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Teresa
03-16-2008, 07:31 AM
I am new to these all area of martial arts and hear a lot of terms sometimes used as if they are the same or at least very similar.
I am all into clarity so if something is not clear for me I can get stuck until I find my answer or realize that there is none.
I even found a post saying that there is no such thing as a Bushido martial art as the term Bushido referred to the code of conduct while the fighting techniques were what we know today as karate or Aikido.

(http://www.bushidocodeclub.com/is-there-a-bushido-martial-art-58.html)
Is this really the case?

Ron Tisdale
03-17-2008, 08:52 AM
I think you should do some searches on this site and others like e-budo and aikido journal. Look up terms like bushido, budo, bujutsu. The answers from Japanese language scholars and people experienced in Japanese arts may surprise you.

Very Briefly:

Bushido: largely a term coined after the period of Sengoku Jidai by someone who romantacized the feudal period. Take most writings expounding the virtues of Bushido with a large grain of salt.

Budo: Generally thought of as a martial way or path. Often romantacized as "Stopping the spear", really more in tune with "advancing with a halberd".

Bujutsu: Generally thought of as martial art, often used interchangably with Budo in Japan. Dreager (one of the first serious western researchers and practitioners of Japanese Martial Arts) wrote of bujutsu and budo as martial art vs martial way where in the art skillfull means came first, and in the way, the way came first. Subsequent researchers and practitioners may not agree...

Best,
Ron

Timothy WK
03-17-2008, 09:55 AM
I even found a post saying that there is no such thing as a Bushido martial art as the term Bushido referred to the code of conduct.
Yes, the idea of Bushido is often likened to the code of Chivalry for Western Knights. (And like Ron said, both Bushido and Chivalry were romanticized ideals, made popular long after the time period ended where the codes supposedly operated in.)

Walker
03-17-2008, 11:14 AM
Budo: Generally thought of as a martial way or path. Often romantacized as "Stopping the spear", really more in tune with "advancing with a halberd".
Best,
Ron
:D Ron, you'll like my new theory about tea ceremony (sado 茶道). As you can plainly see from the kanji it is the way of growing grass on the top of your hut. This is because it takes so long and is so slow the ancient Japanese neglected daily household chores because their legs hurt so much form sitting around drinking tea. :p

Ron Tisdale
03-17-2008, 12:00 PM
LOL!

Good one! Stuff does get funny meanings when you take it over seas.

B,
R (I need some grass for the top of my, er..."hut"... :D)

Lyle Bogin
03-17-2008, 02:36 PM
Ron,

I have never heard the "advancing with halberd" translation of bu. Is that your own translation?

It certainly sounds more irimi.

Ron Tisdale
03-17-2008, 02:49 PM
Do a search on Peter Goldburry here and on aikido journal and Joshua ...uh...(Josh, What's your last name again???) Reyer here on aikiweb. Ah, found it ;)

I am not a scholar (especially on Japanese language), and I don't play one on TV, so no, it is not my own translation :D

Best,
Ron

Pretoriano
03-17-2008, 10:46 PM
The romantic mud and funny conversation has nothing to do about to the spiritual room and this matters.

Quote the rules that once was adopted at his or that time, or to keep thinking about how to differenciate/ incorporate the spirit of Bushido and managing concepts like a kicthen recipe..haha.. Read This:

One answer is Because Bushido is spiritually speaking nothing about to dead people; is have to be nothing less but a living thing... Ah, that can be hard to understand (it is?).

Tisdale...If you go tomorrow to your Aikido trainning session and find yourself envoided (inside) with Bushido tryng or not to find that differences... and you come here with the correct answer about how it was, I... will yield all that greedy mind full of literary and further dubts and you will receive a bonus... a tie knot tie on the floor.
No offense taken please is just that your comment is empathetic :)

This means That practising every day that 7 virtues (what is virtue?), Making Tendo to happen at any minute, tyng to understand the law of the void, why and how Shintoism gave Bushido some of its ethics and comprension, solving the Ken/Kan interrogant. etc, etc... SHOULD not to cause desorder or permanent confussion. Thats why this is the Spiritual room.

Any takers?

Praetorian
Aragua, Venezuela

Wisdom exists, principle exists, the way exists and of course anything is possible over the floor. (mene tryng to gain Tsdl friendship from the void).

Ron Tisdale
03-18-2008, 08:07 AM
Ah, HUH???

