Focus on Budo
Budo is a Japanese term.
It means "martial way" and refers to those martial
disciplines whose ultimate goal is spiritual, ethical
and/or moral self-improvement. The characters "bu"
and "do" in "budo" are rich in meaning and have many
is a Japanese word meaning "military" or "related
to the military," a character often compounded into
others, such as "bugei," "bujitsu" and "bushi." The
character for "bu" is a composite of two others. The
bottom inside left character is "foot" suggesting
advancing on foot, and the right upper larger character
is a prototype (perhaps derived from an elaboration
of the character for stake) of a halberd (a spear
attached to the end of a pole) implying to "cut, menace,
pierce or kill." When combined, they can be interpreted
as advancing on foot with a weapon, thus referring
to a warrior, or by extension, things military. There
is also an important secondary interpretation. The
first character meaning "foot" has also come to mean
stop, based on the idea of planting the foot. Taken
in conjunction with the second character of "halberd,"
"bu" can be thus interpreted as a means to stop a
weapon (conflict), or to gain peace. This is consistent
with the idea of practicing budo to achieve both inner
and outer peace.
is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese term
"Tao" (for Taoism), meaning the way to suppress violence
and return to the way of the universe. It is a composite
of two characters integrated into one, the first signifying
"movement" and the second "head" or "chief." Combined,
the characters have the meaning of the chief means
of direct movement, or the main road, a term figuratively
used to mean the "way," as to enlightenment. Implied
also are Taoist concepts of non-resistance, goal-lessness,
and loss of ego (not surprisingly shared by Zen since
the formation of Zen in China was derived from Indian
meditative Buddhism which was strongly influenced
by Taoism). But while Chinese Taoism developed strong
otherworldly or religious connotations, the Japanese
had a more practical, less abstract interpretation,
one more focused on the pragmatic dimension of human
relationships. This led to the concept of the way
or road toward self-development. This could lead to
a spiritual awakening - one of intuitive perception,
insight and enlightenment (as in Zen).
A similar but not fully analogous term to "Budo" in
Chinese is "Wu Shu," whose first character "wu" is
the same as "bu" in "budo." "Shu," however, is "art,"
thus the term more closely parallels the Japanese
term "Bujitsu," the war arts of the professional Samurai.
Other Chinese terms referring to Chinese martial arts
include Kung Fu, Ch'uan fa, Gwo Chi, Gwo Sho and Chung
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