The historical origin of Japanese martial arts can be found in the warrior traditions of the samurai and the caste system that restricted the use of weapons by members of the non-warrior classes. 

Japanese martial arts refers to the enormous variety of martial arts native to Japan. At least three Japanese terms are often used interchangeably with the English phrase “Japanese martial arts”

Budō 武道, literally meaning “martial way”

Kobudō 古武道, literally meaning “old martial way”

Bujutsu 武術, literally meaning the science or craft of war

Bugei 武芸, literally meaning “martial art.”


The term “Budō” is a modern one, and is normally intended to indicate the practice of martial arts as a way of life, and encompassing physical, spiritual, and moral dimensions with a focus of self-improvement, fulfillment, or personal growth.

Arts such as Judo, Aikido and Kendo are all modern martial arts that exist in the category of being a Budō. The terms bujutsu and bugei have more discrete definitions, at least historically speaking.

Bujutsu refers specifically to the practical application of martial tactics and techniques in actual combat. Bugei refers to the adaptation or refinement of those tactics and techniques to facilitate systematic instruction and dissemination within a formal learning environment.

All three of these terms can be used to describe the martial practice at our Dojo, but each falls slightly short of a complete and accurate description.

More precise is the term “Kobudō” which describes a type of martial art that has kept its ancient mode of training and has been preserved and handed down from generation to generation and originated prior to 1866.

Historical Summary

The historical origin of Japanese martial arts can be found in the warrior traditions of the samurai and the caste system that restricted the use of weapons by members of the non-warrior classes. Originally, samurai were expected to be proficient in many weapons, as well as unarmed combat, and attain the highest possible mastery of combat skills, for the purpose of glorifying either themselves or their liege. Over time, this purpose gave way to a philosophy of achieving spiritual goals by striving to perfect their martial skills

Ordinarily, the development of combative techniques is intertwined with the tools used to execute those techniques. In a rapidly changing world, those tools are constantly changing, requiring that the techniques to use them be continuously reinvented. The history of Japan is somewhat unique in its relative isolation. Compared with the rest of the world, the Japanese tools of war evolved slowly. Many people believe that this afforded the warrior class the opportunity to study their weapons with greater depth than other cultures. Nevertheless, the teaching and training of these martial arts did evolve, first with conditions on the battlefield (archery giving way to the sword; giving way to spear), then through a long period of peace, and finally into modern times.

Over time two trends defined the arts – first there was increasing specialization, and second, many of the arts evolved towards more peaceful practices and took on the teachings of budō which implies a higher purpose than just the mastering of arms.

If you have an authorized training group under a Dojo Cho, are currently up to date with your Jinenkan membership and hold rank of sankyu or above, please contact me with your details and I will post them to our site.


Get updates on our training and events every Monday afternoon. 


Literally translated, Jinenkan means "Hall of Nature" and represents Unsui Sensei's feeling of his martial arts being like the natural flow of the elements. Just as the wind can pass around any obstacle and leave no trace, or alternately can destroy anything in its path.


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