View Full Version : What has happened to the budoka?

Please visit our sponsor:

Andrew Wilson
03-24-2003, 10:11 AM
What ever happened to the budoka?

lately, I am saddened by the people who call themselves martial artists. with misconceptions at every corner. The media sells an idea that it does not understand, to an audiance that couldn't understand it. Some martial artists feel like a reflection of that... someone who has bought every bruce lee book and movie, watched karate kid to many times, and or takes the american ninja series way to personal.

I don't think that budo is for everyone, and therfore neither is martial arts. We have limits as to who can have weapons of certian nature, create rules and skillsets one must have to teach or learn certian things... and yet if we close a system, people accuse you of being exclusive, and sometimes racist. I have only run into one "closed" system in my entire life.

I just get the feeling alot of people don't get budo at all. Some, are wishy washy new age feel good martial artists... and others are the opposite extreme and learn to compensate for their lack of skill with an extreme amount of strength. While in the context of training both have their benifits, but are these the examples of martial artists we want to set? Both of those examples fail to see the balance in which budo truly exists.

Sometimes I think I feel alot like a priest must, watching people come once a year to church (any) and claim to be very religious.

Like a professional, in the midsts of clowns.

Where has the way gone? What ever happened to our warrior class?



And before it is asked.. I am nothing in the chart of martial skill. But then again, neither is anyone really. We all have something to learn, we all have some test to take. I have a long way to go on my journey, but so do you.

03-24-2003, 11:14 AM

It must be great to be as enlightened as you are. I don't think I could ever attain the point of awareness so that I could sit "on high" and cast down judgement on an entire community based on just what I've seen in my years of experience.

Quote: "I have a long way to go on my journey, but so do you."

Has anyone on any of these boards said that they didn't have a long journey ahead of them. That's simply what life is about there skippy, like it or not. No one's way is perfect for everybody and people are usually the best judge as to whether or not the martial arts is for them. I don't like to say this kind of stuff but I'm really getting sick and tired of these high and mighty casting down their judgement just because they think they're so much better or that someone is so much worse. That's not what I signed on for. That's not what Aiki is.

Andrew Wilson
03-24-2003, 11:21 AM
and yet here you judge my way? call me names, attack me for words I didnt even use?


you put into this post what you want.

John Boswell
03-24-2003, 11:31 AM
Actually Vince, I thought Andrew asked a good question. He didn't say Everyone or something, but pointed out a lot of people in martial arts are just wanna-be's and don't study for Budo: Way of the Warrior.

Andrew said he felt some don't get Budo at all, and he's right. The protests on the war in Iraq is proof enough of that. There are people out there yelling against all violence of any kind, not knowing that the skill of fighting is more than bashing people and shooting off guns.

Skills that are "Martial" in nature do serve a purpose and can become easily lost... even in a dojo.

I wasn't going to speak, but I was eager to listen. Andrew seems sincere to me and not judgemental. Am I wrong?

kung fu hamster
03-24-2003, 11:59 AM
Itís my understanding (possibly erroneous, but my understanding at this time nevertheless), that a budoka is simply a sincere student of their chosen martial way, in that context I think you can indeed find many many sincere budoka, albeit they may be at various degrees of progress on their path. Maybe some more experienced voices can correct me on that, but thatís how I look at it.


Andrew Wilson
03-24-2003, 12:23 PM

I think we can deal with inexperiance with education and training... that does not concern me. I think that the heart of a warrior, the heart of why one should pick up a weapon or trade such as this, is dying if it hasn't already died. that scares me.

I am fortunate enough to have found a true budo sensei. I am so honored when he steps on the mat and trains with us, I am honored when he explains the principals, and honored when he talks of budo.

but if we are talking of only one school in thousands, hundreds of thousands... we are still talking about a complete reversal I believe from the way it should be.

