Budo

BUDO

PHILOSOPHIES ON KARATE-DO AND BUDO
from HUGH ST. JOHN THOMSON

Budo - the spirit of Budo lies much in the essence of the Kanji makeup: 

- DO means "the way" which is of course the understanding attained at that moment when one is about to be executed by having one's neck severed by a sword.Naturally, this actually means the understanding attained by either constant endeavor of living or attained under enormous pressure or stress in a moment

- BU is made up also of the elements (a) "the sword" and (b) never to be used".

Thus BUDO can best be described as the way of living in which the sword is never to be used.

This is in itself a radical thought for most people and must be complicated in that it is the Spiritual concept. The actual techniques are, one could say, for the development of the self, to the stage where the spiritual concept and the physical concept become one and thus the original concept of Budo then becomes a living reality.

Similarly, the concept of Karate-Do in its founding forms was taught as the way of blocking/deflecting and counter attack, but never attack - thus the best form of self-defence.

Further, the early teachings of karate were such that it was taught never to use the techniques in anger, and was allied totally to the concept of BUDO - to draw the sword was not good, to draw it in anger was beyond all forgiveness and depicted weakness in the person drawing the sword.

It can therefore clearly be seen that from the earliest times karate has been for the development of the inner man (self) to overcome those elements inside or within one's own makeup which are a weakness, e.g. anger, spitefulness, viciousness, etc. From this concept it can then clearly be seen why the early schools and even certain existing schools resisted the idea of contesting against others, for this then produced the atmosphere and the actuality, directly contrasting to their concept of training and practice.

It is therefore interesting and important to apply this to today's standards and discover that the same principle still applies to contest. As against person to person, this produces the very attitudes within one's essential make-up which Karate is attempting to remove. It is important then to keep in the foreground of consciousness the principle of Karate which depicts one's only enemy as oneself.

A very well known concept, in any event, but seldom applied. This old trend has, however, been lost to a large degree amongst most modern schools of Karate as the idea of using Karate as a sport has caught on and those of shallow understanding have swung the balance around.

We find this very prevalent in the concept of Kata. Again in Kata we find that there are two main streams of thought which have developed, based on two methods of writing Kata in Kanji. The first concept is that Kata means form - as the internal shape of a mould, preset and predetermined with no allowable deviations. This concept stems from the idea that Kata are prearranged sequences and the idea then produces a dance-like (in appearance) form.

The second appreciation of Kata is the meaning of external form which is the concept which allows adaptation of the Kata to the individual practicing or studying. This allows a far more fluid and rapid growth, while retaining the essential elements and guidelines, for of course it must not be forgotten that each Kata is a prearranged practice form. The second form is by far the best method for ultimate development as it removes strictures which are not applicable to anyone individual and allows the variations necessary for height, size and physical differences.

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