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Old 02-16-2016, 10:56 AM   #1
Peter Boylan
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Am I Really Practicing Budo?

I train in this Japanese stuff called budo, but how can what I am doing now be the same budo the samurai practiced in Japan? Am I Really Practicing Budo? I put my thoughts together in this blog post
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2016/02/...cing-budo.html

What's your opinion?

Peter Boylan
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Old 02-16-2016, 02:25 PM   #2
Tim Mailloux
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Quote:
Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
I train in this Japanese stuff called budo, but how can what I am doing now be the same budo the samurai practiced in Japan? Am I Really Practicing Budo? I put my thoughts together in this blog post
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2016/02/...cing-budo.html

What's your opinion?
The short answer is your not training in the same budo that the samurai did, because they didn't practice budo....they trained bujutsu.
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Old 02-16-2016, 02:36 PM   #3
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Quote:
Tim Mailloux wrote: View Post
The short answer is your not training in the same budo that the samurai did, because they didn't practice budo....they trained bujutsu.
If you are interested in such matters, here is a link to some good information on the subject.
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Old 02-16-2016, 02:48 PM   #4
Peter Boylan
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Quote:
Tim Mailloux wrote: View Post
The short answer is your not training in the same budo that the samurai did, because they didn't practice budo....they trained bujutsu.
I have written about that false dichotomy in the past. It's at http://budobum.blogspot.com/2012/11/...tsu-again.html

Peter Boylan
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Old 02-16-2016, 04:34 PM   #5
Tim Mailloux
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

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Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
I have written about that false dichotomy in the past. It's at http://budobum.blogspot.com/2012/11/...tsu-again.html
With modern martial arts I would agree that there is no distinction between do and jutsu arts. But today's 'do' or 'jutsu' arts are are far cry from the arts of war the samurai of years past trained. Your initial post asked the question if you are practicing the same art as the samurai of the past, and my answer to that question is still no.
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Old 02-16-2016, 04:36 PM   #6
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Quote:
Tim Mailloux wrote: View Post
With modern martial arts I would agree that there is no distinction between do and jutsu arts. But today's 'do' or 'jutsu' arts are are far cry from the arts of war the samurai of years past trained. Your initial post asked the question if you are practicing the same art as the samurai of the past, and my answer to that question is still no.
Which arts are you referring to here? Care to share some examples?
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Old 02-16-2016, 07:23 PM   #7
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Quote:
Tim Mailloux wrote: View Post
With modern martial arts I would agree that there is no distinction between do and jutsu arts. But today's 'do' or 'jutsu' arts are are far cry from the arts of war the samurai of years past trained. Your initial post asked the question if you are practicing the same art as the samurai of the past, and my answer to that question is still no.
Interesting. Among the arts I study is Shinto Muso Ryu. Many of the kata are the same kata that have been practiced since the 17th century. How different is what I am doing from what they are were doing? Why is the Shinto Muso Ryu I do, or the Tenjin Shin'yo Ryu or the Yoshin Ryu that others do a far cry from what those were 150 or 20 or 400 years ago?

Peter Boylan
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Old 02-16-2016, 08:46 PM   #8
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

I wonder if wrestlers and boxers ask these kinds of questions... Wrestling and boxing are over 2500+ years old. They put the "ancient" in ancient martial arts...

I'm not being sarcastic.

"Ancient" and/or "Traditional" Eastern Martial Arts (TM) seem like good marketing (even when grounded in truth) rather than something "special". And just being "ancient" or "traditional" is only interesting because they have stood the test of time rather than being inherently "better". Right?

Is someone that only knows "Western" martial arts but uses those skills to protect and defend (rather than fight) doing budo? Do they even think about that way? Should they?

