Books and Quotations about Martial Arts part 3

The Art of Peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your inner enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter.
One does not need buildings, money, power, or status to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.
***
In the art of peace, a single cut of the sword summons up the wondrous powers of the universe. That one sword links the past, present, and future; it absorbs the universe. Time and space disappear. All of creation, from the distant past to the present moment, lives in the sword. All human existence flourishes right here in the sword you hold in your hands. You are now prepared for anything that may arise.
***
Never fear another challenger, no matter how large; Never despise another challenger, no matter how small.
Large does not always defeat little. Little can become large by constant building; large can become little by falling apart.
***
The penetrating brilliance of swords
Wielded by followers of the Way
Strikes at the evil enemy
Lurking deep within
Their own souls and bodies.
***
Do not fail
to learn from
The pure voice of an
Ever-flowing mountain stream
Splashing over the rocks.
***
One does not need buildings, money, power, or status to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.
***
The purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, toughen the body, and polish the spirit.
***
To injure an opponent is to injure yourself. To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace.
***
When you bow deeply to the universe, it bows back; when you call out the name of God, it echoes inside you.

― Morihei Ueshiba, The Art of Peace


In an argument, you may silence your opponent by pressing an advantage of strength or of wealth, or of education. But you do not really convince him. Though he is no longer saying anything, in his heart he still keeps to his opinion, the only way to make him change that opinion is to speak quietly and reasonably. When he understands that you are not trying to defeat him, but only to find the truth, he will listen to you and perhaps accept what you tell him.
***
Judo should be free as art and science from any external influences, political, national, racial, and financial or any other organized interest. And all things connected with it should be directed to its ultimate object, the benefit of Humanity.
***
Before and after practicing Judo or engaging in a match, opponents bow to each other. Bowing is an expression of gratitude and respect. In effect, you are thanking your opponent for giving you the opportunity to improve your technique.
***
Walk a single path, becoming neither cocky with victory nor broken with defeat, without forgetting caution when all is quiet or becoming frightened when danger threatens.
***
Nothing under the sun is greater than education. By educating one person and sending him into the society of his generation, we make a contribution extending a hundred generations to come.
***
Judo is a study of techniques with which you may kill if you wish to kill, injure if you wish to injure, subdue if you wish to subdue, and, when attacked, defend yourself
***
Carefully observe oneself and one’s situation, carefully observe others, and carefully observe one’s environment. Consider fully, act decisively.
***
The pine fought the storm and broke. The willow yielded to the wind and snow and did not break. Practice Jiu-Jitsu in just this way.
***
Face your fear, empty yourself, trust your own voice, let go of control, have faith in outcomes, connect with a larger purpose, derive meaning from the struggle.
***
To ask may be but a moment’s shame, not to ask and remain ignorant is a lifelong shame.
***
The purpose of the study of judo is to perfect yourself and to contribute to society.
***
It is not important to be better than someone else, but to be better than yesterday.

― Kano Jigoro


Humans have yet to dwell upon the consequences of their
actions. People have yet to admit the bad that they do to
nature, for example. Actually, most people spend their time
finding fault in the action of others, rather than their own.
***
Looking for the meaning of life, one man can discover the order of the universe. To discover the truth, to achieve. a higher spiritual state, that is the true meaning of ninja.
***
Don’t think that any one technique is the end. there is no end.
There is no perfect technique. Just when you think you’ve got
them, you’re dead because you didn’t.
***
Breathe life into the weapon, don’t take life away from it.
Keep walking, because walking is life.
***
If you do something and it saves your life, it was good
taijutsu. In a real fight, you aren’t worried about what’s pretty.
***
You’ve got to learn to utilize the space (between you and
your opponent). Distancing is very important.
***
Forget your sadness, anger, grudges and hatred. Let them pass like smoke caught in a breeze. Do not indulge yourself in such feelings.
***
When weak or injured always continue training as you should always be able to adapt in any condition.

