Shinbukan

The Shinbukan Dojo is a school founded for the advancement and preservation of traditional Japanese Budo (martial arts). The objective of the Founding Charter of our school is to cultivate character, enrich the ability to make value judgments, and foster a disciplined and capable individual through participation in physical and mental training utilising martial techniques.

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Our school and instructors are rijkserkend (nationally recognized) as a member of the NCS (Nederlandse Culturele Sportbond) and the ISF-AB (International Shinkendo Federation – Aikibujutsu Tanren Kenkyukai).

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 goal and the essence 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.”

But 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.