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statisticool
05-10-2006, 06:14 PM
I've sat in on a few aikido classes at different dojos to 'test the water' before joining.

One thing I observed is that Japanese is spoken for counting, to say thank you, and for, I think, some basic 'commands'.

So I'm wondering, while language is obviously not mandatory for learning a martial art, do you think it would be helpful for a beginner to learn some basic Japanese (say thank you, and the numbers from 1 to 10) prior to joining a class? And if so, besides the terminology for aikido techniques, is there anything else in Japanese that would be helpful to learn?


Justin

giriasis
05-10-2006, 07:27 PM
So I'm wondering, while language is obviously not mandatory for learning a martial art, do you think it would be helpful for a beginner to learn some basic Japanese (say thank you, and the numbers from 1 to 10) prior to joining a class? And if so, besides the terminology for aikido techniques, is there anything else in Japanese that would be helpful to learn?

No, it's not really necessary to learn some basic Japanese before you start. Because you don't necessarily know which terms and phrases are important to know until you start. Once you start you'll learn quickly what you need to know even though you won't learn it right away.

I guess, my point is you don't have to worry that much about it just start taking classes.

Jory Boling
05-10-2006, 09:15 PM
heh, i'd say it's not even that important to speak Japanese while training in Japan. Some of the sensei don't even speak much Japanese to the Japanese students. I'd definitely not let the language stop me from starting. Like new words in English, once you hear and use them a few times, they'll stick.

Jory

Dirk Hanss
05-11-2006, 03:28 AM
All you need, you find in the aikiwiki section. You need not start anything, before training, but you can lookup phrases, you have heard.

I'ld like to have some classes "Japanes for Martial Artists", i.e. starting with the words, you know, and followed by some phrases, you need to train in Japanand resulting in basic skills to do some after-mat small-talk.

I could not find any yet.

Dirk

Pauliina Lievonen
05-11-2006, 03:36 AM
You're going to feel confused and lost in the beginning anyway. :) Learning Japanese probably won't prevent that. But if you think it's interesting, by all means go ahead, you can find a lot of the terminology here in this website. The most important thing though is to get yourself on the mat and start practicing!

kvaak
Pauliina

DmG
05-11-2006, 01:42 PM
Jason,

You'll learn japanese without even trying, so I would worry about learning it before....

....I had one 9 year old boy, who'd only had 3 classes, raise his hand and ask "can I be nage first?" One of my colleagues was so impressed that he knew the word 'nage' that she said I should let him...and I did.

...I had another 9 year old girl correct me. I said "Put your left foot forward". She said "don't you mean 'left hamni'? Guess I did....

Point is....you will hear people say things, and they will demonstrate (and/or explain) and you will come and to associate actions and the words without even trying....(by the way, every sport/art has its language...when I danced I could speak 'dance french'....you learn the terms because you are into what you are learning)

Qatana
05-11-2006, 02:34 PM
Oh yeah, ballet french! And I also speak Sushinese...in fact when my Japanese friend visits me at Renaissance Faire, she speaks real Japanese to me, and I respond in sushi-and-aikidonese. I have no idea what she is saying but I am saying something like "fall down tuna seawed bow arm turn octopus horseradish" and the challenge is for her to keep a straight face.


japanese is a "building block" language, so once you know a few words it gets easier to figure out words that incorporate the same blocks.

Nick P.
05-11-2006, 09:31 PM
heh, i'd say it's not even that important to speak Japanese while training in Japan. Some of the sensei don't even speak much Japanese to the Japanese students.

~Amen to that.
Watch everything, be quiet and listen attentively; no need for much else at the beginning. I wish someone would have told me that...maybe they did but I was too busy talking.

statisticool
05-14-2006, 03:45 PM
Thanks for your comments everyone! It was just something I was curious about from the classes I've observed.

Peter Goldsbury
05-14-2006, 07:47 PM
heh, i'd say it's not even that important to speak Japanese while training in Japan. Some of the sensei don't even speak much Japanese to the Japanese students. I'd definitely not let the language stop me from starting. Like new words in English, once you hear and use them a few times, they'll stick.

Jory

I disagree here.

