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Old 02-14-2007, 12:03 PM   #48
Toby Threadgill
Location: Evergreen, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 166
Re: Sport is the new Budo

Hi Guys,

Interesting points of view.

I understand exactly where Mr Wilson is coming from. I started my martial arts training in sport. Western fencing, followed by Wado ryu karate and then Thai Boxing. About 20 years ago I got involved in Koryu jujutsu and only continue that pursuit today. From direct experience I consider competitive engagement as a portion of your training experience VERY important. Many of the best practitioners of koryu jujutsu in my organization are those who have trained or continue to train in budo sport. That's just the fact of it. Without some competitive element or form of shiai in your training paradigm you cannot address some vital elements existing in actual physical conflict. That said, training only in budo sport has enormous pitfalls if you're considering practical defense to be an aim of you training.

I presented my opinions on this topic best in an essay over on Aikido Journal titled "Assumptions" It is available here if anyone is interested.

FWIW...One of my top instructors in koryu jujutsu is Dave Nettles, 6th dan in Shodokan Aikido and chief instructor of JAA USA. The competitive element in his training in Shodokan Aikido has served Dave very well in his pursuit of studying koryu jujutsu.

On the topic of what defines budo vs sport, I agree with those who present the opinion that budo is greatly a mindset. I have seen those in competitive sport who are doing both sport and budo at the same time and admire them greatly for the discipline they display. Unfortunately I have also witnessed those doing budo only as sport. Budo performed only as sport is not evolution in my opinion, but degeneration. It reduces the dignity and moral conscience of budo to insignificance, resulting in the competitive element of training becoming an end unto itself instead of a means towards a greater end. To paraphrase a common idiom, competition sometimes becomes the tail wagging the budo dog. With the loss of a greater duty to the moral objectives associated with budo, ego gratification frequently becomes the driving force of the training experience, with all the problems that entails.

So is sport the new budo? I don't think so. Sport in the context of budo can be either valuable or destructive depending on the context in which it is utilized and tempered.

All the best,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
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