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Tony Smith
Tony Smith's picture
Can Do and Jutsu co-exist?

I have heard many a pragmatic martial artist explain the difference between “Do and “Jutsu,” and maybe I am just reading into this the wrong way, but I feel as though the people who study the pragmatic approach to the martial arts have the impression that these two philosophies cannot co-exist. I truly understand that spiritual essence and positive thinking alone cannot defend you in a fight, for it is necessary for you to apply “Jutsu” or the practical side of your art. However, a person who walks down the street with confidence and his/her head held high (as opposed to timidly staring at their shoes) is less likely to become a victim. So the use of martial arts to become a better person as well as an effective fighter, I would think, would combine “Do” & “Jutsu.” And again, maybe I am just misinterpreting many a martial artists’ explanation of the two terms. What are your thoughts on the subject?

Respectfully,

Tony Smith

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi Tony, the idea of Do originated from the chinese Taoism but was japanised. It means that you have a certain technical goal you want to achive. The higher the goal the more you strive to absolute mastership. The idea of Do contains the idea to master whatever discipline you choose. Jutsu is just a certain skill or method with no mastership in mind. The Samurai during the Sengoku Jidai were trained in battlefield skills, but only to a cerain level. The longer they survived the more time they had to refine their skills to maybe become some sort of masters or instructor. Matsumura wrote that only Budo is the true way a martial art should be. It fosters seven virtues. So for me it would always be Karate-Do. But today there are martial arts like Iaido or Kyudo baring no relevance to actual combat nowadays. But they too strive for a certain technical goal. However they were rendered useless by some pragmatists and seen just for mere recreation and fostering good characters. Some martial arts transformed into sport like Judo, Karate or Kendo. But is it Judos fault that most Judo instructors don't teach Atemi Waza any more? Is it the fault of Karate that most instructors don't teach throws and joint locks? I don't think so. People should not worry about whether a martial art is to be called this or that. They should figure out what their goals are and start training accordingly. Thats why I simply stick to Karate. No Do, no Jutsu for me. Regards Holger

Tony Smith
Tony Smith's picture

Holger,

Thank you so much for your insight on this subject. I like your simplistic approach. I think it often becomes human nature for the need to define something or put it in a category, rather than to just except it for what it means to us personally.

Thanks again,

Respectfully,

Tony Smith

DaveB
DaveB's picture

My understanding is similar to Holgar's above.

Jutsu and Do are stages on the same path. Jutsu is the focus on developing ability towards your goal, for a martial art that is learning to fight.

Learning to fight does not take very long if your training is suitably goal oriented. Gaining the ability to fight is like gaining a hand gun: ownership of a weapon is only ever part of the story. In addition one needs the strength of character to refrain from using it when it is not appropriate and the confidence and control to use it correctly when the need arises and the pressure of the confrontation hits. Do exists to deal with these concerns. It is hard challenging training for the sake of pushing physical and mental limits. This can include sport, as any pro athlete will tell you, but sport is not the point.

If Jutsu is the journey to the goal, Do is what happens after you get there.

Now the question is why have so many martial artists conflated Do with unpragmatic approaches to MA. I believe it is because the karate-do movement that came off the back of world war 2 had abandoned Jutsu for the loftier ideals of Do. This was for pretty good reason: martial arts for fighting belonged to the bloody disunited past of fuedal japan and re-embracing those militaristic dreams had cost the Japanese dearly in the war.

But the end result for us westerners who were sold karate as a fighting art is that we were sold an incomplete item that was designed for something different than we were told.

Now we know this, we can put and we are putting the justu back into the art, but "Do"n't throw the baby out with the bath water! (see what I did there smiley).

Our modern studies of violence and morality may have given us other answers to the question of coping with the mental side of violence, but I for one believe the traditional method still has value, so long as it is put in its proper context with proper pragmatic goal oriented training.

 

Tony Smith
Tony Smith's picture

Dave,

Loved the "DO"n't pun!!!laughI also liked how you explained Jutsu as the journey, and Do as the result, very enlightening.

Respectfully

Tony Smith

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

I think this is a really important topic as we all too often see people take the extreme positions i.e. “Do is for deluded “hippie types” who could not fight sleep” / “Jutsu is what violent borderline psychopaths do because they are too undeveloped to appreciate the real benefits of the martial arts”. Both positions are extremely limited and problematic in my view.

I agree with the sentiments expressed in the above posts and agree that the two aspects are related and that we get the most from our study when we embrace both aspects and when we appreciate the nature of relationship.

Shigeru Kimura expressed it very clearly when he was asked if his karate was Jutsu or Do. Kimura simply replied, “Jutsu becomes Do”.

Kano – founder of Judo and arguably the greatest champion of the Do approach – said that there were three levels to Judo (my paraphrasing):

Lower level judo: Judo as an effective form of fighting (the “jutsu” side of things).

Middle level judo: developing oneself mentally and physically through the austere training found in the lower level.

Upper level judo: utilising the improvements in mind and body gained in the middle level to serve others and to contribute in a positive way to community and society.

We can see how Kano (like Kimura) saw a progression and an unbreakable link between jutsu and do.

