Bushido Martial Arts
The Phoenix represents the rebirth of our style rising from other styles. The Phoenix is looking upwards and to the right, symbolizing looking ahead to the future. Our style is constantly looking to evolve and adapt to better suit the needs of our students. The red to yellow colour of the Phoenix represents a flame. Fire is a powerful thing. It is true that it can be a deadly thing, however from ashes arises new life and new opportunities. Bushido Martial Arts is a new style, tempered in the flames of previous experience.
The External Ring
The external ring represents the cyclic nature of martial arts. A ring has no beginning or end. It is continuous, much like a martial artist’s journey. The martial artist is always learning, and constantly revisiting techniques and ideas to improve upon them.
The ring is blue to represent the sky. The sky is all-encompassing ether that surrounds our world. Similarly, the martial arts embrace us, not only in a physical way but also in every facet of life. Martial arts should not be thought of as learning to fight. Rather, it provides the opportunity to improve the student as a person - their knowledge, attitude, confidence, and fitness.
The 3 characters, or kanji, are the Japanese representation of the word Bushido. Bushido means “Way of the Warrior”, which was the code of conduct of the Japanese samurai. The seven virtues of Bushido are loyalty, honour, respect, honesty, rectitude, benevolence and courage. Our style embraces these virtues in all aspects of our martial arts training, and as a result assists in the complete development of our students.
The background of the logo is a plain white space, representing a blank canvas on which to paint new ideas and values. It symbolizes that every person has the potential to learn new things, no matter how much knowledge or experience they already have.
The Overall Colours
The colours red, blue and yellow were chosen as the main colours for the badge for numerous reasons. They are the Primary colours, from which all other colours are formed. This is symbolic of the fact that very complex movements can be broken down into simple components, and learnt in that way.
These three colours are also the colours used by the Hudson Martial Arts group, at which all of the founding dojo instructors trained.
Anthony Hudson (founder)
The Celtic knot is a symbol that combines the traditional Japanese philosophies of flow and integration with our western heritage of the Celts.
It is a symbol that continues to integrate western ideas and traditions.
The knot chosen, as displayed, has three leaves, which are closely intertwined. These three leaves represent the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of martial arts. This close relationship gives the knot its strength and keeps the elements held tightly together.
The three colours making up the leaves of the knot have their own significance. The red denotes strength, determination and courage. The blue denotes knowledge, wisdom, intelligence, intuitiveness and improvisation, while the yellow represents spirit, enlightenment, and balance.
The leaves of the knot are tightly held together. No one leaf is a single colour. The colour between the leaves blend as the knot is formed, showing the tight integration between the three stages of martial arts, physical, mental and spiritual.
The fist represents strength and the need to sometimes fight battles.
The Yin and Yang symbol is a universal symbol representing the balance of everything in the universe, positive and negative, male and female, light and dark.
The centre of the badge is empty to signify the continual seeking of knowledge and that the mind of a martial arts student can never be full.
Originally, the badge had a red outer circle which was chosen to enforce the desire to have a strong club with strong students, as well as my own progress on my martial journey.
The second iteration of the badge had a blue outer circle to signify Renshi Anthony's own personal development in the martial arts and his progress from the more physical aspects to the more mental aspects of the martial arts.
The latest iteration of the badge has a yellow/gold outer ring as shown. This signifies Renshi Anthony's progress through the martial arts, and how he is now studying the more spiritual aspects of the arts.
The dragon represents power, courage and strong will. The Japanese culture views the dragon as a symbol of strength and hidden wisdom. Each person has the capacity to bestow knowledge upon another, no matter how old or experienced they are. Conversely, everyone has the potential to learn from every single person they meet, no matter what the circumstances. For example, even an instructor who has been training for many years has the capacity to learn from a student participating in his/her very first class, as long as the instructor is open and willing to learn. There is an infinite amount of knowledge to be learned not only within the martial arts but in the wider world. It therefore is our challenge to invest in our own growth and learning.
Dragons are mystical creatures, valued for their warlike qualities and perceived as noble defenders and protectors, much like martial artists. These are qualities which resonate with me and my martial journey, particularly as an instructor and in a position of leadership. Dragons, however, are also associated with evil, which reflects the duality of the human character. Every person has the potential to be ‘bad’ as well as ‘good’, to make negative choices as well as positive ones. It therefore takes courage to make moral decisions, to maintain a balance between the ‘forces of good and evil’, and to live a respectful, ethical life. It is a challenge to overcome temptations and to live a life reflecting the seven virtues of Bushido.