Best,
Ron :eek:

Marc Abrams
03-18-2008, 09:28 AM
Ron:

I think that we need a Spanglish interpreter :D

It seems that when the word Bushido is used today, it is typically done by McDojo's looking to use "strong" sounding words to try and add some legitimacy to what they do.

NEWS FLASH: The time of the samurai ended sometime before yesterday! I guess that meant that Bushido as a "way of life" went with it.

BACK TO OUR REGULAR PROGRAM: train diligently.

Marc Abrams

Ron Tisdale
03-18-2008, 09:35 AM
Oh, uh, yeah....what Marc said!

Best,
Ron

Ketsan
03-21-2008, 01:37 PM
Ron:

I think that we need a Spanglish interpreter :D

It seems that when the word Bushido is used today, it is typically done by McDojo's looking to use "strong" sounding words to try and add some legitimacy to what they do.

NEWS FLASH: The time of the samurai ended sometime before yesterday! I guess that meant that Bushido as a "way of life" went with it.

BACK TO OUR REGULAR PROGRAM: train diligently.

Marc Abrams

I'm not so sure. If it were samuraido then I'd agree, but it isn't, it's bushido, the way of the warrior. I was always under the impression that Aikido is a martial way, people that follow martial ways are usually refered to as warriors. The japanese for warrior isn't samurai, it's Bushi, so in a strange sort of way we are all following Bushido.

As has been said before, Bushido isn't and never was a nice set of rules and regulations, it was just what warriors did according to the cultural values they were taught from birth.

Our Bushido is different, it is based on the values we're taught in the Dojo but I think spiritually it still has a lot in common with the old Bushido; We still have the same archetypal warrior values, we just express them differently.

Ron Tisdale
03-21-2008, 02:09 PM
I think you should understand the context that "Bushido" has in terms of Nitobe, the writer who popularized it (post sengoku, and as someone who had a lot of non-japanese influences), and in terms of it's adoption by the WWII Japanese government. There are threads on this site that discuss this.

Best,
Ron

Buck
03-21-2008, 11:39 PM
.
I even found a post saying that there is no such thing as a Bushido martial art as the term Bushido referred to the code of conduct while the fighting techniques were what we know today as karate or Aikido.

(http://www.bushidocodeclub.com/is-there-a-bushido-martial-art-58.html)
Is this really the case?

When a place announces itself being a Bushido martial art, don't be surprised if at midnight they dress up like ninja and chase cars.

As for Budo, O'Sensei said Takeda taught him Budo. I don't think O'Sensei's Budo lessons where in a lecture hall.

Buck
03-22-2008, 01:32 AM
Teresa,

I see Inazo Nitobe's book on Bushido, to be a book to prove something. Nitobe caught off guard by a pious Belgian jurist who came down on Nitobe for not having a religion that teaches moral education. Nitobe take aback did some soul searching to find what elements formed his morals. His was Bushido. He then decided to write down "the reasons why such ideas and customs prevailed in Japan" to the non-Japanese who pestered him about it. This is according to Nitobe in his preface.

I figure Nitobe was ticked off, he felt demoralized by sanctimonious westerners who insulted him, his culture, and customs. The way the book is written to persuade for those with a Christian bias. It is not a text book defining Bushido. In my opinion the book is a defensive rebutal against the sanctimonious arguement made my westerners and the pressing inquires made by his wife that challenged his moral system.

Something you get right away if you read the book's preface. I don't know why people miss that?

If you read other works of Inazo Nitobe which most people who talk about his book "Bushido: Soul of Japan" is or isn't the bible of Bushido, don't you read he was an intellect and a pacifist (something in common with O'sensei) . Nitobe being famous in his time wrote in volumes. He condemned the Japanese military in every aspect, thought is was corrupt and didn't like the war and wrote allot about that. To say he wrote Bushido: Soul of Japan as a bible of Bushido is off course.

Nitobe isn't what your looking for and his book shouldn't really have come up.

For us who don't read Japanese and are not scholars:
Try "The Japanese Art of War: Understanding the Culture of Strategy" by Thomas Cleary to get a dead book meaning on Bushido via Miyamoto Musashi's book "The Book of Five Rings."

Try "Japan: The Story of a Nation by Edwin O. Reischauer. In the third edition on page 102-103 it defines a dead book meaning of Bushido. "[Bushido]...idealized combination of Confucianism and feudal ethics."

