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Old 12-26-2006, 11:34 AM   #9
Josh Reyer
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Location: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 644
Re: Budo vs Martial Art ?

Mark Murray wrote:
Thanks for the more detailed post. I wonder, though. If you took the 止 character as meaning one footprint, or standing still to leave a footprint along with the rest of the kanji for "bu", wouldn't you get a definition more like, motion in stillness? Or perhaps, to cut in stillness? Something along those lines?

When the character "bu" was created, 止 did not yet mean "halt", but rather "to march", and so "march with pikes" represented "war".

Confusion arises from two sources: early (pre-modern era) Chinese linguists, not quite versed on source-based scholarship, often believed folk etymologies. These linguists believed that 止 meant "stop", and thus 武 was "stop spears", suggesting putting down a rebellion, or some other opposing force. The etymology I gave above is the accepted etymology of modern linguists. Also, often Chinese and Japanese speakers today, not necessarily versed in the history of their language, sometimes come up with folk etymologies. This is particularly common in the martial arts, where teachers like to use the folk etymology to underscore the "martial arts are for defense" idea.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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