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Old 08-06-2004, 03:19 AM   #39
Location: Frederick, MD
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 509
Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

Charles Hill said:
Hi Chuck,
I agree with you on this but am wondering why you think this is?
To me, the study of budo is more than the study of physical combatives. In fact, if you read much of the stuff that falls out of my head and fingers online here, you'll note that I espouse the idea that budo, per se, is not about fighting, not about the physical combatives, at all. The physical activity is a tool through which we learn certain principles, rather than specific actions to respond to physical violence. The principles are learnt throught he actions, and the principles are what is important ... the activities are the method of transmission. They cannot be separated and one cannot be fully learnt without the integration of the other.

If you study budo, then I believe you should be examining the root and trunk as well as the branches and leaves.

There are usually fairly specific philosophical, historical, practical and esoteric underpinnings to all the budo (in some of the syncretic or synthesized gendai arts, such as kendo, judo and iaido for example, this might muddy a bit, but not so much as it cannot be identified with some exploration -- they are still Japanese-based arts, built upon the foundations of earlier sword or jujutsu systems, in those examples) ...

If we take budo as a set of nominally combative systems derived from historic Japanese sources, then to know the budo, you must, I think, know the origins, the history, the secular and spiritual attachments (not that you have to BELIEVE them, but should aspire to understand and know how they affected development of the art and how they affect its structure and theory).

If you're practicing a budo, any budo, and not examining those things, you might be happy as a clam never knowing those things, and that is, I guess, OK for some folks.

However, I beleive that by exploring all those facets of the art you choose, that you will only enrich your expeience, and further, I beleive that only by delving into those aspect of your chosen art can you truly integrate the art and understand it at the deepest levels.

If Joe Snuffy is perfectly happy dressing up in dogi and playing adult romper room a couple hours a week, and is happy about it, without rooting around in the cellar to find out WHY he does ABC when uke does XYZ, or why you stand THIS way and not THAT way in THIS situation, or why you EI! when you thrust and HO! when you cut, fine.

I just think he's missing a lot.

And truly, at the lower levels, it's not essential to know these things ... but as we advance, if we don't explore more deeply, then we're cheating ourselves of the richness of experience that the budo offers.

In terms of what constitutes a budo, I think if you teach the physical aspects without the underpinnings and esoterica, that is becomes not-budo.

Call it wrestling, call it personal combatives, call it adult romper room. But 'budo' to me, infers a connection with and exploration of the whole of the thing and not just the external.

And therein lies the path taken when we discard bowing, trade dogi for sweats and t-shirts, ignore Japanese terminology, start mixing in things from other traditions without fully having a grasp of the original art or the add-ins.


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