East Morris Karate Academy




The development of budo can be traced back to the 17th century samurai who had a most unusual problem: Nearly all of them were becoming virtually perfect swordsmen. That made having an edge over your opponent increasingly doubtful. A big problem when you’re profession is akin to that of an American wild west gunslinger. What to do?





The samurai soon realized that the fighter with the superior mental and spiritual aptitude was the one who prevailed. Budo is the training method that resulted. Thus, the nature of combat was elevated from the merely physical to a level that’s almost supernatural.


As far-fetched as this begins to sound, ask anyone who’s witnessed this level of performance in person, and they’ll tell you it’s true and nearly indescribable. Further, budo works for more than just the sword: Archery, judo, karate to name a few. (In fact, it works for more than just the martial arts.)


However, there’s an even more important, and arguably more relevant,  application for budo: Budo training was the premise for the now classic movie, The Karate Kid.  But the story of a young apprentice coming into self-realization at the hand of a fatherly, yet stern, mentor is far from new. Budo is merely the martial arts version of an exceedingly human phenomenon.


Specifically, budo is an approach to martial study whereby rigorous physical training is coupled with coinciding philosophical study to produce proficiency, wisdom and facilitate a third effect – perfection of enlightened character. It’s this third effect that is the ultimate goal of budo training.


Becoming stronger, faster, smarter is one thing, but… when in the company of those who’ve achieved only a measure of success with budo, the presence of their personal power is almost palpable.


The Budo effect is very real and not confined to martial type activities although it’s most often associated with them. Fittingly, author C. W. Nicol, best summed up the karate connection when he entitled the book based on his own training experience, Moving Zen.


However, there is one indispensable element necessary to achieve this effect: a teacher capable of properly orchestrating the process. Without this human catalyst, nothing happens. No gold from lead. Fighters; not warriors. And, as many modern day seekers of martial arts empowerment are becoming aware, such teachers are, as they have always been, an exceedingly rare find.





© Salvatore Musco. All rights reserved.