View Full Version : Defining "Budo" from a Neophyte perspective
02-23-2005, 01:58 AM
I've only been training (x-kan) for a couple of months and I realise that it may be a little early to be thinking about this sort of thing but, I was hoping that people might be able to give me some insight into how they define the word Budo and what it means to them.
The reason I ask: I've noticed that in some cases people use the word Budo as a general term to describe Martial Arts of Japanese origin but at other times the word is used to refer to a higher concept, a concept that appears to encompass honor/integrity/honesty or all of the above.
Using my pretty much nonexistent knowledge of Japanese (i.e. the odd syllable I've picked up here on E-Budo) I would assume that it was a compound of two words, Bu(War) & Do(Way). Searching Google using the string define:budo appears to confirm this. So, is this the correct definition? or does the term/word/concept warrant further exploration?
Thanks for your time.
(Mods: If this has been discussed before (I could not think of a suitable search string as I assume "Budo" would be mentioned in the majority of threads) feel free to delete this thread)
(edited for spelling)
Sensei / Shihan as "Teacher" in Japanese
http://aikiweb.com/language/goldsbury1.html --Discusses "BU"
For a jaundiced view, see Post #8, below:
02-24-2005, 04:15 AM
That was an interesting post (post #8) and an interesting thread (on Aikiweb) in general.
If I understand correctly, I would need to draw a number of conclusions:
"in the Japanese language, the way a character can be read is considered to be a factor in what it means"
i.e. It is necessary to read into the different way the Kanji can be interpreted if one is to even begin to understand the meaning of some words?
"Martial art; martial way. Although usually translated as "martial art," a more precise rendering is "martial way," implying a martial discipline for character or spiritual development practiced as a lifelong pursuit. "
i.e. The word can literally refer to 'Methods of War/Martial Arts" but to truly understand the word, one must acknowledge that it can also (and often does) refer to a higher concept?
"the martial arts used in warfare is usually refered as 'bujutsu'. 'budo' itself emphasizing more on the philosophical side without abandoning the physical side of an art. In my opinion, budo and bushido is like car and petrol, they complement each other. Bushido without budo is just a mere philosophy, budo without bushido will just be an exercise."
i.e. In order to understand the meaning of the word, one needs to be aware of the fact that certain other words, although not directly required to define BUDO are inextricably linked with understanding what it ('Budo') means?
"The difference between budo and bujutsu is not one of technique so much. It is jutsu when defending life or country, etc. and it is Do (michi) the rest of the time. What changes is your intent and application. "
Would this reinforce my last conclusion above?
(edited for clarity)
Until someone more qualified takes this up, I'll offer my own (tentative) thoughts...
Originally posted by Friday
[B]It is necessary to read into the different way the Kanji can be interpreted if one is to even begin to understand the meaning of some words?
That's my understanding.
The word can literally refer to 'Methods of War/Martial Arts" but to truly understand the word, one must acknowledge that it can also (and often does) refer to a higher concept?
That's contemporary usage. As per Bodiford, this might not be the case pre-1920's. Bujutsu and Budo were famously interchangeable in the earlier literature. An interesting take on this is Minoru Inaba. He parses it:
"Jutsu" -- How to fight
" Do" -- How to treat an opponent who loses.
Read the interview at http://aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=107.
In order to understand the meaning of the word, one needs to be aware of the fact that certain other words, although not directly required to define BUDO are inextricably linked with understanding what it ('Budo') means?
Culture is a huge part of language. "Certain other words", puns, incidents, concepts, biographical quirks...you name it. For the founder of aikido, "aiki" has a different meaning than that of martial artists before him, e.g.
Hope this helps.
02-25-2005, 01:43 AM
Hope this helps.
It certainly does. Thank you kindly.
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