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Kyushindo Budo
the kyushindo philosophy of martial arts

Editor's notes & Commentary on the Kyushindo articles
Gary Robinson


1) Philosophy

The most challenging aspect intrinsic to the compilation and editing of the various parts of this compilation on Kyushindo and the life of its creator Kenshiro Abbey has been the required maintenance of the discipline of "looking at it" from some other persons point of view. In most cases my source has been that of Sensei Ray Woods unfinished notes from his own un-published and provisionally titled 'Kyubook'.

Throughout my research (for verification) I likewise studied many other versions and variations of what many people believe Kyushindo to be; and though they all have differences, each are of course one hundred percent correct - if only according to the individual that made that particular considered observation. In my opinion, the single greatest omission from all of these accounts of what Kyushindo is - is any account of what Kenshiro Abbe said it is; and I doubt that we ever will. If (and I have no reason to believe otherwise) Kenshiro followed the example of his Master Morihei Ueshiba all things (especially techniques) were not given names.

Sensei Ray stands firm on the point that whatever else it may or may not be, Kyushindo is exclusively a Japanese system or 'code'/credo of Budo/Martial Art. Therefore, and in the strictest sense, the Chinese art of Tai Chi must be entirely excluded from any consideration within the context of Kyushindo. It is I suppose for that reason that the philosophy of Kyushindo) is in general associated more with the 'harder' (as opposed to 'soft') Budo arts. So be it! I do not dispute the fact that Kenshiro and his Master were Japanese people. However, having now studied what I think their intentions were - I do still believe that neither would insist upon such exclusiveness.

Kenshiro was obviously also greatly influenced by the teachings of Nichiren, and it must likewise in turn be conceded that much of Nichiren's interpretations of perhaps the greatest of all Buddhist Sutras (the Lotus) were designed to restore National pride and prevent the National 'ruin' that he (Nichiren) expected. We can only imagine what national calamity Nichiren expected, predicted or prevented; indeed we might never know the magnitude of this ruin. Perhaps greater ruin of Japan is yet to transpire. However, history surely shows that to sate the Japanese people have suffered no times darker that their defeat, surrender and occupation at the end of the Second World War. No other 'modern' or 'civilised' country on the face of this planet has come closer to the total annihilation of its people and culture. Others have been persecuted to the verge of extinction and beyond by more subtle methods (the North American and Australian Aborigine to name but two 'recent' victims); but no other has of yet had the most awesome and destructive of all man made weapons exploded above their cities. Is it not relevant that Kenshiro's time on earth spanned this period this epoch of Japanese history? We should also perhaps not forget that Kenshiro was trained to be a 'military man'. It is ironical that some interpret or translate Kenshiro's theory of Kyushindo to stand for "cosmic nuclear principle".

In Tai Chi we prefer to not complicate matters. Although we (or I!) agree that a leaf falling from a tree, or waves crashing against the shore, or myriad other manifestations of phenomena demonstrate various cosmic principles or universal law; we do prefer to conceive of these things as no more than exactly what they are. In Tai Chi we therefor pay scant regard to the measurement that may confirm or refute what a thing is, or is not. A falling leaf is a falling leaf. It is a leaf, and sooner or later . it falls. In turn we agree (if you wish) that the universe is in a state of eternal flux and change, that there is transmigration, and that the cyclical nature of all things suggests that there is no beginning and no end. However we are equally happy to agree that leaves are green, leaves are brown, leaves are on a tree and leaves are on the ground. We know that it is actually scientific fact that the sun does not 'come up' or 'go down' and we know that there is a lot more to breathing in and out than just that; but we are less concerned as to how or why. A long as the sun and the moon take it in turns to come up and go down, and as long as we breath in and out we are (or should be) content. From each finger that points, there is a different view of what it points towards.

tokushima budo


For further information on Kyushindo philosophy and the life of Kenshiro Abbe I refer you to Tokushima Budo, the only remaining organised group in Europe authorised by his ancestors to be guardian of Kenshiro's legacy.



