched off in this thread... One is the angle which you and David have taken which has to do with historically verifiable usage of the terms Bushido and Budo etc. And then there is the way in which Dennis Hooker and I were talking about the terms and I think that had more to do with what those terms meant to us as values systems, whether we think that is the same thing that O-sensei meant, and in the end whether there will essentially be a whole new meaning given to these by the generations of people all over the world who, while not Japanese, are devoting their lives to perfecting their practice of the various Budo, including Aikido.

David is correct that Bushido can't strictly be separated in terms of usage from Budo. I didn't intend my post to be from the historical angle but rather from a kind of subjective angle of how those terms have meaning for us as practitioners of martial arts.

In my own usage Bushido is a code for professional warriors. For one to truly be a follower of such a code one would have to be a professional warrior. So much of what is contained in Bushido has to do with duty, loyalty, etc. These are terms which have to do with a larger hierarchical social context, not just how one is shaping his internal value system. For these to be a functional concepts one would have to be in just such a hierarchical structure. For someone in the military or law enforcement these would be pivotal concepts in their every day lives for the rest of us they would not be.

As David suggested, one could say that it is possible that an individual would choose to follow this code even though he wasn't a professional warrior. In theory one could, but without the larger structure into which an individual would fit, what would these values mean? The individual would have find a structure for himself like the character in Ghost Dog the Way of the Samurai. He operated on what he saw as the principles of Bushido even though the people the people he was working for didn't have the remotest idea of the code.

I see Budo a bit differently. For me Budo is less about the strict identification with a military code of behavior and more about how we choose to take the positive values that can result from a life devoted to training in the martial arts and apply those values in our lives outside the dojo. This is not an historical concept but rather a functioning set of ideals which can serve to provide value and structure to ones life. Whereas it is useful to understand how the Japanese understood the term, and very relevant to us as Aikidoka how O-Sensei viewed the term, ultimately we have to adapt the term to our own lives so that it serves to enhance our own lives and values. That is what Dennis Hooker sensei meant, I think, when he talked of an evolution in how this term is perceived.

Absolute loyalty may have been an important part of the Samurai tradition but as we have seen over and over it isn't a value we wish to adhere to in our own culture. It is more important for us to focus on values like integrity in which we have our own personal sense of what is right and honor in which we act on those values. Bravery is a value which would give one the strength of conviction to act on those values even when the social structure within which one is functioning demands otherwise.

If you look at the prison fiasco in Iraq you see people acting according to the values of loyalty and obedience but acting dishonorably, violating every standard of decency which they had been brought up to believe in in their normal lives. I don't think this is what we wish to promote when we talk about following the path of Budo.

We all have a side to us that contains our "dark side". Any one of us could potentially have been one of those guards in that prison. The kind of Budo that I envision is one that would provide the individual with the strength of conviction not to follow orders which violate ones basic standards for right and wrong. That certainly wasn't what the traditional concept was in Japan, if anything it was the opposite. The code was meant to absolve the individual of any personal moral responsibility when acting according to the orders from his superiors. I do not think that this has any place in how we develop our own functioning sense of Budo.

So, while I think that an understanding of the true historical meanings of these terms is important in understanding where the values underlying our art come from, I also think that in terms of our own practice we are forced to arrive at our own definitions of what these terms will mean for us. Aikido is a new creation based on a whole set of traditions. It will therefore have a whole new understanding of the values associated with those older traditions. O-sensei redefined terms as needed to reflect the insights he had obtained through his practice. We will have to keep that up or risk having our values system become a silly anachronism in which a bunch of Samurai wanna-be's play at their martial arts.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 05-12-2004 at 10:45 AM.

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Old 05-12-2004, 10:57 AM   #55
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
David,

What do you think is wrong with the translations that are out there? It is interesting that you didn`t write the same for the Musashi work as there are some dubious translations of the Five Rings book.

Charles Hill
Just a note: A Way to Victory The Annotated Book of Five Rings translated by Hidy Ochai is one of the best versions of this available in English. Hidy Ochai is a karate teacher but that makes him one of the only people to do an English translation of this work who is actually a martial artist. Meik Skoss reviewd it on the koryu site and felt it was very good.

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Old 05-12-2004, 01:05 PM   #56
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

What a great thread! Thanks Mr. Peling and other contributors.

I want to respond to Messrs. Peling, Valadez, and Ledyard but unfortunately, I lack time today. I'll probably be able to add more tomorrow.