If you live in Japan, I think it is matter of courtesy to your Japanese teachers that you make some effort to learn the language. Recently, Tada Sensei gave a course here in Hiroshima and he spent quite some time explaining the purpose of the solo exercises he expected us to do. Of course it was all in Japanese and the Japanese-less foreigners who were participating looked totally lost. They could do the exercises eventually by watching others, but had no idea why they were doing them.

John Matsushima
05-22-2006, 12:07 PM
Make sure you learn how to say "ITAIIIIIIII!!!!"

Learning Japanese for me has helped my understanding of Aikido. For example, there is a difference between putting your left foot forward and being in left hanmi.

Gambatte!

Josh Reyer
05-22-2006, 12:21 PM
I really enjoy studying aikido in Japanese. There's a certain confluence of idiom that I think is missing when aikido is studied in English. And I think, for those who wish to know about and understand Japanese culture, studying the Japanese language is far more useful than studying aikido.

But would an aikido beginner, living in America, need to study it? Nah. Like aikido, it's a commitment, not to be taken lightly.

Takao Hattori
05-22-2006, 05:24 PM
One of our dojo is located at USA Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. Members are American.They learn Japanese as well as Aikido in the class.
If you learn only technique,you may not need to learn Japanese. However, if you want to learn spirit of Aikido,you had better learn Japanese.
http://www.geocities.jp/yokosuka111/

Mato-san
05-23-2006, 09:27 AM
I like this one.
Justin when I came to Japan I had no Japanese language skills, and still now I have little language ability (josh will tell you that) but learning Aikido was easier than learning language skills, and it still is. Although my Japanese gets better day by day, My Aikido progresses alot faster. So I guess you need little or no Japanese to start, but to progress you may need to learn some basic language but it comes to you. This training is called 'image training' and I think it has been bought up before in the forums about talking and verbal instruction during Aikido and the benefits of it. I say Just take the bull by the horns and you will not regret it. (I would practice sitting seiza more than the language if you worry about anything.)

j0nharris
05-23-2006, 10:51 AM
I recently found a good Japanese podcast (http://), & have been enjoying it quite a bit .
They do Beginner, Intermediate, & Survival Lessons.

It may be out of print, but at one time Tuttle had published a book & Cassette tape (anyone remember those?) titled Japanese for Martial Artists , or something similar.

statisticool
05-30-2006, 06:43 PM
Justin when I came to Japan I had no Japanese language skills, and still now I have little language ability (josh will tell you that) but learning Aikido was easier than learning language skills, and it still is. Although my Japanese gets better day by day, My Aikido progresses alot faster. So I guess you need little or no Japanese to start, but to progress you may need to learn some basic language but it comes to you. This training is called 'image training' and I think it has been bought up before in the forums about talking and verbal instruction during Aikido and the benefits of it. I say Just take the bull by the horns and you will not regret it. (I would practice sitting seiza more than the language if you worry about anything.)

Cool, thanks Mathew. :)

Jory Boling
05-30-2006, 08:30 PM
I recently found a good Japanese podcast (http://), & have been enjoying it quite a bit .
They do Beginner, Intermediate, & Survival Lessons.

It may be out of print, but at one time Tuttle had published a book & Cassette tape (anyone remember those?) titled Japanese for Martial Artists , or something similar.

hi, could you please post that link again? i can't seem to get to it from your original post.

Jory Boling
05-30-2006, 08:48 PM
I disagree here.

If you live in Japan, I think it is matter of courtesy to your Japanese teachers that you make some effort to learn the language. Recently, Tada Sensei gave a course here in Hiroshima and he spent quite some time explaining the purpose of the solo exercises he expected us to do. Of course it was all in Japanese and the Japanese-less foreigners who were participating looked totally lost. They could do the exercises eventually by watching others, but had no idea why they were doing them.

I agree here.
If you are in Japan, learn to speak as much Japanese as you can. As my skills have improved, my sensei, sempai,and cohai have all warmed up, to me.

However, if you are not in Japan, I wouldn't worry so much about learning Japanese "prior to joining a class." As your first day turns into weeks into months, you will have picked up most of what you need.

In my general, day to day classes, there is not a lot of talking going on. It's more of a "do as I do" kind of thing. However, during special training sessions, with guest sensei, I'm postive that i've missed many verbal training points.

