Secrets of the Samurai - The Martial Arts of Feudal Japan

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Author: Oscar Ratti & Adele Westbrook
Pub: 1973 by Charles E. Tuttle Co.
Pages: 483
Ranking:Five Star Rating
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This is a wonderful book that manages to combine easy readability with an excellent level of scholarship. I highly recommend this book as a general reference for the martial arts of Japan


                           TABLE OF CONTENTS

 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ........................................................ 11

 PREFACE ................................................................ 15

 INTRODUCTION: The Martial Ethos
        Definition of Bujutsu and Its Specializations ................... 21
        The Qualification "Martial" (Bu) and the Exponents of Bujutsu ... 26
        The Qualification "Martial" (Bu) and the Art of War ............. 28
        The Military Tradition in the History of Japan .................. 29
        Origins of Bujutsu .............................................. 38


 1. The Bushi
       The Rise of the Military Class ................................... 49
       The Military Structure of Tokugawa Society: The Shogun ........... 62
       The Daimyo ....................................................... 75
       The Military Retainer: The Samurai ............................... 83
       Education and Status of the Buke ................................. 97
       The Samurai Woman ............................................... 114
       The Masterless Warrior: The Ronin ............................... 118

 2.  The Heimin
       The Farmers ..................................................... 126
       The Militant Clergy ............................................. 132
       Artisans and Merchants .......................................... 140
       The Police Forces and the Underworld ............................ 146

 3. The Centers of Martial Instruction 
        The Ryu ........................................................ 154
        The Sensei ..................................................... 169
        Weapons and Techniques ......................................... 183

 4. Armed Bujutsu
   The Armor ........................................................... 184
        Evolution of Japanese Armor .................................... 184
        Elements of Japanese Armor ..................................... 196
   THE MAJOR MARTIAL ARTS .............................................. 226
        The Art of Archery ............................................. 226
        The Art of Spear Fighting ...................................... 241
        The Art of Swordsmanship ....................................... 254
        The Art of Military Horsemanship ............................... 288
        The Art of Swimming in Armor ................................... 293
   THE MINOR MARTIAL ARTS .............................................. 296
        The Art of the War Fan ......................................... 296
        The Art of the Staff ........................................... 305
        The Art of the Jitte ........................................... 312
 THE COLLATERAL METHODS OF COMBAT ...................................... 315
        The Art of the Chain and Other Weapons ......................... 316
        Ninjutsu ....................................................... 324

 5. Unarmed  Bujutsu
        Specializations, Instruments, and Techniques ................... 332
        The Art of Wrestling ........................................... 335
        The Military Specializations of Unarmed Bujutsu ................ 342
        The Schools of Jujutsu ......................................... 347
        The Schools of Aikijutsu ....................................... 355
        The Arts of Striking ........................................... 360
        The Art of Kiai ................................................ 369

                               PART III INNER FACTORS OF BUJUTSU

        The Invisible Range ............................................ 375

 6. Control and Power
        The Foundation ................................................. 376
        The Concept of the Centre ...................................... 377
        The Concept of Intrinsic Energy ................................ 381
        Applications of Haragei ........................................ 384
    Haragei in Ancient Specializations of Bujutsu ...................... 386
        Kyujutsu ....................................................... 387
        Kenjutsu ....................................................... 389
        Sumo ........................................................... 401
        Jujutsu ........................................................ 403
        Kiaijutsu ...................................................... 406
    Haragei in Modern Derivations of Bujutsu ........................... 407
        Judo ........................................................... 407
        Karate ......................................................... 411
        Aikido ......................................................... 416
    The Martial Synthesis .............................................. 418

 7. Strategic Principles
        The Major Strategies ........................................... 424
        Principles of Application ...................................... 428
        The Bilateral Principle in Particular .......................... 430
        The Attack and the Counterattack ............................... 438
        The Defense .................................................... 442

 8. Morality of Bujutsu
        The Way of the Warrior ......................................... 445
        The Value of Zen in Bujutsu .................................... 451

 CONCLUSION: The Evolution of Bujutsu .................................. 460
 BIBLIOGRAPHY .......................................................... 465
 INDEX ................................................................. 473


 1. Bujutsu in Feudal Japan page ........................................ 23
 2. Chronology of Japanese History ................................... 44-46
 3. Class Structure of Tokugawa Society ................................. 64
 4. The Central Government (bakufu) and Its Major Agencies in Edo ....... 69
 5. Classification of Daimyo Ranks According to the Audience Room
      at the Shogun's Court at Edo ...................................... 77
 6. Structure of the Yamanouchi Clan .................................... 79
 7. Structure of the Okudaira Clan ...................................... 80
 8. Major Divisions within the Warrior Army in Feudal Japan ............. 85
 9. Chinese Classics (myokyo) ........................................... 99
10. Program of Instruction in the Nisshinkan Institute ................. 106
11. Major Schools of Bujutsu in Feudal Japan ....................... 155-156
12. Ranking System in Modern Derivations of Feudal Bujutsu ............. 163
13. Methods of Unarmed Combat .......................................... 333
14. Sumo Organization and Ranking System ............................... 338
15. Judo Program of Instruction (Kodokan style) ........................ 354
16. Major Outlines of Aikido Program of Instruction .................... 358
17. Karate Program of Instruction (Shotokan style) ..................... 369
18. Action and Reaction in Judo and Aikido ............................. 438


Back Cover:

Secrets of the Samurai is the definitive study of the martial arts of feudal Japan, explaining in detail the weapons, techniques, strategies, and principles of combat that made the Japanese warrior a formidable foe. Beginning with a panoramic survey of the tumultuous early struggles of warlords contending for political ascendancy, the work outlines the relentless progression of the military class toward absolute power In addition to illustrating actual methods of combat, the authors discuss in detail the crucial training necessary to develop a warrior's inner power and to concentrate all has energies into a single force. Secrets of the Samurai is the essential text for anyone with an interest in Japanese combat techniques, weaponry, or military tradition.

Oscar Ratti and Adele Westbrook met at Columbia University in New York, where he was doing graduate work in classical languages and she studying philosophy. Both share a longtime interest in the thought and rituals of ancient civilizations. Experts on the Japanese warrior arts and ethos, they are also the authors of Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere.



The Japanese experience in, and contribution to, the theory and practice of individual combat, armed and unarmed, is certainly among the most ancient, sophisticated, and enduring ever recorded. One need only consider the present worldwide popularity of jujutsu, judo, karate, aikido, kendo, kyudo, and so forth, which are essentially modern adaptations or derivations, to appreciate the continuing influence of ancient Japanese methods of combat. The ancient martial arts were developed and refined during an extended period of direct experimentation on the battlefields of pre-Tokugawa Japan; later, during the centuries of absolute isolation which generated the proper conditions, they were thoroughly revised and ultimately ritualized into transmissible patterns of exercise and technique. The effectiveness of the modern adaptations is attested to by the fact that they have deeply influenced and, in many instances, almost completely replaced other national methods of combat practiced for sporting purposes and as part of the utilitarian and practical training programs of military and police forces.

The present work is a survey of the major specializations of the martial experience, known in feudal Japan as martial arts, or bujutsu. These arts are presented in terms of the persons directly or indirectly involved with, or subjected to, this systematic violence (part 1); the particular weapons and techniques which assigned to each martial art its position and relative importance within the body of bujutsu teachings, here termed the doctrine of bujutsu (part 2); the factors of inner control and power as well as strategies and motivations, which, when compared to the above-mentioned elements, were considered by the ancients as being of equal (if not greater) significance, due to their importance in implementing the various combat methods (part 3).

Any inquiry into the history, instruments, and strategic functionality of the martial arts of feudal Japan is bound to encounter serious and often seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the selection of basic reference material as well as in the interpretation of the terms employed therein. In this work, terminology should present no difficulties, for in the Index the terms most frequently used in the martial arts to define and illustrate their functional characteristics are listed along with the number of the page on which each term appears for the first time in the main text and where its meaning is briefly explained and/or illustrated. Decidedly more difficult to resolve are doctrinal problems- that is, problems arising from conflicting references (direct and indirect, ancient and modern, in both the original language and in translation) to the specializations of the Japanese experience in the ancient art of combat.

