08 Feb 2009

Years ago I studied Japanese. I had classes only once a week and the teaching methods were targeted for the lazy, so I never did actually learn it and stopped after few years. Still, it gave me enough knowledge that I should have solved the question I’ve had for years now, a problem I had with some aikido technique names. This weekend I attended Endo Shihan’s (遠藤征四郎) aikido seminar and while listening to the interpreter, it all fit together.

Ever since I started aikido, I didn’t understand the logic behind the terms katatedori, katadori etc.; one hand grab and shoulder grab. I though kata in both terms was the same word, that literal translation of katadori was “single grab” but as a compound it meant “shoulder grab”. Well, no. They are two different words and just share pronunciation. Or actually three different words.


It’s probably been clear for everyone else since the dawn of time, but for me only now I’ve understood what the words actually are. Lesson to be learned? Never rely on romaji alone, always read the kanjis too. Even if you don’t understand a stroke you’re reading.

No wonder I’ve always preferred morotedori (諸手取) to katateryotedori (片手両手取).


I might as well mention at least one other set of words that share the same pronunciation, tachi: