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. :-)
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
; 外弟子 soto-deshi
, living outside the teacher's house; and 通い弟子 kayoi
, 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
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.