When I started Aikido, I would often hear the term Aikidoka to reference someone who studied Aikido. I just thought this was a normal thing to do. Then at some point I learned that adding "ka" to the end was something that should only be used when someone was very accomplished at something. That is to say you wouldn't add "ka" unless the person what quite adept at the art. I also learned that you should never reference yourself and an "Aikidoka" because that's being boastful, and only others who really respect your ability should refer to you that way.
Here in California, I know that no one minds you calling yourself an Aikidoka. And we call other people who do Aikido, even if they are not yudansha, Aikidoka. Would this seem very strange to your average Japanese person?
I wonder to what extent ‘your average Japanese person' visits AikiWeb
. There are two issues here: the use of the term in Japanese and the use of the term in an anglicized foreign word, which is what ‘aikido' and ‘aikidoka' are.
In Japanese ‘ka' is a very common suffix, with vastly different meanings, and the way of writing it for ‘aikidouka' is usually 家, or simply か (the kana
form). The main meaning of this term is house or family. In the average dictionary there are many terms with the 家 suffix and the English equivalent is generally ‘--er', as in ‘writer', or ‘ist', as in ‘artist'. The general sense is the doer of an activity on a regular basis. Understood also is the possible possession of a certain level of skill, fame or notoriety (as in 厭世家, enseika
, pessimist, or 漁色家, gyoshokuka
, lecher). The activity could be a profession or hobby, but is not restricted to these.
So you have two issues: the range of acceptable meanings of 家 as a suffix in Japanese, and the range of acceptable meanings of ‘er' or ‘ist', or the common English equivalents. Of course there are considerations here beyond the level of meaning. Since 'aikido' is an anglicized word, it has to fit the conventions of English, so ‘aikidoist' might be acceptable, but ‘aikidoer' is probably not.