Until then, all the best.

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Old 05-12-2004, 01:36 PM   #57
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Hi Charles,

With the bibliography, in the phrases, "give you a grounding concerning the debate," "get your foot in the door concerning the debates and disagreements," "sort of general way", etc., I was not suggesting that reading these books would provide one with any sort of succinct conclusion. On the contrary, and in total agreement with what Mr. Golanski said, the reading of these books is meant only to raise more questions -- but they would be the right questions. My assumption is that they would be read in the following way: Read them straightforward; read the sources given in the bibliography of each of these books; and hit a citation index to obtain books in which these books themselves are used as sources.

As none of these books can be ends in themselves, of course every translation itself is open to that same scrutiny and skepticism that should take one to the bibliographies and citation indexes that are related to each book I recommended. However, you are correct in noting that I did not make special mention concerning the other translations one would inevitably have to face if one is not studied in Japanese and/or Chinese. This is because experience has led me to hold that Chance has one more likely to face a poor translations concerning Osensei than say Kung Tzu or Ikkyu, etc. This is because Osensei's writings, more than the others, are plagued by the following: Osensei is definitely at the center of a personality cult; Osensei's translations usually come with no historical context of any kind; Osensei's translations usually come with no bibliography of any kind; Osensei's translations usually come with no summary footnotes of any kind; Osensei's translations usually come with no notes by the translator of any kind; Osensei's translations are usually vital to the current political struggles still raging in the Aikido world proper; Osensei's translations are driven by a consumer market that is for the most part totally outside of the Academy, etc.

In short, the writing of Osensei's is loaded with political and cultural capital, hence the relevant translations are loaded with subjective interests as each author tries to accumulate and/or spend some of that capital. And all of this takes place, for the most part, in front of an audience that is ignorant to both the economic practices contained therein as well as the underlying historical context from which the text is derived. This makes the regular checks and balances that the other translations most often face a rarity when it comes to the writings of Osensei. Hence, Chance favors the poor translation when it comes to Osensei.

Though I did not mention it in the referenced post, a general way of telling a good translation from a poor translation is the following:

(You are lucky if you can have all of these present, so the more the better. They are listed here in order of priority according to my opinion.)

a. The text in its original language is printed on the facing page of each translated page.
b. The translator offers translations notes in which he/she addresses questions or problems concerning direct translations of key terms, differences from other translations, and reasons for why one translation was chosen over another (or even reasons why a word was kept in its native tongue).
c. The translator demonstrates that he/she has fully grasped the historical context of the text in question.
d. The translation is used by other scholars, and/or translators, who also demonstrate "a" through "c" in their own work.

For my money, for now at least, Stanly Pranin is at the forefront, by a long way, concerning research on Aikido and Osensei. The books mentioned thus far in this thread (i.e. Ratti, Stevens, Gleason) are way off the back of what Mr. Pranin is doing and the standards he holds his research up to -- in my opinion.

Thanks,
dmv
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Old 05-12-2004, 02:02 PM   #58
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

You see David, we definately agree more than we disagree...thanks for that and all the other posts.

Ron

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Old 05-12-2004, 02:17 PM   #59
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Hi Ron,

That's what I always think too. :-)

david
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Old 05-12-2004, 03:50 PM   #60
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Thank you George for posting. I think the thread was in need of a summary again.

Yes, I think Mr. Ledyard is right in noting that there are two different streams of thought traveling through this thread. I was hoping with the ending of a previous post, which was addressed to Mr. Modesto, to have these two streams come together. In the stream attributed to myself, Mr. Modesto, and others, I felt it important to give history its due importance but to at the same time limit the privilege of the historian to say what cannot and/or should not be done. I think that door must be closed if this other stream that Mr. Ledyard, Mr. Hooker, and Mr. Ross, among others, can really be addressed and allowed to flow. Otherwise, I am imagining, we'll get this going and someone is just going to pop in and say, "That's not bushido, you aren't samurai."

For some things, we must allow our own time the subjectivity that is undoubtedly apart of every time. It is precisely because our own time is a subjective experience that we must use history to gain a perspective on our own thoughts, practices, and institutions. History, and the historian, however, should not restrict us or limit us -- because it cannot -- concerning things that must inevitably be updated. So let us use seek accuracy in our historiographies; let us use history to provide context, perspective, even understanding; but let us not use it as "proof" of either what can or cannot be done concerning the subjectivity of the present. Allow the historian his/her space, but let us maintain the agency that is our right in the face of both the past and the future. In this way, I hold, even the historian must allow for what Mr. Ledyard and others are proposing as a subjective understanding of bushido and budo.

