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Old 08-21-2006, 03:07 PM   #1
Mike Sigman
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Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

I was watching a television show yesterday and I knew of a couple of the advisors who made various commentaries. Listening to some of the explanations they made brought to my mind, once again, the strong feeling that a lot of translations we get in the West are based often on the depth of knowledge of the translator, the translator's complete (or not) understanding of idiom and colloquiallisms, the subject being discussed, etc. I know for a fact that many of the current translations about the so-called "internal" martial arts are going to have to be modified or discarded in light of some of the more-recently available information on "internal martial arts".

A brief example that I often use is use of the tranlation "energy" for "jin" (which is further compounded by the fact that "jin" is often transposed with the term "qi" because "jin" is considered the physical manifestation of "qi"). Here's a discussion by a Chinese martial artist about "jin", which is the essence of the physical skill called "kokyu":

http://www.taiji-qigong.de/info/arti...ansljin_en.php

One of the questions I'd like to bring up is the use of "kokyu" as this essential jin force/skill. Jun mentioned in a previous discussion (I can't remember exactly where or when) that he'd recently encountered "kokyu" in a usage that implied something other than "breath" or "timing"; more of a "force". I published a bit of someone's (not Jun) email in which at the dojo in Japan where he was studying, the term was used to imply moving with a certain type of force/skill.

Now the point I'm getting at is that this usage of "kokyu" was sort of a new meaning to experienced Japanese speakers. Whatever previous comments they may have simply heard or read about "kokyu" would have been translated in terms of what they thought "kokyu" meant. I.e., this new idiomatic usage of "kokyu" throws an entirely different light on something that they thought was commonplace and understood (more or less).

Thinking back about conversations in regard to translations of O-Sensei's works, tangential literature about training methods, "Misogi", "Kiai", and many other examples, I get the feeling that there is a reasonable amount of commentary about Japanese martial arts that uses the same terms but is shifted into meanings other than the original.

For instance, I listened to a couple of sentences about what "Kiai" means and it mentioned the "ki" and "spirit" in such a way that the words were close to mentioning what abdominal-generated sound does with the pressure/qi, but the contextual meaning it left was radically different. It was more of a vagary than anything else, in the television pronouncement. The term "spirit" was loosly tossed in, yet "spirit" has very important connotations as part of the complete discussion on Ki and Kokyu-power.

Notice in the webpage reference that I gave above, the interviewer asked about using "energy" as a suitable translation for "jin". Westerners have been talking about and making sophisticated analyses of "jin" as "energy" for decades.... yet they totally missed what the real implication was, so all those conversations were for nothing and led people into doing regular body mechanics while talking about assumed meanings that were fruitless at best.

In past months when I mentioned my opinion that I thought a lot of "experts", particularly in Aikido, might have somewhat skewed some translations, I was met with some outrage by at least one expert in Japanese life and language. Yet, it happens. Look at the "kokyu" example. And the use of "kokyu" as a force/skill is only one piece of a logical web that encompasses "kiai", Misogi-breathing, and a number of other things. They're immutably intertwined and it doesn't take a very high accomplishment of these skills to see how they're all tied together. At least, that's my opinion. How viable is this idea that there has been an acceptance of subtle shades of some Japanese terms that have been translated based on slightly wrong assumptions?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-22-2006, 12:13 AM   #2
Duarh
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

I'm not qualified to discuss the 'subtle shades' of terms in aikido discourse, but I've come to conclude that we often misunderstand and mistranslate terms even at the most crude, biomechanical level. Case in point: the word 'koshi'.

'Move from the hips' is a common suggestion in aikido, and 'koshi nage' is often translated as 'hip throw'. I accepted this at face value for years, until I went to Japan one summer and had the chance to work together (at a scientific project) with some elderly Japanese mine workers. After a long day, they'd always be rubbing their lower backs, muttering "koshi itai, koshi itai" (itai - hurt). I asked one of them about it once, pointing at my hipbone and asking "Isn't this koshi?" The gentleman shook his head vigorously, saying "No, no", pointing again at his lower back.

