Please Pronounce Correctly

koshiI don’t speak Japanese, but I do my best to pronounce it correctly. Too often, I can see t-shirt written “Gyokko Ryū Koshi Jutsu” instead of “Gyokko Ryū KoSShi Jutsu.” (1)

Twelve years ago in a Nagato sensei’s class, he asked what we wanted to study as he always does. An American teacher jumped in and said: “Koshi jutsu.”

So, we trained hip-throws for two hours. I remind you that back in 2005, Nagato sensei’s classes were more “dynamic” to say the least.

At the end of the training, everyone was happy that training was over. Then my American friend came and complained to me (why me?).

– Him: Why did Nagato do Nage Waza? I asked him to do Koshi Jutsu!
– Me (soft and enjoying it): Because Koshi means hip in Japanese.
– Him (getting excited): But I wanted to study the Gyokko Ryū!
– Me (playful): So you should have asked,
– Him (getting aggressive): That’s what I did!!!!
– Me (enjoying it): No. You asked for Koshi instead of Kosshi
– Him (troubled): …Yes, it is the same, no?
– Me (in heaven): No. Koshi is the hip, where Kosshi is the main kaname for this year’s study of Gyokko Ryū.
– Him (not getting it): ugh?
– Me: You have to pronounce each one of the “Ss” if you don’t, it means something else, like hip in that case.
– Him: ???

He left me with the bright, and sharp look of an oyster. (2)
To this day, I’m not sure that he did understand, but luckily he is a high rank… (3)

As I said in the introduction, I do not speak Japanese, but I know that some sounds with nearly the same spelling can have different meanings in Japanese. When you learn the vocabulary, we use in training, pay attention to those double consonants.
That is also important with the long vowels like “o” / “ō” and “u” / “ū.” (4)

So, learn Bakka correct Japanese sounds if you don’t want to look like a Baka. (5)
1. 腰, Koshi: back; lower back; waist; hips; lumbar region
骨子, Kosshi: main point; gist; essentials; bones (e.g. of an idea); pith. And in 2005, Sensei used it with the meaning of “central pivot”, “vertical axis”, “coccyx.”
2. Metaphor intended
3. pun intended
4. The correct transcription uses an extra “u” after the o for the long “ō” and long “ū”. For example, Happou is Happō; Doujou is Dōjō; Chuu is Chū, Juudan is Jūdan. Because in the French language the sound “ou” is “u” (like in “Bujin”), I use the transcription with the flat accent on top. More on this here
5. 許, bakka: only; merely; nothing but; no more than
馬鹿, baka: fool; idiot

Basics & Fundamentals (part 2)

What does the Ten Chi Jin imply?

The Ten Chi Jin Ryaku no Maki is based on the three levels of life: heaven, earth and man. Man is the link between earth and heaven or between outer space and the planet. The old Chinese pictogram is a drawing representing two opposite half circles linked by a cross. The pictogram displays symbolically a human body with his legs on the earth supporting the sky with his arms, and mixing these two influences within his body.
What are the different parts of the Ten Chi Jin?

The Ten Ryaku deals with footwork, distances and angles; this is the vertical line in the pictogram. The Chi Ryaku deals with the bio-mechanical aspects of the different waza that can be applied once uke has reached tori (gyaku, nage, torite). This is the horizontal line. The Jin Ryaku is a series of about 50 waza taken from the nine schools to show the interaction of the waza and the footwork. This is the point where the vertical and horizontal line cross each other.
The Jin Ryaku has nothing to do with the schools. The waza taken from the schools are often quite different from the waza included in a certain level of a school. They are used as examples to manifest the interaction of body movement and creativity.
This is why they can be trained on both the left and right side and why they do not imply the use of weapons.
To be continued…