From my own subjectivity then, which I place above no one else's…

I am skeptical of a professional warrior who adheres to a bushido code, particularly if that code is akin to some of the understandings one attributes to the samurai concerning honor, loyalty, a sense of duty, a sense of shame, etc. Undoubtedly, the samurai could be understood as a professional warrior. Undoubtedly, our own military bodies could be thought of as consisting of professional warriors. However the connecting of martial practices, to a delineation of "proper" behavior, to a given social hierarchy, to a set of human emotions, etc., smells too much of the source from which all the evils of feudalism arose -- evils mentioned in this thread -- as well as the evils that made use of these things in Imperial Japan.

The modern world, and particularly the teachings of
Osensei, the ones thoroughly influenced by the teachings of Omoto-kyo, seem to hold no place, no safe place that is, for relating honor, loyalty, duty, shame, etc., to arbitrary social hierarchies. As a man who lived through the rise and fall of Imperial Japan, and who even suffered, indirectly and directly, at the hands of Imperial Japan, a man who aligned himself with a movement (i.e. Omoto-kyo) that was, at least at that time, as far away from adherence to any arbitrary social hierarchy, military or otherwise, Osensei, I think would have been against such a subjective understanding of bushido. I know I am -- as I said earlier.

I realize Mr. Ledyard discussed the prison abuses currently going on in Iraq in a slightly different way, but it is actually that case in point that came to my mind when I considered this suggested connection between professional warriors from two different time periods and a bushido code. I would say, by feudal understanding, and even by the understanding of tying oneself to a particular hierarchy in order to determine what things like loyalty might mean, the prison abuses are precisely what you can end up with and still deem them proper -- still in line with the code. As is slowly coming out, we are seeing that such behavior was not at all a detour from the hierarchy. It was indeed the following of orders given -- orders given to two different brigades carrying out the same and/or similar practices. It was indeed a lesser evil in terms of all the other forms of interrogation possible (i.e. humiliation vs. physical torture); interrogation is indeed a necessary tactical exercise of the military; lives are saved by a gathering of such information; peace is more quickly achieved in the end, etc., BUT from the greater scope of things, from the one Osensei, in following Omoto-kyo, surely adopted as his own, and from the one that Mr. Ledyard proposed in addressing this example, it is wrong -- morally, ethically, wrong.

Loyalty, and all other virtues attributable to the samurai and his bushido, for us, I hold, has to fall outside of the arbitrary elements of our own culture. This is a position central to Omoto-kyo. Sticking with loyalty here, because it was the one used to offer privilege to our own professional warriors, in today's world loyalty has to be a matter of being loyal to The Way, of being loyal to integrity, to consistency, to Truth, to the Path of Peace, to the option of Love, etc. (Please see Mr. Ross' post in this regard.) In agreement with Mr. Ledyard, it means holding true to these things in the face of a majority that does not or may not; it means holding true to these things in the face of emotional hardship, physical difficulty, and Fear. In this way a sense of loyalty becomes akin to a sense of shame and a sense of honor, perhaps even a sense of faith, and by these things we arm our heart/minds with the tools necessary to behave in a way that is socially responsible when it may be more beneficial, more practical, more convenient, or even more easier not to. If we are indeed interested in seeing what Osensei may have meant in regards to such things, as noted in the first paragraph of Mr. Ledyard's post, this is, I hold, the way we must understand the virtues of bushido in today's world. They simply cannot be connected to the arbitrary structures of our own time.

Budo, on the other hand, was not ever actively confined to a particular social class, profession, and/or even a culture. As a technique for spiritual awakening, Budo has always been meant to transcend everything -- even itself. The only restriction I could see for Budo is that it must be a technology of the Self that is derived through, in, and with martial technologies. As such then I do not hold that our time has to "reinterpret" Budo, at least not in the way that we do for bushido.

For Budo spiritual awakening can be manifested in many ways, but the one way in which it absolutely has to be manifested is THE TOTAL CAPACITY TO DEMONSTRATE ONE'S MARTIAL TECHNOLOGIES SPONTANEOUSLY. For Budo then, victory is not enough, being skilled in forms is not enough, training hard is not enough, training "martially" (whatever that might mean outside of spontaneous expression) is not enough, being loyal to your sensei is not enough, being a nice guy/girl is not enough, having an 8th dan in some federation is not enough, helping out your kohai is not enough, etc.