All paths lead to death. I strongly recommend taking one of the scenic routes.
AWA - Nidan - Started Aikido training in 2008
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Old 02-17-2016, 05:46 AM   #9
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Quote:
Tim Mailloux wrote: View Post
The short answer is your not training in the same budo that the samurai did, because they didn't practice budo....they trained bujutsu.
Firstly "budō" and "bujutsu" are words. And whatever "the samurai" practiced, the words "budo" and "bujutsu" (and to a certain degree "heiho") have been synonyms back then. So they called what they did budō or bujutsu - or maybe heihō - interchangeably.

If you want to characterize certain differences between their practice back then and the practice of the same art now, you have to describe these differences substantially. Because of being synonyms the use of the words "budō" and "bujutsu" doesn't help.

Quote:
Tim Mailloux wrote: View Post
... Your initial post asked the question if you are practicing the same art as the samurai of the past, and my answer to that question is still no.
天真正伝香取神道(!)流 Tenshin shōden katori shindō(!) ryū has a "dō" in it's name and it was called a "budō" in the old times allready.

Could you please explain in which way you think practicing this budō was different in former times compared to now?

Quote:
Robin Johnson wrote: View Post
And just being "ancient" or "traditional" is only interesting because they have stood the test of time rather than being inherently "better". Right?
To me at least this is not the point. Better in which way? And how do I know one of those arts ist better? And better than what? TSKSR and KSR both have survived: Which one is better? And shouldn't be offsprings of a better art be even better because they actually add something ...?

Quote:
Is someone that only knows "Western" martial arts but uses those skills to protect and defend (rather than fight) doing budo?
Doesn't the word "budō" by definition refer to Japanese arts only?
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Old 02-17-2016, 06:26 AM   #10
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Pretty sure Glima, Sumo, and Pankration are not the same as they were centuries ago. Times change, practices change. Pretty sure the "old" and "modern" schools have a bit of a rivalry. I can read about how old Shotokan kata are, but the Pinan forms compared to the Heian forms or the changes to Nijushiho over decades are noticeable. The same with Taiji forms. Probably no need to even broach if our Aikido is the same as a man who died a year before I was born. Is Shinto Muso Ryu completely intact and unaltered?

For me, the history of the spectrum is the most interesting part. The change between how do we create dangerous people to how do we create tools out of dangerous people. And, part of many cultures' response to warriors during peace. The same issues that face the USA today with a massive military, highly dangerous tools (people) and...now what?
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Old 02-17-2016, 08:20 AM   #11
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

For me, you are asking a rhetorical question.

I take some issue with the claim of budo, since it is something of a contrivance - a propaganda used to put an acceptable face on something that is otherwise uncouth. Learning to hurt people is, in most respects, frowned upon. But if its self-improvement...

In this respect, my answer is no. Unless the cost of your mistake is severe, we are probably not training the same way professional fighters trained in any age in any art in any culture where the fighting was actively used. It also cheapens the value of those fighters who actually train in this way. To Carsten's point, I think the words are the same, but the applied meaning is different. I tend to use the contrast between a baseball player and playing baseball for this perspective. Many people may play baseball, not many people are baseball players - we often use the terms interchangeably, though. That's bad. But in the sense of "bad," not the popular "cool bad." But not "cool" like cold, the other cool...

I think claiming yourself as a "budo guy" has to cast a different shadow. If you move like a regular guy, what's different? You show up to a class and wear pajamas? When referring to a past time, I think you were talking about a class that was different - they thought different, moved different and shared a life perspective that was different than common civilians. These people were so different in appearance and in action you could almost distinguish them on sight. When people walk into the dojo, I can usually tell whether they've had previous fighting experience - they look and act different.

I think we need to be critical of our training with respect to assuming because we come to class, we are budo people. If no one has mentioned your body works differently since you've been training, you probably have you answer. To be fair, I think we are working to change our bodies but we're works in progress. I think when someone can see the work in you reflected, you are making yourself a budo girl.

As a casual observation, I think also the cost of self-proclamation is less than what it used to be. In Chicago, one would never self-proclaim himself as a made-man. Unless one was, actually, a made-man. The cost of a false proclamation would be severe. I imagine, proclaiming oneself as a budo man during a time when someone might just show up and ask to see the budo man in action would carry severe consequences.