Among the direct sources of information used in the compilation of this book are translations of records contained in scrolls (makimono) and manuscripts belonging to masters and representatives of particular schools of the martial arts, whose founders were courageous enough to defy the age-old Japanese custom of secrecy and exclusiveness in order to add the results of their experience, as Yamashita phrased it, to "the common stock of knowledge" of the entire human race. Direct information of particular value to any study of armed bujutsu is also provided by a review of the huge collections of weapons and armor available in the major museums and art galleries of the world, as well as items of interest held by private collectors. Indirect sources of information on bujutsu in general would include the Japanese classics, religious and philosophical texts and treatises, and poems and chronicles of the nation-primarily works which concern themselves with aspects of the national culture other than the military but contain oblique and often highly illuminating references to the specializations of bujutsu. All these sources are equally vital because they integrate, confirm, or modify one another, thus helping the student of bujutsu to determine their respective degrees of re-liability, historical authenticity, and, consequently, their usefulness to any program of research and interpretation. In carrying out such research, it becomes evident that the doctrine of the Japanese martial arts is heir to that failing common to every doctrine devised by man; that is, the further back one's historical research is carried, the harder it becomes to distinguish fact from fiction. The Japanese chronicles of antiquity are particularly susceptible to animistic and mystical interpretations of events, and this tendency-still very much in evidence in the records of disciplines of combat which have emerged during the last century-is further compounded by the highly individualistic approach of each master to the theory and practice of armed and unarmed combat. This approach is clearly exclusivistic and unilateral, being centered primarily upon the merits and virtues of this or that representative or founder of a particular school, with only a few obscure references to those techniques or methods of combat which made them famous.

When confronted with the wealth of available written records concerning the schools of unarmed combat (presumably issued in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries), each extolling a particular school of bujutsu or a particular master, the modern observer is often forced to ask himself a question similar to that posed by a famous translator of Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching, in relation to the various philosophical schools active during a particular period of Chinese history: "May it not be the case that some of these schools were very much alike but each had to put up a different 'slogan' in order to be an independent school, since in the Warring States period, so much was to be gained by this claim?" (Lau, 50). This particular approach to the problems of combat (adopted by many ancient and modern teachers of bujutsu, and so reflected in chronicles of the martial arts) is historically misleading because it presupposes an initial originality at the root of each school, as well as a widespread and individualistic type of excellence which is very rare in any culture and must have been particularly unusual in the highly conformistic and restrictive world of feudal Japan. Numerous warriors, after all, had trained in many different schools of bujutsu, and almost all the masters of those schools had done exactly the same thing before opening their own centers of instruction-which would implicitly negate a basic prerequisite of strict originality: isolation. Such an approach, moreover, makes any attempt to produce a syncretic and anthological study of the martial arts extremely difficult, because it presents a kaleidoscopic collection of arts, each pulling centrifugally away from any concept of basic unity. The aim of the present study, therefore, is to establish a platform of observation from which the martial arts of feudal Japan may be analyzed as expressions of a strongly unified and conformistic culture and, consequently, as methods of combat which, notwithstanding obvious differences in their choice of weapons, produced great similarities in their bodies of techniques and, above all, an almost identical conception of those inner factors and activating motivations which made those techniques relevant and effective in combat. This global and syncretic approach to the study of bujutsu is necessitated by the current abundance of specialized presentations of the individual martial arts and, in particular, of those derived from ancient bujutsu, which, as indicated earlier, have made such names as jujutsu, judo, karate, aikido, and kendo famous the world over. The authors' aim has been primarily that of restoring a certain balance between the specialized knowledge of each martial art and the comprehensive knowledge of them all, even if only from a historical standpoint. The twin dangers which we have recognized and sought to avoid were those of overspecialization (an exaggerated emphasis upon only one expression of the Japanese experience in the art of combat) and superficial eclecticism (a dispersive and necessarily diluted exposition of them all). It is our hope that a general knowledge of all the martial arts will help to deepen and expand the reader's understanding of each-the way a detail, for example, becomes even more significant when observed within that larger, richer, and more harmonious context of which it is but a part.

Those of us interested in the evolution of that experience in the art of individual confrontation throughout its many forms and specialized manifestations must inevitably seek to relate the parts to the whole. Thus a syncretic approach to bujutsu, intended to provide a general framework within which to comprehend clearly its various components, underlies and motivates the present study in its entirety.

In synthesis, for those readers particularly interested in bujutsu, it is to be hoped that this introductory study will satisfy an immediate need and constitute a broad foundation for further studies of the ancient Japanese martial arts, or at least provide a panoramic background for those already in existence.

It is also intended to provide the basis for another type of research, linked to the problem of human violence as systematically exercised in those practices man has found difficult to discard along the path of his evolutionary history. This type of research enters the domain of ethics, of those moral justifications which supposedly influence man's actions and (within the context of bujutsu) will determine his behavior in combat against his fellowman. Unfortunately, considerations and analyses of the morality of the martial arts (viewed as being of primary significance by those masters who have pro-vided interesting and varied solutions to the moral dilemma a man had to confront and resolve in combat) will, of necessity, be somewhat limited in this work, since its central subject is their historical background, their weapons and techniques, their strategies and phases of application-those factors and elements which made them extremely effective within the immediate and utilitarian reality of combat. The observations on the ethical implications of bujutsu which the authors have included in the text form the foundation for an ensuing volume (tentatively entitled Budo: The Way of the Warrior) which will deal almost exclusively with the motivations, ethics, and metaphysics of those arts which, throughout their long and bloody history, have seemed truly noble and worthy in a universal or comprehensive sense in only a comparatively few, exceptional instances.

As will become apparent from a cursory glance at the Table of Contents, this study embraces a variety of martial arts and covers an extensive period of Japanese history. Consequently, it revolves around and upon an immense amount of material which had to be considered, interpreted, and presented systematically if a more illuminating doctrine than the one available today were to be developed. It is not the authors' intention to provide a definitive answer to all the problems of doctrinary interpretation found in the vast amount of literature on bujutsu, or to engage in a doctrinary monologue of their own which, however expressive or novel, would still, by its very nature, be unrelated to and radically different from that dialogue in which the "common stock of knowledge," mentioned by Yamashita in his analysis of the secretive approach to bujutsu, is enriched through the active contributions of many individuals. In fact, the studies and opinions of many authors who have written about bujutsu, both ancient and modern, have provided the initial basis for this syncretic approach to the martial arts (as clearly evidenced by the extensive use of direct quotations, often from works presently relegated to undeserved oblivion, notwithstanding their value as pioneer attempts in the exploration of this particular aspect of an alien culture).

In this context it will doubtless be useful for the reader, wishing to retrace our steps through the ofttimes confusing maze of the doctrine of bujutsu and personally refer to the sources of information we have used in preparing this work, to understand the "key" to the system of quotation and referral we have adopted. This system is, first of all, generic and comprehensive, as expressed through the lists of books collected in the Bibliography of this study and arranged in alphabetical order according to the names of those authors whose works have been invaluable in providing a first, panoramic view of bujutsu. But this system is also specific and specialized, as expressed through the many direct quotations which appear throughout the text, extracted selectively from the works of those authors whom we consider invaluable sources of information concerning particular aspects of bujutsu. The reader who wishes to explore any of these particular aspects will find, at the end of each quotation, in parenthesis, the name of the author and the number of the page in his book or article which contains the passage quoted. The reader may then turn to the Bibliography for details concerning the edition to which we are referring. For 'example, the first quotation in the section entitled "The Military Tradition in the History of Japan" is followed by parentheses which contain the name "Hearn" and the number "259." The reader who refers to the Bibliography under the alphabetical listing of "Hearn, Lafcadio" will find the title of the book from which the quotation was extracted: "Japan: An Interpretation," plus details of publication, "Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1962." There are, however, a number of authors who have written more than one pertinent book on the subject of bujutsu. In those cases where more than one book is listed, each work has been assigned a number, and this number appears in the Bibliography within brackets and as a superior number after the author's name within the parentheses which follow the pertinent quotation in the body of the book. Quotations from the three studies on bujutsu by Edward Gilbertson, for example, are identified by the name of the author with in parentheses at the end of each quotation in the text, then by a superior number 1, 2, or 3 after the name (depending upon which study is being referred to), and finally by the page number within that particular study. This will provide the reader with the necessary "key" to the bibliographical listings of Gilbertson's works. Throughout the book Japanese names are given in the order customary in Japan, family name followed by personal name.

It would be highly gratifying if, spurred by the present study, other students of bujutsu were encouraged to overcome any narrow or sectarian barriers of doctrinal, scholastic, or organizational isolation and exclusiveness which might be separating them from one another, and plunge courageously into the study and analysis of records, manuscripts, and current practices relative to the Japanese arts of combat. The resulting dialogue or debate would enable them to share their experiences and findings with others, thus furthering the development of a more comprehensive perspective. But a dialogue, as Socrates pointed out, can only begin to stimulate the interest by starting at a certain point and at a certain moment-which is exactly what the present study, in its own way, from its own platform of observation, and with its own method, has set out to do.

