Budo World

The 1st BAMIS International Forum—Budō SymposiumInvestigating the possibilities of body and bind integrated science in budō~Learning from Kanō Jigoro‘s achievements to consider the present~

II. Body and Mind Integration Theory of Budō before Kanō

Maebayashi Kiyokazu(Kobe Gakuin University)

1) The Thought behind the Importance of Learning with One’s Body

Since the medieval era in Japan, ideals of physicality were considered very important. Experience did not just finish as that, but instead the knowledge gleaned became the basis one’s own theory or ideology. In the religious world, the Zen monk Dōgen preached “shinshin datsuraku (body and soul being released from any restraints)”, and in the world of gaku (Noh theatre), Zeami created a training method for techniques centred on “kata”.

Amid this, bushi – who rose to power in the medieval period – lived by putting their lives on the line. This was a lifestyle that placed much importance on the way the body should be. Following this, and until the restoration of imperial rule, Japan’s warriors controlled the country, which inevitably led to a high regard for the ways of the martial arts. People who acted as the central figures of the country practised budō, and established it as an integral form of physical culture not just as a means of killing. It was studied in earnest as a way of perfecting one’s humanity, and consisted of intricate technical (gijutsu-ron) and spiritual (shinpō-ron) theories.

To be more specific, budō involved the systemisation of perfecting the mind and techniques through shūgyō (ascetic training), and holistically captured the ideas the body and mind, ki (spirit), waza (technique), interpersonal interaction, and weapon and body, turning practice into theory.

2) The Kokoro of Budō

The Japanese people like the term “fudōshin” (immoveable mind). However, in budō this phrase has a greater meaning than simply implying a resolute mind. In the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū, a traditional school of swordsmanship, it is stated that “The thought of not moving is an act of movement. Moving is the principle of not moving.” Furthermore, in the Tenjin Shin’yō-ryū, a classical style of jujutsu, it is said “Do not just move, move to make (the opponent) move”. In other words, the term “fudōshin” in budō implies a mind which sees through the opponent’s movements, whilst staying calm and collected.

Additionally, the character “kokoro(心)” (mind or heart) is not necessarily referring to the self in Japanese thought. The spiritual idea of transcending the self is referred to by the words “honshin (本心) (real / true heart)” and “muga (no-self; the Buddhist concept that in nothing does there exist an inherent self, soul, or ego)”, and this was considered as “satori (enlightenment)”. In a state of satori, it is the idea of not placing one’s mind in any particular place when confronting an opponent was paramount.

“If you don’t put it anywhere, it will go to all parts of your body and extend throughout its entirety. In this way, when it enters your hand, it will realize the hand’s function. When it enters your foot, it will realize the foot’s function. When it enters your eye, it will realize the eye’s function.”

3) Budō and Ki

In Japan, the body and mind are perceived to be as one, and it is the existence of “ki” (vital force or spirit) that links them together. “Ki” is also considered important in budō, and how well one controls their ki was an important matter. When ki is disturbed, the mind is also disturbed, and thus one loses control of one’s body. In the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū, it is said that:

“The will can be said to be the master, and ki the servant. Will is internal and uses ki. If ki overruns its bounds, it stumbles.”

However, ki is not always able to be controlled as desired, and binds our body and mind like an ‘illness’. To find the solution to overcome this predicament was an important task in budō.

4) The Techniques of Budō and the Body and Mind

In Zen Buddhism, the body and mind are taught as being one (shin-shin ichinyo), but this is in the sense consolidation of body and mind in zazen (seated Zen meditation). In budō on the other hand, it is unison of body and mind when confronting an opponent that is sought. For instance, in the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū, there is the reverse interaction teaching “ken-tai” (懸待) which loosely translates as “attacking and waiting are the same”. Also, in the Tenjin Shirai-ryū, a technique to gain an advantage over the opponent using the ki techniques of “shinkū”nobi” also existed.

In jūjutsu, the quality of the opponent’s power is a main consideration. Differences in the quality of power is unsound in terms of physics, but to a living human being it does appear to exist. The stimulus applied to the body from the outside world is sent to the brain through the five senses, although it is the imagination of the human mind that recognises and senses it.

5) The Body and Mind of Budō

In budō, it could be said that the ideal form of body and mind that was desired was not one of constant stability, but rather a free and released form. Even the opponent’s body and mind could be controlled by this state.