Now it's entirely possible this is a regional/dialect thing and that what aikido instructors mean by 'koshi' is, indeed, 'hips' (though, the way I've seen it practiced, koshi nage really is 'lower back throw' more than 'hip throw' a lot of the time. And then there's the part of the hakama called 'koshiita' or 'lower back board'/'hip board' - the former translation fits much better, obviously). My dictionary does list both "hips" and "lower back' as translations of 'koshi'. But the incident got me wondering.

And then a couple of weeks ago I attended a Tai Chi seminar with Master Yang Jun (great-grandson of Yang Chengfu) - and he remarked that everyone said you should "move from the waist" in Tai Chi, but what the original Chinese really meant was "move from here" - and he pointed out a part of his lower back! Now Tai Chi isn't aikido, but this remark certainly did nothing to diminish my doubts.

At the moment I'm not sure if all the exhortions my seniors have piled on me over the years to "use my hips" actually meant, in the original Japanese, "move from your lower back". The distinction in organization of body movement may be slight, but it's there! (Input from native Japanese speakers on the board would be appreciated!)


So it's clear that a widely accepted translation of something as simple as a body part can be ambiguous. I think it goes without question that the situation is much worse when discussing such more elusive concepts as 'jin' and 'qi' - I think the real question is not whether ambiguosity exists, but whether it makes sense at all to discuss these topics by using words and concepts borrowed from another language. Perhaps those westerners who have already successfully internalized these principles in their _physical_ practice should develop a framework for discussing them that does not rely concepts external to English for explanation and reference.

At the very least, it should be only such individuals translating texts on these concepts. As a translator myself I think translators of a treatise dealing with highly technical skills and principles who do not actually have a mastery of these skills themselves are unlikely to be good at conveying the nuance and detail necessary for such translation to be very useful in the reader's own development.

Last edited by Duarh : 08-22-2006 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 08-22-2006, 12:57 AM   #3
Upyu
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Ding ding ding! Nice post Toms
Koshi generally means lower back, although it refers to that general area (which is why the chinese would get specific about which parts of the "kosi" they were referring to, though I think Mike would be more qualified to talke about this than me)
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Old 08-22-2006, 07:47 AM   #4
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
How viable is this idea that there has been an acceptance of subtle shades of some Japanese terms that have been translated based on slightly wrong assumptions?
Its true in every other field of endeavor - be it science, the arts, or personal relationships. There is an implied context that an individual carries with them every time they say or do anything.

How could this be any different in terms of discussing ideas and concepts that have been concealed in the past, or are at least a victim of an inherent cultural reticence to be explicit?

Formal processes in software and engineering address this issue by such things as a data dictionary or comprehensive glossary, but often many terms are difficult to define, definitions are subject to differing interpretation (who watches the watchers), and definitions are useful only to the extent that they are used consistently and widely accepted.

A lot of heartache that I've had in Aikido class in the past has been cured by the idea that I should figure out what an instructor (or sempai, or kohai) is trying to say (or do) instead of taking it at face value.

This idea that there may be differing context, and that I have to decode another person's language is something that I apply here, too.. which is why I was looking for references that spoke your language on another thread.

Another translation shift that sparked some light for me:
Quote:
one with causality
vs.
Quote:
not blind to causality
I've found it useful in the past to pick up multiple translations of the same book.

Rob

Last edited by Robert Rumpf : 08-22-2006 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 08-22-2006, 08:13 AM   #5
Mike Sigman
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Excellent post, Toms, and part of the heart of the matter. The Koshi/Goshi-Hara-Dang-Yao-Tanden area presents a lot of problems, particularly if it gets into our pet bugaboo of whether one is using "power from the center", etc.

