“Why Budo are not supposed to work in a real fight,” by Guillaume Erard

“As an Aikido instructor and lifelong martial arts practitioner, I often had to explain what this discipline was about; in particular, what made it different from other arts such as Judo, Karatedo or Kendo. I started realizing that a more productive way to proceed might in fact be to explain what these Budo had in common rather than pointing out what separated them. It is especially important if we want to understand the difference between Budo and Bujutsu (武術).”

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  1. …if you haven’t read this, it’s worth it.

    My slant is slightly different. If you have a week to learn techniques to help you win in battle, the techniques will be few and crude. If you have a lifetime, they will elaborate in number and refinement. In aikido, the process of refinement tends toward effortless technique. By following the subtle and obscure paths of skeleto-muscular weakness resistance becomes impossible and only mercy allows ukemi.

    If you have a week to train, then training injuries, are, well, both inevitable, and relatively few because of the limited exposure. Over a lifetime, surviving training and preserving the ability to continue shapes the practice. So dojo practice is differentiated from fighting by allowing ukemi and working on its perfection, too. One of my thoughts on aikido has been that true kaeshi waza is grounded in ukemi.

    One of the best lines out of the Toho production of Chushingura was the Asano clan chamberlain, Oishi, saying that he’d hoped to live out his life as the most useless thing, a soldier in times of peace. Of course his leadership, preparation and training led to a successful conclusion of the campaign.

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