I would also suggest a more difficult and controversial read is "Hagakure" by Yamamoto Tsunetomo. Who describes those feudal ethics and customs that make up Bushido. The core being ready to die when told to, and not cowardly.

Another book is "The Japanese Mind: Essentials of Japanese Philosophy and Culture, edited by Charles A. Moore, published by Tuttle. Nakamura Hajime writing about Japan's legal, political and economic anatomy says, Bushido was "the actual political philosophy of the Japanese." Bushido is the "distinction between good and bad was extremely and strictly observed. The Bushi would not do anything "mean or despicable even at the cost of their lives." Hajime says this is fact.

I took several Japanese courses in college. I took history and a culture class. The information, I got from the classes where very beneficial to me doing Aikido.

Chris Li
03-22-2008, 12:23 PM
I would also suggest a more difficult and controversial read is "Hagakure" by Yamamoto Tsunetomo. Who describes those feudal ethics and customs that make up Bushido. The core being ready to die when told to, and not cowardly.

Another book is "The Japanese Mind: Essentials of Japanese Philosophy and Culture, edited by Charles A. Moore, published by Tuttle. Nakamura Hajime writing about Japan's legal, political and economic anatomy says, Bushido was "the actual political philosophy of the Japanese." Bushido is the "distinction between good and bad was extremely and strictly observed. The Bushi would not do anything "mean or despicable even at the cost of their lives." Hajime says this is fact.

The Hagakure was written by a mid-level bureaucrat who had some rather romantic warrior fantasies.

As to Hajime, he should read up on his Japanese history. The entire political structure of Tokugawa Japan was created in order suppress and control treachery by the various samurai lords. Tokugawa himself was, of course, no stranger to such tactics.

Best,

Chris

Ron Tisdale
03-22-2008, 02:32 PM
Nitobe came up because of the work Bushido. End of story. Too many people use his writing (and the Hagakure) to justify overly romanticized versions of Bushido.

and a pacifist (something in common with O'sensei) .

Ueshiba and his son denied that he was a pacifist.

Best,
Ron

jennifer paige smith
03-22-2008, 09:09 PM
Nitobe came up because of the work Bushido. End of story. Too many people use his writing (and the Hagakure) to justify overly romanticized versions of Bushido.

Ueshiba and his son denied that he was a pacifist.

Best,
Ron

Although they did recognize the essential quality of
Nigi Mitama, the pacific soul. But that is in union with the other qualities of the soul which are outlined nicely in Saotome Senseis Book, Aikido and the Way of Harmony and John Stevens, The Philosophy of Akido.
I observe that it is difficult for people to incorporate essential wisdom without putting some political or romantic spin on it. But that incorporation comes naturally to a person who seeks out integrous training and practices on the mat of their choice. Whether they got the language for it or not.

Buck
03-22-2008, 10:23 PM
For those interest in learning more about the very interesting Inazo Nitobe.Japan's Bridge Over the Pacific (http://www.iic.edu/IICArchive/MinSok2003/MinSok2003Akaha.htm)

I find the whole page enlightening here is an excerpt: "Now to Bushido: the Soul of Japan.

"When the book was first introduced to President Roosevelt by a Japanese friend from his Harvard days, the president was so impressed with its prose and its contents that he bought another 30 copies and distributed them to his cabinet members, other colleagues, friends and acquaintances, and urged them to read it. The book favorably influenced the president's agreement to mediate the peace treaty between Russia and Japan at the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. His successful mediation led to his winning of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The book is an introduction to the core values of traditional Japanese society, which Nitobe believed was based on the samurai's code of ethics. Nitobe describes those values in eloquent language, drawing comparisons with the religious and philosophical traditions of other civilizations, including all great Western philosophers, Judeo-Christian teachings, Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, etc. In the exploration of the main religions and great schools of philosophy from around the world, he both elevates the code of bushido to the same level as the ethical and moral principles of other great civilizations and renders understanding of Japanese culture possible to those who come from those other civilizations. In this sense, he idealizes bushido. By idealizing it, he also simplifies it. He also places bushido in the context of and in the language of our universal search for good person and good society. Hence the appeal of his exposition to people of many languages."