Finally, it is the authors' fond hope that this book may prove as stimulating to the reader as its production was to them, especially when they surveyed the multiform landscape of an ancient culture and the often tragic but brave attempts of its subjects to cope, in their own way, with the demands of a harsh reality. Confronted as we are today with social and political turbulence, living under the moment-to-moment threat of nuclear catastrophe, all studies of man's experience in the art of violent confrontation have acquired a particular relevancy. Almost everyone seems to agree that we must attempt to determine whether man will be forever trapped by his apparently constitutional inclination to employ any method, however lethal, to ensure his dominance over his fellowmen, or whether he may-in time-be capable of ritualizing and then, ultimately, transforming that pattern. In this endeavor, thoughtful studies of man's past, with all its pitfalls and bloody errors, may prove to be a necessary and valuable factor in the final equation.


The Martial Ethos
Definition of Bujutsu and Its Specializations

The long history and complex tradition of the Japanese art of combat is embodied in a variety of forms, methods, and weapons, each of which constitutes a particular specialization of that art. Each specialization, in turn, is known as a jutsu, a word which may be translated as "method," "art," or "technique" and is indicative of the particular way or ways in which certain actions are performed. Historically, each art or method has developed certain procedures or patterns which set it apart from the procedures and patterns of other arts. In the context of the Japanese art of combat, therefore, a specialization consists of a particular, systematic method of using a specific weapon.

Very often, a specialization of combat was identified by the name of the weapon used by its practitioners. An example of this system of identification would be kenjutsu- that is, the art (jutsu) of the sword (ken). However, a combat method could also be identified by the particular, functional way of using a weapon in order to achieve an opponent's subjugation. Among the specializations of the art of unarmed combat, for example, jujutsu identifies the art (jutsu) of suppleness ( ju) -- that is, the art of using suppleness in a certain technical way in order to defeat an opponent. Frequently, a main specialization of combat would produce subspecializations, many of which, through constant refinement, effectively improved upon the original method to the extent of substituting for it entirely, thus becoming independent specializations of combat in and of themselves. In such a case, the subspecialization would generally be identified by the name of its main feature. Kenjutsu, the art of the sword, for example, was further refined into a deadly specialization known as iaijutsu-the art (jutsu) of drawing (iai) and simultaneously cutting with the sword; it was also the matrix for nito-kenjutsu, the art (jutsu) of fencing with two (nito) swords (ken). Finally, a specialization could be identified by the name of the master who had devised his own particular style of fighting or by the name of the school where this particular style was taught.

The specializations of the Japanese art of combat which are of particular relevance to this study are those which were developed and brought to the highest degree of systematic perfection during the feudal period of Japanese history. This period embraces a span of approximately nine centuries, from the late ninth and early tenth centuries to the nineteenth century-more precisely, to the year of the Meiji Restoration (1868), when, in a manner characteristically Japanese, the feudal era was declared formally closed. During the centuries of dominance by the Tokugawa (1600 to 1867), the specializations of the art of combat inherited from the previous ages of turmoil were thoroughly polished and perfected by a system of study surprisingly modern in its methods of experimentation and observation; at the same time, new specializations were devised and applied to help resolve the eternally precarious problems of combat. The era of comparative peace forcefully imposed by the Tokugawa, in fact, actually made it possible for many masters of the art of combat to delve quite deeply into the mysteries and techniques of violent confrontation and to test their findings within the repressed, hence extremely virulent and explosive, reality of individual combat (large-scale battles being few and far between).

In the doctrine of the Japanese martial arts we find long lists of combat specializations. They are usually divided systematically according to the particular views of the author discussing them. Certain authors, for example, make a clear distinction between those specializations formally practiced by the Japanese warrior (bushi) and those which he despised because they were practiced by the members of other, "inferior" classes within the rigidly stratified hierarchy of the Japanese nation. Other authors divide them into armed and unarmed categories according to the predominance of mechanical or anatomical weapons as the primary instruments of combat.

In order to give the reader a panoramic view of the warrior's specializations in the art of individual combat, we have endeavored to list in chart 1 as many as possible of the various jutsu we have discovered in the doctrine. The only attempt we have made to classify them at this time is by dividing them into two major groups-armed and unarmed-subdividing the former into three categories according to the importance and prestige traditionally assigned them within the culture of feudal Japan. We have not attempted to provide a specific translation of each name used in the Japanese doctrine to identify a particular specialization of bujutsu or one of its possible subspecializations, since many different names may be used to identify the same basic method of combat. We have therefore deemed it advisable to leave the task of proper identification to those sections in part 2 wherein they will be examined individually. It is obvious that the Japanese nomenclature presents an initial set of problems in identifying these jutsu, since so many of the names imply or refer to concepts and functions of a rather complex and esoteric nature-to the extent of defying attempts to establish a clear identification in English without a preliminary examinations of these concepts and functions.

The entire body of these specializations, the generic art of combat, is most often termed bujutsu. This word is the phonetic rendering of two Chinese ideograms, (bu) and (jutsu). Even in the earliest records of the Japanese nation, bu was employed to denote the military dimension of its national culture, as differentiated from, for example, the public dimension (ko) or the civil dimension (bun), both of which were related primarily to the functions of the imperial court. Bu thus appears in the composites buke and bumon to identify "military families," as differentiated from the kuge and kudo (ku being a phonetic variation of ko) which referred to "public nobles." Bu also appears in bushi, "military nobles," and in buke seiji, "military rule," both being neatly differentiated from bunji and bunji seiji, "nobles" and "civil government." Even after the military class, upon accession to national power, had become mired in its own bureaucracy, the original semantic associations with bu remained to a considerable degree. As one scholar points out:

In contemporary parlance, the Tokugawa shogunate was a particular instance of buke seiji or bumon seiji, that is, "military government." In general, that expression meant government by soldiers, or at least by officials whose titles implied military command. It suggested the philosophic sense of a government which relied for its control on force or the threat of force. (Webb, 5)

Combined with jutsu, which, as indicated above, may be literally translated as "technique," "art," or "method," bu is used to represent the idea of military technique or techniques (the plural being implied by the context in which it is used), military arts, or military methods. Since the military aspect of Japanese culture was almost entirely dominated by the figure of the Japanese feudal warrior (the prototype of the fighting man, known as a bushi or samurai), the term bujutsu was, and to a great extent still is, employed to denote the techniques, arts, and methods of combat developed and practiced primarily (if not exclusively) by the members of the military class. By semantic implication, then, the term bujutsu identifies the martial arts of Japan.

There were, of course, other terms employed by the doctrine of these arts in an attempt to express as clearly and as specifically as possible their nature and purposes. The word bugei, for example, is one of these-formed by the combination of the ideogram (bu: military, martial) and the ideogram (gei: method, accomplishment). Bujutsu, however, seems more particularly related to the technical nature and strategic functionality of these arts, to the instrumental "how," or way, in which these techniques of combat achieved their purposes, while bugei appears to be a more generic and comprehensive term, including and implying technically quite specialized forms of bujutsu as well as various subspecializations.

The word bujutsu, then, is used in the Japanese doctrine of the art of combat to represent all those specializations of the general art of combat practiced by the Japanese fighting man, or professional warrior of Japan, as well as by various members of other social classes who practiced any of the individual combat arts. Bujutsu, we wish to emphasize, is particularly related to the practical, technical, and strategic aspects of these arts, as indicated by the use of the ideogram for technique. When these specializations are intended as disciplines with an end or purpose of a more educational or ethical nature, "technique" becomes "way" (do), meaning the "path" toward a spiritual rather than purely practical achievement.

The criteria used by the authors in deciding whether a specialization should be included in this study were as follows: it must have occupied a position of traditional importance in Japanese feudal culture; it must have been strategically relevant in and to individual combat; and, finally, it must have been widely known and practiced. The specializations fulfilling all three of these requirements are examined in part 2 after a preliminary study of the armor which influenced so many of the weapons and techniques used in the various arts. The order followed in presenting the various martial arts assigns a position of priority to archery, spearmanship, swordsmanship, horsemanship, and swimming in armor, since the main protagonist of Japanese history, the warrior or bushi, practiced these arts on a professional basis. The discussion of these specializations, which are termed "major martial arts," will then be followed by an examination of other arts, termed "minor martial arts," such as the art of the war fan and that of the staff; which were also considered traditional as well as strategically important and were quite popular with the members of various other classes of Japanese society. Finally, we will examine several specializations of the art of combat which do not fulfill all three of the criteria listed above and, therefore, are termed "collateral arts of combat." The science of firearms (bojutsu), that of fortification (chikujojutsu), and that of field deployment (sen-jojutsu) are excluded from this study because they are related more specifically to the art of war-to the art of collective rather than individual combat.

