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Old 12-01-2001, 08:48 PM   #16
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
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Re: Training and Practice: Is there a difference?

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

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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