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Many people seem to have the wrong idea when it comes to hearing “foreign” languages in martial arts classes. Most commonly you will hear some form of Chinese, Japanese or Korean, depending on the root of the martial art.

It is not about sounding mystical, authentic or the like. It is also not because martial artists want to pretend to be Asian. Also, calling a technique by a particular name doesn’t make it any more or less effective. So why use foreign terminology? Simple, really!

Martial Arts Language-translateMany of the larger and more well-known martial arts such as Taekwon-Do, Karate and various forms of Kung-Fu are not region specific. They have spread throughout the world and can be found in just about every country on Earth. Without a common language or a basic terminology it would be extremely difficult for practitioners of these martial arts to communicate with one another.

The use of the “foreign” language aids in the spreading, teaching and learning of martial arts. I can walk into a Taekwon-Do dojang anywhere in the world having no knowledge of the local language, and yet easily be able to follow a class or training session. The same Korean terminology that I use at home will be used in Timbuktu.