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Old 09-11-2002, 09:53 PM   #1
tedehara's Avatar
Dojo: Evanston Ki-Aikido
Location: Evanston IL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 826
English in the Regular Forum

Greetings All,

I've got this great idea that you might want to try. How about using English in the Regular Forum!!!

What I'm saying is that writers use Japanese phrases and it confuses readers, since they are might be only English-speaking people.

Those of you who want to use Japanese can use the Japanese Forum. Althought there isn't much activity there, no threads at present. This behavior might spark some activity.

If you really feel a compulsion to use Japanese phrases, maybe you can keep it within parentheses - stupid (baka).

Just a thought.
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Old 09-11-2002, 10:57 PM   #2
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 5,997
I'm not too sure if you really meant this to be in the "humor" section (outside of the smiley faces) since I don't really sense anything funny about it, but I'll keep it here for now (instead of moving it to the feedback section).

The reason why I use Japanese phrases is due to the fact that some of the phrases contain a lot of history and cultural background and would be very, very difficult to sum up in just a "literal" translation. Oftentimes, the knowledge of the phrase itself is as important as knowing its meaning -- kind of like picking up on all of the English aphorisms that I had to learn when I first came to the States. The fact that these pithy yet deep phrases exist often shows how important such concepts were to people.

For one, I don't think using Japanese phrases in the context of discussing a Japanese martial art is "stupid" in any way.

Just my thoughts.

-- Jun

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Old 09-12-2002, 01:02 AM   #3
Chris Li
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Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,300
Jun Akiyama (akiy) wrote:
For one, I don't think using Japanese phrases in the context of discussing a Japanese martial art is "stupid" in any way.

Just my thoughts.

-- Jun
Hmm, my first thought was wondering how we were going to get everyone to agree on an English translation of the word "Aikido" so that we could eliminate that confusing Japanese word .



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Old 09-12-2002, 01:20 AM   #4
Dojo: SCAMB/Beausset
Location: Castellet (Var-France)
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 38
Hi everybody,

I am agree with Jun and Chris. Using Japanese words when we talk about Aikido (I think it is the same for the others martial arts) is normal. I don't see how to do without them. In addition, some Japanese words can't be be easily translated in our maternal language. An english translation of the word could be very different from the french one. Using only one word in especially the Japanese word, allows that everyone unsderstand the same meaning.

My english is not very good, but when I see in a topic a Japanese word that I use in my Aikido training I understand.

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Old 09-12-2002, 02:46 AM   #5
Location: Bangkok
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Posts: 803
I am sure Ted was joking, but he brought up coincidentally an important subject. I have always been against the translation to english or other languages of aikido language from Japanese.
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Old 09-12-2002, 09:59 AM   #6
tedehara's Avatar
Dojo: Evanston Ki-Aikido
Location: Evanston IL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 826
1,000 points of confusion

Even though this is an important topic, I put it in the humour section because it is also hilarious.

I don't think human behavior will change immediately upon suggestion.

Since this is a Japanese martial art, it is natural for people to want to use the Japanese words that they were taught. It is not unusual for them to use Japanese phrases to describe Japanese concepts either.

1,000 points of confusion

Not everyone who posts here, knows how to write the correct/close to correct, romanized version of a Japanese word.

This web site draws many people from various styles and dojos. I have never heard on the mat, anyone refered to as tori even though I assume from reading here, that some dojos do use this term.

I find titles especially confusing. What is a Shihandai? Where do people come up with these things?

Various styles are changing the names of different techniques. In my own style, they changed the name of kote-gaeshi to kote-oroshi. If I used the term kote-oroshi, how many people will understand?

If I describe a technique as kokyu nage, I could be talking about a multitude of techniques. This is nothing but a catch all name. Because it is in Japanese, it doesn't make it any more meaningful.

When people are typing with inspiration, their Japanese seems to become even more erratic than their English. Of course their English is lousy also.

Like Chris pointed out, there are many disputes over the definitions of various Japanese words. Maybe using a consistent language throughout your posting might help with the flow of thought. You can put the Japanese word or phrase in (parentheses) or "quotes" on the side. Another way "do"(1) is to use footnotes to explain yourself.

(1) way or path

The idea is to express yourself, not to confuse others.

Last edited by tedehara : 09-12-2002 at 10:08 AM.

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Old 09-12-2002, 10:06 AM   #7
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 5,997
In the same way that you learn about different approaches/styles to aikido provides you with more understanding about the entire, I believe that learning about the terminology that they use does the same.

I don't think there's anything keeping people from asking what a term means. Don't know what shihandai means? Why not ask? Don't know why Tohei sensei started using "kote oroshi" rather than "kote gaeshi"? I think the explanation in and of itself is quite interesting moreso than just its semantic component.

Translating a name of a technique doesn't do too much, either. Does "breath throw" really describe a technique better than "kokyu nage"? How about the translation for the terms "ikkyo" and "ikkajo"?

(Also, in the case of "kokyu nage," that name does refer to a specific technique at least in Aikikai aikido and Ki Society aikido (although you'd have to switch "iriminage" and "kokyunage" around for the two organizations).)

Personally, I think that learning the jargon of an art is part of the learning process. If you were interested in FreeBSD kernel hacking, there'd be some learning of the jargon there necessary. You wouldn't expect each kernel hacker talking about the subject to put footnotes in every single one of their postings to clarify every technical term, and I, for one, wouldn't expect the same here.

So, my suggestion would be if people do have questions about certain terms/phrases that they've never seen before, ask! Or take a look in the language section here or do a quick search.

I'd rather celebrate the differences than make everyone the same, in any case. Although the former puts the onerous task of learning onto the individual, the latter I don't believe to be a possible nor, in my mind, preferable situation.


-- Jun

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Old 09-13-2002, 06:02 AM   #8
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,219
One of the reasons why I like this forum is that I can input Japanese characters and readers can access these if their computers have a Japanese language capability. I have recently responded to a question about the meaning of 'Morihei' and other names. To have to transcribe the Chinese characters into an acceptable roman system is a chore, but I think it helps to be able to print the Chinese characters.

Members often ask for the meaning of the names of techniques etc and this part of the forum is the obvious place to post answers to these questions.

In my opinion, the Japanese language forum as such (i.e., the section below the main menu giving various languages) is for discussions conducted in Japanese and I would be more than happy to participate, for it would be good for me to practise my written Japanese. But I think the number of posters and visitors would not be very great.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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Old 09-13-2002, 09:46 AM   #9
Chuck Clark
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Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
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Japanese terms are part of the technical language of budo practice. Many arts and fields of technical study such as: music and ballet have technical terms that are in languages other than the common spoken language where they are studied and practiced.

Study the Japanese terms and learn what they really mean. There is much information contained in a few words that other languages need many words to convey. For example, "kotegaeshi" does not mean: wrist lock, wrist turn, wrist throw, wrist twist, and such that I have heard used as "English translations" from some instructors over the years who don't want to use Japanese terms.

If you don't want to use Japanese terms, don't. I personally think it's your loss.


Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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