Someone can "use his hips" for power and "use his middle", but still not be "moving from the hara". And so on. The point I was getting at is that there often seems to be an accumulation of errors that can lead to, for instance, one school doing a technique/method completely different from another. As an example scenario, the misunderstanding of "hip" and "hara" combined with a mistaken idea of "kokyu" and "relax" can lead to wildly different interpretations because those four terms allow for many different combinations of errors. Yet each practitioner or school will swear that they must be doing things rights because they are all "applying the buzzwords". Maybe that's what the title of the thread should have been.... "applying the buzzwords".

I've been mulling this over a long time, the effect of slight distortions of meaning that are caused by the individual translator's perspective of various terms. Not to mention the penchant of the readers of those translations putting their own take on top of the slightly distorted translation. It gets complicated.

When I was watching that TV show with the knowledgeable commentators, I heard a passage about "kiai" that had all the right words in it, but the meaning and emphasis was shifted just enough so that all the original perception of "kiai", as a piece of a greater puzzle, was gone and "kiai" became a stand-alone curiosity, a piece of "here's how the Japanese do it". And I wondered just how much all of us, even the supposedly most knowledgeable, are affected by variations of this morass.

Maybe it would pay to take some of these words and assign short general meanings? Or maybe not. For instance, it's very helpful to know that koshi/goshi refers to the lower back area, although if you learned a hip throw called O-Goshi or Koshi-nage under a qualified instructor, the general technique probably didn't suffer too much. However, the use of the hips can get very sophisticated and that brings in another set of variables on top of the original problem. Different arts pick and choose among the possible combinations of power-addition factors (like the hips, for instance) and they place varying emphases on each factor. So, for instance, one art may "move from the hara", but only in a general way, and another art may also "move from the hara", but they mean it in a very sophisticated way.

Rob's analysis via Akuzawa goes down to very basic principles. By doing so, he avoids a confusing discussion of, let's say, all the variations of hip usage. Ultimately, I think the clearest discussions are going to involve going to the core principles and let the various emphases and permutations be up to the individual. There is no doubt that there are variations and permutations between the Aikido of Ueshiba, Tohei, Inaba, Tomiki, Shioda, Sunadomari, etc., etc.,.... yet they all still use the same core principles, so their Aikido can be said to be the same Aikido, in a legitimate sense.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 08-22-2006, 08:19 AM   #6
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
Ding ding ding! Nice post Toms
Koshi generally means lower back, although it refers to that general area (which is why the chinese would get specific about which parts of the "kosi" they were referring to, though I think Mike would be more qualified to talke about this than me)
So where the "koshita" of the hakama is?
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Old 08-22-2006, 08:23 AM   #7
Mike Sigman
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
Robert Rumpf wrote:
A lot of heartache that I've had in Aikido class in the past has been cured by the idea that I should figure out what an instructor (or sempai, or kohai) is trying to say (or do) instead of taking it at face value.
Good ideas, Rob. I got pretty frustrated with this idea of "kokyu force" when I was doing pretty comprehensive Aikido practice because few instructors knew much about it, some knew bits, some had some skills but wouldn't even talk about it, etc. This carries over into other arts as well.

Even though Ushiro Sensei obviously knows his Kokyu (I'm saying this from the little while I observed him in Glenwood Springs recently at the Aikido Summer Camp in the Rockies), his take on it involves variations and focuses. As I mentioned, in Aikido, there are variations and permutations, but the core is the same. The core in Ushiro's power is the same... but his take on it and his emphases, complexities, etc., are somewhat different. What it boils down to (other than just the difficulty in getting information) is the problem of finding a roughly singular source on how to do these things. As an art disseminates, changes creep in and it's difficult to put your finger back on the "original Aikido" or art of choice. It gets back, once again, to understanding the core principles, not just following any one teacher, I think. Of course, that's only an opinion.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-22-2006, 04:57 PM   #8
statisticool
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
Walter Sigman wrote:
Westerners have been talking about and making sophisticated analyses of "jin" as "energy" for decades.... yet they totally missed what the real implication was, so all those conversations were for nothing and led people into doing regular body mechanics while talking about assumed meanings that were fruitless at best.
Probably it is safe to say that not all martial arts practicioners, non-"Westerners" included, agree with the opinion of the author of that article, or with your opinion on it.

