March 11, 2010

A Closer Look at the Budo Charter Pt. I

As laid out a few days ago, we will dive into the Budo charter and how it applies to all martial arts. Though the Japanese spearheaded this charter the principles and objectives are not unique solely to Japanese arts. I think we will see that truly ALL martial arts share the same goals and outlooks in their practice.


The object of budo is to cultivate character, enrich the ability to make value judgments, and foster a well disciplined and capable individual through participation in physical and mental training utilizing martial techniques.

It should be fairly obvious to even the beginner student of the martial arts that their is a lot more to our practice than just kicking some ass. Actually it is funny how this attitude changes more and more as we accumulate more time training and practicing. When we train a given martial system properly (ie. including some level of uncooperative sparring) we put ourselves in situations of stress. When our bodies, minds, and spirits are stressed we learn about ourselves. How hard can I push my body before it gives out? Can I stay focused on the task at hand even when things are not going my way? Do I have the will, the spirit, the gameness, to step up to any challenge and give it 100% regardless of the perceived outcome?

These questions can be related to anything; your job; your spouse; football; or even making a birdhouse.

One of the key components in this first section is found with making sound value judgements. While sparring you may attempt a certain technique only to have your opponent counter said

technique. Was it worth opening your self up to the counter technique in an effort to score your technique? These are value judgements that we must make in a split second under considerable stress when engaged in combatives. But it is exactly this type of training that enables us to make sounds value judgements in our everyday life when we are inoculated with stress. When we train we understand how our minds and bodies will react. We can reflect on our sessions later and learn from our mistakes and our successes. In essence we are practicing all the time!

Quite simply what this all boils down to is being able to work with anxiety. Contrary to what some believe you will always have stress in your life, it is your ability (inability) to deal with it that either makes or breaks the individual. By training in the martial arts we constantly are forging our bodies, minds, and spirits in the flame of combat. But the true application lies in our ability to translate these lessons into our everyday lives, as for most of us the time spent at the dojo is but a minute percentage of our lives. We spend many more hours dealing with family, work, and the humdrum of normal life!



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