All these major, minor, and collateral specializations of bujutsu are classified as armed because they were based predominantly upon the use of mechanical weapons or assortments of weapons, which distinguished them from those specializations of the art of combat in which the primary weapon was a part or parts of the human body. The un-armed specializations will be examined in part 2.

In addition to an analysis of the historical background, the discussion of each art includes a study of its characteristic factors, such as the weapons employed, the particular techniques or ways of employing them, the mental attitude adopted in order to face combat with confidence, and the type of power or energy needed to use those weapons properly-all the factors that blend in forming the art and guarantee its strategic efficiency in combat as well as its significance as a contribution to the theory of combat.

The authors have divided the above-mentioned factors into two categories: the first includes factors such as the weapons and the techniques of each specialization, which may be qualified as outer or external because they are easily perceivable; the second embraces factors such as mental control and power, which may not be as visually (or immediately) impressive as the factors in the first category but which determine, from within, the degree of efficiency of both the weapons and the techniques. This second category of factors, therefore, contains the inner or interior factors of bujutsu. In the study which follows, the outer factors are examined in part 2 and the inner factors in part 3. The main reason for treating these factors separately is that while the weapons and techniques of bujutsu differed to a certain extent in structure and functionality from one specialization to another, the mental attitude and the power needed to control them from within appear to have been substantially identical. Hence, it was decided to illustrate these inner factors separately and as a systematic whole, avoiding a repetition of concepts and ideas which are basically uniform throughout the various specializations. Even so, particular references are made to the ways in which these inner factors were interpreted and applied in the most important specializations.

In part 3, our aim is to present a unified and systematic view of certain theories propounded by a number of ancient masters of bujutsu-theories which, by and large, appear only in a fragmented fashion in the doctrine and are generally interpreted in an exclusivistic sense by the adepts of each specialization. The theories of the major strategies of combat and the principles of their application are also illustrated so as to unify them within a systematic whole and avoid having the particular character of one confuse or blur a panoramic view of all.


The Qualification "Martial" (Bu) and the Exponents of Bujutsu

The extensive and general use of the qualification "martial" by Western authors when discussing the art of combat (although admittedly based upon Japanese records) can be misleading. We may be easily led to falsely assume, for example, that the warrior (bushi) of feudal Japan, the prototype of the martial man, was the sole originator of these arts or that he alone practiced them. "Martial" is, of course, etymologically related to Mars, the Roman god of war, and consequently to war, warriors, military pursuits, and soldiers. By implication, this assumption could also lead us to qualify the specializations of the art of combat as arts of war, thus relating them more to the battlefield and to mass involvements of men and materiel than to individual confrontations. Neither of these assumptions, however, would be quite correct. To begin with, the Japanese warrior of the feudal era was not the sole practitioner of bujutsu, nor was he, by any means, the sole originator of its specializations. His predominant identification as the Japanese fighting man par excellence may be traced back, with a certain degree of accuracy, to 1600, when the military clan of the Tokugawa rose to power and, by forcefully organizing all the other major clans into a separate class with separate duties, rights, and privileges, extolled and elevated its members, de jure et de facto, above the members of all the other social classes. Before 1600, however, Japanese history provides abundant evidence that, during the ages of the original clans (uji) and the court nobles or aristocrats (kuge) in Nara and Kyoto, the distinction between such as the clansman-farmer, artisan, and merchant (including the clansman-priest) and the clansman-fighter was apparently not as clearly delineated as it was to become during the feudal era.

In the ages preceding the consolidation of the country into the rigidly stratified society of the Tokugawa-which made the passage from one class to another among commoners (heimin) extremely difficult and the admission of a member of another class to the military class (buke) almost impossible-the demarcation lines between classes were not strict. Until the very end of the fifteenth century, as Cole points out in his study of Kyoto during the Momoyama period, "almost any man of ability could carve a career by himself" (Cole, 58).

The decree disarming all commoners and the militant clergy, issued in the seventh month, eighth day of Tensho (1588) by Nobunaga's successor, Hideyoshi, provides the clearest and most telling proof that many commoners had not only possessed weapons such as bows and arrow, spears and swords, but had evidently been quite well versed in their use. "The possession of... implements of war," the decree candidly admitted, "makes difficult the collection of taxes and dues and tends to foment uprisings." Thus did Hideyoshi move to deprive all other classes of those martial options his own class had found so effective. Throughout the centuries which led to the absolute predominance of the military class, in fact, its right to rule was often hotly contested, particularly by the militant orders of Buddhist priests and monks, who finally had to be slaughtered en masse during the Ashikaga (Muromachi) and Momoyama periods before they could be discounted as effective opponents.

The assumption that the members of the military class were the sole practitioners and interpreters of bujutsu is even less valid in relation to those minor methods of combat which involved the use of wooden instruments such as the staff (or even the human body itself) as primary weapons of combat; Numerous methods of using these weapons flourished during Japan's feudal era, particularly after the establishment of the Tokugawa military dictatorship. Schools of martial arts frequented by the samurai often included a number of these arts in their training programs, but there is also ample evidence in the doctrine of bujutsu that they were practiced with equal fervor and dedication by members of other classes as well. Even a poet, the famous Basho, is said to have been skilled in the handling of the staff (bo), and countless hermits, abbots, and philosophers, as well as commoners of every class, could use their fans or pipes with flair and deadly accuracy-even against swords. In certain cases, these people were recognized as being the originators of particular specializations of the art of combat which even the warrior found impressive enough to include in his own program of military preparation. The skill of certain religious sects in the use of fists and feet is amply recorded not only in Chinese chronicles but also in manuscripts written by Japanese masters who claimed to have studied their methods of unarmed combat in China.

Actually, even in relation to those martial arts which, by law, warriors alone could practice - such as swordsmanship (kenjutsu) and spearfighting (yarijutsu) -- we find evidence that members of other classes practiced and applied them against the warrior himself, although he alone had a legal right to possess and use such weapons. Many of these illegal users were obviously outcasts from the military class. But many were not, and these often formed the backbone of such groups as the famous bands of professional fighters hired by merchants to protect shipments in transit from attack by bandits or to guard warehouses, or the groups of professional bodyguards hired by patrons who needed and could afford the cost of protection, or the leagues of guardians hired by farmers to safeguard crops at harvest time. These fighters were not recruited only from among the rejects of the military class (although, quite naturally, these men were a primary source of material for mercenary fighting). During the decline of the Tokugawa, for example, "The Tokaido's Number-One Boss," Jirocho of Shimizu (1820 -- 93), who controlled the gambling underworld there, belonged to the merchant class. The origins of the jovial Ishimatsu, however, one of his lieutenants, whose violent death at the hands of assassins after a prolonged sword fight in the forest cost the latter dearly, were so obscure that they were not even recorded. Going back even further in time to the more rigidly controlled period of the early Tokugawa era, the famous Chobei of Banzuiin, chief of the Otokodate in Edo, was a chonin (townsman), not a military retainer.


The Qualification "Martial' (Bu) and the Art of War

As indicated in the previous paragraphs, the adjective "martial" is semantically linked to military endeavors and, therefore, to the primary function of the military as a class: the waging of war. In this sense, could we say that all the specializations of the art of combat qualified as arts of war? It is obvious, from even a cursory glance at the various specializations and subspecializations listed in our introductory chart, that not all of these methods could be used effectively on the battlefield; consequently, the all-inclu-sive qualification "martial" is either inaccurate or else rests upon foundations not directly related to practical effectiveness solely within the broad dimensions of general warfare. Early chroniclers of bujutsu, after all, had made a distinction of sorts when they listed the following specializations of the art of combat as the exclusive arts of the warrior, hence as arts of war: archery, spearmanship, swordsmanship, horsemanship, fortifications, and use of firearms and military seamanship (which included swimming). Among the methods of unarmed combat used by the warrior in a subsidiary manner, the same chroniclers mention the art of suppleness, or jujutsu. A substantial number of specializations are omitted from these military records-a fact that should not surprise us, since from the standpoint of a warrior, the art of the war fan could hardly be com-pared to archery, nor the art of the wooden staff to the science of firearms. Why, then, this determination so apparent in the general doctrine of bujutsu, and so widely displayed by almost all masters of arts and disciplines of combat, to use the adjective "martial" (bu) to qualify all these methods?

