Transcript - Counting

There are a variety of reasons why we count in traditional Japanese martial arts. One reason is just to keep the cadence. If there's a rhythmic exercise, usually during the warmups, we want the whole group to be functioning as one — and so, we count. The way that's done is, instructor will count to four, students will count five through eight.

It goes something like this: "Ichi, Ni, San Shi, Go, Row-ku, Shichi, Hachi."

Simple enough, right? That's the main time you'll hear active out loud counting in Japanese during our classes. Let me pronounce those, and I'll go up the list a little bit in case you find yourself needing to count a little higher.

So, "Ichi" is like "each" in English. "Ni" like "knee," "San" is three, "Shi" is four, "Go" is five, "Roku" — often pronounced "Roak" — is six. Seven's a little difficult, it's "Shichi" — shichi, often pronounced "sheech." If you're lazy you pronounce it "seech." "Hachi" is eight, "Ku" is 9 and "Ju" is 10.

You just append that to numbers going forward: Ju icihi, ju ni, ju san, ju yon, and then at 20 it's "Ni Ju" — two tens — ni ju ichi, ni ju ni, ni ju san and so forth. But if you had to choose the basic numbers that you absolutely need to know to prepare yourself for coming to class, it would be one through eight.

In the next video, we'll share some basic words that you need to know to participate in class. Of course, in the long term, you're going to want to learn a lot of different Japanese words so you fully understand the richness of the experience. But in the beginning, you really need fewer than ten words to understand all the rituals. In the next video we're going to go through those, explain what they mean, and help you pronounce them.