Friday, March 30, 2012

A three-dimensional understanding of communicative language ability (Integrated version)

[This is an integration of my old posts on "A three-dimensional understanding of communicative language ability". I'm currently thinking of revising this theory.]

September 8, 2007
JACET 46th Annual Convention
in Yasuda Women’s College,
Hiroshima, Japan

JACET symposium

English Education at the Tertiary Level
-- in Search of a Consistent Curriculum from Elementary School through University

Consistency and Diversity
-- A good understanding rather than a good test?--

Hiroshima University




1.1 Concept > Construct > Operational Definition > Measurement

Consistency should NOT mean the dominance of a paper-based standardized test because no paper-based test can capture the whole range of language knowledge and use. (Tests are only educated guesses of hypothetical constructs)

1.2 Understanding involves something immeasurable

Even a General English Proficiency Test may distort our understanding of communicative language ability because it only deals with readily measurable aspects of language and use.
Our understanding of second language communication goes beyond the notion of measurement.

"Oh, so you're not interested in communication, only language." (McNamara, 1996, p. 83)

The dog (our understanding) should wag the tail (a test).

Not the tail wagging the dog.

1.3 Education is more than measurable “objective” and contains immeasurable “aim”

“By objectives I mean the pedagogic intentions of a particular course of study to be achieved within the period of that course and in principle measurable by some assessment device at the end of the course” … “By aims I mean the purposes to which learning will be put after the end of the course.” (Widdowson, 1983, pp.6-7)

1.4 My contention

A good understanding of communicative language ability is more important than a good standardized test.

1.5 Expected results

A good understanding of communicative language ability would bring a good balance between consistency and diversity in curriculum.

Without it, English language education would end in uniformity and conformity, or in complete chaos.

Uniformity and conformity, particularly when harnessed by a standardized test, suppresses creativity and motivation of teachers and students.

Furthermore, neglecting diversity is to deny the different needs of different departments and colleges.


What is a good understanding of communicative language ability?

The understanding must be theoretically sound and simple enough to be a guideline for curriculum.


3.1 Descriptive approach

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment.

“Professor, your talk is too abstract and too general. Make it more specific!”

The opposite truth:
“Listen, your talk is too particular and too specific. Make it more abstract!”

A good theoretical understanding is also needed.

3.2 Theoretical approach

Development from Chomsky (1965) up to Bachman & Palmer (1996)

Problems in Bachman & Palmer (1996)
Not interactive enough
Mysterious 'strategic competence'
Obliterated 'psychophysiological mechanisms'


4.1 Addition of mindreading ability and physical ability to linguistic ability

Mindreading ability is involved in interaction.

Strategic competence can be demystified by the introduction of the mindreading ability.

The mindreading ability is a theoretical notion supported by “Theory of Mind” and “Relevance Theory” (To be explained later)

Making Physical ability more conspicuous: Linguistic and nonlinguistic physical ability.

4.2 A three-dimensional understanding of communicative language ability

4.3 Mindreading ability

4.3.1 Theory of Mind

According to Baron-Cohen (1997), Theory of Mind is an ability to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own, and, with that understanding, to explain and predict others' behavior.

Young children (under 3 or 4 years old) and autistic persons seem to lack Theory of Mind.

-> Theory of Mind is a basis of interpersonal communication.

4.3.2 Relevance Theory

"Given the particular nature and difficulty of the task, the general mind-reading hypothesis is implausible." "[Comprehension] might involve a sub-module of the mind-reading module, an automatic application of a relevance-based procedure to ostensive stimuli, and in particular to linguistic utterances." (Sperber and Wilson, 2002, pp.20-21)

The First, or Cognitive, Principle of Relevance:
"Human cognition is geared to the maximization of relevance."

"The relevance of an input for an individual at a given time is a positive function of the cognitive benefits that he would gain from processing it, and a negative function of the processing effort needed to achieve these benefits. (Sperber and Wilson 2002, p. 14)

In other words: The more benefit, the better: the less effort, the better. Strike a balance between the benefit and the effort for relevance.

The Second, or Communicative, Principle of Relevance
"Every utterance conveys a presumption of its own relevance."

Presumption of relevance

"The utterance is presumed to be the most relevant one compatible with the speaker's abilities and preferences, and at least relevant enough to be worth the hearer's attention." (Sperber and Wilson, 1986/1995, pp. 266-78. Emphasis added).

->Unlike the "knowledge of language" (Chomsky 1986), a speaker can increase her relevance by learning to do so. A better speaker can make a speech that produces more benefit with less effort on the part of the listener.

4.3.3 Mindreading ability

->Mindreading ability in communication is to anticipate other's mind and to infer the intention of the other successfully.