I am getting tired of the illusions. We dont suppose a man who has read a book about medicine is a doctor, yet you can mail order blackbelts from some places... which is a complete mockery of the things I talk of. The NHB and other tournaments also serve as a means to destroying the principals of the warrior path.

kung fu hamster
03-24-2003, 12:40 PM
Well, just because a person may exhibit poor taste in their choice of martial way doesnít necessarily mean they wonít evolve and find a better path than the one they first (or even second or third, etc.) decided on. I feel kind of sorry for people who donít have good teachers, thank your lucky stars if you are one of the lucky ones (like me) who has a terrific sensei. Are you just differentiating between a student of the way and a hooligan/thug? I do agree with you that perhaps deadly martial arts training shouldnít quite be so freely dispensed and hawked, with money-making intent at the top priority of some teacherís agendas. I, too, wonder how some of these students are being screened in some of these 'martial arts'...that being said, a good sensei is also able to point out some direction to students who start to veer off on some tangent or other. Anyway, I believe you will always have thugs in this world who want quick deadly results and have no empathy for anyone other than themselves. They will always find what they are looking for. We can try to control ourselves, and use that self-discipline to make a difference.

03-24-2003, 12:48 PM
What ever happened to the budoka?
Actually, the more interesting question is "were there ever any budoka to begin with?"

(Or do we take the word of the victorian dilettante? I read that much of what was written in "Bushido: The warriors code" had been debunked?)

The closest modern equivalent would perhaps be

SWAT, TRG etc.

Andrew Wilson
03-24-2003, 01:48 PM

I am training for the police department out here. Truthfully, I would like to believe that the law enforcement arena is the most current warrior class. However, I dont think that what I would like, should come before the reality of things.

While the police are in a position to enforce the law, and protect citizens, their attitudes sometimes match that of a baseball team. Some just see being an officer as a more serious sport and are in it for the "rush"

Granted, this too is a generalization... not all officers are this way.. and even in the days of ol, I am sure that some samurai were just as reckless sometimes.

We could get into the argument of if budoka ever existed... but that would be a waste of time. Sometimes we like to believe in all the fairy tails of ol, however we often try to refute them to justify our current positions. It existed once, I am at the very least sure of that. I am not however sure why it died or went to.

John Boswell
03-24-2003, 02:38 PM

I get the idea that you are looking for the pure or true "Budo" and feel that having anyone and everyone open up a dojo despite whatever training they may have is diluting marital arts as a whole.

Though I can see how you might feel that is the case, I can assure you that at the end of the day... it just isn't so.

I train in Aikido. My dojo is affliated with the AAA (American Aikido Association) which goes all the way back to Hombu to set the standard. Our focus is only on Aikido. I encourage you to visit their websites to learn more about what we do, how and why.


(* Check out the information on Toyoda Shihan*)

HOWEVER, as far as true "Warriorship" goes, which seems to be what you are looking for, I'd suggest also looking into this man:


Jack Hoban trains and teachs under the guidence of Soke Masaaki Hatsumi who seems to fit the definition of Budo that you are looking for. I am not going to discuss what this man teaches or whether or not it is THE one system of martial arts, etc. But Hoban Shidoshi has a "Warriors Creed" which seems to be a good one to live by for any serious martial artist.

In the end, I don't think Budo is lost so much as it is surrounded by copycats. You'll find that in just about anything. Its sad to think people are growing up learning a martial way that is a far cry from the days of feudal Japan when they lived and breathed everything they taught. But these are different times.

Today's society is inundated with everything imaginable. Its up to the truly dedicated to keep open a correct path and help those who wander off of it, no matter what path it may be.

Jake McKee
03-24-2003, 03:38 PM
Hi Andrew,

In this century, Japanese martial arts training has become much more accessible. Not only in Japan but in America and the rest of the world as well. It was less than 70 years ago that O sensei signed a keppan (blood oath) to begin his Kashima Shinto Ryu training. (See AJ Encyclopedia) Perhaps this blood oath system filtered out the wishy washy students you wrote about. But can this type of system exist in our modern society?

