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-   -   Training and Practice: Is there a difference? (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1309)

jimvance 11-28-2001 11:05 PM

Training and Practice: Is there a difference?
 
I am curious about the similarities and differences between the way the terms "training" and "practice" are understood. More specifically I would like to know what the words "Keiko" and "Renshu" mean to different people. I am not looking for definitions to the Japanese words, please! I would like different perspectives on the Japanese and/or English terms. Cool stories are welcome.

Jim Vance

ze'ev erlich 11-29-2001 02:06 AM

keiko
 
keiko and renshu have similar meaning.

In general, when I was studying in Japan, the word RENSHU was used for practice at home or without a sensei.
The word KEIKO was used to describe a class or a lesson with the sensei.

Lisa Tomoleoni 11-29-2001 03:40 AM

Re: keiko
 
The kanji for keiko literally mean to study the old. Renshu literally is to train or poilish, to be taught.
I think keiko embodies a lot more than just practice or training, which is usually how it is translated.

Lisa Tomoleoni

Kami 11-29-2001 04:50 AM

Re: keiko
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Lisa Tomoleoni
The kanji for keiko literally mean to study the old. Renshu literally is to train or poilish, to be taught.
I think keiko embodies a lot more than just practice or training, which is usually how it is translated.
Lisa Tomoleoni

KAMI : Hello, Lisa San!
That's very interesting. Could you please elaborate a bit more on those two words, specially on Keiko.
Best :ai:

akiy 11-29-2001 08:52 AM

I've heard "keiko" being translated literally as "to trace the old." It's said that in calligraphy, a beginning student places a piece of paper over one of his teacher's pieces and literally traces it with his own pen...

Outside of that, the way I've heard (and used) "keiko" and "renshu" used in Japanese is that "renshu" is used a lot more often for going to sports-like activities like baseball and such whereas "keiko" is used for more artistic endeavors including things like dance. In a way, to me at least, "renshuu" has the feeling of doing something to get really good at it (like in a sport) as opposed to "keiko" in which one just does the training for the training's sake.

-- Jun

PeterR 11-29-2001 09:53 AM

This is great Jun - I remember the word renshu used in the Aikido context when in Osaka. My first exposure to the word Keiko was in the electronic forums.

I wonder if the reason for that is because of the sporting lean of Shodokan Aikido (as per your post).

Mike Collins 11-29-2001 04:54 PM

I don't know from renshu/keiko. I am kind of in the midst of distinguishing between practice and training.

For the last couple of years I've been training, but I feel like I may be missing the practice.

At a certain point you've got to be training for more than to learn how to be martial, or how to manipulate "ki". Not that those aren't worthwhile pursuits, but there's got to be more of a practice to the training than learning how to knock people down, or why keep doing it?

This damned art keeps throwing new stuff at me to keep me from falling asleep. Or maybe I'm just one of those who is never satisfied... I don't know

jimvance 11-29-2001 11:14 PM

Stirring the pot
 
Here's another question for everyone (thanks for the posts, by the way):

Do you see your endeavors in Aikido as primarily doing "training" or primarily doing "practice", or is there a ratio between the two? Why? (Justify your answers.)

And for those Japanese speakers who are familiar with the terms:
How do you look at Aikido in regards to "keiko" and "renshu", beyond the superficial applications of a study period (such as a Judo keiko) or an exercise (again Judo, "Tandoku Renshu"), if at all? Do you apply deeper (or more complex) meaning to the terms in your own practice?

And if you think this is a lot of questions (I can put the bright lights in your face if that helps), I appreciate any feedback. I am actually doing a bit of a research project and think that this forum is a great way to gather information. Thanks Jun.
If you want to throw in your two cents worth about the translations of the words, fine, but I am really more interested in everyone's opinions and stories. You know, YOUR experience. Dictionaries are boring.

Jim Vance

Trevallion 11-29-2001 11:30 PM

practice, training...practice, training...
 
Jim,

Aikido is primarily training for me, it is a way to teach my body to stretch, to move, and to react....it is a way to train my mind to open....it is a way to train my soul to understand and love....life is where i practice Aikido.....I train in Aikido to become a better practioner of life...just a thought.

:)

Jon C Strauss 11-29-2001 11:44 PM

Re: Stirring the pot
 
Quote:

Originally posted by jimvance
Do you see your endeavors in Aikido as primarily doing "training" or primarily doing "practice", or is there a ratio between the two? Why? (Justify your answers.)

And for those Japanese speakers who are familiar with the terms:
How do you look at Aikido in regards to "keiko" and "renshu", beyond the superficial applications of a study period (such as a Judo keiko) or an exercise (again Judo, "Tandoku Renshu"), if at all? Do you apply deeper (or more complex) meaning to the terms in your own practice?
Jim Vance

Howdy,

Renshu: implies something mechanical and which can be done in a solitary fashion (e.g. calisthenics)

Keiko: implies more than one person, and learning/improving is involved

In the school where I practice Jodo, my teacher's teacher doesn't like the word "practice" and prefers that we use the word "training." Apparently, he feels that professionals have a practice (e.g. doctors) and training is what goes on in the dojo.

