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Given the broad range of styles that MA.SE will cover, there are going to be times when you will need to use Japanese (or Chinese/Korean etc) words and terms to describe a concept or technique. Some of these terms are very likely to come up repeatedly.

For example: uke, tori, randori, gyaku, densho etc. for Japanese Jujutsu like styles.

Are these terms going to be commonly understood by members of different styles? Do we need to always add an explanation to the term in every answer?

If Asian kanji is used, does that need to be romanized and explained?

  • Do we need a glossary?
  • Do we need guidelines on how to use Asain kanji in answers?
  • When we got to the point when we start to edit and clean up the questions, what are the standards we should apply?
  • The same word can have very different meanings for different arts. How do we resolve this?
  • Many of the same techniques are called different things in different styles. Should there be a common / default style used for naming these? (i.e. use the Akido names)
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    I wouldn't expect kanji to be used unless it was a question specifically about that, or the kanji added context to the question. – slugster Feb 7 '12 at 6:01
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Are these terms going to be commonly understood by members of different styles?

No, they are not going to be commonly understood. For example, a student of chin na might have a good understanding of wrist locks, but simply being unfamiliar, may find gyaku to be a completely foreign term. This is problematic, sure, but it's also somewhat expected.

Do we need to always add an explanation to the term in every answer?

To a degree, yes, and certainly if asked. It needn't be an over-the-top explanation (i.e. gyaku does not need to be followed with a play-by-play of how the wrist is reversed), but broad strokes ("wrist lock") can often be enough.

If Asian kanji is used, does that need to be romanized and explained?

If they are used, the reader should never be expected to know Japanese to understand what is being said. As my technical writing professor used to say: when in doubt, write for the lowest common denominator.

Do we need a glossary?

We really have one already: google. Anyone confused can and should access google to make their own understanding better. Further, before we ask a question, we're expected to consult google first (to make sure the question isn't a relatively pointless and easily looked up one); why then shouldn't answerers expect to do the same?

Do we need guidelines on how to use Asain kanji in answers?

Personally, I use them only when I'm explaining something that seems to warrant it (the romanization of jujutsu vs. jiu-jitsu came up in an earlier question, so it seemed appropriate). For the most part, those characters are probably going to mean little to 90% of visitors and should probably be omitted unless a case specifically warrants it (such as romanized homonyms and the like).

When we got to the point when we start to edit and clean up the questions, what are the standards we should apply?

I've always liked the standard of italicizing romanizations (the latin-character spelling of non-latin-characterized languages) so as to differentiate them from misspellings. I suppose it may be handy, in cleaning up questions and answers for posterity to include kanji/hanzi in those cases if they're warranted and the individual is capable of posting them. They should certainly never be used to substitute latin spellings.

The same word can have very different meanings for different arts. How do we resolve this? Many of the same techniques are called different things in different styles. Should there be a common / default style used for naming these? (i.e. use the Akido names)

Interesting... We could always take the Japanese approach of contextualizing the use of the phrase... If we're asking about a Judo technique which differs from a Shinden Fudo-ryu technique of the same name, and even if we're unsure if it does, we should probably tag the question appropriately with (in that case).

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  • Tag synonyms can be used where appropriate for some of these things. – Matt Chan Feb 7 '12 at 3:30
  • Unfortunately, synonyms don't cover homonyms, which arise commonly in Japanese; in the Bujinkan alone, we have a number of techniques that share romanization but differ in meaning. The tags can be used in conjunction to supply meaning in these cases as possible, but individual techniques don't necessarily warrant the tag, and it can be problematic to comment out of context (believing someone is referring to a waza in Aikido when they mean one in Gyokko-ryu). Tag synonyms can help, but only in a limited capacity, unfortunately. – stslavik Feb 7 '12 at 16:48
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I think the CJK terms should have the original hanzi/kanji/hanja in parentheses where practical so we can disambiguate homonyms. This will also make it easier for those who wish to dig deeper to find sources in the original language. Sometimes, you need this to explain the puns. Unless you're going to reference homonyms within the same question/answer, it is sufficient to see it declared once at the top.

For example, for Chinese:

jin, jin, jing, and jing

is much clearer when you have

jin (近, advance), jin (勁, power), jing (經, transmission) and jing (精, essence)

I don't have an opinion on tagging.

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    Introduction of the CJK characters also makes the responses more imminently searchable. +1 – stslavik Feb 9 '12 at 19:32
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    Also it helps for distinguishing between romanization systems to add the CJK/latin/whatever terms as appropriate. One of the continuing frustrations with Korean martial arts is the question of the right romanization system to use, and then a bunch of people just seem to make it up as they go along and spell it as they perceive it phonetically. – David H. Clements Feb 10 '12 at 19:14
  • However, on computers that don't have support for Asian characters, it shows up as an empty box. Windows requires an extra step to make them visible (at least on XP and prior versions). In your example I see four boxes where the kanji should be. – Berin Loritsch Apr 13 '12 at 17:10
  • @BerinLoritsch I think having empty boxes is acceptable as long as the romanization is still there. If you are practicing an East Asian martial arts, then you would be doing yourself a disfavor by not taking the extra time to enable the encoding. If you are not practicing an Asian martial arts, then this doesn't matter to you. – Ho-Sheng Hsiao Apr 14 '12 at 1:30
  • Agreed, but when I'm at work I don't have that luxury. The machines are locked down and you can't add any language support. – Berin Loritsch Apr 14 '12 at 3:13
  • @BerinLoritsch right, so this is between you and your employer, and not about what should be done about CJK characters on the Martial Arts StackExchange. The empty boxes don't break anything on your box. I think you would rather be able to accept the empty boxes for now on the chance you can see them later instead of not having access to them at all. It's all a part of the story. – Ho-Sheng Hsiao Apr 15 '12 at 15:48

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