A non-profit program for the promotion of Budo & Kobudo
If Budo are ways to self-accomplishment, a company run by Budoka should embrace the same values we strive for in the Dojo. In the continuity of our work with traditional craftsmen and our support to various Budo events throughout the globe, our BudoStudies program was founded in 2016. With this program, we aim at promoting Budo and Budo studies both in and out of Japan by producing Budo-related videos containing interviews and documentaries, as well as providing wide event coverage.
BudoStudies, a non-profit program at the service of the community
We work with various teachers and researchers of the Budo, Kobudo and Koryu Bujutsu communities. We never take sides, we do not judge, we do not argue. We only work as a medium with the professionalism we believe Budo deserves.
From the unique perspective of our expertise on three different axes, practice, equipment manufacturing and research, our BudoStudies program is directed by practitioners of various Budo, specialists in history, sociology, philosophy, photography, and videography. We publish in Japanese, English and French.
We consider this program from a journalistic perspective. There are masters at the Dojo and academic researchers doing the hard job in the shadow, and our job is to shed light on their work to make it known so that it can benefit the entire community.
If this program is fully funded by Seido, which allows the distribution of all our productions freely on the YouTube platform, our BudoStudies department is completely independent. Although the communication channels are shared in order to reach as many people as possible, this program is not intended for the promotion of products or for marketing, and will never be. All our projects are entirely non-profit.
Because Seido is funding this program, we want to stay fully transparent about our work, so Seido is credited as supporting those productions.
Being part of the community, working for the community
We are part of the community, we are Budo and Kobudo practitioners with up to 20 years of practice. Through our Budo journey in Japan, but also through our commercial activities, we built a unique network, a network that goes beyond quarrels, beyond the Budo<>Kobudo dichotomy, and that sometimes extends to friendships.
We now have a position that no one ever had before, a position that allows us to have an objective perspective, not focused on this or that school, but open to every school, away from quarrels… We had to take this opportunity, for the greater good of the community, and also, let’s be honest, for our personal growth!
If our program is so costly, it is mainly because we do not compromise with quality. We believe that in order to be promoted the right way, it is of the utmost importance to publish contents of the highest quality. This requires high quality gear, but also lots of preparation and editing time. Objectively, a quick look at the work that has been done before is enough to realize that what we have accomplished so far is unprecedented.
A needed support
The truth of the situation is that very few people put the necessary money and energy into Kobudo promotion. This is a topic that is always put on the table by all the teachers we interviewed: they need promotion, they need support.
They do not get enough support mostly for two reasons:
- Japanese want to avoid any form of social friction, and promoting this or that school could lead to friction…
- It doesn’t make money. There is no return on investment.
Seido is free of those two issues. We are not Japanese, thus having a neutral position that allows us not to fear for the frictions that could potentially happen, and Seido is financially independent thanks to its commercial activity. This allows us to produce our contents without any fear of not being profitable.
Quality work requires important funding
Our yearly BudoStudies budget is about 80,000 USD. Though we may acquire a few customers who become aware of our brand via our video productions, it represents only a very small number of orders and the virtually nonexistent return on investment generated would in no way be a sustainable business strategy.
Our BudoStudies videos do not contain any form of commercials, no product placement, and they are not monetized, and we do not use crowdfunding platforms either.
Of course, we do not pay the organizers of the events, nor the teachers we interview, and teachers and event organizers don’t pay us either (it may seem obvious, but in Japan, paying journalists is a very common practice). There are never any commercial agreement of any kind. But gears are expensive, traveling is expensive, editing softwares are expensive, subtitling in 2 or 3 languages is very costly, hence this relatively important budget.
When we say independent, we mean it. If we do push our BudoStudies contents via paid marketing, newsletters and our website to Seido’s customers, we do not do the opposite. We do not use nor store personal targeting/retargeting information on YouTube and Facebook users who watch our videos. If you come to know us from our BudoStudies program, we will never push you any form of marketing because you watched one of our videos. We use Seido to promote Budo and Kobudo, not the other way around.
That being said, it is clear that our BudoStudies program could not exist if Seido wasn't making some profits. We believe that our audience is educated enough to make the right choices, as they see fit. If you want to order from us to support our work, it's and honor, but feel no obligation to do so. We publish our contents so it is freely available to everyone with no discrimination of any kind.
In short, we're not asking you anything!
If you are part of the Budo and/or Kobudo community, you are aware of the parochial quarrels and disputes that undermine our community too often. We made the choice to ignore those quarrels, to move forward and actively promote Budo and Kobudo. We have a collaborative mindset, a mindset that we hope is expressed in our interviews. Our questions are oriented in a way that has no purpose but to bring people together, to take the best of what Budo and Kobudo have to offer.
We are well aware that being positive is not enough to avoid criticism, and we are actually very grateful for all the feedback we receive, positive and negative. We are certainly far from perfect, and there is always margin for improvement. Please feel free to open the debate in the comments below if you believe it necessary!
Disclaimer - April 2019
You may have recently come across a number of photomontages suggesting that Seido is marketing itself, or its products, through its BudoStudies program.
Those are counterfeit designs that were not made by Seido, and therefore, their creation is punishable by law. Those montages were initially produced with the intent of defaming Seido, and were subsequently presented as “satires” after some social media users started questioning their authenticity.
Through the years, Seido has gained a strong reputation for ethics and quality. We believe that such a negative behavior is to the detriment of the entire martial arts community. We deeply regret for instance that the actions a few ill-intentioned individuals has led the entire team of volunteers who worked hard to organize this historical Donn Draeger memorial event, and the presenters themselves, having to justify their actions to people who had been misinformed.
We have initiated legal action against the persons who were identified as responsible and we are actively working at taking down the montages via copyright claims in order to prevent any misunderstanding about our work and that of the number of volunteers involved in this event from spreading any further. Feel free to report them if you come across them.