Personally, I think of practice as something that I can do on my own, but training means working with other students--and an instructor.

Peace,
JCS
RMKS at CSU

akiy 11-30-2001 08:59 AM

Re: Stirring the pot
 
Quote:

Originally posted by jimvance
Do you see your endeavors in Aikido as primarily doing "training" or primarily doing "practice", or is there a ratio between the two? Why? (Justify your answers.)
Strangely enough, I've heard some people object to the word "training" as it conjured up the image of an animal trainer working with his pet dogs.
Quote:

If you want to throw in your two cents worth about the translations of the words, fine, but I am really more interested in everyone's opinions and stories. You know, YOUR experience. Dictionaries are boring.
Actually, what I wrote above was from my own experience in speaking and understanding Japanese. I can't say I used a dictionary at all...

Hope all is well where you are, Jim!

-- Jun

PeterR 11-30-2001 09:22 AM

Re: Stirring the pot
 
Quote:

Originally posted by jimvance
And if you think this is a lot of questions (I can put the bright lights in your face if that helps), I appreciate any feedback. I am actually doing a bit of a research project and think that this forum is a great way to gather information. Thanks Jun.
If you want to throw in your two cents worth about the translations of the words, fine, but I am really more interested in everyone's opinions and stories. You know, YOUR experience. Dictionaries are boring.

The problem as I see it (pontifical hat on) is a tendency to take a word and run with it. Doesn't happen here too much with English words as we are all constrained but what we know and what we know others know. Take a Japanese word and all of a sudden you have meanings attached to it that would make any Japanese speaker go Nanni?

The base for any discussion is the meaning of the word whether from a dictionary or a native speaker. A personal spin is interesting but I read the above as saying its really not important what the word means just what you want it to mean. That somehow doesn't sound right to me.

jimvance 11-30-2001 08:52 PM

Boy I goofed
 
Peter and Jun,
I guess what I said came across rather harsh. I have actually spent a lot of time researching Japanese terminology from a etymological point of view (I carve hanko), so I was less interested in people seeing my question as something posted by a beginner needing clarification of terms. The example of training Jun gave as relating to animal training is exactly what I wanted. I just didn't want someone saying "Well in my Japanese dictionary, keiko means...." I can do that myself. I am not, however a native speaker of the language or fluent, and that is why I wanted a more real world feel from native speakers or people who are fluent. That is the quality my research lacks, and what I want for it the most.

Rather than keep this question away from the people who can't speak Japanese or don't have a Japanese dictionary, I thought I would ask the same questions in a "training/practice" theme. I have a very specific focus on the terms (as I am a bit of a word-origin propeller-head), but I want to see what the general concensus thought of those terms.

In other words, this is kind of like a lab experiment for me, which I hope doesn't cause any further misunderstanding, or is against the rules here on the forum. I thought this would be a great way to elicit all kinds of cool information. I am not trying to publicly defend a certain point of view; I am asking for everone's input for purely selfish reasons. Even if that input is completely off base.

So with that said, could you guys (Peter and Jun and any others), uh, answer the questions.... Please? With sugar on top?

Jim Vance

Erik 12-01-2001 01:38 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Mikey
For the last couple of years I've been training, but I feel like I may be missing the practice.

At a certain point you've got to be training for more than to learn how to be martial, or how to manipulate "ki". Not that those aren't worthwhile pursuits, but there's got to be more of a practice to the training than learning how to knock people down, or why keep doing it?
Must be something in that Bay Area smog because I agree.

Another way of putting it is

Train on the mat or in the dojo,
Practice everywhere

Yes, a loose interpretation, but it works for me.

Erik 12-01-2001 11:08 AM

Re: Re: Stirring the pot
 
Quote:

Originally posted by akiy
Strangely enough, I've heard some people object to the word "training" as it conjured up the image of an animal trainer working with his pet dogs.
Hmmm, I wonder who might have said that? ;)

Peter Goldsbury 12-01-2001 08:48 PM

Re: Training and Practice: Is there a difference?
 
Quote:

Originally posted by jimvance
I am curious about the similarities and differences between the way the terms "training" and "practice" are understood. More specifically I would like to know what the words "Keiko" and "Renshu" mean to different people. I am not looking for definitions to the Japanese words, please! I would like different perspectives on the Japanese and/or English terms. Cool stories are welcome.

Jim Vance

I have read all the posts in this thread, but I must confess I am still not quite sure what you are after. You say that it is a kind of research project, but in word-association? Are you trying to see if there is a relationship, or parallel, between keiko / renshu in Japanese and training / practice in English? If so, I am not sure how you would establish this.

