Art, Olympic Sport, Self Defence

(Protective Behavior)

Learn Japanese

How important is it to know what people are saying?

As a Judo instructor I can tell you that not knowing at least some Japanese will always be a problem. At least if you are going to do Judo or one of the other Japanese martial arts.

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Knowing the language can be the key to understanding how a particular technique is supposed to be performed.

I had an argument once with someone on email where my correspondent said that "O soto gari" had to be performed a certain way. I was able to show by correctly translating the name of the throw that my correspondent had been performing their throw incorrectly.
For example: O Soto Gari.
The throw is performed as:

Major -"O"

Outer - "Soto"

Reap -"Gari".

We now know by the name alone that the throw must be a large movement "O" , so all those who insist on trying to do the throw using little leg movements are never going to be able to perform the throw well.

We also know that the throw is performed on the outside so there is no hook in the movement and it is a reap. The shape of the leg is defined as bent, you can't perform this throw correctly with a straight leg, though there are so many that do.

This is only one of the many reasons you will want to learn Japanese.

Here are some of the others:

Impress your students, other Judoka or other martial arts practitioners with your knowledge of your martial art through nothing else other than understanding the words and terminologies that are used.

You'll will gain more respect from your fellow martial artists and you will have a much deeper understanding of your martial art, all because you have a grasp of the Japanese language.

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