Goshin no Ryoshin

 
The name of the Bujinkan Goshin Dojo was inspired by a trip to Japan where Soke presented me with a Shodo scroll with the text Goshin no Ryoshin. It can often be quite difficult to find a coherent translation for text in this way as Soke often uses clever word play to provide inner / hidden meanings to the things that are written. Literal translations can sometimes be meaningless!

That being said, the most straight forward translation is "Protect the heart, Protect the mind"

This is an important aspect of Budo (the Japanese term for martial arts, or literally the Art of War), one that is easily forgotten. 
It can be easy to say as a passing comment that martial arts are to be used for self defense only. However, these arts were not always developed for self defense, sometimes very much the opposite. Even now, where martial arts are used to fight in a manner of different competitions (Judo, TKD, Boxing, MMA etc), the emphasis is not self defense. It's about physically defeating your opponent, and therefore bound by the rules of the competition (and sometimes not), the fighters will attempt to win.

Therefore the mantra that Martial Arts are for self defense goes out the window. Or does it? 
On many forums, the debate rages on about which Martial Art is best. This is not a new argument, it has probably gone on ever since martial arts schools have existed. Reading through history you'll see that schools have often challenged other schools to see which is best.

So, would a Ninjutsu fighter beat a Brazilian Juijutsu fighter? What about MMA vs Ninjutsu? Unfortunately, I'm not going to add fuel to the fire. From my perspective these arguments are null and void. A cop out? Maybe... but the reality is this. 

You could put a highly qualified Martial Artist against someone with no formal martial arts training but gets into a pub brawl every weekend, who would win? What about pitting them against someone who is mentally unstable and shows no fear or has no remorse? What about a person who is fighting to protect his home, his family, or his livelihood? 
A situation can change a person. It is the same as a football team having a better home record than away. The support of a crowd can boost you. But to another, the rejection of the crowd can make them more resolute. 

What I'm trying to say here is that it's not always the Martial Art that wins, it's the fighter. Getting back to where I started, this is where Budo evolves from being just about a system of fighting. The Bujinkan system teaches a whole manner of different styles and techiniques. It allow us to prepare for a situation which we hope does not arise. But it teaches us how to deal with it. We learn not only to protect ourselves physically, but to protect ourselves mentally. Thus, protecting the heart, protecting the mind. 

Btw, a good Ninjutsu fighter would always win. Lol