Bunbu Ryodo

A great second principle emphasized by Dr. Kano is Bunbu Ryodo. You will recognize two out of the four Japanese characters here: the second character bu, or the first character in Budokai, means ‘martial’ or ‘fighting will’ and ‘courage’; and the last character do, or the second character in Judo, means a Way, as distinct from merely a technical skill.

The whole phrase means ‘Culture and Martial Power, Both Ways Together’. Now, bun means literature and stands for civilization and culture in general; bu, as you know, means fighting spirit. Dr. Kano was using a very old ideal in Japan: culture and power united together. Culture without power will be ineffective, and power without culture will be barbarous. Dr. Kano exemplified the ideal in himself; he invented Judo, and then he was a great figure in Japanese education, headmaster of two important colleges and the author of all these writings which are collected in these three big volumes.

The character bun, as he explained it, included culture, refinement, good character, and clarity of vision and intelligence. Bu means fighting ability, willpower, concentration and the ability to remain calm in a crisis. He divided this character into two parts; he did this with Europeans, and though it may seem a bit complicated, I will do it too. The part at the bottom-left means to ‘check’ or ‘stop’, and the part to the top-right was the old character for a ‘spear’. So the whole character means to ‘check the spear’.

What it means is that one should learn to use a spear not for the purpose of attacking but in order to ‘check the spear’ with which one is attacked. This was to be the fundamental basis of the bu power which you get through practising Judo or other martial arts. The ideal was intelligence and power, and these two Dr. Kano explains with many examples.