Friendly rivalry for individual cultivation
This idiom is used when several people compete together to better themselves individually. Through diligent application (of work or study), the individuals improve.
A friendly rivalry for individual cultivation.
This may be competing for the best grade on a test or to see who can win when sparing in karate. It is a friendly competition/rivalry.
Let's break down the four-letter word, I mean, idiom:
- 切磋【せっさ】 this means "work hard" but it also means "polishing (stones)" and original meant to remove rough edges from precious stones.
- 琢磨【たくま】 this means "to polish (jewels)" or to "cultivate"
And if we break down the kanji, we see there's a lot of polishing going on. To cultivate oneself, you need to polish yourself, cut the rough edges off.
- 切 (to cut)
- 磋 (to polish)
- 琢 (to polish)
- 磨 (to polish; to grind; to brush (teeth))
An example sentence:
Shintaro was able to pass the exam thanks to his best friend, with whom he had a friendly competition.
- 慎太郎さん Shintaro [a common male first name]
- 試験 test; exam
- 合格 passing (test); success
- 試験に合格した passed a test
- のは as for; regarding [the の makes the preceding into a noun phrase which allows the entire phrase to work with the は (topic particle)]
- 切磋琢磨した did a friendly competition with...
- 親友 best friend; close friend
- 切磋琢磨した親友 a close friend with whom (Shintaro) did a friendly competition [for clauses like this, it is usually best to start at the end (the noun) and work back through the adjectives]
- おかげ thanks to; with the help of
- だった was