Bugei Juhappan.

Discussion in 'Koryu Bujutsu' started by Bronze Statue, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. Bronze Statue

    Bronze Statue Valued Member

    First off, I'm not interested in any responses from the Ninja clansmen or from those who source their information from them, so I'll start by stating that right now.

    I've occasionally read and heard about the idea of Bugei Juhappan. I've also wondered; where did the idea of enumerating them in that fashion (i.e. specifically 18, or for that matter, specifically counting them at all; maybe it was all just "soldiering" or "military stuff" or just "fighting" to them?) come from, and was it truly as relevant a concept as some may make it out to have been?

    Obviously, warriors in a given time period would have presumably have been expected to have achieved proficiency with the major weaponry and major military paradigms of the day. But how long did the applicability of "18 martial arts" even last? (I'm having trouble believing that, say, a school from the late Edo period would necessarily have bothered much of anything with sojutsu, not to mention that firearms practice would scarcely have been applicable before the introduction of firearms.)

    Was the concept of juhappan a contemporaneous idea, or was it something that was written back into history?

    Thanks for any who entertain my clueless question with a serious answer.
  2. Quincyma80

    Quincyma80 Valued Member

    Curriculumn Vitae

    An interesting topic, because the list of "eighteen" becomes more debatable (what to include) the higher you go. Also are you talking just weapons or physical skill sets/methodologies (e.g., horsemanship, swimming).

    Perhaps the modern military cliché - “one mind - many weapons” - must always be remembered.

    Then you have to remove some more of the modern day myths and deal with the harsh realities medieval battlefield tactics – as an example the sword was always a secondary weapon – and effectively deal with the enemy, their distance from you and their tactics/your countermeasures – and to never forget the number one rule – if you kill them before they kill you – you win!

    I seem to remember the traditional BIG FOUR of the Bushi were:

    Pole-arms (Naginata)

    … but what about Archery from Horseback – is that a new one for the list or not?

    Of course they did study swords/swordsmanship.

    Eventually they did have firearms – well after Year 1543 after those nasty Europeans started arriving.

    But also to consider in the curriculum vitae:
    Staff (wooded) weapons
    Daggers/Bladed weapons (other than long swords)
    Throwing weapons
    Grappling, especially in armor
    Striking Arts
    Swimming – in armor – and water combatives

    Finally we get into some more specialized arts – (for capturing and subduing opponents ) such as grappling pole-arms (man-catchers), the truncheon (jutte) and rope techniques (not for sex):).

    Did I mention the scythe and chain yet?
  3. Bronze Statue

    Bronze Statue Valued Member

    Yeah, that was essentially why I asked the question. The myths etc. are exactly what's obfuscating things. (Some groups did practice horseback-mounted-archery as a specific art, but as you point out, as for the matter of how it fits into a category, well...)

    I wonder where the idea of enumerating it into 18 specific arts was from, and who popularized it? I'm guessing that the 18 was chosen from Dharmic-religious numerology (18 is one of the divisors of 108, which is a number that some Dharmics consider auspicious.)
  4. jwills79

    jwills79 Valued Member

    That number of 18 classifications of weapon is also significant in Kung fu as well. The number 108 are the set number of techniques in certain Kung fu schools too.

    I think 18 classifications is more important and a better description not 18 particular weapons.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010
  5. beer_belly

    beer_belly Valued Member

    I believe the concept of 18 was directly from China in the Edo period - the term 武芸十八般 is certainly used in 和漢三才図会 @ 1712 which has the list and is based on a 1607 Ming work.
  6. dianhsuhe

    dianhsuhe Co-Founder: Glow-Do

  7. Bronze Statue

    Bronze Statue Valued Member

    ¿Inglés, por favor?
  8. beer_belly

    beer_belly Valued Member

    Apologies -

    武芸十八般 bugeijuhappan
    和漢三才図会 Wakan Sansai Zue is an illustrated encyclopaedia, well, not very illustrated, but the pictures and maps in it are very cool I have seen some piccies from the Ming one - superb map of the world. Mostly slabs of text that are incomprehensible to the essentially non japanese reader like me, especially the pages of lists.... and one page lists the 18.

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