Budo Theory: Exploring Martial Arts Principles

  • You have paid your dues sweating in the dojo, you know the effort needed to achieve technical excellence.
  • You know there are deeper concepts, principles, and philosophies to your martial journey that are often hard to find and understand because you don’t speak Japanese, or countless books you’ve dug through only contain bits and pieces here and there.
  • If you are a disciplined student (Shugyosha) interested in a resource that pulls martial arts principles together then read on.

Why a Book on Budo Theory (Budo Riron)?

After forty some odd years studying martial arts (Karate and Iaido), like any serious student, I still struggle to put all the pieces together into some unified whole. After reading a lot of books, discussions with many instructors, attending countless clinics, and putting many buckets of sweat on the dojo floor, I still am unsatisfied with my understanding of many topics that I know have deeper meaning. Fortunately, I had excellent teachers that encouraged and challenged my research.

All martial arts have similar underlying principles. They might use different ways to describe them, or use different methods of teaching them, but at their core they are the same. I began to form an outline of martial arts concepts that grew to become the first edition of Budo Theory published in 1993.

I wasn’t the only one searching for deeper meaning.

Since then I have continued my martial journey. After numerous requests to reprint, I updated, revised, and expanded the entire book to the current second edition. While researching the second edition, I discovered Budo Theory is still one of the very few books to attempt to pull together martial arts principles into a coherent structure.

What It Means To You

The journey, as we all know, is where all the fun is. Budo Theory: Exploring Martial Arts Principles keeps you on the path. If you want to chase through the weeds by all mean do so, but Budo Theory points you to lucrative areas of study and ties together many concepts that will definitely help your technique and understanding of your martial art.

Explore Foundational Principles

  • How Martial Ways (Budo) have evolved and matured into what they are today.
  • The significance of the Dojo, and how Courtesy (Reigisaho) can enhance your training.
  • Understand the learning stages you travel through on your martial arts journey. 
  • Principles (Ri) underlying Practical Application (Ji) and when technique Lacks Principle (Muri).
  • Concepts of Energy (Ki), how it is coordinated (Kiai), and Expressed (Aiki) to your opponent.
  • See how Duality (Kyo-Jitsu) shapes combat.

Investigate Technical Principles

  • Using the Eyes (Metsuke, Chakugan, Ken, Kan) in combat to perceive Gaps (Suki) in your opponent’s movement and mental state—before he moves.
  • How breathing (Kokyu Ho) affects stability, technique, and mental status, and its relation to the Abdominal Convergence (Tanden).
  • Using the Voice (Kake Goe) to coordinate movement, and affect your opponent.
  • Stance (Tachi), Footwork (Ashi Sabaki), and engagement postures (Kamae).

Discover Tactical Principles

  • Create (Tsukuri) and exploit Gaps (Suki) in your opponent’s stance, movement, technique, and mental status.
  • Understand Initiative (Sen) and how to retake it using timing concepts.
  • Utilize Engagement Distance (Ma-ai) and Body Shifting (Tai Sabaki) to dislocate your opponent’s strength while sustaining yours.
  • Collapse (Kuzushi) your opponent’s structure and strategy both physically and mentally.

Uncover Unifying Principles

  • Using Variation (Henka) and Reverse Techniques (Gyaku Waza) to broaden your technique.
  • Learn tools to enable deeper Analysis (Bunkai) of technique to peel back the outer layers of Traditional Forms (Kata).
  • Journey inward to explore mental states (Mushin, Fudoshin, Heijoshin, and Zanshin) that point toward higher orders of strategic thinking.
  • Find concepts that tie together mind, body, and technique.

Budo Theory is all about synthesis. It’s about taking seemingly disparate technical details and considering the conceptual principles behind them. These principles help you understand a larger context that you can apply to your martial art with more flexibility and decisiveness.

Budo Theory is Unique

There are countless books, videos, and articles describing the “how-to” of martial arts technique. Budo theory is unique because it discusses the principles behind the techniques and tactics—the why.

For example, we all learn to shout in the Dojo (commonly called Kiai, but better termed Kake Goe), but have you ever considered how sound affects you and your opponent? How is the shout coordinated with breathing and the application of force? How different sounds can create different effects? In short, what are the principles behind using Kake Goe?

Budo Theory gives you tools to explore and apply principles to your own martial discipline with more flexibility and deeper meaning.

“Budo Theory Takes Your Martial Journey Well Beyond Just Punching and Kicking.”

The Bottom Line

Budo Theory: Exploring Martial Arts Principles will help you improve your martial art. You will not find another book that pulls this kind of information together. Budo theory is information dense, covering over 30 major topics, and over 180 concepts. The book includes over 200 illustrations and photographs to help you understand the origin of the terms used and to illustrate the concepts discussed.

“You Invest a Great Deal of Time and Effort in Your Martial Journey. Give Yourself Some New Tools and Perspectives to Make Your Journey Richer”

Thanks for Considering This

  • Author: Richard Rowell
  • Format: Softcover – sewn binding
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-0969795926
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 11 inches
  • No. Pages: 212

Price: $25.00

Shipping: 1-4 copies – $10.00

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