The dragon’s wings expand over the edge of the internal circle which represents their protective qualities. Protection in a martial sense can be interpreted as an instructor’s protection and guidance of his/her students and the protection and defence of the seven virtues of Bushido- loyalty, honour, respect, honesty, rectitude, benevolence and courage. The expanded wings also represent the dojo’s goal of ‘spreading the wings’ of its students through improved confidence, greater self-esteem, and increased opportunities and confidence to seek out one’s dreams and goals.
Like traditional Japanese images, the dragon is three-clawed. This represents the three aspects of martial arts- physical, mental and spiritual. Incorporating aspects of a traditional Japanese dragon signifies the origins of Bushido Martial Arts in Okinawa, Japan.
The first two characters, or kanji, are the Japanese representation of the words ‘inner strength’. This can be interpreted as a constant strive for self improvement and inspiring oneself to do great things. The martial arts do not only build strength of character, but also reveals it through one’s attitude, perseverance and determination.
The second two kanji represent ‘courage and bravery’. Courage does not have to be demonstrated through heroic acts, but in choosing to do what is right rather than what is easy. Through training, one can learn how to have the courage to discover a sense of self and then aim to live one’s potential as a martial artist and a person of the wider community.
The last two kanji represent ‘honour’. This form of honour refers to being worthy of honour and having respect for one’s self as well as others, in other words, to live an honourable life, reflecting the seven virtues of Bushido.
The combination of the black of the dragon and the white background represent Dominican values of knowledge, questioning, seeking out the truths in the world, and having faith in self. By discovering the truth about your potential, you are able to analyse yourself and set goals for self-improvement. To ask questions is sometimes more important that knowing the answers- it reflects a want for self improvement and discovery. It is the desire to learn that allows people to become better educated members of society, who are then able to contribute in a positive manner. Whether it is learning more about the challenges of those in your immediate environment or seeking out national or worldly issues, information and the pursuit of knowledge gives us the potential to make positive influences in the wider community, and gives us the drive to strive for improvement.
The blue colouring of the kanji is representational of perseverance in training, self improvement and goal achievement by discovering inner strength to overcome setbacks.
The yellow colouring of the internal and external circle symbolises hope and optimism for the future of the dojo and its students.
This badge represents the stepping stones we take in our quest for enlightenment. It is the journey from the outside of the circle to the centre. Roaming in the dark searching for the enlightened areas all the while trying to reach the yellow centre which symbolises the sun as the source of all life and a perfect circle with no flaws, something the martial artist hopes to attain in their own life, which is impossible.
Hence, it is all about the journey as once you reach the inner blue ring and believe you are close to perfection you are brought back to the outer blue ring and the learning process continues. This is the infinite loop and leads to a continual rediscovery of the 7 virtues of Bushido which are the red characters.
Each virtue starts as a large white section as each is a great enlightenment at first, moving into the next ring of thinner white areas symbolising the harder it is to seek enlightenment as the journey continues. Each bushido value is a direct path to the centre of greater enlightenment with respect being in the black area as I believe it is the most guiding of all and can be a key to all others. The blue ring and red symbols are in harmony with the style badge and its symbolism.
The Wave and Water
A breaking wave is one whose base can no longer support its top, causing it to collapse. A martial artist seeks never to arrive at such a point where there is imbalance in life or in the physical being. This is a reason why Martial Artists seek to train in all areas not just in the physical sense but also spiritually and mentally. Waves are seen to move through an ocean or lake; yet the water always returns to its rest position. This symbolises the necessity to pause and do nothing every now and then. Like a pause in a piece of music, it makes life flow easier. Just as energy is transported through the medium, yet the water molecules are not transported, a teacher can share their knowledge but a student will not be able to grasp all concepts. It is therefore the instructor’s duty to be creative in their teaching methods.
In the Martial arts there is often reference made to developing the whole person. The areas of development talked about are the physical, mental, and spiritual. If a student is spiritually fit, then they will feel good about their sense of being. Having a sense of being is extremely important. The physical and mental parts are irrelevant unless one has a sense of being. A sense of being comes from a sense of being a part of something that is "bigger" than you. Similarly there are many small particles of water that make up the bigger wave. It is important to realise the significance of such small particles of water.
