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Old 06-20-2008, 09:01 AM   #10
Gernot Hassenpflug
Dojo: Aunkai, Tokyo
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 319
Re: Meaning of Shisei

I think it's a valuable discussion here. If the goal is to make Aikido more accessible, it will be vital to transmit what is meant rather than what it is called.

While technical terms in Japanese are useful for a very good reason, they are only useful as the abbreviations they are meant to be when, as Ani says, the listener/reader has fairly detailed knowledge of the subject (not necessarily via aikido). To others they remain simply empty esoterics.

On the other hand, giving a local translation is useful for transferring some of the aspects that the term implies, and many other words will be needed to fill in the gaps caused by cultural disassociation. Either way, for a full understanding, the listener/reader must learn the subject.

I believe it is critical to translate into local languages both the terms and the thinking that goes into how they are used.

Anyone can bandy about foreign phrases and hide behind them without offering proof that s/he knows what is actually going on; using Japanese in conjunction with knowledge, on the other hand, can be a very useful shortcut once everyone is on the same playing field. Thus, it may not be necessary to count in Japanese except for fun, but attacks and defenses in the syllabus are often much more convenient to name using Japanese words, while the individual movements can of course be explained in local language. Japanese people use English terms for specific boxing techniques and terms from other non-Japanese sports too (forget the nationalistic period!), they did not go and make life more difficult than it already is by inventing Japanese expressions for them. They also know it is cool to use foreign words now and then
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