I can personally now add no more on these subjects other than quote the words of my deceased Masters Cheng Man-ching (Tai Chi) and Shinran - founder of the [Japanese] Buddhist Pure Land tradition. In respect of Cheng Man-ching he wrote thus:

Author's Preface

From Master Cheng's New Method of Self-Study for T'ai-chi ch'uan

Others may speak of the way to good health, but few know the full significance. The chapter in Chuang Tzu entitled "On Cultivating Life" may be called the "Classic of Health." If we summarize his main ideas, they are the bed and the table. This is no different than Confucius saying that food and drink and man and woman are all there is. However, they did not really outline the principles. Only Ch'i Po said, "The true way is to eliminate old age and preserve the body. If one preserves the spirit within, how can illness find a way to us?" Describing the highest level, he said, "The muscles and pulse should be in harmony; the bones and marrow should be strong and solid, and the chi and blood obedient." He transmitted this to the Yellow Emperor who wrote the Classic of Internal Medicine. This is the "Classic of Health." Only T'ai-chi ch'uan demonstrates itself to truly correspond to the Classic of Internal Medicine with the philosophical principles of Lao Tzu, the Yellow Emperor and Confucius: Moreover, it makes manifest the truth of both principles and practice. Were it not for the genius of the Immortal Chang San-feng, how could this have been achieved? There are foolish people in the world who would steal these treasures and claim them for this school or that sect. They are ignorant of the proper measure, for without true inner cultivation, how could one reach the level of "muscles and pulse being in harmony and the bones and marrow being strong and solid?" This is precisely what the "T'ai-Chi Classics" call "collecting it in the bones until they achieve essential hardness and there is nothing they cannot smash." How can we expect those of ordinary intelligence to discuss this, or such concepts as "proceeding from interpreting energy to the stage of perfect clarity?"

I, Man-jan, was just barely alive when I began to study this art and was able to regain my health as if born again. It has been with me for forty years now without interruption. Moreover, I have gained a bit of knowledge of its theoretical principles as well. Every word rings true and there are no omissions. But alas, I am aware that the true Way has been little traveled for a long time. Some skeptics say that it has no practical function and cast it aside; some hold that it serves only health and they do not look beyond this. They do not understand that the principles and applications of this martial art are as inseparable as form and shadow. If one studies, but cannot put his knowledge into practice, then what he has gained from the principles will be false. There is also a saying that in teaching others, one should hold something back, and that one may impart this knowledge to sons and not to daughters. All of this is pure selfishness. If we proceed in this way, our nation's arts will gradually disappear or even become extinct. I refuse to believe this can happen. Have you not heard the words of the Yellow Emperor who said, "To find the right student and not teach him it to lose the tao; to teach the wrong student is to waste the treasures of Heaven." I hope that these words will reach those who follow my way, that we may all be conscientious and encouraged.

2) Religious

In the case of Shinran I quote from "A Record in Lament of Divergences, a translation of the Tannisho compiled by a direct follower of Shinran named Yuien-bo who died in 1290:


"Know yourself to be a foolish being of karmic evil caught in birth-and death, ever sinking and ever wandering in transmigration from innumerable kalpas in the past, with never a condition that would lead to emancipation.

Thus, how grateful I feel for Shinran's words, in which he gives himself as an example in order to make us realize we are in delusion, not knowing the depths of our karmic evil or the vastness of Amida's benevolence.

In truth, myself and others discuss only good and evil, leaving Amida's benevolence out of consideration. Among Master Shinran's words were:

I know nothing at all of good or evil. For if I could know thoroughly, as Amida Tathagata knows, that an act was good, then I would know good. If I could know thoroughly, as the Tathagata knows, that an act was evil, then I would know evil. But with a foolish being full of blind passions, in this fleeting world-this burning house-all matters without exception are empty and false, totally without truth and sincerity. The nembutsu alone is true and real.

Indeed, I myself and others speak only falsehoods to each other. In this, there is a truly regrettable thing. When, regarding our saying of the nembutsu, we discuss the nature of shinjin or explain it to people, we ascribe to Shinran even words he never spoke in order to silence others and to settle controversies with our own opinions.

This is indeed saddening and deplorable. This matter should be carefully pondered and understood. These are by no means my own words, but since I do not know the lines of discourse in the sutras and school commentaries and cannot understand or discern the profundity of the scriptural writings, undoubtedly they seem foolish. Nevertheless, recalling a hundredth part-only a fragment-of what the late Shinran said, I write it down. How sad it would be to abide in the borderland instead of being born directly into the fulfilled land, even though one has the fortune of saying the nembutsu. That there be no differing of shinjin among the fellow practicers, I take my brush with tears in my eyes and record this. Let the title be Tannisho-A Record in Lament of Divergences [from True Shinjin]."


As a person ordained as a "household priest" is the Jodo Shin Shu or Pure Land (Amida Pietism) I can personally agree with little of Nichiren's teachings; however I also have no right to condemn them out of hand. Accepting this and the fact that those teachings obviously had an enormous influence on Kenshiro Abbe I produce in conclusion the chapter on the Nichiren School from the Essentials of Buddhist Philosophy by Junjiro Takakusu, published by Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai.




Within the practice of Kyushindo Budo it is recognised that the stronger, faster, and more violent an attack is, the simpler it is to deal with, providing that you are not seeking to meet it with a similar action to defeat the attacker.

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