One problem we have today is that many people want to jump over the “jutsu” straight to the “do”. I feel this is like trying to build a skyscraper without any foundations i.e. doomed to failure. The other problem is people getting fixated on the “jutsu” to the total exclusion of “do”. This is like building a strong foundation, but never realising the most useful bit (in our modern relatively peaceful society) is what you build on top of this foundation.

I feel martial arts should be both “life preserving” (jutsu) and “life enhancing” (do). One without the other is not martial arts.

I actually wrote an article on this a while ago: http://www.iainabernethy.co.uk/article/jutsu-vs-do

That article also became a podcast: http://iainabernethy.co.uk/content/karate-jutsu-karate-do

An important topic I feel!

All the best,

Iain

shoshinkanuk
shoshinkanuk's picture

In simplistic form this is how I feel about it -

Practice 'Jutsu' and 'Do' develops in most.

Dosen't work so well the other way around in most IMO.

Also in reference to this quote from Matsumura's letter late 19th cen -

Matsumura wrote that only Budo is the true way a martial art should be. It fosters seven virtues.

Would it be sensible to assume that Budo back then, may not be like Budo now.......................I think very much so.

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi,

shoshinkanuk wrote:
Would it be sensible to assume that Budo back then, may not be like Budo now.......................I think very much so.

Can you elaborate on that statement. What do you think Budo was back than and what it is today?

In my eyes Matsumura is in line with Kanos statements on Budo.

Regards Holger

shoshinkanuk
shoshinkanuk's picture

Hi Holger,

I could but it wouldn't make interesting reading as I simply am not 'sure' of the definitions, and what they mean to me - it's an area I don't really focus on and I have been outside of 'mainstream' karate now for a long time.

But I am sure that things can and do change dependant on context and time in hitory, it's a very difficult area to be certain of anything.

As a point I would imagine 'back in Matsumuras time' Budo didn't have much of a 'sporting' side, a central part to much Budo these days - particulary karatedo, ie shobu ippon and all the other formats inc the kata tournaments.

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

 

I think there is a distinction between using the term "Budo" as a generic description, and then pointing to Karate styles that specifically are part of Japanese Gendai Budo and the history surrounding it.

Anyway, I find this to be one of those tricky questions because these are fairly broad terms when used like this...to my mind,anyone without a need to go out and put immediate use to skills is doing "Budo" to some degree, pretty much by definition. This by no means would make it less effective, it's just a question of one's real motivations for showing up.

My own take:

Very few people in my own experience walk trhough the door for pure "jutsu" IMO, and if they do they usually don't look for Karate.

Plenty of them say "well, I want to learn some self defense", but when it's someone who has never been in a fight, much less being in  any real exposure to physical danger. it's worth considering that maybe our actual motivation to learn some self defense is actually masking something "Do-ish" in the first place. Maybe I dont' have the right to analyze people like that, I dunno..but that's what I see.

I think it's pretty much common sense though that training that is pure "Do" wouldn't be useful, whereas training that is pure "Jutsu" is simply training to do a given thing. I think not only are they compatible, but that almost everyone does a combination of the two, regardless of labels used.

Tony Smith
Tony Smith's picture

Once again Thank you everyone for all your replies on this subject. Your input has been greatly appreciated!

Respectfully,

Tony Smith

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi,

shoshinkanuk wrote:
But I am sure that things can and do change dependant on context and time in hitory, it's a very difficult area to be certain of anything.

As a point I would imagine 'back in Matsumuras time' Budo didn't have much of a 'sporting' side, a central part to much Budo these days - particulary karatedo, ie shobu ippon and all the other formats inc the kata tournaments.

I guess some things change over the years, but in terms of Budo i am not sure. I think that Matsumuras take on Budo is simillar to Kanos. And between those two there are at least 40 -50 years. Budo didn't have much of a sporting side back than that's right. But I think that "real" Budo does'nt have much of a sporting side today either. Take a look at arts like Iaido, Kyudo and all the japanese Kobudoarts.  As I mentioned before it is not the fault of Judo or Karate that they were mostly tought as sports today.

Again, that Do thing is of technical nature. So you proceed to reach certain technical goal. That also means you are getting better the older you become. That means when I am 60 I have to be better than with 30 or 40 or 50. When I am 80 I am better than with 70 and so on. When you do sports you are good in your 20s and 30s. But after that? That is true for all Do arts like Shodo (calligraphy), Chado (tee), Kado (flowers).

All that is said about the whole forming the character thing is a logical step. Funakoshi often told his students to not get involved in fights, be it deliberately or not. But it is simply because there is no honor in whacking up people that have not even nearly the same level of competence in terms of fighting. When you defend your family, friends or others that is a total different matter. But as long as you don't get into fights to defend your ego, you are doing ok.

The understanding that Do in Budo has nothing to do with fighting skills is a misconception. Do in Budo is about the ability to fight and in addition to that it is about how to apply the knowledge about that. For example, when I know how devastating a punch to the head could be, I am doing everything I can to evade situation where I could come into the need of doing such damage to another person. Or when can overcome inner temptations during the training, I can do so in every other situation, e.g. learning for school/university or whatever thing that I don't like to do but that has to be done.

Regards Holger

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

Personally I think that Do and Jitsu are one in the same, the same as Kempo, Karate and Jujitsu are one in the same but just a different way of thinking

Its the same as Kaicho or Kancho, both mean the same thing but have slightly different explanations!