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Andrew Wilson
05-16-2003, 12:40 AM
We seem to be having a discussion at our dojo lately on the importance of naming certian things inside of our training. Now, its not so much on the naming of techniques themselves, as its obvious (to at least myself) thats is important to have the ability to refer to certian motions and learn their place in kata or whatnot... but what about the "releases" for people who have them (I believe that shodokan aikido has them or anyone under tomiki's lineage) and if not, do you name your kohen dosa (basic moves)?

The arguement is that names don't throw people, wether you call it #1 or soto oshidashi. Further, most of us dont speak japanese at home, so whats the importance of learning a name?

Others counter by saying that we aren't at Mcdonalds and we aren't ordering a big mac. These basic movements that we do are more important than some of the techniques (in the sense that you cant build a house with out foundation) so that you should show them the same if not more respect.

I fall into the later group of thought, however some people (including high ranking aikido/judo guys) dont seem to agree.

whats your thoughts?

kiddokit
05-16-2003, 04:18 AM
My answer to this is simple and straight-forward.

Sometimes my dojo receives Japanese Shihans who, without doubt, use Japanese terms to describe their techniques. Thus, if my dojo was not accustomed to hearing those names during normal training, we would be at a loss as to what the Shihans are refering to.

This point was explained by my Sensei.

Chuck Clark
05-16-2003, 09:46 AM
Andrew,

It is important to be able to communicate in the clearest and most efficient manner possible. Have we found that yet...? Probably not the "best way" yet.

Would you rather your teacher be able to say to you, "show me: shomen ate, wakigatame, uki otoshi, and then kote gaeshi" or just, "show me a bunch of the ways you've been learning to throw someone down"? If we do the latter, we may have to wait a long time to see what your teacher was wanting to you to do.

Also, the more you understand the technical language of budo you'll find that you'll gain a better understanding of the subject. The Japanese terms often convey more information than the same number of words can in other languages.

We practice Jita Kyoei, Seiryoku Zenyo. Best Use of Energy With Mutual Benefit. We should try to apply that best use of energy in every situation and we'll all benefit from the effort.

ian
05-16-2003, 10:32 AM
I've trained at many dojos that call techniques and movements different names. I think it is best to follow the form in your affiliation (or, as above, the main high ranking visitors). Beginners don't want to be trying to follow two different names in Japanese that mean the same thing.

I think in aikido, more than many other martial arts, techniques can actually merge into one-another. When does sumi-otoshi become kokyu-nage?

Personally I feel that beginners would progress faster if they were named in english, however it is useful that the technique names of Japanese Shihan can be understood directly without translation. Maybe in the future we will change the names (as has occured in jujitsu), but I believe it is too ealry at the moment due to the large number of Japanese speaking Shihan.

Ian

Andrew Wilson
05-16-2003, 06:06 PM
Andrew,

Would you rather your teacher be able to say to you, "show me: shomen ate, wakigatame, uki otoshi, and then kote gaeshi" or just, "show me a bunch of the ways you've been learning to throw someone down"? If we do the latter, we may have to wait a long time to see what your teacher was wanting to you to do.
Sensei,

Oh, I hope that the post didn't mean to portray that I thought we should be calling them #1,2,3..etc... Just having started the system I think its easier for myself to remember things according to their name, as apposed to learning them through an assigned number inside of a kata. Where its easier to understand what shomen ate is and what kata its a part of, as apposed to going "oh do the first one of the Jihon"

..although I don't remember the names of each step in the walking...

I was simply noting and thought it was interesting that some of the seniors seem torn on the issue. Since to them it was apparently introduced (or I have gotten the impression) just reciently. I just wondered what others opinions were on the subject.

-A

Largo
05-29-2003, 10:59 PM
The names are probably used because they don't make a lot of sense in english. A kote-gaeshi would be something like forearm return throw. A kokyu nage would be a breathing throw.

akiy
05-30-2003, 09:15 AM
The names are probably used because they don't make a lot of sense in english. A kote-gaeshi would be something like forearm return throw. A kokyu nage would be a breathing throw.
Then again, the names themselves in Japanese hardly make much more sense than "forearm return throw" or "breath throw," either. If you went up to the average Japanese person on the street and asked, "So, what do you think {kotegaeshi, kokyunage, kaitennage, ikkyo, shihonage, etc} is?", they'd probably just stare at you...

-- Jun

paw
05-30-2003, 09:25 AM
I think there's value in a common language.

