Questions and then some

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
13,691
Reaction score
4,325
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
Usually I end up doing poorly when attempting to pronounce chinese words. That and I only know a few words to begin with, mostly form names and even then I mostly say the english translation. :oops:

Its a good thing my instructor speaks English :D
There are 300,000 English words. There are only 30,000 Chinese characters. When you learn Chinese, you only need to learn 1/10 amount of words.

By using

- Chinese, I can remember 60 different CMA techniques as 60 different Chinese characters.
- English, I have to use 115 English words to remember the same 60 techniques.

That's the beauty of the Chinese character. It's much more condensed.

頦(Ti) - Forward kick,
(Cuo) - Scooping kick,
蝎(Zhan) - Sticking kick,
(Zhuang) - Trunk hitting,
(Kao) - Advance squeeze,
敶(Tan) - Spring,
(Tiao) - Hooking kick,
蝥(Chan) - Foot entangling,
(He) - Inner hook,
(Tao) - Inner knee seizing,
...
 
Last edited:

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
7,304
Reaction score
3,489
Location
Phoenix, AZ
There are 300,000 English words. There are only 30,000 Chinese characters. When you learn Chinese, you only need to learn 1/10 amount of words.
...

Well, English has many more words than any one person knows or uses. Being a "bastard" language assimilated containing bits and pieces of so many other languages, it has a huge range of words. I believe I remember years ago watching a documentary series on the English language in which it was stated that for this reason the total number of words in English was roughly double that of many other European languages including French, Spanish and German. This allows for great subtlety and nuance in speech. It can also contributes to confusion and misunderstanding.

Regardless of the total number of words in the O.E.D., apparently one can function with far fewer. As a high school art teacher, I can attest that a lot of my students seem to get by with shockingly limited vocabularies.
 
OP
donald1

donald1

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Messages
3,529
Reaction score
806
There are 300,000 English words. There are only 30,000 Chinese characters. When you learn Chinese, you only need to learn 1/10 amount of words.

By using

- Chinese, I can remember 60 different CMA techniques as 60 different Chinese characters.
- English, I have to use 115 English words to remember the same 60 techniques.

That's the beauty of the Chinese character. It's much more condensed.

頦(Ti) - Forward kick,
(Cuo) - Scooping kick,
蝎(Zhan) - Sticking kick,
(Zhuang) - Trunk hitting,
(Kao) - Advance squeeze,
敶(Tan) - Spring,
(Tiao) - Hooking kick,
蝥(Chan) - Foot entangling,
(He) - Inner hook,
(Tao) - Inner knee seizing,
...

are Characters the same thing as words?
 

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
33,925
Reaction score
8,912
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
Forgive me, but I really don't understand what you are saying, Xue. How can you say that dao means knife? Dao means dao. No more and no less.

"Knife" is an English word and construct. It has many meanings but generally would not describe the large bladed weapons that the Chinese include in the category of dao. Other things that the Chinese call dao might fit right into our English conception of knife. But overall, Chinese categories obviously do not correspond precisely with our categories. So Dao is dao and knife is knife.

You know this isn't just a problem with attempting to directly translate Mandarin to English. Direct, word for word translation is imperfect even among closely related languages such as English and German. Take the German messer for example. The word means knife, but in fact it is a sword. One that in Chinese would be called a dao. Nevermind that in English it is absolutely a sword. Now there are specific historical reasons why this sword was called a messer (knife) in German. But I think even Germans of the period fully realized that a big kriegmesser (literally war-knife) was more than a knife. See the clip below:


Or check out this picture: http://www.lutel-handicraft.com/files/products/11005B.jpg

So in German a messer (wink, wink) in English a backsword or saber, in Chinese a dao. Translation is such an imperfect process (sigh).

I'm not going to go here after this, because it will get real silly, and you can go with whatever you wish but talk to any Chinese linguist (I am not one nor to I pretend to be) to a native Chinese speaker and dao "Translates" to knife. End of discussion as far as I'm concerned. What any westerner wants to do with the meaning and "direct" translation after that does not realty matter.

Dao is a "category" that is all like cow or dog or horse to the Chinese, it is a category.

And if you want to get really technical Dao is the romanization of the "sound" you get when you read and the character "translates" :to knife.

