C.S. Lewis writes in his book, Mere Christianity , about the intersection set between the various Chistian denominations – the common ground of belief upon which we can all can agree. Lewis proposes this “Mere Christianity” as a starting point for apologetics or evangelism or ecumenicism.
Lewis is careful not to trivialize the individual differences in each denomination. The unique differences are important, but they are not, if I understand the book correctly, central to Christianity.
I think judo and aikido (and even karate) schools and styles and flavors are the same. There is a large enough intersection set between every practice that can remotely be called budo that you could comfortably live within that intersection set for a long, long time, exploring and enjoying the broad domain of the art that we might call Mere Jujutsu.
Before you write off the aikido guys or the BJJ guys, or the competitive judo guys, or whoever, consider how large an intersection set there is between what they are doing and what you think you are doing.
I bet there is still some material in the intersection set that you find vague or confusing or fascinating or useful – material that is worth working on for another year or two before you start thinking that your particular departure from Mere Jujutsu is so much better than their particular departure from Mere Jujutsu.
Also, consider the fact that people probably have less desire to demonstrate the material that everybody already knows (the intersection set). So, the things that you think of as peculiar about the other arts are probably just the things that they have allowed you to see – that is – the curious little distinctives – their own little departures from Mere Jujutsu that they think you might find interesting. Chances are, they spend most of their practice time working in the intersection set just like you do.
Article originally published in Mokuren Dojo blog