Again, I do not think that we have to redefine or update Budo. Its formula is tried and true, it's pan-cultural, it's pan-temporal, it's clearly definable, etc., even if the majority of current forces that we face as modern aikidoka are acting or suggesting otherwise. It's Buddhist in structure: you reconcile form; you reconcile non-form; you reconcile the apparent contrast between form and non-form. We come to it in the Shu-Ha-Ri model. Like in Zen, you align yourself with a teacher who has already reconciled the apparent contrast between form and non-form and you reflect yourself upon the mirror that is he/she until you have achieved the same.

Where Budo and Bushido overlap, is again found within a seed of Buddhist thought: Only the spiritually awakened can truly be loyal, truly be honorable, truly be compassionate, truly be wise, truly be loving, truly be non-violent, etc. We may not buy into it, that is our choice, but it is there for you if you want it. It's like a Zen monk I spoke to once said, "Without spiritual awakening, all virtues are fair-weather virtues."

Bushido then is an ethical system, a value system, thus it inevitably has to be updated. Budo is a technology of the Self, one by which form and non-form are reconciled through martial training. As a reconciliation of the subject and the object, as Chiba Sensei says, Budo must not be redefined for "our" time. We must define ourselves by it.

Thanks,
dmv
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Old 05-12-2004, 04:29 PM   #61
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
Mark Jewkes wrote:
Hi everybody

Interesting discussion. I think that budo is an evolution of bushido. While bushido focused on how to die budo is about how to live. Hence - bushido is about death whereas budo is about life.

regards
Hello,

I think 'abbreviation' would also be acceptable, which makes matters les simple. There is some evidence that budo, namely, a way to be followed/respected/preserved (the Japanese term is ‘mamoru') by bushi, has a history going back to the 14th century. Understood as a set of martial skills to be mastered by bushi, it has an even longer history. As for bushido, even the Japanese language sources I have here in my office give slightly differing explanations. In the "Dai Kanwa Jiten", compiled by Tatsuto Morohashi, ‘budo' is given as a synonym for ‘bushido', which, as a way to be followed/respected/preserved by bushi, attained a distinct form in and after the Kamakura period, from seeds sown between the Nara and Kamaukura periods. Morohashi gives a lengthy explanation and lists the virtues that the bushi were supposed to exhibit, in addition to their martial skills. (For those who wish to read the explanation for themselves, it is on p.693 of Vol. 6.)

Now Morohashi was almost contemporary with Morihei Ueshiba and later sources assign the development of bushido to a later period. Thus, the "Nihon Kokugo Daijiten", (Vol 11, p.836) gives a similar list of virtues, but has them flowering in the Tokugawa Period and cites the "Hagakure". Interestingly enough, Nitobe is also cited as an authority here, as evidence of the spiritual dimension of bushido (NB. This is one of the most authoritative Japanese monolingual dictionaries: a kind of Japanese OED).

My own views about the 'spirit of Bushido' being alive and well in present-day Japan I have already posted elsewhere. As for Morihei Ueshiba, he was a man of his time and so I suspect that his understanding of bushido might well be similar to that of Morohashi.
The starter of this thread asked questions about the relation between Japanese history and myth. This is still rather a delicate question here, as can be seen from the state of archaeological research.

Yesterday, I visited the Izumo shrine, in Shimane Prefecture. I often visit this shrine and wander round the precincts. I went there with a Dutch aikidoka who was spending a month in Japan training and visiting the country.

Actually, Izumo is very interesting, especially as concerns the early history of Japan (I say 'Japan', with full agreement with the remarks of Mr Valadez about the use of the term—but I think the alternatives are somewhat cumbersome). The remains of some wooden pillars have been excavated, which supports much earlier accounts of a positively huge structure, and the recent guidebooks somewhat gleefully comment that this shrine was (a) older than the Grand Shrine at Ise and (b) higher than the wooden building at Todaiji in Nara.

The local guidebooks regard the Izumo shrine as the oldest shine in Japan, but this is not strictly true, for there is a subsidiary shrine nearby that is supposed to be older. However, Japan's 'main' shrine is at Ise. Ise is dedicated to Amaterasu, the sun goddess (to whom O Sensei prayed every morning), whereas Izumo is dedicated Okuni-nushi-no-mikoto (land-ruler deity). This deity is a close relative of another, major deity called Susa-no-oo, the sister of Amaterasu, who is regarded as a storm god, but whose activities and purpose are far less clear than those of Amaterasu. Both deities came into existence during a misogi ritual.

