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#143529 - 05/13/05 03:04 PM Tone and Terms used in the dojo...
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
I don't mean to exclude other countries...but I only know about the US and Japan on this topic.

I think gradully dojo's in the US are starting to realize that learning and teaching Karate does not need the military-style mindset we have seen. (especially prevalent after US servicemen came back and opened dojo's)

I think when speaking/counting/answering, etc in a dojo with enthusiasm, spirit and from the hara are good for dojo atmosphere...but the militaristic component is unneccessary, and in some circumstances, actually sounds quite rediculous.

If a sensei corrects, it seems odd to hear someone scream "OSSSSSS, SENSEI!" kinda like "YES DRILL SARGENT".

During basic training in the military, they want you to scream everything and mindlessly do as you are told. This is for effect. they are shaping a civilian into a killer...there is a process for doing this.

Karate is not shaping people into killers, Karate (hopefully) has the aim of shaping people into defenders.

"Osu" - some dojo's incorrectly use this for everything.. they use it for 'yes,no,I understand,thankyou,can I go to the bathroom lol, etc'. Whats funny is watching an 'Osu' dojo being asked a question with a negatory answer...they get confused because they don't know how to say 'No' using 'Osu' LOL about just saying in English "No, Sensei"
Use of the term Osu in the dojo is a Japanese invention... it's usage in Japan is inconsistent and informal used sparingly. You could translate it thru kanji interpetation but I doubt it would make much sense (a source of mistranslation), it's more a show of spirit or enthusiasm.

use these (or just english) instead:
"hai, sensei" - yes
"arigato, sensei" - thank-you

there are too many variations in Japanese to say 'No'. one of them being 'iie' which sounds too close to an English "yeah". you'd be better off using English for 'No'.

"wakarimashita, sensei" or
"hai, wakarimashita, sensei"
means: I understand what you just told me. it's more formal and not common in US. used in Japan or here when the Sensei's first language is Japanese.

all the rest are used pretty standard:
"yoi" - ready
"hajime" - begin
"yame" - finish
"mawate" - turn
"moichido" - one more time (repeat)

In any event, it's not what you are saying, it's how you are saying it. Like I said, whatever language you use, say it from the hara and not need to SHOUT!


#143530 - 05/13/05 09:36 PM Re: Tone and Terms used in the dojo... [Re: Kintama]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH

A long time ago I realized my path wasn't to Okianawa or Japan. I also realized my students of all ages, and the generations to follow, cared less about the history and more about the direct practice of the art.

When in Rome I will follow any code of conduce, title structure, or language approach of another dojo.

But when I teach, even as a guest instructor, I drop everyone to sit on the floor, inform them my name is Victor, and I don't shout (too much) and want to have fun together.

I don't use Japanese. I kind of figure if in Japan they play baseball using their native languate, if Funakoshi transplanting an Okinawan art to Japan was willing to shift to pure Japanese for the instruction, I could hardly do less.

So no pretend use of a language I know nothing about, no barking this or that. No Mawashi-Uke or whatever. Just clear communication.

For the kids I do keep a hand full of terms and counting to 10, to always re-inforce the art was transplanted.

But I believe in a generation or two, most of the trappings are due to be let go, excpet for those who 1) actually train in Japan or 2) have no choice but to toe the company line.

For example I can give you several predictions that I'm sure will pass.

1. The traditional uniform (the Japanese import Gi) as opposed to the classic uniform (one's underwear) are going to be surplanted by Wallmart, sweat pants and plain color t-shirts (if one is a 'traditional' school). In the long run it's too comfortable not to go that way, especially when old f***s like myself, who came up in the old traditions pass away, and those looking for the future start making real decisions.

2) Except for researchers, or those involved in international competition, or those in very tight organizations, the only real language world wide, is the development of a local vocabulary that gets the job done, clear communication ,clear time transmisson of the art.