Waves come in many shapes and forms, as do Martial artists. While all waves share some basic characteristic properties and behaviors, some waves can be distinguished from others based on some very observable (and some non-observable) characteristics. These differences in the waves represent the variation in a dojo. All students should be treated with respect as we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Similarly a small wave is perfect for a beginner surfer, while larger waves are great for competition surfers. However we must not allow ourselves to be so narrow minded to think that a smaller wave will not help improve an experienced surfer. It should be understood that we can all learn from each other regardless of rank. It should be understood that it is often helpful to go back to basics to help build a strong base.
Meditation can be broadly defined as any activity that keeps a persons attention anchored in the present moment. When the mind is calm and focused in the present, it is neither reacting to memories from the past nor being preoccupied with plans for the future. The intention is not to remove stimulation but rather to direct your concentration to one element - one sound, one word, one image, or one's breath. When the mind is "filled" with the feeling of calm and peace, it cannot take off on its own and worry, stress out, or get depressed.
Breathing is essential to life, and we must concentrate on correct breathing. Zen breathing incorporates a long exhalation, which helps develop the energy from the lower abdomen, or the hara. For a kiai one must focus this energy right at the end of the breath. Too many shout out a kiai to express their personality or as a means to show dominance but it fails to have energy behind it. It is not about trying to become someone, rather we should just be. Meditate only for personal gain. Through meditation it is possible to reflect on the importance of silence.
As an instructor one must not show a student their skills, but should rather share their knowledge, otherwise you are merely being an exhibitionist. However, if someone offers you something, you can only take it if your hand and mind is open. The open hand symbolizes the willingness to accept other people’s views, knowledge and personalities. This also emphasizes that if you are open to sharing knowledge in a constructive manner you will be rewarded with greater understanding and personal growth as well as having contributed to making better citizens. The open hand is also a position of readiness; readiness to accept all that is and a readiness to move instinctively. We move most efficiently using only the muscles necessary and tense muscles are slow to initiate movement. Excess tension of the mind and body will slow a person down. No movement or word should be superfluous.
Each person who enters the dojo has their own ideas, understandings, and experiences on life and training. If a person is consumed in their own ideas and their cup is ‘full’ there is no room for any other ideas or information. Hence it is important to empty your cup frequently, so it is possible to continually gather more information and be open to new ideas. The cup is also a symbol of separation. The bow upon entering the dojo for example helps to separate training from the rest of a martial artist’s day. In metaphoric terms we empty our cup that holds our experiences and feelings from the day in order for us to be able to focus completely on the activities of the dojo.
The cup may also be seen as a means of maintaining good standards. Each time the cup is emptied the contents flow back past where they have previously been. For self-development we must continually revisit the previous lessons learnt. If we are doing this on all levels we are developing a strategy for self-actualization.
The blue in the water is symbolic of the wisdom that the martial artist endeavors to acquire. The red of the hand is the strength. It is not only the strength that comes from having a physically strong body, but through relaxation also comes strength and speed of movement. The red that represents strength also represents energy. Energy of the self, others and the surrounding world and environment. The cup being emptied in yellow is the spiritual aspect of the martial arts. This all helps the awareness of linking all parts of life, so as to not train in Martial arts but be a Martial Artist.
The Gecko represents rejuvenation, resilience and the ability to adapt. While the Gecko has meaning to many cultures, for most, it’s seen as a very spiritual symbol and an ancestral spirit. I’m using the Gecko to represent the deep and rich history of martial arts. The Gecko also symbolises that when one understands and works with their strengths and weaknesses they can achieve their goals. This symbol can also be a reminder that we need to be aware of our surroundings, use the recourses we have and question or reflect on the actions we take.
This shows the balance martial artists continue to strive for, both in martial arts and in life - getting the body, mind and soul in balance is a constant quest but the rewards are great. I also use this symbol to remind me that concentrating or giving more importance to one element often means another one will suffer and that in martial arts many parts make up the whole.
The first Japanese character (on the left hand side) represents strength – In martial arts this is not only physical strength but also includes the strength to question, understand and develop what you are shown. Another strength that is important for a martial artist is to develop the strength to share knowledge and learn from many different areas. One of the most important strengths of a martial artist is the strength of self-reflection, to identify their weaknesses and to seek out the knowledge or training needed for improvement.