According to the ancient records (i.e., mythological accounts similar to those of the Iliad and Odyssey) Susano-oo misbehaved and caused a major problem for Amaterasu, such that she was upset and retired into a cave. Eventually the problem was solved and Susanoo became a devoted lieutenant of Amaterasu and together they cooperated in "pacifying the land". Actually, one of the deities who was asked to go and rule the land, but who was prevented by the sudden birth of a son, was Masakatsu-agatsu-katsu-hayabi-Ame-no-oshi-homimi-no-mikoto, who actually came into existence during a contest between Ama-terasu and Susa-no-oo. Aikido students might recognize the first part of this name from calligraphy often penned by Morihei Ueshiba.

I have liberally summarized a few chapters from the Kojiki / Nihon Shoki, texts which have special place in the history of Japan. The Founder of aikido read these texts extensively and all his published discourses show this. However, he was not a historian and he read these texts in the light of his education at the terakoya school in Tanabe and his relationship with Onisaburo Deguchi. In other words, in his reading of the texts it is likely that he was also a man of his time. John S Brownlee's "Japanese Historians and the National Myths 1600-1945: The Age of the Gods and the Emperor Jimmu" sets out some of the issues involved here (but it requires a reading knowledge of Japanese to make much use of the material in the bibliography). From another angle, a new book by a student of H Harootunian is of interest. In "Before the Nation: Kokugaku and the Imagining of Community in Early Modern Japan", Susan L Burns discusses a central figure in any understanding of the Kojiki, namely, Motoori Norinaga, who wrote "Kojiki-den" (again, the previous footnote applies even more here than for Brownlee's work). Along with "Reikai Monogatari", I think the "Kojiki"/"Nihon Shoki" are of crucial importance for understanding the Founder. Incidentally, Maruyama covers only the Motoori and Kokugaku in his book: there are no references at all to Deguchi and little mention of the role of ‘new' religions in the period he covers. Thus, Maruyama is of somewhat limited value for an aikido student seeking to understand the history of the art and I myself was disappointed by the work, as I was by Donald Keene's massive work on the Emperor Meiji.

Nevertheless, I think we have to admit that very few in the aikido world have the time or the skills to pursue the issues raised in this thread in any depth. I myself was trained in ancient Greek history and literature and the points raised by Mr Valadez in his remarks on translation are relevant here—and there are far more texts available in this field. Over the last 24 years that I have experienced the world of aikido here, I gave had the time to apply this training in language and history to the Founder and his experiences. It is very unfortunate that aikido practitioners who lack Japanese language skills are very poorly served with respect to the Founder and the history of aikido. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the number of people who are capable of rectifying this situation is probably in single digits. Hardly any are Japanese and so it will be up to ‘westerners' who have the time and the energy.

Finally—and many apologies for such a long post, my own view of the issues raised in this thread is similar to that of Mr Ledyard. For me, the understanding of Morihei Ueshiba, how he lived, what he thought and why he created aikido, is a separate issue from that of what principles and ideals should govern aikido training, both on and off the tatami, though, of course one can illuminate the other.

Best regards to all,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 05-12-2004 at 04:34 PM.

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Old 05-12-2004, 06:26 PM   #62
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Both the John Stevens` biography and William Gleason`s Spiritual Foundations of Aikido say the family was samurai. They both cite Kisshomaru Ueshiba`s Aikido Kaiso Ueshiba Morihei Den, so I assume it is written there. I believe my local library has a copy so I`ll take a look. Where did you read the bit about Takeda?l
It's why I asked - I vaguely remember reading that Ueshiba M. had to undergo some hurdles before Takeda S. would teach him. Both Ueshiba M. and his nephew Inoue were from merchant families although who's to say they didn't come from samurai stock. At the time there were no samurai any more so the point is moot.

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Old 05-12-2004, 07:58 PM   #63
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

I seem to remember something about Ueshiba M. being given permision to use the family crest (Mon) of another man so that Takeda S. would teach him. If I am going off the deep end on this please let me know. Entirely possible that I am confused.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-12-2004, 08:41 PM   #64
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Just a note: A Way to Victory The Annotated Book of Five Rings translated by Hidy Ochai is one of the best versions of this available in English. Hidy Ochai is a karate teacher but that makes him one of the only people to do an English translation of this work who is actually a martial artist. Meik Skoss reviewd it on the koryu site and felt it was very good.
Hey George - wasn't Victor Harris a Kendo guy and even the "Snake of the Dojo" guy could be considered a martial artist (of sorts). OK the latter guy did a reinterpretation of past translations.