For example, a thesaurus shows:

http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/energy
Lists power, strength

http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/strength
Lists energy, power

http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/power
Lists types of energy, and strength

Linking these is natural, especially considering martial arts articles aren't exactly papers in peer reviewed physics journals.

To debate over 'jin' being translated as power, energy, or strength, and that this therefore shows that all talk of these concepts is therefore for naught, is somewhat dramatic. Kind of like saying if someone happens to translate taijiquan as supreme ultimate fist, that therefore they don't know anything.

Quote:
In past months when I mentioned my opinion that I thought a lot of "experts", particularly in Aikido, might have somewhat skewed some translations, I was met with some outrage by at least one expert in Japanese life and language.
How did that unverifiable-anonymous-as-presented-expert take it?


Justin

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 08-22-2006, 05:32 PM   #9
Mike Sigman
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
To debate over 'jin' being translated as power, energy, or strength, and that this therefore shows that all talk of these concepts is therefore for naught, is somewhat dramatic. Kind of like saying if someone happens to translate taijiquan as supreme ultimate fist, that therefore they don't know anything.
Not really. All that anyone does who translates "jin" as energy is show that they don't know what they're talking about. You keep demonstrating that you don't know what "jin" is only because you've read it somewhere different, but you don't really know enough to engage with any personal knowledge, do you? You want to, for some reason, "battle" me ... don't you think it's a little obvious?

I know many Chinese experts that I've worked with and the side discussions and demonstrations of "jin" and how it's sourced, etc., are not personal interpretations. It's just a fact of life what jin is. You're arguing from the assumption that "jin" is somehow an unresolved issue, but that's only true if you're used to hanging around a bunch of guys who simply don't know. It's not a "here's my opinion on it" thing.

http://www.taiji-qigong.de/info/arti...min_pj_en.html

Do me a favor. If you want to argue something, argue something you know... not whatever you've seen written somewhere only.


Mike Sigman
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Old 08-22-2006, 07:21 PM   #10
statisticool
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
Walter Sigman wrote:
Not really. All that anyone does who translates "jin" as energy is show that they don't know what they're talking about.
http://groups.google.com/group/rec.m...51966b9955921a

you write:

Quote:
From: Mike Sigman
Date: Mon, Oct 14 1996 12:00 am
Email: msig...@netcom.com (Mike Sigman)
Groups: rec.martial-arts

David, I think it may be safely said that you have no idea what to make of the "following post". Reeling Silk Energy exercises are done in exactly the same way of body movement that a Taiji form is done. So "Reeling Silk" energy could be termed "Taiji" energy. In that sense, RS is the heart of Taiji.... but both Reeling Silk and Taiji use the sophisticated
jing (which is referred to as "peng jing" by not only the Neijia but by
CXW and others) as the core of Reeling Silk.
But, you just repeated your assertion. The words energy, power, strength are in fact all regularly used to describe jin depending on context.

The glossary at http://www.chenstyle.com/glossary/Glossary.html#J has jing:energy.

http://www.chenstyle.com/articles/czlint.html has an interview with Chen Zhenglei, and has fajing (release energy).

http://www.chenstyle.com/articles/wenxian.html has silk reeling energy

And many more.

Not to mention tons of dictionaries and thesauruses that list power, energy, strength mainly together in usage.

Quote:
Do me a favor. If you want to argue something, argue something you know... not whatever you've seen written somewhere only.
I will continue to quote others freely. If you disagree with it, you're welcome to debate the points, rather than pretend you can order others to stop quoting what has been published.