Change rules, change kata, change outfits. Whatever. The work changes the body and that is budo. Our systems can survive as long as the elements that change the body survive.

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Old 02-17-2016, 11:42 AM   #12
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Budo is the way of the warrior. So one has to ask, what is a warrior?

Is he a brutal, lethal man skilled in weaponry and able to decapitate heads with a single swipe?

Is he a gentleman, as well-versed in literature as he is with weaponry. Cultured, learned yet deadly?

Both of them are the same in one way, they are skilled. And not only that, their skills shape the way the look at life in general. In the book of five rings, Miyamoto Musashi speaks of how warriors should also have an interest in other arts, and be able to apply the skills of a warrior to other areas of life and leisure.

Ancient warriors like Talhoffer or other Italian fencing masters are all masters of both sword and literature. Agrippa's work on fencing included a dialogue on philosophy. La Verdadera destreza taught fencing in regards to other disciplines like geometry. Not to mention Bruce Lee himself was an avid reader as well as fighter.

What links all of the above together is the fact that they applied their martial knowledge and experience to other areas of their lives, and were able to shape the world accordingly. Their skills were not limited to the dojo or the battlefield but found meaning in everyday moments and seconds.

Therefore, one should say; Budo is something that applies to all who are students of the art of war and who apply these lessons in their lives. Budo isn't the sole province of ancient warriors and old battlefields. It is alive and dynamic in all aspects of life, suitable for any situation and century.

One then shouldn't ask such a question as am I really practicing budo, but ask how am I practicing budo?
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Old 02-17-2016, 03:49 PM   #13
rugwithlegs
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Unfortunately I cannot read Musashi in his original language; I never took the time. I believe Peter Boylan has?

When Musashi wrote about what he recommended for warriors to do, it was for the development of strategy. Understand the arts, understand the professions, be able to clearly distinguish between loss and gain, pay attention to the details and the big picture, etc. He wasn't just advocating being a well rounded person for it's own sake but rather that for his theory of 1:1 or 10000:10000 battles being the same you had to understand more than the sword for strategy. Entering a land battle, understand the ground as well as a farmer would; understand the tides as well as any fisherman would for planning a naval battle. This is why the Five Rings are a valid metaphor for business today, it's telling the business office to understand the products they sell and understand who they are selling to to develop the best strategy for success.

I tend to understand Musashi as not finding "meaning" but rather how to discover and exploit tactical significance from anything at any time.
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:09 PM   #14
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
Unfortunately I cannot read Musashi in his original language; I never took the time. I believe Peter Boylan has?

When Musashi wrote about what he recommended for warriors to do, it was for the development of strategy. Understand the arts, understand the professions, be able to clearly distinguish between loss and gain, pay attention to the details and the big picture, etc. He wasn't just advocating being a well rounded person for it's own sake but rather that for his theory of 1:1 or 10000:10000 battles being the same you had to understand more than the sword for strategy. Entering a land battle, understand the ground as well as a farmer would; understand the tides as well as any fisherman would for planning a naval battle. This is why the Five Rings are a valid metaphor for business today, it's telling the business office to understand the products they sell and understand who they are selling to to develop the best strategy for success.

I tend to understand Musashi as not finding "meaning" but rather how to discover and exploit tactical significance from anything at any time.
And there we have a summary to the big question; Budo is finding the strategy where you'd least expect it.
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:17 PM   #15
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Academic majors, US Military Academy (West Point):
http://www.usma.edu/curriculum/SitePages/Home.aspx

While many eras of Japanese (and world) history saw perpetual warfare, there have also been long periods and large regions where more peaceful circumstances reigned. (And indeed, creating and maintaining such circumstances is one of the stated goals of warfare.) It is helpful for warriors to both understand what they are fighting for, and to have some ability to function in society once the war is over.

