Tag Archives: dojo

Do vs Jitsu in the Martial Arts

To Fight or not to Fight

The following is a guest editorial from Alaric Dailey

Being a student of traditional Karate-Do, when I make mention to a school owner or martial artist or parent of a child taking classes somewhere that “martial arts is more than punching and kicking, there is more to being a martial artist than simply being a fighter” I get a blank stare. At this point, I have to explain the following.

martial arts novel

A tale of the Wudan Assassin…click on the cover!

These days, tradition is often poo-pooed with some comment like “if it doesn’t make me a better fighter than I don’t care”.   But being a fighter doesn’t make you a good person, in fact, simply knowing how to fight can make you arrogant, or worse, a bully.

This is often evidenced in “fighter” gyms, people walking around with bad attitudes, all about testosterone and ego, injuries abound because people are always trying to prove they are the king of the mountain.

The way of the warrior, Bushido, is about being a gentle soul, learning not only to punch and kick, but to help others, to be calm and humble.

In other words, learning all those “useless” things, like the language, the manners, the meditation, the discipline, reciting Dojo-kun are not useless, they are about expanding your mind, and making you more than a fighter.

In my original dojo, my sensei not only give us the meditation and such, but would also tell us stories of the Samurai, and give us pieces of Bushido that most westerners never hear.  “Ikebana (flower arranging) is a great way to clear your mind”, and “self-defense is not just about punching and kicking, it is about avoiding and defusing danger in the first place” were words of wisdom that we often heard from sensei.

When the Japanese would teach an art, they would distinguish whether or not it included only fighting techniques, or would give you “the way”.  If you have “the way” it is a Do, Karate-Do, Ju-Do, Aiki-Do, etc.  If it is purely fighting techniques it was Jitsu, Karate-jitsu, Ju-jitsu, Aiki-jitsu, and Nin-jitsu.

As a side note here, you will notice there is no such thing as a “Do” for Ninja fighting techniques.  This is because the ninja weren’t fighters, they were assassins, their skills included, poisons, escape, evasion, not being seen, killing techniques etc.   Being a hired killer, and being a better person have nothing to do with each other.

There are 7 virtues
Rectitude (義 gi)
Courage (勇 yū)
Benevolence (仁 jin)
Respect (禮 rei)
Honesty (誠 makoto)
Honour (名誉 meiyo)
Loyalty (忠義 chūgi)

and 3 more associated virtues
Filial piety (孝 kō)
Wisdom (智 chi)
Care for the aged (悌 tei)

I see it as a great loss that so many have thrown away history and tradition, the Do, in favor of the more testosterone fueled (and MMA fanned) jitsu.  It is a sad state of affairs that our children grow up idolizing real and fictional people who push the ideas “might makes right” and “the ends justifies the means”, never once mentioning justice and mercy.

I highly recommend “The Hagakure”.

Check out the Karate Katas that work.

Martial Arts and the Silence of the Soul

Martial Arts and the Silence Within

Have you ever noticed that a church is silent? That there is a spirituality that pervades? That there is an ambience which cannot be denied, and which causes respect within the soul?

zen martial arts

You are the universe.

There is a similar feel to a Martial Arts training hall. The bowing and respect, the knowledge that one is partaking in a practice that has been assembled and passed down, the ritualistic movements which engender a specific approach to awareness, it all comes together to create a silence within.

There is sometimes joy and shouting, jokes and buffoonery, but there is also a silence that gnaws and worms and transforms.

The first time I became aware of this, I was talking to my instructor in his office. Nobody was in the dojo, and it was silent, and I realized that he had his radio on. But it was so low that it couldn’t be heard.

What was the point of having a radio on and turned so low it couldn’t be heard?

Years later I would have my own school. During the afternoon I was frequently alone, and I would listen to the radio. Sitting at the desk, perhaps reading, perhaps working on a letter, the radio seemed to be loud, so I turned it down.

Within a short while, it seemed like somebody had turned the radio up, so I turned it down again.

And again and again.

Finally, the radio was as low as it could go, but it was like a shout to my ears.

I had cultivated the silence within to the degree that the world was loud: I preferred silence to the raucousness of man. I had rid myself of so many distractions that I was listening without ear, and anything that threatened to distract seemed to be a shout, a yell, an assault upon my person.

I turned the radio off.

martial arts soul

To Kung Fu Fight Raises IQ, To Karate Fight Makes People Smarter!

To Kung Fu Fight or Karate Fight, That Is The Question!

Call it a Kung Fu fight, call it a karate fight, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that this type of martial arts fighting is going to raise your intelligence. That’s right, stepping onto the mat and going man to man is actually going to result in higher intelligence.

karate fighting

Opinion Vs The Hard Punch of Facts!

This flies in the face of those silly people who claim that martial arts, be it Karate or Kung Fu or whatever, is just a brutal undertaking. They watch the blood and knock outs on the latest MMA spectacle and call for laws. But they really are people who haven’t learned lessons on the mat, and so …they are stupid.

I know, stupid is a stupid word, and it would be stupid of me to use it so lightly, but consider what intelligence really is. It is how fast people can figure things out. It is how fast they can connect the dots of reality (and unreality).

Now, modern educators and scientists and psycho types and that sort of thing would have you believe that intelligence is how much you can remember. It is an A or an F. It is a high score on a school exam.

But a high score on a school exam has nothing to do with the real world. Further, it has nothing to do with common sense. And both the real world and common sense are what occur in a martial arts dojo during the learning process.

First, one is going to learn social conditioning by the simple expedient of walking into walls and fists and things. Not by being told politely by a teacher. Being told how to be polite and nice is merely following directions, and has nothing to do with real learning and the input of cause and effect action into one’s own universe.

Second, one is going to learn how to input data and make decisions off that data a hundred, nay, a thousand times more efficiently. The fist flying towards the face impels a person to make a connection, to make a decision, to do something. Thus, reality becomes the lesson which is really learned.

The ability to think quickly, to connect the dots, to handle reality in expedient fashion, then becomes the true education. This education can be shared with ANY field of knowledge. Thus, if you want to be smarter, then learn how to karate fight…if you want your children to be intelligent, teach them to kung fu fight.

 kung fu fight