Much has been said about the relationship that existed between the austere training of the Japanese bushi (warrior class) and the Zen sect of Buddhism. For the most part the relationship has probably been overstated. However, real contributions have been made and much has been “borrowed” conceptually from the discipline of Zen.
Staff weapons according to Dwight Jon Zimmerman's The Book of Weapons, were among the "earliest weapons in history." We might probably take this for granted as well as the fact that blades would eventually be attached to make other weapons such as spears. It is interesting to note that quite commonly the staff or bo was very long, often in excess of 6 feet in length. Spears may have originated as early as 400,000 B.C.E.
In the early 1970's - it sounds so long ago now, I remember flying to Japan for the first time. 747's Were the big thing then and a ticket was in the $200 range. On approach I saw the fabled MT. Fuji (never forget the "San") rise out of the water surrounded by a brown haze as the plane banked up the coast towards Tokyo and Haneda airport. It was a powerful sensation, not to wax too romantic to see Japan rise up out of the ocean after hours cramped in a plane.
“Kore wa Hon ni nai” これは 本にない “It’s not in the book”
This article is about Heijo Kyo, an ancient capitol modeled on China. Set to the cardinal points of the compass there are defining aspects much like feng shui that also as specific colors and mythological animals to guarantee an auspicious blessing on the location. Today many famous dojo names such as "Genbu" come from this concept.
I have always appreciated Kanji, otherwise known as ideograms and often described at pictographs. Rich in texture, when beautifully executed the brush work is fine art. Indeed in Asia calligraphy must be mastered before being considered an accomplished artist. Complex thoughts are expressed and the message often provides a deeper level of communication than a simple alphabetic symbol could hope to achieve.
The original Rembukan Dojo was my first true introduction to the fact that the Japanese taught and learned differently from how I had been taught growing up in an American styled karate dojo and within the American educational system.