At least a partial answer, we feel, may be provided by an examination of the importance assigned by the Japanese to the military tradition in the history of their country. Before we proceed to discuss these traditions in the following paragraphs, however, we must briefly reiterate that the art of war as strategies involving large numbers of men in massive confrontations on the battlefield is not a part of this study. Our primary concern here is individual combat-the art of direct and personal confrontation between two (or a few) men and the weapons, the techniques, and the attitudes used therein. We shall not plunge into the doctrinary debates concerning the degree of sophistication of the Japanese art of war, which, in the opinion of certain authors, was rather rudimentary. Brinkley, for example, while describing the individual warriors of Japan as composing "the best fighting unit in the Orient, probably one of the best fighting units the world ever produced," added in the same paragraph that "it was, perhaps, because of that excellence that his captains remained mediocre tacticians" (Brinkley', 172). Repeated references may be found in ancient treatises on warfare to the high level of development of the art of war in China and to its major theorists, such as General Sun-tzu, who repeatedly emphasized the social, massive character of combat in war and the absolute predominance of masses and logistics in defeating an enemy. But in the centuries preceding the Momoyama period (1568 -- 1600), Japanese armies were still "made up of small, independent bands of soldiers who fought more as individuals than as units of a tactical formation" (Wittfogel, 199). This was the way the Japanese warrior of one clan fought against the warriors of another clan; this was the way he fought against the Koreans during the first, legendary invasion of the Asiatic mainland; and this was the way he faced the invading Mongolian hordes in 1274 and 1281. The individual character of the art of war was still very much in evidence in the colossal confrontations at Sekigahara, witnessed by William Adams (1564 -- 1620), and at Osaka Castle in 1615. "Feudal Japan," Wittfogel concludes, perhaps a trifle sweepingly, "like feudal Europe, failed to develop the art of war" (Wittfogel, 199).

The individual character of the art of war in feudal Japan, so romantically emphasized in national sagas and by chroniclers of the age, actually facilitates our study of the particular specializations of bujutsu, for it allows us to adopt the individuality of direct, personal confrontation as our primary term of reference. In turn, the matrix of our study of all the possible applications of bujutsu will be the man-to-man encounter- whether on the battlefield or in the streets of a teeming city, whether on a lonely mountain road or in a temple, or even within the confines of a man's home. And this will also facilitate our inclusion of all the weapons, techniques, and attitudes devised to resolve the problems of individual confrontation.


The Military Tradition in the History of Japan

The extensive use of the qualification "martial" in the doctrine is explained by the extraordinary, some authors would say excessive, importance assigned by the Japanese even today to their military tradition, to the function of the military class in shaping the destiny of the nation, and to the ethics adopted by this class to justify its existence and policies. This importance is based upon the fact that, when we refer generically to the martial experience of Japan, we refer to one of the longest and most ancient involvements of a nation in such a dimension. As Lafcadio Hearn aptly pointed out, "About the whole of authentic Japanese history is comprised in one vast episode: the rise and fall of the military power" (Hearn, 259).

A panoramic survey of the events through which that power expressed itself with varying degrees of subtlety for almost nine centuries is found in chart 2 (p. 44) and in greater detail in part 1. Down through the centuries, then, the innermost fiber of the Japanese nation was imbued with the warrior's particular ideas, ethics, and sense of mission. These elements, which spurred the bushi to act on the stage of history, were rooted in a firm belief in Japan's divine origins, in the determination to confirm that belief by force of arms, even if it meant death, and in that code of behavior which demanded unquestioning obedience to the commands of one's immediate superior, who constituted the link with the divine past and thus would know the ways in which to successfully fulfill the mission implicit in those distant origins. For centuries these truths, as well as the way of life they represented, were inculcated into the Japanese character, seeping down to all levels of society and coloring every stage of the national development. It was a process of relentless indoctrination from above, both conscious and un-conscious, which began in earnest at the end of the Nara period, with the emergence of the warrior clans whose services proved invaluable (although ultimately costly) to the feuding clans of the court nobles (huge) and the emperor (tenno) during their bitter power struggles. The bushi brought with them their simple ideas of excellence, translated concretely into personal loyalty to one's immediate superior, and a readiness to fight and die without the slightest hesitation. These ideas, according to generally accepted historical records, contrasted vividly with the highly sophisticated and introspective patterns of the culture of Nara.

The contrast and resulting friction was ultimately resolved through force of arms. Many aristocratic clans were totally destroyed, and the few nobles who survived were deprived of any effective influence, being restricted to the representational precincts of the imperial court, together with the emperor. Also destroyed were the huge monasteries and libraries which contained the essence, the distillation of Heian culture: its scriptures, its records, and its works of art. By 1600, the slate had been almost wiped clean. From that point on, the Way of the Warrior flowed both brutally and subtly into the consciousness of the entire population: the farmer, a large portion of whose rice crop would be appropriated by the retainers of the local daimyo, or provincial lord, looking up from his hoeing to gaze at a group of samurai, their weapons glinting in the sun as they ran rhythmically alongside a palanquin bound for Edo; the chance traveler who paused by the side of the road, a silent witness to a duel, often to the death, between two swordsmen; the surging, excited populace at the festivals held at various times during the year, staring wide-eyed at the martial arts demonstrations which were often a focal point of such festivals. In thousands of incidents, both minor and of great social significance, the drama of a potentially lethal confrontation between one man and another was restaged again and again, until this particular form of human experience was burned almost indelibly into the Japanese soul.

Actually, during the Tokugawa period, the traditions of the military class, under the guise of a continuation of ancient culture, so thoroughly conditioned the national character that Western observers of the age were led to describe the Japanese people as being "naturally addicted to wars." The intensity of warfare and civil strife in Japan astounded even those observers who, it must be remembered, came from a Europe which was not at that time (nor had ever been) a haven of peace. Griffis, in a paper presented to the Asiatic Society of Japan in 1874, noted how endemic warfare had been in Japan, indicating that war was considered "normal" and peace the "exceptional condition of its inhabitants" (Griffis, 21). The same author also emphasized the contrast between the delight the Japanese took in calling their country the Land of Great Peace and, for example, the names of streets in Edo-names such as "Armor," "Helmet," "Arrow," "Bow," and "Quiver," all related to implements of war. In his analysis of the Japanese character, Brinkley wrote as follows':

Hidden beneath a passion for everything graceful and refined, there is a strong yearning for the pageant of war and for the dash of deadly onset; and just as the shogun sought to display before the eyes of the citizens of his capital a charming picture of a gentle peace, though its setting was a framework of vast military preparation, so the Japanese of every era has loved to turn from the fencing-school to the arbor, from the field of battle to the society of rockery and the cascade, delighting in the perils and struggles of the one as much as he admires the grace and repose of the other. (Brinkley', 11)

Did the military class succeed in completely saturating the national psyche with its particular interpretation of the national spirit ( Yamato-damashii), in imposing its values upon the rest of the country, in freezing history at that stage of national development which historians identify as feudal? The answer to these questions can be provided only by a study of the post-Meiji history of Japan, beginning in 1868. This study should reveal whether the military tradition and the influence of the warrior class had been terminated or only curtailed with the restoration of power to the emperor. In this context, there seems to be general agreement among Japanese and Western historians that no nation could be expected to emerge unscathed from centuries of the relentless conditioning undergone by Japan during her feudal era. No one has expressed this point better than Reischauer.

The two centuries of strictly enforced peace under the watchful eye and firm hand of the Edo government have left an indelible mark upon the people. The bellicose, adventurous Japanese of the sixteenth century became by the nineteenth century a docile people looking meekly to their rulers for all leadership and following without question all orders from above. (Reischauer', 93 -- 94)

The people had become thoroughly conditioned to look "instinctively" to the military leaders of the land for guidance and to assume that, because of their position, these leaders "were always honest and sincere." The same author concluded as follows: "Seven centuries of domination by the feudal military class has left patterns of thought and behavior which have not been easy to discard in recent times and which will not be easily erased even today" (Reischauer', 55).

The protagonist of that which Hearn considered "the whole of authentic Japanese history," the warrior of feudal Japan, had achieved a position of such importance, therefore, that his influence was not (probably could not be) eliminated, even after the military dictatorship of the powerful feudal barons was officially abolished in 1868 and society had been given a wider and firmer base through a massive educational effort intended to provide the foundations for the expertise necessary in an industrialized and highly competitive era. However, in the uncanny way in which a firmly entrenched traditional power structure often manages to survive the dawn of a new day by assuming various disguises or, more frequently, by broadening its base of support among all classes of people so that more citizens begin to identify with it, so did the military class manage to survive in Japan. The power of the Tokugawa clan and their allies was severely curtailed by the efforts of other powerful clans of warriors, including the Choshu and Satsuma clans, which were to provide the "new" Japan with the nucleus of an Imperial Army and Navy destined for greater glories and greater disasters in the decades to follow. The Restoration was, in effect, a ritualistic "changing of the guard," with waves of new warriors from the provinces advancing upon the capital where they jostled and finally dislodged the older, privileged class of warriors from their entrenched positions. Significantly, we are told by Yazaki (300) that the Kapakkan Rireki Mokuroku, or directory of government officials for the Council of State (Dajokan) held in 1867 -- 68, listed the following percentages by lineage in its composition: 78.9% belonging to the warrior class, 18.1% to the higher class of daimyo, 1.8% to the ancient imperial court recently restored (along with the emperor) to power, and 0.7% to the commoners.