For example, Lisa Tomoleoni correctly stated that 'keiko' means 'respect for what is old' and 'renshu' means 'polishing/learning', but this conveys nothing about the actual content of the activity. And if you think that 'renshu' is for 'modern' sports and 'keiko' is for 'traditional' arts like aikido, the book which appeared in 1930 under the hand of Morihei Ueshiba was called "Budo RENSHU" and it was translated as "Budo TRAINING in Aikido". His son Kisshomaru refers to 'keiko' in his book "Aikido-no-Kokoro", and this, too, is translated as 'training'. So this seems to me to suggest that what you actually do on the tatami could be referred to equally as 'keiko' or 'renshu' and this has been my own experience living here.

Whereas the 'kei' in 'keiko' seems not to be used outside the narrow contexts of 'keiko' and bowing, both the REN and the SHU of 'renshu' have a wide range of other uses. Thus Japanese has a large number of other words to describe 'training' in other contexts. For example, when I took my motorcycle licence here, riding round the course on the bike was always referred to as 'jisshu'. There is also 'shugyo', with a different character for SHU, which used to be used in aikido circles, but seems rarely used now. But considering these terms will take you outside your original project.

When appliedto aikido, I think there is the same ambiguity with the English terms 'training' and 'practice'. When I was in the US, I 'practised' everyday. The word 'training' was never used in the Boston dojo. Even now, if I talk to English-speaking friends, we will usually talk about 'practice'. On the other hand, I have an Australian friend who refers to his daily dose on the mat as 'training'. I know from experience that what we do is very similar.

Outside the sphere of aikido, I can think of some differences between, for example, rugby training (for a specific match or aim) and rugby practice (to keep up allround performance) and I suppose an analogous distinction might be made of someone who spends hours each day in a ballet studio or at a piano. Perhaps it depends how good you are.

Thus, I conclude that you can use 'keiko' or 'renshu', when talking about aikido in Japan/Japanese, but not when referring to 'modern' skills/activities like mountain climbing or motorcycling. Similarly, you can refer to aikido 'practice' or 'training' in English, but (1) there is no analogy or parallel between the two pairs and (2) there is no major difference between one or the other terms, in either pair.

Or have I completely misunderstood you?

Best regards,

Peter Goldsbury

Mike Collins 12-01-2001 11:56 PM

The context supplies the implied meaning.

It can be tiresome to practice Aikido daily, yet training in Aikido can be quite rewarding.

Lately, I've been training in Aikido, but I've been missing the deeper practice.

Sometimes, I gotta shake my head and be at least a little grateful for no more than a high school education. It hurts my head to read so much, and I think that not much has addressed Jim's original question.

For a lot of years, for me, the training was the practice. I kept running into my own junk. I was too tense, mentally; I was afraid to launch myself over my arm; I was not thrilled about being that close to someone without either intending to either hurt them or make love; I had a tough time not knowing what I was doing.

Lately, those obstacles are not such a problem, and I've realized that I'll probably never be in great physical shape again, because of pain in joints, but I can still train, just with less physicality and more awareness. So the training has, for me, become just that, training. I'm in the process of looking for the practice, the deeper thing that keeps you going, when your goals are not clear.

I hope that this answers your question about my personal experience(s) of practice/training. And maybe, if it does, it'll make it easier for others to respond. If I'm way off track, that's cool; it helps me to understand what I'm looking for.

jimvance 12-02-2001 09:47 PM

Perfect Mikey. Thank you.

If people are really wondering what lines I am wondering (not wandering I hope) on, look in Donn Draeger's book "Classical Budo" for the chapter called "The Method". That is what got me thinking about a lot of this.

Jim Vance

Peter Goldsbury 12-03-2001 11:54 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by jimvance
Perfect Mikey. Thank you.

If people are really wondering what lines I am wondering (not wandering I hope) on, look in Donn Draeger's book "Classical Budo" for the chapter called "The Method". That is what got me thinking about a lot of this.

Jim Vance

Yes. I know the Draeger chapter, and there is also much interesting material in writings by Eugen Herrigel, whom Draeger cites in his chapter.

However, I stand by the remarks I made earlier. I agree that Draeger contrasts 'training' and 'practice', but he equates the latter with 'mastery' (on p.61). I very much doubt that the average aikidoist has in mind such a distinction.

There is another matter which Draeger emphasises in his chapter and this has not been mentioned in this thread. Draeger is attempting to describe a very close relationship between teacher and student, of which probably the best example is seen in a traditional koryu. Like Herrigel, he describes it largely in Zen terms.

I would not want to say that such a relationship is rare in aikido, but perhaps it is more difficult to achieve in a large dojo run by one instructor. But if you do achieve such a close relationship with a teacher, then I do not think it really matters whether you describe it as training or practice, keiko or renshu (and it is curious that neither of these Japanese terms occurs in the margins of Draeger's chapter).

I know at least one eminent aikido teacher, living in the US, who said to me once that until a student had found his teacher, aikido had not really started.

Yours sincerely,


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