Category Archives: Translations

…matsukaze…

The cold,  cold wind
in the empty air,  and everywhere -
the sound of the pines…

- – - Onitsura

O’Sensei no kuden: Kokyu

It’s as if the wind is blowing through my body – - -

- – -   reported by Michio Hikitsuchi Shihan in the introduction to Aikido : recherche du geste vrai  by Gérard Blaize,  p.12

The Other Half of Training…

PHS  [Philippe Salgues]  Every year you offer a one-week summer aikido workshop in Hendaye. The morning is dedicated to intensive physical and technical practice. The afternoon is reserved for more relaxed practice where you reveal in great detail both external and internal movements of the body and their self-defence (goshin-jutsu) applications according to the principal of aiki. These summer workshops, for students and teachers alike, are privileged moments because they allow one to settle into a teaching relationship that is long enough to deal with the essentials, and with important concepts. A lot is said, movements shown and explained, and much of value is is passed on to the students for their future daily work.  What belongs to the mat, belongs to the mat: and there is there a powerful sequence of training. Nevertheless, there are other extremely powerful moments, little known by us in the West, which consist of conversations – more or less formal conversations – during which masters and disciples, teachers and students discuss the practice of the art. This is not at all a simple repetition of what was said on the tatami, but rather an extension and a completion of what happened there, which places the art in a larger context, or illuminates it throught the personal experience of the expert or the master. It is this part of the teaching process that you have chosen to shed light on in this chapter.

PHG:   Yes. I find it important to extend the teaching given on the tatami through free discussion with the students in, for example,  a café,  or sitting in a hotel lobby after a restaurant…

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…the spirit of O’Sensei…

 - – - Kanshu Sunadomari Shihan:

There are many kinds of aikido and that is alright.  As I already said,  techniques evolve and that is perfectly natural. What is essential is your heart,  the state of your spirit.

As time passes, you will doubtless come to practise differently. It is not right simply to pass on what you studied: you, yourself, will take part in the creative process. Techniques will arise of themselves if you think to unite yourself with aite,  instead of thinking of knocking them down. That is an important point.

If you do not enter the world of the spirit,  then you will continue to work on forms which have no meaning, and you will finish by returning to the world of competition and strength. You must train keeping in your heart the spirit of Ueshiba Morihei.  Dojos where the spirit of O’Sensei is preserved and those where it is absent are very different. You feel it instantly.

- – - from French language interview on the Budo no Nayami website

…some waking up haiku, renku, kanbun and waka…

The First Dream of the Year

The year’s first dream:
still in my nose -
the heart of what it is to be a flower…

- – - Chiyo Ni

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- – – – – – – – REI (etiquette, courtesy) (2) – – – – – -

…In the measure that we are human, should we not wish to live in a world which loves and values its children? In order to build a society based on mutual respect, what would you think of bringing back to the light that etiquette that some have wanted to discard like an old, useless piece of furniture but which nevertheless is part of the  common heritage of all humanity.

Let us consider the simple fact of placing your shoes carefully [in the shoe-rack]…

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…visible/invisible…a Frenchman on internal arts at the Aikikai

Aikido subscribes to this concept of  ‘a Way’. It contains two aspects:

- An apprenticeship in techniques which constitutes the exernal practice, which is visible.

- An apprenticeship in knowledge of the body and of the spirit which constitutes the internal practice, which is invisible.

Aikido, a remarkable system, benefits from rigorous and high quality instruction in the external practice.

As for the internal practice, there is almost no instruction given. It is left to each and everyone the responsibility of discovering for  themselves, through the endless repetition of techniques, the principals which govern them….

As a practioner, we have often no knowledge of the internal practice, and if we have heard of it, we have no understanding of its meaning and content on the mat….

*

….To illustrate this,  I will tell you about an experience I had [at Hombu]: I often used to see Yamaguchi [Seigo] Sensei over in the same corner of the dojo,  talking and working with an elderly gentleman, whom he would throw gently. I will admit that I never had any desire to practise with that elderly gentleman because I was young, and I used to practise energetically, and I didn’t want to waste my time. One day, I found myself facing him, and he invited me to practise, with a big smile…

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Doka

Using a rounded piece of wood, know the moon on the water!
- – - the dream of Muso Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi

Do not think about hitting your opponent,
Move without thinking, like moonlight into a leaky cabin.
- – - Yamaoka Tesshu

A man knows for sure:
However hard he hits the flow of a river,
The simple fact of a trace in the water:
-   doesn’t happen.
- – -  Hoshina Chikanori

Musashi on martial practice as a ‘Way’…

The Scroll of Emptiness

…otherwise known as The Book of the Void, The Scroll of the Void, The Book of Emptiness – from the GoRin no Shothe Book of Five Rings

This being the Scroll of Emptiness, I must now set down plainly in writing [the manner in which] Ni-To-Ichi-Ryu Martial Practice is a ‘Way’: -

The heart of what is called ‘emptiness’ has [traditionally] been seen as the place where there is nothing, [and as] a thing that is not known [in the way that other things are known]. [Well,] of course emptiness is where there is nothing! [But] to know the place of “there is” while also knowing the place of “there is nothing”, that indeed is emptiness.

In the world at large, there is a mistaken view that sees the state of mind where you do not discriminate as emptiness. This is not true emptiness, it is the common, confused heart [that we all share]…

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…shin-ku to ku…

True Emptiness
and Emptiness: without
that connection in your heart,
you cannot know
the Way of Aiki…

- – - O’Sensei