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Peter Boylan
02-16-2016, 11:56 AM
I train in this Japanese stuff called budo, but how can what I am doing now be the same budo the samurai practiced in Japan? Am I Really Practicing Budo? I put my thoughts together in this blog post
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2016/02/am-i-really-practicing-budo.html

What's your opinion?

Tim Mailloux
02-16-2016, 03:25 PM
I train in this Japanese stuff called budo, but how can what I am doing now be the same budo the samurai practiced in Japan? Am I Really Practicing Budo? I put my thoughts together in this blog post
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2016/02/am-i-really-practicing-budo.html

What's your opinion?

The short answer is your not training in the same budo that the samurai did, because they didn't practice budo....they trained bujutsu.

Cliff Judge
02-16-2016, 03:36 PM
The short answer is your not training in the same budo that the samurai did, because they didn't practice budo....they trained bujutsu.

If you are interested in such matters, here is a link to some good information on the subject. (http://budobum.blogspot.in/2016/02/am-i-really-practicing-budo.html)

Peter Boylan
02-16-2016, 03:48 PM
The short answer is your not training in the same budo that the samurai did, because they didn't practice budo....they trained bujutsu.

I have written about that false dichotomy in the past. It's at http://budobum.blogspot.com/2012/11/do-vs-jutsu-again.html

Tim Mailloux
02-16-2016, 05:34 PM
I have written about that false dichotomy in the past. It's at http://budobum.blogspot.com/2012/11/do-vs-jutsu-again.html

With modern martial arts I would agree that there is no distinction between do and jutsu arts. But today's 'do' or 'jutsu' arts are are far cry from the arts of war the samurai of years past trained. Your initial post asked the question if you are practicing the same art as the samurai of the past, and my answer to that question is still no.

Cliff Judge
02-16-2016, 05:36 PM
With modern martial arts I would agree that there is no distinction between do and jutsu arts. But today's 'do' or 'jutsu' arts are are far cry from the arts of war the samurai of years past trained. Your initial post asked the question if you are practicing the same art as the samurai of the past, and my answer to that question is still no.

Which arts are you referring to here? Care to share some examples?

Peter Boylan
02-16-2016, 08:23 PM
With modern martial arts I would agree that there is no distinction between do and jutsu arts. But today's 'do' or 'jutsu' arts are are far cry from the arts of war the samurai of years past trained. Your initial post asked the question if you are practicing the same art as the samurai of the past, and my answer to that question is still no.

Interesting. Among the arts I study is Shinto Muso Ryu. Many of the kata are the same kata that have been practiced since the 17th century. How different is what I am doing from what they are were doing? Why is the Shinto Muso Ryu I do, or the Tenjin Shin'yo Ryu or the Yoshin Ryu that others do a far cry from what those were 150 or 20 or 400 years ago?

jurasketu
02-16-2016, 09:46 PM
I wonder if wrestlers and boxers ask these kinds of questions... Wrestling and boxing are over 2500+ years old. They put the "ancient" in ancient martial arts...

I'm not being sarcastic.

"Ancient" and/or "Traditional" Eastern Martial Arts (TM) seem like good marketing (even when grounded in truth) rather than something "special". And just being "ancient" or "traditional" is only interesting because they have stood the test of time rather than being inherently "better". Right?

Is someone that only knows "Western" martial arts but uses those skills to protect and defend (rather than fight) doing budo? Do they even think about that way? Should they?

Carsten Möllering
02-17-2016, 06:46 AM
The short answer is your not training in the same budo that the samurai did, because they didn't practice budo....they trained bujutsu.Firstly "budō" and "bujutsu" are words. And whatever "the samurai" practiced, the words "budo" and "bujutsu" (and to a certain degree "heiho") have been synonyms back then. So they called what they did budō or bujutsu - or maybe heihō - interchangeably.

If you want to characterize certain differences between their practice back then and the practice of the same art now, you have to describe these differences substantially. Because of being synonyms the use of the words "budō" and "bujutsu" doesn't help.

... Your initial post asked the question if you are practicing the same art as the samurai of the past, and my answer to that question is still no.
天真正伝香取神道(!)流 Tenshin shōden katori shindō(!) ryū has a "dō" in it's name and it was called a "budō" in the old times allready.

Could you please explain in which way you think practicing this budō was different in former times compared to now?

And just being "ancient" or "traditional" is only interesting because they have stood the test of time rather than being inherently "better". Right?To me at least this is not the point. Better in which way? And how do I know one of those arts ist better? And better than what? TSKSR and KSR both have survived: Which one is better? And shouldn't be offsprings of a better art be even better because they actually add something ...?

Is someone that only knows "Western" martial arts but uses those skills to protect and defend (rather than fight) doing budo? Doesn't the word "budō" by definition refer to Japanese arts only?

rugwithlegs
02-17-2016, 07:26 AM
Pretty sure Glima, Sumo, and Pankration are not the same as they were centuries ago. Times change, practices change. Pretty sure the "old" and "modern" schools have a bit of a rivalry. I can read about how old Shotokan kata are, but the Pinan forms compared to the Heian forms or the changes to Nijushiho over decades are noticeable. The same with Taiji forms. Probably no need to even broach if our Aikido is the same as a man who died a year before I was born. Is Shinto Muso Ryu completely intact and unaltered?

For me, the history of the spectrum is the most interesting part. The change between how do we create dangerous people to how do we create tools out of dangerous people. And, part of many cultures' response to warriors during peace. The same issues that face the USA today with a massive military, highly dangerous tools (people) and...now what?

jonreading
02-17-2016, 09:20 AM
For me, you are asking a rhetorical question.

I take some issue with the claim of budo, since it is something of a contrivance - a propaganda used to put an acceptable face on something that is otherwise uncouth. Learning to hurt people is, in most respects, frowned upon. But if its self-improvement...

In this respect, my answer is no. Unless the cost of your mistake is severe, we are probably not training the same way professional fighters trained in any age in any art in any culture where the fighting was actively used. It also cheapens the value of those fighters who actually train in this way. To Carsten's point, I think the words are the same, but the applied meaning is different. I tend to use the contrast between a baseball player and playing baseball for this perspective. Many people may play baseball, not many people are baseball players - we often use the terms interchangeably, though. That's bad. But in the sense of "bad," not the popular "cool bad." But not "cool" like cold, the other cool...

I think claiming yourself as a "budo guy" has to cast a different shadow. If you move like a regular guy, what's different? You show up to a class and wear pajamas? When referring to a past time, I think you were talking about a class that was different - they thought different, moved different and shared a life perspective that was different than common civilians. These people were so different in appearance and in action you could almost distinguish them on sight. When people walk into the dojo, I can usually tell whether they've had previous fighting experience - they look and act different.

I think we need to be critical of our training with respect to assuming because we come to class, we are budo people. If no one has mentioned your body works differently since you've been training, you probably have you answer. To be fair, I think we are working to change our bodies but we're works in progress. I think when someone can see the work in you reflected, you are making yourself a budo girl.

As a casual observation, I think also the cost of self-proclamation is less than what it used to be. In Chicago, one would never self-proclaim himself as a made-man. Unless one was, actually, a made-man. The cost of a false proclamation would be severe. I imagine, proclaiming oneself as a budo man during a time when someone might just show up and ask to see the budo man in action would carry severe consequences.

Change rules, change kata, change outfits. Whatever. The work changes the body and that is budo. Our systems can survive as long as the elements that change the body survive.

earnest aikidoka
02-17-2016, 12:42 PM
Budo is the way of the warrior. So one has to ask, what is a warrior?

Is he a brutal, lethal man skilled in weaponry and able to decapitate heads with a single swipe?

Is he a gentleman, as well-versed in literature as he is with weaponry. Cultured, learned yet deadly?

Both of them are the same in one way, they are skilled. And not only that, their skills shape the way the look at life in general. In the book of five rings, Miyamoto Musashi speaks of how warriors should also have an interest in other arts, and be able to apply the skills of a warrior to other areas of life and leisure.

Ancient warriors like Talhoffer or other Italian fencing masters are all masters of both sword and literature. Agrippa's work on fencing included a dialogue on philosophy. La Verdadera destreza taught fencing in regards to other disciplines like geometry. Not to mention Bruce Lee himself was an avid reader as well as fighter.

What links all of the above together is the fact that they applied their martial knowledge and experience to other areas of their lives, and were able to shape the world accordingly. Their skills were not limited to the dojo or the battlefield but found meaning in everyday moments and seconds.