Mindreading ability in linguistic communication

->Mindreading ability in speaking and writing is for the speaker/writer to anticipate the listener's/reader's mind and to arrange words as the listener/reader would understand well, not as the speaker/writer would like to arrange.

->Mindreading ability in listening and reading is for the listener/reader to anticipate the speaker's/writer's mind and to understand his utterance as he meant it to be, not as the listener/reader would like to understand.

4.4 Physical ability

4.4.1. Linguistic physical ability

'Psychophysiological mechanisms' (Bachman 1990)

4.4.2. Non-linguistic physical ability

Body language (including indexical behaviors), tone of the voice, eye-contact, facial expression, etc.

4.5 Linguistic ability

Dual meaning of 'knowledge'
(1) 'usage' or 'conventions' as in 'language knowledge' by Bachman
(2) 'competence' as in 'knowledge of language' by Chomsky

4.5.1 Usage

Grammatical, textual, sociolinguistic, and functional

4.5.2 Competence

Underlying all the usages in language use

4.6 Interrelated independence of the three abilities

4.7 Different types of English Language Teaching

4.8 Coherence with the past theories


5.1 Innovating understanding

The standard assessment framework of accuracy, fluency and complexity cannot assess the mindreading ability, which is considered a basis of interpersonal communication or interaction.

Non-linguistic physical ability plays a very important role in actual communication, though it is usually dropped from the items of a paper-based standardized test.

Innovating our understanding of second language communication is crucial.

Imposition of a standardized test without a good understanding of second language communication is detrimental.

"Something that we know when on one asks us, but no longer know when we are supposed to give an account of it, is something that we need to remind ourselves of (and it is obviously something of which for some reason it is difficult to remind oneself.) " Wittgenstein (1953, Section 88)

5.2 Consistency and diversity

Consistency and diversity in curriculum should be maintained and developed through innovating our understanding of second language communication.

5.3 Remaining issues

'Emergence' in interaction
Literacy and written language.
Integrity and humanity
Why communicative language ability alone?


Bachman, L.F. (1990) Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford University Press.
Bachman, L.F. and A.S. Palmer (1996) Language testing in practice. Oxford University Press.
Baron-Cohen, S. (1997) Mindblindness. Bradford Books.
Chomsky, N. (1965) Aspects of the theory of syntax. The MIT Press.
Chomsky, N. (1986) Knowledge of language. Praeger
McNamara, T.F. (1996) Measuring second language performance. Longman.
McNamara, T.F. (1997) 'Interaction' in second language performance assessment: Whose performance? Applied Linguistics, Vol. 18, No. 4. pp. 446-466.
Sperber and Wilson, (1986/1995) Relevance: Communication and Cognition. Blackwell.
Sperber, D. and D. Wilson. (2002) "Pragmatics, modularity and mind-reading." In Mind & Language, Vol.17. Nos 1 and 2. pp. 3-23.
Widdowson, H.G. (1983) Learning purpose and language use. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Wittgenstein, L. (1953) Philosophical investigations. Blackwell.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Comparing Foreign Language Communication to Budo (Martial Arts)

This is supplementary material for my presentation at JALT Hiroshima Chapter on March 11, 2012.

To download the slides, click here.

To download the handout, click here.

Comparing Foreign Language Communication
to Budo (Martial Arts)

1 Introduction

2 Contrasting modern sports and traditional Budo

■平常心 (everyday mind)

道とは何たる事を云ぞととへば、常の心を道と云也とこたへられたり。実に至極の事なり。心の病皆さって、常の心に成て、病と交りて病なき也。世法の上に引合ていはば、弓射る時に弓射るとおもふ心あらば、弓前(ゆみさき)みだれて定るべからず。太刀つかふ時、太刀つかふ心あらば、太刀前定るべからず。物を書時、物かく心あらば、筆定るべからず。琴を引とも、琴をひく心あらば、曲乱るべし。弓射る人は、弓射る心をわすれて、何事もせざる時の常の心(しん)にて弓を射ば、弓定るべし。太刀つかふも、馬にのるも、太刀つかはず、馬のらず、物かかず、琴ひかず、一切やめて、何をもなす事なき常の心(しん)にて、よろづをする時、よろづの事、難なくするするとゆく也。道とて何ににても、一筋是ぞとて胸にをかば、道にあらず。胸に何事もなき人が道者也。胸には何事もなくして、又何事成共なせば、やすやすと成也。鏡の常にすんで、何のかたちもなき故に、むかふ物のかたち、何にてもうつりて明(あきらか)なるがごとし。道者の胸の内は、鏡のごとくにして、何もなくして明なる故に、無心にして一切の事一もかく事なし。是只平常心也。此平常心をもって一切の事をなす人、是を名人と云也。(柳生但馬守平 「殺人刀(せつにんとう)」『兵法家伝書』 西山・渡辺・郡司 (1972, 320-321))

