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Old 09-20-2006, 06:56 AM   #1
David Humm
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Use of Japanese terminology...

Would you guys care to share your opinions on the issue of teaching aikido but not using the Japanese names for waza, or indeed in the extreme; not using any Japanese terminology at all.

My own opinion is that we're studying a Japanese martial art and therefore adopt several cultural aspects in doing so. I don't expect my students to learn the language but, I do feel the language aspects relating to aikido is quite important.

I appreciate there may be differences in the names of techniques which might exist between the styles of aikido but, the naming thereof isn't the question at hand, I'm asking if the study of aikido per se, needs Japanese terminology as part of the teaching curriculum ?

Thanks in advance
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Old 09-20-2006, 08:07 AM   #2
akiy
 
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

Hi Dave,

Here are a couple of links from the "Similar Threads" section (found below every thread) that may interest you:

Poll: Do you think we should rename aikido terminology from Japanese to other languages?
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4023

The use of Japanese in the dojo
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1025

Also, Michael Hacker's introductory column on the use of Japanese language in aikido contains some thoughts on the subject:
http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/mhacker/2005_08.html

Hope that helps,

-- Jun

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Old 09-20-2006, 08:41 AM   #3
David Humm
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

Thanks Jun,

Sorry to have re-hased an old subject.

<Mental Note> Must use the search feature and stop posting like a noob !

Regards
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Old 09-20-2006, 09:36 AM   #4
wayneth
Dojo: Port Talbot Dojo
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

It is very important, like you said we do practice a Japanese Martial Art and if we were in Japan we wouldn't be speaking English for example.
Also if you go abroad to train where you are not accustomed to their language, then the terms that "should" be used would more than likely get you through a session. If you can understand that?
We should try and keep the true spirit of Aikido alive and that I think means the language usage has to be Japanese.
Wayne
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Old 09-20-2006, 12:21 PM   #5
Qatana
 
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

Just as in Ballet French, it gives every practitioner a common language.

Q
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"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 09-20-2006, 06:18 PM   #6
Aristeia
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

Sorry but I don't buy that argument. I used to think the same until I realised that there is huge amounts of confusion as to what different techniques are called from school to school. And most english speaking practitioners will never train outside of an english speaking school.

I wonder if the question itself isn't flawed. "Do we need to use Japanese terms" - the question is do we need to in order to accomplish....what? Learning Aikido? Well what's important about learning Aikido is different to different practitioners, and therefore the answer will be different.

Use of Japanese terms is absolutely unnecessary to transmit the physical techniques of Aikido. But then so is the wearing of hakama, bowing, a ranking system etc etc. Much of what people *enjoy* about Aikido is the cultural aspect. So for those people, yes the language aspect will be important. For many others - not so much ,<shrug>

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 09-20-2006, 08:41 PM   #7
dps
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

If not Japanese ( where Aikido was founded) then which language? Because I speak English it should be English. If I am an Eskimo then should Aikido be taught to me in Inuktitut?
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Old 09-20-2006, 09:18 PM   #8
Aristeia
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
If not Japanese ( where Aikido was founded) then which language? Because I speak English it should be English. If I am an Eskimo then should Aikido be taught to me in Inuktitut?
quite possibly. Everything else we learn about we learn about in our mother tongue. Why should MA be any difference *unless* we have a particular desire for a cultural experience.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 09-20-2006, 09:41 PM   #9
dps
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote:
quite possibly. Everything else we learn about we learn about in our mother tongue.
Not true. Medical and Engineering use alot of Latin and Greek terminology. Chefs and cooks use foreign terminology. The explanations are in your mother tongue but not necessarily the terminology.


Who is going to translate the Japanese meaning of Shomen Uchi Irimi Nage from Japanese to Inuktitut? After I learn my Aikido in Inuktitut, who am I going to teach it to, only people who speak Inuktitut?

By not using a common language for terminology ( not necessarily the explanations) then you are limiting the pool of possible people to learn from, those that use terminology in your mother tongue.

Last edited by dps : 09-20-2006 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 09-21-2006, 11:36 PM   #10
Walter Martindale
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
(snip)

Who is going to translate the Japanese meaning of Shomen Uchi Irimi Nage from Japanese to Inuktitut? After I learn my Aikido in Inuktitut, who am I going to teach it to, only people who speak Inuktitut?

By not using a common language for terminology ( not necessarily the explanations) then you are limiting the pool of possible people to learn from, those that use terminology in your mother tongue.
I believe that using the Japanese language to instruct with some attention paid to the meaning of the terminology and usage, it's possible to conduct Aikido sessions and be effective - as long as people have it explained to them WHAT THE JAPANESE TERMS "MEAN" in the home language.

What gets me is how a lot of dojo are more Japanese than the Japanese dojo I've visited....
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:27 AM   #11
PeterR
 
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

Laughs - one of my students moved back to the real world and described the rei at the new dojo he joined. More formal than mine (we are pretty relaxed), more formal than Honbu and from what I hear more formal than the dojo of the Japanese teacher they claim descent from. Of course he's dead and they are sort of off to themselves but I digress.