― Masaaki Hatsumi

Books and Quotations about Martial Arts part 2


The principle of avoiding conflict and never opposing an aggressor’s strength head-on is the essence of aikido. We apply the same principle to problems that arise in life. The skilled aikidoist is as elusive as the truth of Zen; he makes himself into a koan—a puzzle which slips away the more one tries to solve it. He is like water in that he falls through the fingers of those who try to clutch him. Water does not hesitate before it yields, for the moment the fingers begin to close it moves away, not of its own strength, but by using the pressure applied to it. It is for this reason, perhaps, that one of the symbols for aikido is water.
***
The mind is like a fertile garden,” Bruce said. “It will grow anything you wish to plant—beautiful flowers or weeds. And so it is with successful, healthy thoughts or with negative ones that will, like weeds, strangle and crowd the others. Do not allow negative thoughts to enter your mind for they are the weeds that strangle confidence.
***
We are like blades of grass or trees of the forest, creations of the universe, of the spirit of the universe, and the spirit of the universe has neither life nor death. Vanity is the only obstacle to life.
***
For the uncontrolled there is no wisdom, nor for the uncontrolled is there the power of concentration; and for him without concentration there is no peace. And for the unpeaceful, how can there be happiness?
***
For example, if you are fearful your mind will freeze, motion will be stopped and you will be defeated. If your mind is fixed on victory or defeating your opponent, you will be unable to function automatically.
***
Those who are patient in the trivial things in life and control themselves will one day have the same mastery in great and important things.
***
Only after several years of training did I come to realize that the deepest purpose of the martial arts is to serve as a vehicle for personal spiritual development.
***
To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill.
***
 
Always remember: in life as well as on the mat an unfocused or ‘loose’ mind wastes energy.
***
Only through practice and more practice, until you can do something without conscious effort.
***
When one eye is fixed upon your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the Way.
***
When an untoward event occurs in your life, react to it without haste or passion.
***
When you lose your temper, you lose yourself—on the mat as well as in life.
***
What stands in the way of effortless effort is caring, or a conscious attempt to do well.
***
A man who has attained mastery of an art reveals it in his every action.
***
I can defeat you physically with or without a reason. But I can only defeat your mind with a reason.

― Joe Hyams, Zen in the Martial Arts


The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means. Whenever you parry, hit, spring, strike or touch the enemy’s cutting sword, you must cut the enemy in the same movement. It is essential to attain this. If you think only of hitting, springing, striking or touching the enemy, you will not be able actually to cut him.
***
Do not sleep under a roof. Carry no money or food. Go alone to places frightening to the common brand of men. Become a criminal of purpose. Be put in jail, and extricate yourself by your own wisdom.
***
You should not have any special fondness for a particular weapon, or anything else, for that matter. Too much is the same as not enough. Without imitating anyone else, you should have as much weaponry as suits you.
***
There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.
***
Perception is strong and sight weak. In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.
***
The important thing in strategy is to suppress the enemy’s useful actions but allow his useless actions
***
The only reason a warrior is alive is to fight, and the only reason a warrior fights is to win.
***
Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.
***
You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain.

― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings


Mistakes are our teachers,’ explained Sensei Yamada, bowing before the Buddha. ‘As long as you recognize them for what they are, they can help you learn about life. Each mistake teaches you something new about yourself. There is no failure, remember, except in no longer trying. It is the courage to continue that counts.
***
Anyone can give up; it is the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would expect you to fall apart, now that is true strength.
***
Each mistake teaches you something new about yourself. There is no failure, remember, except in no longer trying. It is the courage to continue that counts.
***
Impatience is a hindrance. As with all things if you attempt to take shortcuts, the final destination will rarely be as good and may even be attainable.
***
A samurai must remain calm at all times even in the face of danger.
***
The impossible becomes possible if only your mind believes it.
***
Wherever it is you may be, it is your friends who make your world.
***
There is no failure except in no longer trying.

