The Kodenkan Judo of Master Okazaki

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Citations II

Asian Teachings for Understanding Judo

Link to Quotes from Aikido Master Ueshiba

A First Zen Reader, Legett, Trevor; 

1960, Charles E. Tuttle, Rutland, Vermont. ISBN: 0-8048-0180-0.

"The Taoist classic Tsaikondan says: `The stillness in stillness is not the real stillness; only when there is stillness in movement can the spiritual rhythm appear which pervades heaven and earth.'" (AFZR, p.132).

"An ancient sage said: `Meditation in activity is a hundred, a thousand, a million times superior to meditation in repose.'" (AFZR, p.132).

(AFZR, p. 132), "The Sutra teaches that by the practice of meditation the lake of the heart becomes pure and calm, and when the lake of the ordinary man's heart becomes pure, the reflection that appears within it is of a Bodhisattva. When the wellspring of the heart is purified, the wrong paths which otherwise appear as a result of his wrong actions, to that man become as if non-existent. How should there be wrong paths for him? The Pure Land is not far. As the phrase goes `This heart becomes the meditation room.' The world of light, of virtue, appears, and now our daily life has a changed meaning. In fact, for the first time our ordinary life becomes radiant with real meaning."

(AFZR, p. 150), An ancient sage says: `The Way is not attained by mindfulness (Yu-shin), nor will it be attained by mindlessness (Mu-shin); it is not reached by purity and silence, and to be even a fraction involved in verbal concepts is to be a thousand, a million miles away.' Again it is said: ' Zen is not words and phrases. Nor is there an exclusive creed to give people. Under this doctrine you cannot insert even a hair. It is direct grasping. The Buddhas of the three worlds draw in their tongues; the great patriarchs gulp back their words.' This is the real turning of the light within and directly experiencing one's own nature."

(AFZR, p. 215) "Japanese Buddhists had a keen spiritual intuition of the importance of relating Buddhism to daily life. Acting on hints in the Indian and Chinese traditions, these developed what are call Do or Ways. These are fractional applications of enlightenment to arts and activities in the world. They spiritualized the arts of war such as fencing and archery, and turned the household accomplishments of flower arrangement and making tea into vehicles for spiritual inspiration."

(AFZR, p. 216) "There is a body of traditional instruction on spiritual development in the Ways, most of it orally transmitted to chosen pupils only. Sometimes a hidden or secret transmission is passed on in writing, but mainly in the form of cryptic sentences unintelligible without an oral explanation. "

(AFZR, p. 221) "The Masters also hold that as the secret of the Ways is fundamentally one, an expert in, say, the tea ceremony will be able to understand the innermost secrets of fencing, though naturally he may not be able to express them perfectly by manipulating a sword."

A Zen Tale:

(AFZR, p. 235-236) "CHESS: A young man who had a bitter disappointment in life went to a remote monastery and said to the abbot: `I am disillusioned with life and wish to attain enlightenment to be freed from these sufferings. But I have no capacity for sticking at anything. I could never do long years of meditation and study and austerity; I should relapse and be drawn back to the world again, painful though I know it to be. Is there any short way for people like me?' `There is,' said the abbot, `if you are really determined. Tell me, what have you studied, what have you concentrated on most in life?' `Why, nothing really. We were rich, and I did not have to work. I suppose the thing I was really interest in was chess. I spent most of my time at that.'

"The abbot thought for a moment, and then said to his attendant: `Call such-and-such a monk, and tell him to bring a chessboard and men.' The monk came with the board and the abbot set up the men. He sent for a sword and showed it to the two. `O monk,' he said, `you have vowed obedience to me as your abbot, and now I require it of you. You will play a game of chess with this youth, and if you lose I shall cut off your head with this sword. But I promise that you will be reborn in paradise. If you win, I shall cut off the head of this man; chess is the only thing he has ever tried hard at, and if he loses he deserves to lose his head also.' They looked at the abbot's face and saw that he meant it: He would cut off the head of the loser.

"They began to play. With the opening moves the youth felt the sweat trickling down to his heels as he played for his life. The chessboard becomes the whole world; he was entirely concentrated on it. At first he had somewhat the worst of it, but then the other made an inferior move and he seized his chance to launch a strong attack. As his opponent's position crumbled, he looked covertly at him. He saw a face of intelligence and sincerity, worn with years of austerity and effort. He thought of his own worthless life, and a wave of compassion came over him. He deliberately made a blunder and then another blunder, ruining his position and leaving himself defenseless.

