Why Japanese budo enthusiast study foreign martial arts? By the case study of the Chinese martial arts pioneer Ryuchi Matsuda?s works and his thought based on Japanese traditional budo thought

Junichi Ikemoto, Chang Liu, Fumiaki Shishida

Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan

Background and Study Aim. There are many forms of traditional martial arts in Japan, however, among all martial arts enthusiasts, only some dare to choose to receive the training of foreign traditional martial arts. Why they chose to practice these martial arts? And based on what kind of budo thought that led them to such choices? The purpose of this study is the relationship between localization of foreign martial arts and domestic budo thought by the case of traditional kung fu (Chinese martial arts) in Japan. Specifically, this study intends to clarify the introduction of kung fu to Japan was led by critical thoughts based on Japanese budo thought through Matsuda?s life history and his concepts
of budo.
Material and Methods. Ryuchi Matsuda (1938-2013) is one of the most influential pioneers of kung fu in Japan. This historical study mainly based on Matsuda?s writings since 1970s. More specifically, this study analysis his autobiography ?Nazo no kenpo wo motomete? (A quest for mysterious kung fu) [1], ?Matsuda Ryuchi no kenyuki? (The journal of Matsuda Ryuchi ?s travels to quest a fist) [2] and ?Matsuda Ryuchi no zoku kenyuki? (The sequel journal of Matsuda Ryuchi ?s travels to quest a fist) [3] , and ?Kenji? which is a series of comic books written by him as well [4-7].
Results. 1) Under the influences of his father, who is a kendo teacher, Matsuda was exposed to many classics about traditional swordsmanship masters in his childhood. Though with deep admiration toward these masters, he thought it is impractical to carry a real sword in modern society, thus ?replacing sword with fist? and developing a strong atemi (attack without any weapon) into sword-like is the only solution to reach the achievement of those masters. To master the art of atemi, he received various kinds of trainings, including wado, shotokan, goju school of karate, and he also travelled to find kobudo (ancient styles of Japanese martial arts) masters in his school days. Among all experiences, the training of Gigen School left him with a strong impression. It was strict and rough swordsmanship training for a week in the last of high school days. After this experience, it became his lifework to master powerful atemi such as this school without sword. This could said to be a decisive experience that makes him determine to master his atemi to be powerful as Gigen, only without sword.
2) Meanwhile, as karateka, Matsuda gradually realized that only young and strong bodies could withstand the training modernized budo. Thus, he indulged into kobudo trying to find out skills and abilities without depending on youth power and strong physicality after graduated from high school. However, kobudo could not satisfy his need to master in atemi, since many kobudo mostly use throwing and submission skills. He started to study kung fu in Taiwan and mainland China from the 1970s. After contacting with kung fu, he firmly believed that kung fu has a set of skills and training methods could help to achieve the ?best atemi?. Finally finding an appropriate training method to master ?best atemi? in the late 1990?s, he thus started to practice atemi 3,000 times every day, with a goal of 10 million times in total. On a morning in 2013, he suffered an acute myocardial infarction, and 2 days later he passed away at the age of 75 years old. He was still practicing his atemi few hours before his heart attack. The number of atemi he achieved was estimated around 2,917,200 times.
3) Matsuda introduced the history, custom and skills of kung fu through articles in martial arts magazines and other writings. In addition, he was concerned with comics ?Kenji? as writer. The story mainly develops around the protagonist ?Kenji? and his journeys of searching for famous masters and the following trainings, in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. The story is generally based on Matsuda?s life history and his lifelong devotion in questing for the ?best atemi?. For Japanese martial arts enthusiasts, this series of comics not only introduces the knowledge of kungĀ fu, but also creates a reference model for them, demonstrates that being Japanese, how to learn kung fu.
Conclusion. 1) The studying and practicing traditional foreign budo by Matsuda has established him as the pioneer of kung fu in Japan. However, his original intention was to master the ?best atemi? interest in order to replace sword in modern society. Such concept was based on typical Japanese budo thought, and with the aspiration to become a traditional Japanese budo master.
2) Based on Japanese budo thought, Matsuda established a new style through his studying foreign traditional martial arts. He also criticized the sportization of budo and the losing of original spirits. The embodiment of his ideas towards Japanese budo could be found in the protagonist of the comic, which based on his own life story.
Keywords: Hirokazu Kanazawa ? Masutatsu Oyama ? Liu Yun Quao ? Yukiyoshi Sagawa ? Su Yuzhang

Published online: 17 September 2015
Copyright: ? 2015 the Authors. Published by Archives of Budo
Contributors: Junichi Ikemoto, Chang Liu, Fumiaki Shishida conceived the study design. Junichi Ikemoto collected the data. Junichi Ikemoto analysed the data. Junichi Ikemoto prepared the manuscript. Junichi Ikemoto, Fumiaki Shishida secured the funding.
Funding: Departmental sources Conflict of interest: Authors have declared that no competing interest exists
Ethical approval: Not required
Provenance and peer review: Under responsibility of HMA Congress
Corresponding author: Junichi Ikemoto. Waseda University, 1-6-1 Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku, Tokyo, 169-8050, Japan; e-mail: ikemoto[at]aoni. waseda.jp
Open Access License: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial 4.0 International (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license