Why do Japanese arts use the Japanese language?

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

  1. KenpoMaster805

    KenpoMaster805 Purple Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2016
    Messages:
    397
    Likes Received:
    59
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Oxnard California
    When i was in shotokan we used japanese term like kiba dachi mawashi geri etc and so on even when i took taekwondo we used korean even when we count but when i went to kenpo karate we used english
     
  2. frank raud

    frank raud Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Messages:
    1,450
    Likes Received:
    336
    Trophy Points:
    108
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    When I was studying Tae Kwon Do, I was at a satellite school. The only time we would see the head of the school was when we went for belt tests. The thing he was most interested in was our knowledge of Korean terminology. My first art was a Kawaishi-based jiu jitsu system, so we did breakfalls 1-13, hip throw, neck throw, etc. When I switched to judo, the terminology was both Japanese and English, with some terms taken from BJJ, such as "guard", rather than do-osae, or trunk hold as the English translation. I have had the opportunity to train with people from all across Canada, the US, Europe and Australia.With few exceptions, people were able to use both Japanese terminology and English interchangeably.
     
  3. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    5,860
    Likes Received:
    1,712
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    My japanese kenpo didn't use many japanese terms-just the opening, and counting. When I tried isshinryu, I was only there for a couple months but I don't recall noticing a huge amount of japanese. In Kali, a decent number of things are in filipino, and in fencing as already said a lot of the words are french. In both, I'm not actually sure what words I would use for some things in english (ie: fleche), so I'm not sure how I would communicate those without the words on a forum. But to me japanese styles don't do this more than others.

    The only exception for japan I can think of would be judo, where everything is the japanese words, but you can very easily find translations, and I think it's more for international communication than anything else.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,685
    Likes Received:
    930
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Lakewood, WA
    I could be wrong, but I think kenpo is a more contemporary art, so that would make since.

    Regarding fencing - I think a lot of fencing terms have become standard terms we understand in English. Riposte, for example, is defined in Webster, and is used for more than just fencing. Counter-attack is a longer word.

    Many of the Japanese terms I see used are longer than the English word, and not in common use in English. I understand internal consistency, I was more looking at the people who's posts are half Japanese, half English, when speaking to a crowd that doesn't take Japanese arts.
     
  5. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    5,860
    Likes Received:
    1,712
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    American kenpo is contemporary. Japanese kenpo is different-almost no relation to its american counterparts.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    5,860
    Likes Received:
    1,712
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    As for fencing terms being more used, some are but some arent. I dont think most people would know what a fleche is, or a piste. Or allez. Or lamet or pret. En garde you can figure out but thats just because its a cognate. I only know most of those because of fencing.

    And it still happens with kali, where almost none of the filipino words are common English words.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    3,210
    Likes Received:
    983
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Location:
    Southeast U.S.
    Cognate; learned a new word. Thank you.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    2,948
    Trophy Points:
    403
    Location:
    In the dojo
    I haven’t seen that one in years. Thanks!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Messages:
    14,559
    Likes Received:
    2,563
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Michigan
    We use the Japanese terms for our exercises, kata, and for counting, as well as typical greetings, etc. Some Isshinryu dojos do as well, some do not. It's not a big deal either way. We do it to show respect for the origins of our style. Same reason we wear a gi, bow, and address each other formally in the dojo.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    Messages:
    9,508
    Likes Received:
    6,031
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Maui
    I think there should be a technique in Japanese Karate called Lollapalooza.

    Before I get yelled at, I’m a Japanophile at Martial heart and always will be.
     
    • Funny Funny x 4
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2012
    Messages:
    7,977
    Likes Received:
    1,997
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
    Most Japanese Karate schools may use Japanese in their teaching. But I have never seen a Chinese MA school uses Chinese in their teaching. Why?

    My teacher didn't speak English at all. When he taught my class, he used "one and two" and not "一二 (Yi Er)". Even an old Chinese tried to learn some English in order to communicate with his English students.