Justin

Last edited by statisticool : 08-22-2006 at 07:24 PM.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 08-22-2006, 07:59 PM   #11
Mike Sigman
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
I will continue to quote others freely. If you disagree with it, you're welcome to debate the points, rather than pretend you can order others to stop quoting what has been published.
Hmmmm.... I glanced at 3 of your references. I don't see anything that contradicts anything I said. The only point I thought was interesting was the one where you found one of the administrators of the Neijia list who had kicked Peter Lim off for various reasons. Other than that interesting point, there's nothing that contradicts what I said.

The important point you should remember is that I'm quite happy for you to believe what you want to believe about Jin, Justin. I want you to achieve all the success in Taiji that such a belief will bring you. I want you to spend as many years as you can with your current beliefs, in fact.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-22-2006, 08:06 PM   #12
raul rodrigo
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

I can't decide whether Justin's "stalking" of Mike Sigman is rather unseemly, or if it's just part of the entertainment value in Aikiweb.


R
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Old 08-22-2006, 08:27 PM   #13
Mike Sigman
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
I can't decide whether Justin's "stalking" of Mike Sigman is rather unseemly, or if it's just part of the entertainment value in Aikiweb.
Hi Raul:

Just to put in my vote, I think it is excellent entertainment. Weirdly, I have had this same thing happen with 3 or 4 Cheng Man Chinger's over the years (the internet "stalking"). There is a sort of "filter" effect to the Cheng Man Ching religion that is mesmerizing to watch. A friend of mine who is a psychologist once suggested writing a book about the Cheng Man Ching cult and the people in it.... does it produce them or are they of a certain type that is drawn like a moth to a flame?



Mike
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Old 08-23-2006, 06:43 AM   #14
statisticool
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
I can't decide whether Justin's "stalking" of Mike Sigman is rather unseemly, or if it's just part of the entertainment value in Aikiweb.
If a person posts and asks questions on a public board, don't be surprised when people answer.

I find correcting misrepresentations and bias important to do.

I also find such things like a book that says the best translation of qi is ground strength. So I'll ask about it.


Justin

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 08-23-2006, 06:45 AM   #15
statisticool
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
A friend of mine who is a psychologist once suggested writing a book about the Cheng Man Ching cult and the people in it.... does it produce them or are they of a certain type that is drawn like a moth to a flame?
Another anonymous person. Another unverifiable story. I see a pattern with you here.

Was Chen Weiming in this "cult"? Yang Chen Fu? (not that you answer any questions) They seemed to be impressed with Zheng.


Justin

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 08-23-2006, 06:48 AM   #16
statisticool
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Other than that interesting point, there's nothing that contradicts what I said.
Silk reeling is spoken with 'jin' on the end. You refer to it as energy. Many well known Yang and Chen stylists do, since they realize that power, energy, and strength are all used in common speak, so it isn't really a big deal as you'd like to make it appear.

Quote:
The important point you should remember is that I'm quite happy for you to believe what you want to believe about Jin, Justin. I want you to achieve all the success in Taiji that such a belief will bring you. I want you to spend as many years as you can with your current beliefs, in fact.
I'll put as much weight on your opinion and advice as I always do...


PS. What about that book that says the best translation of qi is ground strength? What is the title? The author?


Justin

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 08-23-2006, 08:49 AM   #17
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Jun, is there a bounty on internet stalkers on aikiweb?
Can I collect?


B,
R

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:00 AM   #18
Mark Freeman
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Jun, is there a bounty on internet stalkers on aikiweb?
Can I collect?


B,
R
What do you need as proof, a head? a tail?

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:38 AM   #19
dps
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Jun, is there a bounty on internet stalkers on aikiweb?
Can I collect?


B,
R
Jun, Do you need a license to go trolling on Aikiweb?
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Old 08-23-2006, 10:54 AM   #20
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Ooops, my license has been revoked...
B,
R

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:36 AM   #21
John Matsushima
 
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

I think it is more important to look past translations, and try to get at the essence. For example, in Japanese the colors of a traffic light are "aka, kiiro, and ao". Translated, this means "red, yellow, and BLUE". Now, if all you did was look at the translation, you might think that all the traffic lights in Japan are red, yellow, and blue. However, if you look deeply, you would find that while they say blue, it is of course, green!