"The abbot suddenly leaned forward and upset the board. The two contestants sat stupefied. `There is no winner and no loser,' said the abbot slowly, `there is no head to fall here. Only two things are required,' and he turned to the young man, `complete concentration, and compassion. You have today learned them both. You were completely concentrated on the game, but then in that concentration you could feel compassion and sacrifice your life for it. Now stay here a few months and pursue our training in this spirit and your enlightenment is sure.' He did so and got it."

The Title below says it all. One of the most important works on the subject! 

(Note: I first shared this great classic book around 1988 and since that time many have quoted from it and used pages from it to promote their schools or organization conventions. Before then, terms such as Yugen, Miao, or Satori were virtually unknown.)

Zen and the Japanese Culture, Suzuki, D.T; 

1959, Bollingen, New York. ISBN: 0-691-01770-0.


(Z&JC, p.145) "The sword is generally associated with killing, and most of us wonder how it can come into connection with Zen, which is a school of Buddhism teaching the gospel of love and mercy. The fact is that the art of swordsmanship distinguishes between the sword that kills and the sword that gives life. The one that is used by a technician cannot go any further than killing, for he never appeals to the sword unless he intends to kill. The case is altogether different with the one who is compelled to life the sword. For it is really not he but the sword itself that does the killing. He has no desire to do harm to anybody, but the enemy appears and makes himself a victim. It is as though the sword performs automatically its function of justice, which is the function of mercy...When the sword is expected to play this sort of role in human life, it is no more a weapon of self-defense or an instrument of killing, and the swordsman turns into an artist of the first grade, engaged in producing a work of genuine originality."

(Z&JC, p.146) "When the sword is in the hands of a technician-swordsman skilled in its use, it is no more than an instrument with no mind of its own. What it does is done mechanically, with no mind of its own. What it does is done mechanically, and there is no Myoyu discernible in it. But when the sword is held by the swordsman whose spiritual attainment is such that he holds it as though not holding it, it is identified with the man himself, it acquires a soul, it moves with all the subtleties which have been imbedded in him as a swordsman. The man emptied of all thoughts, all emotions originating from fear, all sense of insecurity, all desire to win, is not conscious of using the sword; both man and sword turn into instruments in the hands, as it were, of the unconscious, and it is this unconscious that achieves wonders of creativity. It is here that swordplay becomes an art."

(Z&JC p. 140) Myoyo means "something defying the challenge of man's thinking powers. It is a mode of activity which comes directly out of one's inmost self without being intercepted by the dichotomous intellect. The act is so direct and immediate that intellection finds no room here to insert itself and cut it to pieces."

(Z&JC,p.147) Tajima no kami (1571-1646) taught that "the mind that is no mind is the last stage in the art of swordplay. `To be of no-mind' (Mu-shin) means the `everyday mind' (heijo-shin), and when this is attained, everything goes on well. In the beginning, one naturally endeavors to do his best in handling the sword, as in learning any other art. The technique has to be mastered. But as soon as his mind is fixed on anything, for instance if he desires to do well, or to display his skill, or to excel others, or if he is too anxiously bent on mastering his art, he is sure to commit more mistakes than are actually necessary. Why? Because his self-consciousness or ego-consciousness is too conspicuously present over the entire range of his attention - which fact interferes with a free display of whatever proficiency he has so far acquired or is going to acquire. He must get rid of this obtruding self- or ego-consciousness and apply himself to the work to be done as if nothing particular were taking place at the moment. When things are performed in a state of `no-mind' (Mushin) or `no-thought' (Munen), which means the absence of all modes of self- or ego-consciousness, the actor is perfectly free from inhibitions and feels nothing thwarting his line of behavior.

(Z&JC p.148) Yagyu Tajima no kami "really intends is to free the mind from every possible psychic obstruction or inhibition and to restore it to its pristine purity in order to display its native activities to the utmost limit. In the case of swordsmanship, this is to sharpen the psychic power of seeing in order to act immediately in accordance with what it sees. Tajima no kami thinks that the seeing must first take place in the mind, and then it is transmitted to the eyes, and finally to the body and limbs."