What is the Way? It is an everyday mind. This definition is quite reasonable. You are free from sickness when your mind ceases to worry about it and becomes an everyday mind that coexists with it. To take other examples in our life, you cannot shoot an arrow precisely if you are conscious of shooting; you cannot wield a sword precisely if you are conscious of wielding; you cannot write calligraphy precisely if you are conscious of writing; you cannot play the Koto (Japanese harp) precisely if you are conscious of playing. An arrow shooter shoots precisely when he is not conscious of shooting and shoots with an everyday mind. Whether it is about a sword or a horse, you do not use a sword, ride a horse, write calligraphy, or play the Koto. Stop doing anything with consciousness and do with an everyday mind which you have when you don't do anything in particular. You'll then be able to do it without any trouble. If you are obsessed with one thing, you are not on the Way. The man of the Way is one without any problems in his body-mind. If you do something without any problems in your body-mind, you can do it quite easily. It is like a clear mirror that reflects anything because it has no image on its own. The man of the Way is like a mirror, and he contains nothing in his body-mind and is clear; his mind is empty but lacks nothing. It is just an everyday mind. He who does everything with this everyday mind is a Master.

■有心無心 (saturated mind and empty mind)

留まれば心に物があり留まる所なければ心に何も無し。心に何もなきを無心の心と申し、又は無心無念と申し候。此の無心の心に能くなりぬれば一事に止(とどま)らず一事に欠かず、常に水の湛へたるやうにして此の身に在りて用の向ふ時出て叶ふなり。一所に定り留りたる心は自由に働かぬなり。車の輪も堅からぬにより廻るなり。一所つまりたれば廻るまじきなり。心も一事に定まれば働かぬものなり。心中に何ぞ思ふ事あれば人の云ふ事をも聞きながら聞こえざるなり。思ふ事に心が留まるゆゑなり。心が其思ふ事に在りて一方へかたより、一方へかたよれば物を聞けども聞えず、見れども見えざるなり。是れ心に物ある故なり。あるとは思う事があるなり。此の有る物を去れば心無心にて只用の時ばかり働きて其用に当る。此心にある物を去らんと思ふ心が又心中の有る物となる。思はざれば独り去りて自(おの)ずから無心となる。常にかくすれば何時とはなく独り其位へ行くなり。(沢庵禅師 『不動智神妙録』吉田 (1968, 101-102))

This is about a saturated mind and an empty mind. The saturated mind is the same as an delusional mind, and it means that it has something in it. Whatever it is about, it is obsessed with one thing; it has something in it and produces analysis and ideas.
The empty mind is the same as the true mind that I explained before and never fixated or attached. It has no analysis or ideas. It is extended into all parts of the body. It is not placed in any particular place. It is not like a stone or a tree, though. It just never gets captured. If a mind is captured, then it has an object in it; if not, it has nothing. A mind with nothing in it is the empty mind, and it is sometimes called the empty mind with no consciousness. If your mind becomes the empty mind, you don't get captured by anything, and fail in nothing; You are like full water and you are at any place where you are needed. A mind that is captured by one thing is not free. Wheels of a cart move around because they are not fixated. If they are stuck at one point, they don't move around. A mind does not work if it is fixated at one thing. If you have something to think about in your mind, you hear but not listen. It is because your mind is captured by what there is in it. If your mind loses its balance by thinking, you hear but not listen, and look but not see. It is because you have an object in your mind. The object is an object to think about. If the object leaves, then your mind becomes the empty mind and fulfills its purpose when necessary. However, if you are obsessed with throwing the object away, then that conscious intention becomes an object in your mind. If you don't think, the object leaves in itself and your mind becomes empty. If you are always like this, you will become a man of an empty mind before you know it.