It was this "new" leadership, then, which was to guide the nation in the liberated times of the modern age. In order to accomplish their task with the utmost efficiency, they embarked upon a fantastically intense effort to expand the traditional loyalty concept from the narrow confines of the clan to the wider horizon of the entire nation, enlarging the focus of unquestioning obedience to one's immediate superior and feudal lord to include blind and absolute fealty to the emperor. Kurzman noted that "if a man would willingly die for his lord, a person of mortal heritage, they reasoned, then his loyalty to the Sovereign, descendant of the Sun Goddess, could be nurtured to similar extremes" (Kurzman, 41). Accordingly, after the Meiji Restoration:

In classrooms and army barracks, the young Japanese was taught to glory in Japan's military traditions. He came to believe that death on the battlefield for the emperor was the most glorious fate of man and to believe in the unique virtues of a vaguely defined "national structure" and an even more vague "Japanese spirit." Together the government and army succeeded in a few decades in creating in the average Japanese the fanatical nationalism already characteristic of the upper classes, and an even more fanatical devotion to the emperor, which had been cultivated by historians and Shinto propagandists and fostered by oligarchs around the throne. (Reischauer', 129-30) This was possible, according to Mendel, because of the vagueness of the Meiji Constitution concerning "the location of political power"-a vagueness which the military, who had direct access to the throne, promptly exploited. They assumed "special privileges" and largely ignored the newly created civilian cabinet which was modeled upon Western systems of government. This independence of action in matters of governing was promptly dubbed "dual diplomacy," and its effects were to haunt the members of the civilian cabinet, who were ultimately unable to steer into more peaceful channels of national development the singular dedication of the military to ideals of racially exclusive predominance. Members of the military class continued to hold fast to the pursuit of a goal whose attainment they believed their destiny and, by implication, the destiny of their country since time immemorial. Eventually, members of every class in Japan began to feel fully justified in calling that destiny their own. By the early part of the twentieth century, this process of military identification on a nationwide scale had grown to such an extent that the authorities had "even succeeded in convincing these descendants of peasants, who for almost three centuries had been denied the right to possess swords, that they were not a downtrodden class but members of a warrior race. Japanese political and military indoctrination was indeed thorough and spectacularly successful" (Reischauer', 130).

It had also been successful during the Tokugawa period, when the military tradition inculcated from above had elicited the desired responses from below. Repeated attempts by innumerable commoners (heimin) throughout the entire feudal era to rise to the privileged level of the warrior were noted in many records. Although such ambitions were officially discouraged, the possibility of adoption into a military clan did exist- many wealthy merchants being willing to part with substantial sums in exchange for the right to have the insignia of a warrior clan embroidered on their sleeves.

When the desired status itself was not accessible, anything resembling it, however remotely, would serve to fulfill most aspirations. All associations of commoners, whether farmers, merchants, or artisans (even the clergy), were organized according to the vertical pattern of the military class, a pattern which linked the ancient clan structure to the contemporary period, thus imparting to it an aura of antiquity which, in Japan (as in many other countries), made it divine.

Even before the Meiji Restoration, the military tradition had permeated the whole of japanese life to the extent of having lost its primary identification with a single class. That it had become the sole tradition of every japanese subject was proven by the fact that when the military class tried once again to seize power from the emperor, the armies of "sword-wielding samurai" were crushed on the battlefields by an imperial army whose ranks were filled with conscripts from every class, including many farmers. The crushing of one of these rebellions, after 1868, wrote Browne,

"signified much more than the collapse of feudal opposition to the government and the new order. In the conflict the regular soldiers like Hidenori Tojo and the con-scripts who had fought along with them had shown that the valor and martial skill which had made the samurai elite such formidable fighters could be found in all the levels of the nation." (Browne, 17)

Thereafter, bowing to expediency, the leaders of the military class gradually acknowledged that every Japanese subject was heir to the tradition they had considered their own for so many centuries, and began to exhort their fellow countrymen to think of Japan as a nation of warriors. At the same time, they discovered new and effective ways of translating that tradition into political patterns of conduct, which the nation adopted and applied with irresistible zeal in such countries as Manchuria, China, Malaysia, and the Philippines. These patterns endured without serious challenge until the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945, when it became apparent that the defeat of the Japanese military effort had precipitated the collapse not only of a firm belief in a particular government policy, but actually of the entire moral universe of the Japanese nation. The identification between government policy, subject to the vagaries of political and military convenience, and the morality of the nation, which is of a more stable nature and has deeply rooted collective interests to promote and defend, had become so absolute in Japan that defeat on the battlefield left most Japanese "entirely disoriented" (Dore, 162). It seemed incredible to them that such a fate could have befallen the heirs of a divine past, a nation tracing its origins back to the dawn of human history, or that the "way" (michi) of the race had not triumphed over all others, which, being foreign, had automatically been considered imperfect.

Today, surveys of many kinds-anthropological, sociological, political, and religious -- have documented (and are continuing to follow) the astounding recovery of Japan from the disastrous effects of World War II. The positive side of their tradition helped the Japanese to "endure the unendurable" and to bravely face and survive the occupation, to close their depleted ranks and rebuild an industry in shambles, and to speedily reassume a position of prominence in the modern world. The military virtues of the past were applied to reconstruction with the intensity that had made the Japanese fearsome foes on the battlefield, making them, in turn, skillful and tireless competitors in world markets.

But the spirit of the bushi flickers restlessly in the dark recesses of the Japanese soul. Dore, in his study of city life in Japan, has noted in detail the tremendous difficulty encountered by the Japanese in attempting to shift their concept of morality and traditional values from the social ethic of the country, rooted in the feudal interpretation of reality as proposed and enforced by the bushi, to an individual morality based upon a personal interpretation of reality and a man's individual responsibility within it. Even today, the life of a Japanese subject is dominated by society the way an enlisted man's life is dominated by the army. Perhaps more than anywhere else in the world, the compactness of Japanese society, like the protective but monolithic embrace of a modern army (or of a military clan in days gone by), dictates from above and from without that which is to be believed, the ways in which relationships are to be structured, how individuals must behave in order to fulfill their obligations. Duties continue to be emphasized, while rights are muted and still seek concrete expression in new laws or customs and, above all, in a new spiritual conviction of the individual's value and independence within the group, originating from deep within that individual's being - a conviction which will sustain him when his group and its leaders, in their historical evolution, pass through the tragic crises which afflict all national groups. That spiritual certainty does not necessarily have to agree with the external dictates of the group, expressed in laws or customs, and may even be in opposition to pronouncements made in the name of the group by the individuals in power. In Japan, perhaps to a degree rarely encountered in other sophisticated cultures of the past or present, "morality is not summoned up from the depths of the individual" (Maruyama, 9), but is still to be sought elsewhere in society-thus being easily identified with and supplanted by external power. It must be added, in this context, however, that Japanese society is not (and has never been) alone in confronting this problem.

Classic tradition, hence the military tradition of the country, confronts the Japanese today. The artistic expressions of that tradition are quite revealing. The fearless retainer of a feudal lord, the much-heralded samurai, or the independent masterless warrior, the ronin, still cut their way through a maze of evil with slashing swords in kabuki and in countless adventure movies (chambara). Dore tells us that even today, in neighborhoods such as Shitayama-cho, salesmen appear in samurai garb and shout the virtue of their wares using the sharp jargon of the Tokugawa warriors. The martial pattern of the feudal tradition can still be detected by Western observers of the Japanese business world today in that particular relationship between the employer on one side, with his paternalistic but authoritarian attitude, and the employees in their orderly but feverishly dedicated ranks on the other. It is reflected in the formation of colossal industrial complexes which have elicited "both apprehension and envy" abroad, their combined power bearing a striking resemblance to the prewar cartels (zaibatsu). In this context, most analysts of Japanese industry, in fact, have come to realize that the element which worked exceedingly well for the Japanese was their time-honored "traditional approach" applied to industrial productivity. We are told by De Mente, on page 51 of the March-April 1970 issue of Worldwide Projects and Industry Planning, that surveys carried out by the Oriental Economist in 1968 and 1969 revealed that the largest corporations in Japan had never relinquished the traditional management system, "but had actually strengthened it over the past 10 years." This system remains, in essence, that which it has been for centuries: a vertical clan system under the guidance of the patriarchal leader, geared to operate smoothly and efficiently for the welfare of the "clan." This ever-present awareness of the past in all forms of Japanese life, according to Dore, "is not surprising in view of the recency of the feudal past contrasting so clearly with the whole tenor of modern urban life" (Dore, 245).

