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ChrisHein 02-09-2013 01:48 PM

Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
When I started Aikido, I would often hear the term Aikidoka to reference someone who studied Aikido. I just thought this was a normal thing to do. Then at some point I learned that adding "ka" to the end was something that should only be used when someone was very accomplished at something. That is to say you wouldn't add "ka" unless the person what quite adept at the art. I also learned that you should never reference yourself and an "Aikidoka" because that's being boastful, and only others who really respect your ability should refer to you that way.

Here in California, I know that no one minds you calling yourself an Aikidoka. And we call other people who do Aikido, even if they are not yudansha, Aikidoka. Would this seem very strange to your average Japanese person?

phitruong 02-09-2013 03:22 PM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
my vote for aikidorka :D

Messias 02-09-2013 03:59 PM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
Hi Chris,

Good to learn the basis and origin of the words we use. Thank you for that explanation on the real meaning of "ka".

In Portugal we also use the term "Aikidoka", but in Brasil it´s "Aikidoista" (Aikidoist) even if the basis is portuguese language. Do you think it has something to do with that you just explained?

Cheers,
Messias

Peter Goldsbury 02-09-2013 05:30 PM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
Quote:

Chris Hein wrote: (Post 323370)
When I started Aikido, I would often hear the term Aikidoka to reference someone who studied Aikido. I just thought this was a normal thing to do. Then at some point I learned that adding "ka" to the end was something that should only be used when someone was very accomplished at something. That is to say you wouldn't add "ka" unless the person what quite adept at the art. I also learned that you should never reference yourself and an "Aikidoka" because that's being boastful, and only others who really respect your ability should refer to you that way.

Here in California, I know that no one minds you calling yourself an Aikidoka. And we call other people who do Aikido, even if they are not yudansha, Aikidoka. Would this seem very strange to your average Japanese person?

Hello Chris,

I wonder to what extent ‘your average Japanese person' visits AikiWeb. There are two issues here: the use of the term in Japanese and the use of the term in an anglicized foreign word, which is what ‘aikido' and ‘aikidoka' are.

In Japanese ‘ka' is a very common suffix, with vastly different meanings, and the way of writing it for ‘aikidouka' is usually 家, or simply か (the kana form). The main meaning of this term is house or family. In the average dictionary there are many terms with the 家 suffix and the English equivalent is generally ‘--er', as in ‘writer', or ‘ist', as in ‘artist'. The general sense is the doer of an activity on a regular basis. Understood also is the possible possession of a certain level of skill, fame or notoriety (as in 厭世家, enseika, pessimist, or 漁色家, gyoshokuka, lecher). The activity could be a profession or hobby, but is not restricted to these.

So you have two issues: the range of acceptable meanings of 家 as a suffix in Japanese, and the range of acceptable meanings of ‘er' or ‘ist', or the common English equivalents. Of course there are considerations here beyond the level of meaning. Since 'aikido' is an anglicized word, it has to fit the conventions of English, so ‘aikidoist' might be acceptable, but ‘aikidoer' is probably not.

Best wishes

ChrisHein 02-09-2013 06:19 PM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
Hello Professor,

So basically, adding "Ka" ( 家 ) is really no different then adding "ist" (Aikidoist) in English, and while it can be used with a tone of reverence, it's not really an extra special honorific like Dr.

Maybe it is kind of akin to "Sir" in English? "Sir" has an older meaning of nobility, and is still used to show knighthood in England. However nowadays "Sir" is commonly used to be polite to when addressing any adult male, regardless of status. Would you say this is a fair comparison?

Peter Goldsbury 02-09-2013 08:18 PM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
Quote:

Chris Hein wrote: (Post 323378)
Hello Professor,

So basically, adding "Ka" ( 家 ) is really no different then adding "ist" (Aikidoist) in English, and while it can be used with a tone of reverence, it's not really an extra special honorific like Dr.

Maybe it is kind of akin to "Sir" in English? "Sir" has an older meaning of nobility, and is still used to show knighthood in England. However nowadays "Sir" is commonly used to be polite to when addressing any adult male, regardless of status. Would you say this is a fair comparison?

Hello Chris,

Well, there is a seeming arbitrariness about the matter.

Aikidouka is a hybrid term in Japanese, not in common use. Like 柔道 juudouka, it has come to be accepted to denote someone who practices aikido as a regular pastime. KA seems to be preferred to other suffixes, like SHA (者, meaning person).

However, someone who trained hard at bujutsu, like Takada Sokaku, wandering round Japan doing 武者修行 musha-shugyou, was called a 修行者 shugyou-sha, not a shugyou-ka. Why? I do not really know.