― Chris Bradford, The Way of the Sword

Books and Quotations about Martial Arts part 1


The Yamato spirit is not a tame, tender plant, but a wild–in the sense of natural–growth; it is indigenous to the soil; its accidental qualities it may share with the flowers of other lands, but in its essence it remains the original, spontaneous outgrowth of our clime. But its nativity is not its sole claim to our affection. The refinement and grace of its beauty appeal to our æsthetic sense as no other flower can. We cannot share the admiration of the Europeans for their roses, which lack the simplicity of our flower. Then, too, the thorns that are hidden beneath the sweetness of the rose, the tenacity with which she clings to life, as though loth or afraid to die rather than drop untimely, preferring to rot on her stem; her showy colours and heavy odours–all these are traits so unlike our flower, which carries no dagger or poison under its beauty, which is ever ready to depart life at the call of nature, whose colours are never gorgeous, and whose light fragrance never palls. Beauty of colour and of form is limited in its showing; it is a fixed quality of existence, whereas fragrance is volatile, ethereal as the breathing of life. So in all religious ceremonies frankincense and myrrh play a prominent part. There is something spirituelle in redolence. When the delicious perfume of the sakura quickens the morning air, as the sun in its course rises to illumine first the isles of the Far East, few sensations are more serenely exhilarating than to inhale, as it were, the very breath of beauteous day.
***
A truly brave man is ever serene; he is never taken by surprise; nothing ruffles the equanimity of his spirit. In the heat of battle he remains cool; in the midst of catastrophes he keeps level his mind. Earthquakes do not shake him, he laughs at storms. We admire him as truly great, who, in the menacing presence of danger or death, retains his self-possession; who, for instance, can compose a poem under impending peril or hum a strain in the face of death. Such indulgence betraying no tremor in the writing or in the voice, is taken as an infallible index of a large nature—of what we call a capacious mind (Yoyū), which, far from being pressed or crowded, has always room for something more.
***
Did not Socrates, all the while he unflinchingly refused to concede one iota of loyalty to his daemon, obey with equal fidelity and equanimity the command of his earthly master, the State? His conscience he followed, alive; his country he served, dying. Alack the day when a state grows so powerful as to demand of its citizens the dictates of their consciences!
***
Ritterlichkeit ist eine Blume, die auf dem Boden Japans nicht weniger heimisch ist als ihr Symbol, die Kirschblüte. Sie ist kein vertrocknetes Blatt einer uralten Tugend, die im Herbarium unserer Geschichte verwahrt wird, sondern ein lebendiges Etwas von Schönheit und Macht, das unter uns weilt.
***
There are, if I may so say, three powerful spirits, which have from time to time, moved on the face of the waters, and given a predominant impulse to the moral sentiments and energies of mankind. These are the spirits of liberty, of religion, and of honor
***
Bushido as an independent code of ethics may vanish, but its power will not perish from the earth; its schools of martial prowess or civic honor may be demolished, but its light and its glory will long survive their ruins. Like its symbolic flower, after it is blown to the four winds, it will still bless mankind with the perfume with which it will enrich life.
***
Read Hearn, the most eloquent and truthful interpreter of the Japanese mind, and you see the working of that mind to be an example of the working of Bushido.
***
Tranquillity is courage in repose. It is a statical manifestation of valor, as daring deeds are a dynamical. A truly brave man is ever serene; he is never taken by surprise; nothing ruffles the equanimity of his spirit.
***
It is a brave act of valor to contemn death, but where life is more terrible than death, it is then the truest valor to dare to live
***
Filial Piety, which is considered one of the two wheels of the chariot of Japanese ethics—Loyalty being the other.

― Inazo Nitobe, Bushido, the Soul of Japan


Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one’s body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one’s master. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead.
***
It is said that what is called “the spirit of an age” is something to which one cannot return. That this spirit gradually dissipates is due to the world’s coming to an end. For this reason, although one would like to change today’s world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation.
***
It is spiritless to think that you cannot attain to that which you have seen and heard the masters attain. The masters are men. You are also a man. If you think that you will be inferior in doing something, you will be on that road very soon.
***
Even if it seems certain that you will lose, retaliate. Neither wisdom nor technique has a place in this. A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.
***
Whether people be of high or low birth, rich or poor, old or young, enlightened or confused, they are all alike in that they will one day die.
***
Be true to the thought of the moment and avoid distraction. Other than continuing to exert yourself, enter into nothing else, but go to the extent of living single thought by single thought.
***
There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment. A man’s whole life is a succession of moment after moment. There will be nothing else to do, and nothing else to pursue. Live being true to the single purpose of the moment.