Now I am not going to argue this, discuss this or go further with this, can't help the reality of it or those who have misconceptions about it, just like those that call themselves grandmasters and use the title sigung/shigong for that....and again, to anyone that knows the language sigung/shigong means teacher's teacher...not grandmaster...

and for the record, German is not any dialect of Chinese

Ich finsihed, auf Wiedersehen

I would have used the Chinese, but apparently that is up to interpretation as to what it means when written
 

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
7,304
Reaction score
3,489
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I'm not going to go here after this, because it will get real silly...

Absolutely silly. I mean really, ...we are literally arguing semantics! :)

Anyway, my whole point was not to disagree with you. I know from previous posts that you have lived in China, speak Mandarin and have a Chinese wife. I do not speak any dialect of Chinese and absolutely defer to your authority in how the Chinese view dao.

My point about the term was entirely different and comes from having studied social anthropology and linguistics a long time ago. A very influential professor of mine, David Murray (Experts - David W. Murray - Hudson Institute) made quite a point about how different cultures organize their worldviews in markedly different ways, breaking reality down into very different categories which in turn are expressed through their languages. Their language, in turn also influences how they perceive their world by imposing it's constructs upon their human perception.

Let me give an example. Prof. Murray did his doctoral research on the Navajo reservation in northern Arizona and New Mexico, and became one of very few non-Navajos to speak that very difficult, tonal language. In our seminars, he shared with us that in the Navajo language, the colors we, in English, call blue and green are the same. That is to say that Navajo has one term that includes both blue and green. Native Navajo speakers simply deconstruct reality differently. That does not mean that they cannot distinguish between shades of blue and green. They just call them the same thing.

The problem comes when you try to translate Navajo linguistic constructs into another language, such as American English. There is no single word to word correspondence. Prof. Murray pointed out that this sort of conceptual variance is, of course, especially true of very different cultures like the Navajo, Anglo-American, and Chinese, for example. But to a lesser degree these kinds of differences are still apparent when comparing different Western cultures (such as the English and German example previously referenced), and even can create misunderstandings between sub-cultures who are said to speak the same language. Like me a Yank getting totally confused reading some of Tez's posts. :confused:

So, I really have no opinion about how the Chinese view dao. I was just noting that they certainly seem to use the term differently than we use the English tem "knife". And if such a relatively straight-forward term can create such confusion, imagine how much confusion there must be for us Westerners trying to comprehend the subtleties of the more abstract concepts involved in TCMA.

Dao (knife)
http://www.angelsword.com/photos/oriental/bk123-693a.jpg

Falchion (sword)
http://www.peterjohnsson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/falchion.jpg

Saber (sabre/sword)
http://www.sailorinsaddle.com/media...S_MAMELUKE_SABER_RELIC_634460979076686250.jpg
 
Last edited:

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
33,925
Reaction score
8,912
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
Never lived there by the way.

You run into something similar in Mandarin for he and she the spoken word for both is T, but the characters are different (he) (she). This can make for some rather embarrassing conversation, in English, with a native Chinese speaker, because they tend to use he and she interchangeably.
 

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
7,304
Reaction score
3,489
Location
Phoenix, AZ
You run into something similar in Mandarin for he and she the spoken word for both is T, but the characters are different (he) (she). This can make for some rather embarrassing conversation, in English, with a native Chinese speaker, because they tend to use he and she interchangeably.

This could be quite useful in some circles. My daughter has a lot of friends in the local LGBT community and believes that English really needs to develop gender-neutral pronouns. Sounds like the Chinese are way ahead of us there.

Now about what folks call a "knife", apparently there is some disagreement even in the English speaking world:

 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
Staff member
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
12,757
Reaction score
10,116
Location
Maui
The english language is crazy. Take the term "world wide web" for example. It's three syllables long. Until we, here in America, shorten it to WWW......which is nine syllables.