I know a judo coach that "renamed" all judo throws to english. He has a really good school with a lot of students as a result --- judo is perceived as more accessable. The problem comes when his students attend seminars --- particular international seminars where not all instructors/students use english as their native language. So this coach's students either: a) end up learning two names for every throw or b) stop attending seminars due to the language barrier.

Regards,

Paul

Ron Tisdale
05-30-2003, 11:06 AM
Oh, I hope that the post didn't mean to portray that I thought we should be calling them #1,2,3..etc...
Uuuuhhhhh, you mean like ikkajo, nikkajo, sankajo....

:)

Ron (sorry, couldn't resist) Tisdale

Dave Miller
06-06-2003, 06:25 PM
I think that there's at least two good reasons for learning proper names for techniques.

First, it sounds like you actually know something about your art. I know this is rather vane but think about it. If someone claims to know about something and doesn't have a good grasp of the specialised language of that activity, we question whether they know anything about it.

Second, in Tomiki ryu we have lots of systems of kata which use numbered techniques. #1 might mean the #1 release (Hon Soto Hanasu), #1 of the Junana Hon no Kata, or 17 basic techniques (Shomen ate) or #1 of the O Waza Ju Pon, the "big 10 techniques, (Kata Otoshi) and so on. It's simply easier in most cases to just ask the student to show Shomen Ate than to tell them to show "#1 of the 17 basic techniques".

Matt Gallagher
06-07-2003, 03:31 AM
Does the Japanese naming of originally Japanese martial techniques not make sense?

Firstly it helps us to remember and respect from where our art stems.

Secondly, as has been touched upon in a previous post, sometimes much more meaning can be conveyed in the single Japanese word than in it's literal translation to another language.

Ever tried to explain the Hara in English?

Maybe this is a bad example

Take the name :ai: :ki: :do:

So much meaning, and so concisely put.

Am I making sense?

This is only my own humble opinion, but I feel it would be a big loss to lose these elements from our training.

;)

Matt

siwilson
06-07-2003, 09:37 AM
In addition to the points already made and touching on some once more, we are not merely an UK based, but have dojo in non-English speaking countries too, like Poland and France.

Can you imagine trying to direct training, and more-over grading exams, without the common factor of the Japanese names?

Mind you, different schools use different names anyway!

Ikkajo - Ikkyo

Nikajo - Nikyo

Shomen Ate - Irimi Tsuki

etc.

Matt Gallagher
06-08-2003, 05:42 AM
Sounds like the voice of experience, Si!

Didn't you say that you'd coached in a German dojo?

Even though most Europeans speak excellent English (shame on us) there must have been some merit in using Japanese terms in common.

Or maybe you are fluent in German

Regards

Matt

siwilson
06-08-2003, 06:53 AM
Or maybe you are fluent in German
I wish!!! :)

My spoken German gets me by, but being with the UK MoD, most of my students were soldiers. Sadly Osalma, Saddam, and a few notable others meant my students had other responsibilities. Also, the job offer in the UK (still MoD) came up and was too good a chance to miss!

The most fun is teaching in Poland! I have a smattering of Polish (my wife is Polish), which gets me by - "put right foot there"; "left hand, left hand!!!" :) - but japanese terms are vital!!! :freaky:

It's fun in Poland. They love hard training and are always trying to take your head off!

:D

Matt Gallagher
06-08-2003, 01:10 PM
It's fun in Poland. They love hard training and are always trying to take your head off!

You can do so much more with a committed uke :D

Regards

Matt

Ryurei
06-13-2003, 01:17 PM
I realize it is a while since this thread was really current, however, I have only recently joined this forum.

On the subject of names for techniques, I have the following feeling about it.

The Japanese names do have relevance to the techniques asthey are fairly descriptive once you get used to them. However when abeginner is learning a new technique, they have no name for that technique and so it is not truly relevant what it is called. We have to learn a name, or sound, for that movement. So whether that sound happens to be Japanese, English or any other official language really does not matter. We can all put the movement to whatever sound is chosen. So the learning of a "new" language is not a "real" concern.

Combine that thought with the cultural implications, the benefit od being partly prepared for seminarswith Japanese Shihan or "your visit to Japan." to an Aikido School and you will see that all is not a waste.

To assist the learning of names of techniques, I always use the Japanese names in our regular classes, in this way all students only learn the Japanese term (sound) for the techniques and therefore never "translate" a name to English (Canadian) or any other language. They only know Shihonage, Ikkyo, etc as Shihonage, Ikkyo etc.

