Trevor Leggett

Literature & Zen Site

The Spirit of Budo cover pic


Sub title: Old Traditions for Present-day Life


The Unforgettable Words of Tani

One evening, however, I felt very tired with a headache. At about seven, I picked up my towel and prepared to leave the dojo. Tani looked across and asked, 'Where are you going?' I replied, 'I feel tired and I've got a headache. I'll come tomorrow'.

Tani asked quietly: 'If a man rushes at you in the street with a hammer, wanting to kill you, can you say, "I feel tired and I've got a headache, so come back tomorrow"?' Then he turned away. His words were like a thunderbolt. I went back on to the mat and practised. After half an hour he said, 'All right, go home now'. Somehow I felt I did not want to. I went on practising, but he gave me a little push with a smile and repeated, 'Go now, go now'. This time I went.

Later in life, when I have promised to do something but then have been tired or sometimes even ill, I wanted to make an excuse. Tani's words would return to me: 'Can you say, "I feel tired and I've got a headache, so come back tomorrow"?' Then I was able to put aside the tiredness and carry out the promise.




While much has been written about the physical techniques of martial arts such as judo and kendo, the training of the mind is more important than superior technique. This book provides a clear introduction to Budo - the "inner way" of the martial arts.

Here are eighteen short pieces similar in style to the storytelling that characterises Zen instruction. Matters addressed include sportsmanship, achieving freedom of mind, training the inner self, developing an inner calm, and the four keys to learning - instruction, observation, inference, and personal experience. The reader is instructed on the cultivation of these Budo qualities, and ways are suggested in which the lessons learned can be applied to daily life as well as to the practice of the martial arts.


1. Bujin and the Gentleman

The Spirit of Budo
Yin and Yang in Budo
Inner Calm

2. Old Traditions Breathe Fire into Present-day Life

Chivalry and Budo
World Culture and Budo
Impulsive Generosity
On Humour
Technical Training as a Means

3. Budo: Learning for Life

Travel and Learn
The Four Keys to Learning
Dynamic Words
Free from Fixed Ideas

4. Dr. Jigoro Kano and Judo

The Buddhist Ideal of Mutual Benefit
Bunbu Ryodo
Judo in Real Life
The Will to Make It Happen