We've had a few students come through our dojo that I knew would likely never get the hang of it. Like you say, this training is not for everyone. There are many :do: in Japanese traditional arts. Some people's bodies and minds are more suited for say chado (tea ceremony) than aikido. Not to say that chado is any easier, but the required skills are different. Surprisingly, some of the students who haven't been able to move well, have benefitted a lot from aikido training. It doesn't always project a powerful dojo image, but if they are getting something out of the training, is it right to turn them away?

Linda wrote that there are all kinds of budoka out there and they are all in different stages of the path. That reminds me of a quote from a Buddhist book "Questions from the City" by Ajahn Sumano Bhikkhu:

Q: When I visited your monastery, I spoke with one monk for about half an hour. After a few minutes, I got the distinct impression that the monk's mind was in worse shape that mine....

A: You should have met that monk before! In the monasteries where I have lived, I have always seen people improving...Monastaries are like hospitals. Some of us are still in the intensive care unit. Some are relatively healed and are helping others. Some will leave and practice in the world. It's not easy to live this life fully. The few who can do it will remain, maintain their commitment, and carry the tradition forward. The great legacy they will leave is the continuation of the tradition.

So yes Andrew, I see people further behind me and further ahead of me on the path every day. Some might never get past the first step but what better way to encourage them than to walk further down the path ourselves?


Jake McKee


Lyle Bogin
03-24-2003, 03:50 PM
It seems to me that no one understands budo, and yet everyone does. Why? Because no one person can understand the entirety of it.

I aslo often feel that to claim budo "is" something reduces it to less than it can be.

My opinion is that you cannot claim to be a warrior unless you engage in war. Was it Terry Dobson who asked why we can't find a better way to describe the idea budo persona in a way other than "warrior"?

Andrew Wilson
03-24-2003, 04:48 PM

I understand that people have really benifited from training in martial arts physically and mentally... This is very true and I believe its a thing that should be celebrated!

I was thinking in the car this afternoon how in psychology there is a theory of the needs of each individual. The first being basic primitive needs such as food, water, shelter...etc... then going up the scale to loftier goals such as, understanding "why are we here" or searching for an understanding of ourselves...

Maybe martial arts is the same way. On the lowest level its a system to teach men to kill each other and or prepare them for death. In the context of today's society there no longer is a demanding need for that, so we move up a level to try and better our bodies physically. and when we have done that we move on to the mental parts of budo...

My concerns with people who are trying to jump any of those levels are that they are missing some of the key points. If you want to improve your body, go to a gym. try out dancing, check out yoga... Why learn a trade?

if you are training to simply open your mind to blending you're better off because with the open mind the other aspects should come to light with time... but if your mind is closed you miss the deeper things too. life exists in the balance between soft and hard, and you have to be both in budo to grow.

I think the first lesson in the hagakure is that the "way" is that of death. Its accepting our constently impending doom, and using that realization to set us free.

As someone training for the law enforcement career... everynight I go to work, might be a night I am shot, stabbed, or some other bad icky thing. While I understand I cannot dodge bullets, martial arts becomes a great tool not just in the protection of my self and others through physical conflicts, but it is the budo that keeps me sane/calm/aware! So I am sorry if I come across as a hardnose sometimes, but I have a vested interest in budo.

As for the closing of a system, I didn't mean to imply that I was looking for another dojo. I am so very happy where I am and I am lucky to train with who I do. I train under the greatest budoka I have ever met.

My concerns come from martial arts on a higher form than just the dojo I train at.

Andrew Wilson
03-24-2003, 04:57 PM
My opinion is that you cannot claim to be a warrior unless you engage in war. Was it Terry Dobson who asked why we can't find a better way to describe the idea budo persona in a way other than "warrior"?
But we are at war.

no no, not that one ;)

Webster defines a warrior as such.

1. One who is engaged in or experienced in battle.

2. One who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause, or conflict: neighborhood warriors fighting against developers.