The Niten Ryu headmaster was quoted as saying the Book could not be properly understood without exploring the Buddhist sutras. Does this book or any English translations attempt to do this? I found the above link when followed (click on Next at the bottom) extremely interesting as it does go into some of the Go Rin Sho passages in this way.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-12-2004, 11:24 PM   #65
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Peter,

Thanks so much for this link - for me - it's amazing. I'm floored by it. Ah! The benefit of group discussion proves itself again! :-)

david
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Old 05-12-2004, 11:52 PM   #66
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

There's magic in group discussions.

I actually like the Victor Harris translation of Go Rin Sho - my website has a link to an on-line version. However, like many things, its a start off-point to so much more.

But hey I'm easy - I'm a great fan of the Yoshikawa version of Musashi. I know its a newspaper serial but its a great read. I know its not exactly accurate but .....

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Old 05-13-2004, 01:28 AM   #67
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
I seem to remember something about Ueshiba M. being given permision to use the family crest (Mon) of another man so that Takeda S. would teach him. If I am going off the deep end on this please let me know. Entirely possible that I am confused.
IIRC (without checking), Yoshida Kotaro (who introduced Ueshiba to Takeda) lent him the use of his family crest for the purposes of the introduction.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-13-2004, 01:30 AM   #68
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

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Charles Hill wrote:
I have since this quote in other threads here but I have to admit I have never read it elsewhere. Where can I find it?

Charles Hill
In just about anything that Morihei Ueshiba wrote - the phrase (or ones like it) is all over "Take Musu Aiki" and "Aikido Shinzui".

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-13-2004, 01:37 AM   #69
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

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Christopher Li wrote:
IIRC (without checking), Yoshida Kotaro (who introduced Ueshiba to Takeda) lent him the use of his family crest for the purposes of the introduction.
There you go - thanks Chris.

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Old 05-14-2004, 02:43 AM   #70
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
In just about anything that Morihei Ueshiba wrote - the phrase (or ones like it) is all over "Take Musu Aiki" and "Aikido Shinzui".
Hi Chris,

I have looked through my copies of both books and can`t find anything about Aikido being an/the "ideal" budo. The reason I`m pushing this is that it seems so unlike what I`ve read of M. Ueshiba to compare his art to others. I`m wondering if people are not confusing the origin of the quote by Jigoro Kano after seeing a demo by the Founder and saying that it was the "ideal budo." But then, I could be wrong and would greatly appreciate a concrete reference, such as page numbers.

Charles Hill
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Old 05-14-2004, 02:50 AM   #71
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Hi Charles;

It was Chris that pointed out to me at least that there is no the in Japanese. There being a huge difference between Aikido is the true Budo and true Budo. The former is comparative and judgmental, the latter not.

There are a number of differing stories about the event but just think of the different ways Hontai is used in Japanese. Could mean true, real, genuine, good, etc with a whole rash of nuance.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-14-2004, 08:39 AM   #72
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

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David Valadez wrote:
Dear Mr. Modesto,

Please call me Dave.
Will do...and me, Don.

Quote:
May I say, wow, I'm impressed and pleased by your response -- especially that you are familiar with Professor Grapard's work and its importance. Thank you very much for taking the time to post and to post with such attention. Professor Grapard was actually my mentor through my undergraduate, master's, and doctorate work. I'm wondering if you have come know him personally, that we may have actually ran into each other somewhere or some-when??? What a small world that would be (again)!
Lucky you! No, I've never met him and I doubt you and I have ever met (have you been to any seminars in Florida in the last 5 years?) Was your area "Shinto" per se, or broader?

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I was in fact trying to ally myself with your end but in doing so I opted for the "weapon" of, will you allow me to say, "measured" discourse.
Yes. We agree more than we disagree, I think.

Quote:
* ...I was not out to contradict you, etc. So I do not feel that much of what I said negated what you were saying. If anything it was more of a "Yes, that is true, but so is this."
Yes. And some tidy qualifications they were. Thank you.

Quote:
* When I read your section on Bushido being a 20th century phenomenon, I noted that the word "bushido" was not in quotation marks.
Yes. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't have someone vet my posts before submitting them. No doubt there are at times gaps between what I write and what I mean. Sorry.