■心は水中の月に似たり、形は鏡上の影の如し (a mind is like the moon on the water, and its shape is like an image on the mirror)

(柳生但馬守平 「活人刀(かつにんとう)」『兵法家伝書』 西山・渡辺・郡司 (1972, 329-330))

A mind is like the moon in the water, and its shape is like an image on the mirror. -- When you apply this expression to the martial arts, remember that the water reflects an image of the moon and that the mirror reflects an image of a body. Just like an image of the moon is reflected on the water, a person's mind is reflected on an object [= the body]. It is reflected immediately. Compare the divinely exquisite art of the sword to the water, and your mind to the moon. Get your mind to the state of the art. As your mind gets there, your body will get there, too. As your mind moves, your body moves, too. Your body supersedes your mind. Also, compare the divinely exquisite art of the sword to the mirror, and get your body to the state of the art just like an image. Keep your limbs in the state. The moon gets its image reflected on the water quite immediately. Although it is high in the heaven, once the clouds go away, it gets its image reflected with no delay. It is not that it gradually descends on to the water to get its image reflected. After a blink, you find that the image is already there. Just like the moon is reflected on the water, your mind should be reflected on an object.
Get your mind to the situation like the moon. As your body supersedes your mind, you see the opponent and get your body to the situation just like an image on the mirror.

■水月 (the moon on the water)

曰く、流儀によりて色々義理を付けていへども、畢竟無心自然の応用を水と月と相うつる所にたとへたる者なり。広沢の池にて仙洞 [=崇徳上皇] の御製に、


此御歌の心にて、無心自然の応用を悟るべし。又一輪の明月天にかかって、万川(ばんせん)各々一月の具ふるがごとし。光を分(わかち)て水にあたふるにはあらず。水なければ影なし。亦(また)水を得てはじめて月に影あるにあらず。万川にうつる時も一水に移らざるときも、月において加損なし。又水の大小をゑらぶことなし。是を以て心体の妙用を悟るべし。水の清濁を以て語るは末なり。然ども月は形色あり。心には形色なし。其形色あつて見やすき者をかりて形色なきもの譬(たとえ)とす。一切のたとへみなしかり。譬に執して心を鑿(さく)する [=まどわす] ことなかれ。(佚斎樗山(いっさいちょざん)『天狗芸術論』吉田 (1968, 230))

What is the moon on the water?
Although different schools of martial arts explain in their own way, it is eventually a metaphor about the natural application of the empty mind. At the pond of Hirosawa, Emperor Sutoku made a poem:

"The moon does not think
that it will be reflected on the water,
nor does the water think
that it will reflect the moon:
This is at the pond of Hirosawa."

You should understand the natural application of the empty mind from this poem. It is also like the moon in the heaven is reflected on tens of thousands of rivers. It is not that the light of the moon is divided. If there is no water, there is no image. It is not, either, that the moon has its light only when there is water. The moon is not more or less than itself, whether it is reflected on tens of thousands of rivers, or it is not reflected at all. The moon has no preference of the size of the water. You should realize the exquisite use of the mind and body from these examples. Whether the water is clean or not is not very important. However, you should note that although the moon has its own shape the mind has none. The moon is chosen in the metaphor to compare the shapeless to the shaped. All metaphors are like this. Do not get troubled by getting obsessed with a particular metaphor.

■敵の来るに随て応用無礙自在なり (You have no plan, and you are free to move as he attacks you)

剣術を以て語らば、剣戟(けんげき) [=武器] を執(とり)て敵に向かう。湛然として悪むこともなく惧(おそ)るることもなく、とやせんかくやと思ふ念もなき中(うち)より、敵の来(きた)るに随(したがひ)て応用無礙自在なり。形はうごくといへども心は静の体をうしなはず、しづかなりといへども動の用を欠かず。鏡体静かにして物なく、万象来(きたり)移るにまかせて其形をあらはすといへども、去る時は影を留むることなし。水月のたとへに同じ。心体の霊明もまたかくのごとし。(佚斎樗山(いっさいちょざん)『天狗芸術論』吉田 (1968, 228))

In the art of the sword, you take the sword and face your opponent. Your mind is unaffected. You don't hate or fear him. You have no plan, and you are free to move as he attacks you. Your body moves but your mind is calm. Although it is calm, it is perfect for movement. It is like a mirror that is motionless and contains nothing in it. Many things get reflected on it, but when they leave, no image is left. This is like the moon on the water.

■私心 (egocentric mind)

然ども初より執するところの一念捨てがたき者なり。学術芸術とも只この私心をさへ去れば、天下我を動かす者なくして応用無礙自在なり。私心は金銀財貨情慾偽巧の類のみにあらず、不善にあらずといえども一念わずかに執する所あれば則私心なり。少しく執すれば少しく心体をふさぎ、大いに執すれば大いに心体をふさぐ。(佚斎樗山(いっさいちょざん)『天狗芸術論』吉田 (1968, 220))

It is no easy to throw away your obsession that has been in your mind from the start. This is true in science and art, and if you abandon your egocentric mind, no one in this world can control you and you are free in applying yourself to anything. An egocentric mind is not necessarily about money, lust or deception. When your mind is even slightly obsessed with one thing, even if it is not a wrong thing, your mind becomes egocentric. With a small obsession, your mind and body is affected on a small scale. With a big obsession , your mind and body is affected on a large scale.

