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Old 08-09-2004, 06:51 PM   #46
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

Chuck Gordon wrote:
as long as he or she's not overlaying a veneer of Lakota philosophy along with the language.
This was my question/point. I do think (at least for now) that if a person has a correct understanding of Aikido (meaning the philosophy and not just technique) and brings it to a student of another culture, it is possible to translate it into that second culture.

Any decisions made by the teacher as to how a class is to be run are necessarily going to cause problems as well as solve some. I think the positive points to following Japanese tradition while not in Japan are that they prepare the students' minds that something different is supposed to happen, they are to leave preconceptions behind. Also, doing things in a Japanese way might encourage students to check out the history and ideas of Aikido directly.

However, negatives exist as well. I disagree that the Japanese terms (generally) have nuances that are missing in the English. There seems to be a tendency to make what we do seem exotic which I believe detracts from the practice. And if there are nuances, I think that your average non-Japanese would not pick them up without a thorough grounding in the culture, meaning a long (years) stay in Japan.

I have also often noticed mistakes in usage. For example, I was at a seminar where an American student asked the American teacher a question. I think that this, which would never happen in Japan, was quite positive. However, the student first said "onegaeshimasu" probably thinking that it was proper in the situation. It wasn't and the reason was more than just a linguistic mistake. A Japanese would never have asked a question in the first place. It was a case of taking the Japanese thing both too far and not far enough.

It is my opinion that Japanese terms should be used mainly when an equivilent doesn't exist. "Arigato gozaimashita" doesn't convey anything that "thank you very much" misses, and is more likely to be insincere coming from a native English speaker. I'm not sure about etiquette. I've seen Chiba Sensei shake the hands of his uke after a demonstration has finished and it seemed appropriate to me.

Charles Hill
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