Thread: Budo, Bushido
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Old 01-31-2006, 07:41 AM   #34
Chuck.Gordon
Location: Frederick, MD
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 509
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Re: Budo, Bushido

Matthew,

Welcome. I think some of the initial response was because the budo-vs-bushido thing has been beaten to death here on Aikiweb. As for your categories, I think most folks who do budo fall into one or more different categories at different times.

In comparing the two terms, budo and bushido, I think many folks misinterpret them. Budo is a very generic term for just about any Japanese martial practice (and some would apply it to practices from outside Japan, but that's a different discussion).

Bushido is far more nebulous. Sure, we can parse a translation and a rough definition, but beyond that, the term gets problemmatic.

There was no monolithic 'bushido'. Historically, we can find many interpretations about how a member of the samurai/bushi class should act; and there are some floating around in popular MA circles (i.e. Hagakure) that have about as much to do with most of the history of budo in Japan as a spaghetti western has to do with the life of a cowboy.

It's be nice to point to a convenient set of maxims, something like Takeda Shingen's maybe, to illustrate 'proper' behavior. More correct, I think, is that the morals, mores and values of the warrior class in Japanese history varied widely from era to era, from location to location and from clan to clan. Some we'd be familiar with and comfortable with from our modern budo practice, but others were brutal, ugly and might appear to be senseless according to our modern values.

The 'bushido' preached in the pre-WW II buildup was a perveted construct, designed specifically to bolster the heightened sense of emporer-worship of national Shinto and the predatory aspirations of those who were running the country at the time. It had little or nothing to do with budo, except that the budo arts were tools with which the rulers could inculcate 'bushido' spirit in the populace.

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