by Johnson, Bill
I guess this thread illustrates one of the significant differences between budo and sport. In sport karate, one is defeating an opponent. In budo, one is defeating the self. Minamoto Musashi points out that the warrior must learn to keep the mind calm and focused, not afflicted by external distractions.
The budoka is striving for the normal mind, the mind that does not stop. In sport, one is attaining a goal, and using a structure (a controlled environment) to gain self improvement and experience the win/lose exilaration of sport. The budoka is striving for the mind in which each technique is complete and finished in itself, thus moving without fixation at any one moment. “If your mind is normal, that is, if your mind does not stop, it does not matter whether you fight one or ten. If ten opponents strike at you in succession, you must deal with each attack without stopping to consider. That way , you deal with each attack as if it were alone. If you think about striking , your mind is taken up with striking…..”
As I have stated before, there are distinct differences between budo and sport. In budo , one trains to be at a single level. Ideally, one doesn’t change one’s mental state in combat, but has the same attitude in battle as in doing daily routine things. In this way, the warrior reacts naturally, and moves beyond technique. This kind of mental training is not compatable with competition. That is not to say either is superior. You choose your own Way. Whether that is to gain personal growth through the confrontation of an opponent, or to gain personal growth through the defeat of the self by the self, each path has it’s own goals. One must see clearly the difference between winning and surviving, between overcoming an opponent, and simply evading him. In budo, one develops the sword that gives life. That is, the sword that kills when unavoidable, but which serves justice. It is not a competitive feeling, but one of escape. If I survive, I win, not , if I hit him first, I get the point, the match, the trophy, the accolades, and the feeling of accomplishment in defeating a worthy adversary.
One cannot savor the budo, one simply is. It is not possible to desire the thrill of victory and simply be at the same time. If your mind is taken up by winning or losing, you are not doing budo. That is not to say that one cannot compete, competition is a forum in which simple techniques may be tried ,tested, and used. But the budoka kills his opponent, for to face another, there must be no other way. That is, if one competes as a budoka, one kills his opponent in his mind. The sparring makes no difference. One simply cuts down his opponent and keeps going. It is not a competition. THis lack of thrill makes for competitive sparring to become very foolish feeling. The competitive practitioner must lose all sense of competition and emotional attachment, even to himself/herself.
Thus, the whole purpose of facing another person becomes moot. They are simply another opponent. One cannot “beat” one’s opponent and do Budo. If it matters to you at all what the outcome of the sparring is, you cannot do budo. If you are simply performing a training task, without emotional attachment, then sparring becomes a tool for training. Obviously , few competitors would compete without the thrill and feeling of besting another person. In budo, we train to kill, and to survive. The two paths of competition and budo are mutually exclusive. That is not to say either is superior, and each has it’s place. However, one should realize what one is training for and why. Competition is good in and of itself, and so is budo. The two are not compatible, however.
Osu, WIld Bill