■筋肉の機能 (function of muscle)

意識と筋肉とをもった人間が、からだの動きにおいて犯す最大の誤りは、動きの主動力が筋肉の緊張収縮だと思いこんで(意識)いることだ。筋肉の収縮力の主な役割は動きの主動力をつくり出すことではなく、動きのきっかけをつくり出すこと(平衡関係を崩すこと)、動きを収めること(新しい平衡関係へと導くこと)、増幅・調整することなのだ。更に大切なことは、他の部分から伝えられてきた情報(エネルギー・重さ)を受け取り、筋肉自体を導管・導線として次の部分に伝える。その間に適切な増幅・調整をするという仕事なのだ。この情報(重さ・エネルギー)の受容・伝導の能力の重大さを気づいていないこと、したがって、その能力の訓練をしていないことが大変重大な問題なのだ。(野口 1977, 224)

The most serious mistake that humans have about body movements is that they believe that body movements are primarily generated by conscious contractions because they have consciousness and muscle. An important function of muscle is not to generate the main power of body movements, but to trigger the start a movement (to lose balance), to control it (to create new balance), and to increase and adjust it. More importantly, muscle receives information (energy and gravity) that is transmitted from other parts of the body, and further transmits it as a conduit or channel. The serious mistake is that humans do not understand the significance of this reception and transmission of information (energy and gravity) and that they do not train themselves in this capacity.

■三つの先 (Three types of preemptive moves)

三つの先(せん)、一つは我方より敵へかかるせん、けん(懸)の先と云也。亦一つは敵より我方へかかる時の先、是はたい(待)の先と云也。又一つは我もかかり、敵もかかりあふ時の先、躰々(たいたい)の先と云。是三つの先より外はなし。先の次第を以(もって)、はや勝事を得る物なれば、先と云事兵法の第一也。此先の子細様々ありといへども、其時の理を先とし、敵の心を見、我兵法の智恵を以て勝事なれば、こまやかに書わくる事にあらず。(宮本武蔵「火之巻」『五輪書』西山・渡辺・郡司 (1972, 376))

There are three types in preemptive moves. One is a preemptive move from me to the opponent, and it is called the active preemptive move. Another is an preemptive move when the opponent is to strike me, and it is called the reactive preemptive move. The last is a preemptive move when both the opponent and I are to strike each other, and it is called the interactive preemptive move. There is no other type in preemptive moves. As a preemptive move is the decisive factor in victory, it is the most crucial in martial arts. There are many details in a preemptive move, but as it is up to the Logos of the moment and you need to see the mind of the opponent and use the wisdom of martial arts to win, I just cannot specify a preemptive move.

■勝機を未撃に知る (know the moment of victory before a strike)

其中間刻苦精思する凡そ二十年、然れども未だ安心の地に至るを得ず。ここにおいて鋭意進取して剣道明眼の人を四方に索(もと)むるに絶て其人に遭はず。偶(たまた)ま一刀流浅利又七郎と云う者あり、中西忠太の二男にして伊藤一刀斎の伝統を継ぎ上達の人と云、予之を聞き喜び往て試合を乞う。果して世上流行する所の剣術と大いに異り、外柔にして内剛、精神を呼吸に凝して勝機を未撃に知る。真に明眼の達人と謂(いひ)つべし。これより試合する毎に遠く及ざるを知る。(小倉 2001, 91)

I further trained myself for about 20 years, but never reached to a satisfactory state of martial arts. I was ever more keen and searched for a true Master of the sword with crystal-clear perception, but in vein. However, I happened to hear about ASARI Matashichiro of the Itto-ryu style, the second son of NAKANISHI Chuta. As I heard that he is a great Master inherits the tradition of ITO Ittosai, I was glad and asked him to have a training match. As I wanted to see, his martial arts were so different from the ones we constantly saw. He was soft in appearance and hard in himself. He sharpens his mind to perceive the breathing, and knows the moment of victory before he strikes. He is the true Master with crystal-clear perception. Every time I had a match, I realized I was much below him.

