I bookmarked an interesting page in "The Art and the Way" that discusses the conflicts martial artist face when practicing their art. Most of us would like to believe we are practicing the "Way" of karate while honing tools of self protection. That is why we practice karate and not boxing. However, we do give up something when practicing the "Way" which causes much anguish in some practitioners. We should discuss this issue, since today's martial artist face the same conflicts as the samurai of old. GEM
"So far in the bubishi I have seen no mention of the word Kyudo for archery. It is always referred to as Kyujustu. I never thought about it before, but I have heard both." "The word for all the fighting arts was jutsu at one time," his grandfather answered. "Jutsu refers to the method of fighting and killing. Kenjutsu and IJujutsu', for example, were killing methods that samurai used for centuries in battle.
Now they are 'judo' and 'kendo'. The change in terminology began because fighting was outlawed by Tokugawa Ieyasu and the martial arts teachers of the day found themselves out of work. We Japanese, however, and especially the old samurai, still had a fascination for the sword and wanted to learn the classic fighting methods. With time to contemplate things, the samurai came to understand that their art, which for centuries had taught them how to kill, also taught them how to transcend the killing, as well as most things ordinary, and led to a spiritual understanding of life.
It fit the Zen philosophy that was becoming popular at the time. It was austere. It emphasized experience over thought, and living for the moment, ideas that they already understood from centuries of thoughtless killing. They began to use the word do to refer to a 'way' of living rather thanjutsu, an 'art' of killing." "What about karate? I have never heard the word karate-jutsu mentioned." "Karate underwent the same metamorphosis as the other arts, although, since it was Okinawan, not Japanese, no one ever referred to it as karate-jutsu.
Now, as you know however, many people in Japan refer to it as karate-do. "You must be careful, though," his grandfather continued, "If an art becomes a way, it can lose its martial application and become worthless for self defense. A great many martial artists do not understand that, and think that what they are practicing is a fighting art, when it is really a spiritual study, or worse, a sport.
That's why some of them think winning and losing tournaments means something." David stared at his feet. "It is a long way from the tournament floor to the battle field and they are in two different directions, one does not lead to the other." "But we practice spiritual development." "Yes, we do. One can know how to kill and also how not to. In order to understand either one, it is important to know both.