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Old 01-21-2011, 05:41 PM   #1
Hanna B
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Budo renshu/budo keiko

I have been told that while "renshu" means practise in general, and the word is used for mundane things such as pracising ice hockey or a foreign language, the word for practising budo or other traditional Japanese arts such as ikebana or chado is keiko.

However, there is a book by a certain Morihei Ueshiba called "Budo renshu". Not Budo keiko. Budo renshu, it is.

Have I been misinformed, or is the issue of how and when to use the verbs keiko and renshu more complicated than I have so far understood?
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:40 PM   #2
odudog
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Re: Budo renshu/budo keiko

You have been missinformed. They both mean the same thing. Just depends on what word you prefer to use. Japanese does have a thesaurus.
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:26 PM   #3
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Budo renshu/budo keiko

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
I have been told that while "renshu" means practise in general, and the word is used for mundane things such as pracising ice hockey or a foreign language, the word for practising budo or other traditional Japanese arts such as ikebana or chado is keiko.

However, there is a book by a certain Morihei Ueshiba called "Budo renshu". Not Budo keiko. Budo renshu, it is.

Have I been misinformed, or is the issue of how and when to use the verbs keiko and renshu more complicated than I have so far understood?
Hello Hanna,

Keiko has a range of meanings in Japanese and renshuu also has a range of meanings. In some cases they overlap, but not always. So in some cases you can use both words interchangeably; in other cases you cannot. Some think that the difference is captured by the English terms practice (= keiko) and training (= renshuu), but I have doubts about this.

Carsten Moellering asked a similar question in a thread called The Essence of Training and I will post a longer answer there, but this longer answer will be illuminating only to those who have some idea of how Japanese works.

Best wishes,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:41 PM   #4
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Budo renshu/budo keiko

I was about to post and just noticed Sensei Goldsbury has beaten me to it, so I'm not adding much now but since I wrote it anyway…

From my own experience the difference in usage is more a nuance of feeling.
  • Keiko 稽古 has the feeling of practising a discipline for oneself. Imagine a good dojo with a good teacher and plenty of good students: If you don't turn up for keiko it is mainly you who is missing out. Everyone else just misses one student. If you call this practice renshuu, it's fine but not as nuanced.
  • Renshuu 練習 has more of a general feeling of practice as well as the feeling of practising for or with others. For example, aikido, practise for a demonstration would be called "renshuu". I've never heard it called keiko in this kind of situation, especially outside of martial arts or other disciplines. The baseball team usually has renshuu, not keiko.
Carl
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:28 AM   #5
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Budo renshu/budo keiko

Actually, it has always seemed to me that, as a rough analogy, "renshuu" would be "practice", and "keiko" would be "training." At least in a sense of similar interactions between the words. But of course "training" doesn't carry all the nuance of "keiko"; the Japanese imported the word "toreiningu", so obviously they also feel that "keiko" and "training" are distinct.

As to why Ueshiba Morihei chose "Budo Renshu" instead of "Budo keiko", the first thing to know is that while, in general, "practice" for most things is "renshu" while for traditional arts it's "keiko", the distinction is not a mutually exclusive one. "Renshu" can be a part of "keiko" Nor should one fall under the misconception of "renshu" being a weaker word. I think of it as a "lighter" word, used as it is in a broader context than "keiko". But at its core it still means "to polish what one has learned", and it's component kanji show up in other words of importance in budo contexts. Such as "tanren", and "shutoku" Indeed, as "keiko" is so commonly used to describe the physical training of budo, the use of "renshu" in this context probably served to emphasize the importance of continuing to polish one's own skills.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:13 AM   #6
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Budo renshu/budo keiko

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Actually, it has always seemed to me that, as a rough analogy, "renshuu" would be "practice", and "keiko" would be "training." At least in a sense of similar interactions between the words. But of course "training" doesn't carry all the nuance of "keiko"; the Japanese imported the word "toreiningu", so obviously they also feel that "keiko" and "training" are distinct.
And once we get into "training" (or even トレーニング) we have yet more terms such as kunren 訓練, yousei 養成, shuuren 修練 and tanren 鍛練. That's just what I hear in an aikido training/practice context.
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Old 02-12-2011, 06:32 PM   #7
Walter Martindale
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Re: Budo renshu/budo keiko

Karl's first post here suggests renshuu may be more like 'rehearsing' while keiko might be skills/fitness training?
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:54 PM   #8
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Budo renshu/budo keiko

Hello Mr Martindale,

I did not receive this impression from Carl's post. There is a discussion in another thread, entitled, The Essence of Training. In connection with that discussion, I asked my own (Japanese) students, after training in Hiroshima, what they understood as the difference between keiko and renshuu. They all agreed that in some contexts the terms were interchangeable, but stressed that the nuance of keiko (applicable to other traditional arts, apart form aikido--which some of them also practise) was that it normally takes place under the direction of the teacher or 'sensei'. 'Renshuu' did not have this nuance, though, of course, one could also use the term renshuu for training under a teacher's supervision. So in Noh (drama), for example, training in the stage movements and the lines uttered, under the eyes of a teacher, is one of the meanings given for keiko. One might call this rehearsing, as in a play, but I know from experience (I have some Japanese friends who have practised Noh since they were children) that keiko means more than this.

Best wishes,

PAG

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