What is Budō?
Throughout this site, as well as in all the classes we teach, you will see and hear us using the term "budō" rather than "martial arts" for our activities and instruction. There is a reason for this: budō and martial arts are extremely different—almost diametrically opposed—approaches to dealing with human conflict and protection of the innocent.
For decades, the Japanese word "budō" has been erroneously translated as "martial arts" in English. Budō (武道) has a much different meaning in Japanese than "martial arts" has in English, so the distinction between the two terms is an important one. The "bu" (武) in budō means to stop or prevent combat, and the dō (道) means "Way of Life" in an all-encompassing and deeply philosophical context. Thus, budō is a lifestyle in which its followers (budōka who should rightfully be called peacemakers) devote themselves to avoiding conflict whenever possible, engaging in actual combat only when the opponent is the wrongful aggressor and affords no alternative, then finishing the battle in a manner that renders the aggressor incapable of further attacks. Budō is not a sport! Nor is it a method for street fights, bar room brawls, or schoolyard scuffles. The techniques in budō are designed to kill, cripple, or permanently maim an opponent in a life-or-death situation, and used exclusively to preserve or restore peace.
Conversely, "martial" means "military". Martial arts are therefore military arts—arts of war, which are as readily arts of aggression, assault, and conquest as of defence. On the surface they may appear similar, but the differences are more than merely semantic or philosophical. There are no attacking technique in budō; only counter-attacking techniques, and their success is wholely dependant upon the opponent attacking first.
This is why you will rarely hear or see us speaking of "martial arts" at the Seishin-Kan. Instead, you will read and hear us speaking of budō (the Way of Life of peacemaking) and budōka (peacemakers). If you are looking for a place to learn how to street fight, this isn't it. Violence is the last resort for a budōka. And if violence erupts, the budōka doesn't engage in it, but instead ends it ... often permanently.