(Z&JC p.95) "In the case of swordsmanship, for instance, when the opponent tries to strike you, your eyes at once catch the movement of his sword and you may strive to follow it. But as soon as this takes place, you cease to be master of yourself and you are sure to be beaten. This is called `stopping'. [But there is another way of meeting the opponent's sword.] No doubt you see the sword about to strike you, but do not let your mind `stop' there. Have no intention to counterattack him in response to his threatening move, cherish no calculating thoughts whatever. You simply perceive the opponent's move, you do not allow your mind to `stop' with it, you move on just as you are toward the opponent and make use of his attack by turning it on to himself. Then his sword meant to kill you will become your won and the weapon will fall on the opponent himself. In Zen, this is known as `seizing the enemy's spear and using it as the weapon to kill him'...When you set yourself against him, your mind will be carried away by him. Therefore, do not even think of yourself."


(Z&JC p.66n) "`Katsu!' is pronounced `Ho!' in modern Chinese. In Japan when it is actually uttered by the Zen people, it sounds like `Katz! ' or `Kwatz! ' - long a somewhat like in `ah!' and tz like tz in German `Blitz'. It is primarily a meaningless ejaculation. Since its first use by Baso Coichi, from whom it may be said that Zen made its real start in China, it came to be extensively used by the Zen masters.

(Z&JC, p.145n) "Rinzai Gigen distinguishes four kinds of `Katsu!' (Ho in Chinese), and one of them is likened to the sacred sword of Vajraraja, which cuts and puts to death anything dualistic appearing before it."


(Z&JC p.205) "Mr. Takano Shigeyoshi, is one of the greatest swordsmen modern Japan has produced. While writing about a bamboo sword in a short essay recently, Mr. Takano refers to the psychology of swordplay. `When I have a bamboo sword most suited to my personal taste in respect of weight, formation, tone, etc., I can enter more readily into a state of identity where my body and the sword I hold become one. It goes without saying that as soon as one cherishes the thought of winning the contest or displaying one's skill in technique, swordsmanship is doomed. When all these thoughts are done away with, including also the idea of the body, on can realize the state of oneness in which you are the sword and the sword is you - for there is no more distinction between the two. This is what is known as the psychology of Muga ("no-ego" or "no-mind"). This perhaps corresponds to what Buddhism calls a state of emptiness. It is then that all thoughts and feelings, which are likely to hinder the freest operation of whatever technique one has mastered, are thoroughly purged, and one returns to one's "original mind" divest of its bodily encumbrances.'

(Z&JC p.206) "What may be called Mr. Takano's `super-psychology' of self-identity fitly describes the perfect swordsman's mind when he actually confronts the opponent. As long as he is conscious of holding the sword and standing opposed to an object and is trying to make use of all the technique of swordplay he has learned, he is not the perfect player. He must forget that he has an individual body known as `Takano' and that a part of it holds the sword, which he is to employ against another individuated body. He now has no sword, no body. But this does not mean that all has vanished into a state of nothingness, for these is most decidedly something that is moving, acting, and thinking. This is what Mr. Takano and other swordsmen, the Taoist and Buddhist philosophers, designate as `the original mind' (Honshin), or `the mind of an infant' (akago no kokoro), or `the true man' (Shinjin; chen-jen in Chinese), or `the perfect man' (Shijin; chih-jen), or `the original face' (honrai no memmoku; pen-lai mien-mu).

"This mysterious `non-existent' quiddity `thinks and acts' without thinking and acting, for according to Mr. Takan `he' perceives every thought that is going on in the mind of `one who stands opposed', as if it were his own, and `he' acts accordingly."

(Z&JC p.208) "A monk name Henkei replied to a query, `Have you never heard of how the perfect man (chih-jen) behaves himself? He forgets his own viscera, he is not conscious of his own bodily existence. He saunters away from a world of defilement as if he did not belong to it, he engages himself in every kind of activity as if he were not engaged in it at all...In your case you make a show of your intelligence, which frightens the backward people; you take to moral discipline which brings out defects in others. You act as shiningly as if the sun or the moon is fully out. "


Pg 220, "Life is indeed full of mysteries, and wherever there is a feeling of the mysterious, we can say there is Zen in one sense or another. This is known among the artists as shin-in (shen-yun) or ki-in (ch'i-yun), spiritual rhythm, the taking hold of which constitutes satori. (emphasis added, ed.)