I hope we don't shorten it anymore, it will take three minutes to say.
 

kuniggety

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jan 3, 2015
Messages
795
Reaction score
272
Location
Oahu, Hawaii
I am a student of languages. I studied French in high school (I still remember enough for survival/basic conversational needs), a little Japanese in college (and lived here) but am a loser and never took advantage of the opportunity to get fluent, have a bit of knowledge of Mandarin (but no real practice using it), and am at the basic conversational graduating to conversational level Thai (i.e. It's becoming my strongest foreign language). I've also taken stabs at Tagalog. I find it fascinating the different ways cultures express certain ideas. English and French share a lot in common but the vocabulary of English is huge which has been commented on. Thai and Mandarin are very similar. They are both 5 tone, similar grammar, and gender neutral pronouns. The writing is starkly different, however with Thai having a more proper "alphabet". Then there's Japanese which doesn't share roots with any other language but it's pronunciation is a subset of English and has a derivative of the Chinese writing system. I've found the 80/20 rule to hold strongly true. That is: 80% of them time you use 20% of the language. English might have 300k words but the guesstimated literacy of a college educated fluent speaker is in the 30-40k range. In everyday speech we use less than 1/10 of that. In just about any language you can have basic conversational ability with 1k words and advanced speech with 2k-3k. Usually 5k+ you're considered fluent in a language.
 
OP
donald1

donald1

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Messages
3,529
Reaction score
806
I got another question, I asked my instructor about the lecture (going to MA event and theres going to be a lecture) his reply mostly philosophy. Well whrn I think of philosophy I think of things like socrates, renee decartes, free will vs determinism, or theory of mind. Usually MA dosnt cross my mind when thinking about philosophy. My question, what is their relation??
 
OP
donald1

donald1

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Messages
3,529
Reaction score
806
I asked my instructor through text message and he said t look up daoism. And I did. though I only read enough to learn its also called taoism (I think it called them the same thing) though I plan on researching more on that tommarow
 

kuniggety

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jan 3, 2015
Messages
795
Reaction score
272
Location
Oahu, Hawaii
I asked my instructor through text message and he said t look up daoism. And I did. though I only read enough to learn its also called taoism (I think it called them the same thing) though I plan on researching more on that tommarow

Taoism is Daoism. When writing Mandarin using Western script, the "t" is usually used to indicate the Western "d" sound.
 
OP
donald1

donald1

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Messages
3,529
Reaction score
806
I got two questions please.
1. When people discuss MA and philosophy; what are some examples that someone may discuss?

2. MA without kata (forms) all the different ma styles I practiced have forms. Im curious, what do styles without forms do? Do they focus on techniques and and uses for techniques?
 

Chris Parker

Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
6,259
Reaction score
1,103
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Question 1: Go to the lecture and find out. Different arts will mean different things. Some will apply philosophical concepts (such as Taoism, listed above), some will apply their own (martial) philosophies the thing to remember is that a philosophy is not the same as philosophy (in regards to an academic study).

Question 2: Depends on the art.

So, to recap 1: Depends on the art. 2: Depends on the art.
 

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
33,925
Reaction score
8,912
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
I got two questions please.
1. When people discuss MA and philosophy; what are some examples that someone may discuss?

What Chris said

2. MA without kata (forms) all the different ma styles I practiced have forms. Im curious, what do styles without forms do? Do they focus on techniques and and uses for techniques?

Also what Chris said with one addition.... the 2 I have trained that say they do not have forms.....have drills....which are much like form with application
 
OP
donald1

donald1

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Messages
3,529
Reaction score
806
I liked the lectures. Sort of, some were interesting to listen to (my favorite one discussed "change" how forms change over time and other martial arts aspects. And even made comparison to stuff like nature.) Some were confusing and I when I get bored or very confused my concentration and focus seem to... disappear. I dont like sitting still and quiet. Id rather try something but listening can be intetesting and have good information to learn. Maybe one day id like to teach one :)
My question, what is your opinion on MA related lectures?
 

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
7,304
Reaction score
3,489
Location
Phoenix, AZ
My question, what is your opinion on MA related lectures?

I can enjoy a MA discourse more if it is interspersed with demonstrations. Pure lecture format can seem pretty dry and far removed from the physical reality of the MA. Or maybe that's just my ADD talking. :D


OK, ...when I was very young I was really impressed by a couple of my professors. For a while, I actually planned to make a career in academia. And I always thought it would be cool to approach teaching martial arts with that kind of intellectual depth and rigor. Well, talk about driving students away in a hurry. Sheesh! :eek:

If you want an example of what that's like read Kung-fu Tea. Good stuff, but dry. Ben Judkins, the author, is an academic and former professor at the U. of Utah:

Kung Fu Tea

BTW several MT members are highly educated academics. Thankfully they tend to be a lot less ponderous than Judkins. :)
 
Last edited:
Top