True ki, divine ki, fresh ki, essential ki …

Perhaps the most multi-faceted homonymic syllable in O’Sensei’s regular usage is “shin-“.  It can mean “upright”, “true”, “divine”, “body”, “mind”, “heart”, “ancestral”, “paternal”, “new”, “bright” – with a variety of distinct spellings (kanji, ideograms) – all of which Deguchi was happy to play with, coining a cornucopia of read-only neologisms. ‘Aiki Shinzui’ – the published collection of O’Sensei’s talks – is a perfect example of this: the dictionary spelling of “shinzui” (essence) is “true-marrow”, but in the title of the Aikikai book it is spelled  “divine-marrow”.

And of course, when you hear “shin”, with no reference to a particular ideogram, it can mean or any or all of these meanings at once.

This is the key to the puzzle of “uniting ki and true-ki”…  There are two conventional, Taoist spellings of “shin-ki”. Spelled “essence-ki” (“Jing-qi” in Chinese), it is the “refined essence that is the yang energetic aspect of the jing [the spirit], …referring to the substance associated with the kidneys, that represents the traditional matrix of the body’s vital energies.” 1) Spelled “divine-ki” (“Shen-qi” in Chinese), it is a collective term for the “three treasures” (“shin-ki-shin”, “essence”, “ki” and “divine spirit”) 2) … another word for which is “jing-shen”, spelled the same as the Japanese “sei-shin” – “vitality, spirit, mind” – a common term that O’Sensei frequently uses.

These two spellings of “shin-ki” are both Taoist technical terms, and one (or both) are what O’Sensei is referring to,   And it’s possible, of course, that he instructed his deshi in Tokyo to write it with the spelling meaning “upright/correct”, because that’s how he felt the folks in Tokyo could best understand it…

1) Tom Bisio, Ba Gua Nei Gong Twelve Posture Standing, p. 77
2) Tom Bisio, Ba Gua Nei Gong Twelve Posture Standing, p. 83

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