Cichorei Kano wrote:Davaro wrote:Cichorei Kano wrote:Davaro wrote:Jonesy - I stay in South Africa... as stated in the OP, I am looking for something the lay-person would understand. We, or the people I am trying to impress, are not all PhD level individuals. Ps- If you say Ju does not mean gentle, please dont just leave it there. If you state an error, I would think that you would state what the correct translation, in Kano's terms if you want. I have always thought Ju to mean gentle. Please educate us?
Fin - what are you then? Objection noted...
WbW, as always you and Hedge have really provided insight...
Neil G - Thank you. I like where you went with that.
I am not Jonesy, but ... words have multiple meanings depending on the context. 'Jû' does not mean 'gentle'. Do you see anything 'gentle' in jûdô, with exception perhaps of a very feminine performance of jû-no-kata ? Do the descriptions of the initial contests by the Kôdôkan suggest anything gentle ? Do the first work-outs at Eishôji temple with the tablets falling down and the abott complaining sound like 'gentle' ? Does anyone think that an average workout in jûdô is gentle ?
The jû or yawara kanji also means meek, soft, tender, limp, or subdued, but once more not all those meanings apply to what 'jû' means in the noun 'jûdô'. Kanô has clearly defined its meaning by use of the sentence "jû yoku go (w)o seisu". The Jû implies a 'nonresistance', not 'gentle'. Jûdô's parent schools are inundated with further clarifications, such as Yôshin-ryû and the bending of a willow branch under snow until the snow drops off. That's not about 'gentleness', but about giving way to weight and force. In the meaning is a sense of 'pliable' contained, but not in an absolute sense. For example, a contortionist is much more pliable than any of us, but that clearly is not what jû in jûdô aims to be, it is not about exceeding others or certain limits in how far one can ply or bend. For that reason 'pliable' is a poor choice as a translation too.
One should bear in mind though that jû as used in Kôdôkan jûdô means as how Kanô has defined it. The word 'jûdô' by no means was original. It was used in schools such as Jikishin-ryû and some branches of Kitô-ryû, but these were not gendai budô (modern ways of military skills), but bugei or koryû. For that reason jûdô as used by them is not identical as jûdô used by Kôdôkan, even though the defining sentence "jû yoku go (w)o seisu" appears in the kuden (oral transmissions) of Tenjin Shin'yô ryû and in explanations about the principles of Kitô-ryû. However, it also isn't true that the spiritual dimension of Kôdôkan as used by Kanô was incredibly original. Like most things in Kôdôkan jûdô Kanô simply copied or took from existing materials elsewhere rather than create new from scratch. The spiritual dimension of Kôdôkan jûdô clearly comes from the Kitô-ryû branch studied by Kanô. It is likely no coincidence (and this should not necessarily be interpreted as 'positive') that Kanô stuck with schools that ... could be explained ... depending on one's view as ... "strongly spiritually developed", or ... "had completely lost realistic fighting skills and practice, and had become mere performance arts aiming to please the eye".
Thank you CK, as ever your insights are very thought provoking.
Based on what you wrote, what then, would be the correct "western" (If I may) translation of the word "Judo"?
I think I, and many others, can be forgiven for thinking it was the "gentle" way based on the plethora of obviously incorrect material available and from that which was passed down and probably lost in translation, by a multitude of Sensei...
Or is it perhaps best to just say it is "Judo" the Japanese term for the activity?
Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.
No, that it incorrect, but it is also not completely crazy. After all, the one thing that is about totally unknown in the West and also largely unknown in Japan, is that as Kanô's ideas had evolved towards the 1930s, he saw jûdô as an overall encompassing concept and specifically saw budô as a part of jûdô rather than the other way around, which is how jûdô is understood by almost everyone. If one considers that towards the end of his life, Kanô advocated a return to koryû and wanted to organize other arts at the Kôdôkan (see also professor Shishida's most recent publication) then this is not so strange or difficult to understand. However, I am not going to elaborate further on this as I am addressing some of it in research that it currently either under review for publication or in press.
I don't remember the source (I've never been accused of writing scholarly posts) but I remember something from the old forum about kano being asked if judo should be a part of the olympics, and him answering something along the lines of saying that the olympics should be a part of judo. one could gather from that an idea that kano looked at judo as physical education in general, and not necessarily limited to the gokyo etc.
am I completely off base on this one?
my favorite "translation" of the word judo thus far, and it may not be technically accurate but it captures the idea is judo means "they way of flexibility, both physical and mental."