Does budo build character?

David Lynch, Koru Dojo

Stan Schmidt once made the observation that we promote karate or aikido training on the basis that it builds character. We then interact with other “trained” people assuming that they must therefore be trustworthy, and are disappointed when they’re not. He suggested instead that budo reveals character.

It is a mistake to think that the more senior a person the more poor behaviour can be forgiven. I believe we must hold ourselves to a higher and higher standard as we rise in rank. A good starting point is the Code of Ethics of the Australian Jujitsu Federation (AJF).

These reflections were prompted by this post by Wayne Muromoto: Having a Moral Compass in Budo

“Budo, like any human endeavor, has its own share of scoundrels, liars, cheats and crooks. There are also people who may not be engaged in illegal activities, but whose moral, ethical and spiritual compass are less than stellar. Way less. How you deal with that is your own kuleana (“property,” as we say in Hawaii), but you have to live with yourself, and you shouldn’t lie to yourself about the choices you therefore make.”



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