Posted by: B Gourley | March 7, 2013

The Budō Fishbowl

fishbowlI’ve read and heard many quotes about the degree to which martial arts CAN’T be taught. At the extreme, there’s Miyamoto Musashi, who claimed to never have had a teacher of swordsmanship.

I recently found myself asking, “What if only 10% of budō is teachable?”

If that were the case, someone who was close to having all of the pieces that could be taught would think themselves a master–even if they were largely ignorant of the other 90%.

Such an individual would be like a fish in a fishbowl, thinking that there was nothing but emptiness above the waterline.

He would be like primitive man, thinking the stars were but pinpricks painted on a dome.

Or, in all likelihood, like the modern man who thinks that if we can just reconcile a couple sciencey bits–maybe experimentally validate string theory– that our picture of the universe would be complete.



  1. yes there are geniuses, that build their own style of martial art. but they proof it by able to survive against established school.
    and yes it is hard to differentiate among the frog-in-the-well s.
    just like finding needle in a haystack.

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