Therefore, one should say; Budo is something that applies to all who are students of the art of war and who apply these lessons in their lives. Budo isn't the sole province of ancient warriors and old battlefields. It is alive and dynamic in all aspects of life, suitable for any situation and century.

One then shouldn't ask such a question as am I really practicing budo, but ask how am I practicing budo?

rugwithlegs
02-17-2016, 04:49 PM
Unfortunately I cannot read Musashi in his original language; I never took the time. I believe Peter Boylan has?

When Musashi wrote about what he recommended for warriors to do, it was for the development of strategy. Understand the arts, understand the professions, be able to clearly distinguish between loss and gain, pay attention to the details and the big picture, etc. He wasn't just advocating being a well rounded person for it's own sake but rather that for his theory of 1:1 or 10000:10000 battles being the same you had to understand more than the sword for strategy. Entering a land battle, understand the ground as well as a farmer would; understand the tides as well as any fisherman would for planning a naval battle. This is why the Five Rings are a valid metaphor for business today, it's telling the business office to understand the products they sell and understand who they are selling to to develop the best strategy for success.

I tend to understand Musashi as not finding "meaning" but rather how to discover and exploit tactical significance from anything at any time.

earnest aikidoka
02-17-2016, 05:09 PM
Unfortunately I cannot read Musashi in his original language; I never took the time. I believe Peter Boylan has?

When Musashi wrote about what he recommended for warriors to do, it was for the development of strategy. Understand the arts, understand the professions, be able to clearly distinguish between loss and gain, pay attention to the details and the big picture, etc. He wasn't just advocating being a well rounded person for it's own sake but rather that for his theory of 1:1 or 10000:10000 battles being the same you had to understand more than the sword for strategy. Entering a land battle, understand the ground as well as a farmer would; understand the tides as well as any fisherman would for planning a naval battle. This is why the Five Rings are a valid metaphor for business today, it's telling the business office to understand the products they sell and understand who they are selling to to develop the best strategy for success.

I tend to understand Musashi as not finding "meaning" but rather how to discover and exploit tactical significance from anything at any time.

And there we have a summary to the big question; Budo is finding the strategy where you'd least expect it.

kewms
02-17-2016, 05:17 PM
Academic majors, US Military Academy (West Point):
http://www.usma.edu/curriculum/SitePages/Home.aspx

While many eras of Japanese (and world) history saw perpetual warfare, there have also been long periods and large regions where more peaceful circumstances reigned. (And indeed, creating and maintaining such circumstances is one of the stated goals of warfare.) It is helpful for warriors to both understand what they are fighting for, and to have some ability to function in society once the war is over.

Katherine

Cliff Judge
02-18-2016, 03:10 PM
Doesn't the word "budō" by definition refer to Japanese arts only?

Not by definition. Its just that Japan is the only place where the idea of elevating a martial tradition to a form of personal refinement was allowed to "bake" for the many generations required for budo to really develop. Typically martial traditions are discarded when they become technologically obsolete, dangerous to the power of the rulers / invaders, or when a society becomes ruled by laws.

rugwithlegs
02-18-2016, 03:23 PM
So, Budo was about killing. Then social control/refinement of character. Quite recently self actualization. Changes in focus, change in skill set.

The virtues of Budo aren't consistent when named and listed.

In trying to get information about the virtues of Budo, ironically I found this gem:
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2015/02/budo-virtues.html

Cliff Judge
02-18-2016, 04:13 PM
So, Budo was about killing. Then social control/refinement of character. Quite recently self actualization. Changes in focus, change in skill set.

The virtues of Budo aren't consistent when named and listed.

In trying to get information about the virtues of Budo, ironically I found this gem:
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2015/02/budo-virtues.html

I don't think its right to say that Budo was ever only about killing, per se. Perhaps even mostly. There were ways a person learned how to manage weapons and kill other people, and there were ways to teach somebody these skills, in Japan and every other human society. But something was done to these methods to turn them into Budo, even if you consider Katori Shinto ryu or Nen ryu to be Budo.

This is true when you look at the fact that the early days of the koryu arts, the founders taught only seasoned warriors. So that first generation of students had training and experience that was not Budo. And of course you hardly ever hear about which koryu such and such a warrior practiced before he distinguished himself on the battlefield.

Maybe I am presupposing my conclusions by tying the definition of Budo the transmittion of koryu like this.

jonreading
02-19-2016, 08:18 AM
I think budo is not equal to fighting arts. Overlapping in manifestation, but not equal. Katherine brought up a point, tangent to the question of the thread, but part of my perspective - I believe that budo (that we know today) was a system to help the fighting class normalize into a civilian population - an outlet to apply their knowledge and skill to other aspects of society:
https://youtu.be/TS21wcdpgUg

Fighting systems are about the capitulation/domination of human capital. Budo is a system to apply an ethical code to training and tactics. You fight how you train, so implementing the system at the training level is arguably an adequate point of origin for an ethics code. We all want to believe that our "superior" fighting skill will be wielded with a moral compass that points straight to "above reproach." Find me the thread on Aikiweb that outlines a fight-scenario that has the aikido person wearing a black hat. Unless it's someone with bad energy...

First, you have to be able to do something. The fighting arts side of budo empowers you to do. The ethics side of budo empowers you to apply a morality to what you do. If you cannot throw your partner, what difference does it makes as to why you would [try to] throw them? I think sometimes we jump into the why without checking to see if we can. This was my point from my earlier post - the work of changing our bodies to fight is the predecessor of choosing how to apply that skill.

As a side note, it ain't like other cultures didn't apply a morality to their fighting classes. The Chinese did it, the Romans did it, the Europeans did it...

kewms
02-19-2016, 11:01 AM
As a side note, it ain't like other cultures didn't apply a morality to their fighting classes. The Chinese did it, the Romans did it, the Europeans did it...

Every society that survived long enough to be recorded in the history books did it. Isn't the restraint of violence by morality part of the very definition of civilization?

Katherine

rugwithlegs
02-19-2016, 11:44 AM
I like it and want to believe it. The existence of a cohesive stable group (civilization contains the connotation of civilized but doesn't require civility) is I believe more through rule of law, often supported by arms. Morality maybe from the beginning, or maybe evolves. The USA has been a society through war, slavery, and a wide spectrum of inequalities that have little connection to morality. I see the warrior over time representing power. What we are powerful for changes.

kewms
02-19-2016, 12:24 PM
I like it and want to believe it. The existence of a cohesive stable group (civilization contains the connotation of civilized but doesn't require civility) is I believe more through rule of law, often supported by arms. Morality maybe from the beginning, or maybe evolves. The USA has been a society through war, slavery, and a wide spectrum of inequalities that have little connection to morality. I see the warrior over time representing power. What we are powerful for changes.

The rule of law is *always* supported by arms, it's just that different societies make that more or less explicit. OTOH, part of the definition of "rule of law" is that physical might -- even the might of the state -- is expected to subordinate itself to governing institutions.

Supporters of slavery in the US claimed that they were upholding the natural order of things, and that it was abolitionists who wanted to undermine morality. At various points in Japanese history, "budo values" were used to justify behaviors that we now consider criminal. Morality evolves.

Katherine

jonreading
02-19-2016, 12:32 PM
Every society that survived long enough to be recorded in the history books did it. Isn't the restraint of violence by morality part of the very definition of civilization?

Katherine

You could make that argument. But morality is a subjective concept - "restraining" who we choose to kill is still not an acceptable solution for anyone on that list. Somewhere along the line, we assumed "budo" was an acceptable compass for choosing what human capital was expendable. In my earlier post I made a jab at this assumption and the ethos grab ensues from the claim: budo is good, I do budo, I am good. Budo is, in many respects, a way to considering ourselves part of a fighting class.

I bring up the point only to compare our perspective against any number of cultures who also imposed a code of ethics on their fighting classes.

Cliff Judge
02-19-2016, 04:27 PM
I think budo is not equal to fighting arts. Overlapping in manifestation, but not equal. Katherine brought up a point, tangent to the question of the thread, but part of my perspective - I believe that budo (that we know today) was a system to help the fighting class normalize into a civilian population - an outlet to apply their knowledge and skill to other aspects of society:
https://youtu.be/TS21wcdpgUg

Fighting systems are about the capitulation/domination of human capital. Budo is a system to apply an ethical code to training and tactics. You fight how you train, so implementing the system at the training level is arguably an adequate point of origin for an ethics code. We all want to believe that our "superior" fighting skill will be wielded with a moral compass that points straight to "above reproach." Find me the thread on Aikiweb that outlines a fight-scenario that has the aikido person wearing a black hat. Unless it's someone with bad energy...

