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-   -   AikiWeb News: Sensei/Shihan as Teacher in Japanese by Peter Goldsbury (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2746)

AikiWeb System 10-14-2002 03:29 PM

10/14/2002 3:29pm [from Jun Akiyama]
Website: http://www.aikiweb.com/language/goldsbury1.html

Peter Goldsbury, chairman of the International Aikido Federation, has written a very wonderful and well-researched article called "Sensei/Shihan as Teacher in Japanese" on whether the Japanese terms of "sensei" and "shihan" actually convey a sense of "teaching/instructing" in the Japanese language. This article came out of my question in this thread about this topic. For people who are interested in the etymology of these terms in the Japanese language, this is a must-read! (Note: I am hoping to have a version of this essay available soon with the Japanese characters as graphical images.)

akiy 10-14-2002 04:00 PM

I, for one, want to thank Peter for taking the time and effort to write this article as he addresses and answers my questions that I first posed in this thread. There's great depth to this article, folks.

The article also nicely debunks the old myth about the "bu" character (in "budo") meaning "to stop the halberd."

Thank you!

-- Jun

G DiPierro 10-14-2002 05:55 PM

I think Jun's initial error was probably confusing shihan with hanshi. It's a well-known misconception in general MA circles that shihan is the reverse of hanshi. Hanshi, I believe, acually contains the characters for "example" that Jun had in mind. Hanshi is the highest title issued by the ZNKR (and other organizations), preceded by kyoshi and renshi. Kyoshi was discussed in the article as a general translation of "teacher." I would guess that renshi is based on the character for "train" as discussed in example 19.

Personally, I would also have enjoyed a discussion of the traditional koryu teaching licenses, though I realize that this is outside the scope of Aikido terminology. The only one I noticed was kyoju, which forms the first part of kyoju dairi, the teaching license that M. Ueshiba received in Daito Ryu.

As far as the article's subject of Japanese terminology for martial arts instruction, I found it interesting that none of the words listed as meaning "educate" were used in the Aikido but that many of those from the "teach" and "instruct" meanings were. If we look at the English definitions of these words, we find that "educate" and "instruct" both come from Latin roots, but that the former means to "train, bring up, or rear" and the latter means to "build, prepare, or equip." "Teach" has roots and parallels in Anglo-Saxon, English, Greek and Latin and means "to show, point out, direct, indicate, or guide."

"Train" literally means to "drag or pull along behind" and therefore I try to avoid using it when referring to Aikido practice. It's difficult to always do so, though, since that word is by far the most commonly used one in English. It is also vaguely suggestive of Behaviorism and animal training. I like to think that the study of Aikido is above that. In lieu of "train," I prefer "practice," which means "systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill and proficiency." To me, "practice" better connotates the student actively learning instead of passively following like a well-trained dog.

Since the Japanese do not use any terms meaning "educate" in Aikido, it might be the case that they also prefer not to think of the teaching of Aikido as "training" but instead as "preparing, equiping, pointing out and guiding."

Kent Enfield 10-14-2002 06:09 PM

Quote:

Giancarlo DiPierro (G DiPierro) wrote:
Hanshi, I believe, acually contains the characters for "example" that Jun had in mind. Hanshi is the highest title issued by the ZNKR (and other organizations), preceded by kyoshi and renshi. Kyoshi was discussed in the article as a general translation of "teacher."

Just a little correction. The shogo "ky˘shi" in the ZNKR/IKF is not written the same as that in Mr. Goldsbury's article. The "shi" in all three shogo (renshi, ky˘shi, and hanshi) is the same shi as in bushi.

錬士 renshi. Same ren as in renshū.

教士 ky˘shi. Same ky˘ as the ky˘shi in the article.

範士 hanshi. Same han as shihan.

akiy 10-14-2002 07:55 PM

Quote:

Giancarlo DiPierro (G DiPierro) wrote:
Hanshi, I believe, acually contains the characters for "example" that Jun had in mind.

The characters for shihan [師範] that I had in mind aactually does have the han [範] character which can mean "example." It's the same "han" as in "hanshi" as Kent pointed out above.

-- Jun

G DiPierro 10-15-2002 06:00 AM

Quote:

Kent Enfield wrote:
錬士 renshi. Same ren as in renshū.

教士 ky˘shi. Same ky˘ as the ky˘shi in the article.

範士 hanshi. Same han as shihan.

Kent, thanks for clearing that up.
Quote:

Jun Akiyama wrote:
The characters for shihan [師範] that I had in mind aactually does have the han [範] character which can mean "example." It's the same "han" as in "hanshi" as Kent pointed out above.

Yes, but the character for shi that you use means "teacher," and I thought the point of your original post was that none of the characters in shihan or sensei directly refer to teaching. In fact, with hanshi, this claim is true, as the first character means "example" and the second means "gentleman." This is why I came to the conclusion that you were thinking of the chraracters in that word.

akiy 10-15-2002 09:00 AM

Quote:

Giancarlo DiPierro (G DiPierro) wrote:
Yes, but the character for shi that you use means "teacher," and I thought the point of your original post was that none of the characters in shihan or sensei directly refer to teaching.

In my everyday use of the "shi" character in the Japanese language, I hadn't assosiciated the character directly to "teaching" outside of the context of the term "shihan." Rather, I had associated the term more with "master" or "expert" instead...

In any case, I used the correct kanji in my "Kanji for Aikido Ranks" page here. Does that count?

http://www.aikiweb.com/language/ranks_k.html

-- Jun


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