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It is true that the samurai's honor cannot be our honor. But is it true that we cannot connect our sense of honor to our military and/or martial practices and call it "bushido"? Earlier in this thread I was critical of this. Now I'm wondering. Is it true that we cannot by connecting our honor to our marital practices thereby have our own time follow in line with the rest of history - that long duration that has played a part in the development of this term "bushido"? Is it true that we as society or as a culture cannot share in the same social aim of the samurai, to temper the power to kill with a responsibility toward the social?
Personally, I find the issue of transmission tricky whether it be across cultures (has Aikido been transmitted to the West if we lack a concept of MISOGI? e.g.), across regions (In what ways can we sat that the "Shinto" of Kumano the same as that of Kyushu?) or across time (values as represented in Heike Monogatari v. Taiheiki, e.g., or the commonalities qua warrior's code of Hojo initiative, Ashikaga administration, Christian Bushi, a turncoat defining Sekigahara, articulation/romanticization of warrior ideals by Tokugawa idealogues, 20's militarism, the Budo of the Butokukai, and policies of the National Police Agency).

To whit, why would we even want to call something we do Bushido, here or perhaps even in Japan? Continuity, I suppose. Surely we could, but then we'd be keeping academics busy with footnotes such as that offered by Stephen Jay Gould when he notes that "evolution" actually derives not from biology but from creationism, it's conceptual and political opposite.

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If we can as historians but see the agency and the subjectivity in our own times, I think we can and perhaps should allow for these things. I have no conclusions to offer. I can say we cannot allow for a romanticism to take place and/or any revisionist history to reign supreme. That is always a dangerous thing. But aren't these things achievable outside of exercising the historian's supposed privilege to Truth? Are we truly working toward the end of romanticism when we hold that "bushido" is long gone and cannot ever be again, or are we just claiming and spending the cultural capital society affords to us, the historian?
I don't mean to be contentious, and like you I have no conclusions, but don't we have to make a decision sometime? If it's gone, it is gone, right? In another context, would we be overstepping our prerogative to refuse to let our barber bleed us when we're feeling fatigued? That practice and the theory underpinning it are long discredited so we'd count it foolish in that context to be "open-minded", right? The social concommmitants of this warrior's code are disappeared. So too must be the code, I should think.

Quote:
In short, have you thought about why we as historians are so quick to say things like "you can't name it that," "you will have to name it something different." After all, we know things have histories, and we know histories involve many continuities and discontinuities. We know histories are alive. Why is our own time not afforded the right to have a say in such things, to add its input, to make its own continuities and discontinuities? It seems to be because we would then lose our right to objectivity over all other times.

So for our time, Time has ended, evolution is unwanted, and development is an out of date idea. We say, "you can't name it that", "you will have to name it something different", etc. Of course the right to nomenclature is one of the ways that we gain our various forms of capital within our own halls, but under what privilege do we seek to enforce such things upon others, upon our time as a whole?
If I'm following you here, you mean that if "warrior's code" can encompass phenomena from the Hojo to the NPA, then it could rightly apply to us as part of that continuity, right? I see the point and I don't disagree (despite arguments above). Perhaps the difference is no more than esthetic, I wanting personally want to make a break here (or rather in 1877). Someone like John Stevens, who can seamlessly trace the truths of Christian statuary to aikido's TENCHI NAGE, is more comfortable with broader associations and might be more comfortable with applying the term to our current aspirations and endeavors.

But you make a valid point, and as I say, I find the issue tricky.

Thanks for the attention.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 05-14-2004, 09:32 AM   #73
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

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david peling wrote:
According to Premodern Japan: A Historical Survey by Mikso Hane, The ideals of the Bushi first emerged during the Kamakura period....the more formalized code of Bushido is articulated later during the Tokugawa period. He goes on to describe how the interests of the family guided the Samurai's system of values and the relationship between a Samuari and his lord was often a familial one. Jansen, see above, writes that " It was in the Tokugawa years that the articulation of Bushido was perfected" (103). He cites the Hagakure, which is apparently considered to be "the classic exposition of the Samuari value system." (102) The brief citation cited in this text seems to suggest that a Samuari needs to accept his fate of death in order to live, must be completely subordinate to his lord, and be discreet in his dealings. Jansen then goes on to point on how the Hagakure enjoyed a revival during the prewar years and then again in the 1970's following the suicide of a famous author, Mishima Yukio.
There was a code of course, uncodified as such, diffuse, greatly variant by region and personalities, but I find it suspicious that it is formalized with shogunal sanction precisely at the time that these men of war came into a 250 year period of peace. I think I've written in these fora before that Tokugawa "Bushido" smacks of that Romantic coincidence of Industrial Revolution/Urbanization and hearfluttering love of nature. At a thousand years of age, the institution of the Bushi was an historical old man, and as Wilde noted, "old men are fond of giving good advice to console themselves for being no longer in a position to set a bad example."