■Personal participations and the situation

The psychiatrist cannot stand off to one side and apply his sense organs, however they may be refined by the use of apparatus, to noticing what someone else does, without becoming personally implicated in the operation. His principal instrument of observation is his self -- his personality, him as a person. The processes and the changes in processes that make up the data which can be subjected to scientific study occur, not in the subject person nor in the observer, but in the situation which is created between the observer and his subject. (Sullivan 1970, 3)

■Involvement, integration, coincidence, and reciprocity

Psychiatry studies interpersonal relations, which occur only in interpersonal situations; such situations imply something more than the presence of two people somewhere; they concern two people who are involved with each other -- and that we call integration. … Thus one may say that the interview situation, or series of situations, is integrated by coincident reciprocal motivation of interviewee and interviewer. (Sullivan 1970, 50)


Thus one learns to devote an immense amount of alertness to the work at hand -- a sort of watchful clarity as to what happens. That doesn't mean that the interviewer acts as if he were afraid that the stranger will blow up in his face, or anything like that. People can be so alert as to have a microscopically correct record of small events and yet engage congenially in all sorts of things that doesn't require any particular attention. And the interviewer learns that there is communication by gesture, broadly conceived, an interchange by expressive movement other than speech. (Sullivan 1970, 68)

■Primarily vocal, not verbal alone

The beginning of my definition of the psychiatric interview states that such an interview is a situation of primarily vocal communication -- not verbal communication alone. (Sullivan 1970, 5)

It would be a quite serious error to presume that the communication is primarily verbal. The sound-accompaniments suggest what is to be made of the verbal propositions stated. (Sullivan 1970, 7)

■気ざしを、敵のせぬ内に見知りて (Noticing a sign)

枕をおさゆるとは、かしらをあげさせずと云心也。兵法勝負の道にかぎって、人に我身をまわされてあとにつく事悪し。いかにもして敵を自由にまわし度(たき)事なり。然によって、敵もさやうに思ひ、我も其心あれども、人のする事をうけがわずしては [=相手の出方を察知することができなくては] 叶がたし。兵法に、敵の打所をとめ、つく所をおさへ、くむ所をもぎはなしなどする事也。まくらをおさゆると云は、我実(まこと)の道を得て敵にかかりあふ時、敵なにごとにてもおもふ気ざしを、敵のせぬ内に見知りて、敵のうつと云ううつのうの字のかしらをおさへて、跡をさせざる心、是枕をおさゆる心也。たとへば、敵のかかると云かの字をおさへ、とぶと云との字のかしらをおさへ、きると云きの字のかしらをおさゆる、みなもっておなじ心なり。敵我にわざをなす事につけて、訳にたたざる事をば敵にまかせ、役に立ほどの事をばおさへて、敵にさせぬやうにする所、兵法の専也。是も敵のする事を、おさゑんおさゑんとする心、後手也。先(まず)我は何事においても道にまかせてわざをなすうちに、敵もわざをせんとおもふかしらをおさへて、何事も役にたたせず、敵をこなす所、是兵法の達者、鍛錬の故也。枕をおさゆる事、能々吟味有べき也。(宮本武蔵「火之巻」『五輪書』西山・渡辺・郡司 (1972, 365))

To get the opponent at his pillow is not to let him even raise his head. In martial arts battles, it is bad to be controlled by the opponent and follow him. It is by any means important to control him as you please. But as the opponent also thinks the same way, you cannot do so even if you mean to, unless you know his action in advance. Martial arts tell you to stop the strike, attack and tackle of the opponent. To get the opponent at his pillow means that if I know the true Way and face the opponent I will know a sign of whatever intention he has before he knows it. When the opponent intends to strike me, I notice a sign of the intention and stop him even before he realizes his own intention and I let him do nothing. Whether he intends to attack, jump, or use the sword, I stop him before he realizes his intention. When the opponent does anything to me, I let him do useless actions but I stop all effective actions of his -- this is important in martial arts. However, if my mind is fixated on stopping whatever action the opponent is going to do, I will be controlled. I just trust the Way in whatever I do, and as the opponent intends anything, I stop him at the sign of the intention, let him fail anything effective, and control him. This is achievable by mastering martial arts through disciplined training. You should carefully undertand what it means to get the opponent at his pillow.

■兵法は (Terminate the evil and protect people)

兵法は人をきるとばかりおもふは、ひがごと也。人をきるにはあらず、悪をころす也。一人の悪をころして、万人をいかすはかりごと也。(柳生但馬守平 「殺人刀(せつにんとう)」『兵法家伝書』 西山・渡辺・郡司 (1972, 309))

If you think that martial arts are only about killing people, you are wrong. They are not to kill people, but to terminate the evil. They are methods of protecting tens of thousands of people by terminating the evil in one person.

■無敵 (no enemy)

真の武道には相手もない、敵もない。真の武道とは、宇宙そのものと一つになることなのです。(高橋 1987, 192)

If you think that in martial arts you always have opponents and enemies and you have to be stronger to beat them, you are wrong. In the true martial art you have no opponents or enemies. The true martial art is to be one with the universe itself.