Buck
03-22-2008, 10:30 PM
I found this and it is really awesome info on Inazo Nitobe you got to read the whole thing at
http://www.iic.edu/IICArchive/MinSok2003/MinSok2003Akaha.htm

Tsuneo Akaha, Ph.D.
Professor, International Policy Studies
Director, Center for East Asian Studies at the
Monterey Institute of International Studies
Monterey, California

Bushido: the Soul of Japan. When the book was first introduced to President Roosevelt by a Japanese friend from his Harvard days, the president was so impressed with its prose and its contents that he bought another 30 copies and distributed them to his cabinet members, other colleagues, friends and acquaintances, and urged them to read it.

The book favorably influenced the president’s agreement to mediate the peace treaty between Russia and Japan at the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. His successful mediation led to his winning of the Nobel Peace Prize. [4]

The book is an introduction to the core values of traditional Japanese society, which Nitobe believed was based on the samurai’s code of ethics. Nitobe describes those values in eloquent language, drawing comparisons with the religious and philosophical traditions of other civilizations, including all great Western philosophers, Judeo-Christian teachings, Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, etc. In the exploration of the main religions and great schools of philosophy from around the world, he both elevates the code of bushido to the same level as the ethical and moral principles of other great civilizations and renders understanding of Japanese culture possible to those who come from those other civilizations. In this sense, he idealizes bushido. By idealizing it, he also simplifies it. He also places bushido in the context of and in the language of our universal search for good person and good society. Hence the appeal of his exposition to people of many languages.

Buck
03-22-2008, 10:49 PM
The controversial book Hagakure is fascinating I found an interview of a popular American translator, the whole interview wasn't that great, but it has its moments. I think it is good to read because you can see maybe why there is a need for pacifism. Here is a part of the interview which has the most to with the book.

http://www.sonshi.com/wilson.html

Interview with William Scott Wilson
By Sonshi.com

Considered by many scholars as the most influential of all samurai treatises ever written, Hagakure, or "Hidden Leaves," remains a must-read for anyone interested in Japanese culture. Finished in 1716, the book contains the philosophy of a samurai named Yamamoto Tsunetomo of the Nabeshima clan, and was scribed by Tashiro Tsuramoto over a seven year period.

When we at Sonshi.com think of Hagakure, we think of William Scott Wilson's Hagakure. His English translation, published in 1979, is the standard. Mr. Wilson accurately describes Hagakure for what it's not: a well-thought-out philosophy reasoned and logical. Rather, it has an "anti-intellectual and anti-scholastic bent throughout." But it is Tsunetomo's radical and unabashed analysis of the way of the "good samurai" that adds luster to an otherwise preachy book. Tsunetomo sensed the weakening of his own samurai class in a time of prolonged peace, when a devoted samurai can neither show valor in battle nor commit junshi, a ritual suicide by disembowelment when one's master has died.

Sonshi.com: Why did Yamamoto Tsunetomo write the book?

Wilson: Hagakure is, for the most part, a series of comments and opinions Yamamoto Tsunetomo dictated over several years to a young samurai scribe who, at the time, had been relieved of his duties. His topics ranged widely, but his main concern was the current mentality or disposition of the samurai class. He felt strongly that with the peace of the Tokugawa era, the samurai had lost their focus on who they were and how they should live their lives. He was not alone in this concern, and a number of other contemporaries from his class were also moved to write their thoughts on these problems. Tsunetomo's radical bushido differed from that of other writers in part because he was a poet, a romantic, and an extreme traditionalist.

Buck
03-23-2008, 08:52 PM
In the Wilson interview there they talk about the movie Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai is talked about. Not seeing the movie I decided to "e-cliff note" it. While surfing I came across this article that is part of a PhD thesis which talks about movie and other things. I liked it. I think it has to do with Bushido and Aikido. http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/00/9/samurai.html

Here is an excerpt: The samurai code of living that Hagakure advocates is likely to be lost on the way, for the text ironically inscribes the absence of the code. It is an empty style that can be borrowed by anyone at any time of history and it no longer signifies a core culture of an Oriental entity called Japan.

Gee...I am hoping for from these posts that people will find it refreshing and interesting.

Don_Modesto
03-24-2008, 02:42 PM
Bodiford's views are always interesting in a discussion of BUSHIDO. I summarized them from his article in: Martial arts of the world : an encyclopedia / edited by Thomas A. Green. I posted this a while ago at http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4217

In the teens, 20's and 30's, Jp was in the clutches of fascists who oriented education to inculcating sentiments of suicidal allegiance to the emperor. The Jpn recognized their technological incapacities and intended to take up the slack with "SEISHIN", fighting spirit (remember the women in Okinawa fighting flame throwers with sharpened bamboo poles? One modernizer who tried to build up Jpn armaments was accused of treason).