On my computer, 合気道者 comes out readily when I type in ‘aikidousha', but 合気道家 never appears when I type in ‘aikidouka'. With judo, the situation is reversed: 柔道家 (juudouka) is clearly accepted by my computer kanji dictionary, but not ‘aikidouka'.

Since ‘aikido' has become anglicized, there is a similar arbitrariness about what to call someone who practices aikido. The name has to sound ‘right' in English.

This kind of issue is partly what makes the study of Japanese kanji so interesting.

Best wishes,

Hellis 02-10-2013 03:25 AM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
Hi Chris

In the 1950s/60s, I had never heard the term Aikidoka, in fact, I can't really remember when I first heard it used.
With the early teachers such as Kenshiro Abbe and Masahilo Nakazono students were refered to as Aikidoists..

Someone once wrote about one of my articles on a forum ( maybe AW ) , there was a reply " what does Henry Ellis know about Aikido, he referes to Aikidoka as ` Aikidoists `.

I did not bother to reply that I had a letter from the Doshu, stating " Aikidoists who were awarded Dan Grades by the founder are becoming fewer year by year. I believe that a person like you is very presious ".

I did find it interesting that the Doshu still used the term ` Aikidoist `.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of the book `Positive Aikido`.
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/

ChrisHein 02-10-2013 01:45 PM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
Goldsbury and Ellis Sensei, thank you both for your reply! Language is a tricky.

Conrad Gus 02-10-2013 04:15 PM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
FWIW, my original teacher (who was Japanese) corrected us when we used the term. Inaba Sensei thought it sounded inappropriate unless the person was doing aikido as their primary, dedicated activity and was accomplished. He said you wouldn't normally use it for someone that had another full-time job, for example.

I'm sure there are shades of grey on this (language usage being what it is), but I've always shied away from the term since he explained it to me that way. Having said that, I certainly wouldn't get offended by somebody else using it, as it seems pretty common these days.

Remember the 80's video game "karateka"? Whenever I hear "aikidoka" I think "somebody needs to make that game!".

bkedelen 02-11-2013 02:35 PM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
For what it is worth, Judo players comprehensively refer to themselves as Judoka. In my opinion, unless you are specifically instructed to do so, a reservation of the term is either a sign of false humility or inappropriate deference.

Bernd Lehnen 02-17-2013 07:35 AM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 323380)
Hello Chris,

Well, there is a seeming arbitrariness about the matter.

Aikidouka is a hybrid term in Japanese, not in common use. Like 柔道 juudouka, it has come to be accepted to denote someone who practices aikido as a regular pastime. KA seems to be preferred to other suffixes, like SHA (者, meaning person).

However, someone who trained hard at bujutsu, like Takada Sokaku, wandering round Japan doing 武者修行 musha-shugyou, was called a 修行者 shugyou-sha, not a shugyou-ka. Why? I do not really know.

On my computer, 合気道者 comes out readily when I type in ‘aikidousha', but 合気道家 never appears when I type in ‘aikidouka'. With judo, the situation is reversed: 柔道家 (juudouka) is clearly accepted by my computer kanji dictionary, but not ‘aikidouka'.

Since ‘aikido' has become anglicized, there is a similar arbitrariness about what to call someone who practices aikido. The name has to sound ‘right' in English.

This kind of issue is partly what makes the study of Japanese kanji so interesting.

Best wishes,

In German, the direct equivalent to aikidoist would be something like Aikidoer (in analogy to Fechter, Ringer etc.).
But, in the early sixties of the last century, when aikido came to Germany, many early aikidoists were equally judoists and members of the DJB (Deutscher Judo Bund); so they probably took advantage of the superficial analogy between "Aikidoka" and "Judoka", this in common use for a judo-player then and now.

Like in many other countries, the term "Aikidoka" is now widely used and apparently has evolved into a kind of appropriate one-word description, singular or plural, without (anybody ever caring about) its deeper meanings in Japanese.

Hellis 02-19-2013 02:56 PM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
Quote:

Bernd Lehnen wrote: (Post 323644)
In German, the direct equivalent to aikidoist would be something like Aikidoer (in analogy to Fechter, Ringer etc.).
But, in the early sixties of the last century, when aikido came to Germany, many early aikidoists were equally judoists and members of the DJB (Deutscher Judo Bund); so they probably took advantage of the superficial analogy between "Aikidoka" and "Judoka", this in common use for a judo-player then and now.

Like in many other countries, the term "Aikidoka" is now widely used and apparently has evolved into a kind of appropriate one-word description, singular or plural, without (anybody ever caring about) its deeper meanings in Japanese.