This awareness cannot be expected to fade away or be replaced by a less rigidly organized conception of man's loneliness in the heart of creation, by an increased awareness of the self as a responsible agent capable of individual decisions which might clash against the dicta of the clan, the house, the family, or, finally, society, until that feudal tradition has been reevaluated and redefined. "Real tradition," wrote Yves Montcheuil, "is constitutive, not constituted" (Brown, 60). It grows as men evolve individually, as well as collectively. It adapts to new circumstances of time, place, and culture, and it stimulates new responses which themselves become a part of that tradition. It does not force the present into the rigid mold of the past, nor does it apply unyieldingly to the present values developed during an era which constituted only a phase of the national development. A constantly enriched and enriching tradition would not, in brief, impose a system of ethics developed and accepted by the military clans of feudal Japan upon the whole country and, progressively, upon the rest of the world under professed principles of brotherhood and universal harmony within the human family (hakko-ichiu). That system of ethics, that martial code, represented only one particular interpretation of reality and of man's role in it. Even a cursory glance at Japanese history, after all, provides ample evidence that other interpretations predated and then coexisted with those of the military class-interpretations which were less successful perhaps in teaching a man how to use a sword, but no less admirable and often more useful in helping him to comprehend the true dilemma of his existence.

Considering the great significance assigned by the Japanese people to their military tradition, then, the qualification of "martial" (bu) so freely attributed to almost all the specializations of the art of combat in the doctrine of bujutsu finds its own semantic justification. It was much more selectively applied during the feudal era, when the warrior generally used it in reference to those arts which were his professional prerogative or when he extended it to include other arts still rather strictly correlated to the former. Its use increased with the progressive expansion of the military tradition among all classes of Japanese subjects and their striving toward total identification with it. It is undeniable that the feudal warrior played the major role upon Japan's national stage. It was, after all, the warrior who used those methods of combat, often with con-summate skill, as he strove to rise to power in the face of an armed and equally deter-mined opposition. It is also true that, consequently, he was the indirect activator of an intense interest in bujutsu on the part of members of other classes of Japanese society, who were forced to learn his methods or invent new ones if they wished to compete with him for even a semblance of political influence, to challenge his position of exclusive privilege or merely to defend themselves against his excesses or his inability to protect them from lawlessness. For not always, nor in every part of the country, was the warrior capable of totally imposing his interpretation of law and order. In such instances, citizens were forced to rely heavily upon themselves and their civil organizations in an effort to safeguard their lives and property.

The bushi, however, remained the main practitioner of bujutsu, since whenever he was exposed to new methods of combat intended to minimize or reduce his own military power, he was forced to learn them in the interests of self-preservation. The most notorious example of this necessity was provided by his involvement with the population of the Ryukyu Islands. It was in these islands-according to a predominant theory in the doctrine-that he learned how inadequate his armor and his array of traditional weapons (which had hitherto won the respect of enemy warriors in Korea) could prove to be, when pitted against the bare hands and feet of a peasant sufficiently desperate and properly trained in the ancient Chinese techniques of striking. These methods, said to have originated in the distant reaches of Asia (India, China, Tibet), helped men to develop their capacities for hitting or striking with hands, feet, and other parts of the body.

The bushi was, therefore, caught in an uncontrollable spiral of escalation. He had to practice traditional methods of combat and continue to learn new ones-in a manner similar to the modern military establishment, which keeps devising new methods of destruction, even though these soon become obsolete, which, in turn, necessitates the development of even more destructive methods, ad infinitum. In any case, as noted earlier, after the sixteenth century the bushi alone had the legal right and enough time to practice and perfect various forms of bujutsu. The main schools of the martial arts were usually directed, in fact, by masters of arms attached to a clan, or by unattached warriors who had been granted permission to teach (for a fee) by the lord of the district. These schools kept records of their students and methods, thus providing a continuity in the process of expansion and development of certain arts which other schools, more removed from the military dimension, did not possess-such a lack often resulting in the disappearance of certain schools and methods, which have left us only fragmented references to indicate that they ever existed.

Finally, modern disciplines of unarmed combat, which have become famous under their Japanese names the world over, were developed by masters who acknowledged their indebtedness to the bujutsu of the ancient military class of Japan. Actually, and with only a few exceptions, these masters seem to take great pride in linking themselves and their innovations in the art of combat to a tradition that has an indefinable and irresistible charisma derived from its very antiquity. Even in those few cases where modern masters point out the differences between their methods and others (both ancient and modern), differences which make their methods unique and therefore a contribution to bujutsu rather than merely repetitions of its ancient theories and practices, their position within a well-defined, traditional stream of evolution is, by implication, unmistakably clear. The only and, indeed, rare cases of a clear break with this tradition occur when the basic premises of bujutsu as arts of combat, as arts of war and violent subjugation, are denied and their techniques transformed into arts of pacification and harmless neutralization. This subject, however, requires a further, detailed exploration, which the authors hope to undertake in a subsequent volume.


Origins of Bujutsu

The authors of books and treatises dealing with the Japanese martial arts, as well as almost every important master of the ancient and modern disciplines and methods of combat derived from them, have all presented their views on the subject of the primary sources, the first systematic presentation of techniques, and so forth in an effort to provide a satisfactory answer to the question: How, when, and where did bujutsu begin?

The history of Japan in general and the doctrine of the martial arts in particular do not provide us with definite or precise answers to this question. Both the historical records of the Japanese nation (employing the Chinese system of calligraphy) and the more specialized manuscripts of the various schools of bujutsu refer to a variety of practices and methods which were ancient and codified long before any actual records were kept. Chinese writing is said by most historians to have been introduced into Japan in the sixth century, probably together with the first Buddhist texts. By that time, Japan had already evolved through the pre- and protohistorical periods, such as the Jomon, Yayoi, and Asuka, which culminated in the formation of a political organization revolving around the Heijo capital, Nara (710 -- 84), with its resplendent imperial court.

These periods of development, which preceded the Heian period (794 -- 1185), were to see the emergence and eventual consolidation of one of the most ancient social units in the history of mankind: the clan. In many history books, in fact, these periods are referred to as the age of the original clans (uji) and of hereditary titles (kabane, or ski). These units emerged from a nebulous "age of the gods" (kami-no-yo) and from an imperfectly known blending of tribes, some of which had apparently emigrated from the Asiatic mainland or from islands of the south, while others are considered to have been the original inhabitants of the islands of the Japanese archipelago. Indirect references in Japanese records would seem to indicate the existence of two major tribes: the first included the clans of the emperor and the nobles (kobetsu), known as the Imperial Branch, while the second included the Divine Branch, or clans of other, less specified subjects (shimbetsu). Both groups of clans claimed the same divine origins, tracing these back to two divinities, Izanagi and Izanami, but the kobetsu tribes reportedly coalesced "when the sun came into being," while the shimbetsu tribes took shape "when the lower forces of nature were evolved" (Brinkley', 5). According to a prevalent school of thought, it seems that "the invaders of Japan, in the sixth century before the Christian era, found the islands already inhabited by men of such fine fighting qualities that mutual respect grew out of the struggle between the two, and the vanquished received in the new hierarchy a position little inferior to that assumed by the victor" (Brinkley', 182 -- 83). Below these two major groups of noble tribes was the "mass of the people" forming the Foreign Branch (bambetsu). Every clan belonging to a particular tribe seemed to embrace both direct and indirect (lateral and collateral) descendants from the same ancestors, and their original bond was, accordingly, one of blood. Like the ancient Chinese clan (tsu), the Japanese uji developed its kinship ties into territorial bonds which were primarily related to the countryside and villages in a certain vicinity. Al-though the clan had a strict relationship to (almost an identification with) rural groups of people descended from common ancestors, its basic pattern of structure and functionality was quite smoothly and effectively adapted to town and city life, where it blended with, and reinforced, other forms of organizations, such as professional guilds and corporations. Kinship and territoriality, whatever their basis, seem also to have found their primary spiritual expression in a religious cult centered upon a clan's ancestors and upon the latter's origins. Each clan, therefore, worshiped its own deities (uji-kami) and strove to impose them upon others, as appears evident from the progressive encroachment and eventual primacy of the solar cult of the Yamato clan.