I am at war with myself, to find stillness in motion, to slay the internal conflicts that cause external distress, to calm myself so I use my skills only when the time is right, and to understand...

In the process of that I am engaging in other activites, such as fighting crime (or preventing it in the first place) and the tools of martial arts get me experianced to defend myself. So how are we not warriors?

"it is only after conquering onself, can one defeat ones enemies."

03-24-2003, 05:55 PM
Hmmm. Why are you wasting breath (or finger-ki :)) here? :)

You've already said it yourself. Those that train true budo are few. Those that only travel down the path a little ways are many. And, yes, Maslow's Heiarchy of Needs is a great comparison with budo.

The simple truth of life is that some people (no matter how hard they try) will never get beyond a certain level, whether it be in their psychological needs or their budo. Don't forget, though, that any growth is a good thing. Ya just can't expect everyone to either see the full path of budo or want to travel it. If only a few steps can be traveled, then only a few steps can be traveled.

For you yourself, you should remember that what you seek is something that few understand that takes great dedication to achieve. If you have that vision and that dedication, that is something that is very unique in the world, and merely declaring that others should want and do as you do does nothing.

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those that try to fix everyone and everything around them, and those that try to fix only themselves. Those that try to repair the outside world cause destruction, while those that work within don't need to.

Think 'bout that.

Andrew Wilson
03-24-2003, 06:55 PM

Thank you for your post.. as it has been most informative...

my question to you then becomes thus... when you realize the potential, and start to actualize your abilities, what left is there for you? You have to DO something with it right? Why train to be a doctor if thats not the goal you are trying to actualize?

As an officer, I am able to give back at least a little (and I did plan on running a dojo of me own some one day) and help the community which brought me up through this struggle? That is just one of the goals I am trying to actualize.

again.. thankyou.

Kevin Leavitt
03-24-2003, 07:09 PM
Good points Dave. I have too many of my own issues and faults that I must work on to be concerned what Budo means to anyone else.

I think that Budo or Budoka is a state of mind that one must internalize and make it for themselves.

Who cares what others think or do as long as you are happy with the path you have chosen!

Greg Jennings
03-24-2003, 09:03 PM
What ever happened to the budoka? <SNIP>
Ahem. They are quietly training.

03-24-2003, 11:29 PM
Budo is like driving a car.

95% of all North American males think they are above average drivers. They also figure the same percentage of other drivers are total idiots.

Everytime I hear the refrain "most don't understand true Budo" or "my teacher is truely ...." I can't help but see the self serving, ego stroking nature of our own delusions.

Don't like others perceptions of Budo - don't train with them.

03-24-2003, 11:39 PM
Andrew. Jeez, man. Ya gotta stop answering your own questions. It's almost no fun to reply. :D

Seriously, though. I agree. I intend to teach what I've learned one day. I'm also studying to be a clinical psychologist. I know how it is. The thing is, however, that I have to get to a point where I'm able to help others. What can I teach if I'm ignorant? How can I help people who suffer from mental illness if I'm delusional? It's that simple.

In Mahayana Buddhism, there is the idea of a Bodhisattva, or a person who attains enlightenment, but puts off the attainment of Nirvana (escape from the cycle of life, suffering, and death (I'm super-simplifying here)) until all other sentient beings in the universe also attain enlightenment. In this way, the Mahayana Buddhist strives to raise him or herself to a level that would allow him or her to help all other beings, helping to bring them up to his or her level, so to speak. This is a great and noble goal. There's just one hitch. . .

You have to attain enlightenment first. :)

By the way, Andrew. Have you studied any Zen Buddhism?

mike lee
03-25-2003, 02:38 AM
Everytime I hear the refrain "most don't understand true Budo" or "my teacher is truely ...." I can't help but see the self serving, ego stroking nature of our own delusions.
Exactly. Delusions beget delusions. That's where young Dave has failed. But how long will it take for him to see it? It's always more difficult while on the high horse.