― Tsunetomo Yamamoto, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai


Mistakes are our teachers,’ explained Sensei Yamada, bowing before the Buddha. ‘As long as you recognize them for what they are, they can help you learn about life. Each mistake teaches you something new about yourself. There is no failure, remember, except in no longer trying. It is the courage to continue that counts.
***
Anyone can give up; it is the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would expect you to fall apart, now that is true strength.
***
Each mistake teaches you something new about yourself. There is no failure, remember, except in no longer trying. It is the courage to continue that counts.
***
Impatience is a hindrance. As with all things if you attempt to take shortcuts, the final destination will rarely be as good and may even be attainable.
***
Wherever it is you may be, it is your friends who make your world.
***
A samurai must remain calm at all times even in the face of danger.
***
The impossible becomes possible if only your mind believes it.

― Chris Bradford, The Way of the Sword

Sumo Wrestling facts

  • An average sumo wrestler is about 185 cm tall and weighs around 150 kilos.
  • The loincloth belt of a sumo wrestler is about 6-7 meters long.
  • The sumo wrestlers live about 65 years shorter than an avg. Japanese.
  • The sumo wrestlers eat chankonabe beef stew mixed with vegetables. They consume around 20,000 calories of food a day. That is why they can get fat so easily and quickly.
  • There are no female sumo wrestlers and women are not allowed to enter the sumo ring. Some say if a woman enters the ring it must be purified again.
  • Sumo wrestlers are prohibited from driving a car because of a car accident that injured a sumo wrestler years ago.
  • In the recent past there was a notion in Japan that the champion sumo wrestlers marry with the beauty pageants.
  • Sumo wrestlers cannot be independent, they must belong to a sumo house or stable. Each stable can only have 1 foreigner.
  • Sumo wrestling was performed in Japan as a shinto ritual as early as 250 AD.
  • The gunbai fan the referee holds is the same with the war fan the daimyos had.
  • In the past 10 years there was only 1 Japanese champion and he did not continue. Most sumo champions are Mongolians.
  • The referees (gyoji) carry knives to give the message that they are ready to commit seppuku if they make a mistake.

Sumo Wrestling: A Shinto Ritual or Martial Arts?

  • Sumo wrestling was a shinto ceremony to entertain gods. It was believed that if the gods are not pleased, they would not bring a good harvest season.
  • The sumo stage, dohyo, has been considered very sacred. That is why there is a roof dressed by the purple curtains and tassels that represent the roof of a shinto shrine. In the past there were 4 poles carrying the roof but recently the tassels are used instead of poles where each tassle represents one the 4 major gods.  The dohyo is covered by sand and the sumo wrestlers throw a pinch of salt to the stage, both of which represent purity in shintoism.
  • Before the wrestlers start taking on each other there is a dohyo entering ceremony lead by a shinto priest wearing white robes. Also before the ceremony some chestnuts and cuttle fish are placed inside the ring to be presented to shinto gods. The Yokozuna (champion sumo wrestler) wears white zigzag shaped strips of paper, exactly the same with the rice papers hanging at the entrance of shinto shrines. The wrestlers stop open their legs wide and stomp, this is to scare the demons that may be on or around the stage. The salt thrown on the stage is also commonly placed at the entrance of the buildings to ward of evil spirits.
  • During the entering ceremony the sumo wrestlers wear decorative aprons called mawashi. The lowest ranked enters the ring first and the highest ranking enters the last just like other Japanese ceremonies. At the end the rikishi (sumo wrestlers) hold each others hand and hold up their aprons this is an old samurai tradition to show that they are unarmed. The fringes of the ropes hanging from the belt symbolize the purified ropes in front of Shinto shrines that must always be in odd numbers (usually 17, 19 or 21 ) that are lucky in Shintoism.