P220, "Every art has its mystery, its spiritual rhythm, its myo (miao), as the Japanese would call it. (emphasis added, ed.)

The Zen Way to the Martial Arts, Deshimaru, Taisen; 

1982, E.P. Dutton, New York. ISBN: 0-525-48141-9.

(Ed. comment: This is a rather small book, full of meaning and insight. Reading it is like sitting at the feet of a Master and learning.)

The Zen Way to the Martial Arts by Taisen Deshimaru (ZWMA, p.2) "Master Deshimaru emphasizes that the true Martial Arts take their spirit from Budo rather than from sports: `I have nothing against sport, they train the body and develop stamina and endurance. But the spirit of competition and power that presides over them is not good, it reflects a distorted vision of life. The root of the Martial Arts is not there...In the spirit of Zen and Budo everyday life becomes the contest. There must be awareness at every moment - getting up in the morning, working, eating, going to bed. That is the place for the mastery of self.'"

(ZWMA, p13) "Bushido, the way of the samurai, grew out of the fusion of Buddhism and Shintoism. This way can be summarized in seven essential principles:

1.) Gi: the right decision, taken with equanimity, the right attitude, the truth. When we must die, we must die. Rectitude.

2.) Yu: bravery tinged with heroism.

3.) Jin: universal love, benevolence toward mankind; compassion.

4.) Rei: right action - a most essential quality, courtesy.

5.) Makoto: utter sincerity; truthfulness.

6.) Melyo: honor and glory.

7.) Chugo: devotion, loyalty.

These are the seven principles underlying the spirit of Bushido, Bu – Martial Arts; shi - warrior; do - Way."

(ZWMA, P15) Shojin is the first stage, a period during which the will and consciousness are involved in practice: in the beginning they are necessary. In Budo as in Zen, this stage lasts three to five years - in olden day, it was ten years. Throughout those ten years one had to continue practicing zazen with one's will, although sometimes after only three or five years of true practice, the master would give the Shiho, the transmission. In those days people had to live permanently in the temple and participate in the Sesshins (intensive Zen training - Ed.)."

(ZWMA, p46-47) "Zen and the way have flowed together, so most of the great Zen masters speak of Do and never employ the word Zen, which is largely a Western usage."

(ZWMA, p49) "In the Martial Arts, work on technique is indispensable, usually for ten or twenty years. But ultimately, state of mind or consciousness takes precedence...The link between mind and body, spirit and posture, mind and waza, is breathing. Breathing becomes Ki (energy, the spring), like the Ki in Aikido. In Budo, three essential things are technique (waza), activity (Ki), and mind/spirit (shin)."

(ZWMA, p51) "The true way of the Budo is not through competition or conflict; it is beyond life and death, beyond victory and defeat. The secret of the sword is never to unsheathe the sword: you must not take out your sword because if you try to kill someone, you must die for it yourself. What you must do instead is kill yourself, kill your own mind; then other people are afraid and run away. You are the strongest and the others keep their distance. It is no longer necessary to win victories over them."

(ZWMA, p55) "Zazen means returning, completely, to the pure, normal human condition. That condition is not something reserved for great masters and saints, there is nothing mysterious about it, it is within everyone's reach. Zazen means becoming intimate with oneself, finding the exact taste of inner unity, and harmonizing with universal life."

(ZWMA, p64) "Through the practice of zazen we learn to experience direct, natural relationships that are not affected by our egos; and we also learn the virtues of silence. Body and mind recover their natural unity. `Out of silence rises up immortal spirit.'"

(ZWMA, p72) "Zen and the Martial Arts have nothing to do with keeping fit or improving health, either...And Zen is not some sort of spiritual massage...Zazen is not meant to make you feel relaxed and happy, any more than the Martial Arts are a game or sport. Their significance is deeper and more essential, it is that of life. Of death as well, since the two cannot be dissociated."


