So in Japanese, the word jodan means joke. It’s one of the first Japanese words I ever learned, but in a Taido context, I always thought of jodan as referring to high kicks and punches. It’s also one of our three kamae.
A few years ago, I got interested in jodangamae and began to practice it pretty seriously. I worked on all kinds of interesting applications for various techniques and other movements using jodan. Occasionally, I even find myself using it in jissen to change direction or level. I especially like using jodan with sentai movements.
So one time, at a special training day for Tokai University’s Taido club, I was working with about 40 purple and green belt students on their sentai. We did all kinds of games and drills and other kinds of practice, and I was telling a few students during a break that they should spend more time working on their jodangamae. One of them replied “jodan desho?” which, in context, should have meant “you mean jodan, right?” So I confirmed that I was suggesting he practice jodangamae. Again, he said “jodan desho?” and I got it – he was saying “you’ve gotta be joking.” Sadly for him, I was not, and the entire group went on to practice jodangamae for about 45 minutes.
I learned two things from this experience: nobody but me likes to practice jodangamae, and there is always more than one way to look at any situation – one of which is usually much funnier than the others.
And so anyway, you now know a Japanese Taido joke. Congrats.
Speaking of jokes, check this out:
This guy has appeared on Japanese TV at least a couple of times. For those of you who don’t get the J-talk, he’s basically telling a story that makes a joke of some Taido technique names. The punch lines of the two versions I saw were “untai 2dangeri,” and “hentai manjigeri.” One of them was sort of funny; one was sort of stupid. Apparently, he went to the Japan Taido Association guys and asked them if he could go on TV and make a joke of Taido. “It’ll be good publicity,” he probably told them. They said OK.
So, before, I would say that I practice Taido, and people would say “I’ve never heard of it.” Now they just laugh at me. Great publicity.
People here constantly talk about trying to make Taido a major martial art in Japan. Then they go and hold openly biased tournaments and let this guy make Taido look like a joke on national TV. Brilliant strategizing.