View Full Version : call to attention?

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Jonathan Cole
08-10-2004, 11:16 AM
In my new dojo, bowing in is always preceded by a sharp "kyatski" (sp?), which is the signal for us to come to attention prior to the bow in. Can anyone tell me the actual spelling of this word, and perhaps a bit of its etymology? I've looked in the usual places, but haven't had any luck - probably due to my uncertainy about the spelling. The word is pronounced kee-yah-tskee.



Greg Jennings
08-10-2004, 11:40 AM
Ki-O-Tsuke. I've never heard it in an aikido dojo before.


Jonathan Cole
08-10-2004, 11:59 AM
Aah. Thanks. I wonder how the words break down? Ki-O-Tsuke isn't what I expected - so would Ki mean spirit, O mean large, or over-riding, and tsuke. . . well, what does tsuke mean? My command of the language is obviously not up to par.

It's not really an Aikido dojo, per se. It's a Danzan Ryu Jujitsu school which also has Aikido and Judo curricula. This particular phrase is only used in the Jujitsu class.

Thanks very much for the help, by the way!

08-10-2004, 12:23 PM
See: http://www.aikiweb.com/language/ki_phrases.html

-- Jun

08-10-2004, 01:18 PM
Ki-o-tsuki. Basically it asks: Please extend your spirit (attention).


Jonathan Cole
08-10-2004, 02:11 PM
Thank you all SO MUCH for your replies! That clears things up - and I can get the meaning down in my notebook.


08-11-2004, 12:50 AM
If I just heard the word kiotsuke, I'd side with the one of Jun's options Ki wo tsukeru (the wo pronounced o) and the tsukeru shortened to tsuke, meaning be careful, but that's just the way I've heard and used it (ki wo tsukette kudasai - please be careful). There's always more than one meaning and more than one context when it comes to Japanese language though :) and I am by no means an authority.


10-11-2004, 07:14 PM
My take on 'Ki o tsuke' is similar to the above responses.

Ki being spirit / care / awareness / alertness. In kanji - the ki that is used in 'genki' ( in top spirits / fine).

O is an object particle, often written 'wo'. It merely marks the relationship of object to verb here and has no honorific associations (that is the prefix 'O' that is found in words such as 'ohashi' - chopsticks, or 'Obasan' - Grandma. It is written differently in Hiragana)

...and Tsuke is a form of the verb 'tsukeru' which means something like to use or apply. In this abbreviated form it indicates quite a strong command and can be seen as a bit masculine I think (well - I wouldnt use it to my superiors anyway). The polite form of the phrase would be 'ki o tsukete kudasai' or 'ki o tsukete' - this is often used in Japanese in the same way that 'Take care' or 'Be careful' is used in English.

The phrase as a whole therefore means something like 'use your alertness' or 'draw on your spirit' but of course these seem a little odd in English, maybe something like 'Look alive!' is more appropriate?

I encounter the phrase mostly at school here in Japan - classes begin with a student calling the class to stand and then 'ki o tsuke!' before the bow and greeting between students and teachers. Actually - at school it is always used when asking a body of students to bow. I think it has some specific relationship to posture aswell - a little like 'attention!' in the military.

I cant recall hearing it used in our dojo at all, but then again I have not been there long.

Hope this helps :)

10-11-2004, 08:20 PM
Ki-O-Tsuke. I've never heard it in an aikido dojo before.

Is it mainly a Yoshinkan thing?
I've got it at both dojos I've trained at.

10-11-2004, 09:28 PM
Is it mainly a Yoshinkan thing?
I've got it at both dojos I've trained at.

It's definately a Yoshinkan thing. As for mainly, I don't know but it is common in all of our training. In fact, I don't think I could teach a class with calling it out.

Of course, I call the same thing out at dinner for my two year old so that he knows its time to say "itta dakemasu" before eating. And I got that from his daycare...not the dojo.



10-11-2004, 09:33 PM
Yup, I used it in my dojo too. Never bother with the etymology, but it is something nice to know. So now everybody Kiotsuke!


10-12-2004, 01:45 AM
Just a note to add that I was mistaken in posting that "ki o tsuke" is used at the beginning of class before the aisatsu / greeting - I just taught a lesson and it is in fact "Kiritsu" (though the former is used at assemblies and sports events).

Just goes to show I should be doing more teaching and less net-surfing! :freaky:

-Sarah Moon

John Matsushima
10-12-2004, 09:43 AM
Some people here are confusing "kiyosuke" with "ki wo tsukete"...kiyosuke means "ready...." and ki wo tsukete means "take care (and be careful)"


10-12-2004, 06:33 PM
Some people here are confusing "kiyosuke" with "ki wo tsukete"...kiyosuke means "ready...." and ki wo tsukete means "take care (and be careful)"


Really? I was under the impression that it was the same phrase but with the verb conjugated a different way to produce a different meaning...

I have just checked with a Japanese language teacher here at school and she informs me that the parts of speech are the same and that it is 'ki o tsuke' and not 'kiyosuke'. (The kanji can be found on the site posted earlier in this thread.) But then again - she could be wrong... :confused:

-Sarah Moon

10-15-2004, 12:34 AM
You and your teacher colleague are right, of course, Sarah. Kiyosuke could possibly be a man's name, but if it can mean "ready" or something like that, I'm gonna be real interested to hear the derivation :D "Ki o tsuke" is the same as "ki o tsukete", just less polite...

Rupert Atkinson
10-17-2004, 11:38 PM
Ki-o-tsuke (Ki-wo-tsuke) is the imperative form of - to pay attention - so it means - PAY ATTENTION! So in the dojo context it means: GET READY! (for training)

Kiritsu means 'stand up,' and is what might be said by the class 'prefect' when the teacher walks in, and thus could be interpretted as STAND TO ATTENTION.

Some dojos use them, many don't.