Jutsu and Do are typically expressed as what we would understand as suffixes applied to Japanese words to clarify the purpose of an activity. Jutsu implies a technique, method, or skill in the normal way we would understand. Do could be translated to mean way, and implies that the activity is a path to self-improvement or self-actualization. An set of examples are Judo and Jujutsu. These are both martial arts focused on grappling. Jujutsu is ostensibly a combat art originally used by samurai. Judo is a sport developed for civilians.
To further clarify, an activity would be considered a Do activity if it was done for interest, fun, a hobby, or self-improvement. Any martial art done for fun regardless of the suffix put on it, would in reality be Do. I don’t care if it’s jujutsu, kenjutsu, iaijutsu, aikijujutsu, karate-jutsu, or whatever.
Modern martial arts, by and large are not conducted with the expectation that the practitioner will actually have to use them. They are marketed as being effective self defense, and the players generally mistakenly believe that they are learning self-defense. Some of the players work to ensure that the techniques would be more viable in the real world, and to be fair, an advanced practitioner may well be capable of using them as such, but the intent during practice is not geared towards use in actual conflict.
True jutsu is practiced in military, police, or other similar training. There is decreased emphasis on form. The primary emphasis is that the technique is simple enough for the practitioner to remember and to be effective under stress with a determined adversary. If the technique needs to be altered on the fly in order for it to work, so be it. There is an emphasis in this type of training on a sufficiently aggressive mindset, which is necessary for someone engaged in a fight to overcome the aggression of the enemy.
In a Do setting, form is typically extremely important. There is an incredible depth of study, to the point of the practice being philosophical. Advanced practitioners, after years of study, are amazing in their power, composure, and economy of motion. This change in the student is part of the goal of the art. The skill attained is secondary. This is the reason for the common idea that when a student reaches proficiency in a martial art the actual skill is no longer needed; the confidence, awareness and physical presence are supposed to be sufficient to keep him out of trouble.
Students in a jutsu setting, by comparison, may seem to have only a crude grasp of the technique. They may seem somewhat ignorant to the Do practitioner. In a way they are. They may not even like the activity they are learning about, but may instead see it as a necessary chore. The samurai had to be proficient in riding a horse, wielding several weapons, strategy, tactics, field movements, etc., that it would have been considered silly to work on only grappling, for example. It is just a means to an end. This reminds me of something that former SAS member Andy McNab said in his book Bravo Two Zero. He said that he didn’t trust people with too much technical knowledge (his example was about guns) to be solid in a fight. He thought that any knowledge beyond how to fight with it was unnecessary, and was a sign of compensating for a lack of real fighting skill.
Do is analogous to laboratory study. Variables can be eliminated, isolated, and the environment can be controlled to at least some degree. Jutsu is analogous to the same topic as applied in the real world. Minor situational variables can and do affect the outcome.
Another way to sum it up:
Do = Process Oriented, e.g. two perfect shots to the body and one
to the head, smoothly, efficiently, and quickly.
Jutsu = Results Oriented, e.g., bad guy is going down, whatever it takes.
Why are you reading about this on a blog devoted to rifle shooting? Because most of us don’t realize the underpinnings and intent of the disciplines we are involved in. We think that because we can shoot accurately, reload quickly, that our rifles are capable of sub-MOA accuracy, all of those things mean that we are bad hombres. It’s going to be a bad day for the stupid perp who makes the mistake of messing with us.
Here’s the breakdown in that logic. While we train to shave a half second off our El Prez (or in my case, shaving 0.2 seconds off of my snapshot time), the stupid goblin who is going to attack us (yes he should pick a softer target to be safe) has experience in doing what works. Though he may be unintelligent, sub-human, filthy, stinky, deplorable, ugly, unimaginative, and hooked on drugs, he can get done what he thinks he needs to get done with surprising initiative, speed, efficiency, ruthlessness, and surprise. He’ll leave you dead and have your flat screen TV mounted using roofing nails he stole from someone’s shed on his living room wall with seven other TV’s before your body has cooled off. Your ability to shoot a 1-hole group at 300 yards is not going to stop the lead pipe that hits you on the back of the head from knocking you out.
The things that make the violent criminal not only useless, but detrimental to society, make him effective in his “trade”. He may only want what’s in your wallet, but he doesn’t care if he has to rip your eyes out or bash your head in with a hammer to get it. Whatever works. Because our minds don’t work like that (thankfully), it makes us vulnerable.
To put it more plainly, most of us practice what we do with a Do mindset, while the dirtbag criminal uses a jutsu approach.
Here’s my take on what shooting activities are which:
Tactical Rifle Matches
Basically any competition, target shooting, or plinking
Civilian “Tactical” Training (Gunsite, Thunder Ranch, etc…)
I classify hunting as a “neither fish nor foul” activity because it doesn’t fit either or could fit in both depending on the reason why.
If you are getting the impression that I’m looking down on or criticizing the Do approach, you would be incorrect. Anything done for enjoyment, pleasure, or self-improvement is going to be approached with the intent to come as close as possible to mastering it. This is what makes things fun and worthwhile. There’s nothing wrong with this.
The Do approach also means that our technical understanding of the discipline we study will likely exceed in many ways that of the professionals who use it for real. Often, the pros will turn to competition to sharpen their skills. This is also an indication of their recognition that their training is often not up to par.
What is important is that we realize the limitations of our approach to learning our activities. We need to understand that being able to use a gun well does not equate to making us a great fighters. Sure, some knowledge may be better than none, but overconfidence without that proper attitude to back it up can be deadly. Conversely, if you have an ideal survival attitude, but your skills are only sufficient to qualify, you are way less effective than you could be.
What I think is the ideal approach is the methodology of the Do approach, which is to say an orientation towards mastery, coupled with the deadly seriousness, realistic, and practical nature of the jutsu approach, which means keeping the larger vision on the “business” of what it is we’re doing.