Friday, July 5, 2013

体得 (taitoku) - direct experience

My Japanese language class method of teaching is interesting. The teacher doesn't or is reluctant to translate words or sentences into our language (Bahasa Indonesia), instead they show it using graphics and motions or pointing it out and have us do the same.

At first it's a bit difficult, but then I'm actually picking it up faster than the Japanese language classes I had in the past. Then it clicked, this is taitoku (体得).

Taitoku literally translates to "(the) body getting (it)" or less literal is "learning through the body"; the dictionary translation is "experience" or "mastery".

Learning budō (武道) is the same thing... but I think much of how the Japanese teach things are pretty much using the same method, learning by doing. You have theories and classrooms, but in the end you will need to practice what you learn with a guidance of a teacher or senior. One can learn a lot from a classroom, make theories, etc. but if one doesn't practice, then it's pretty much pointless.

In budō, taitoku the meaning could be taken both ways. One uses ones own body to experience the techniques and movement, feeling it as they are applied through our own body. Theories are fine, musings are alright, discussions are allowed, but at the end of the day you have to "put your money where your mouth is". Talking about it won't make you understand the concept any better, you must do!

There are tendencies of over-explanation and over-thinking nowadays because these things look illogical to our somewhat "academic" mind. It is illogical because we haven't experienced it, the logic has yet to exist in our mind.

The same when learning language. We tend to discriminate with the logic that we know about our own language or other languages we know. We tend to try to identify one thing with another that have a different background. To avoid this, the teacher doesn't do much translating, instead have us practice using it immediately, regardless whether or not we understand at that point of time. With frequent use in the correct manner, we understand what it means and how to use it though we may not be able to correctly translate it into our own language.

With budō over-explanation or over-thinking of things will leave one with a cluttered mind. These explanations or thoughts are of other's personal experience put into words in manners the person know how, it may not be the actual experience itself. In order to know one has to go through the same experience.

In saying that, this blog is one of those over-explanations/thinkings mentioned above, so don't take my word for it as this is my personal experience.

If one has to explain what a rose is to a person that has never seen, smell, feel a rose, how could one do that? One could only try to make analogies using things that the person has experienced before, but it is still not the actual rose, just an analog of secondhand information. If the person wants to know what a rose truly is, then that person will need to see, smell, feel the rose directly.

This is taitoku, if you want to know then you have to experience it directly.

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