In structure, each clan consisted of a central, dominating house or family, which gave the clan its name, and various affiliated units known as tomo or be. Other categories of subjects also appear, confusedly, in the records, between those two classes of clansmen and the serfs or slaves known as yakko at the very bottom of the ladder (who bore no family name). All were subject to the power of a headman (uji-no-osa), who was the absolute and undisputed leader and master of the clan. This interesting figure seems to have played a predominant role in determining the direction and function of clan life. Originally a military leader, as indicated by the references to an invasion from continental Asia, he seems to have subsequently evolved into a hierarchical representative of, and link to, the divinity. As military skill, following the natural process of specialization of functions and roles in an age of settlement, was increasingly delegated to sub-leaders, the particular capacity to contact the gods, reveal mysteries, and appease the forces of heaven through invocations (norito) and an intricate liturgy (matsuri) became the primary role and function of the highest clan leaders and, to a supreme degree, of the emperor. This religious character, it should be noted at this point, eventually became one of the most salient expressions of power and privilege. Every clan which was later allowed to develop, regardless of its particular raison d'etre, found its highest justification and strength in the mystical powers of its leaders. A pattern of vertical, mystical supremacy was also apparent in those groups of people with special professional skills, such as earthenware-makers (suebe), carpenters (takumibe), and masons (ishizukuri-be), whether they endeavored to function alone or, as was more frequently the case, attached themselves to the major clans of the nobles. In the first case, the members of these professional guilds looked upon their own leaders as the repositories of an awe-some professional knowledge, divinely inspired, which the leaders generally monopolized. In the second case, they and their professional leaders looked upon the clan headman, uji-no-osa, as the exclusive repository of an even more comprehensive type of knowledge, whose overtones of divine inspiration made it doubly potent politically. The most noted examples of the persistence to the present day of this mystic concentration of power are swordsmiths and masters of martial arts who refer, in their practices and teachings, to secret rituals and forms directly or indirectly related to the meta-physical dimensions of man's existence. This element will appear over and over again as an important factor in the evolution of bujutsu.

The clan, as a primary social unit, had achieved self-sufficiency through the cultivation of its own rice paddies and the production of its own artifacts, textiles, agricultural instruments, and, naturally, weapons. From the very beginning, the history of these clans was not one of peaceful coexistence. The archaic weapons found in the mounds and dolmens of the period from 250 B.C. to A.D. 560 indicate that, as was true during every other national age of formation, warfare was the predominant condition. By 600, these weapons were quite highly developed. Chinese records, compiled at the court of the Sui dynasty on the basis of testimonials given by Japanese envoys a century before the first written classic of the Japanese nation came into existence, related that "bows, arrows barbed with iron or bone, swords, cross bows, long and short spears, and armor made of lacquered hide constituted their warlike equipment" (Brinkley', 105).

Historians are still searching for other, more illuminating references to the five original kobetsu clans: the Otomo, the Kumebe, the Nakatomi, the Imibe, and the Mononobe, which are mentioned in the early records of the nation together with the clan of Emperor Jimmu, the Yamato. Eventually, this clan gained supreme but by no means unchallenged ascendancy over all the others. From its central hierarchy and from its descendants came the emperors who were to be titular heads of the nation, while its cult of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, overcame and absorbed all the other cults in the hitherto simple polytheistic worship of the age which is the root of Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan. Every major clan had its own cohorts of warriors, but three clans in particular seem to have been concerned with the art of combat and, therefore, with its traditional specializations. The Otomo, for example, were referred to as Great Escorts, the Kumebe as Military Corporations, and the Mononobe as Corporations of Arms, while the Nakatomi and the Imibe were linked to more specifically religious and political functions. It is not clear whether these military clans and their affiliated "corporations" (be) were independent units (as the feudal clans emerging from the provinces centuries later proved to be) or simply branches of the imperial clan through which it carried out its policies of expansion and centralization of power. Given the gradual but relentless consolidation of power by the Yamato clan, the second thesis seems more plausible. The very existence and specific compactness of these early military clans, however, clearly implies the existence of strong opposition and competition among various militant forces, in addition to the resistance provided by the alien Ainu at the ever receding frontiers.

The clan, then, was the sum of the Japanese soul. Seligman, in fact, qualified the Japanese subject as being, throughout his long history, "essentially a clansman, with all the group feelings which a clan organization implies" (Seligman, 129). In such "group feelings" many historians find the first roots of a human commitment to force as the primary instrument for imposing a new social entity, as well as for preserving the primacy of that social form. This commitment to the use of arms in developing the earliest structures of Japanese society seems to have been particularly intense-to the extent of actually relegating all the other features of their national psyche to a subordinate position even when the necessity for fighting in defense of clan interests ceased to be an overriding one. In his observations concerning the Japanese character, Seligman wrote that "fighting came to him so naturally that when, as was generally the case, there was no outside enemy, clan fought against clan and district against district, so that the greater part of Japanese history, at least up to the Tokugawa times, is a series of civil wars" (Seligman, 129). The facility with which the Japanese resorted to armed and unarmed violence became identified, in the eyes of Western observers as well as in the eyes of the Japanese themselves, with his nature, with his interpretation of man's role in reality, with his tradition. St. Francis Xavier (1506 -- 52) was among the first Westerners to define them as "very warlike," and centuries later, even such an aesthete as Okakura Kakuzo (1862 -- 1913) still referred to them as "fierce warriors."

After the seventh century, with the adoption of the Chinese system of political centralization and recognition of the imperial court as the nucleus of an expanding and homogeneous nation, all clans provided soldiers for a unified army through a system of general conscription which, although widely despised, was the only possible answer to constant engagements at the frontiers with tribes of aborigines who were retreating reluctantly before the steady advance of the new empire throughout the archipelago. Conscription on a massive basis could hardly have been a permanent system at this time, however, since the clan subjects who were asked to fight were also (for the most part) the clan farmers who produced the only means of subsistence the new nation possessed. Sustenance through conquest, after all, had been possible only where the conquered peoples had riches to surrender or advanced systems of production that could be made to operate for the conqueror. There is little evidence to prove that, in archaic Japan, the local aborigines were such a people. The Japanese clansmen were confronted, generally, with nomadic tribes whose agriculture was quite primitive and who relied heavily upon their rude farming and hunting methods for fulfillment of their daily needs-as did most nomadic tribes of northern Asia. The only riches available, then, must have been the land itself. Thus, it seems, the massive military organizations which emerged from the records of this age were intrinsic parts of a massive colonizing effort which maintained a strong identification between the Japanese soldier and the Japanese farmer-both often being (as was true of the Roman legionnaires) one and the same.

If such an assumption appears reasonable enough in relation to large numbers of clansmen bearing arms, it also appears reasonable to infer from the records the existence of a smaller but more stable line of military succession based on heredity. At the frontiers, for example, a military organization of officers and veterans was maintained to insure the conditions essential to expansion in a militarily administered territory: continuity and professionalism. The origins of the feudal warriors who imploded from the provinces back into the center of political power in the sixteenth century are considered by most historians to have been in these military organizations. Tightly knit groups, they were led by officers whose entire lives were devoted to arms and arts of combat such as kyujutsu, yarijutsu, kenjutsu (using the long tachi), and jobajutsu-arts which were ancient even in the tenth century, when the rise of the military class clearly began.

It would appear, then, that bujutsu actually began to take shape with the early Japanese clansman and has followed him in one form or another ever since. Any attempt to further probe the origins of bujutsu would encounter the infinitely more difficult question of the origins of that fighting biped-man himself. That which appears incontrovertible, even in times as ancient as those of the original uji, is the clannish nature of bujutsu-the feeling of total commitment to the theories and practices of combat adopted by a specific social unit, to the exclusion (often violently expressed) of those adopted by other social units. This was a pronounced characteristic during the feudal ages of Japan, not only within the military class, which, after all, was intrinsically clannish, but also in all those other classes whose members organized themselves in guilds or corporations according to the vertical hierarchy and structure of the archaic clan. Even religious orders in Japan, although supposedly removed from the harsh com-petition and the exclusivism of mundane affairs and inspired by the universal simplicity of Buddhist brotherhood, generally repeated the clan pattern in their religious or para-religious organizations. This pattern is still very much in evidence in almost all modern clubs and organizations where ancient as well as modern forms of bujutsu are practiced in Japan. And, perhaps due to Japanese domination of these arts (at least at the highest levels), this clannish tendency is often found even in Western clubs where these arts are taught.

If we are to arrive at a correct and comprehensive understanding of all the major and minor specializations of the martial arts, we must examine in somewhat greater detail the nature, history, and role of the various classes of subjects who appear inextricably linked to bujutsu after its emergence during the age of the clans, and who contributed to its development and evolution throughout the ages that ensued. Such a study follows in part 1.



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