Those of us that practice a Japanese martial art have always wondered how close to “the real thing” we are practicing. However the reality is far more complex than the fantasy.
If there’s a martial arts blog I recommend, it’s Peter Boylan’s. He discusses the issues in martial arts practice in Japan with great insight.
We go to the dojo regularly. We practice hard. We listen and try to follow sensei’s direction when she says “Cut with your hips” or “More extension” or the all-purpose direction “Relax.” We do these things. We learn to do o soto gari or nikyo or kiri oroshi or whatever the technique is. Are we really practicing budo though? Is budo what the samurai did in Japan? If that’s the core of what budo is, how is it possible for us to do budo now, in the 21st century?