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Kyushindo Budo
the kyushindo philosophy of martial arts

Kyushindo Philosophy
Extracts from 'Kyu Book' essays (unpublished ) by Sensei Ray Wood, edited by Gary Robinson


There are many ways of interpreting and applying the philosophy of Kyushindo to life, and therefore, it is sometimes difficult to know where to begin. Every person will adopt Kyushindo to suit their own personal needs, which can change from day to day or even from moment to moment.

sensei abbe

Sensei Abbe with a Pigeon on his right shoulder. His companions here are unknown

So what does Kyushindo mean? Kyu means to "desire", Shin means from the "heart" and Do means the "way". To understand how to apply Kyushindo to life you need to examine the above meanings more closely. Kyushindo is about being open and receptive to new ideas and thoughts. To do this you have to be able to relate to people and accept them for who or what they are. You must be free from preconceived thoughts and have a genuine yearning for knowledge. You need to be honest with yourself and with those around you. Your thirst for knowledge should be to better yourself and not for being better than others are. If your morals are pure then you will be aware of the required discipline for your chosen path.

Materialistic values and a low regard for human life corrupt the world. Everyone is caught in a whirlpool of perpetual confusion, grasping at a selfish branch to gain temporary freedom and superficial wealth. It is as though everyone is always on the take, unable or unwilling to give or make even the smallest sacrifice. Inflated egos and selfish pride have weakened people to the point of desperation and suspicion of life. Fears and inhibitions lead to a greater despondency, eventually becoming an instrument of self-destruction.

However, people are slowly but surely realising there is a way for self-fulfilment and salvation. In order to stem this tide of regression and create a better world you must choose a path appropriate to your needs. If you allowed the philosophy of Kyushindo to enter your life, then you have taken a step forward to rid yourself of the shackles that may have made you a prisoner of your own life. Kyushindo is not just a philosophy but a discipline requiring genuine commitment and responsibility. You learn to suppress the arrogant and selfish side of human nature. You learn patience, compassion, humility and how to live with your fellow human beings. You begin to love the fundamental principles of life and appreciate how these principles relate to the laws of the Universe that govern your existence.

Kyushindo manifests itself in many ways but for many people it is through the art of Budo. This philosophy promotes the opportunity for people to come together to learn and share. Kyushindo creates harmony, peace, and the understanding to experience a unique way of life.

A well-designed yacht in the hands of a competent helmsman may help to demonstrate the essence of Kyushindo. With the sails trimmed correctly she cuts gently through the waves, the wind guiding her smoothly on the journey. The helmsman needs only to make minor and gentle adjustments to keep the correct course. However, place a beginner at the wheel and the yacht will slam into the crests of each successive wave, heeling and huffing excessively as the helmsman fights to reach the destination.

The master helmsman, drawing on years of experience, realises that with the correct preparation he does not need force to achieve his goal. The beginner, however, is forced into coercing the yacht to make up for his lack of knowledge and technique. He is unable to trust nature, and as a result can only try to impose his will.

The planner appears to have an easier path but only because of years of toll. It takes a surprisingly huge amount of effort to achieve the calmness of spirit required to follow Kyushindo.

Kenshiro Abbe took an old Japanese religion, formulated a philosophy belief which he named Kyushindo and then related it to the practice of Budo. Movements should be smooth and harmonious with no violent clashes of opposing strengths. By utilising and redirecting your partner's force you can turn it to your advantage.

Kyushindo is a philosophy that can be applied throughout life. In life there are no beginnings and no endings. In each perceived end are set the seeds of new beginnings, so it is not always possible to see where one event stops and the next starts. For example, as the seasons blend into each other, so some lives end and new ones start. Without this natural cycle there would be no life. Likewise in Budo, when one technique is near completion the next technique has already started. Unfortunately we are often too involved with the past to look forward to the future.

Balance is the most important factor in the art of Budo. Every student should be taught how to break someone's balance, and how to fall correctly. But more directly they should fully understand the implications of balance.

Initially students may be taught to break balance in eight basic directions, each direction is termed a positive action. Each action is different from the other. As an example, when a personstands in a natural posture their shoulders will be immediately above the ball of each foot. A slight nudge in any direction will stagger that person and cause them to take a step in whatever direction they have been nudged. If not, they will fall. This can only be achieved when the shoulders have passed the line above the ball of the foot. If you take a circle and divide it into segments, like the spokes of a wheel with the lines radiating from its hub, you would literally have thousands of divisions and each one becomes a positive line of action. So although students are taught only eight basic directions, there are indeed many thousands.

During a throwing technique in Budo a student will pass over many of the segments described, before the conclusion of that technique. Body mechanics determine the ultimate conclusion of a technique. In Kyushindo the breaking of balance should be a gentle action with no strength being applied. Strength will restrict a student to only using bad techniques.

two fighters, original photo source unknownBreakfalls are taught as a means of safety, and the safety of any student is paramount in the dojo, and indeed, in any walk of life. Breakfalls should be taught, in the beginning, from a low position. Many ladies have a natural fear of falling from any height and their fears have to be dispelled as quickly as possible. Start from a low position and work gradually up to a greater height. Do not rush a student; build up their confidence slowly without dwelling too long over breakfalls in any training session. Similarly, large men do not like being thrown backwards; they tend to lower themselves before falling, so mentally they are worried. All these doubts have to be reassured before the student can advance with confidence. This of course is all tied up with balance. If balance and breakfalls are fully explained to the student at the very beginning of their martial arts career, everyone will be able to practice with a free and unfettered mind.





Kyu means to "desire", Shin means from the "heart" and Do means the "way". To understand how to apply Kyushindo to life you need to examine the above meanings more closely. Kyushindo is about being open and receptive to new ideas and thoughts.

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