Sunday, April 22, 2012
Lost in Translation
When I switched my training to Oyata's, from my previously practiced system, I was presented with numerous clarifications (if not corrections) of kata, motion, technique, theory, essentially everything that I had previously thought that I already understood.
Over the years, listening to Oyata has (always) been interesting. His command of the English language has improved immensely, but the subtle use and implications of certain words still elude him (hell, they do me too!, LOL).
When I listen to Oyata speak, I don't (always) care for the translator's interpretation of what was said. In his desire for clarity, Taika (even after having made his statement in English) will often have a translator restate what he (Oyata) had just said. I've found that interpreter’s will over-simplify (if not change the meaning of, IMO) what was just said.
To be fair to some of those translator's, Oyata doesn't exactly make it easy to do their job, LOL. He doesn't always slow-down, or allow time for the interpreter to catch-up (before changing the subject). In a “perfect world” a written transcript would be handy (for numerous reasons), but I'm sure even that would create later debate.
Video recording of Oyata's seminar events (well, domestic ones...), or at least the one's that feature Oyata, are (presently) not allowed. Oyata was concerned that person's would believe it possible to watch a video, and then feel that they had experienced an actual training session (and believe that they had actually learned something, even though not being corrected/clarified first-hand by Oyata).
This belief is the equivalent of watching a Football game, then proclaiming that you could (then) do everything that those guys did!
This is stupid, and I understand Taika's logic in feeling that way. But for those that did/have attended those seminars, it would provide a useful reference (for what was shown and worked on).
Beyond the (physical) techniques shown/worked on (my own interests are in regards to), a written transcript of what was discussed (by Oyata) would be convenient for future reference. These would be both for the present study by some, and for settling (the inevitable) disagreements by future generations (and for confirming/disputing claims made by those who were expelled).
Word of Mouth, is undoubtedly the most inefficient method of transferring information between individuals (much less generations). The written word is likewise subject to translation deficiencies (by either the recorder, or the reader). The Video medium has been presented to me on several occasions (as an option). This medium has numerous weaknesses as well. This is evidenced by the multitudes of people who attempt to perform Tuite after having only watched video clips of the techniques.
To actually learn Oyata's methodology, one would require a combination of any number of these methods. Different student's have different resources available to them. The most efficient (IMO) is through an actual instructor(s). One on One instruction provides the greatest number of learning options (for the student).
Student's should (when able) utilize a number of different instructor's (in the same system). Some instructor's have a real problem with that idea. Be it because of a power issue, or a denial of Sainthood (or supposed, knowledge level), many student's are denied the option of alternate study from another (or any other) instructor (even within the same system?).
Even Oyata was shown things from different instructor's/training partners. This isn't to say he was their student, only that he was shown some things that the individual shared with him (usually Kata).
His greatest advantage was that he spoke the same language as those individuals. I'm hesitant to learn (anything) from someone outside of Oyata's system (much less from another country). As a rule, at least here, we (both) would be speaking the same language (both in our training, and in our native tongue).
I tend to believe, that there has been a great deal of misinterpretation made between the East and the West. One of the biggest factors that drew myself to Oyata's instruction, was his (total) avoidance of any mystical or spiritual/religious explanations for anything he teaches. It's based purely on technique, and application knowledge.