"the articulation of Bushido was perfected"

Hate to contradict someone like Jansen, but many other commentators have noted how diverse were concepts which would come to be called Bushido--as if to denote a unitary phenomenon--in the 20th Century (Yamamoto Tsunetomo didn't call it that, nor, I believe, Yamaga Soko who, btw, didn't approve of Yamamoto's extremism. For Yamamoto, the way of the samurai lay in death; in the Sato book below, he quotes an early bushi who avers that the KYUBA NO MICHI NO HITO's duty is to stay alive in order to continue serving his lord.) See the controversies ensuing from the 47 Ronin incident for example in Legends of the Samurai by Hiroaki Sato. I believe Sources of Japanese Tradition by Wm. Theodore De Bary also has selections from this discussion.

Quote:
At first glance, without having read any of the books that have been suggested, there certainly seems to be some solid evidence, in the form of documented history, hat the Code of the Bushido existed long before 20th century.

5. Ideally, Samurai were expected to be more than warriors.
Yes, and politicians are supposed to be honest. This is the crux of it, I think: The ideal v. the real. As Dave pointed out above however, and rightly I think, we have to separate out the values from the practice. I just see the realities forgotten too often and I seek balance by emphasizing the contradictions. But yes, there was a BUN/BU ideal.

Quote:
6. Those who failed or otherwise disgraced themselves were expected to commit suicide.
Most of the accounts of this have been anecdotal...like Nobunaga, a famous unifier of Japan who in 1582 commits seppuku after having been defeated in battle...Jansen 16
Oda didn't commit suicide, he was assasinated in 1582 by Akechi Mitsuhide. Tokugawa Ieyasu was defeated in battle but rose to become shogun nevertheless. Often the salient element of SEPPUKU wasn't failure, but capture. The nature of honor in war was such that slitting open you own belly was preferable to what you might expect in the hands of your enemy.

Quote:
I could cite many other examples of this from any number of texts. Cleary there was some expectation of this in Japanese culture, even if it was not always done when one might have expected it.
??? See my citations of Bolitho, Friday, and Conlan.

Thanks for the quotes.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 05-14-2004, 10:54 AM   #74
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Hi Chris,

I have looked through my copies of both books and can`t find anything about Aikido being an/the "ideal" budo. The reason I`m pushing this is that it seems so unlike what I`ve read of M. Ueshiba to compare his art to others. I`m wondering if people are not confusing the origin of the quote by Jigoro Kano after seeing a demo by the Founder and saying that it was the "ideal budo." But then, I could be wrong and would greatly appreciate a concrete reference, such as page numbers.

Charles Hill
Well the original quote that you asked about used the word "true", not "ideal", which is somewhat different.

As for "true", there's a chapter on it in Take Musu Aiki starting at page 139, but the concept is commonly used throughout the book. Also, in the very first chapter (where Ueshiba discusses what "Aikido" is), he specifically starts section 2 with those words.

Same with Aikido Shinzui, although there's a chapter on "true budo" starting on page 113.

Also, as Peter noted, there are no particles in Japanese, so Ueshiba would never have said either "an" or "the". From the context, the phrase is most often used in the sense of "an", which is an important distinction.

Of course, there is one quote in which the word "ideal" is used describing Aikido, but it was made by Jigoro Kano .

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-14-2004, 06:29 PM   #75
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Thanks Chris and Peter,

Actually, I was referencing your posts in an earlier thread when I wrote "an/the." I found that exchange interesting and important.


Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
Well the original quote that you asked about used the word "true", not "ideal", which is somewhat different.
Whoops. You`re right. However, Mr. Hooker seems to have taken the idea of "true" to mean that M. Ueshiba meant the idea to be a comparision between Aikido and other forms of budo. Other posts have used the word "ideal" and have also indicated the idea that Mr. Hooker expressed. I wanted to ask about that.

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