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    Dan or Degree

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    justcurious

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    Dan or Degree

    Post by justcurious on Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:05 pm

    What is the origin of the word "degree" when referring to a person's dan rank?
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    Steve Leadbeater

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    Re: Dan or Degree

    Post by Steve Leadbeater on Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:08 am

    degree = level
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    Jonesy

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    Re: Dan or Degree

    Post by Jonesy on Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:14 am

    Dan means step or stage. Does not mean degree or rank - those are just terms inserted by Western judo federations.
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    Udon

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    Re: Dan or Degree

    Post by Udon on Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:07 am

    Step or stage is certainly more meaningful.

    justcurious

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    Re: Dan or Degree

    Post by justcurious on Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:05 am

    Why do some nations refer to Dan while others describe the stages as Degree?

    davidn

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    Re: Dan or Degree

    Post by davidn on Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:25 am

    and some refer to it as grade.
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    NBK

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    Re: Dan or Degree

    Post by NBK on Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:41 am

    I'd blame the Masons.
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    Udon

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    Re: Dan or Degree

    Post by Udon on Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:53 pm

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    Udon

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    Re: Dan or Degree

    Post by Udon on Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:55 pm

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    Y-Chromosome

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    Re: Dan or Degree

    Post by Y-Chromosome on Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:52 am

    justcurious wrote:What is the origin of the word "degree" when referring to a person's dan rank?

    I don't think you'll find a definitive answer to that. At best you could do a literature search and try to find the earliest mentions in English writing which would likely be no earlier than the late 1880s to sometime in the 1920s or 30s.
    It is altogether possible it was coined by Kano himself who was quite fluent in English.

    I have read that it was Kano who popularized the translation "Gentle way" for "Ju do". Many now acknowledge that "gentle" is not the best general-purpose translation of "ju". A lot of Judo terms have been "culturally adjusted" when translated. Some better than others.

    I try not to get too wrapped up over these things. I don't think there's any confusion in the English speaking world that dan ranks or "degrees of black belt" in any way equate to academic degrees, particularly university degrees.
    "Degree" can mean a lot of things in English, which is notoriously packed with both synonyms and homonyms.
    The "degree of black belt" is a very specific usage which derives from the practice of martial arts. First of Japanese/Okinawan origin and later broadening to Korean, European and Pan-American systems which adapted a judo-esque kyu-dan ranking system. Everybody knows it's its own thing and that you go to a dojo to get one and not a university.

    By the same token I can't get excited over whether one says "rank" vs "grade" or even "choke" vs "strangle". Po-TAY-to Po-TAH-to, Tom-MAY-to, To-MAH-to....

    I'm frankly usually just frustrated by semantic arguments and try to side-step them when I can.

    For instance I will frequently refer to Judo as a "discipline" so as to side step the argument over whether it is a "martial art", "martial way" or even not "martial" at all.
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    finarashi

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    Re: Dan or Degree

    Post by finarashi on Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:22 am

    In one of the earliest Judo books translated into english "Judo : Japanese physical culture : being a further exposition of jujitsu and similar arts" by Arima, Sumitomo, published in Tokyo, Japan, Mitsumura, 1908, 116p the author in frontispiece is described as Having "Yodan(Fourth grade)".

    In another famous book "Judo" by Yokoyama, Sakujirō (1864 - 1914) and Oshima, Eisuke ; transl. Horiguchi, Yamakichi, Tokyo, Japan, Nishōdō, 1915, 297p. the author is not give a dan grade, but first picture insert shows "promotion of members from one grade to another".

    In the french edition "Judo : manuel de jiu-jitsu de l'ecole Kano a Tokio" by Yokoyama, Sakujirō (1864 - 1914) and Oshima, Eisuke, Paris, France, Berger-Levrault, 1911, 209p. the author in frontispiece is referred "(7e degrè).



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    NBK

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    Re: Dan or Degree

    Post by NBK on Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:01 am

    finarashi wrote:In one of the earliest Judo books  translated into english "Judo : Japanese physical culture : being a further exposition of jujitsu and similar arts" by Arima, Sumitomo, published in Tokyo, Japan, Mitsumura, 1908, 116p the author in frontispiece is described as Having "Yodan(Fourth grade)".

    In another famous book "Judo" by Yokoyama, Sakujirō (1864 - 1914) and Oshima, Eisuke ; transl. Horiguchi, Yamakichi, Tokyo, Japan, Nishōdō, 1915, 297p. the author is not give a dan grade, but first picture insert shows "promotion of members from one grade to another".

    In the french edition "Judo : manuel de jiu-jitsu de l'ecole Kano a Tokio" by Yokoyama, Sakujirō (1864 - 1914) and Oshima, Eisuke, Paris, France, Berger-Levrault, 1911, 209p. the author in frontispiece is referred "(7e degrè).

    Yappari... the French screwed it up.

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