3. The movie/video tape/dvd will eventually pass once people realize they're only good for glancing, not instruction. They're too one dimensional to make a real difference.

4. Eventually a better movement dynamics vocabulary will be developed that will allow direct transmisson of a form with no changes because of the enhanced language effort. Dance Instructors have a very complex language to record dance, and today other instructors can 100% replicate a dance from 50 years ago. God how sad karate as diddly squat that makes a difference. Some of us make our own small strides, but technically we're in movement kindergarden, no matter how effective an instructor may be, he doens't have the tools to really time bind his answers.

THe problem today is too many are hamstrung on inconsiquental issues, such as my kata, or system are the answer. The true answer has many versions, but the stronger transmission, to keep the future from totally wasting their time re-creating the past, is lost because too many peoplre are looking at the finger and not the moon.
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#143531 - 05/13/05 11:45 PM Re: Tone and Terms used in the dojo... [Re: Victor Smith]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
This is kindof a trivial topic, I agree. Just a passing thought to share.

Funakoshi using Japanese for teaching: I suspect the Japanese pressured the Okinawans to teach in Japan, however there were some at their own will,some were more cooperative than others, but the 'movement' was Japan manufactured. 'pressured' is a soft term. We are talking about post industrial Japan with a chip on it's shoulder from a semi-sucessful war with Russia-backed China. At that time, when Japan 'suggests' for your country to do something, what it really meant is "Do this or we will make you and your family's life miserable". I'm pretty sure Funakoshi didn't have a choice in that matter of which language to teach in. One of the reasons, besides his skill, that Funakoshi was so successful and attributed with so much is because he was so complient with the Japanese government/officials. He was initially 'awarded' fame. - thats just my theory. People forget their history on how arrogant Japan was at that time.

I agree that it makes more sense to use native language for clear communication and comfortable clothes for training. hehe...can you imagine how many people would no longer be going to class if that changed overnight? no gi, no obi, no ego stroke there. no foriegn terms to hide behind. lol

actually, Japanese do use English terms when playing baseball...well, a sort of pidgin English. "Sutaraiku!"=strike, "Homu ran"=home run, etc.
It's actually a good parallel of comparison to dojo culture in the US. Things can get carried away, and that's why I mentioned the "Osu" thing. It doesn't really matter as long as the spirit is there...

I would like the style of teaching you described. In contrast, with the military-style dicipline, one has to wonder, is it really spirit coming from the students or are they merely complying for fear of disapproval from Sensei?
In fairness, I think when someone first starts training, they are just complying...after a few years however, they will be putting everything they have into it for their own reasons....or not.

movement dynamics and body mechanics language...that would be nice. In a forum, it's so hard to visualize and talk about (I notice not too many people even try to attempt discussions on it). That is in itself an indicator of the need for terms.

dry stuff and only peripherally(sp?) related to just going to a place and training.

#143532 - 05/14/05 01:30 PM Re: Tone and Terms used in the dojo... [Re: Kintama]
kenposan Offline

Registered: 08/23/01
Posts: 633
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
I dropped most of the Eastern trappings long ago. We rarely bow (except when sparring), don't wear gis (gi pants and a plain white T[shirt), don't go barefoot (MA shoes), and use English except for concepts (mushin, kime, etc), then I use that term. No belts. My students use my first name. We do count in Japanese, just can't break myself of that one, LOL
The angry man will defeat himself in battle, as well as in life. -Samurai maxim

#143533 - 05/14/05 02:11 PM Re: Tone and Terms used in the dojo... [Re: Kintama]
Salek Offline

Registered: 06/09/04
Posts: 475
Loc: Minnesota
Oh my goodness And I thought my dojo was non traditional...

We wear Gis, we bow to eachother, we bow when entering and leaving the dojo, we bow to our sensei as a greeting, we go bare foot, and we have full opening and closing rituals for the classes. But we do not do all the yelling.

All the other things I had heard of are fine to me, except for the no Gi thing.

They give you the mindset of "Ok, now I am going to learn to fight" They help you avoid the mindset of "Ok, time to get a good work out" The belt helps you find your center (the knot)

Heh heh... and I live in "Hickville Minnesota"

Either way... within 100 years, it is my opinion that there will be very few traditional hard core dojos out there... Although depressing, i believe it is inevitable (pardon spelling if its wrong there)
He who does not punish evil commands it to be done.

#143534 - 05/14/05 02:51 PM Re: Tone and Terms used in the dojo... [Re: Salek]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH

Don't get depressed. 100 years ago there were no karate gi, there were no dojo (both being Japanese imports) and there was no traditional karate - it being the time before traditional karate was created.

Karate has a vitality of being alive and changing as the time, generation, place and people require.

That is the true tradition, not what was done 20 or 50 years ago.

As long as individuals strive to focus their energy, use techniques who flow from long lineage, keep kata alive and always drill their opponent, karate will remain.

The rest are mere trappings.

It is intersting how what we first experience takes hold as the 'right' way. I too started in gi and as much as I know there are better ways, and often use them, still am drawn to keep my origins.

But times pass.

And you know the real goal really should be not what is traditional karate, but how do we make the karate we're sharing with our students stronger, better, more intelligent, and better communicated than anyone has seen on the planet before.

Much more important than worrying about Shimabuku, Soken, Mabuni, Nagamine, Kyan and all the rest.

The future, grounded in the past, is far more important.
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#143535 - 05/14/05 11:26 PM Re: Tone and Terms used in the dojo... [Re: Kintama]
GojuRyuboy13 Offline

Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 538
Loc: U.S. of A.
Well, at my dojo we bow when entering and leaving.
Bare feet, Gi, belt, bow to are partners whenever we practice togethor. Full opening and closing serimonies (wow I have no idea how to spell that word)
When we bow at first we say onegaiishimas, (please teach me) and when we finish we bow again saying arigato gozaimashta (thank you for teaching me)

During serimonies, when the instructor gives a command or the head student gives a command, it is said loudly.

Whenever answering to Sensei it's either yes Sensei or no Sensei. Unless ofcourse the answer requires something else, but you still say Sensei at the end of the sentence.
May the force be with you.

#143536 - 05/15/05 05:27 AM Re: Tone and Terms used in the dojo... [Re: GojuRyuboy13]
Bushi_no_ki Offline

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1669
Loc: POM, Monterey CA
When I open my own dojo, eventually, I think I'll eschew some of the traditions. The gi itself definately will go. The belt will be replaced with a sash, or maybe a baseball cap. Alot of people wear those as it is. There will be some sort of bow to begin and end class with, And I think people calling me Mr. Goforth and sir will suffice for a show of respect.

That is the nice thing about Karate, is that it's slowly becoming something other than an import from a foreign country, there are aspects that are becoming American in American dojos.

#143537 - 05/15/05 06:18 AM Re: Tone and Terms used in the dojo... [Re: Bushi_no_ki]
still wadowoman Offline
Improved beefier techno-prat

Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 3420
Loc: Residence:UK- Heart:Md, USA
I love wearing a gi, but not just because it is traditional.

It is comfortable
It allows great freedom of movement
Everyone looks the same
It doesn't rip like a teeshirt when grappling
The knees don't wear out like jogging bottoms
Anyone mind if I sit down?

#143538 - 05/15/05 06:31 AM Re: Tone and Terms used in the dojo... [Re: still wadowoman]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Hi Sharon,

My own thoughts about the future of uniforms would not be one layered. Stronger tops for grappling would be part of the program, but grappling in break away t-shirts would be part of the program too.

Many times what people wear are t-shirts, and believing grappling against a heavy jacket is correct training is bad form IMVOH.

Grappling has different flavors, and the style of uniform used should reflect diversity to work towards effectiveness.
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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