“Suigetsu” from the association name “Suigetsukujuku” is a word expressing the martial arts superiority. I am water, and the moon is our enemy. When the wisdom (water) is clear, you can grasp the enemy’s movements (moon) clearly. However, when your heart is disturbed (waves), you cannot read (reflect) the movement of the enemy and your actions will be slowed down by cognitive processing.”
Considering the name of our branch, Hekisuikan, “sui” (水) reflects on having a pure character and mind.
In the Japanese martial arts a distinction can be made between koryū 古流 (classical schools) and gendai budō 现代武道 (modern martial arts). Most modern martial arts come from old ryūha (schools / storm applications) that were practiced by the samurai in feudal Japan.
The reasons for the creation modern budō disciplines vary. In some instances, it was to create a sports variant of an ancient martial art, to standardize and unify a discipline from different schools or to actualize political / social / religious beliefs through a new martial arts form etc.
The main difference between koryū and gendai budō is that in koryū the line of succession (from master to master) dates back to before 1868. This year was the start of the Meiji period, certain rights were abolished, for instance kirisute gomen 切舍御免 (samurai were allowed to kill lower-ranked people in case they had caused him loss of face) and certain laws were established. From 1873 laws came in effect no longer permitting samurai to wear swords in public.
Within koryū, a distinction is sometimes made between schools that were established before the Tokugawa shogunate (from 1600) and the schools were established within the Tokugawa period.
Jutsu and dō
Although there are many exceptions, the disciplines of koryū are often called jutsu 術 (technique) and modern schools do 道 (the “Way”). This is partly because the difference in intent of classical schools with respect to modern martial arts. Old schools were intended to prepare a practitioner for an actual fight. Modern martial arts practitioners have less need for their art to be used in actual combat, so there is room for personal development of the practitioner, through the martial techniques.
During the July 2018 Japan Training Trip, we spent quite some time in Fujiyshida city in Yamanashi Prefecture. Fujuyoshida is the location where the International Suigetsujuku Bujutsu Association (ISBA) is established.
During the Edo period (1603 to 1868) also known as the Tokugawa period, the samurai were prevelent as see portrait in series and movies these days. Samurai were mostly in political positions in government and army. At the end of the Edo period, the Samurai status was ebolished when the emperior power was restored. At that time, the Meji (1868 to 1912) period started, and samurai were no longer allowed to practice their martial arts as combat-related skills or to carry two swords (katana and kodachi or wakizachi).