Why do Japanese arts use the Japanese language?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by skribs, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I realize the answer to my question is quite obvious, only it isn't. I mean, obviously, Japanese arts are Japanese, is why they use the Japanese language.

    However, one thing I've noticed across this forum and others, is that only the Japanese artists seem to describe everything through the Japanese language. All of the other arts are usually translated to English. What's even more strange, is the arts which influenced Japanese arts (Kung Fu), and arts inspired by Japanese arts (Taekwondo and BJJ), do not do this with their native language.

    We use a small amount of Korean in my TKD school, but 99% of the time we speak English when we're discussing techniques. Front kick, side kick, reverse punch, high block, sweep. All of these words are in English. Similarly, whenever I see someone discussing Kung Fu strategies on here, or I watch videos of BJJ techniques, the concepts and techniques are all spoken in English, instead of Chinese or Portugese.

    And yet, more often than not, if someone comes into a conversation with their Karate or Judo background, they'll say something like "if your opponent has good kisame kicks, and has a fast right gyaku tsuki, you can use kiba dachi almost kokutsu dachi, and then gedan barai." They say this as if it's supposed to mean anything to someone taking Taekwondo.
     
  2. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Wing Chun uses a lot of Cantonese terminology in its descriptions
     
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  3. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    While that may be true, any time I've seen someone discussing Wing Chun, they use English terms (or the video is shot entirely in Cantonese and intended for people who speak Cantonese).
     
  4. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    I suspect at least part of it is being elitist or pretentious, . but to a large part modern English is not a single origin language, rather an amalgamation of world languages in short if the foreigners have a succinct word for something and English translation long phrase for the translation then it tends to adopted the word, .. it's so much easier to say bungalow, than single storey house.

    if it takes 6 words to describe what ever kick your refering to, thamen using the Japanese word is sensible..
    .though I can see no good reason for counting in Japanese
     
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  5. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Well, I understand why it's used within the school. That makes sense. I was more referring to people who go into discussions with people from other martial arts backgrounds, and don't filter their discussion for the more generalized audience.
     
  6. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    You have not been around a lot of Wing Chun folk then, talk to them about any of the forms; first the names used will be Cantonese (Siu Nin Tau, Chum Kiu, Biu Ji, Muk Yan Jong.) and every single movement in each of the forms is only referred to in the Cantonese.

    Seung Guan Sau
    Seung Tan Sau
    Lop Sau
    Sam Pai Fut or Praying Thrice to the Buddha (Slow) Section:
    Tan Sau, Huen Sau, Wu Sa
    Fook Sau, Tan Sau, Huen Sau, Wu Sau (Repeat 3x)
    Pak Sau, Jek Cheung

    And I am talking about Native English speakers
     
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  7. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    because once your using a foreign word as part of your everyday language, your brain no longer considers it as foreign, it's just english like all the other foreign words you use day in and day out.

    that people generally dont understand it, only matters if you care they dont understand. I consciously change my lectern on here for the fact I'm talking to a mostly american clientele , just as I change my phraseology and pronounce my vowls differently if I go to London, as they wouldn't have a clue what I was talking about if I talked in broard manchester. when iv3 been traveling, I know I'm home, when I can longer detect someone accent, they all talk like me

    if you want to communicate effectively then you need to be conscious of it. if you dont care and you only want to communicate with other of a like mind then just carry on
     
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  8. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    This is generally true, although since Cantonese is a tonal language and said to be even more difficult to learn than Mandarin, the way we native English speakers pronounce all these Cantonese terms is usually unintelligible to native Cantonese speakers , and even to other people from Wing Chun branches who may use and pronounce the terms differently! :p

    Maybe that's why we tend to translate the terms to English equivalents when using a public forum, or when talking to anybody outside our lineage.
     
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  9. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    So.....Nǐ jiào wǒ piànzi ma (你叫我騙子嗎)......if that's the case....then them there are fightin' words........its Lop Sau at 20 paces. :D

    Yes I know their pronunciation is terrible, and I don't speak Cantonese, although at one time I was learning it. However it never seemed to stop any Wing Chun person I knew :D
     
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  10. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Are you telling me this grammar is intentional?
     
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  11. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Every capoeira school in which I trained uses a lot of Portuguese terminology, both for the techniques, and in discussing strategy and spirit in the practice.
     
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  12. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    You do know that Grammer has a capital G . I know American don't do irony, but that's ironic if your pointing out issues with someone else's Grammer
     
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  13. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I did not know that. So I looked it up. None of the results I found knew that either. I think you just made that up to have an "ah ha" moment, but you are incorrect.
     
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  14. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    You are correct, Grammer does have a capital G as it's a proper noun.

    However, the set of rules governing a language, i.e. grammar, is not capitalised unless it's starting a sentence and contains no 'e'.
     
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  15. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    He's correct with the word he's using spelled as such.

    But the context, meaning and usage of the word he used is wrong.
     
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  16. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    What happens if a student goes to Japan to train and doesn't understand a thing about what they're supposed to do because they're saying the Japanese words. Or if they grade in Japan and don't recognise the names of the techniques
     
  17. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    they're two questions here. First, why use Japanese terms that all? Second, why use them when speaking to someone who does not take a Japanese style?

    As to the first, this isn't uncommon. We did it all the time in fencing. I would refer to a riposte and a fleche, not a counter-strike and a blitz. fencers all over the world all use the same terminology, and there's some real utility in that. And there's also a level precision to that. "Mawashi Geri" refers specifically to a Japanese karate style roundhouse kick, not other sorts of roundhouse kicks like a Thai kick. "Gedan barai" is a lot more specific than "low block" or "low hammerfist."

    As for the second, that can simply be people not thinking it through, or people being a little pretentious. I'm sure it's not always one and not always the other.
     
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  18. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    What happens if I go to Korea to train TKD or HKD? What if somoene goes to China to train Kung Fu, or goes to Brazil to train BJJ? Those all use English terms for the techniques from what I can see. (At least, all of those arts have schools where it is common).

    This post reminds me of when Oregon was going to allow people to pump their own gas. People started freaking out over how they're going to smell like gas, or how they'll probably set their cars on fire. Meanwhile, people in the other 48 states were just rolling their eyes, because we've been pumping our own gas since before we could drive.
     
  19. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Because Judo does have a detailed standardized terminology which is used worldwide, it’s often useful for practitioners of other arts where that kind of vocabulary has not been built up. For example, BJJ doesn’t really have standardized terms in English or Portuguese for most throws beyond basics such as hip throw, shoulder throw, double leg. So typically we end up borrowing the Judo terms for throws like Uchi Mata, Harai Goshi, Tai Otoshi, etc. I’ve seen Sambo guys do the same thing, although I don’t know how detailed the Russian terms are. Perhaps they use the Judo terms in order to communicate with a wider audience.
     
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  20. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Ip men should be Ye Wen instead.
     

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