Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Foreign Language Aikido Discussions > Japanese

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 04-02-2009, 02:13 AM   #1
sorokod
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 595
United Kingdom
Offline
The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Well, more specifically of kote. In Saito's "Traditional Aikido", the kanji for kote are: 小手 which is literally "small hand". What is the meaning and origin of this spelling?

  Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2009, 04:33 AM   #2
chuunen baka
Location: London
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 26
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
Well, more specifically of kote. In Saito's "Traditional Aikido", the kanji for kote are: 小手 which is literally "small hand". What is the meaning and origin of this spelling?
My favourite Japanese dictionary just gives "forearm" as the first definition. As a compound it sort of makes sense.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2009, 04:34 AM   #3
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,481
United_States
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
Well, more specifically of kote. In Saito's "Traditional Aikido", the kanji for kote are: 小手 which is literally "small hand". What is the meaning and origin of this spelling?
In Chinese, xiao 小 "small" is said to derive from the associative compound of the middle line dividing something into two smaller parts. Kote is the line at which the hand is divided from the forearm.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2009, 05:08 AM   #4
sorokod
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 595
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Kendo/Naginata people also have Kote with the kanji: 籠手 (confined hand?) sometimes translated as gauntlet.

  Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2009, 07:13 AM   #5
Voitokas
 
Voitokas's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 377
United_States
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Hepburn's 1867 dictionary gives it as [ 小手 ] defensive armour for the wrist and hand, i.e. the gauntlet in traditional armour...

I am not an expert
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2009, 03:49 PM   #6
sorokod
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 595
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

This is confusing. I wonder how the equivalent technique is called/spelled in Daito Ryu.

  Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2009, 09:16 PM   #7
Josh Reyer
 
Josh Reyer's Avatar
Location: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 644
Japan
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

It's not confusing. "Kote" refers to the part of your arm from your wrist to your elbow. It is written 小手, "small" and "hand". It is contrasted with "takate" 高手, "high" and "hand", which is the part of your arm running from your elbow to your shoulder. Armor gauntlets are referred to as "kote" because that's the part of the body they protect. Likewise, the kendo "men" protects your "men" (face), and "dou" protects your "dou" (torso). The armor is often written with the same kanji as the body part, but sometimes 籠手 is used instead. 籠手 is almost never used in "kotegaeshi". (I say "almost never" because as soon as I say "never used", like I want to, someone will bring up a book or teacher that uses it. But I've never seen it in any Japanese aikido material.)

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2009, 10:27 AM   #8
sorokod
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 595
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
It's not confusing. "Kote" refers to the part of your arm from your wrist to your elbow. It is written 小手, "small" and "hand"
Just trying to understand, if "hand" is the part of the arm between the wrist and the fingers, what is the logic in calling a "part of your arm from your wrist to your elbow" a "small hand"?

  Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2009, 01:08 PM   #9
Flintstone
Dojo: Wherever I happen to be
Location: Zaragoza
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 587
Spain
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
Just trying to understand, if "hand" is the part of the arm between the wrist and the fingers, what is the logic in calling a "part of your arm from your wrist to your elbow" a "small hand"?
This is Japanese, not English. Te is from the nailtips to the shoulder, same as Ashi goes from toes to hip.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2009, 02:25 PM   #10
sorokod
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 595
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
Te is from the nailtips to the shoulder
I have no Japanese, so I can not argue with this. However, this is not what is called a "hand" in English.

  Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2009, 03:04 PM   #11
Flintstone
Dojo: Wherever I happen to be
Location: Zaragoza
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 587
Spain
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
I have no Japanese, so I can not argue with this. However, this is not what is called a "hand" in English.
Sure enough. Languages are too tricky most of the time .
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2009, 03:11 PM   #12
sorokod
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 595
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Indeed, what are we to do now with tegatana, katatedori, etc... ?

  Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2009, 06:01 PM   #13
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,481
United_States
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
I have no Japanese, so I can not argue with this. However, this is not what is called a "hand" in English.
If it makes you feel any better, it is not in Chinese, either-- 手 is a (rough) drawing of, well, -- a hand -- and it means -- well, just "hand."

Japanese ---

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2009, 01:39 AM   #14
David Yap
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 561
Malaysia
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
If it makes you feel any better, it is not in Chinese, either-- 手 is a (rough) drawing of, well, -- a hand -- and it means -- well, just "hand."

Japanese ---
As a native Chinese, I can say that the whole arm is also referred as 手. Kote 小手 specifically refers to that part of the arm - the wrist.

FWIW

David Y

Last edited by David Yap : 04-05-2009 at 01:46 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2009, 08:50 AM   #15
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,481
United_States
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
David Yap wrote: View Post
As a native Chinese, I can say that the whole arm is also referred as 手. Kote 小手 specifically refers to that part of the arm - the wrist.
And 手臂 is "arm" -- but the question, I thought, was etymology -- not current use. It is a example of a metonymy -- using the name of one thing as indicative of another thing because of a close association between them. The issue is which way the metonymy has occurred from "arm" to mean "hand" or from "hand" to mean "arm". Clearly, it is the latter.

