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.”



The death of the traditional organisation

About 2 years ago we read this provocative, yet insightful, post by George Ledyard Sensei, a well known North American aikido practitioner who maintains a strong lineage to aikikai, yet practices widely with daito-ryu influenced people, internal strength, systema and I am sure many others. Read it in full  here

Much food for thought and helpful in thinking about our path forward.

“…I have lately had the pleasure of attending and participating in a number of so-called Aikido “Bridge” Seminars. These are events which cross over stylistic and organizational boundaries allowing teachers of very diverse backgrounds, who might otherwise never have encountered each other, to share their Aikido experience with any willing student, regardless of level, style or affiliation.Last year, at one of these events at which I was honored to be invited to participate, I sat after hours with a room full of teachers whose collective Aikido experience was more than three hundred years between us and had the realization that this was really the future, that we were participating in the death of the traditional organization as we have know them….”


Welcome to Great Ocean Aikido. Our name is derived from Koretoshi Maruyama’s doka

Every river has a name. However, these names disappear when they flow into the great ocean. Aikido has many styles, many names, but Aikido is Aikido. It is my vision and hope that, like the rivers, they flow together and unite as one.