Posted by: B Gourley | November 29, 2012

Why Did I Rename this Blog to “Jissen Budōka?”

This blog was concieved under the name “Beginner’s Mind Budō” and the URL will continue to be (Shoshin Budō is Japanese for “Beginner’s Mind Budō.”) Readers of Shunryu Suzuki will recognize the allusion. He wrote a book entitled Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. Suzuki emphasized the important of keeping one’s experience “fresh.” This is a notion that has resonated with me greatly, and which I thought quite applicable to my martial arts study. I saw two-pronged virtue in the beginner’s mind. First, there’s a value-added from being humble. It’s not just politeness. Once one starts thinking of oneself as a “master” or the “sensei,” one’s growth is likely to be curtailed. What is there for a “master” to learn? They’ve “mastered” it. Why look about for new lessons? Second, the mind of a beginner has no ruts, and therefore one can avoid creating them. I still see great value in this concept. One should be humble and ready /willing to learn from any source. It’s not a change of heart that led me to change the name.

Part of having a beginner’s mind is the ability to pick up something old and look at it anew. This is what I intend to do. I would like to have a theme for the upcoming year (2013), and  that theme will be jissen budō. Jissen budō is, for lack of more eloquent words, “the real fighting warrior way.” I don’t want this to be taken as a change toward advocating violence or being bloodthirsty. All it means is that I intend to subject my practice to the question “does it work?” and reevaluate those techniques and approaches that don’t make me a more competent warrior. This will involve looking outside what is familiar and comfortable to me, and taking nothing for granted.

I don’t anticipate any wholesale change in the nature of my posts. This blog will still deal largely with the philosophy and strategy of martial arts. My next post, for example, will be on my 20 favorite quotes from the Tao Te Ching and my thoughts about how they apply to the martial arts.  However, I anticipate mixing in more posts that deal with technique, training methods, and approaches to staying alive in the face of violence.



  1. Very interesting. I look forward to following your posts over the coming year.

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