I think the same goes for Aikido. Instead of just looking at a translation, we should be thinking "What do the Japanese think, imagine, and feel when they say "koshi"? (such as in the example stated by someone else in this thread).

Sometimes I think that once a westerner has found the essence and principles of Aikido, it might be better to just teach it in English and avoid all the confusion.

-John Matsushima

My blog on Japanese culture
http://onecorneroftheplanetinjapan.blogspot.jp/
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:18 PM   #22
statisticool
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Jun, is there a bounty on internet stalkers on aikiweb? Can I collect?
"stalking" apparently now means "answering posts directed towards them and everybody else on an internet forum". Who knew that we're all a bunch of stalkers?


Justin

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"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 08-23-2006, 06:22 PM   #23
Alfonso
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Kind of hard to ignore the translation and go for the essence if you don't speak/read japanese :-D

I remember my teacher explaining that kote could refer to the forearm and not the wrist, and how that changed my understanding of kote-gaeshi and so on. It's a very bothersome thing.

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 08-23-2006, 06:27 PM   #24
Mark Freeman
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote:

Sometimes I think that once a westerner has found the essence and principles of Aikido, it might be better to just teach it in English and avoid all the confusion.
Hi John,

my teacher has gone along way down this path, we learn most of our aikido in english, the names of the techniques remain ikkyo, nikkyo etc. Just about everything else is in our mother tongue. He should qualify as knowing the essence and principles, he's in his 51st year in aikido.
I am at a bit of a disadvantage on a forum like this though as when people discuss issues using the japanese terms, most of them I have to do some reserch on. I would have little trouble if I was in a dojo and could 'see' what is being described. Oh well, I'm happy to take the rough with the smooth.

regards,

Mark

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Old 08-23-2006, 08:03 PM   #25
Gernot Hassenpflug
Dojo: Aunkai, Tokyo
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Re: Subtle Shades of Japanese & Assumptions

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote:
I think it is more important to look past translations, and try to get at the essence. For example, in Japanese the colors of a traffic light are "aka, kiiro, and ao". Translated, this means "red, yellow, and BLUE". Now, if all you did was look at the translation, you might think that all the traffic lights in Japan are red, yellow, and blue. /../
Good point John, this is something a real Western expert like Peter Goldsbury could shed more light on. As far as I am aware, the Japanese culturo-linguistic connotations of indigenous words (as opposed to Sino-Korean imports) is quite vague and requires context. For instance, "ao" refers to something bluish-green - for more detailed colors recourse is taken to Chinese characters and their readings ("kon-iro" for the dark blue dyed cloth of Kyoto, for instance): note that for several distinct characters the Japanese reading would still remain "ao" but a more specific word might be added in front of it. Then, a word that Westerners learn to mean green, namely "midori", actually connotes "greenery" as in vegetation, not the color as an isolated quantity. This difficulty of wide association and qualitative hinting is a characteristic that makes learning aikido for Westerners in a "technical" sense very difficult. Of course, if one understands the principles already (kokyu power) then one cuts right through the apparent vagueness. And this kokyu and its training can be explained in a Western sense, it is simply a matter of enough native Westerners getting the skills and formulating explanations that make sense to other Westerners in the same culturo-linguistic context.

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote:
Sometimes I think that once a westerner has found the essence and principles of Aikido, it might be better to just teach it in English and avoid all the confusion.
Very good point, see above... Mark has hinted at a related problem: his teacher may know basic level kokyu skills, but it is still a problem for the students to get these skills via their teacher. Until a great number of people get them down pat (at a basic level), the individual explanations are going to be difficult to understand and follow for all but a few people. A core of common understanding has to exist for all the variations on the theme to be seen for what they are.
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