To this end, the famous Hagakure ("The way of the samurai lies in death"), written by a romantic gasbag born during the peace of Tokugawa who never had to draw his sword in anger, was widely circulated to inspire fanaticism; martial arts were taken over by an organization called the Butokukai founded for this purpose to introduce youth to fighting and sacrifice; Momotaro, a children's story about a superhuman toddler who drives off the long-nosed barbarians, becomes canonical.

Samurai had become unwelcome in Meiji (1868-1911). They were conservative dinosaurs in a time of cataclysmic change. Nitobe Inazo, a Quaker (I think) wrote Bushido, in English, to reconcile Jpn values with Christianity. After the Jpn womped the Russians, however, an event inspiring peoples throughout the colonial world where whites had theretofore been regarded as undefeatable, values of the samurai were reconsidered. "Bushido" (Nitobe had thought he invented the term which had alternately been referred to as "budo", "samuraido", etc.) was appropriated by the politicos and "DO" took on the meaning of emperor worship (Here, Bodiford explicitly corrects Draeger who denies this history).

A police superintendent wrote that "bujutsu" ought to be written "budo" and this soon occured. In the 30's, the term "dojo" became widespread; borrowed from Buddhism, it lent a patina of spirituality to the rough business of preparing an army of suicidal maniacs. Constabularies regularly policed dojo to enforce the requirement that they have KAMIDANA at the front of their practice area, and bowed to it before and after class.

Offers new perspective to the standard "harmony of the universe, self-perfection thing", doesn't it? Kano, founder of judo, must have rolled over in his grave and it's said that Ueshiba Morihei retired to the countryside to avoid being part of the prostitution of his art thus.

Evidently, after the war, many martial artists acquiesed to the association of their arts with Zen through what had become "The Ways", not because it was actually so, but in order to rehabilitate their practice with the appearance of social utility. YMMV.

Ron Tisdale
03-24-2008, 02:58 PM
Excellent post, Don!

Thanks,
Ron

Allen Beebe
03-24-2008, 03:43 PM
Along with Prof. Boddiford's contribution, the following also might be considered when looking at the post war global expansion of Japanese martial arts and the some of the problems and abuses seem to be re-occurrent:

1910's - 1940's is almost a generational length of time. Those martial artists old enough to be "in the know" would have been suppressed during that time if they had the inclination to be so un-Japanese as to "stand out" against the fervor of the majority, and the vast majority of those young enough not to know any differently were raised and trained exclusively in the Imperial Bushido model*. AND most males in their formative years of that generation lived out Imperial Bushido's creed and didn't come home alive.

The majority of Japan's major religious institutions supported militarism and the war effort.

The larger numbers of those that survived the war to become martial arts teachers and leaders were originally trained how, what, and by whom? Certainly many of these individuals were sincere in trying their best to pass on and preserve what they had been taught, including pedagogy.

*A model who's interest was in training large numbers of officers and soldiers for military [I]consumption[I] not in passing on ethos, personality, and/or spirit of a specialized Koryu.

Ron Tisdale
03-24-2008, 03:46 PM
and another fine post. Jeesh, y'all making me feel bad for not doing more research...

Best,
Ron :D

Buck
03-24-2008, 06:40 PM
I need to post this after reading the last two posts that where chalk full of information. In Thomas Cleary's book "The Japanese Art of War: Understanding the Culture of Strategy," I get the sense that Musashi trashed on the popular and long held blueprint that the Hagakure provided for many Samurai, in his book “The Book of Five Spheres.” Musashi goes for the jugular by starting with Yamamoto Tsunetomo's ideal that physical death was the aim of the Samurai. It seems Musashi highly disagreed with that idea in his book by saying that other things you have other types of death and not physical. Both men held up to the idea that Samurai where to be absolutely unconditionally loyal to their masters. Loyalty seem to be a component going unchanged for what is or isn’t Bushido.

It seems that the interpretation of Bushido depends on the point in history, person(s) view, and politics. Look at WWII how some tried to revive the old ways of the Bushi, and the Samurai. Look a people like, Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Musashi, Nitobe, Sokaku Takeda, Mishima Yukio all seemed to have a different view of Bushido. It reminds me of the "way" of fashion trends; all a matter of taste and persuading others to persuade other to make you design the popular one.