Hope that helps put another spin on this discussion.

Thanks,

PeterBus;) ;) ;) :)

Charles Hill
06-13-2003, 04:58 PM
I think that when students learn the meaning of the names of various techniques, various questions naturally come up which lead to a curious, learning frame of mind. If you show a technique and call it "shihonage," the teaching and therefore, the learning, is over. All that is left is the practice of the technique.

If, however, the student knows it as the "four directions throw," the question will naturally arise, "What are the other three directions I can do this in?" At this point, the student shifts from passive learning to active learning. It is clear to me that the active learner will always be the better student.

Charles

Chuck Clark
06-14-2003, 09:49 AM
I think that when students learn the meaning of the names of various techniques, various questions naturally come up which lead to a curious, learning frame of mind. If you show a technique and call it "shihonage," the teaching and therefore, the learning, is over. All that is left is the practice of the technique.

If, however, the student knows it as the "four directions throw," the question will naturally arise, "What are the other three directions I can do this in?" At this point, the student shifts from passive learning to active learning. It is clear to me that the active learner will always be the better student.

Charles
Charles,

Welcome, I'm enjoying reading your posts.

As you describe above, I think the problem is not with the "naming" but a teaching style of just teaching physical movement with a tag on it. No matter what you call it, if the teacher is giving information as you suggest, the student will be led into the experience of searching for more and more information connected with the experience.

As someone once said (can't remember who just now...) Education is not like filling a bucket with knowledge, it's like starting a forest fire that never stops... or something like that.

Charles Hill
06-14-2003, 10:34 PM
Mr. Clark,

Thanks. I like the sentence about education. It fits something I read a long time ago. The root word of education is educare, which means "to draw out," as opposed to putting in.

I've been thinking about all the people who are considered great martial artists. I think people like Ueshiba, Kano, Funakoshi, Tomiki, Bruce Lee, and so on, didn't really teach any new techniques, they had new ways for us to learn.

Charles

Ta Kung
06-15-2003, 02:45 PM
Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that many Americans have an issue with the techniques names beeing in Japanese. I noted the same when I practised Taekwon-do. Every school I knew in Sweden, Germany and Finland (just to name a few), used the standard Korean names. As did most of the other countries. Every school I knew in the US, however, used American names. How come? Is it harder for Americans to learn a "new language" (you're not really learning a new language after all, just a few simple words)? Or is it a question of pride? You know, like when you're a tourist in France and everyone refuses to answer in English, eventhough most of them are able to.

Any thoughts? I'd especially love to hear thoughts on this from American people.

Oh, and I do know that not EVERY American prefers American names. Just to clarify (and to save some typing for some people out there), this is just what I've noticed. I might be wrong. :)

Best wishes,

Patrik

shadow
06-15-2003, 11:30 PM
whats in a name?

lots of different letters.....

roninja
12-13-2004, 06:16 PM
This may be an old thread, I didn't check, but in my dojo, most people do not know the names of any of the techniques, unless they are popular techniques like Kote Gaeshi or Shiho Nage. There are a couple of us trying to learn the Japanese names, and as far as that goes, I've learned the name of the first release (Hon Soto Hanasu). Other than that we refer to them as "#1 of the releases..." and "#1 of the seventeen..." I think it really depends on the school. I don't think that many of the students at our school plan on visiting other schools of the same style, so learning the Japanese names is not a big deal. For me, it is important, I just need to put more energy into it. But anyway, I'm on my way there right now.
Amitofo
Joey lee d.

stuartjvnorton
12-13-2004, 06:52 PM
If I had someone call out the English version of the techniques, I'd have no idea what they were talking about... ;-)
The only problem comes with kokyu nage: "katate mochi kokyu nage" ...um, which one of the 47 or so are you hoping to see? :-)

Rupert Atkinson
12-15-2004, 12:20 AM
To me it just seemed quite natural to have to learn the Japanese terminology for everything. Never thought about why - just learned it all. It's fun too. But when you think about it, Japanese Sensei travel the world teaching here and there, and when they say - Do Ikkyo - surprise surprise, everyone knows what to do.

markwalsh
12-15-2004, 05:41 AM
There are quite a few people in the UK who use 1st form, 2nd form, etc, to describe attacks It starts from ai-hamni katate dori. This comes from Abbe Sensei I think and seems to have some advantages and disadvantages as discussed.