The classical denotative meaning of 手 is "hand". 手腕 means literally "手" "bends" [ 腕 ] which is the "wrist" -- not the elbow or shoulder, which also bend, creating a ambiguity if 手 was originally primary for "arm" and only secondary for "hand." As mentioned above, 手臂 "arm" -- if 臂 is decomposed -- is deemed, etymologically, to refer to the 肉 "flesh" that 辟 "governs" 手 "hand." The "flesh" of the arm drives the hand, not vice versa.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2009, 11:15 AM   #16
jennifer paige smith
 
jennifer paige smith's Avatar
Dojo: Confluence Aiki-Dojo / Santa Cruz Sword Club
Location: Santa Cruz
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,049
United_States
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
if 臂 is decomposed ...... The "flesh" of the arm drives the hand, not vice versa.
Hey, this reminds me of a joke.

Q: Did you hear that they dug up Beethoven's Corpse?
A: Really?
Q: Yeah, do you know what it was doing?
A: What?
PL: Decomposing!:

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2009, 12:28 PM   #17
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,481
United_States
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Hey, this reminds me of a joke.

Q: Did you hear that they dug up Beethoven's Corpse?
A: Really?
Q: Yeah, do you know what it was doing?
A: What?
PL: Decomposing!:
Wait for it ... <<Cue Chorus>>
Quote:
♪♫ They're decomposing composers
there's less of them every year
You can say what you like to Debussy
but there's not much of him left to 'ear.. ♪♫

Claude Achille Debussy, died 1918
Christophe Willibald Gluck, died 1787
Carl Maria von Weber, not at all well 1825, died 1826
Giacomo Meyerbeer, still alive 1863, not still alive 1864
Modest Mussorgski, 1880, going to parties; no fun anymore, 1881
Johann Nepomuk Hummel, chatting away nineteen to the dozen with his mates down the pub every evening 1836,
1837, nothing

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2009, 01:31 PM   #18
sorokod
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 595
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Thank you Eric for the informative post (#15).
Presumably by "arm" you mean "the whole superior limb" and not the technical "the part of the superior limb between the shoulder and the elbow". ( http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=arm )

  Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2009, 04:22 PM   #19
jennifer paige smith
 
jennifer paige smith's Avatar
Dojo: Confluence Aiki-Dojo / Santa Cruz Sword Club
Location: Santa Cruz
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,049
United_States
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Wait for it ... <<Cue Chorus>>
hahahahahahahahahahaha

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2009, 10:54 PM   #20
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,481
United_States
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
Thank you Eric for the informative post (#15).
Presumably by "arm" you mean "the whole superior limb" and not the technical "the part of the superior limb between the shoulder and the elbow". ( http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=arm )
Actually, by "arm" I thought we were referring to a phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range... but perhaps this explains the overall miscommunication...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2009, 11:13 PM   #21
Josh Reyer
 
Josh Reyer's Avatar
Location: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 644
Japan
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

At issue here seems to a fundamental misunderstanding. We divide the hand from the arm as two distinct body parts, but there's no reason why one must do that. That the 手 character is an ideograph of the hand and fingers doesn't mean it ever meant purely just that. It simply indicates the most distinctive feature of the whole body part.

Further, David Yap's info that 手 also refers to the whole arm in Chinese is quite relevant even from an etymological point of view. Body part words, being very commonly used, are extraordinarily stable. The words "hand", "wrist", "arm", "elbow", and "shoulder" mean the same that they did 1500 years ago when "English" was first born. And even further back, as evidenced by the German words "Hand", "Arm", "Ellbogen", and "Schulter", all perfectly corresponding with their English cognates.

That said, drawing comparisons from Chinese, particular Chinese characters, and Japanese is always dicey. In addition to the usual issues of linguistic drift due to time and culture, the use of Chinese characters in Japanese, while relatively standardized now, was for the longest time very ad hoc. Particularly when it comes to Chinese texts written by Japanese, you had people being taught (with varying degrees of success) how to read and write Chinese, without achieving functional, idiomatic fluency in the language. This is why many kanbun texts written by Japanese seem awkward and/or wrong to Chinese readers. And it's one reason why, for example, the Japanese word ude, meaning "arm" is written 腕, the Chinese word for wrist, and why hiji, meaning elbow, is written 肘, 肱, and 臂, which mean "elbow", "forearm" and "arm" in Chinese, respectively. The general meanings of Chinese were considered when matching orthography with lexicon, but not the historical etymologies of the characters themselves.

So, back to David Soroko's original question: why is "kote" written with "small" and "hand"? Because since way back, te in Japanese referred to the whole arm from shoulder to fingers. This is attested in the Man'yoshu collection of poems, which was compiled in the mid-700s AD. Possibly influenced by Chinese ideas of medicine and anatomy (and not so much by Chinese orthography). The word frequently used today to represent "arm", ude, is in all probability derived from te. Accordingly, the upper part of the te was called takate 高手, and the smaller, thinner part of the arm was called kote 小手.