First, you have to be able to do something. The fighting arts side of budo empowers you to do. The ethics side of budo empowers you to apply a morality to what you do. If you cannot throw your partner, what difference does it makes as to why you would [try to] throw them? I think sometimes we jump into the why without checking to see if we can. This was my point from my earlier post - the work of changing our bodies to fight is the predecessor of choosing how to apply that skill.

As a side note, it ain't like other cultures didn't apply a morality to their fighting classes. The Chinese did it, the Romans did it, the Europeans did it...

Budo is really not about changing the body, it's about changing the spirit. Its just like any other do in that regard - repetitive practice of technique to yield a change of the self to become a part of the essence of the ryu. In budo it is often but not exclusively through movement that one expresses the character or the ryu. The purpose of aiki is not to accomplish physical tasks but it is through a type of movement that one can be observed to embody the concept of aiki.

And like I said, there is something else that is done to a fighting art to get budo. It's something that makes them worth continuing to do after the fighting skills are obsolete. That's why there is no European budo. I don't believe Chinese arts are quite the same as budo either because they are not rooted as fighting systems but rather as civilian or religious systems.

rugwithlegs
02-20-2016, 07:37 AM
In talking about fighting arts versus Budo, are we back to the first posts comparing and contrasting bujutsu and budo?

Not sure I agree about your comments on Chinese arts. Someone develops a fighting style and notes a principle of yin and yang (In/Yo) and works on ways to develop this. Of course it's the same as saying heads or tails or left or right or day or night but philosophical Daoism had the same concept soTaiji is now called Daoist (the Taoist style of Taiji was developed by a Canadian a few decades ago I believe). Philosophically, Yin/Yang or In/Yo are not religious, and people practicing Taiji are not practicing religious Daoism.

Bernd Lehnen
02-20-2016, 08:02 AM
Budo is really not about changing the body, it's about changing the spirit. Its just like any other do in that regard - repetitive practice of technique to yield a change of the self to become a part of the essence of the ryu. In budo it is often but not exclusively through movement that one expresses the character or the ryu. The purpose of aiki is not to accomplish physical tasks but it is through a type of movement that one can be observed to embody the concept of aiki.

And like I said, there is something else that is done to a fighting art to get budo. It's something that makes them worth continuing to do after the fighting skills are obsolete. That's why there is no European budo. I don't believe Chinese arts are quite the same as budo either because they are not rooted as fighting systems but rather as civilian or religious systems.

Hi Cliff,
That's what they tell you nowadays and that's why you will find so few really capable of making the choice.

Besides you may have missed the point, Jon was making.

IMO, Budo comes into play after you had changed body and mind to a considerable degree. As long as your'e 'helpless, how can you think to be involved in budo? Budo will tell you how to do what you already have been able to.

Ah, and the Europeans didn't need budo, never did, even to prosper in the far east, although they had the means to see and appreciate its possible values.
So they welcomed it.

There is a lot of myth and marketing out there, but if you get to the core…..

Best,
Bernd

Cliff Judge
02-21-2016, 08:41 PM
In talking about fighting arts versus Budo, are we back to the first posts comparing and contrasting bujutsu and budo?

Not sure I agree about your comments on Chinese arts. Someone develops a fighting style and notes a principle of yin and yang (In/Yo) and works on ways to develop this. Of course it's the same as saying heads or tails or left or right or day or night but philosophical Daoism had the same concept soTaiji is now called Daoist (the Taoist style of Taiji was developed by a Canadian a few decades ago I believe). Philosophically, Yin/Yang or In/Yo are not religious, and people practicing Taiji are not practicing religious Daoism.

The reason why I think an art needs a warrior pedigree to be considered Budo is that there needs to be a real understanding of life or death informing it, somewhere back in the chain of succession. In my understanding - which is limited - the internal Chinese arts don't have that.

But I do think that's just sort of a check box for something to fit my personal definition, and it does fit most of the Japanese arts, Aikido included. You can have in-yo and you can have a do and you can have self defense and you can wave swords around without it being really Budo.

Ellis Amdur
02-21-2016, 09:21 PM
Clliff - as a lot of these claims of warrior heritage are legend, who knows. How far back does one go to find that heritage?

But t'ai chi allegedly developed from Chen village, and their early tales include both militia and war. xingyi allegedly developed from spear. Bagua apparently was an amalgamation of some shaolin style (originally developed to fight the wako, raiding Chinese coastal areas) with a Taoist method of circular walking, the founder seeing the addition of the circles ideal to respond to circular attacks. (this, by the way, was roughly the same period that koryu developed).

Karl Friday's work suggests that even the oldest koryu were not, strictly speaking, military training, but rather, methods of indoctrination for the ruling (bushi) class. Furthermore, the vast bulk of koryu only tenuously have any connection to life-and-death issues, because they were developed for duels, not war, something that very rarely occurred in the Edo period.

The warrior pedigree has been vastly overblown, anyway. As I note in Old School, the vast majority of koryu were populated and led primarily by non-bushi, but the mid-late Edo, and for many, if not most, were primarily a means of accumulating social capital. (like joining a golf club to hob-nob with one's betters).

From another angle, training in budo of any sort is 'problematic.' As Peter Goldsbury so ably shows, how can we 'claim' to be doing aikido, when other than the shapes of the techniques on the mat, we have very little connection with what Ueshiba Morihei was doing - from a cultural, spiritual, political and social perspective? How can we purport to train budo, when until recently, one probably desired a sword that had a mark/stamp that attested to how many dead bodies the blade could cut through. The mind-set of budoka of 100 - 200, etc years ago, was so alien to us, in so many particulars. Being a budoka was not just what one did in a dojo - it was what one did in one's home, and on one's job. It entailed how one related to one's superiors and inferiors (the very use of these words might be troubling to a modern Westerner). One of my teachers was truly old-school. I remember the two of us walking in a train station, and passed a homeless woman, possibly mentally ill, begging. I reflexively said, "kawaii so" - which means, literally, "pitiful" - but it is an expression of commiseration, not criticism. My teacher said, "Yeah, sure, but you know what. No matter what misfortune ever happened to you or I, we'd never end up like that." (And for those who'd argue, his implication was not only that we'd find a way to survive better, but if we didn't, we'd kill ourselves with complete equanimity, rather than be degraded in that state.). The reader may quibble, but this is a classical budoka perspective. To what degree do we diverge from this and still be doing budo?

Peter Goldsbury
02-22-2016, 06:47 AM
Hello Ellis,

In this connection, I could add that I have just spent a very pleasant few days in Iwama. I was there with Ethan Weisgard and he and I interviewed three of the original deshi of Morihei Ueshiba: Shihans Isoyama, Inagaki and Watahiki. Carl Thompson also took part.

Ethan organized everything superbly and chose the three because they each had a direct 'pipe' to Morihei Ueshiba separately from Saito Morihiro Shihan. The three of us will translate, edit / polish and generally organize the interrviews and eventually post them here on AikiWeb.

The interviews took several hours on the first day. On the second day, Watahiki Sensei showed us round and let us see the quarters occupied by Morihei Ueshiba when he resided in Iwama. There are stacks of Japanese books, including several volumes of Reikai Monogatari, all clearly unsorted and probably unread by anyone except Ueshiba himself. In the evenimg of the second day we had dinner with Isoyama Sensei and Inagaki Sensei and dinner with Inagaki Sensei was repeated in his own home on the third evening.

Inagaki Sensei is a scholar and researcher in his own right and he gave me much homework: about 100 pages of text entitled 開祖の教え, written by a researcher by the name of Inui (乾). (There is a lengthy section covering alleged mistakes in the editing of Aiki Shinzui and Takemusu Aiki.) I think Inagaki Sensei will set up a meeting with Inui san at some point in the future.

Anyway, the few days I spent in Iwama have whetted my appetite for more research and I plan to visit Iwama again in the future. It is clear, however, from this visit that the Omoto connection was absolutely crucial for Morihei Ueshiba -- and there are very few scholars of Omoto around, even in Japan.

Best wishes,

PAG

Cliff Judge
02-22-2016, 05:44 PM
Hi Ellis,

Thanks for the tidbits if info on the Chinese systems. One might quibble that the koryu systems have slightly better documentation but you do not,actually, see much historical evidence that such and such a ryu was practiced by so and so who particupated in an actual battle. Or duel for that matter. I don't have any turf to dig my heels into here because I think Budo is one of those terms whose definition is left open-ended. Many people would include Chinese systems, and various kinds of pugilism or even sport under the moniker.