O'Sensei credits Sokaku Takeda for teaching him Budo. That would mean then there is no difference between Bushido and Aikido? However, we might ask then what blueprint for Bushido did Takeda follow? Was Takeda's blueprint one designed by strong nationalists of his time? In that blueprint can we find footprint from Yamamoto, Musashi's, others, or a mix. How close to Takeda's Bushido blueprint did O'Sensei follow is a good question to look into.

I see Bushido really being used now as an unbrella term for a host of different views and opinions spanning over centuries, All colored by a variety of personal views to politics all wrapping around a core of purposes. That would be of loyality and death; having someone fight on a order aggressively to win (kill the enemy) without the concern or regard for self-preservation. All done without question.

Bushido at its raw materials then is very different from Aikido. I may be wrong, and in need of correction. But, I don't think O'Sensei sent anyone into a war as a disposable pawn. I don't think Aikido is set up for that at all, am I right?

Allen Beebe
03-24-2008, 08:10 PM
If I'm not mistaken Musashi lived from the late 1500's until the mid 1600's. The Hagakure was written sometime in the early 1700's so Musashi certainly wasn't writing specifically in response to a book that didn't exist during his lifetime.

Musashi was a Bushi, Nitobe, Takeda, Mishima, and Ueshiba were not.

Takeda was raised in Aizu which supported the ill-fated Tokugawa regime upon the rise of the Meiji restoration. He was a youth when his childhood home was razed and many of his relatives committed mass suicide in response to the misapprehended consequences of defeat. An entire "Youth Corps" also committed ritual suicide on a mountain in his domain. Certainly these events and the feelings of his relatives must have been influential. Takeda later moved to Hokaido where many pro-Tokogawa supporters had moved (exiled I think.) Takeda associated with ultra nationalist right wingers and regularly taught at institutions associated with the WWII government as did Ueshiba.

Ueshiba was also involved in Omoto Kyo which had an agenda that did not coincide with the National Government's and therefore was suppressed. Ueshiba avoided being arrested in conjunction with this suppression by initially hiding in a police chief's house. He then distanced himself from the Omoto Kyo institution and engaged in teaching activities that included several military academies and (gestapo like) spy schools. Although Ueshiba never stopped practicing Omoto Kyo, he also never resumed strong ties with the organization. Apparently there were many Omoto members that felt Ueshiba had betrayed them, including his own nephew who remained an ardent believer.

Ueshiba certainly prepared his personal students and others for war. From his writings of the time he appeared to be a patriot at a time of war. This does not imply that he necessarily agreed with everything that his government did at the time. His exact position is hard to discern and certainly attempts at obscuration appear to have occurred. Ueshiba never sent anyone to war, his National Government did that. It is rather likely that Ueshiba was as much a pawn as he was a player during a difficult time. It certainly he, many of his students, and the entire nation were changed by the events and outcome of the war.

I'm writing this completely "off the cuff" so if anyone would like to provide more detail or specific facts, that would be great.

Buck
03-24-2008, 10:45 PM
Boy, I got to be less careless of what I say, it looks like no prisoners are taken around here. Thanks for pointing that out, it was poor attention to what I was writing that cause the confusion. I am not sure if his will help.

Musashi died around the age of 61 years old, when Yamamoto was about 14 years old. Yamamoto probably drawing his material for his book from the same "Way of the Samurai" era as Musashi was arguing against. Musashi died at a critical time in Japanese history of a new Shogunate and Yamamoto was a teenager when that happened. Yamamoto saw that change though out his life and I think wanted to keep alive that previous military era that existed when he was a boy.

Mishima was kind of that way too wanting to keep a previous military era alive. Both men are criticized for romantic idolization of an era that proceeded them. Both men had interpreted Bushido similarly and differently.

I don't disagree that Musashi was the only Bushi and the others not. Thats true, it is each individual had a different view of what Budo was for different reasons, and for similar reasons.

I should have said that O'Sensei learned Bushido from Takeda. O'Sensei interpreted, viewed, etc. differently then Takeda. What I am saying is it seems none of the people I mentioned seen Bushido all in the same way. Each person had their own take, and lived at different times. Point being, it is hard to pin down what Bushido is and isn't.

Allen Beebe
03-24-2008, 11:25 PM
Point being, it is hard to pin down what Bushido is and isn't.

