Technique in Budo

Commonly translated from the Japanese word “waza” (技) to technique, but the Japanese can complicate things by sometimes pronounce it as “gi” or “to”, as in “giho” (技法) or “yokuto” (抒技). The latter is of course the name of a kata in Koto-ryu koppojutsu, so it’s more confusing.

The Japanese encyclopedia Nihon Kokugo Daijiten defines waza (技) as “an act with heartfelt meaning” and is closer to the meaning we should add to the term waza.

Within Kito-ryu the character 業 is used for for waza and that can be interpreted as “actions” or “karma,” that is more like the concept of “action” than the concept of “technique”.

Within Kukishin-ryu also used the term Ri (Reason; 理), which also translates to technique, but also in a broader context than principle.

In modern martial arts the term “technique” is usually equated with a physical response to an attack. The problem with “technique” in the above context is that those who use them do it to strive toward specific expected results, as shutting down, knockouts, or to follow up with the next technique, in contrast to our definition of waza as a consequence of the resulting situation (an act).

Chikara kurabe.1

However when one interprets waza or its various synonyms, it is clear that strength and technique just is the beginning in the studies of martial arts.
In order to master the martial arts, at a deeper level. How else can we explain that the head of our martial arts organization of the Bujinkan is a 82-year-old man, who easily defeats more than half as old, experienced people; martial artists, bodyguards, soldiers and SF-operators?

In Kukishin-ryu the defined process of development in Budo is as follows:

  1. Go [剛] (strength, power) defeats weakness.
  2. Ri [理] (technique) defeats Go
  3. Ho [法] (methodology, teams, tactics) defeats Ri
  4. Chi [知] (wisdom, cunning, strategy) defeats Ho
  5. Jin [神] (divinity, godsend, doctrine) defeats Chi

That is, the objective of the martial is about instinctively create an “act” – a Bujin 武神.


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