Cunning Linguists

Language is a funny thing, particularly when it’s translated through foreign understanding.

I learned a new kata on Saturday called Shudoso. It was developed by Robert Trias, the founder of Shuri-ryu, the style of karate I study. It’s short and sweet, but I was already losing the proper ending, so I hit Google to see what I can find.

Not much, as it turns out. But I kept finding constructs like this:

“i feel i shud oso settle for 912, but worry of the wet road performance”
“They shud oso hav 24/7 polyclinics to serve a rising population mah?”
“de org shud oso consider de fact dat most likely de attendees wud be within those teens dat have waited patiently for dis bands”

I scratched my head for a moment, then noticed they were trying to translate should also. These were all posts to message boards and websites in Singapore, so they were typing the words as they understood them. It’s kind of like how we get “vamoose” out of vamos.

Of course, this is also how most of the English language was born.

As for Shudoso itself, my school’s director, Shihan Joseph Walker, didn’t claim to know what language the name came from. It’s supposed to mean “monk form” or “priest form” because Grand Master Trias developed it after a visit to the Shaolin Temple. He demonstrated another tension kata and the monks told him it was too long, so he developed Shudoso. It appears to be part of the Kosho Kempo style, which includes Trias in their lineage.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

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