Evolution of Martial Arts: Difference between Bujutsu and Budo

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The evolution of martial arts is a vast topic that can't be fully explained in one simple blog post. You can, however, get the general idea by learning the difference between Bujutsu and Budo. Many of you might practice one of the nine Budo martial arts: Judo, Kendo, Jukendo, Kyudo, Sumo, Karatedo, Kenpo, Aikido or Naginata. Although very important in modern martial arts, these nine forms were not actually practiced in ancient Japan and instead evolved from Bujutsu in order to keep martial arts relevant in today's modern society.

The Bujutsu martial arts were the art of war. Techniques that were taught were for fighting and self-defense, because at that time, warriors needed to learn how to win battles. Meanwhile the "philosophy" was left for study through other sources and was not actually a part of the martial art. As time went on and advances were made in technology and society, these skills became unnecessary and there was worry they would become a dying practice. To keep the martial arts alive, the Bujutsu martial arts started to evolve in the 19th and 20th centuries into many of the familiar forms martial arts students practice today. Bujutsu forms like Aikjutsu and Kenjutsu were renamed and called Aikido and Kendo.

For martial arts to stay alive and useful, they needed to do more than teach fighting and combat skills. This dilemma is what brought spirituality and philosophy into each practice and made many martial art forms what they are today. Although Budo martial arts have their differences, they all use the original Bujutsu disciplines to teach respect, self-control, peace and self-fulfillment.