“JU is a principle that is strongly enmeshed in the dualistic world, it defines moments of opportunity as it joins centers together and it creates powerful responsive sensitivity.”
Innumerable times over the years students have come to ask the difference between JUTSU and DO, and for the most part my answers have always been to describe the basic surface distinctions—the historical, the philosophical, technical—the simple pragmatic basis of JUTSU as the basic military or soldierly training model, and DO, the modern pursuit of excellence and self actualization, the making of happier, healthier people and society and such.
It is much deeper than that. On a most basic level JUTSU is the madness of violence and DO is the sanity of nonviolence.
JUTSU is deeply and committedly a perspective of dualism—of self and other, of good and bad, of heroes and villains, of us and them. JUTSU promises empowerment through competence, technical and strategic skill and through superior firepower. JUTSU is all about winning and killing. This is basically kid’s stuff, the adolescent fantasy of the ultimate warrior who can conquer the world and make everything fit into the “big plan.” It is a natural extension of the mind that cannot but react to the karma of the circumstance except to try to steer it, control it, and force it. Make no mistake, JUTSU is a commonsense direct approach and it will solve some problems; it does have its good points, it has developed remarkable tools and techniques in the pursuit of its ends. But at the end of the day, since blood never successfully washes away blood, it is still madness. When we enter the path of training in the martial arts we all tend to start from just such a perspective (and notably, this is irrespective of what art you are pursuing and whether its name ends in the suffix “-jutsu” or “-do”).
DO requires something different. DO will not bend to the will, will not be tamed into submission, will not become subservient to the ego, to the “self.” DO does not lend itself to self-aggrandizement (those who attempt to do such leave behind a wake of sad and humorous carnage in their lives. They reduce themselves to becoming caricatures of real seekers of the way—can you say Segal?) DO is a move past dualism into the nondual and back out the other side. It transcends and includes JUTSU. It is a complete liberation of self from self that compels us to work according to principles, to harmonize the activity of self to align with these principles and to follow where they lead. DO is not, and can never be attained or mastered. DO is rather what we surrender to, once we have gotten still enough and quiet enough to pay attention to reality. Through DO we can come to understand and embody principles such as AIKI and JU.
JU is a principle that is strongly enmeshed in the dualistic world, it defines moments of opportunity as it joins centers together and it creates powerful responsive sensitivity. JU stirs up and reacts like an intense dance between yin and yang—like cats thrown in bag together—JU compels us to face and embrace conflict and to find and refine the tools of the dualistic dance. It is a sort of edgy, yang, a compassion that always pushes you just past your comfort zone.
AIKI is the nondual response—when violence comes you do not choose to participate in making it more violent , but rather more harmonious. (This sounds far out but please note: this response is not escapist or denial oriented. With AIKI you become very intensely present and centered with what is occurring and you choose to help it along towards its logical end). AIKI is counter intuitive and basically nonviolent, you don’t even really fight with AIKI. You don’t hit the guy; you let principle, reality, the universe, the planet itself hit the guy. When AIKI is really operating you become a freely flowing fluid agent of the attacker’s own karma. In AIKI , your nondual centered and embodied selfless quality just accelerates the unfolding of that karma. AIKI makes us all one family and ends the conflict decisively.
How do we realize the true nature of JUTSU, of AIKI, of JU ,of DO, and in the process, of ourselves?
All of this revolves around “self.”
How do we see past the delusions of “self” and “not-self” into one heart/one mind/one moment ? There is only one path , one dharma, one sangha, one buddha and to realize this is to realize the means that allows life to “work.”
If common sense were right, if what we commonly perceive and believe were correct, if our sense of self and separateness were right, if our shared dualistic delusion were correct, then life would “work.” We would be able to act from this place of “self” and the actions would get us the results we wanted. It would be peachy keen in such a world, but unfortunately in so many many ways, both obvious and subtle, the evidence is in that life does not work when we pursue it in this way, from this basis, with this agenda.
Sometimes to make progress we must go backward—against the grain, against the current. Here the turning around, and stepping back is required, for we must go into the unthinkable possibility of “forgetting the self,”—not killing the self, or destroying the ego. No extra adversarial foolishness is required; you don’t need to just get in yet another fight with yourself, nothing so violent is called for.
This move is rather to see through or past, to committedly involve yourself so deeply in the moment that you cease to remain central to the picture. In the sense of “forgetting,” this is to relax into a different view in which the “self” simply fades into the background as we turn toward the view that actually realizes/embodies what is at the heart of DO and JU and AIKI, what they really are. For to wake up to what is true requires a move away from what is obvious and simple and toward what is deep and clear.
In other words, if you seek the profound; you must become the profound. You must abandon opinions and knowing as it commonly habitually held and allow for an opening to occur through which will pass the animal of true nature, of direct knowing, as it is.
This is not the dream of empowerment that we aspire to when we begin to seek the way; it is the far greater empowerment than we can imagine. It is our own awakened mind.
Contact for Nick Lowry: Windsong Dojo