Whether or not I can ever be the same as a person who pursued my chosen ryuha 150 years ago in mind, body, character, or attitude, I don't think its too crazy to imagine the he and I do have some things in common. The stuff I think is cool about doing koryu - in particular, the idea that its an art handed down by warriors of old - I really imagine he felt the same way, perhaps down to the daydreaming about training while toiling at his office job in Edo or whatever province.

From another angle, training in budo of any sort is 'problematic.' As Peter Goldsbury so ably shows, how can we 'claim' to be doing aikido, when other than the shapes of the techniques on the mat, we have very little connection with what Ueshiba Morihei was doing - from a cultural, spiritual, political and social perspective?

IMO, if anyone ever thought of Aikido as the exact practice of Osensei, I humbly submit that they misunderstood the nature of training.

Would having a connection to Ueshiba culturally, spiritually, politically and socially even be possible? Or at all desirable? Culturally, I would argue on some level there is a connection that everyone gets simply by stepping onto the mat with a certain level of commitment to come back agagin and train regularly - you then become part of a culture that was began by Osensei (though we may argue to what degree).

I think that Ueshiba "was doing" a great number of things with his life. One of them was creating a martial art known as Aikido. I am pretty sure he meant for that to happen - for his art to propagate after his death, and to spread around the world. Maybe he meant for it to look differently, or to bring about the goals of Imperial Japan, or to end all war and bring the kami into directly physical manifestation on this earth. Maybe he meant for Aikido practitioners to be able to exhibit the kind of internal power that practitioners of Chinese arts pursue. I don't know. I think at the end of the day the best thing he could possibly hope for is that in the 21st century there are people all over the world moving around on mats attempting to improve the shape of their technique. If he wanted something different, its on him and that ship has sailed.

Form is pretty important over here, after all.

Ellis Amdur
02-22-2016, 06:17 PM
Cliff - and thus, my point. If I recall, you train in Jikishinkage-ryu. How far are you from Ippusai? Or Matsumoto Bizen-no-kami. I certainly feel a vast gulf between myself and my predecessors, with the gokui being the only bridge (that I can embody and "emspirit" myself with what they experienced and how they experienced their world). But it is a vast gulf.

I was discussing this today concerning another project I am involved - regarding "Training toward managing ‘high-risk, high-consequence social interactions’ in an unfamiliar environment" And my collaborator and I were discussing empathy and the vast disconnect we can have with those in another culture. And I recalled a conversation with a friend, who was born in an Inner Mongolian village, who recalled his aunt. She was bending over the village well to draw water, and farted. She was so embarrassed that she threw herself into the well and drowned. And he explained that this made sense according to the customs of his village.

By the way, I have no doubt whatsoever that I am practicing budo . . . but there are many nuances worth discussion.

Cliff Judge
02-22-2016, 08:24 PM
That's the second fascinating bon mot you've shared on this thread and I can't really match it with anything fit for public consumption.

I agree that there is a vast gulf between us and our Budo predecessors in terms of experience, values, expectation of life, understanding of the universe, relationship with the unknown, etc. But its a fact that we are linked to those folks to whatever extent our training is a continuation of theirs. The way one of these systems - and I think Aikido should be included - can be a valuable activity for someone to purse whether they were a 16th century bushi, a 19th century Japanese businessman with social aspirations, a 20th century psychology major from NYC, or a mildly competent 21st century computer geek is what makes them Budo, and it has to do with their being something a little different than a fighting system.

jonreading
02-23-2016, 07:58 AM
I'll speak a little more to my perspective...

In my earlier post I shared my perspective that budo was a method for introducing a fighting class to a civilian population. Partly, I think this because I believe the transition is unidirectional. There's a reason why our military forces have a version of a boot camp - we are converting civilians to fighters. We are changing lifestyles to survive in a different environment. There is a reason why fighters have difficulty normalizing back to civilian life; they are not civilians. Now I'm not saying that because we aren't military or para-military we can't do budo, but I am being critical of separating playing at being a soldier from understanding that life.

It is hollow to apply a code of ethics to a set of skills you do not posses. You might as well argue about who you would kill if you had a lightsaber - it's fantasy. What I am saying is that we need first to change our bodies to develop skills, then we can apply a code of ethics to those skills. In a grander view, I understand some people do not want the fighting skills and choose to change something else. Cliff argues spirit, fine. But you have to first acknowledge that you do not have the spirit of a warrior, then you have to figure of what the spirit of the warrior is, then you have to implement a training to get to point B from point A. The space between the points? Your path. I would stick to the argument that if you don't know from where you started and you don't know to where you are going, there is no way possible you can tell me you are on a "path". I don't care if you say you're changing your body, or you mind, or you spirit, or your underpants. If you don't change something, it will show on the mat.

rugwithlegs
02-23-2016, 09:55 AM
I will agree that for all the time and effort invested I have no desire to just become a rabid dog. I want to be something better; I want to active,y work towards being something better. As a teacher, I want to help people become better - not just more lethal.

Whatever went before:

The one version of the founding of Tai Chi is from the Chen village that Ellis told. The other is Chanzangfang was an immortal who was ten feet tall and became more powerful, more virile, more serene and more intelligent with every passing Century of his life. He could put an arrow through a tree trunk the diameter of a house with only throwing it like a dart, he lived 700+ years, he could communicate with animals Dr Doolittle style, etc...

That doesn't help me train much.

I think the most valid question is how are we moving forward. How do we try to become more than attack dogs. Because, yes, I want to be more than just someone else's dog. From Aikido, this takes more IMO than Kotegaeshi.

jonreading
02-23-2016, 01:18 PM
As a point of clarification, I am not criticizing good or bad where our training puts us. The reality that I am not a professional baseball player does not affect my joy when I play baseball with my son.

I know many people who practice aikido, few of them are in any sense fighting machines. Fewer even who are out of control AND fighting machines. Fewer still who are "lethal." Most of us are hobbyists who want to train and work on something and aikido is that something. I far more familiar with people who practice aikido who are bullies and jerks than I am of aikido people who are capable of hurting me outside of the paradigm of giving my body to them to hurt.

Of course, YMMV.

Cliff Judge
02-23-2016, 01:55 PM
I'll speak a little more to my perspective...

In my earlier post I shared my perspective that budo was a method for introducing a fighting class to a civilian population. Partly, I think this because I believe the transition is unidirectional. There's a reason why our military forces have a version of a boot camp - we are converting civilians to fighters. We are changing lifestyles to survive in a different environment. There is a reason why fighters have difficulty normalizing back to civilian life; they are not civilians. Now I'm not saying that because we aren't military or para-military we can't do budo, but I am being critical of separating playing at being a soldier from understanding that life.

It is hollow to apply a code of ethics to a set of skills you do not posses. You might as well argue about who you would kill if you had a lightsaber - it's fantasy. What I am saying is that we need first to change our bodies to develop skills, then we can apply a code of ethics to those skills. In a grander view, I understand some people do not want the fighting skills and choose to change something else. Cliff argues spirit, fine. But you have to first acknowledge that you do not have the spirit of a warrior, then you have to figure of what the spirit of the warrior is, then you have to implement a training to get to point B from point A. The space between the points? Your path. I would stick to the argument that if you don't know from where you started and you don't know to where you are going, there is no way possible you can tell me you are on a "path". I don't care if you say you're changing your body, or you mind, or you spirit, or your underpants. If you don't change something, it will show on the mat.

You know, Jon, I did some thinking about what I actually meant when I talked about how budo "trains the spirit" and it comes down to physical things anyway. I don't know if I even really believe in anything but the body.

And my sword teacher back in Maryland felt that koryu were developed as a means of coping with what is known today as PTSD and its social effects.

Thanks for taking the time to reiterate what you were saying.

Bernd Lehnen
02-24-2016, 07:04 AM
You know, Jon, I did some thinking about what I actually meant when I talked about how budo "trains the spirit" and it comes down to physical things anyway. I don't know if I even really believe in anything but the body.

And my sword teacher back in Maryland felt that koryu were developed as a means of coping with what is known today as PTSD and its social effects.

Thanks for taking the time to reiterate what you were saying.

Hi Cliff,

Seems the Tokugawa didn't want those major internal wars of bygone times anymore, hence not many veterans with PTSD.
So, why would such a system of coping with PTSD be needed?