Katherine

Last edited by kewms : 02-17-2016 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:10 PM   #16
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Doesn't the word "budō" by definition refer to Japanese arts only?
Not by definition. Its just that Japan is the only place where the idea of elevating a martial tradition to a form of personal refinement was allowed to "bake" for the many generations required for budo to really develop. Typically martial traditions are discarded when they become technologically obsolete, dangerous to the power of the rulers / invaders, or when a society becomes ruled by laws.
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:23 PM   #17
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

So, Budo was about killing. Then social control/refinement of character. Quite recently self actualization. Changes in focus, change in skill set.

The virtues of Budo aren't consistent when named and listed.

In trying to get information about the virtues of Budo, ironically I found this gem:
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2015/02/budo-virtues.html
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:13 PM   #18
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
So, Budo was about killing. Then social control/refinement of character. Quite recently self actualization. Changes in focus, change in skill set.

The virtues of Budo aren't consistent when named and listed.

In trying to get information about the virtues of Budo, ironically I found this gem:
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2015/02/budo-virtues.html
I don't think its right to say that Budo was ever only about killing, per se. Perhaps even mostly. There were ways a person learned how to manage weapons and kill other people, and there were ways to teach somebody these skills, in Japan and every other human society. But something was done to these methods to turn them into Budo, even if you consider Katori Shinto ryu or Nen ryu to be Budo.

This is true when you look at the fact that the early days of the koryu arts, the founders taught only seasoned warriors. So that first generation of students had training and experience that was not Budo. And of course you hardly ever hear about which koryu such and such a warrior practiced before he distinguished himself on the battlefield.

Maybe I am presupposing my conclusions by tying the definition of Budo the transmittion of koryu like this.
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:18 AM   #19
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

I think budo is not equal to fighting arts. Overlapping in manifestation, but not equal. Katherine brought up a point, tangent to the question of the thread, but part of my perspective - I believe that budo (that we know today) was a system to help the fighting class normalize into a civilian population - an outlet to apply their knowledge and skill to other aspects of society:
https://youtu.be/TS21wcdpgUg

Fighting systems are about the capitulation/domination of human capital. Budo is a system to apply an ethical code to training and tactics. You fight how you train, so implementing the system at the training level is arguably an adequate point of origin for an ethics code. We all want to believe that our "superior" fighting skill will be wielded with a moral compass that points straight to "above reproach." Find me the thread on Aikiweb that outlines a fight-scenario that has the aikido person wearing a black hat. Unless it's someone with bad energy...

First, you have to be able to do something. The fighting arts side of budo empowers you to do. The ethics side of budo empowers you to apply a morality to what you do. If you cannot throw your partner, what difference does it makes as to why you would [try to] throw them? I think sometimes we jump into the why without checking to see if we can. This was my point from my earlier post - the work of changing our bodies to fight is the predecessor of choosing how to apply that skill.

As a side note, it ain't like other cultures didn't apply a morality to their fighting classes. The Chinese did it, the Romans did it, the Europeans did it...

Last edited by jonreading : 02-19-2016 at 07:24 AM.

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Old 02-19-2016, 10:01 AM   #20
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

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As a side note, it ain't like other cultures didn't apply a morality to their fighting classes. The Chinese did it, the Romans did it, the Europeans did it...
Every society that survived long enough to be recorded in the history books did it. Isn't the restraint of violence by morality part of the very definition of civilization?

Katherine
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Old 02-19-2016, 10:44 AM   #21
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

I like it and want to believe it. The existence of a cohesive stable group (civilization contains the connotation of civilized but doesn't require civility) is I believe more through rule of law, often supported by arms. Morality maybe from the beginning, or maybe evolves. The USA has been a society through war, slavery, and a wide spectrum of inequalities that have little connection to morality. I see the warrior over time representing power. What we are powerful for changes.
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Old 02-19-2016, 11:24 AM   #22
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Quote:
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I like it and want to believe it. The existence of a cohesive stable group (civilization contains the connotation of civilized but doesn't require civility) is I believe more through rule of law, often supported by arms. Morality maybe from the beginning, or maybe evolves. The USA has been a society through war, slavery, and a wide spectrum of inequalities that have little connection to morality. I see the warrior over time representing power. What we are powerful for changes.
The rule of law is *always* supported by arms, it's just that different societies make that more or less explicit. OTOH, part of the definition of "rule of law" is that physical might -- even the might of the state -- is expected to subordinate itself to governing institutions.