Agreed! :)

Josh Reyer
03-25-2008, 12:37 AM
Musashi died around the age of 61 years old, when Yamamoto was about 14 years old. Yamamoto probably drawing his material for his book from the same "Way of the Samurai" era as Musashi was arguing against. Musashi died at a critical time in Japanese history of a new Shogunate and Yamamoto was a teenager when that happened. Yamamoto saw that change though out his life and I think wanted to keep alive that previous military era that existed when he was a boy.


Yamamoto was born in 1659, 45 years after the last military operation of the Sengoku period ended. He knew no life but the peace of the Tokugawa Period, and the only military era he knew was that of the romances and plays. This is amply demonstrated by his desire to perform junshi -- suicide to accompany his lord into death. This would have appalled (or at least bewildered) the Sengoku era bushi, for whom junshi was part of battle (or protest), and not done when one's lord died of age or sickness, as Yamamoto's had.

Musashi himself just caught the tail-end of the Sengoku period, and lived most of his life in the Tokugawa peace, which is why he is known as a duelist, and not, say, a spearsman. In essence, what you write about Yamamoto was actually true of Musashi; his writing in his old age hearkened back to era of his childhood, when bushi actually had to fight. Thus, while Yamamoto's idea of bushido revolved around a noble life and death, Musashi's idea of "hyoho no michi" (the Way of Martial Strategy; Musashi never used the term "bushido") revolved around the accomplishment of one's tasks in life, a view also found in the writings of Sengoku bushi Iizasa Chouisai and Yagyu Sekishusai.

Ron Tisdale
03-25-2008, 08:22 AM
Boy, I got to be less careless of what I say, it looks like no prisoners are taken around here.

Naw, people help each other by filling in the pieces that others are unfamiliar with. It's not like counting coup. :D Nobody keeps track of points, unless of course, you get someone stubbornly fixated on false or misleading information. We all learn from each other.

Welcome!

Ron ;)

Allen Beebe
03-25-2008, 10:18 AM
FWIW and in the spirit that Ron described, I'll explain my application of the term Bushi to Musashi and not to the others that Buck mentioned.

Bushi = 武士 = Military Samurai
Which is a description that, out of the individuals listed, Musashi most seemed to fit in my mind.

Samurai = 士 = Samurai
My understanding is that Yamamoto was a Tokugawa Era Samurai which is a societal position and does not necessarily imply military experience and/or expertise.

All of the remaining gentlemen were adults after the abolishment of the Tokugawa and the Bakufu. Hence there were no more Samurai (士) and consequently no Bushi (武士). Therefore, these gentlemen could not be Bushi.

This was my own reasoning based on my limited knowledge. For example perhaps the Japanese Emperor still confers "Knighthood" upon individuals much in the same manner that the Queen of England does. Perhaps Sir Elton John has his parallel in Japan. I've never heard of such a thing but who knows? (I kind of doubt it though. I've known several individuals that have been awarded honor by the Emperor. Their titles did not harken back to an age of Shojun's, which is understandable as it would probably only serve to undermine both the Emperor and the post WWII Parliamentary Government.)

And of course romantic metaphor can still be used: Due to his ever vigilant honorable behavior and fierce pursuit of martial practice, Ron Tisdale was known far and wide as the very epitome of a modern Bushi! :D

Ron Tisdale
03-25-2008, 10:54 AM
:blush: :blush: :blush:

Best,
Ron (ever vigilent :D) Tisdale

Chuck Clark
03-25-2008, 11:16 AM
Allen, you forgot to mention all of the dedicated, passionate, and possibly indignant at being "misunderstood" Macdojo, internet, and corporate "samurai" that do their best to live by the tenets of "Bushido" that they have read about in books or been taught by their sensei. Surely historians who specialize in Japanese history and also have spent many years practicing legitimate bujutsu/budo just don't understand and are missing the experience of modern Bushido that is living in these modern bushi.

I apologize...(tongue out of my cheek now). I'm taking a break already this morning and couldn't help myself.

Best,

Allen Beebe
03-25-2008, 03:42 PM
:D

It is good to hear from you Chuck. Hope you are doing well!

Allen

Bill Danosky
04-03-2008, 11:23 PM
I know I'm interjecting this back into a forum that's supposed to be about spiritualism, etc, but this is the funniest thing I've seen on aikiweb:

When a place announces itself being a Bushido martial art, don't be surprised if at midnight they dress up like ninja and chase cars.