■学問としての武道 (Budo as an academic inquiry)

相手の武力を制するばかりでなく、自分の我意我慢、怯懦(きょうだ)、粗暴乱雑を律し、おこないを糺(ただ)し、人格を陶冶することのできる武術というものは、それはすでに学問として存在する。(黒田鉄山(2004, 45)
 If Bujutsu is more than about controlling the violence of the opponent, and includes controlling one's egocentricity, cowardice, brutality, rectifying one's behavior, and cultivating one's character, then it is an academic inquiry.


Plurilingual and pluricultural competence refers to the ability to use languages for the purposes of communication and to take part in intercultural interaction, where a person, viewed as a social agent has proficiency, of varying degrees, in several languages and experience of several cultures.?This is not seen as the superposition or juxtaposition of distinct competences, but rather as the existence of a complex or even composite competence on which the user may draw. (Council of Europe 2001, p. 168)

■Monolingualism in EFL/ESL

Despite its acceptance of?interlanguage,?much?SLA?research has continued to measure L2 users against native speakers. Inevitably what L2 users do is seen as a mistake whenever it fails to conform to the language of monolingual native speakers and the L2 users’ level of language proficiency is seen as deficient rather than different: It’s all right if your English accent proclaims you come from Newcastle upon Tyne but not from Paris.


But what term should be used to describe people who are?multicompetent? People who acquire their first language are not regarded as L1 learners for the rest of their lives. Why should people who know more than one language be treated differently? Calling people L2 learners seemed to confirm their subordinate status. Hence the more neutral term ‘L2 user’ was introduced.

■無刀 (no sword)

一 とられじとするを、是非とらんとするにはあらず。とられじとするをば、とらぬも無刀也。とられじとられじとする人は、きらふ事をばわすれて、とられまひとばかりする程に、人をきる事はなるまじき也。われはきられぬを勝とする也。人の刀を取を芸とする道理にてはなし。われ刀なき時に、人にきられまじき用の習也。(柳生但馬守平 「殺人刀(せつにんとう)」『兵法家伝書』 西山・渡辺・郡司 (1972, 336))

No sword approach does not necessarily mean that you have to take away the sword of the opponent. It does not mean, either, that you are honored if you take it away. It is just an approach not to get hurt when you have no sword.
No sword approach is not to take away the sword by any means when the opponent resists. When he resists, he forgets to strike you. In his obsession with the sword, he cannot use it to strike you. You win if you do not get hurt. It does not make sense to take pride in taking away the sword. No sword approach is for self-defense when you have no sword.

■常に其身になつて、能々工夫すべし (Examine what is written on your body)

此書付ばかりを見て、兵法の道には及事あらず。此書にかき付たるを、我身にとって、書付を見るとおもはず、ならふとおもわず、にせ物にせずして [=物真似をするのではなく]、則(すなわち)我心より見出したる利にして、常に其身になつて、能々(よくよく)工夫すべし。(宮本武蔵「水之巻」『五輪書』西山・渡辺・郡司 (1972, 365))

Reading this book alone does not lead you to the Way of martial arts. Embody what is written in this book. Do not think that you are reading or learning from a book. Don't mimic what is written, but project it to your body. Examine what is written on your body as something your own mind has found.

■自得、以心伝心、教外別伝 (Self-embodiment, non-verbal teaching, teaching the unteachable)

我がいふ所此に止る。只自反して、我に求むべし。師は其事(わざ)を伝へ、其理を暁(さと)すのみ。其真を得ることは我にあり。是を自得と云。以心伝心ともいふべし。教外別伝ともいふべし。教をそむくというにはあらず。師も伝(つたゆる)こと能はざるをいふなり。只禅学のみにあらず、聖人の心法より、芸術 [=技芸] の末に至るまで、自得の所はみな以心伝心なり。教外別伝也。教というは、そのをのれに有て、みずから見ること能はざる所を、指して知らしむるのみ。師より是を授るにはあらず。教ることもやすく、教を聞こともやすし。只をのれにある物を、慥(たし)かに見付て、我がものにすること難し。これを見性といふ。悟とは、妄想の夢の悟(さめ)たるなり。覚(さむる)というもおなじ。かわりたる事にはあらず。(佚斎樗山(いっさいちょざん)『田舎荘子 下巻』中野(1990, 49)

As a teacher, I have to stop explaining here. You just have to reflect upon yourself and seek what you want in yourself. A teacher hands techniques on to the next generation and informs the Logos. You have to embody the Logos by yourself. This is self-embodiment. It is also known as "non-verbal teaching", or as "teaching the unteachable" . It is not that a teacher does not teach. He just cannot produce self-embodiment in his student for him. This is true not only in Zen buddhism but also in spiritual training of the sage and in skill acquisition. Self-embodiment is achieved by non-verbal teaching or teaching the unteachable. Education is to point at what a student already has, and yet cannot see in himself. A teacher cannot give what a student has. Teaching itself is easy to do and hear. But finding out what you have in yourself and master it is difficult. This is seeing into your true nature. Enlightenment is awakening from a dream of delusions. So is awareness. Enlightenment and awareness are no different.

