Bunbu Ryodo

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by Joe Maurantonio

Last year, a dojo friend of mine remarked on how impressed he was with the level of martial ability of some dojo members. Naturally, I mentioned my appreciation of his implied complement. He also added that he was further impressed by the fact that many of the students at our dojo pursued their education in university settings as well.

“Balance,” I smiled.

My dictionary explains the meaning of the word balance as “a stable mental or psychological state; emotional stability.” One of the more important aspects of our martial training deals with the concept of life balance. Bunbu Ryodo, or the balance of pen and sword, is derived from the the Edo period of Japan. During this period, the Tokugawa Shogunate encouraged the members of its warrior class to pursue both the literary and martial arts with equal emphasis. It was an attitude that helped the bushi adjust from the warring period of Japan to one of peace. And today it helps those who pursue the martial ways develop into complete human beings.

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