Although koryu and kobudo are for the most part treated like synonyms, on could make a certain distinction in the order of there aims, respectively 1. combat, 2. discipline and 3. morals versus 1. morals, 2. discipline and 3. aesthetic form.

Now I guess you are very conscious about this.

Would you please delineate how you think this should be related to or fit in to being created as a means of coping with PTSD, when the bulk of koryu (given their contents) apparently were developed more for the personal "ersatz" of war, i.e. duelling, instead of for going to war, then.

Not saying they weren't useful for this purpose in our times, though.

Best,
Bernd

Fred Little
02-24-2016, 02:06 PM
Bernd,

I would suggest that it is often necessary for a bureaucrat in an authoritarian military dictatorship to fulfill his role, which may involve -- on a fairly routine basis -- taking actions with which he personally disagrees and which he knows will cause enormous suffering to a person or persons regarding whom he has feelings. Although this may initially seem less clear than PTS resulting from involvement in physical violence, I can assure you that it does occur and is quite real. (Also note, stress after trauma is not a disorder. What is a disorder is our cultural failure to deal with it. Absence of stress after trauma is sociopathy.)

Best,

FL

earnest aikidoka
02-24-2016, 04:06 PM
Is there a confusion between Budo and Bushido? Or are the both the same?

Cliff Judge
02-24-2016, 04:11 PM
Hi Cliff,

Seems the Tokugawa didn't want those major internal wars of bygone times anymore, hence not many veterans with PTSD.
So, why would such a system of coping with PTSD be needed?

Although koryu and kobudo are for the most part treated like synonyms, on could make a certain distinction in the order of there aims, respectively 1. combat, 2. discipline and 3. morals versus 1. morals, 2. discipline and 3. aesthetic form.

Now I guess you are very conscious about this.

Would you please delineate how you think this should be related to or fit in to being created as a means of coping with PTSD, when the bulk of koryu (given their contents) apparently were developed more for the personal "ersatz" of war, i.e. duelling, instead of for going to war, then.

Not saying they weren't useful for this purpose in our times, though.

Best,
Bernd

I am just going to throw out that the old kata-based martial systems are built on a framework of esoteric Buddhist ritual which is trance-inducing. The tangible elements of the ritual are combative. So a post-stress warrior can exorcise his demons by engaging them and putting them away.

I don't believe they were created for duelling.

kewms
02-24-2016, 04:33 PM
Bernd,

I would suggest that it is often necessary for a bureaucrat in an authoritarian military dictatorship to fulfill his role, which may involve -- on a fairly routine basis -- taking actions with which he personally disagrees and which he knows will cause enormous suffering to a person or persons regarding whom he has feelings. Although this may initially seem less clear than PTS resulting from involvement in physical violence, I can assure you that it does occur and is quite real.

Indeed. Authoritarian regimes have historically developed a variety of mechanisms to desensitize their "enforcers," both to help them put aside any qualms and act as instructed and to prevent them from rebelling against the regime. Given the historical role of "budo" in Japan, is it really an ideal that citizens of western democracies should strive to emulate?

(Of course, many of the same techniques are used in the training of military and police units -- particularly "elite" units -- under non-authoritarian regimes. This is one of the reasons why civilian oversight of such units is important.)

Katherine

Cliff Judge
02-24-2016, 05:45 PM
IGiven the historical role of "budo" in Japan, is it really an ideal that citizens of western democracies should strive to emulate?

What's this role?

kewms
02-24-2016, 06:33 PM
What's this role?

Well, I was specifically thinking of the use (some would say corruption) of "budo" by the Pre-WWII Japanese nationalist movement. Military drills were added to the school curriculum in 1885, and by 1941 physical education was entirely replaced by military instruction.

But the Tokugawa shogunate emphasized unquestioning loyalty to one's superiors, too, and that's the environment in which "budo" in the modern sense developed.

The Hagakure was written a hundred years into the Tokugawa period. Nitobe's book, Bushido, was written (in English, in Pennsylvania) in 1899.

Even modern Japan isn't a terribly pluralistic or individualistic society relative to the US. Pre-WWII Japan certainly wasn't.

Katherine

Cliff Judge
02-24-2016, 08:20 PM
Well, I was specifically thinking of the use (some would say corruption) of "budo" by the Pre-WWII Japanese nationalist movement. Military drills were added to the school curriculum in 1885, and by 1941 physical education was entirely replaced by military instruction.

But the Tokugawa shogunate emphasized unquestioning loyalty to one's superiors, too, and that's the environment in which "budo" in the modern sense developed.

The Hagakure was written a hundred years into the Tokugawa period. Nitobe's book, Bushido, was written (in English, in Pennsylvania) in 1899.

Even modern Japan isn't a terribly pluralistic or individualistic society relative to the US. Pre-WWII Japan certainly wasn't.

Katherine

It seems kind of like you are confusing budo and bushido.

Peter Boylan
02-24-2016, 08:23 PM
Is there a confusion between Budo and Bushido? Or are the both the same?

Bushido is essentially the creation of the early 20th century Japanese military and has almost no direct relation to classical martial arts practice and training. The military influence in modern martial arts is all to clear. Budo and bushido are quite different.

Ellis Amdur
02-24-2016, 09:46 PM
I would somewhat disagree. The Tokugawa era was one of the few successful totalitarian regimes. To be sure, bushido, as we understand it, was a late 19th century/20th century fascist (statist) development of older doctrines, just as "State Shinto" was.
But, the essence of bushido was in an older doctrine shido, that goes quite far back. The bushi became armed government bureaucrats, who put down several thousand farmer's rebellions (ikki) using firearms, for the most part. Just as Ueshiba's concept of 'harmony' was not 'peace on earth, goodwill to men,' but rather, "I'm the avatar of humanity who will harmonize the forces of the universe" (and NOT only internal power, but the universe written large), budo was not, by any stretch of the imagination, merely a pursuit of individual excellence. It was:
1. a means of channelling bushi energy, so they felt like they were busy (and thereby, weren't doing actual martial arts in rebellion).
2. A training to inculcate values that they, the ruling class, should ingrain
3. A method of hand-to-hand combat, that changed with each generation (see my writing on Edo budo, and the rise of competition in Old School (http://www.freelanceacademypress.com/oldschool-2.aspx)
4. A means of CEU accumulation that in the Edo period, resulted in higher rice stipends per menkyo, and money for teachers (the more menkyo in a system, the more to sell).
5. A means of accumulating social capital, particularly in the parvenu classes of rich peasants and merchants.
6. A pursuit of excellence by some
7. A means of sportive competition (the majority of ryu in the Edo period ended up competitive). Koryu, in the Edo and Meiji period meant old fashioned schools that only did kata.
8. A poor methodology of keeping the bushi and increasingly the larger public militarily trained. (many han ordered their various ryu to amalgamate into a mega-training system, sort of like kendo actually), in part to prepare for the West's entry, something that was expected decades before the Black Ships.

What I'm reacting to is the critique of WWII budo, as if that which went before was finer, more moral, etc. In fact, the truest budoka, in my view, were the right-wing activists and fascists. Toyama Mitsuru and Uchida Ryohei were the successors of the samurai, not the iaido practitioner, looking for the quiet in the heart of repeated drawing of his sword.The social system of the Edo period can be understood, in part, by it's execution methods (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminal_punishment_in_Edo-period_Japan).

jurasketu
02-24-2016, 11:25 PM
Back to those silly Europeans...

Are not medieval knights with their martial training, honor, oaths of loyalty to their lords, codes of conduct, tournaments, trial by combat, etc very similar to the samurai?

Seems like the same sorts of stuff to me. Unlike, Japan, however, warfare continued unabated into the modern firearm era in Europe, but the aristocracy continued many of the old ways. All "gentlemen" were expected to know the sword, ride horses, and use a dueling pistol. The "gentlemen's word", loyalty and honor were of great importance (at least for appearances sake).

kewms
02-25-2016, 12:37 AM
I'm certainly not enough of an expert on Japanese history and martial culture to argue with the likes of Peter B., Peter G., and Ellis.

But I do think it's safe to say that many people who claim to be studying "budo" don't have much understanding of what that actually means.

I also think that many aspects of traditional "martial honor" codes -- eastern and western -- are extremely problematic when adopted by civilians in the modern world.

Katherine

Cliff Judge
02-25-2016, 03:01 AM
I'm certainly not enough of an expert on Japanese history and martial culture to argue with the likes of Peter B., Peter G., and Ellis.

