Yoseikan BU animation PHILOSOPHICAL ROOTS

Yoseikan Budo draws its inspiration from both the traditional and modern Japanese Budo. Although it is possible to trace this line of thought back into the distant haze of antiquity, the two strongest direct influences are Jigoro Kano, the founder of [Kodokan] Judo and Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido.

To those familiar with the thought of these two men, this may at first seem a contradiction.

Professor Kano was an influential educator, who was well read in Western as well as Asian thought. He was, of course, a strong advocate for the use of martial arts training as moral education. However, he was also firmly convinced of the value of the scientific method and strongly advocated the cultivation of a critical rationality in the study and refinement of budo. As an educator, he sought to develop a systematic curriculum for preserving and teaching the best of traditional budo in a context that would also incorporate Western modes of understanding and which would have as it's aim the training of model citizens.

Ueshiba O-sensei, on the other hand, was a mystic and an eccentric genius. His intuitive understanding of budo was incomparable, but his approach was that of the poet or holy man, not the scientist. During Ueshiba's lifetime of teaching budo, his Aikido was contantly changing, and those who studied with him during different periods often learned very different approaches.

As Ueshiba's journey of self discovery changed his understanding, he changed the budo he taught. Ueshiba increasingly became concerned that his Aikido transmit spiritual lessons which lie at deepest heart of martial arts: that the pliant and gentle ultimately overcomes the greatest strength, that conflict is wasteful and unproductive, that there is a harmonious flow in the rythmn of the universe, that, when echoed in the human spirit, enobles it. As he taught increasingly idealized techniques to demonstrate these lessons, an increasingly high level of mastery became necessary to practically apply them.

Although universal ethical concerns were of the most central importance to Ueshiba, his approach to pursuing such goals was closely tied to the idiosyncratic process of inward journey, and therefore difficult to pass on systematically in his absence.

Mochizuki studied diligently with these great teachers. Underlying his Yoseikan Budo is the fruit of his attempts to reach a synthesis of these two very different approaches. The result, in practical terms, is a system with a carefully considered structure, one which emphasizes the importance of rationality and empirical validation, but which ultimately focuses on the journey of the individual in hammering out his own authentic truth.

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Jim Collier, jcollier@bp.as.ua.edu

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