Kendo (Kenjutsu)

Wada Sanzo (1941) Kendo instructor.
  • There were no major wars during the edo period but samurai had to practice and improve their swordsmanship.
  • In the early 18th century a person named Kunisato developed the technique of using bogu (kendo armor) and shinai (bamboo stick) for practicing sword using techniques.
  • In the past this practice is used to be called gekiken or kyyujitai, but in 1920, the name was changed to kendo.
  • In 1946, after WWII, kendo and all the martial arts were banned by the GHQ for the reason that they promoted nationalistic and militaristic ideas.
  • The ban was lifted in 1950. Millions of people mostly in Japanese high schools and universities practice kendo today.

The 5 Spirits of Budō

The main purpose of judo is to develop a strong character. There are 5 stages to build a strong character.

  • SHOSHIN (初心): Empty mind, the beginner’s mind. High awareness and high motivation are necessary.
  • ZANSHIN (残心) : Lingering mind. Focus is necessary in this stage.
  • MUSHIN (無心) :  No mind. In this stage the person loses his ego and his fears.
  • FUDOSHIN ((不動心) : Strong mind. In this stage no attack can change the emotions of the fighter.
  • SENSHIN (先心) : Purified spirit. This is the spirit that brings together the whole universe. The highest level of mind state.

The Rules of Martial Arts (Budō Charter)

In 1987 all the martial art associations in Japan, including judo, naginata, aikido, iado, kendo, sumo, jukendo and karate do foundations, came together and declared the 6 rules of martial arts as follow:

  • MOKUTEKI: The purpose of “martial arts” is to build a strong character. The physical and mental training is necessary for this goal.
  • KEIKO: Fundamental techniques should be preserved. New techniques may not be good for mind and body connection.
  • SHIAI: Win with modesty. Accept defeat gracefully. This is the spirit of budo.
  • DOJO: The “dojo” is a sacred place. It must be clean, safe and quiet.
  • SENSEI: The master should try to improve his skills. Winning does not mean the teacher is perfect.
  • SOKUSHIN: Traditional values and intensive training are necessary to promote budo.

Martial Arts (Budō)

The samurai were expected to excel in swordsmanship (kenjutsu, kendo, sojitsu (spear fighting), naginatajustsu (Naginata fighting), battojutsu (sword fighting). At the same time, they trained for unarmed fighting too usually for the situations that required them to have a close contact with the enemy during the wars. One of the earliest forms of close contact fighting is jujitsu which emerged in the Sengoku period. Most modern unarmed fighting methods such as judo, aikido and karate are actually different forms of jujitsu that were born in the last 19th century. Martial arts share these characteristics that are also part of the Japanese culture:

  • Strong mind is a must
  • Train for endurance not a show
  • Train to shape your mind and your body
  • Match your opponent (mentally and physically)
  • Never attack first (the martial arts require the rival to attack first in order to move)
  • Have a strong character and have integrity
  • Strive for perfection of your skills by practice
  • Respect your opponent whether you win or lose
  • Self discipline and group discipline are more important than fighting skills
  • Defense is more important than offense
  • Age and and degree are more important than performance
  • Senior members should always be respected regardless of their performance
  • Junior members should observe and imitate the master. They shouldn’t ask questions such as “why are we doing this?”
  • All the members should not only practice the techniques but also serve others (cleaning, cooking, etc.)
  • One should aim for mastering a series of degrees (kyu) and obtain the highest degree (highest -dan) in martial arts.
  • One must follow a kata (form) for doing everything, not using kata is not good even if the results are positive.
  • One can only gain martial arts skills from a master. The master is not only necessary for the skills but also to get inspiration.
  • One must complete these 3 types of training -mental and spiritual training (e.g. zen) -physical training (e.g. aikido) -training in arts and aesthetics (e.g. calligraphy).
  • ***Each dan is usually gained by a year of practice. Even the Japanese calligraphy and ikebana have the dan system.
  • ***All martial arts have a “kata” , a series of moves, that start with the first attack from the enemy.