History of Fudoshin
Fudoshin - the system
Soke Robert Lawrence - Ryuso, Fudoshin Combat System. Shodai Soke, BFA.
Robert Lawrence was the founder of the Fudoshin system (Fudoshin Ryu). After training under notable masters in the UK, Japan, Korea and Europe; he became dissatisfied with the apparent 'development' and 'modernisation' of the Martial Arts that was creeping in. He could not find any instructor who would teach him in the ways that he had experienced in the orient. In 1968, he formed the Fudoshin Ryu, teaching Judo, Jujutsu, Karate and Weaponry. These arts were intended to be studied alongside each other to create a more holistic and complete Martial Arts education, however this concept of Sogo Bujutsu was not popular, and most students trained only in one art, delving only occasionally in others. One student, however, was fanatic about his training from the beginning and followed Sensei Lawrence to each Fudoshin dojo in the Association for training. That man was Tony Ball.
For full details about Soke Robert Lawrence and his training history, click here.
Soke Tony Ball - Shodai Soke, AOFA (Australia)
Tony Ball started his Martial Arts journey with Sensei Lawrence in 1969 by attending Judo classes. Soon after, he started to train in Jujutsu, Karate and Weaponry with Sensei Lawrence also. Over the following 13 years, he trained 5-7 days per week, following his Sensei wherever he was teaching as well as being the only person to attend all of the infamous 'All-day seminars' taught by Sensei Lawrence; where one would train 2-hours each in Judo, Jujutsu, Karate and Weaponry in a day.
Tony was Sensei Lawrence's number-one student and had achieved 3rd-dan in Judo, Jujutsu and Karate, as well as the rank of Weapons Master, when he immigrated to Australia in 1982 with his family. He soon started teaching Fudoshin in Frankston, Victoria (about 45 minutes outside Melbourne). Tony formed the Association of Oriental Fudoshin Arts (AOFA) and has been training/teaching ever since. He now spends his time teaching the Black Belts and advanced ranks in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. In 1999, Soke Ball named his son, Darren Ball, as the representative for Fudoshin in Victoria. Soke Ball teaches at the Honbu (headquarters) of the AOFA in Frankston, Victoria.
Darren Ball - Shihan, Yamagawa-ha Fudoshin Ryu
Darren Ball (Tony Ball's son) leads the Yamagawa branch of the Fudoshin Ryu and has been training since very young. Darren was privileged to have also trained under his Godfather, Soke Lawrence, as well as having obvious access to Soke Ball for most of his life. He is currently ranked 4th-dan in Bujutsu and achieved his Weapons Master certificate in 1998. Darren teaches all of the lessons at the Yamagawa Dojo and is supported by a strong team of Black Belts who, in turn, are taught by both himself and Soke Ball. Darren has also achieved Yudansha ranks in Judo, Jujutsu and Karate.
For full details about Darren Ball and his training history, click here.
Fudoshin is a word first coined by Takuan Soho, a Japanese Zen monk who wrote a famous treatise on swordsmanship. Also known as 'Iwa no Mi', or 'Body of the Rock', the concept of Fudoshin was adopted and further developed by the legendary swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi. Fudoshin is best translated as the 'Immovable Spirit'.
FU - is a prefix meaning 'non' or 'not'
DO - means movement, or moving.
SHIN - This character (Kokoro) has a much deeper and more profound meaning than simply 'spirit', but 'spirit' is probably the best English word for transliteration purposes. The character Kokoro can, and often does, mean heart, mind, will (as in willpower), spirit (in both the human endeavour-kind as well as the more spiritual-kind), intention, purpose, character and essence. It is an oriental concept that is generally estimated in English as 'spirit' or 'heart'.
Thus, Fudoshin Ryu (our system) is best translated as the School of the Immovable Spirit. Despite it's 'tough' sounding translation, Fudoshin refers to a state of mental and spiritual peace, a state of equanimity where the 'self' is not disturbed by external or internal things.
The term Fudoshin is used often in many Japanese Martial Arts systems. It is a state that many Bugeisha (practitioners of Martial Arts) train towards. Fudoshin is often used together with other states of mind including Shoshin (beginners mind), Zanshin (aware/remaining mind), Mushin (empty mind) and Heijoshin (normal mind).
In the context of Martial Arts, Fudoshin is the state where the Warrior can not be distracted or disturbed. The mind is said to be 'unfettered', even to the point that when an attack does come, the body-mind reacts without reservation or even conscious awareness/thought. Such a state is extremely hard to achieve, thus it's roles in the practice of Martial Arts.