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Old 07-02-2011, 12:41 AM   #14
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
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Re: Terminology - Kyudansha?

Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
I've heard "shoshinsha" and "nyumonsha", both used I think as terms for students with a particular state of "open mind/willingness to learn", etc. My teacher, when I was 10-14 years of age, referred to me as "monjin"... I never really knew what it meant until years later.

I suspect that the best word is whatever is appropriate for the language that you speak while you're practicing. When I first got to France, I was sort of dumbfounded when they asked me if I had a "kimono" for practice and very few people used Japanese names for waza. They used numbers instead. Most importantly, I understood immediately what they were talking about when going for beer after practice. :-)

Best regards,
Hello Chuck,

FWIW (and totally off topic),

1. The 初心者マーク (shoshinsha mark) is the yellow and green symbol which has to be attached to the rear of a car when it is being driven by someone who has just passed a driving test. People give these drivers a wide birth.

2. 入門 nyuumon) also refers to textbooks that give an introduction to a subject.

Hello Keith (slightly less off-topic, not being directly relevant to the OP's question),

The Japanese meaning of deshi expands/amplifies Josh's comment:

Deshi (ototo ya ko no youni shi ni shitagau mono no i) shi ni shitagatte oshie wo ukeru hito.
Deshi (meaning someone who accepts / obeys the teacher like a younger brother or child [accepts and obeys the teaching of the father]): a person who accepts / obeys the teaching of the teacher.

The definition does not touch on the distinctions between 内弟子 uchi (live-in) deshi; 外弟子 soto-deshi, living outside the teacher's house; and 通い弟子 kayoi (commuting) deshi, like Katsuaki Asai, who lived just across the street from the Hombu and so lived at home.
There is also a nuance to 師 shi, that is conveyed by the compounds in which it is used, 師範 shihan, being one of very many (the compounds relevant to you being 研ぎ師 togishi: polisher of swords, or 打ち物師 uchimonoshi: swordmaker).

There are several major assumptions behind this Kojien definition, and the terms used, that are relevant to Morihei Ueshiba.

The first is that the teacher possesses a body of knowledge and skill that is available only by following a certain method. You can acquire the knowledge only by becoming a deshi and going through the process of learning it in the way exemplified by the teacher.
The second is that it is assumed that the person who possesses the knowledge--and has become famous enough to be asked to have deshi, can actually teach them the knowledge / skill possessed.
The third is that it makes very little sense to ask whether the teacher is a good teacher or not, whether he has a good teaching methodology, or follows a syllabus.
The fourth is that it is the teacher who decides or not whether to accept deshi and, further, whether to teach all the knowledge / skill or only a portion.

Finally, the comment made to me by the late Kisshomaru Ueshiba (well after the death of his father), that he himself never had uchi-deshi, makes a whole lot of sense.

Best wishes,


P A Goldsbury
Kokusai Dojo,
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