“The Gospel Of Budo According To Who?,” by Nev Sagiba

There is none..

The words “according to” give the game away. It’s easy to put a convincing argument on paper. Because something is written does not make it gospel at all, merely words on paper (or now pixels as well).

Somebody’s opinion.

If it were that easy we could all become invincible, enlightened, all knowing, merely by reading; and then return back to our home planet all fixed.. or whatever it is that happens.

The written word, is mostly opinion and conjecture. Mostly, but not all.

Whilst some opinion comes out of vivid imaginings, much can also come from hard experience. That’s for the reader to discern, to match with his or her opinion and to test to REFINE THEIR OWN EXPERIENCE OF LIFE AND SKILL.

Question everything if you intend to make progress. Otherwise you may be being led by the blind.

There are principles, strategies, predispositions and context for various techniques to work. Budo, true Budo is a science and a pragmatic trial and error path of personal discovery, exploration and testing.

Even that changes. Change the context, the rules, the goalposts or the environment and the game changes entirely.

For example, you could be the best swordsman in the world attacked by twenty people when you are in a phone booth they’ve wrapped a chain around.

Or you could be the best wrestler or boxer in the world, lost in the Amazon jungle, hunted by cannibals with poison tipped spear AND? You will need to learn new skills fast.

That’s the good news. You reckon?

Let me explain. A person who daily exercises the body, the mind, strategic capabilities, skill sets and is continuing to strive for increased skill is exercising something much more fundamental than mere “fighting” skills. He or she is exercising the most ancient, inbuilt faculties known to humans, THE SKILLS OF ACQUIRING SKILL!

Such as it is, it will not only make you healthier and fitter, but also more adept at any task or other skills you put your hand to. Arts, technical understanding, sciences, crafts.. you name it.

We, as species are designed (or evolved – same thing) to be multi-skilled. Indeed in our long evolution, survival depended on multi-skilled adaptation to external stimuli, more than any creature. And it appears to be the most fundamental adaptation response of them all. The skill of skill.

Such intergenerationally transmitted foresight appears as almost mystical in its potency and yet we take it for granted.

A computer or techno gadget is barely out of the factory and an older person can’t operate it, AND YET, ask your three year old and the child can usually show you how.

I believe the old Budo masters watched children at play. Especially play fighting. And stole the secrets the kids did not even know they had, being new, spontaneously mushin and closer to the universe. They then took this original mitori geiko to the dojo to study it further.

And that, folks, is the secret behind all the secrets of Budo. Adaptation. Exercising the skill of skill, noticing and doing it in practice, PARTICULARLY UNDER CHALLENGE, until it makes sense to a crusty older mind. Which hopefully can start on a path of recapturing original newness.

Mushin, no-thoughts, direct perception or simply being at one with the universe as it is, is said to be, “a mental state into which very highly trained martial artists are said to enter during combat.” My foot. Children live in mushin until it’s trained out of them! And then one who is sufficiently diligent may spend a half a life time searching for it, to reclaim himself or herself.

You already have it. You are it. Simply learn to get out of your own way!

A very ancient peaceful warrior once put it most succinctly as, “Unless you become as little children, you will not become at one with the harmony of the universe..” or something like that.

To pay careful attention, to notice, to observe with simplicity; and then to test in personal discovery can be challenging. It’s much easier to stop questioning, thinking and challenging altogether, and merely follow. Where you may end up, is another story.

To question, notice, think and test, not only takes discernment, the first weapon of the warrior, but also courage.

That may help provide some insight into why Budo is a warrior path for stopping war; and Aikido a combat art that prefers not to fight if at all possible.

Of course, if you do have to, you will need the skills to back it up with thunder. In the end, results and outcomes speak louder than any words.

But, now that all that is down in writing, it’s merely my opinion.

You’ll now have to test things for yourself and arrive at your own conclusion. According to you!

Nev Sagiba


  1. …words are useful for some things, less useful for others. used to love Saotome Sensei while hating his classes. we’d be treated to a rambling ten minutes of broken English. he really tried, but his language skill wasn’t up to the task. then with dead feet rise for a couple throws before getting another chapter. we’re human, so we talk. but there probably is no verbal way to explain aikido.

  2. super and insightful — particularly liked the mushin/children’s mind connection and mitori geiko with kids playfighting– too good!

  3. Brett Jackson says:

    I like the opinion not to overrate opinions (*chuckle*). The foundation is the practice that supports adaptation, the takemusu aiki. In my opinion (*smile*), this is Aikido kihon understanding (in the best sense).

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