    What's the difference between the Chinese culture and the Japanese culture?

     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
    • Like Like x 2
  12. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    5,860
    Likes Received:
    1,712
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    My assumption is that chinese people don't want to hear english speaking folks butcher their language. Which I would bet based on languages is more of an issue for the chinese than the japanese.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Green Belt

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2019
    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    130
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Air traffic controllers world-wide use English. By using the same language, pilots from all different countries can communicate with any airport. Whenever an activity is international in scope, with speakers of many languages, they can still communicate with each other, using the lingua franca of that particular activity. A fencer in France can talk fencing to a Spaniard, an Englishman or a Syrian (if there are any.) Likewise, if you say mae geri to a Shotokan karate practitioner in Spain, Nigeria, Finland or Brazil, they will know you are talking about a front kick. Aside from kempodisciple's post above, no doubt true, Chinese is damn tough to pronounce if you're not Chinese, and as much as Chinese don't want to hear it, Americans don't want to say it. Also, not being a kung fu guy, its seems to me that that art is more fragmented with dozens of styles and not as much organization as other martial arts. This may be a reason for Chinese not being the common tongue of that art, if that is the case. With no united front during the "marketing" phase of kung fu, various countries may have substituted their own language?
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,685
    Likes Received:
    930
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Lakewood, WA
    That's the point I'm making. People who train Japanese martial arts seem to think that Japanese is the lingua franca of Martial Arts in general.
     
  15. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Green Belt

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2019
    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    130
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Good video. That there looks like some good old time training.
    Re: Chinese vs. Japanese culture: A good chunk of Chinese culture found its way over the centuries into Japan who adopted the parts they like, such as Buddhism, Kanji writing system, martial arts...But there are many differences - enough for a book. Since this is an MA forum, look at the difference between the Chinese kung fu movies and the Japanese Samurai movies, at least the older ones. There is a big difference in the approaches and the way they are produced. This may be one small window to peek through.
     
  16. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2006
    Messages:
    29,893
    Likes Received:
    4,420
    Trophy Points:
    308
    Location:
    North American Tectonic Plate
    [​IMG]

    But just between you and me....and don't tell anyone.... but I actually agree with you :D
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  17. blackknight7891

    blackknight7891 White Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2019
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    melbourne, australia

    So far in my experience, the literal translations from Japanese to English are about as meaningful as the Japanese terminology. their are some simple words that seem to translate like Ken (punch) doesnt just mean to punch. could include an elbow strike\headbutt, but is generally translated to mean punch. because the cultures is so different, it can be hard to get an accurate translation when you start talking about old martial arts.

    I've been shown a number of versions of techniques called "ten chi" translation given as "heaven and earth" once you see the technique you will understand why it got that name, but try to figure out what they want without seeing it... good luck.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2002
    Messages:
    4,016
    Likes Received:
    2,091
    Trophy Points:
    388
    Location:
    New Iberia, Louisiana USA
    Don't know much about fencing however:
    Fleche is and arrow so I assume it would be a type of thrust or movement for a thrust.
    Piste is an alley or trail so maybe the mat that the competition is played on.
    Allez is to go or go forth and use as a beginning or to start.
    Lamet is a type of cloth so maybe the specific clothing.
    Pret has a couple of meanings so context would be needed. Ready, Loan, Willing. It the beginning of a competition it would be En garde, Pret, Allez... or Assume your guard position, Ready, Go or Begin.
     
  19. donald1

    donald1 Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    Messages:
    3,320
    Likes Received:
    606
    Trophy Points:
    213
    I like using Japanese terminology here and there so I can sound like I have an understanding of the language despite not actually knowing how to speak it. Maybe someone will think I'm smart!
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  20. donald1

    donald1 Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    Messages:
    3,320
    Likes Received:
    606
    Trophy Points:
    213
    I'm definitely going to butcher the chinese language... like a fat cow. I'm probably going to think I'm a very fluent speaker despite the looks of disapproval I will no doubt eventually receive.
     

Share This Page