I think rei is very important and the Japanese terminology also. In both cases you should understand the point rather than overdoing for overdoings sake.

Rei keeps us safe and Japanese terminology means that my students roughly understand what is being said when they go to Honbu.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-22-2006, 05:59 AM   #12
DonMagee
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

I used to be 100% against the use of japanesse terms. That was until I had the oppertunity to train with a guy who spoke little english. He was a judo player and I was able to relate to him with judo terms. However, I've been to a few judo and jjj (japanese juijitsu) schools, and I find they use different words for different things. This lack of consistant terms seems to undermind the whole point of using japanese.

On the other end of the spectrum, in BJJ, 90% of the techniques I know have the same names. It's just an armbar, or a keylock. The fact that I know at least a dozen chokes off hand that I don't have any names for (I'll call it the choke where I slide my leg over your face, or the choke with my forarm) is also very funny. People in bjj tend to give names to techniques by themselves. So the same technique can have many names (example shoalin choke is called at least 3 different names I Know of).

So in the end I said screw it. I'll just call it whatever the guy teaching it to me calls it. If it's english, then it's english. If it's japanese then it's japanese, if he tells me what its called in russian, I guess i"m using russian.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 09-22-2006, 06:27 AM   #13
dps
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
So in the end I said screw it. I'll just call it whatever the guy teaching it to me calls it. If it's english, then it's english. If it's japanese then it's japanese, if he tells me what its called in russian, I guess i"m using russian.
So if you are practicing in hills of Kentucky and are told to do Cowkyunage ,how will you know what to do..

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...5&page=2&pp=25
post # 36

No offense to people from Kentucky, my father is from northeastern Kentucky.
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Old 09-22-2006, 10:15 AM   #14
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
So if you are practicing in hills of Kentucky and are told to do Cowkyunage ,how will you know what to do..

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...5&page=2&pp=25
post # 36

No offense to people from Kentucky, my father is from northeastern Kentucky.
Also known as "Cow-tipping" ??? A new use of aiki technique, who knew ???

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 09-22-2006, 12:20 PM   #15
dps
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

Erik,
Do cows use gyroscopic stabilization? How can you throw a cow without moving?


Excuse me wrong thread.
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:03 PM   #16
Jenn
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

Our dojo puts a lot of emphasis on Japanese custom and language. I enjoy it. I find Aikido class not only a time to learn about Aikido, but also an opportunity to learn a little something about Japanese language and culture. I also think the universalism of having a language central to the art is consistent with the whole premise of Aikido being a unifying art, etc.

Similarly I am also Jewish, and though I am not supremely observant, I very much support the preservation of Hebrew language during worship, etc. There is a cohesiveness that language can lend to a group, even if that language is just preserved for certain terms, etc.
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:22 PM   #17
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
Erik,
Do cows use gyroscopic stabilization? How can you throw a cow without moving?
Excuse me wrong thread.
Only the drunk cows ... As to technique just Mooooooove slowly .... Oh, wait, ... no ...

try Muuuuuuuuu-gamae

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 09-28-2006, 10:23 PM   #18
Matthew White
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

I like having a single professional language that is generally accepted. It makes it easier in mediums like this forum to discuss our art.
Certainly some style call things differently. Learning that type of thing is calle education. Knowing as much about your art is vital, but knowing a little about how it relates to other styles is elementary in being able to communicate, spread, improve, and elevate the art globally.
Were we talking about Ikkyo, I know that generally it's called Ikkyo, but in my style we call it Oshi Taoshi, other styles may call it Ikkajo, or Ude Osae... there's probably a dozen other names for it as well... but having a general knowlege of those names, it's likely I can reach some mutual acknowlegement of the technique I'm referring to in this forum.
Otherwise it would be something to the effect of, "the one where the guy's swinging his arm at you and you grab it and put it in an armbar and force it to the ground" and the next person says, "we don't force anything anywhere" and the next guy says, we don't do any attacks where we swing our arms" and the communication is lost because the elemental idea disappears in a cloud of semantics.
A common language is there to "attempt" to eliminate some of this and allow us to have acamdemic exchange. It is this very reason that Medicine, Ballet, Music, Cooking, Tai Chi, Fencing, etc. all have professional languages.

I wonder if Kendo people ask this question?
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Old 09-29-2006, 06:51 AM   #19
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Use of Japanese terminology...

I think that the real importance of using Japanese terms is not in the technical but rather the spritual / philsophical area. The English terms used to describe arious Japanese terms often don't mean exectly the same thing or have a much broader meaning than the Japanese term.

Saotome Sensei was chastizing people at a seminar for their weak attacks. he gave everyone a lecture on "makoto" but he translated the term to English. Many of the attendees completely missed the point. They thought that Sensei meant that people should care deeply about what they do, which is one way we talk about sincerity. What he really meant was that the attacks must be "honest" and "committed". The folks that missed the point were precisely the ones he was referring to. If they had known how the term makoto is used, they would have understood.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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