Supporters of slavery in the US claimed that they were upholding the natural order of things, and that it was abolitionists who wanted to undermine morality. At various points in Japanese history, "budo values" were used to justify behaviors that we now consider criminal. Morality evolves.

Katherine
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Old 02-19-2016, 11:32 AM   #23
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Every society that survived long enough to be recorded in the history books did it. Isn't the restraint of violence by morality part of the very definition of civilization?

Katherine
You could make that argument. But morality is a subjective concept - "restraining" who we choose to kill is still not an acceptable solution for anyone on that list. Somewhere along the line, we assumed "budo" was an acceptable compass for choosing what human capital was expendable. In my earlier post I made a jab at this assumption and the ethos grab ensues from the claim: budo is good, I do budo, I am good. Budo is, in many respects, a way to considering ourselves part of a fighting class.

I bring up the point only to compare our perspective against any number of cultures who also imposed a code of ethics on their fighting classes.

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Old 02-19-2016, 03:27 PM   #24
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I think budo is not equal to fighting arts. Overlapping in manifestation, but not equal. Katherine brought up a point, tangent to the question of the thread, but part of my perspective - I believe that budo (that we know today) was a system to help the fighting class normalize into a civilian population - an outlet to apply their knowledge and skill to other aspects of society:
https://youtu.be/TS21wcdpgUg

Fighting systems are about the capitulation/domination of human capital. Budo is a system to apply an ethical code to training and tactics. You fight how you train, so implementing the system at the training level is arguably an adequate point of origin for an ethics code. We all want to believe that our "superior" fighting skill will be wielded with a moral compass that points straight to "above reproach." Find me the thread on Aikiweb that outlines a fight-scenario that has the aikido person wearing a black hat. Unless it's someone with bad energy...

First, you have to be able to do something. The fighting arts side of budo empowers you to do. The ethics side of budo empowers you to apply a morality to what you do. If you cannot throw your partner, what difference does it makes as to why you would [try to] throw them? I think sometimes we jump into the why without checking to see if we can. This was my point from my earlier post - the work of changing our bodies to fight is the predecessor of choosing how to apply that skill.

As a side note, it ain't like other cultures didn't apply a morality to their fighting classes. The Chinese did it, the Romans did it, the Europeans did it...
Budo is really not about changing the body, it's about changing the spirit. Its just like any other do in that regard - repetitive practice of technique to yield a change of the self to become a part of the essence of the ryu. In budo it is often but not exclusively through movement that one expresses the character or the ryu. The purpose of aiki is not to accomplish physical tasks but it is through a type of movement that one can be observed to embody the concept of aiki.

And like I said, there is something else that is done to a fighting art to get budo. It's something that makes them worth continuing to do after the fighting skills are obsolete. That's why there is no European budo. I don't believe Chinese arts are quite the same as budo either because they are not rooted as fighting systems but rather as civilian or religious systems.
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Old 02-20-2016, 06:37 AM   #25
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Re: Am I Really Practicing Budo?

In talking about fighting arts versus Budo, are we back to the first posts comparing and contrasting bujutsu and budo?

Not sure I agree about your comments on Chinese arts. Someone develops a fighting style and notes a principle of yin and yang (In/Yo) and works on ways to develop this. Of course it's the same as saying heads or tails or left or right or day or night but philosophical Daoism had the same concept soTaiji is now called Daoist (the Taoist style of Taiji was developed by a Canadian a few decades ago I believe). Philosophically, Yin/Yang or In/Yo are not religious, and people practicing Taiji are not practicing religious Daoism.
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