■習を得たれば、また習はなくなるなり (learn to unlearn)

よろづの道を学ぶは、胸にある物をはらひつくさむ為也。はじめは何もしらざる故、一向に胸に不審も中々になき者也。学より入てより、胸に物がありて、其物にさまたげられて、何事も仕にくくなる也。其学びたる事、わが心をさりきれば、ならひ何もなくなりて、其道々のわざをするに、ならひにかかはらずして、わざはやすらかに成て、ならひにもたがわず、われも其事をしながら、我もしらずしてならひにかなふ物也。兵法の道、是にて心得べし。百手(ももて)の太刀をならひつくし、身がまへ、目付、ありとあらゆる習を能々(よくよく)ならひつくして稽古するは、格知(知を格(つく)す)の心也。さて、よく習をつくせば、ならひの数々胸になく成て、何心もなき所、格物(物に格(つく)す)之心也。様々の習をつくして、習稽古の修行、功つもりぬれば、手足身に所作はありて心になくなり、習をはなれて習にたがはず、何事もするわざ自由也。此時は、わが心いづくにありともしれず、天魔外道もわが心をうかがひ得ざる也。此位にいたらん為の習也。ならひ得たれば、又習はなく成也。(柳生但馬守平 「殺人刀(せつにんとう)」『兵法家伝書』 西山・渡辺・郡司 (1972, 311)

Skill learning in general is for throwing away your problems in your body-mind. At the beginning, you have no problems in your body-mind because you know nothing. As you learn, though, you begin to have problems and they affect your performance. However, if your learned problems go away from you mind, you unlearn everything you have learned, and when you do the skill, your performance will be fluent. Your performance is not against what you have learned, and it accords with what you have learned without you being consciousness of it. You should learn martial arts in this way. You learn one hundred techniques of the sword. You also learn stances, eye-movements and all sorts of techniques and train yourself. This is internal knowledge completion. If you learn well, your learned problems leaves your body-mind and you are not conscious of anything. This is action completion. If you learn various skills and go through disciplined training, then your performance manifests itself in your body, but not in your mind. You are free from, but not against, what you have learned. You are free in whatever you do. At this state, your mind is nowhere to be found and even the devil cannot read your mind. Skill learning aims to reach this state. If you learn well, you unlearn well.

3 Implications

3.1 Consciousness

Do we understand the functions of consciousness properly?
Do we understand functions of learners' grammar?
What do we mean by 'consciousness raising' or 'Focus on Form'?
Do we have 'maxims' for communication other than cliches?
What is the relationship between conscious mind and nonconscious body? (Anomalous monism)
Is the term the "empty mind" nonsense?
Do the world, your body and your mind perfectly synchronize?
How can students throw away their consciousness to throw away their consciousness?
Are students just to "speak out" without any use of consciousness?
Are we teaching or educating?

3.2 Emotions and feelings

Are our students 'moved' to have emotions and feelings to produce language?
Do our students 'move' as they are 'moved'?
Are our tasks authentic enough to produce emotions and feelings?
Is our English use vocal as well as verbal?
Is knowledge in the brain or the body?

3.3 Communication

Are students "free" in Eikaiwa?
Is communication one system or language production from the two sides?
Do we see a student in terms of the individual or someone in the interpersonal relation?
How do our students see us in the situation that is "integrated by coincident reciprocal motivation?"
Do we produce "power" of speech alone?
Do we understand the discrepancy among the biological, conscious, and communication systems?

3.4 Post-modernism

Are we influenced by dualism or monism?
Is Descartes still our hero? (How about Spinoza?)
Are we not biased for structural linguistics?
Which is your conceptual metaphor, modern competitive sports or traditional Budo?

3.5 EFL and ESL

Do we see the cultural differences between TEFL by Japanese teachers and TESL by native teachers?
Are we teaching language, language use in classroom, or linguistic communication in the real world?
Do we want our students to be native-like or plurilingual?
How do we deal with the competitive aspects of ELT?
Are we teaching English for the welfare of the life of our students, or for our living?
Are we to talk about the ethics of TEFL/TESL, or is it just hypocrisy?
Does the ethics have anything to do with skill performance?
Is the ethics about the mind or the body?

Bibliography to come later.