View Full Version : We're what now??
Long Island Asian Studies Center
Classes: Aiki Budo/Chi Gong/Tai Chi, Author of: Searching For O'Sensei
09-19-2000, 10:20 AM
Where on Earth did the term "Aikidoist" come from? I keep on seeing it, and, well, I think it sounds rubbish. It sounds like the product of a person struggling to learn the English language.
It's an awfully minor thing, but I think it is important to use the term "Aikidoka," or at least it sounds better.
Interesting. I don't think I would call myself an "aikidoka" since, to me, the -ka suffix lends itself to the meaning that aikido is the crux of my being (including financial). The -ka suffix to me connotes its prefix to be the person's profession...
If I were asked in Japanese about my aikido practice, I wouldn't reply that I was an "aikidoka" but that I do aikido ("Aikido wo shite imasu.")
yes, but try saying "Aikido wo shite imasu" to someone who doesn't speak Nihongo- see some of the looks you get.
I'm not sure what to say now that Jun has dissected the term 'ka.' All I can say is I've yet to hear the term 'karateist', or 'kendoist', etc.
Sigh. To someone who doesn't speak Japanese but only English, you would most likely say, "I do aikido" or "I practice aikido."
I was merely pointing out that many non-Japanese people use the -ka ending in a manner that doesn't seem quite correct to us...
When I did judo I had a Japanese-Canadian sensei and called myself a judoka. When I did shotokan karate I had a French-Canadian sensei and called myself a karateka. When I started aikido I had a Japanese sensei and when I called myself an aikidoka he said that I could call myself what I wished but I had to understand that the '-ka' means that (1) I devote my life to the study of aikido, (2) I make my living from aikido, and (3) I am prepared to die at this moment if challenged by anyone for any reason.
I have called myself a 'student of aikido' since that day.
09-21-2000, 01:38 PM
I tend to translate when I'm talking to non-Aikido people anyway (e.g. "sensei" becomes "instructor"), so I simply say "Aikido practicioner." It sounds kinda dry, but it makes sense.
I was unaware of the deep meaning behind the "ka" suffix. Thanks for the info.
When I started aikido I had a Japanese sensei and when I called myself an aikidoka he said that I could call myself what I wished but I had to understand that the '-ka' means that (1) I devote my life to the study of aikido, (2) I make my living from aikido, and (3) I am prepared to die at this moment if challenged by anyone for any reason.
With the proviso that these are purely my own opinions, and thus subject to change if someone convinces me I'm wrong..
(1) I agree with, absolutely. But then I don't believe you can 'play' at learning Aikido - though I imagine you could 'play' at turning up to practice...
(2) I don't think is so important - not when you take onboard everything that Aikido is. I mean it's not like calling yourself a Chemist because you read Nature during rest breaks when you're driving a truck... (Refering back to another thread, I do now agree it's a good idea to earn a living from teaching Aikido - so you can study full-time. I just don't believe you're necessarily less dedicated because you don't have that opportunity...)
(3) Is poppycock... Personally I'm prepared to die, at this very moment, to protect a friend or loved one. Without question. Anything else is subject to terms and conditions - most of which involve it not being a 'matter of principle', or stupid!!...
(N.B. I should clarify that by matter of principle I mean something akin to 'arguments', rather than, for example, stopping someone hurting people...)
However... From the point of view of having to explain what Aikidoka is everytime I use the term, I'm probably in favour of 'I study Aikido' (Saying "I follow the way of harmony" will probably have people thinking you're a cult-member ;))
Interesting. I thought I started a thread on this topic a month or two ago. Anyway, for what it's worth, our head instructor, the late Akira Tohei Sensei, pointed out to us once in a discussion session that it is inappropriate for us as students to refer to ourselves as "aikidoka." This is because, as Jun pointed out, the term connotates someone who has dedicated their life to aikido and makes a living as an instructor in the art. This point was confirmed again later by our current Dojo Cho, Mrs. J.K. Tohei, who stated that we should refer to ourselves as "aikidoists," or "students of aikido." Obviously, people can and do call themselves what they wish, but this is what appears to be traditionally, technically, and gramatically correct. You may argue what you believe is appropriate, but I think I will go along with the people who I know are much more knowledgeable than me about the correct use and translation of the Japanese language.
By the way there are other martial artists which use the **ist suffix. I know that practitioners of American Kenpo (Ed Parker system) refer to themselves as kenpoists.
[Edited by BC on September 21, 2000 at 02:24pm]
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