View Full Version : Budo/aiki tattoo inspiration

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07-14-2007, 02:06 PM
Hey all,
I've always been dismissive of tattoos generally (not my thing), however I've been thinking over the last year or so about having one inspired by my philosophy and thoughts on harmony and budo.

I've dismissed the idea of the aikido kanji because so many people have random kanji tattoo'd on them. The yin and yang symbol on it's own is also over used elsewhere.

So what's the reason for the post? I wondered if you could inspire me with some links to images that you thought might fit the bill. I'm not after a huge tattoo, probably only a few inches on the shoulder or upper arm. I've been looking at tsuba for inspiration, some of them are beautiful (I used to restore antique tsuba).

I sort of like this one...

Any ideas?


07-14-2007, 04:50 PM

The kanji for Budo...
meaning "grape"

07-14-2007, 05:23 PM
I thought about that, and found some beautifully brushed (painted/written?) versions. Still, it's the whole kanji thing, no disrespect to anyone with a kanji that means something to them, but so many people have them without any thought that it has spoiled them for me.

Any other pieces of symbology anyone can think of? As I say, just looking for inspiration really.


07-14-2007, 05:35 PM
I've always wanted to get "Silly white guy" tattooed on me in kanji.

Roman Kremianski
07-14-2007, 09:59 PM

07-15-2007, 01:09 AM
haha...you know...i once had a t-shirt my instructor made and gave to me...unfortunately i dont have a picture of it...but basically it was a 'sunset' background with the silhouette of two people in hakama...one was in kamae with a sword it appeared and the other was in mid-throw (i.e. mid-air and upside down) it was an awesome shot if you can get the idea in your head of what i'm trying to describe...i'm not sure even where he found the image...but maybe something similar to that...an 'aiki action-shot' might at least be an idea....good luck expressing yourself!


jennifer paige smith
07-15-2007, 03:20 PM

Hey Roman,
Read Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn. No one likes to be ripped off.

jennifer paige smith
07-15-2007, 03:22 PM
I've always wanted to get "Silly white guy" tattooed on me in kanji.

Funny. I've always wanted to tattoo silly white guys with Kanji. I get to choose which one.:D

Roman Kremianski
07-15-2007, 04:23 PM
Hey Roman,
Read Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn. No one likes to be ripped off.

Don't think I follow...who did I rip off again? :S

Ryan Sanford
07-27-2007, 11:49 AM

Hey, but Rurouni Kenshin is a great anime! D:
So, yeah, I was a fried egg when I was a little younger, I'll admit it.:uch:

07-27-2007, 02:06 PM
Oh yeah, I'm a fried egg... Definately...

The way I look at it is that the US (culture wise) is still a infant and I am not drawn to our culture as much as I am in others that are MUCH older...

07-28-2007, 09:46 PM
I've promised myself my first tat once I'm finished losing weight (46 pounds down, 14 more to go!). As a joke, I've told my Sensei I was going to have mushin (no mind) tattooed on my neck with an arrow pointing upwards.

However, I think I'm going for something that will have a little more meaning. In Asian lore, the koi who manages to swim over a waterfall (on the Yangtze I believe) turns into a dragon. It's supposed to symbolize courage and overcoming hardship, and they have different colors for the koi which symbolize different family members. I'm thinking about getting a waterfall pouring down my lower back, with a black koi transforming into a dragon looking down the waterfall, and a small blue and larger white koi swimming up. The black koi symbolizes my late husband, Jaye, who was one of my first sensei (in a different style) and who fought a courageous fight against lupus. The blue koi and the white koi symbolize my son and myself, with our own waterfalls to overcome, knowing that he is waiting for us on the other side. I've been toying with the idea of working in the kanji for Masakatsu Agatsu subtly into the waterfall itself, to show the idea that the waterfalls we create for ourselves are often the biggest hurdles we face.

But still, the mushin idea might be more fun....:)

Good luck finding your tat!

07-29-2007, 12:13 AM
In Japan (...this is changing among the young generation),
sporting a tattoo will tell people you are a yakuza.
Onsen, restaurants, ... will not accept you (you have to go
to Yakuza-only places?).

Good luck finding nice kanji or picture,
which you can always put on a T-shirt safely.

Be careful you pick the correct kanji !
(you can find bad examples on http://www.hanzismatter.com/)

07-29-2007, 04:56 AM
However, I think I'm going for something that will have a little more meaning.

Lori, I think your idea sounds beautiful and the meaning behind it trancends fashion by so much! If i can find something half as inspiring as that I'll be happy.


07-29-2007, 02:18 PM
Thank you! It's taken a lot of thought and looking around to get it to that point. I wanted it to mean something, and to look great, so that I won't regret getting it done several years from now.

I agree with Lionel's concerns, both about getting a correct kanji as well as being able to conceal it. I will be having a Japanese calligrapher do the stencil for the kanji portion. The fellow I have in mind did some gorgeous custom scrolls that our dojo gave as gifts this year at our annual yudansha appreciation day. He's from Osaka, but lives in Quebec now. Another calligrapher that I'm also considering (if Fumi can't do it) is Eri Takase. She has quite a number of stock kanji for sale, and will do both custom work and tattoo stencils. She probably could do a tsuba stencil as well...might be worth asking.

The concealment part is very important to me too. My father's religious beliefs are very anti-tattoo, and I want to be able to cover it up to keep from offending him. Since he has a pool, that will mean putting it below the back line of my one-piece bathing suit. Plus I occasionally have to go to little black dress affairs for work, and again the atmosphere is one where I will want to keep my body art hidden. The lower back is the perfect place for me, even though I understand it's not the most pain-free place to have a tattoo done.

If you want the links to the two calligraphers, drop me a private message and I'll be more than happy to pass them along.