The following tape might be helpful:
http://www.koryubooks.com/books/japanese.html
(I have a copy in a box in a storage building- I wish i brought it with me!)

j0nharris
05-31-2006, 08:30 AM
hi, could you please post that link again? i can't seem to get to it from your original post.

Jory, their homepage is http://japanesepod101.com/ ; I'm not sure how I screwed the link up before. Sorry. On the site, you can download individual lessons, or subscribe to the podcast.
Their iTunes subscription link is http://tinyurl.com/qdgup


-jon

Hanna B
06-03-2006, 08:07 AM
This thread quickly drifted slightly off topic, and I take the liberty to revive it although pretty cold.

I've sat in on a few aikido classes at different dojos to 'test the water' before joining.

One thing I observed is that Japanese is spoken for counting, to say thank you, and for, I think, some basic 'commands'.

So I'm wondering, while language is obviously not mandatory for learning a martial art, do you think it would be helpful for a beginner to learn some basic Japanese (say thank you, and the numbers from 1 to 10) prior to joining a class? And if so, besides the terminology for aikido techniques, is there anything else in Japanese that would be helpful to learn?

Prior to joining class - no I do not think so. Beginners are not expected to understand all the Japanese terms, you learn them eventually. In the middle of the first term, though, it certainly is a help to learn as much of the Japanese stuff you encounter - for many people one of the trickiest part of their first grading test is to remember the names of the techniques! and sure it helps if you learn a little Japanese outside of aikido class. If you like to learn languages, sure go ahead and you will have some use from it.

Peter Goldsbury
06-03-2006, 08:28 AM
Hello Hanna,

I disagree about the thread drift.

I have found that it is just as difficult for my Japanese students in Hiroshima to remember the names of the waza, when they prepare for a grading, as it is for Dutch students in Holland (where I also regularly teach).

The question of the original poster was not specific as to country and my Japanese students are native speakers of the language. So, while one can argue about learning terms for numbers etc, learning the terms for waza seems not to depend on whether you are a native speaker or not.

Best wishes,

Hanna B
06-03-2006, 08:47 AM
I have found that it is just as difficult for my Japanese students in Hiroshima to remember the names of the waza, when they prepare for a grading, as it is for Dutch students in Holland (where I also regularly teach)

This surprises me to no end.

Jory Boling
06-03-2006, 09:01 AM
...I have found that it is just as difficult for my Japanese students in Hiroshima to remember the names of the waza, when they prepare for a grading...



And during our last test there was confusion among some of my Japanese classmates concerning waza names.

aikido_diver
07-02-2007, 05:17 PM
Regarding this topic,

I don't believe while living in your own home country that it would be necessary. However before I really took Aikido seriously I was studying Japanese more seriously. This has led me to make the decision to go to Japan for University in Osaka - the bonus is that I can now also train under the teachers I want to. I also heard that Saito Sensei (Jnr) encouraging his students to learn Japanese in order to understand O'Sensei's teachings - I think that might be difficult even for some good translators/interpretors.

Thanks.

Gene McGloin
07-03-2007, 06:26 AM
I've travelled to Japan quite a few times to visit my wife's family. Trust me, if you are planning on moving to Japan, for whatever reason, you will need some Japanese language ability to get by in daily life, even in the large cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. The attached link is to a really basic, beginning Japanese study guide which helped me out in my first year of study:

http://users.tmok.com/~tumble/qadgtj.html

It's REALLY basic and doesn't work in all gramattical "situations", but it'll get you started and understood, for the most part. The worst part is that it's not written in Japanese. See, you'll also have to begin learning written Japanese as well. Start with the "kana" writing system, do not jump into "kanji".

Gambattene,

Gene

wxyzabc
07-03-2007, 10:30 PM
"However, if you want to learn spirit of Aikido,you had better learn Japanese"

mmm..sorry...but imho as the spirit of aikido has to be a personal thing then I would have to totally disagree with this statement....Japanese is not necessary at all...in fact some of the best "aikido" I have witnessed (from my perspective anyway) has been from people not practising aikido (techniques) at all...

Kindest regards

Lee

Peter Goldsbury
07-04-2007, 12:36 AM
However, if you want to learn spirit of Aikido,you had better learn Japanese.
http://www.geocities.jp/yokosuka111/

Yes, I think one needs to be very careful about this.