03-25-2003, 04:03 AM

Darn, I just ordered a new nameplate saying "Professor, Soke, GrandMaster, Enlightende Teacher, Reincarnation of O Sensei"

You mean to say that I forgot to add budoka??

Ok, I will quickly make myself a new certificate granting me the right to call myself budoka (and order a new nameplate, darn):D :D :D

03-25-2003, 08:16 AM
I think that budo as a "way" is now a personal thing, much less tangible and much less regulated than it was in feudal Japan.

How many Budoka do you think there would be today if the lord/retainer system was still in place? Just the fact that you may be required to kill yourself for just about any transgression, would probably thin out the herd.

The ideal of "budo" from feudal times as a whole is not very relavent to today. So, we form our own ideal and use what snippets of "True Budo" we can to apply them to our lives and search for whatever we are searching for.

So to answer the prevailing question:

Where have all the real budoka gone?

They are all around and there are none.

kung fu hamster
03-26-2003, 09:42 AM
Maybe all the budoka are in the Iraqi Republican Guard. I should think it would take nerves of steel to have to work around Saddam and his crew, honing your military skills with stone knives and bearskins...and hoping you don't offend the wrong person lest you end up in his shredding machine...

03-26-2003, 12:03 PM
Thank you Mike. I appreciate your reminder and your intent.

mike lee
03-26-2003, 12:54 PM
Someday, we may all meet in aikido heaven. In the meantime, there's a lot of cultivating to be done. I'm just an old fool who's done everything wrong several times over.

Hopefully, I'm no longer a blind fool.

(How's old Jim Galligher these days?)

Andrew Wilson
03-26-2003, 03:51 PM
What I have learned from this question, has been fantastic in lots of ways. A friend of mine explained it to me like this.

"but when I hear so many people decrying the current state of martial arts... I have trouble seeing that any of us should be so complacent in what we do to think that we can stand on a pedestal and judge another's practice. I don't think the study of the martial arts have ever been for a single goal, but always there have been as many paths as people walking the paths. And that very diversity enriches our community.

I think those who have made the study an end in itself have always been a minority. That there are many others for whom it is only a means is to be expected. That the latter exist does not diminish the former."

Some of us walk different paths, some of us work on different levels. So long as you are coming to the dojo, and giving fairly decient attacks, maybe you and I will learn something regardless of those reasons.

I never meant this post to come across as an elitest statement. Just some feelings of my own I needed some help to work out.

thank you all for responding

go train ;)

03-27-2003, 12:24 PM
I don't know, actually! He retired last year I think (I have a horribly bad sense of time) from UW-L, and shortly thereafter he retired from the club. It's a good thing he retired too. By the end he was involved in so many activities and departments, I think he's earned one heck of a rest. Right now, he's either relaxing at his home, or he's off traveling somewhere. I do recall he had plans to travel. I'll ask Bilby Sensei what he's been up to.

How d'ya know him? Did ya train with him, or is he just an old regular here?

By the way. I reserve the right to be a pompous little twit. Sometimes ya gotta take a break from serious training and just play, as I'm sure you know. ;)

mike lee
03-29-2003, 08:48 AM
I practiced a little with Bob and Jim in the late '70s, but I doubt that they would remember me. As I recall, Bob had a lot of knee trouble and could hardly sit on the mat. I think he even stopped practicing for awhile. (That's just what I'd heard.) Spent a summer on a dig with Jim. Used to jog up to the Alpine Inn on Grandad's Bluff three times a week just for fun.

Does the UWL Aikido Club have a Web site yet?

03-31-2003, 04:21 PM
Holy cow. What a small world. (And I thought La Crosse was tiny! :))

Nope. We don't have a web page. I don't think Bob and Al Geddicks (who are the co-head instructors) really wanted either the publicity or the hassle. Not to mention the fact that we're a university dojo, so there's a turnover rate and thus there may not always be someone to maintain the site. I'll let ya know if that changes.