20。What is freedom in Bushido? 

What is freedom in Bushido? 


One of the questions I get asked by many people these days is about how they feel confused by or have trouble dealing with people's claims of diversity.


It is wonderful for people to be free and happy, and prosperous while maintaining their "differences" and diversity.

However, when individuals become too assertive in this regard, mutual acceptance becomes unacceptable, and coexistence becomes impossible.

We are now witnessing that this will take the form of even stronger individual assertion of rights, forcing people to change. which is not the way forward for a strong and healthy society.


One of reason why differences and diversity, inevitable in the world but especially Japan which have existed in the culture since ancient times, are now becoming a social problem, and preventing people from being in harmony, may be because all claims of freedom are based on western style free thought concept.


The Western type of thought is basically based on the idea of dualism. This is the thought that emphasizes the visible world (objective or concrete physics), separating matter or event on the concept of two choices, even separating the self from the others.

In Japan, this Western-style dualistic liberal ideology has taken root in the form of “postwar democracy”, so Japan is un-knowingly based on the liberal ideology that came from the West.


By dividing oneself and others into two choices based on dualism, it is you versus the other party, which makes it difficult to consider the other party because, people naturally become more concerned with oneself and less concerned with the other person. It is no secret that the number of such people is increasing these days. Even in Western societies, the lack of respect among people today is said to be a problem, for respect based on harmony is difficult to achieve based on the dualistic philosophy.


In the end, there is no harmony even if one cries out for diversity and individualism, and a comprehensive society is created in which disparate ideas are forcibly integrated and regulated by rules and laws. The result will be a controlled society that is regulated by the ruling body, ultimately people will lose their true freedom if only the Western-style freedom philosophy is practiced.


Freedom in Bushido, the fundamental spirit of Japan, is based on monism, which includes invisible (metaphysical) world of Yin and Yang and emphasizes the unity of the inner space (private), which belongs to yin, and the public space, which belongs to yang. This yin yang aspect is harmonized to considering the harmony of others and the whole, not oneself.

This expression of freedom comes with respect, reverence, and courtesy based on the "kata" of manners.


In Bushido, one of the roots of Japanese thought, respect, courtesy, and modesty are embodied in the kata called Saho, and the kata (form) of body art as a martial art is used broken down in actual combat to be practical. In the same way, in actual society, one should always be in harmony with others while respecting the basic manners and keeping oneself in harmony by breaking them down somewhat depending on the occasion.


This is also in line with Japanese philosophies such as "courtesy even amid familiarity" and "wabi and sabi. Those who do not know the pattern of manners and courtesies are too disruptive and cause inconvenience to others because they do not have the original standing and form, but when they know these basics, respect for others automatically manifests itself.


In other words, for the Japanese, freedom is essentially embodied in kata (form and shape) that represent monism that makes harmony possible. Japan has long been based on such a fundamental idea, which has enabled a society in which all kinds of colorful diversity have been well integrated. Therefore, especially the Japanese influencers who talk about freedom and rights, should review their own culture and spirituality, and will find that harmonious freedom is the result.


If we are to pursue freedom in the future, it is important for the Japanese people to review their own unique freedom based on Bushido and create a happy society where everyone is united and functions spontaneously. The Bushido-style freedom philosophy, invoking the oneness would have a positive effect to today's chaotic world.

























19。Good social skills born from harmony

Good social skills born from harmony


Not only is it possible to practice effectively when everyone of all ages mixes together,  but learning this sense of harmony will also help you grow into a person who is polite, proactive, and attentive to others socially.


There seems to be a variety of ideas about the meaning of "freedom" nowadays, as some people think that formalities are hierarchical and strict, or that people should be “freer”.


There is a tendency, especially among recent cultural figures, to advocate a privileged freedom, and it seems that it is now fashionable for many people to advocate since of entitlement from free spirit equality etc. Even in schools these days, it seems that these are taught, without teaching the necessary elements needed to generate these phenomena.


