Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Kyokushin Karate and Budo

Below is an excerpt from a post that appeared at The Martial Way, describing the Budo practice of Kyokushin Karate. The full post may be read here.

As we sit and regain our composure on the mats, Sensei talks talks about the importance of the right mindset. He poses the question, what is Karate? What is the difference between karate and sport? While closely related, obviously, due to the physical conditioning aspects, what differentiates Kyokushin Karate from sport, he tells us, is the aspect of Budō.

Budō literally translated is “Way of War” or The Marital Way. Budō is a compound of the root bu (), meaning war or martial; and (), meaning path or way. It’s in essence the modern rendition of Bushido (武士道); literally “the way of the warrior”.

Bushido was a way of life for the Samurai (warrior class of feudal Japan). This included a code of ethics and disciplines that shaped the way a Samurai should live. Though there are no more samurai, the ethics and standards still live on in the teachings of various schools of martial arts. Budō is the discipline associated with martial arts that shape the way a true martial artist (Budō-ka; 武道家) should live. Budō refers to a way of life, led by those who practice martial arts.

This is extremely important for young students, as it is the building blocks of integrity, honesty, empathy, leadership, and responsibility. It naturally builds confidence in a young person.
Like honing a sword, we are honing our spirit along with our bodies. Sensei tells us that by respecting the Etiquette of the dojo we are furnishing the noble qualities of the soul, which distinguishes Kyokushin Karate from sport, and the budō-ka  from an an average athlete. It isn’t just about being able to do an exercise or to fight. It is about doing so with attention to detail. With respect not only given to your fellow martial artist, but to yourself and the environment around you. About striving to be the best you can be.
Though Kyokushin Karate may not be descended from Samurai, Karate is descended from nobility, of both Bushidō, and Budō.

According to the karate master Gogen Yamaguchi:

“Budō did not originate in a peaceful atmosphere.  It was necessary to protect one’s life at the time, and to learn how to use Budō as a weapon and achieve one’s responsibility as a warrior.  It was the warrior’s duty to develop spirit. … It was necessary to obtain a technique to protect oneself, and one had to have a strong spirit to correspond to that.  When one could overcome a conception of death, there was an improvement of a human being as a Samurai.  When it was developed, karate-do was used in place of weapons and studied that way, so that the spirit of the Samurai was needed at the beginning of its conception to learn karate.”


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