"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
My personal "Interpretive" Lens!

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"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour

"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

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What is the Budo Path? What is Budo?

Lets get the supposed official definition out of the way first. Budo is "Martial way; combat way; a system whose primary purpose is to develop character. Budo is to be distinguished from bu-jutsu (from bu, warrior, and jutsu, technique) because budo belongs to the spiritual level and jutsu to the physical level (strength, intelligence). Bu also signifies the way of harmony and reconciliation."


Budō is a compound of the root bu (武:ぶ), meaning war or martial; and dō (道:どう), meaning path or way. ... Dō in the Japanese context, is an experiential term, experiential in the sense that practice (the way of life) is the norm to verify the validity of the discipline cultivated through a given art form. ... budō is most often translated as "the way of war", or "martial way", ... Budo and bujutsu have quite a delicate difference; whereas bujutsu only gives attention to the physical part of fighting (how to best defeat an enemy), budo also gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself. Modern budo uses aspects of the lifestyle of the samurai of feudal Japan and translates them to self-development in modern life.

When one says, "I follow the budo path," it means to me a practice that provides a discipline where one cultivates the mind-body for a spirit or belief that transcends normal life. It helps me to see self, to develop a self for a higher moral purpose conducive to society and so forth.

On the flip side of the coin, do we Americans truly understand what is means, Budo? Even with all the definitions do we really know the core of it? Consider this, we are Americans and tend to see, hear, etc. the complete opposite of what Asians do with a pointer toward Japanese. How can we know when it appears that Budo in Japan is from a time period totally and completely unknown to us.

I have read material from those who have practiced "Budo" that is referred to as "Koryu" and my understanding is that even those folks don't truly and completely understand its history and meaning. They have mentioned that most Japanese don't truly know either outside a small circle of Koryu system practitioners.  So, how can we actually believe we know?

Maybe it is that mystique we desire be attached to this practice of MA? Maybe it provides us a basis to build a story that suits our needs and wants in this field to provide stimulus to our training, practice and studies? Is this wrong?

It depends, does it do harm to either the Sensei, the practitioner or to society as a whole? In my view, "mostly no, it does no harm." I will drop back to what MA is to me, a fighting/combative system or protection, etc. This means that to use such terms as Budo or "warrior/martial way" indicates the practice is for real life protection, not sport, etc. which further means that as long as the use of Budo or Bujutsu is related to real, not sport play, fighting/combative SD aspects of today, then it does no harm yet if it fools folks into thinking it is what it is NOT, very potentially harmful.

We all have to decide for ourselves. Take a reality check and compare what you practice and train in to the reality of violence both street and combat/war then make that decision.

Keep this quote in mind, " ... the difficulty lies in differing perceptions about time in different ethnic group. ... " Although not directly applicable to this post it does bring to light a huge obstacle in determining validity of some term outside our group, American, as both the group and its position in time as well as place, customs, courtesies, etc. have relevance in usage and meaning.

Of course, this type of discussion has and will go on forever much like folks using the title of "warrior." I highly recommend reading Dave Lowry's books on the Japanese Arts as well as his book on karate because he is a good source/authority on Koryu systems.


  1. Dave Lowry is always a good read. I have a collection of his "Karate Way" articles he wrote for Black Belt magazine.

    Have you ever heard of Beyond the Known: The Ultimate Goal of the Martial Arts by Tri Thong Dang? It's a series of related fictional short stories about the budo path. A little esoteric but worthwhile.

  2. Hi Charles, Dave Lowry's books have been a real inspiration to me, I must have read at least 6 or 7 of them. I like your distinction between budo and bujutsu - makes it nice and clear.