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Old 10-14-2002, 06:55 PM   #3
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 365
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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."

Last edited by G DiPierro : 10-14-2002 at 06:57 PM.
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