Last edited by Josh Reyer : 04-05-2009 at 11:17 PM.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2009, 01:32 AM   #22
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,481
United_States
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
At issue here seems to a fundamental misunderstanding. We divide the hand from the arm as two distinct body parts, but there's no reason why one must do that.
Of course. And there is no reason not to assume that the kunyomi original "te" has the whole limb as its reference field. But that does not address his question -- which flows from the written characters -- not the purely oral language.

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
That the 手 character is an ideograph of the hand and fingers doesn't mean it ever meant purely just that. It simply indicates the most distinctive feature of the whole body part.
The Chinese character goes back to the Zhou with bronze inscriptions between 1000-300 B.C. -- plainly depicting a "hand." In fact, a hand in the correct curved shape of grasping, at that.

臂 "arm" is later in the Qin and Warrings States -- ca. mid second cent. B.C. with known roots to Middle Chinese:


-- I have no idea whether the metonymy occurred in the translation into manyogana or the process of Chinese developing broader connotation from that time until the sixth or seventh cent. A.D. but the Modern Chinese suggests it was later, in translation.

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Further, David Yap's info that 手 also refers to the whole arm in Chinese is quite relevant even from an etymological point of view.

Body part words, being very commonly used, are extraordinarily stable. The words "hand", "wrist", "arm", "elbow", and "shoulder" mean the same that they did 1500 years ago when "English" was first born.
I don't think that David (Yap) was suggesting that merely because 手 can be used to refer to "arm" that it is the common way to do so (it isn't). It may allow the suggestion that the expression might have available in the seventh century for reduction to manyogana. But it most likely does not, the common expressions, in modern Chinese are not single characters like 臂, but compounds, and they indicate the preservation of the reference distinction by joining them to mean the whole of the arm -- i.e. 手臂 and 手膀 -- both, lit.-- "hand+arm."

However, the modern Chinese usage David reports may more easily be a shortened back-formation from these later compounds. In classical Chinese at the time of the adoption of manyogana compound forms (particularly of common terms) would have been very rare, almost non-existent. Since the contextual distinction would be (usually) obvious, this is a good candidate for a shortened expression.

A close parallel with our Japanese example here, on a much shorter timescale, would be modern British English which refers to "telly" -- which is the shortened first part of a invented compound, "tele-vision," derived from previously unassociated Greek roots. If one tried to read the term with its Greek root it would say "I am going to watch the 'far away' ..."

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2009, 02:22 AM   #23
Flintstone
Dojo: Wherever I happen to be
Location: Zaragoza
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 587
Spain
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Thank you, Joshua.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2009, 07:43 AM   #24
Josh Reyer
 
Josh Reyer's Avatar
Location: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 644
Japan
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Of course. And there is no reason not to assume that the kunyomi original "te" has the whole limb as its reference field. But that does not address his question -- which flows from the written characters -- not the purely oral language.
No, the characters are irrelevant here; they are merely orthography. The Japanese words for body parts preceded any Japanese written language, native or Chinese. "Te" is not a "kunyomi" unless we are talking about how to vocalize characters; the word existed before the 手 character was used to write it, and exists now beyond the character. You are going about this in exactly the wrong way. First the words existed, and then characters were assigned to them, in a very ad hoc manner. The 手 character does not wholly represent the Japanese concept (nor the Chinese, I daresay), it is merely an orthographic marker for that concept.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2009, 08:10 AM   #25
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,481
United_States
Offline
Re: The etymology of Kote Gaeshi

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
No, the characters are irrelevant here; they are merely orthography. The Japanese words for body parts preceded any Japanese written language, native or Chinese. "Te" is not a "kunyomi" unless we are talking about how to vocalize characters; the word existed before the 手 character was used to write it, and exists now beyond the character.
I am not arguing that -- and I agree with you that "te" is not a Chinese vocalization. But his question had to do with the disconnect in the orthography -- 小手 -- from a modern text, and not the preexisting kunyomi or the "pure nihongo," if you prefer, (whatever it was). It is not a Chinese compound, and at the dates you are talking about -- it could not have been, as they were not used. That makes it a synthetic Japanese expression -- in Chinese script.

We have very little way to know the "pure nihongo" that does NOT go through the manyogana for the preliterate early Japanese. Struggling with the orthography is unavoidable in etymology of such basic words. Kojiki-Den almost certainly has the word "手" discussed -- and I wonder what Norinaga has to say about it?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Aikido DVDs and Video Downloads - by George Ledyard Sensei & other great teachers from AikidoDVDS.Com



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Correlation of Aikido and Daito-Ryu Waza John Driscoll Columns 28 08-04-2013 05:01 PM
Kote gaeshi: method of application John Matsushima Techniques 15 12-16-2008 10:13 PM
Making Kote Gaeshi Work - With Resistance dalen7 Techniques 154 07-24-2008 02:32 PM
How best to deliver a striking attack? garytan Training 26 02-23-2004 07:50 PM
kote gaeshi counter Erik Techniques 22 03-09-2001 08:57 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:18 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate