“If you want to link the code and the path of Budo in a solid way, this book is the ultimate guide for every martial arts Practitioner.” Kancho Eric Van Vaerenbergh – IBK Kyokushin Budokai All-Round Fighting Chairman – Hanshi – 8th Dan.
“‘Budō – The Book of the Way’, or as I would like to call it, a practical handbook for daily life, manages to transfer the complex subject of Budō and its seven virtues into modern times in the form of a small booklet and to link it to real life. This booklet by Hanshi Marc Howes is truly refreshing and enlightening… He has also succeeded in integrating the virtues and their meaning into modern life by means of real stories and has thus shown possibilities to really live them. No exaggerated scientific-technical work, no romanticism of subject and meaning, no thousand pages of mystical knowledge. This booklet is an uncomplicated guide for anyone who seriously wants to deal with the virtues and integrate them into their everyday life.” – Saiko Shihan Marcel Vanderschaeghe – Founder of Ashihara Goshinryu Karate® . Technical Director EOS and AGK. 8th Dan Ashihara Goshinryu Karate. 7th Dan EOS-System, Kyoshi. 6th Dan Ju-Jitsu.
“In my job as Agile coach and as a Martial arts teacher its important to have a goal and proceed on a path that will bring you forward, this book gives you knowledge and understanding in the values that can help you to grow and set your path as an individual person, and as a martial arts student. Read it, Understand it and Live by it, Osu” – Sensei Marcel van den Berg (4th Dan) and Agile Coach. Ashihara Karate International Organisation.
”Hanshi Marc Howes has with this manual of Budō made a beautiful and precise framework for anyone who wishes to understand and make Budō a part of their life. It’s definitely one of those books you can return to for guidance.” – Shihan Tommy B Adelhall 5th Dan. TSG-International. Fudoshin Dojo, Kinna, Sweden.
“At a first glance, the book appears to be a succinct explanation of Budō but impressively it is also a tool which could help to give structure to your martial journey and a thought-provoking source of information that will resonate on many levels” – Shihan Mal Sanchez-Jones. Goshin Karate BCKA 6th Dan / Kudo Wales – Branch Chief
Excerpt from ‘Budō – The Book of the Way’:
“Bushidō wo goji kankō suru mono ha dare zo”
(Who upholds and preserves Bushido?)
Mizuho Tarō (Bushidō 1, no. 3 April 1898)
I suppose the first question to be asked is, why Budō? My interest in seeing the value of a set of guiding principles, began with my work with young people with severe social, emotional and psychological problems. Without exception, none of them had a Way, or a Path. I’ve capitalised the words to signify their importance. I’ve been luckier than most: I was raised in a military environment during those crucial younger years. I also went to a military school for a while. The ethos that was promoted was one of honesty, hard work and loyalty.
Many of the young people I worked with did not have a guiding set of morals while growing up. They often grew up without a positive role model and looked to role models that they believed would be effective within their world. This is fully understandable. They needed attainable social goals as they saw them. However, these role models were often criminals within their community, or cartoonish figures in films. The longer I worked with them, the more I knew what was missing: A Way. A simple set of guiding precepts that would be easy to learn, easy to understand, and, more importantly, easy to implement into everyday life.
However, I noticed that this sense of being rudderless extended beyond troubled youths. Many of the adults I worked with also struggle with their self-identity and self-worth. As well as my employment, I have taught martial arts for many years, and found that with many of the adult groups I worked with, had the very same problems I have witnessed with young people. So, I began to look at various maxims and ideas to formulate into a simple system. However, this system would have to accomplish several things: Simply put, it would need to improve the individual’s life. It would need to do this through increased sociability, self-control, motivation to improve, and social status. In summary, the Precepts would need to enhance the lives of those that followed them.
I’ve studied the martial arts since 1973, and I was familiar with the Code of Bushidō and its ‘Virtues’. But in truth, like many other martial artists, I had only the most superficial of grasps as to what the traditional virtues were. However, all traditions are inventions. And those traditions, if they wish to survive, must weave with the fabric of the current society, and be accepted by its people. We can see this in the differing rituals of various religions, even within those that claim to be of the same religion. But the belief-core of the religion or myth must remain to distinguish it from other traditions. So it is with Budō. So why have a booklet that explains a set of characteristics that are so important, that they are known as Virtues?
The Internet is transforming the world around us quicker than at any other time in our history. This is a revolution comparable to the Renaissance. On the positive it has exposed us not only to information and knowledge, but the ability to form friendships around the world. But on the negative, there is fake news and misinformation which various groups and individuals have used to undermine other groups and individuals. It is an everyday experience to witness individuals being attacked for remarks that they made many years ago, often at a time when they were different people. We feel the known slipping away from us like sand through our fingers.
The concept of Bushidō was also born of the fear of losing the known. Nineteenth century Japan was changing at an extraordinary and radical pace. The academics realised that there needed to be a bridge between the past and the present, a bridge that would allow them to function in times of uncertainty and stress. This bridge was the codified version of Bushidō we now know. This bridge proved strong enough to eventually support many cultures, and link the known with the yet-to-be.
In 1973, the Indian philosopher Krishnamurti noted,
‘I see in the world as it is – corrupt, immoral, preparing for war, preparing to destroy human beings: socially, economically, physically, dividing the people religiously – and so there is in the world outside of me, there is always conflict, always battle, strife, pain; and inwardly there is this battle going on in myself and in my relationship with others. This is obvious… There must be transformation, there must be complete change, because otherwise one lives constantly in pain, in suffering, in misery, in confusion.’
If your past had no moral and unwavering Way, with no solid set of virtues, then your interaction both with others and yourself will always be troublesome. However, a simple set of interactional standards, which are viewed as positive in all societies, can be the start of your transformation. These virtues will aid you no matter where you are in the world, and with whomever you encounter, and here’s the icing on the cake: When these are internalised, your thoughts become less troublesome, and you become more centred.
There’s another key point to the Budō: It’s simple. It’s not a complex set of esoteric philosophies that you need a university degree to understand fully; nor years of mindful meditation to begin to see results. It’s simple, and you can begin with it in your daily life right now. This instant. Welcome to your journey.
Hanshi Marc Howes