But I do think it's safe to say that many people who claim to be studying "budo" don't have much understanding of what that actually means.

I also think that many aspects of traditional "martial honor" codes -- eastern and western -- are extremely problematic when adopted by civilians in the modern world.

Katherine

Well, yeah, anybody who thinks budo is a traditional martial honor code lacks understanding of what the word refers to.

earnest aikidoka
02-25-2016, 07:36 AM
Bushido is essentially the creation of the early 20th century Japanese military and has almost no direct relation to classical martial arts practice and training. The military influence in modern martial arts is all to clear. Budo and bushido are quite different.

Perhaps then one should define what is Budo compared to Bushido? The thread I feel, is leaning towards bushido instead of Budo. The way of the warrior or The way of war. What is one practicing? That should be the question.

Ellis Amdur
02-25-2016, 10:35 AM
Katherine - I very much agree with you here. For me, one of the most valuable reasons to study budo is to grapple with that problem. Perhaps it's unseemly to quote myself, but in Dueling with O-sensei, I wrote:
In the first edition of this book, I wrote, “When I practice my koryū, I make every effort to reach the spirit of the founders, who were born and died in a bloody era of survival. Such practice has both kept me safe, and enabled me to help and protect other people. But as I practice, I often stop and think, ‘What are you doing? There are millions of people, right this minute, slaughtering others using methods not too different from what you are practicing now.’” . . . . Is there then any self-defense or justifiable homicide? Of course there is, but a part of the justification lies in having striven with every fiber of one’s being to never be in such a position that one is forced to take a life, and certainly never a life where survival of self, comrade or country is not at stake.

kewms
02-25-2016, 10:50 AM
Well, yeah, anybody who thinks budo is a traditional martial honor code lacks understanding of what the word refers to.

So enlighten me. What's your definition?

I don't think the two concepts are as easily separable as you seem to assume. If the goal of budo is self-development, what does the "developed self" look like?

Katherine

kewms
02-25-2016, 10:52 AM
Perhaps then one should define what is Budo compared to Bushido? The thread I feel, is leaning towards bushido instead of Budo. The way of the warrior or The way of war. What is one practicing? That should be the question.

What does the "way of the warrior" even mean in a peacetime civilian society?

Katherine

earnest aikidoka
02-25-2016, 11:14 AM
What does the "way of the warrior" even mean in a peacetime civilian society?

Katherine

For me it means values that a certain class of people follow or think makes them such a group. A 'warrior' could be anything from a boxer to a lawyer. A group with their own values and code that dictates their conduct in society.

The way of war refers to the skills and strategies that one employs in battle. The way of war for a carpenter for example, is the way of managing his tools and resources to build houses or furniture. The way of war for a lawyer would be legal research and arguing of their case in court.

Which begs the question, what is the way of war for the modern warrior? I believe that we are focusing too much on how a modern warrior should act instead of how a modern warrior should fight.

kewms
02-25-2016, 11:21 AM
For me it means values that a certain class of people follow or think makes them such a group. A 'warrior' could be anything from a boxer to a lawyer. A group with their own values and code that dictates their conduct in society.

And what are those values?

Katherine

Ellis Amdur
02-25-2016, 11:33 AM
"Warrior" has a specific meaning, as distinguished from soldiers. A warrior is a man (or woman) of war, with the added nuance of one who takes autonomous action. Thus, spec ops folks are warriors. The purest warriors, I believe, were the Comanche's, because males literally had no rules to follow, or leaders to bow to. There were certainly alpha figures, but they were followed by those subject to their charisma and because the 'followers' shared the same goals. Warriors make their own rules. Soldiers follow the rules of war, as defined by their society, and follow orders.
The word warrior has harmed, in my view, both policing and the military. If you are not small-unit and autonomous, then I don't believe you are a warrior. Furthermore, warriors live off of enemy territory. Soldiers have supply lines. When a police officer is called a warrior, s/he occupies enemy territory, and this sets up a pernicious mind set, in my view (to be sure, if attacked by an enemy, a warrior spirit is what keeps you fighting, and that is something anyone who must fight needs access to).

With that preamble, this idea that a carpenter is a warrior of wood, etc., is something that came in with Carlos Casteneda and Dan Millman, a romantic image . . . all too similar to the idealized image of warriors who write their own publicity (like the gunki monogatari of Japan). To be sure, since we are all going to die, one can frame all life as war--but that debloods, literally, the word.

Back to "budo" - bushido is an ideology, rooted in older ideologies (warrior codes) on how to act within society, how to follow one's leaders and how to rule. Bugei are specific martial arts (pre-Meiji, perhaps a better word than koryu to describe these martial traditions. Draeger made an artificial distinction between budo and bujutsu. He tended to be a concrete man, whereas the Japanese were much more fluid. For example, Araki-ryu is considered by many to be among the most violent/rugged in technique among remaining bugei. From it's inception, we find the word budo to refer to it. And my instructor, who detested aikido, used to say, "That's not budo."

We translate it as "the way of the warrior" and then, conflated with Zenist ideology, thanks to Omori Sogen (a famous Jikishinkage-ryu teacher who was among the right wing terrorists of pre WWII), it becomes a method of achieving enlightenment, even though that was never its objective. Remember too that almost every leading Zen teacher in pre-war Japan found a way to rationalize any violence in support of the war, assuring soldiers that if they killed innocents, it was a blessing because they were moving them on to their next incarnation before they could accumulate negative karma.

In short, then, I believe that we need to maintain a discomfort with ourselves that we train martial arts, including aikido. We train in how to exert violence on vulnerable human beings (or beings we make vulnerable, once we impose aiki upon them). The moral demand comes from awareness of this fact, and what we make of it.

jonreading
02-25-2016, 12:01 PM
Indeed. Authoritarian regimes have historically developed a variety of mechanisms to desensitize their "enforcers," both to help them put aside any qualms and act as instructed and to prevent them from rebelling against the regime. Given the historical role of "budo" in Japan, is it really an ideal that citizens of western democracies should strive to emulate?

(Of course, many of the same techniques are used in the training of military and police units -- particularly "elite" units -- under non-authoritarian regimes. This is one of the reasons why civilian oversight of such units is important.)

Katherine

In interesting element in the Hunger Games novels involves the national force used to control in the individual sections of population. One of the tactics used in the book involves replacing the "native" police force with one unfamiliar with the sections and people who live within. This, of course, has a larger meaning but it implies the advantages of using a "national" enforcement over a local enforcement, who may hold sympathy or other conflicting emotions with the native population.

What is the difference between a doctor and a killer? Sometimes, there is no difference. There is a reason why the Hippocratic Oath is a powerful one - it is sometimes the only thing that separates the two.

In an earlier post, I implied that somewhere along the way, we decided Budo was good. It's the promise that we make to society that we will use what we know responsibly. It's what allows us to hang a sign and say, "C'mon in and learn how to hurt people. Don't worry folks, we follow a code of ethics that only allows us to fight drug-fueled rage monsters who would take advantage of a defenseless commoner, like yourselves."

Budo, Bushido, BS. I don't think you need to split hairs to get to the point of the promise. Robin brought up a point twice now that casts a wider net to include some comparative cultures. All cultures with a military class solicit this promise because it is the way people feel comfortable allowing the military class to exist - the force will not be used against them. There was a reason why no army could enter Rome...

I think a moment of reflection about what we truly endeavor to learn is a sobering experience.

Cliff Judge
02-25-2016, 02:38 PM
So enlighten me. What's your definition?

I don't think the two concepts are as easily separable as you seem to assume. If the goal of budo is self-development, what does the "developed self" look like?

Katherine

Just spent the entire thread talking about it but hey - my martial studies have taught me a lot about patience.

A budo is an activity whereby one goes to a dojo and is trained by a teacher and fellow students. It involves the repetition of tutelary patterns of movement and thought where the junior student is molded by the senior student.

The goal of each budo is different and in fact are the secrets of the system. You cannot understand them without undergoing the very particular changes that a long time spent training in that system brings about, and its usually a matter of not really knowing what it is until you see somebody do something that seems to express it perfectly.

You posted another thread about helping your neighbor by entering her home with her so she could collect her things and leave her abusive significant other. You knew he was in there. I thought that was an excellent expression of the spirit of Aikido, particularly the part where the man thought it best to lock himself in a back room, whether or not that was because he knew you were there.

BTW I don't think that self development is a goal of budo per se, it is more an desirable side-effect.

earnest aikidoka
02-25-2016, 03:45 PM
And what are those values?