As I said earlier, I had never heard the term `Aikidoka` from the 1950s untill maybe the 1980s - In 55 years of m/a I had never heard the term `Judoist` - as I read the above post I wondered why ? - In the early days it was always a Judoka and an Aikidoist. It was the same with the title Shihan, I am not sure when I first heard that used - maybe the 80s.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`
http://rik-ellis.blogspot.co.uk/

TonyBlomert 01-23-2014 04:25 PM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
I find this discussion quite interesting. As traditionalists we want to stay true to Aikido's Japanese heritage and strive to make sure we are always proper. On the other hand, we now live in the early 21st Century and our martial art is international. At what point do we begin to stray from strict use of the Japanese customs and truly become international. Language is suppose to be alive to survive. So if the term aikidoka is being accepted in common use, then I say it is appropriate.

jonreading 01-24-2014 07:09 AM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
Quote:

Chris Hein wrote: (Post 323370)
When I started Aikido, I would often hear the term Aikidoka to reference someone who studied Aikido. I just thought this was a normal thing to do. Then at some point I learned that adding "ka" to the end was something that should only be used when someone was very accomplished at something. That is to say you wouldn't add "ka" unless the person what quite adept at the art. I also learned that you should never reference yourself and an "Aikidoka" because that's being boastful, and only others who really respect your ability should refer to you that way.

Here in California, I know that no one minds you calling yourself an Aikidoka. And we call other people who do Aikido, even if they are not yudansha, Aikidoka. Would this seem very strange to your average Japanese person?

FWIW

As explained to me, "ka" is a reference to a "doer" of something as it pertains to the level of involvement. It would be a polite suffix expressing that you are involved sufficiently in the activity. Much like our designations of employment. It would be appropriate for someone to call you "aikidoka" but not to call yourself one.

Related was a claim that karate and judo applied this term primarily for those who competed. The implication is that [successful] competition was some marker of involvement that was acceptable for the connotation. This part is hearsay and could be BS.

For the last many years, I have not heard the term used consistently enough to apply a grammatical rule. For me, I think aikido is a universal word and I tend to use "aikido person" or aikidoist because I am not a native speaker.

Cliff Judge 01-24-2014 10:42 AM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
I prefer the term Aikidoer!

Richard Vader 01-24-2014 11:11 AM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
Just to be safe, i always refer to myself as. My hobby is to go to aikido training

OwlMatt 01-25-2014 11:28 PM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
I don't use the term aikidoka at all, personally. I think "aikidoist", "aikido player", "aikido practitioner", and even "aikido guy" work just as well, and I generally avoid trying to use Japanese terminology in cases when my own language will work just as well, because I'm a lot more confident that I'm saying what I mean to say in my own language.

ramenboy 01-27-2014 11:31 AM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
Quote:

Tony Blomert wrote: (Post 334551)
As traditionalists we want to stay true to Aikido's Japanese heritage and strive to make sure we are always proper...

tony would that be 'traditionalists' or 'traditionalers?'
i kid :P

anyways, i've been told the same, that 'aikido-ka' can be used for someone who does aikido 'professionally,' i think that was the term used. because many of us don't 'make a living' with aikido, we wouldn't be referred to as 'aikido-ka'

but i agree with the other folks... when asked, i say 'i do aikido'

odudog 01-27-2014 06:42 PM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
The "ka" (家) means professional, performer, expert.

Mark Harrington 02-14-2014 07:53 AM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
An interesting question. If asked, I would say I practice Aikido. However, the term Aikidoka, like judoka, is in common use in our style and is accepted in conversation without question.

When everyone in a conversation agrees on the meaning of a word, that is what the word means. If it has evolved, been appropriated from another language, or just been made up recently, once it has an accepted use it has a new meaning. You can not get rid of a new definition by referring to historical uses and etymology.

Ecosamurai 02-14-2014 08:23 AM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
I've had this discussion before in both aikido and kendo circles, there is no right answer, in the end the conclusion I came to is that in terms of cultural translation imagine calling yourself a footballer. You may play football two or three times a week but it isn't your profession. If it was you'd be a 'professional footballer' rather than just a 'footballer'. But in the right context you wouldn't need to add the word professional, for example if someone asked you what you did for a living and you said you were a footballer then it' pretty clear that this is your job, but if someone asked you what your hobbies were and you said you were a footballer then that's also a perfectly good use of the term footballer. Same with using aikidoka. I am an aikidoka and it's fine to use that term, but it isn't my profession.

phitruong 02-14-2014 10:50 AM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
i voted for "dork" as in aikidork. it just rolls right off the tongue and blends in well with any sort of conversation. and none will question the legitimacy of such claim. :D

dps 02-19-2014 05:09 AM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
How about Aikika for those who practice aiki.

Carl Thompson 02-19-2014 06:17 AM

Re: Use of the term Aikido"ka"
 
Quote:

David Skaggs wrote: (Post 335372)
How about Aikika for those who practice aiki.

Wouldn't that be an IPist?


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