Budo Secrets: Teachings of the Martial Arts Mastersby John Stevens
In budo—which can be translated as "the way of brave and enlightened activity"—martial arts and spirituality merge at the highest level of skill. Budo Secrets contains the essential teachings of budo's greatest masters of Kendo, Karate, Judo, Aikido, and other disciplines. Timely and instructive, these writings are not just for martial artists—they're for anyone who wants to live life more courageously, with a greater sense of personal confidence and self-control, and with a deeper understanding of others.
John Stevens has gathered an eclectic and historically rich collection of teachings that include principles and practice guidelines from training manuals and transmission scrolls, excerpts of texts on budo philosophy, and instructional tales gathered from a number of sources. Since many of the martial arts masters were also fine painters and calligraphers and used brush and ink as a teaching medium, Stevens has included their artwork throughout with explanation and commentary.
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consists of two characters. Although usually translated as "martial,"
the original components of the character
have the meaning "to stop clashing weapons," with a definite connotation of restoring peace.
may also be interpreted as "valorous action," "courageous living," and "commitment to justice."
is Tao, "the Way to truth," "the Path to liberation." The two concepts merge as budo, "the Way of brave and enlightened activity."
Secrets: Teachings of the Martial Arts Masters
consists of three sections. The first is a collection of the principles of budo, taken from various training manuals and transmission scrolls. The second section contains excerpts on the philosophical elements of budo, including the seminal text
Neko no Myojutsu
"The Marvelous Techniques of the Old Cat." The third section relates instructional tales told of the budo masters. Since many of the budo masters were excellent calligraphers and painters and used brush and ink as a teaching medium, I have also included a number of illustrations by different martial artists.
In keeping with tradition, I have kept additional commentary to a minimum. Budo texts and tales are meant to be cryptic. They are not for "dummies"
or "idiots." They are to be understood through lifelong personal experience and self-reflection, through discussion with fellow trainees, and through person-to-person, heart-to-heart transmission from a teacher.
I note several times in the text, the teachings of budo are still actively studied today, and they are not to be dismissed as relics of a different age.
In fact, Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, told his disciples that true budo was finally emerging in the present era. May it be so!
Meet the Author
John Stevens is Professor of Buddhist Studies and Aikido instructor at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai, Japan. He is the author or translator of over twenty books on Buddhism, Zen, Aikido, and Asian culture. He has practiced and taught Aikido all over the world.
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