The Second Japanese character (on the right hand side) represents believe – The development of self-belief is an important part to becoming not only an inspired but also an inspiring martial artist. A belief that all others can contribute allows a martial artist to be open to learn from anyone and any experience. Having belief in or trust in ones skills and decision making allows the martial artist to improve speed and agility beyond physical training.
The External ring is to acknowledge the continuous nature of martial arts – the martial artist is always learning, developing and training to improve their skills and achieve their goals.
Green - symbolises growth, harmony, peace, stability and endurance. All these attributes are among the important attributes needed by a martial artist to be well balanced and to be the best person they can be. The importance of these elements in martial arts is to develop stability and endurance by taking the time to reflect on the relevance and progress of goals set, reflect on the balance of giving and receiving and to take time to develop ideas and grow.
Red - symbolises strength, power, energy, leadership, courage, determination and passion. A successful martial artist possesses both inner strength and physical strength, uses their power and leadership to support and positively influence others and has the determination and passion in all aspects of life and continues to strive to improve. They also have the courage to listen to and consider the ideas of those around them.
Black - symbolises power, reliability and sense of perspective and depth. For this reason black has been used to represent the Bushido group and the power, depth of knowledge and reliability of the group. They understand that each member brings qualities that benefit the group as a whole and the acceptance of this allows the group to prosper.
White – symbolises peace, higher self, simplicity and clarity. White has been chosen to emphasize the importance of balance. A martial artist always needs to be open to new learning, always strive for self-improvement and always look for ways to help and support others. They are able to see simplicity and clarity once they have mastered a previously difficult technique or skills.
The eagle represents the Dojo Instructors’ Italian heritage. The eagle was the ancient roman symbol for the Roman Empire and is a symbol of power and strength. Power and strength are components of the martial arts that are emphasized in the Croydon dojo through fitness and strength training.
The symbol on the right of the badge represents mushin which literally translates to ‘no mindedness’. It represents the ability to execute the martial arts without having to think or force it. With training, it is anticipated that when required, a technique or response will come naturally. This is the essence of speed in the martial arts. If a martial artist must think about a technique before execution, the technique becomes slow and loses effectiveness. Mushin is achieved when the martial artist is relaxed and peaceful, a state that can only come from training and confidence in one’s self.
The Japanese symbol on the left of the badge represents spirit. The martial arts begin as a purely physical activity; kicking, blocking, punching and moving. After extensive training, the martial artist must learn that the martial arts are practised as much inside the body as they are outside the body. A martial artist must look inside himself to really grow. Muscles and technique mean nothing if the martial artist lacks the spirit to use the techniques. Spirit may be defined as a non-quantifiable substance or energy present in all living things. The spirit develops and grows as an integral aspect of the living being, and this growth is an important aspect of the martial arts. Thus, to truly master the martial arts, one must master himself first.
The Butterfly and the Irenic Warrior
The Essence of the Mon is that of the Tao (Chinese = the “way, path, discipline”) or Do (Japanese) of harmony expressed in the dualism (Ying and Yang) of life. In this case, that the hard and soft, the violent and gentle, can be mutually supporting while existing and flourishing, harmoniously in the one being.
This dualism is depicted by the image of an Australian Blue Ulysses Butterfly with a sword as its body and a spearheaded pommel as its head. The image symbolises the metamorphosis from an Irenic being (the peaceful Butterfly) to include an armed Warrior essence (evidenced by the sword/spear). The theme is rooted in the German word for Butterfly (Etymology - Schmetterling, n. Butterfly [G, f. “Schmetter” = Smash, destroy, throw down violently and “ling”, diminutive suffix])), where a violent word, with a slight change becomes an inoffensive joyful being.
The Australian Blue Ulysses (named after the mythical Greek wanderer and hero warrior from Homer’s Iliad, a poem dealing with the siege of Troy) continues the analogy of the dualism of soft and hard, while creating an Australian connection. The fact that it is named for a wandering warrior is also a metaphor for my life as a wanderer and embryonic warrior.
In the badge can be seen the thought of the possibility and existence of a Peaceful Warrior (Shizuka no Bushi) ethic. An ethic which abhors violence and despises those who try to dominate others, while having the knowledge, understanding and strength to protect themselves and others from the forces of violence and domination.