Katherine

Your talk of chivalry and other such codes meant to make violent men adapt to civilian life. The chivalric code, bushido. Or for modern soldiers, any of the creeds or mottos individual military units possess. You are more aware of them then me I must say.

kewms
02-25-2016, 06:20 PM
Your talk of chivalry and other such codes meant to make violent men adapt to civilian life. The chivalric code, bushido. Or for modern soldiers, any of the creeds or mottos individual military units possess. You are more aware of them then me I must say.

Well, see, this is my point.

I am pointing out that many historical "martial values" are not all that compatible with a pluralistic democratic society.

In response, people are complaining that I am incorrectly conflating budo and bushido.

So, I asked, "what values does budo seek to develop?"

And the answer comes back: "bushido."

Katherine

kewms
02-25-2016, 06:26 PM
In short, then, I believe that we need to maintain a discomfort with ourselves that we train martial arts, including aikido. We train in how to exert violence on vulnerable human beings (or beings we make vulnerable, once we impose aiki upon them). The moral demand comes from awareness of this fact, and what we make of it.

I emphatically agree.

Hence my insistence that, if we are going to claim to be studying "budo," we understand what that has meant, historically, both positive and negative. If we are *not* training to exert violence *and* grappling with the moral demands that imposes, what are we really studying?

Katherine

kewms
02-25-2016, 06:33 PM
In interesting element in the Hunger Games novels involves the national force used to control in the individual sections of population. One of the tactics used in the book involves replacing the "native" police force with one unfamiliar with the sections and people who live within. This, of course, has a larger meaning but it implies the advantages of using a "national" enforcement over a local enforcement, who may hold sympathy or other conflicting emotions with the native population.

Which, of course, is a tactic of repressive regimes everywhere. Use the uneducated farm boys to keep the city slickers in line. Recruit thugs from street gangs when you need to crack heads out in the provinces.

On the other hand, it was US Marshals who escorted Ruby Bridges, the first black student at an all-white school in New Orleans. Sometimes local law enforcement is part of the problem.

Which is why the conversation can't end with "budo is good."

Katherine

kewms
02-25-2016, 06:39 PM
Just spent the entire thread talking about it but hey - my martial studies have taught me a lot about patience.

A budo is an activity whereby one goes to a dojo and is trained by a teacher and fellow students. It involves the repetition of tutelary patterns of movement and thought where the junior student is molded by the senior student.

How is budo different from, say, flower arranging or tea ceremony?

Your description is value free. Was that intentional? That is, would a hypothetical Darth Vader ryu meet your definition? If not, why not?

Katherine

earnest aikidoka
02-25-2016, 06:45 PM
Well, see, this is my point.

I am pointing out that many historical "martial values" are not all that compatible with a pluralistic democratic society.

In response, people are complaining that I am incorrectly conflating budo and bushido.

So, I asked, "what values does budo seek to develop?"

And the answer comes back: "bushido."

Katherine

Huh. I would say that Budo develops the mindset of war.

Cliff Judge
02-25-2016, 08:21 PM
How is budo different from, say, flower arranging or tea ceremony?


One of these involves tea and one of them involves flowers. Performance of either of these arts produces a tangible object which can be shared with and consumed by others.


Your description is value free. Was that intentional? That is, would a hypothetical Darth Vader ryu meet your definition? If not, why not?


Sure. I wouldn't bother with it, it would just be a bunch of people who are like "dur I wanna generate unusual power."

phitruong
02-26-2016, 08:04 AM
and here i thought budo is the way of dealing with the monkey and the lizard inside each one of us. i am pretty sure there is the chicken somewhere in there. they said "you are what you eat." and i have been eating quite a bit of chicken and other vegetarians lately. :)

always wondering if the Chinese picked the 12 animals on purpose. you have the lizard and the monkey in there. you have the pig and the chicken. the male species probably like the goat. wonder if we were meant to study those animals inside us. anyone know if there a dragon or two that i could eat? i wonder if it tastes like chicken.

jonreading
02-26-2016, 08:34 AM
First, it's not Darth Vader ryu. It's the Dark Side of the Force and Darth Vader is just one of our sempai. If you don't have unusual power, then you just have usual power... and that puts us back at you are not different than normal people and normal people are not martial artists. We're kinda kidding, but kinda being truthful. Everything about our training should be "unusual." Who wants to know how to damage a joint, or stab a sword, or throw a knock-out punch? Not normal people. Sure, they'll watch a movie and fantasize what it's like, but fantasy does not drive their reality. This is Matrix-like red pill stuff, once you make that decision you don't go back to thinking like regular people.

Second, the conflation of civilian and military roles (conscription) is a different fighting class than people whose only job is fighting. Most of what we do is somewhere in "civilian with advanced knowledge of fighting." For some, you can add, "...and demonstrated skill." We want to seize the "fighting" status, but not necessarily the bad things that come with it. For us older folks, it's like going camping to "rough it," and then buying an inflatable mattress after that first night sleeping on the f%24ing hard ground. We want to "rough it," but maybe not all that "roughing it" entails...

All this stuff goes back to knowing where you are in your training. There is nothing bad about knowing where you are in your training, even if that level is lower than others (or higher). This problem is not having a clear picture of what we are doing or why we are doing it. If budo is not about fighting, then don't say you can fight because you do a budo. If budo is about fighting, then don't close your eyes and flinch when you need to punch someone. If budo doesn't have a goal, then don't use a progressive metric to describe your training. You gotta start somewhere and back it up with your training. When I work out with you, I should understand what it is that you are changing.

I would however, at least challenge the argument that budo takes a long time. That would not have been practical in fighting times and is generally used to excuse bad training (either incorrect form or improper practice habits). You should notice regular changes to whatever it is you are changing. When I work with you, you should be better than the last time.

Cliff Judge
02-26-2016, 04:33 PM
I would however, at least challenge the argument that budo takes a long time. That would not have been practical in fighting times and is generally used to excuse bad training (either incorrect form or improper practice habits). You should notice regular changes to whatever it is you are changing. When I work with you, you should be better than the last time.

It's not that it takes a long time, it's that its a thing you can keep getting better at forever.

Peter Goldsbury
02-26-2016, 06:43 PM
... But I do think it's safe to say that many people who claim to be studying "budo" don't have much understanding of what that actually means.

I also think that many aspects of traditional "martial honor" codes -- eastern and western -- are extremely problematic when adopted by civilians in the modern world.

Katherine

I agree.

I think Peter B mentioned the book in one of his other columns, but a new book on bushido is, in my opinion, required reading for anyone who wants to cast any light on the topic of this thread. It is Inventing the Way of the Samurai, by Oleg Benesch. It is published by Oxford University Press and the ISBN is 978-0-19-870662-5. A biography of the author appears in the front flap of the dust jacket. This book, together with a new edition of the Hagakure, translated by Alexander Bennett, and two books by Eiko Ikegami throw much light -- and also some darkness, which must also be kept in mind -- on the concepts of budo and bushido. A large Japanese monolingual dictionary, the multi-volume Nihon Kokugo Daijiten, gives many references illustrating the history of these concepts, but will not be of much value for those who lack facility in classical Japanese. Ikegami, like Benesch, needs to be read with great care, since both make assumptions that need to be seen for what they are. I found it of great value to have the Japanese originals to hand of some of the texts to which they refer.

In this connection, I recall a remark made recently by Hiroshi Isoyama Shihan. He stated that budo was extremely difficult to translate, for martial art was not really adequate (he did not mention the other phrase often used, which is martial way). I found the remark perplexing, since I have lived here long enough to know that most Japanese, including Japanese aikido experts, do not have a corresponding expertise in linguistics or translation studies and I suspect that Isoyama Sensei was really suggesting that budo was untranslatable -- which is highly problematic. However, Ethan Weisgard was also present and I hope he will comment if he sees this thread.

Best wishes,

Peter G.

rugwithlegs
02-26-2016, 06:57 PM
Yes, there are many things to improve on and you can get better forever.

But, maybe more bushido (?) than Budo - looking clearly different than another student, advancing in a different direction or using a different vector, accommodating for a different body type and so on: not encouraged in some dojo. People don't agree on what Aiki is, or what the basic techniques are, So rank is hard to quantify. Some teachers are punitive regarding students who learn from outside the art and outside the dojo. Some teachers I swear were feeling threatened by their students. Some teaching methods by certain teachers I have experienced appeared aimed at NOT educating their students; knowledge being power and a commodity. Rank being a carrot to dangle in front of someone's nose who will go on to pay dues for a decade.

