The practice of martial arts at the Shinbukan Dojo

The Shinbukan Dojo was founded in 2000 by Brent Hire Sensei for the preservation and advancement of martial arts. The school consists of a community of individuals who share common interests in the physical and mental training of budo (martial arts). These interests involve character development, self-enrichment, self-defense as well as social and philosophical research. Training is intended to foster an individual’s highest potential in all realms (body, mind and emotions).

The study of martial arts is as much a path to mastering the art and strategy of budo as it is a path to personal realization and development. Physical training provides an environment in which a student can explore and experiment with the core principles and attitudes of budo. Of paramount importance is that the student endeavors to explore and embody these principles in all facets of life.

Training in budo naturally inspires students to seek understanding and reconcile conflict, thereby positively influencing the condition of the world around us. As the student of budo develops physically, mentally and emotionally, a natural outcome is that she interacts and contributes more harmoniously in society and the environment.

The Spirit of the Shinbukan Dojo

The meaning of the name Shinbukan can best be described as follows. “Kan” is commonly used to describe a building or hall. The term “budo” combines the ideograph dō/michi 道, meaning “path” or “way,” with bu 武 (“military affairs, arms, bravery, martial power”). Chinese Taoist-inspired etymology traces the origin of this latter character to the combination of ideographs for “spear” 矛 and “stop” 止 ; “bu” is thus said to have originally meant “to stop a spear” or “to end conflict.” The Japanese martial art tradition, however, associates “bu” phonetically with the native term “musubu”–“to give birth,” “to bring together,” “to create,” or “to give life.” Therefore the Japanese conceptualization of “bu” is a proactive, constructive one, meaning “to bring forth peace.” Peace cannot be created through military affairs alone and likewise, in its broadest sense, “bu” refers also to agriculture, manufacture, and all other forms of production.

The essence and intent of the Shinbukan are expressed in the word “shinbu.” The most common orthography for this term modifies the character “bu” with shin/kami 神 (“divine, spirit, deity”), but alternate renderings use shin/ma 真 (“truth, reality”) or shin/makoto 誠 (“sincerity, fidelity, honesty, genuine”). “Shinbu” thus translates inexactly as “divine valor,” “true martial art,” “spiritual martial power,” or “sacred martialism.”

However, the concept of shinbu embraces physical and metaphysical as well as ethical ideas. In its fullest sense, it describes the condition that holds when all the essential principles of martial art are put into application simultaneously and in proper balance. Shinbu is, in other words, the summation of idealized budo, that which at once epitomizes and transcends physical combat.

While epitomizing and transcending physical combat may seem incompatible goals, traditional budo asserts that neither is in fact possible without the other. Thus, for a student of budo, the highest expression of shinbu is to defuse a confrontation or subdue the opponent without recourse to violence or clash of arms. The essence of this idea lies in the physical, mental, and spiritual skill of acceptance and absorption.

In Japanese budo this is often expressed as becoming one with the opponent. A warrior must respond with his opponent, in the same way one might respond with the waves and current of the ocean or a river; neither swimming against them nor being carried away by them. He or she must, in other words, embrace the opponent, flow and adapt flexibly with the opponent’s mental and physical movements while neither resisting them nor allowing themselves to be dominated by them.