1. #1
    Permalost's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    14,357
    Style
    street paddleboarding
    3
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Another kung fu pet peeve



    I've noticed that a lot of people like to do something annoying when they post videos about the exotic style they study. Below is a Dan Horgan vid, see if you can spot it:



    Now I understand finding an annoying thing in one of his vids is finding Waldo on this page:


    but the specific thing I'm talking about here is putting the ideograms of the art in parenthesis after writing it out in English. For example, wing chun (詠春), choy li fut ( 蔡李佛). Who is that helping? First of all, Chinese people barely give a **** about Wing Chun. Second, if the Chinese wanted to look it up and couldn't understand Wing Chun written in English, why would they even watch an English chun vid, which are notorious for being like 75% explaining theory in the most technical jargon they can manage? To me, the whole thing seems like a way to make the art you study look more authentic. Pandering to the consumer's sense of the exotic and foreign, a land where kung fu is not just daycare for kids and weird teens, where the writing looks badass.

    I don't mean this to be a rant against Dan Horgan, because I see this stuff in a number of styles- basically if it comes from a place with cool script, foreigners will shoehorn it into their vids to the benefit of nobody. The whole thing kinda reminds me of people who can't read Kanji getting it in tattoo form.

    On a related gear-grinding, I don't like only Asian ideograms in style fields either- did you only want people that know a language you don't speak to know your style? Its like having a stonecutter symbol for your style field.
    Last edited by Permalost; 12/04/2013 12:53pm at .

  2. #2
    W. Rabbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Suburbia
    Posts
    11,639
    Style
    Mixed
    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I have to agree, which is why I changed my style feed a while back, but for a very interesting reason that I'll bet you'll find interesting.

    Now, with certain styles like Hung ga, the hanzi is literally the name of a family, so putting Hung on anything is more like a signature. 洪家拳 is ideographic for "Hung Family's Fist".

    But, what makes for great fun is that the hanzi for the Hung family also happens to also be a logograph for "flood", and yes there is a completely different style from a different part of China that uses the exact same hanzi and means something else.

    So depending on who you are and what you know, "洪拳" can be perceived as either "Hung Fist" or "Flood Fist", and sure enough, this has caused confusion and mistranslation for centuries because while Hung ga is southern Chinese in origin, there is Hongquan, the famed Northern "Flood Fist" that uses the exact same hanzi.
    Last edited by W. Rabbit; 12/04/2013 4:48pm at .

  3. #3
    W. Rabbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Suburbia
    Posts
    11,639
    Style
    Mixed
    5
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    And of course Danny's use of 詠春 would be interpreted by a Chinese reader who also trains Wing Chun as "Wing Chun".

    Most Chinese would, however, read Danny's hanzi as "springtime chant" and not know what the **** he was talking about.

  4. #4
    1point2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    4,393
    Style
    BJJ blue, judo ikkyu
    1
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    On behalf of my style field, I am sorry. Sort of. OK, not really. I see your point but I'm not sorry.
    What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. -Xenophon's Socrates

  5. #5
    W. Rabbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Suburbia
    Posts
    11,639
    Style
    Mixed
    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by 1point2 View Post
    On behalf of my style field, I am sorry. Sort of. OK, not really. I see your point but I'm not sorry.
    No.

    Your ideographs are completed understood by most Chinese. Your style field is in fact very simple, conceptually. There is no bullshit in it.

  6. #6
    DCS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    6,496
    Style
    Jits
    1
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Permalost View Post
    On a related gear-grinding, I don't like only Asian ideograms in style fields either- did you only want people that know a language you don't speak to know your style? Its like having a stonecutter symbol for your style field.
    Yeah. People who do this are fucking snobs.

  7. #7
    "I feel naked I was so distracted by your penis"
    Dagon Akujin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    DETROIT WHAT! (and surrounding upper-class burbs)
    Posts
    1,842
    Style
    Ving Tsun
    1
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    The reason it's so common is because the idea that "A$ian stuff" is super magical is really common to westerners. It's really no different than when people don't think boxing qualifies as a martial art. And also really no different than when people tell me "I've always wanted to do kung fu because of this and that", and they say it without the slightest idea that "kung fu" literally means thousands of different things.

    Granted, I can't really fault people for liking it. It's "different", and therefore inherently cool in some way. Things like the picture below, are just pretty awesome:



    When you can hit, hit.
    When you can't, don't.


    Now, an American would need that explained to them. But Rabbit is right... a native Chinese speaker is going to need most of it explained too. When I've shown my kung fu t-shirts to native Chinese people, they can't really pick out the meaning of any of it without some explanation (unless they are already familiar with wing chun). "Spring something?"

    --Dagon Akujin

  8. #8

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    504
    Style
    BJJ
    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Dagon Akujin View Post
    The reason it's so common is because the idea that "A$ian stuff" is super magical is really common to westerners.
    That's part of it for some, but I also wonder how much of it is the fact that we're still blown away by the notion that a single character means a whole word, or a concept that takes many words to get to in English (or similar)?

    For my money that's where a lot of the intrigue lies.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    62
    Style
    Judo, BJJ
    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I suppose another reason for using symbols is that translating them to other languages can result in confusing stuff like Jiu-Jitsu, Jujutsu, jujitsu, etc and that it might actually be simpler to just use the original text. It would be similar to how Judo techniques are primarily all named in Japanese, despite the country it is trained in, to prevent them from being confusing.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Log in

Log in