The essence of the badge is expressed in the statement that “the most important experiences a man can have are those that take him to the very limit; that is the only way we learn, because it requires all our courage. Only those who know those frontiers know life; everything else is just passing time, repeating the same life events, growing old and dying without ever having discovered what we are doing here.” (Marquis de Sade).
My Mon illustrates the results of the journey in following this exploratory path and how the martial Arts have provided a constant, which assists me to return from any diversionary and unexpected events.
The border of the Mon is a circle of 3 rings (black, red, black), representing the encompassing influences of the founders of the 2 free style Martial Arts that I have most practised and is the rim of the wheel of fate, symbolises the knowledge, experience and improvement that the martial artist endlessly seeks to pursue and achieve.
The red word “Schmetterling” ((Etymology - Schmetterling, n. Butterfly [G, f. “Schmetter” = Smash, destroy, throw down violently. “ling”, diminutive suffix])) at the top centre of the Mon between the upper wings of the Butterfly, introduces the idea and importance, of the dualism of the hard and soft aspects of both the Art and of the practitioner, existing in the same body in cooperation. By using the German word with hard/soft implications (ie making a soft Butterfly out of a violent action), my initiating thought and my long involvement with the German culture – which has a strong Martial/Warrior element – is displayed.
The Silver Sword/Spear Butterfly Body and Head and Red Japanese Characters
A Silver Sword, with a bladed Spearhead, depicting a warrior’s weapons carried by the peaceful Butterfly form, together encapsulate the idea of a Peaceful Warrior, but also from its position, joins the German word Schmetterling and the red Japanese characters - Ookami karyuudo no musuko – Son of Wolf hunter. A connecting of my life’s theme with the martial aspects of my surname, Catchlove, which anglicised, is a translation from the French phrase, “Chasse Loupe, meaning “Hunter of Wolf.”
The Peaceful Element
The peaceful entity and pacifist way of life is symbolised by the inoffensive, gentle, winged Butterfly image. Also to be clearly seen in the armed Butterfly image is the inverted Y of the now, universal peace sign . The three stems of the peace sign also represent the sub themes of my Martial Arts Journey, being, my three beginnings, the three phases of development (Physical, Mental and Spiritual) and my three major learning’s, respect, not to judge others by their belt and humility. The three stems are also a metaphor for though life often takes me to a crossroads and offers other directions (the 2 branches). I then have to rely on returning to my central core tenets (the vertical stem) to maintain my progress in my Way.
The Wolf’s Head Crest
The albino Wolf’s Head, with flashing red eye and bared white teeth, on a Gules (red) background, representing my wolf hunting family background. The Gules shape, which can be seen as either a shield, or a stylised bell curve, shows with its outline, the process of moving from the ancient past to the way and the future and is represented in the archway surrounding the Wolf’s head.
The Red Dragon on an Octagon in a Circle
The black ringed border containing the Dragon is dissected to form a black ringed Octagon. The vectors of the Octagon represent the 8 tenets, which form the code of moral principles of the Bushido, the Way of the Warrior. Three of the dividing sectors, longer and thicker than the others, are coloured, and which, without the Red Dragon overlay, meet in the middle of the circle to form the modern peace symbol , thus portraying my preference for peace and non violence. In this object, with the Red Dragon sublimated over the peace symbol, the analogy of the dualism of peace and violence existing in the same object is poignantly repeated.
The Golden Bushido Cross
On the lower left wing of the Schmetterling is a Golden Bushido Cross representing the integrity of the Way of the Warrior, is the focus of the form and the arms separate the four phases of the journey along the Way of life.
The Pendant Golden Moon
Off centre to the right of the Spearhead is a not yet full, hanging pendant Golden Moon, showing that none of the processes of ceaseless striving are yet complete or finalised. Because of its asymmetrical position on the Mon, it also shows that this practitioner is not perfect, not entirely balanced and still has much work and learning to do so as to then be able to pass on these lessons.
Blending Thunder, Wolf and Butterfly
The idea, of the courage, strength, stamina and durability (all hard characteristics) of the gentle butterfly is beautifully expressed and extended in the Haiku.
Thunderclaps, and wolves run
from the destruction; but not
(Dai Sempai Adrian Cartland)
By their quietness they become Sages; by their movements, Warriors!