I completely agree that Budo is a lifelong pursuit, but I am not convinced that every teacher I've encountered was aimed at introducing me to life long learning. Some were about money, some were about feeding some need of their own. Some teachers just see "not the same" and want some conformity - military derived training?

Ethan Weisgard
02-27-2016, 03:40 AM
Hello Peter and other participants in this thread. This is a very interesting discussion and it is very clear proof that Aikiweb is such an important platform for communication in our global Aikido/Budo community. Great work, Jun!

I have just finished reading the book "Sword and Spirit - Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan, Volume Two" Edited by Diane Skoss, Koryu Books. I highly recommend the book (many of you must already have read it), and especially the articles "Neglected Treasure - The Koyo Gunkan" by Alexander C. Bennet, and "Kabala in Motion - Kata and Pattern Practice in the Traditional Bugei" by Karl F. Friday.
There is so much information to be found in these fine articles that pertains to this discussion.

In the book, in one of the articles (I cannot find the exact spot as I write) the matter is brought up that the different terms "Budo/Bugei/Bujutsu" and more are in many Ryuha very much interchangeable.
I think that there was a kind of base understanding of what was meant in general when speaking of "Budo" or other terms that was part of the times. I think that we in modern times are trying to classify and separate the terms more than was done in the olden days.

The way I see it is that "Budo" refers to the physical and spiritual training done in the given discipline, whereas Bushido is the code learned through the training of the given discipline / disciplines.
As a footnote: it is often sad that the term "Bushido" is a fairly recent term, some giving credit to Nitobe for actually coining it.In the abovementioned article "Neglected Treasure" the "Koyo Gunkan," compiled by Obata Kagenori in 1615, the term is used for the first time, according to the author of the article.

Dr. Peter Goldsbury: thank you for helping in making the first part of the interview project such a wonderful experience. May we have many more such enjoyable and productive talks with these fine Sensei, and others, as well.

In regard to Isoyama Sensei's remarks about the English term "martial art": I understood it as being his opinion that the term in English did not do justice to the term and concept of "Budo." It is true - we didn't mention the English term "Martial Way" which is sometimes used, albeit much less than the term "Budo." My feeling is, as I mentioned before, that there is an inherent understanding of what the term "Budo" encompasses in Japan/Japanese Budo circles. And Isoyama Sensei, who speaks English very well and has grown up in a very international environment, has understood this lack; that the term "art" in "martial art" doesn't cover all that is inherent in the Japanese term "Do."

Bernd Lehnen
02-27-2016, 05:42 AM
Isoyama Sensei was really suggesting that budo was untranslatable -- which is highly problematic. However, Ethan Weisgard was also present and I hope he will comment if he sees this thread.

Best wishes,

Peter G.

Hello Peter and other participants in this thread.

In regard to Isoyama Sensei's remarks about the English term "martial art": I understood it as being his opinion that the term in English did not do justice to the term and concept of "Budo." It is true - we didn't mention the English term "Martial Way" which is sometimes used, albeit much less than the term "Budo." My feeling is, as I mentioned before, that there is an inherent understanding of what the term "Budo" encompasses in Japan/Japanese Budo circles. And Isoyama Sensei, who speaks English very well and has grown up in a very international environment, has understood this lack; that the term "art" in "martial art" doesn't cover all that is inherent in the Japanese term "Do."

To someone who owns a Japanese identity-card, but who's loyalties and obligations by tradition primarily centers towards his family, his clan - i.e. in modern times the rather confined group he belongs to, including the company that employs him, the things from the cradle to the grave, you know - the saying that for the dyed in the wool English "strangers" begin at the end of the street where he's living and "foreigners" outside the boundaries of his parish, and that he might evolve nevertheless to accept that he owns a "British passport", may not be understood as a joke.

Of course, "Budo" can be translated. Translation has been done, but so far, as a new group of anthropologists has been trying to show for some time now, probably with deformation through the hybris of taking our ( western, scientific, you name it... ) logic as the only one of value. Thus not properly defined and the many shades of gray, culturally included, being left out

That's not to say we can't have "Japanese" friends who would happily die for us (and vice versa) should necessity ever arise.

Isoyama may be well aware of all this and, yes, he may be right.

Best,
Bernd

Fred Little
02-27-2016, 09:21 PM
I agree.

I think Peter B mentioned the book in one of his other columns, but a new book on bushido is, in my opinion, required reading for anyone who wants to cast any light on the topic of this thread. It is Inventing the Way of the Samurai, by Oleg Benesch. It is published by Oxford University Press and the ISBN is 978-0-19-870662-5. A biography of the author appears in the front flap of the dust jacket. This book, together with a new edition of the Hagakure, translated by Alexander Bennett, and two books by Eiko Ikegami throw much light -- and also some darkness, which must also be kept in mind -- on the concepts of budo and bushido. .

Thnak you very much for the gentle nudge to read Benesch, Peter

On the topic of the "two books by Eiko Ikegami," I've just added my 1995 Daily Yomiuri review of one of them to my profile at academia.edu. (https://www.academia.edu/22535760/_The_Tamimg_of_the_Samurai_Honorific_individualism_and_the_Making_of_Modern_Japa n), and perhaps it still has some residual value for a reader or two who may be considering your suggestion (or who should be but isn't yet).

Hope this helps, look forward to seeing further results of your interviews.

Best regards,

FL

Erick Mead
02-29-2016, 12:05 PM
... All cultures with a military class solicit this promise because it is the way people feel comfortable allowing the military class to exist - the force will not be used against them. There was a reason why no army could enter Rome... Yes. The reason was that the people and their tribunes (or, if you prefer -- the mob and their demagogues) did not like competition in the field of dealing out political violence. There is nothing moral about the issue, and everything political. Nor does the moral calculus invariably run in only one direction on that measure. This country was founded on a set of observations about this particular problem, in fact, because the threats to peaceable or decent living can come from either -- or both -- directions.

There was no lack of military in Roman Italy proper -- the Social War made that eminently clear. Crossing the Rubicon marked the entry into Italy, and military command in Italy was forbidden to all except the elected consuls. Governors, like G. Julius Caesar, only had command in the provinces outside Italy by delegation -- not by legal right.

It is not that the people must be made "comfortable" with the military class existing -- it is the measure of change in the balance of power between a small minority corps of professional forces and a broader, less well-trained but more numerous set of popular forces that will naturally exist unless actively and ruthlessly suppressed. Not so different from today, actually.

It is this precise division and balance in favor of popular forces in Japan that Nobunaga, Toyotomi and lastly Tokugawa exploited to end the Sengoku period and before ruthlessly bottling the genie back up again. In Rome, before the legions more fully professionalized (the Social War) the balance was in favor of the popular and tribal forces, who forced their citizenship. With the advent of the fully developed legionary system, and suppression of the tribal ally forces the balance shifted in favor of the professionals. In the Late empire the increasing reliance on provincial tribal levies reverted to the old ally system , and central control progressively broke down. In Japan, with firearms, the balance was in favor of the popular armies. The Edo retrenchment on firearms technology was precisely to restore the old balance of terror in favor of the professionals. Arguably, the advent of modern irregular war with garden store IED's, endemic cyber capabilities, and terror tactics has tilted the balance again in the Middle East-- back to the tribes -- and elsewhere as well, perhaps.

Budo cannot be placed outside of its context, historically and functionally, and if it is to have relevance it must find context.

Those trained to think WITH their bodies in situations of violence are those most disposed to lead others in such settings of active conflict. Such people form the nuclei around which coalesce BOTH professional forces serving the parties in power (or seeking it) -- AND of popular forces that may resist exercises of such power that offend them -- or begin to move to preemptively attack the forces that attempt it. Defects of budo on one side leads to tyranny. Defects on the other side leads to anarchy. Neither is desired, but the balance is hard to keep.

The result of these contests when they occur is never foreordained. But the seeding of more budo-disposed minds and bodies among the population inherently make the job of the professionals much harder in imposing results dictated by power, as opposed to those that the people will generally acquiesce in.

I have occupied both sides of the balance in my lifetime. Both sides are necessary to balance -- and budo is necessary in both... and the less balanced budo between the sides -- in my opinion -- the more likely there is to be war -- or its near substitutes.

Cliff Judge
02-29-2016, 06:46 PM
Y
Budo cannot be placed outside of its context, historically and functionally, and if it is to have relevance it must find context.


It is pretty clear that Budo either adapts quite readily to different historical and functional contexts, or that its contextual requirements don't include history or functionality.