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Modern Budo

by Christopher Caile

Modern Budo refers to the generation of "do" based martial disciplines that developed after 1850 from Classical Budo which had been inspired by former warrior arts (bujistu). Modern budo arts often include competitive formats such as kendo (sword), judo (throws/grappling) and karate-do (strikes/kicks) but not always as with most styles of aikido. As with classical budo, modern budo emphasizes the personal, ethical and spiritual development as the ultimate goal of training. Combat skills are practiced to perfect the self, the discipline itself used to as a vehicle to preserve the traditional warrior spirit (including their ethical and moral precepts). Classes are generally also opened to the public. Modern budo is also often classified under the term Shin Budo.

Modern budo was a product of dissatisfaction. Critics believed that something had been lost in classical budo, that reliance on kata and repetitive practice in training produced shallow technique. They argued that the disciplines had become more form than substance and full commitment was held back - neither the technique nor the people were really tested. These views were the impetus for the development of many modern budo disciplines. Many adopted competitive formats designed to revive the rugged confrontations of warrior times, but remained mindful of the larger focus of serving the individual's spiritual and self-development. Budo's (as well as Classical Budo) emphasis on personal development, it should be noted, stands in contrast to the practitioners of Bujitsu who gave personal service and absolute loyalty to others. In recent times some have argued that modern budo has itself gone too far, that emphasis on competition and winning have corrupted the "do" roots of the disciplines and that these disciplines should be described as "martial sports," not "martial ways." While some modern budo as aikido, kendo, judo and karate-do have become widely practiced and popularized the total number of modern budo schools has diminished dramatically due to consolidation, neglect and loss of interest. Another term for modern budo is gendai budo, gendai meaning "modern," the term usually applied only to those martial diciplines with a wide following.


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