(ZWMA, p76) "In Budo the concept of Sutemi is essential. Sute: abandon; mi: body. It means `discard, throw away, abandon the body'. There are a number of schools of kendo, but Sutemi, abandoning the body, is common to them all...they all teach Sutemi, abandoning the body, letting go of it, forgetting the ego and following nothing but the cosmic system. Abandon attachments, personal desires, ego. Then you can guide the ego objectively. Even if you fall down, you must not be afraid or anxious. You must concentrate here and now and not save your energy for another time. Everything must come from here and now. The body moves naturally, automatically, unconsciously, without any personal intervention or awareness."

(ZWMA, p90) Mondo "Is the spirit of all Martial Arts the same? The same spirit can and should be found in every gesture of life. The techniques of fighting differ. But if waza, ki and shin (technique, energy, and attitude of mind) do not form one single whole there can be no right action."

(ZWMA, p90) Mondo "Is that true of judo too? It's true of all the Martial Arts and ultimately of every act of life. Judo existed in Japan before the birth of Christ and became a true science, a complete Art; the Art of knowing how to use the adversary's strength, and also of knowing all the nerve centers."

(ZWMA, p90) Mondo "Where are they? Many points must be kept secret; it is the responsibility of your Martial Arts masters to teach them to you according to the stage of your development."

(ZWMA, p98) "The true, traditional Martial Arts training strengthens Ki, destroys egoism and fear, moves the student beyond dualism, and develops Mushin consciousness, consciousness that has forgotten the self. It's not necessary to want to win; only then can one win. Abandoning the ego is the secret of right living. In life as in the practice of the Martial Arts it is important to strengthen the will and develop strength and skill. But the main thing is to strengthen the spirit and find freedom. Mushin - nothing."

(ZWMA, p101) "Concentration is acquired through training, through concentrating on every gesture, which is the same as returning to a normal condition of body and mind. In the end, the Will, the Intention, is no longer active and the result comes automatically, naturally, and unconsciously. And without tiring you."

The book cited below should be in the collection of everyone involved in Martial training and practice.

The Fighting Spirit of Japan, Harrison, E. J., 

1988, Penguin Group USA, ISBN-13: 9780879511548.

"It is an undoubted fact that contemporary works on the secrets of the Martial Arts are written in somewhat vague and ambiguous style effected by the Zen priests. But this circumstance cannot rightly be held to prove that knowledge of the secrets of the Martial Arts was due to Zen but rather that the samurai authors, who had been taught composition by the Zen priests, quite naturally copied their teachers style when they sought to express themselves in literary form. In this way, then, the belief grew up that the secrets of the Martial Arts could be ascertained only by means of Zen training. Still, the fact cannot be denied that Zen has largely influenced the Japanese masters of the Martial Arts right down to our own days." (TFSJ, p.141,).

Harrison relates: "One young man, pallid and anemic, whom I once questioned on the subject, smiled a superior sort of smile and said, `I will illustrate. I clap my hands. Where has the sound gone?' I sought to furnish an explanation on the basis of Western physics, but he would have none of it. It ought to be added that while he dismissed all my suggestions with an air of lofty contempt, he made no serious attempt to give me the Zen interpretation of the phenomenon. Chance encounters of this kind tend to breed the suspicion that the Zen disciples are wasting valuable time on the pondering of wholly useless problems that can have no bearing upon real life. A good deal doubtless depends upon the individual character of the Zen priests in charge of the courses of meditation prescribed for secular students. If these men are of high mental and moral character, the student will probably derive practical advantage from the discipline to which he voluntarily submits. Otherwise, the consequence for the immature intellect can be only confusion worse confounded." (TFSJ, p.152).


Zen writing is often vague and therefore lends itself to being called esoteric - hidden as apart from exoteric or open. The hortative portions of the Mokuroku provided by Professor Okazaki are called esoteric portions. One of the reasons he wrote in this manner is due to orthodoxy:

It is not the purpose to determine whether Professor Okazaki was a Zen adept himself. What we wish is to expose the hidden meanings of the Arts that have been transmitted to us. We do not have the skill or knowledge to determine the extent of Master Okazaki's Zen involvement or his involvement in any of the Japanese religions. We can look to see what he has borrowed though, and how he has taken these things and woven them together.

1991, 2002, 2009 David A. Scheid, All Rights Reserved

Prepared by: David A. Scheid