Thursday 30 June 2016

15 More Budo Terms Clarified

A few months ago I posted 15 Budo Terms Clarified. In an attempt to clear up some misunderstandings of some common terms used in Budo.

This post is a continuation of that:
15 More Budo Terms Clarified!

I love a good sequel!

Bugei - Made up of two characters 'Bu' 武 and 'Gei' 芸.
In my previous post I said:
"Jutsu means Technique, Art form or skill. This means the direct translation for 'Bujutsu' in English is 'Martial Arts'."
This is only half true (apologies). Jutsu does mean Technique, Art form or skill, but it's not accurate to say 'Bujutsu' means 'Martial arts'. Technically 'Arts' is better translated as 'Gei' 芸.
So 'Bujutsu' means 'Martial Skill' and 'Bugei' means 'Martial Arts'.

Bunkai - Made up of two characters 分解 that translate as 'Disassembly'.
Bunkai is the breakdown of the sections of a Kata and the analysis of those sections to find practical purpose of the techniques. While some Bunkai seem clear and others more difficult to work out, a simple rule should be remembered "If it works, it's Bunkai".

Taira Shinken & Kenwa Mabuni.
Kata is the core of Ryukyu Budo and
Bunkai is the purpose of Kata.

Bunbu Ryodo - Made up of four characters: 'Bun' 文 meaning 'Writings', 'Bu' 武 meaning 'Martial', 'Ryo' 両 meaning 'Both' and 'Do' 道 meaning 'Path' or 'the Way'.
All together 文武両道 directly means 'The ways of both Martial and Writing' but a more popular translation being 'The way of the Sword and Pen'.

Miyamoto Musashi referred to this as 'the two-fold path' and said this is the true way of the Warrior, meaning that a warrior must be both skilled in the way of the sword and writing. A logical extension of this is not just about swords and writing, but more general being 'martial skill' and 'mindfulness'. Emphasising the point that a Warrior isn't just skilled and strong, but also smart and knowledgeable.

Shuhari - This is the term used in Japan to describe the stages involved in the process of learning, from beginner to master.
Made up of three characters 'Shu' meaning 'Follow', 'Ha' meaning 'Digress', 'Ri' meaning 'Transcend'.
Another way of saying it is "Follow the rules, Break the rules, Make the rules"

As a beginner we must 'follow the rules' in order to learn what is involved.
When we're at an intermediate level we must 'break the rules' by questioning them and seeking to understand the reasons for them. 
For a master, the rules are too restrictive and limiting. Masters are beyond the rules and therefore they don't apply, so a master 'makes their own rules'.

Jutsu - I did already define this in my previous post (as part of the definition of Bujutsu) and again above: "Jutsu 術 means Technique, Art form or skill."
I have included it here to emphasise the next definition.

Jitsu - Made up of one character 実 which translates as 'fruit', 'seed', 'reality', 'kindness' or 'faith'. 'Jitsu' is not the same thing as 'Jutsu', they aren't interchangeable.

It's commonly used spelling is in the name in 'Brazilian Jiu Jitsu', but can be found in other places too. It's simply a mispronunciation of the word, which resulted in the misspelling when written in Romaji. The thing that adds to the confusion is that 'Jitsu' is an actual Japanese word, it's just used incorrectly.

It can be argued that BJJ is a 'Brazilian' martial art and not Japanese, so they can spell how they like, which is fair enough. Having said this, it is definitely incorrect to use this when referring to Japanese (or Okinawan) Budo.

Uke - The name used for many defensive techniques. 'Uke' does not mean to 'Block', this is an incorrect translation and shows a lack of understanding regarding the use of those techniques.
Made up of two characters 受け 'Uke' means 'to receive'To receive the incoming attack and control it, not to 'stop'.

Kime - Made up of two characters 決め directly meaning 'to decide'Kime is the key to real power generation, but Kime isn't the actual generation of power.  Jesse Enkamp explains that Kime means " fix, or set. As in fixing, or setting, a date."
It is the skill and strength required to add the sudden stop in the technique.
It's a difficult thing to accurately describe and a tricky thing to master (which is why there's so much vague info about it that doesn't really describe it very well).

Kamae - There is quite often confusion between 'Kime' and 'Kamae'.
Made up of two characters 構え, Kamae translates as 'stance', 'posture' or 'base'. In general terms it refers to the body's position. In more specific Budo terms it is about being in a set ready position, both in body and mind. When in 'Kamae', you are not only in a ready stance/position but also with a ready mindset and a serious attitude.  

Embusen - The direct translation of the Kanji 演武線 being 'demonstration line'. It is the path the Kata floor pattern.
The thing to remember with the Embusen is that it doesn't determine the Bunkai of the techniques within the Kata. Chojun Miyagi is thought to have coined the term
“Don't be fooled by the rule of embusen”.
The Tango Embusen

Bujin - Made up of two characters: 'Bu' 武 meaning 'Martial' and 'Jin'  meaning 'Man' or 'person'.
A 'Martial Person' is basically the definition of the word 'warrior'
Bujin is the closest translation of 'warrior' in Japanese.

Rei - Often misunderstood as being an order to 'bow' or to 'show respect'. 'Rei' is more accurately defined as the deeply personal motivations that lead to respect. It's about being humble and having gratitude (click here for more info regarding Rei).

Osu - A word that originated within the Kyokushin Karate style but has become popular throughout the martial arts world. There is debate regarding the origins and meaning. It is thought it could be a shortened version of the greeting 'Ohayo gozaimasu' or a shortened version of the term 'Onegaishimasu'.
The most accepted theory within Kyokushin is that it is a conjunction of the
words 押し 'Oshi' meaning 'Push' and 忍ぶ Shinobu meaning 'to Endure'.

What is known is that it didn't originate in Okinawa; it is definitely Japanese and it is also very improper in many social situations.
If you're ever in Okinawa, make sure that you are careful not to say it to anyone older than you, children and anyone female. If you're in an Okinawan Dojo, it's best to not say it at all.

Mokuso - Made up of two characters 'Moku'  meaning 'Silence' and 'So'  meaning 'Contemplation'.
This word does not mean "close your eyes" (as many in the western world seem to believe). It's clear from the translation of the Kanji; "Silent Contemplation" means to 'meditate'.

'The Way' - In my previous post I defined 'Do' as the Road, Path or Way. It refers to the journey of the individual (In this case, within Martial Arts).

'The Way' is the metaphoric path you take on the journey as a Budoka. There is no destination but the whole point of being a true Budoka is finding the way. Not only do we need to "Find the way" but we need to "Find our own way".

This raises the question "What exactly is the Way?"... You can't follow the way if you don't know what it is.
The answer appears to be quite esoteric and/or open to interpretation, but the way is a specific thing and must be found/understood by any serious Budoka. Once understanding what it is, effort must be put into following it.

Yes, I am being intentionally vague with the definition of the 'The Way'; because it is important for you to seek to understand it yourself.

Comment below to share any thoughts or opinions you might have.  :)

Thanks for reading.


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