Established on April 23, 1987 by Japanese Budo Association (Nippon Budo Shingikai)

Budo, rooted in the martial spirit of ancient Japan, is an aspect of traditional culture that has evolved from jyutsu to do through centuries of historical and social change.

Following the concept of unity of mind and technique, budo has developed and refined a discipline of austere training which promotes etiquette, skillful technique, physical strength, and the unity of mind and body. Modern Japanese have inherited these values and they play a prominent role in forming Japanese personalities. In modern Japan the budo spirit is a source of powerful energy and promotes a pleasant disposition in the individual.

Today, budo has been diffused throughout the world and has attracted strong interest internationally. However, infatuation with mere technical training, and undue concern with winning is a severe threat to the essence of budo. To prevent this perversion of the art, we must continually examine ourselves and endeavor to perfect and preserve this national heritage.

It is with this hope that we establish the BUDO CHARTER in order to uphold the fundamental principles of traditional budo.


The object of budo is to cultivate character, enrich the ability to make value judgments, and foster a well disciplined and capable individual through participation in physical and mental training utilizing martial techniques.


When practicing daily, one must constantly follow decorum, adhere to the fundamentals, and resist the temptation to pursue mere technical skill rather than the unity of mind and technique.


In a match and the performance of kata, one must manifest budo spirit, exert himself to the utmost, win with modesty, accept defeat gracefully, and constantly exhibit temperate attitudes.


The dojo is a sacred place for training one’s mind and body. Here, one must maintain discipline, proper etiquette, and formality. The training area must be a quiet, clean, safe and solemn environment.


When teaching trainees, in order to be an effective teacher, the budo master should always strive to cultivate his/her character, and further his/her own skill and discipline of mind and body. He/She should not be swayed by winning or losing, or display arrogance about his/her superior skill, but rather he/she should retain the attitudes suitable for a role-model.


When promoting budo, one should follow traditional values, seek substantial training, contribute to research, and do one’s utmost to perfect and preserve this traditional art with an understanding of international points of view.



By 1981 interest in budo had become international and the need to establish International Budo University, where people from all over the world could study budo, had become evident. Because of international influences budo had begun to function as a sport. School budo had become more popular because of championships and their promotion. At the same time, the Japanese Budo Association was aware of a growing interest, nationally and internationally, in budo as an expression of traditional Japanese culture.

In response to these trends, Goro Yamanaka, a standing Trustee of the Japanese Budo Association, presented a proposal to the Board of Trustees for the creation of the Committee to Establish the Significance of Budo (a tentative name). The proposal was approved on April 16, 1981.

The mandate of the committee was to investigate and resolve the question “What is budo?” They began by agreeing to try to clarify what spiritual principals regarding the development of the individual are unique to budo and shared by each do. The next step would be to compare these fundamental budo principals with sports from abroad.


The Budo Charter Committee was established by the Board of Trustees of the Japanese Budo Association. They held more than twenty discussion sessions from July, 1981 to March, 1984, and the representatives from each do expressed their opinions and made speeches. The process of clarifying the principals of budo was one of information gathering and consensus building.

Four budo scholars gave speeches at various lecture meetings supported by this committee. Eiichi Eriguchi lectured on “Internationalization of Budo and Its Problems,” Dr. Yoshio Imamura on “Changes in the Meaning of Budo,” Katsumi Nishimura on “Changes in Budo in School Education,” and Shinichi Oimatsu on “the Fundamental Significance of Jigoro Kano’s Judo (a founder of Kodokan Judo), and the Object of the Austere Training.”

In March, 1983, the Board published an additional issue of a journal, A Report on Modern Budo which summarizes the progress of this research.

Meanwhile, in preparation for drawing up the Budo Charter, the members of the committee obtained cooperation from each do to search for areas of agreement among the do. Beginning in May 1982, a series of articles entitled “An Overall Explanation of Modern Budo” were published by Nippon Budokan in the monthly journal, Budo.

In addition, three sub-committees to the Budo Charter Committee were established to study (1) the origin and history of budo, chaired by Tatsuo Saimura, (2) the outlook for unifying budo, chaired by Shinichi Oimatsu, and (3) the image of the ideal human being, chaired by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. In June, 1983, Hiroichi Tsujihara, who had taken office as a standing Trustee of the Board after Goro Yamanaka, took over the responsibilities of researching the Budo Charter. Thus Hiroichi Tsujihara was added to this Committee of Four to Create the Budo Charter. These Chairmen agreed to make a definite plan on the content of the Charter and hoped to make a charter that would become a concrete guideline for austere trainers.

In October, 1984, the Special Committee To Draft The Budo Charter was formed and Hiroichi Tsujihara was elected Chairman (Kihei Kijima took over in July, 1986). Members are Dr. Yuzo Kishino, Katsumi Nishimura, Goro Hagawa, and Shinji Nakabayashi. The committee has met sixteen times.

In order to reach agreement about the principals of budo the Committee studied the papers presented at the conferences of the Japanese Academy of Budo and other symposiums. They presented a proposed Budo Charter to the Japanese Budo and other symposiums. They presented a proposed Budo Charter to the Japanese Budo Association which was responded to by the dos and revised. On January 19, 1987, the Board of Trustees of the Japanese Budo Association approved the Budo Charter.


The Budo Charter was established by the collective will of the Japanese Budo Association to encourage the appropriate development of budo.

Each do has affirmed the charter, but applied its guidelines subjectively, according to its own requirements.



1. The Chinese character (kanji) for the character “jutsu” is composed of gyo, which means road or way, and shutsu, which means stick to the stem. Jutsu is the indication of the road that people stick to for a long time. As a result, jutsu means the method or way that people have stuck to since ancient times, namely, traditional way. Jutsu has the following meanings:

(1) art, skill; (2) traditional discipline; (3) teaching or instructing as one was taught.

2. The Chinese character (kanji) for the character “do” (or “michi”) is composed of shinnyu, which means foot movement, and shu, which means head. The head faces toward the direction that one intends to go. It should be the road or way that one can go through. From Chinese character, “do” means the way of thinking, the discipline, and the method that one must follow.

(Notes 3 through 8 omitted)

(Names of the committee members omitted)

THE BUDO CHARTER (BUDO KENSHO) It states the purpose and the meaning of budo training. The Budo Charter Committee included the representatives from the following budo disciplines: Judo, Kendo, Kyudo, Sumo, Karatedo, Aikido, Shorinji Kempo, Naginata, and Jukendo.

Respectfully submitted,

Akihiro Omi