Here in Hiroshima we hear very much about Hiroshima no Kokoro ヒロシマの心 (with Hiroshima always in katakana), which is always translated as the "Spirit of Hiroshima".
Do you need to speak Japanese to understand the Spirit of Hiroshima? I believe that the (Japanese) politicians & bureaucrats who run the Peace Park & A-Bomb Museum would definitely think not. If you did, much of Hiroshima's mission to make the world aware of the dangers of nuclear weapons would lose its point.
I prefer to ask the annoying questions, like: does Hiroshima no Kokoro go beyond the mere words and issue in actions, especially in respect of people like the ethnic Koreans, whose kin were brought to Japan and forced to aid Japan's war effort?

The Spirit of Aikido is the accepted English translation of 合気道の心. At least, this is the English title of Kisshomaru Ueshiba's book with the same title and in another thread it was suggested that the Engish translation had Doshu's blessing.

With Hiroshima no Kokoro there is an unexpressed assumption that (1) understanding it has an ethical dimension and (2) the phrase has a cultural context that many Japanese believe to be unique. The ethical dimension was clearly demonstrated recently with the sacking of Fumio Kyuma, because of comments he made that could be taken to justify the atomic bombing. The cultural context is an assumption that the 'A-Bomb Experience' is unique, in other words, if you are not Japanese you cannot understand what it was like to be atom-bombed. (Again, the fact that there many Koreans and even US prisoners of war were in Hiroshima at 8.15 on 6 August 1945 is conveniently forgotten here.)

I think that similar assumptions exist with Aikido no Kokoro and they should be seen for what they are.

Peter Goldsbury
07-04-2007, 06:53 AM
japanese is a "building block" language, so once you know a few words it gets easier to figure out words that incorporate the same blocks.

Hello Jo,

Would you say that English is the same?

Best,

PAG

aikido_diver
07-05-2007, 05:32 PM
With regards to this quote:
"japanese is a "building block" language, so once you know a few words it gets easier to figure out words that incorporate the same blocks"

I totally disagree with. Anyone who has studied Japanese to a high level (not just 10 basic lessons), will agree that once you learn a few words, you build upon that. Japanese to me has not just vocab, but grammatical structures, naunces, kanji, counters, etc. Japanese isn't as easy as people think.

Thanks.

Carl Thompson
07-09-2007, 11:25 PM
japanese is a "building block" language, so once you know a few words it gets easier to figure out words that incorporate the same blocks.

I see what you mean by building blocks. It's an agglutinative language (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agglutinative_language)-- I've also heard it described as a mathematical language in that there is a lot of order to it and by learning the basics, you can build up to the more advanced stuff. But the thing is, it just keeps on building up! I also agree that it usually continues to be a hard language if your own native language is radically different. The order helps, so you get better at certain things, but there are always more things…

If you find a language interesting though, you'll enjoy learning it.

With regards to aikido, it's the language of the founder and his disciples, the language of the country from which aikido originated and the language of the art's terminology. I don't think it's essential to learn Japanese to learn aikido, but anything which reduces barriers between you and the thing you're trying to learn is going to help right?

By the way: we've just entered into the application period for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (http://momo.jpf.go.jp/jlpt/e/test_info_e.html). I doubt I'll have time for study though…:(

Nikopol
07-10-2007, 02:43 AM
As a linguist fluent in Korean and Japanese, I give this advice:

It is not necessary to know Japanese.
Just know where your center is.

If you do understand Japanese you will be able to hear many ideas directly from excellent sources. Will that help you? Thats up to how creatively you process the information.

Do learn the names of the techniques in Japanese and what they mean. Make this technical vocabulary your entry point, rather than trying to gobble up the entire language.

If you do decide to study Japanese, remember that one would not expect to learn to swim in a bathtub. Short of coming to Japan, your best bet would be a University course.

As for the building block analogy - it applies to both Japanese and English. In anything you learn a piece and another piece, and then start to fill in the gaps. Kind of like a bittorrent download. But this probably applies to Japanese more than English because English is full of nonstandard pronunciations and conjugations. So think of English as a building block language where you need to apply a lot of sandpaper. Trust that in Japanese it all just fits.

But to repeat, I don't think Japanese is as important in practicing Aikido as is proper breathing, centering and lots of practice with a bokken.