Travelling I find it very helpful having a common language (Hombu Japanes terms) in the dojo. Mum says the same thing with Latin and taking mass around the world. Saying that, English is for better or worse become a common language fo many, what language is this in after all?

On a critical note I find the Japanese terms often employed not very clear in many cases, and this isn't just a by product of the richness of the language. For instance irimi and tenkan are employed in a number of different contexts, so when an instructor shouts it at you, you have a number of options. It seems that the there have been a slow but steady movement from the current and last doshu towards clarity though, in the new "Best Aikido" books for instance irimi/ tenkan and omote/ura are distinguished

Mark
x.

markwalsh
12-15-2004, 05:55 AM
Similar to Charles point: If you name a technique (even in your mind) you just start doing what you already know rather than actaully looking and learning. Resisting this is a constant temptation. I think Saotome Sensei made the point in one of his books. My question is if you learnt without any names would it eliminate this, or would you just start naming things in your head to your own system (is this better)? Has anyone learnt a comparable set of skills without any naming?

..............
"American names", what like Brad, or Marie-Sue? It's English that my wayward colonial cousins speak, even if it's a weird verion. :)

Derek Webb
12-15-2004, 06:28 AM
On one level the technique has to have a name or some device by which it is identified or there is going to be more chaos than there already is. Personally I do not worry overly much what the technique is called, provided there is a constancy within that place. Perhaps someone knows of a matrix that could be devised showing the various combinations of style, affliliation and various names for the same technique?

For me the greatest difficulty I find is how to pronounce the Japanese names. I've learnt the names mostly from English sources with some Japanese input. Even in English the Japanese has probably mutated through regional dialects. So I rely more on what I see than what I hear.

Standardisation would be one answer but then there would be loss of the richness of variation

Regards

Delboy

batemanb
12-15-2004, 06:38 AM
For me the greatest difficulty I find is how to pronounce the Japanese names. I've learnt the names mostly from English sources with some Japanese input. Even in English the Japanese has probably mutated through regional dialects.


:D :D :D :D

MaryKaye
12-15-2004, 09:20 AM
We do some subset of 21 solo exercises at the start of each class, and they all have Japanese names which we are expected to learn. (If you seem to need encouragement to learn them you will find yourself up in front of class leading them....) I used to think this was just an attempt to improve our Japanese vocabulary, but as I trained longer I found that the exercise names are used as a shorthand to critique throws. "No, no! The arm drop there is udemawashi!" This is actually quite useful.

You could do that with English names, but they would be just as arbitrary as the Japanese ones in my opinion, because they'd have to be pretty short. The dojo where I've seen the most American-origin names uses mostly numbers: kaitenage #1, #2, #3 (usually up to #8) or in one memorable instance #1A, #1B.... I hated this. I could not keep them straight for the life of me; I would much rather have Japanese words, especially ones I could relate to some other context.

Ki Society gets pretty detailed with its names in general: I am supposed to know four shomenuchi shihonage, and they are called tenkan/irimi, tenkan/tenkan, irimi/irimi, irimi/tenkan. The last two have a more descriptive term "hantai tenkan" for the entry as well. It's a mouthful, but I can figure out which one is which solely from its name, which I have no hope of doing when confronted with #1B. Similarly, we have names for the different flavors of kokyunage, which helps with the "half of all throws are kokyunage" problem: zenpo-nage, kiri-kaeishi, enundo, etc.

If I wasn't taught all this stuff I would feel some need to invent it. I'm a verbal thinker: moves without names give me a lot of grief. I recently spent some effort trying to put a name to an Aikikai technique that was done to me several times, so that the next time I would feel like I knew what was happening to me.... It's not logical that knowing the name helps me take the ukemi, but it does. (It was tenchinage, as it turns out, but not one I'd seen before.)

Mary Kaye

Rupert Atkinson
12-15-2004, 10:17 PM
Many, like 99%, need to work on pronunciation too. Take 'Aikido' for example, quite an important word doncha think? When I first went to Japan and mentioned 'Aikido' no one could understand what I was saying. I said, 'Ai Kiii do' with long stress on the second syllable whereas they say it with short stress on the first. There are very few westerners who pronounce it properly. And for anyone who is interested, pronunciation of terminology by westerners in the Korean arts is 10 times worse, in my opinion.

batemanb
12-16-2004, 03:46 AM
Hey Derek,

Come visit, I'll be happy to help :)


rgds

Bryan

Derek Webb
12-16-2004, 06:21 AM
Thanks Brian

See you soon

Delboy