Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on


Home > Columns > Michael J. Hacker > October, 2005 - What's in a Name?, Part 2

What's in a Name?, Part 2 by Michael J. Hacker


[Discuss this article (5 replies)] [Download this article in PDF format]

What's in a name?  Continuing with last month's introduction to technical terminology, I'd like to present another example. 

Shihō nage (also called tenkai kote gaeshi or "rotating forearm return" by some schools) is a technique commonly practiced in aikidō dōjō world-wide.  Often translated into English as "four-direction throw," shihō nage would seem to suggest that you can throw your partner in any of four directions.  This translation is a bit limiting, though, as a touch of linguistic context is missing. 

The Japanese often number things, when in actuality they mean all things.  Although happō bijin literally translates to "eight-direction beauty," it really means that someone is "everybody's friend" (not necessarily in a positive sense).  Banbutsu doesn't literally mean "10,000 things," but rather "all things." 

Following this trend, it should be easy for you to see that "shihō" doesn't only mean "four directions."  The implication is, of course, that shihō nage works in every conceivable direction. 

Why not just say "every direction" in the first place?  Well, that would make things too easy, of course.  Besides, this concept isn't really foreign to the English language at all.  For instance, when someone says "the four corners of the globe," do they really mean to suggest literally what they said?

Allow me to pose a question to the reader: Does this information change how you think about or understand this technique?  If you have a native or near-native level of Japanese comprehension, did this meaning always occur to you?

As always, I welcome questions and suggestions from everyone. Contact me via the website or through e-mail here!


[Discuss this article (5 replies)]

----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved. ----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail