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Terminology
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English: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

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The English pages are a cross reference to the Rōmaji pages and are a simple list of English terms with links to the Japanese definition(s). reference booksWhen a term has a list of numbers following it, that term has more than one definition.

The Rōmaji pages contain Japanese terms and their definitions from several different sources. “Rōmaji” is a representation of Japanese words using the Roman alphabet, the format most commonly used outside of Japan. The sources are accessible at the top of each page. The numbers in the definitions correspond to the number of the source.

Example:

harai
1. [Common Usage] sweep, as in ashi barai, leg sweep
2. sweeping or reaping the feet from under an opponent using a driving movement of the foot or leg, producing a loss of balance on one side.
3. (ha-reye') "sweep" or "sweeping"
7. sweep

Where:

1. = Tuttle Dictionary of the Martial Arts, the term is common (not specific to any particular martial art or to the martial arts in general), and includes a link to another term, ashi harai, that is also defined.

2. = A Dictionary of the Martial Arts

3. = The Overlook Martial Arts Dictionary, includes the pronunciation

7. = Japan's Ultimate Martial Art

There was no direct definition found in the other sources.


Terminology is a difficult issue for the martial arts. Originally, when different styles or schools were forming, the terminology was just enough to communicate between teacher and student. This was usually done in the common language used by the teacher and student. Usually the terms were descriptive and straight-forward, much like western boxing describes a “left jab”, “upper-cut” or “round-house”. Later, as competition — often deadly — became more common between schools, different terminology often was desirable as one more way to obscure the specifics of what each school did.

Add to all this Asian martial arts transplanted to western culture and terminology becomes a mess. With the romanization of Kanji characters (Rōmaji), the distinction between the many homonyns was lost. Many of the “American” styles have a mix of different Asian styles, some with quite different terms and others with English — or no — terms for movements, positions, etc. When an instructor says “this is the Japanese for this technique” what they really mean, or should mean, is that it is the Japanese term used to refer to that technique in that dojo.



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