December 01, 2008
I've been confused about how ken gets used in certain words. One meaning of it is 剣 which means "sword". That one's used in 剣道 kendou which is, of course, the study of how to fight with a katana.
But 拳 is also pronounced ken and it means "fist". Alone, that isn't a word in Japanese but it's used in a lot of other things. For instance, it's used in 拳法 kenpou which is the name for a style of Chinese empty-hand fighting.
Reason I ran into this is that a lot of the weird techniques in DBZ include ken in their names, and they didn't involve swords. (The only sword in the series belongs to Yajirobe.)
Based on usage, I had come to the conclusion that ken also meant "technique", but if there's any such reading of it, I sure haven't found it. (jutsu certainly means "technique" but that's different.)
I'm still not clear on what "ken" is involved in the technique called tayoken, which results in a brilliant light that permits the user to escape. It's something Tenshinhan developed, but Goku and Krillin both know it, too. In DBZ we see Krillin use it three times and Goku once. The English translation was "Solar Flare", but since it doesn't include either a fist or a sword, I'm not clear on what it was supposed to be.
Anyway, in Ranma 1/2, I presume that neko ken is probably the "fist" reading. Does that seem right?
Anyway, to address the question in your post, the Chinese and Japanese (can't speak for Koreans) often suffix the names of fighting styles and techniques with the word 'fist'. E.g., 'juei keun' (drunken boxing) is literally 'drunken fist', and the 'quan' in 'tai chi quan' also means 'fist'. In many cases, 'fist' is better translated as 'attack' or 'technique' or 'style'.
Basically, if it's a martial arts technique that ends in 'ken', it's probably 'fist'.
Posted by: ambulatorybird at December 02, 2008 04:31 AM (XLOjF)
Posted by: ambulatorybird at December 02, 2008 04:39 AM (XLOjF)
I hope this helps.
Posted by: The Brickmuppet at December 02, 2008 01:45 PM (HaZVx)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 02, 2008 01:58 PM (+rSRq)
Another memorable one is from Harumi in episode 19 of Shingu.
By the way, a belated thank you for recommending Shingu. It's one of the few series that I've ever gotten my wife sucked into along with me.
Posted by: Griffin at December 02, 2008 04:11 PM (i7NhU)
Solar Fist is a possible translation of Taiyouken. Here are some examples:
猿拳 - Saruken / Monkey Style Kungfu
少林拳 - Shourinken / Shaolin Kungfu
螳螂拳 - Tourouken / Praying Mantis Style
虎燕拳 - Koenken / Tiger Swallow Fist
酔拳 - Suiken / Drunken Fist
五形拳 - Gokeiken / Five Form Fist
八極拳 - Hakkyokuken / Eight Extremities Fist
And just for fun, all these characters can be read as "ken":
Posted by: Mikan at December 03, 2008 06:10 AM (1aOo2)
Posted by: Tex Lovera at December 05, 2008 05:11 PM (cx4rG)
Yeah, Trunks had a sword. He used it to kill Frieza, and to test Goku. It eventually got broken when he tried to use it on the androids.
Interestingly, it was a long sword, European style, double-edged. It wasn't a Japanese style blade.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 05, 2008 05:45 PM (+rSRq)
Enclose all spoilers in spoiler tags:
[spoiler]your spoiler here[/spoiler]
Spoilers which are not properly tagged will be ruthlessly deleted on sight.
Also, I hate unsolicited suggestions and advice. (Even when you think you're being funny.)
At Chizumatic, we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately.
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