What is a match? Thinking about the difference between Budo and MMA match.

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(※)Game and match


There’s the question of whether Budo and MMA are the same.


On YouTube, you’ll see Budo artists getting beaten up in the ring.


Does this mean that Budo is outdated and MMA is more pragmatic?


Budo and MMA are not the same thing. But few people seem to understand the difference.


Think in terms of words.

Thinking about history.

What was the Siai (match) all about?

Think in terms of words

In fact, I think that the image of the game that Japanese people have is unique.


Recently, there has been a movement in Japan to refer to games played on gaming consoles as “e-sports”. However, there were various counter-arguments against it in Japan.


It seems that many people are of the opinion that “sport is not a game” or “I can’t think of a game as a sport”.


If you think about it in English, sport is part of the game.


A baseball game is called a game. The players in the game are athletes.


If you think of it in English, it’s natural, but in Japan, people don’t think of sports as a game.


However, the reason why Japanese people oppose this issue is not actually because of the language problem. Because the game in Japan is not a game at all.



In Japan, sports and budo games are not called games.


試合(SI AI) is a combination of the letters of the kanji meaning “try(試)” and the kanji meaning “combine(合)”.


It means to test each other or try what you want to try with each other.


In Japan, a game is a try.


The game’s players also use Sensyu(選手), which means “chosen(選) hand(手)”. That means being a professional in the game.


I’m sure you understand. The Japanese think that the game of sports is not just a simple game.


The original etymology of the sport is said to have meant something like “to carry things to another place”.


In Japan, we call sports as Undou(運動). The meaning is to carry(運) and move(動), and this is a common one.


However, even though sports are Undou, games are not games. It is Siai. And the players are not players either.He is the Chosen One. 


People such as Daigo Umehara, a famous fighting game player even overseas, and Takeru Kobayashi, a food fighter, are thought to have a Japanese way of thinking about Siai.


Games like gluttony and fighting games were considered unworthy of being taken seriously in Japan. But they took that game seriously from a Siai perspective.


And they testified that they thought of it as a sport. However, I would say that is the way Siai thinks.


As a result, they brought depth to the game and touched many people.


There are a huge number of trials behind it.

Thinking about history

It might be easier to understand if you think about what the game was like from the perspective of a spectator.


In the Roman Empire, slaves fought each other as entertainment in the form of bread and pageantry.


Also, Muay Thai, the national sport of Thailand, was a form of entertainment, as it was a bet to win or lose.


Professional wrestling, of course, has a show aspect, and boxing and mixed martial arts have also become entertainment.


There is a price to pay for admission, a price to pay for tickets, and so on.


In Japan, it used to be that if you wanted to play a game, you had to show it in front of the king or the emperor. It was more of a sorting and proving than an entertainment.


There were also pros and cons when Kenkichi Sakakibara started his own business after the war to revive kendo.


The act of tying Budo’s game to the business has not taken place since then. It was not done by taking admission fees or betting.


For the Japanese, games were not that kind of thing.


Nakayama Hiromichi, who played an important role in the development of modern kendo, complains about fighting with the bamboo sword.

After all, it’s only the way to handle the bamboo sword.
There is no one I can honestly say that I can give a grade to.
Such an attack is something that cannot be done with a Japanese sword, and it is insane.

Excerpted from Nakayama Hiromichi “Kendo-kojyutsusyu”



Perhaps because of this criticism, kendo is not actively moving in the direction of becoming an Olympic sport even today.


In fact, since judo has become an international competition, there have been some criticisms that it has moved away from the original form of judo due to changes in the rules and other factors.


Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, who did not approve of the introduction of matches, even went so far as to call the sport a “fake competition”.


There is no such thing as a sport in our country as there is in the West.
There are people who are happy that Japanese Budo has become a sport, but that’s because they don’t know Japanese Budo at all.
Sport is a game. It is a game with no spirit. It is a competition of the body only, not of the spirit. In other words, it’s a fake competition.

Excerpt from “Takemusu-Aiki” by Hideo Takahashi


Interestingly, this text is not mentioned in the English translation. As expected, It must have been spurned.


It can be said that Aikido was successful in differentiating itself from other Budo’s because it did not include matches because of this idea of the founder.


However, it is difficult to say whether Aikido have reached the situation that Aikido originally intended to reach.


It may be that many Budo had to be revived as a sport because it was banned by the GHQ after the Second World War.


Many Budo’s that hadn’t taken the form of matches before began to introduce sporting matches.


Eventually, Kyokushin Karate and professional wrestling developed in Japan, and Siai as a business became widespread.

Then came the age of game, the so-called martial arts as a game.


I don’t think the martial arts craze like K-1, Pride, and now the UFC and Rizin would not have been possible without Japan.


I think this was a trend that shifted to a fairly sporting trend.

What was a Siai all about?

So what is it that Budo wanted to achieve in original Japan match?


It is said that in the past, kata practice, which stopped just before the use of katana, was the mainstream of kenjutsu practice.


It was here that Shin-Kage-ryu invented the shinai (bamboo swords), which were packaged in a relatively safe bag, and practical training called Randori became popular.


However, it has the disadvantage of not being able to learn how to handle a sword by practicing with a bamboo sword. Nakayama Hakudo also said that bamboo sword practice and kata practice are originally two and one.


A possible influence on this kendo match is the traditional karate match format.


Then, Judo was founded by Jigoro Kano, who introduced Ranotori into Jiu-Jitsu, where kata practice had been the mainstay.


All of these Budo matches have one rule in common.


It was originally a game that we were aiming for “Ippon (one hit)”.


A shot that is aimed at the moment when you can definitely beat the opponent if it hits is called “Ippon”.


I think that the original aim of Budo was to test how to get “Ippon”.


Currently, there are various rule restrictions in many Budo sports, including judo.


Some people criticize that if you play a match with limited rules, you will get strange habits or that it is not practical.


The original design seems to be different between the fighting arts (boxing and MMA) and Budo.


My personal opinion is that MMA is a point-based game, and that it is a competition between physical ability and a variety of techniques.


In MMA, you can learn various techniques such as punching, kicking, wrestling, and grounding to test your overall strength.


On the other hand, Budo’s game is all about understanding how to get “Ippon”.


Keep the rules limited, and practice to get a perfect “ippon” within the limited rules for now.


I think the difference between the rules of MMA and Budo is the difference between using everything to win and trying to find a single thing to win.


First of all, it is said that Budo’s practice is based on weapons.


With a weapon, most of the attacks are just a hit and you’re done.


In Kendo, there is a criticism that an athlete is being cut down when he dodges only his head to prevent points from being taken.

But being able to avoid it means that it wasn’t “Ippon” timing. The word “Ippon” in Budo means the same thing as “desperation”.


That’s why you have to try to hit the restricted area correctly with Budo.


This is what I think of as Budo’s siai, which I can’t get an Ippon in a karate match these days.

I think it would be nice if we could play the game with this mindset.

Related Article.

Do you know the meaning of Keiko: Let’s know Japanese culture by knowing the meaning of Keiko.

Let’s be careful about status quo bias: body and mind both should be balanced in Budo(Martial arts)

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