However, freedom and equality are not something that can be obtained simply by making decisions and laws. It comes with effort from every individual. Bushido teaches us that, we must be attentive, caring and being mindful respecting others, to obtain real freedom. And instead of forcefully making declaration on equality, respecting the differences is what makes people to be truly equal.


If the freedom is misconceived, we will not be able to coexist, and on the contrary, conflicts will increase, and society will become confused. There is even a danger that a society that pretends to be free, such as a controlled society, will be created along this line of thought, resulting to people losing their true freedom.


True freedom is a upgraded freedom that can only be achieved through the individual efforts, is what the bushido teaches us.


Thorough martial arts, we learn that true freedom is born from harmony, and that this requires individual efforts to respect formality, which is the spirit needed to form a good society in the future. This is an important reason why our dojo, which emphasizes learning the spirit of harmony, emphasizes formality.













18。Social skills of "harmony" acquired through martial arts

Social skills of "harmony" acquired through martial arts


The dojo is a place where you learn to find harmony in formality. In the dojo, people of all ages, from children to adults, practice together, but when everyone practices together to produce results, overall harmony is necessary. For this purpose, emergent harmony is possible only within the rules of "formality. This is the discipline of Bushido.


These formalities include etiquette and behavior, the orientation of shoes at the entrance, and the "place" of the dojo, which is the awareness of Kamiza and Shimoza. These formalities establish the discipline in the space.


For this reason, within the space of the dojo, we place great importance on the greetings and replies we exchange with each other, and the courtesy with which we care for others. Through the relationship between seniors and juniors, the elders watch over the younger ones, and the younger ones respect the elders. Through this, even the most mischievous children learn to adjust to the atmosphere in the dojo, learn to be respectful, and have time to realize their own potential.

By not separating children and adults, there is a sense of fellowship, not only between seniors and juniors, but also a sense of respect from children to adults and advocacy from adults to children. This harmonious time also fosters the spirit of bushido, where the atmosphere of the dojo is tightened by the difference in rank and age.


This harmonious way also lends itself to effective practice. Many of our predecessors have pointed out that children and adults can improve quickly by mixing with others, and that advanced member can improve even more by teaching children. Since the amount of practice is spread evenly throughout the class, everyone is able to get warmed up, and the adults' and dan members' practice after the children leave becomes more successful is added benefit.


With this dojo harmony, even the youngest students are able to practice with a sense of responsibility, and everyone in the dojo can be seen practicing well.
















道場の中では、子供から大人まで様々な齢の人々が一緒に練習するのですが、成果が出る練習を皆で行うとき、全体的な調和が必要になります。このためには「形式」という決まり事の中でこそ創発的な調和が可能になります。 これが武士道の規律です。















17。About Makiwara

About Makiwara


Makiwara is a basic tool in martial arts training and has been used for centuries to train striking power and fists.


It can be used to train the body to generate the power from hip, and create whip like movement to absorb in to the opponent such is known as Gamaku, Chinkuchi, and Muchimi as mentioned by old masters.


Together with breathing technique, the active, passive, and static muscle strength all work together to create inner strength unique to martial art.


The basic principle is of course to combine all the power and practice thrusting so hard that the Makiwara much as a person's weight is tossed out with impact.


but the important thing is to absorb the thrust back dynamic so that your strike does not get bounce back when it recoils.


This is a very important tool, so we make all of them by hand.

This is what makes makiwara bit different than heavy bags.


However, if you only use these internal movement just for striking, you will not be able to use all of its benefit.


This is the reason why many people are leaving the makiwara because they cannot find the meaning of the training.


At Shitoukan, we do not just specialize in striking, but use "kumi-uke uchi" (grapple block strike) from the grapple standing position so that this same power can be activated throughout the body from the overall state of standing techniques.


This is very important when using striking power to perform joint techniques and throws from standing.


And if the body slips out of position or alignment, we will practice to be able to link that dynamic to the next movement.


As we will continue to strive to return to the origins of martial arts, and in the process, we look forward to reaffirm the merits of the old-fashioned makiwara training.





Basic flat punch makiwara training.



Left upper block back fist to right upper block strike.