Taido’s New Slogan… Finally

Back when I started Taido, the slogan “21st Century Martial Art” sounded pretty cool. Well… after somebody told me what the 21st century was, it did. I was seven years old, and it was 1984.

Back then, the 21st Century was: THE FUTURE!

But it’s not anymore. Y2K came and went, and the world didn’t end. We’re all still here, doing our thing.

Good news though. I just found out a few days ago that – eleven years into the 21st century – Taido has officially updated it’s slogan. That’s a good thing because literally everything is 21st century now. Unless you can travel through time.

Actually, I’m really happy about this. I’ve brought up the subject with a lot of people who actually make decisions about this kind of thing, so maybe I had some kind of influence in the change.  Or maybe some old Japanese guy is taking credit for it. Who knows…


That’s it. The new slogan. And it’s actually not too bad, in Japanese.

The first two characters (sōzō) translate as creation. The second set of characters (shinka) mean evolution. The final two characters stand for budō – which signifies a martial art. That の character in the middle is like the reverse of ‘of’ in English, so the whole thing translates as:

The Martial Art of Creation and Evolution

which is nice, because that’s what Taido is supposed to be.

Unfortunately for the English speaking world, creation and evolution are often used in the sense of two opposing views of the origins of humankind – as in “We evolved from apes,” versus “We were created by God.” Which is a silly debate anyway, but the fact is that many Americans hearing that Taido is a martial art of creation and evolution are probably going to be a little confused, owing if nothing else to that cultural connotation.

Anyway, Taido is supposed to be about creating new things and evolving ourselves and our society. I think it’s great that we finally have a slogan that expresses that, though I’m stuggling to find a more elegant way to phrase it in English.

Any ideas?

I’d love to read your interpretations or reactions to Taido’s new slogan, so leave me a quick comment below.

17 thoughts on “Taido’s New Slogan… Finally”

  1. In Danish we have a word: “New-thinking” that we use to express creation. Could we find something like that in English? In French, we are likely to use “innovation”…

  2. @Rika Yeah, I like the idea of using “innovative” except that almost everything claims to be innovative these days. Unfortunately, all the good words are taken. Maybe we should create or evolve some better ones to describe Taido.

  3. I didn’t realized that Taido could be related to god and apes until you mentionned it Andy !

    Well, if gods and apes can’t stand each others, what about “creativity in motion” ? or “Imagination in motion” ?

    I think “motion” and “imagination” can be good keywords to explain what Taido is.

  4. @Denis Rosiere Actually, I didn’t realize it until I types out the words “creation and evolution” in the translation…

    I think “creativity in motion” is a great way to say it.

  5. @AndyFossett I am sorry, but I probably got hooked in the whirlpool of the Giant rant… But the Japanese phrasing is not new, just that the fuzz about the 21st century has been taken away. At least that’s my impression. However, looking at taido today compared to 20 years ago, are we really innovative, evolving, creative, etc. when it comes to Taido itself, or does Taido just help us to become more creative in our thinking? I like Denis suggestion as it doesn’t necessarily mean that what we do on the floor (or mid air) always have to be new and innovative, but our mind and aim should be on evolving (into GMB apes?) and that we should always aim to progress. I hate languages, please read my mind….. From a stressed out Swede in a 35+ office.

  6. @AlvarHugosson Good point. These words are not new. The thing that’s new is dropping the chronological part.

    Also an interesting question you pose.

    It’s hard to say that Taido has really evolved significantly from 20 years ago. I think in many ways we suffer from not having a leader to catalyze that process. Nenchu is more common in tentai hokei. There are some trends in jissen that come and go. Once could argue many things that are *different* – but calling it an evolution may be a stretch.

    I’m inclined to agree that practicing Taido helps us each evolve personally if we apply those lessons to our lives.

  7. @AndyFossett It’s good that Taido has updated its slogan – but, in advertising parlance, it’s always better to use “action” words. Evolution and Creation are passive. Their active versions would be “evolve” and “create”; however, unfortunately, I only have a fleeting concept of the art, thanks to you and your Dad. I am assuming (yes, I know :D) that this is a tag line underneath Taido), and I’m also assuming that any advertising would have a picture or drawing somewhere of a martial artist, meaning that anyone not sure of the “martial art” connotation would be at that point – or should be if they have any interest in Taido at all.Ergo, having “Taido” in large letters/characters above and “Create and Evolve” in slightly smaller letters aligned to the right would be this graphic artist’s thought (right off the top of her head). For Japanese characters, aligned to the left would probably be more correct. I’m going for forward-thinking with the alignment.I love reading your thought processes, Andy – keep posting!

  8. @SylviaRogers Yeah, I don’t think we have to worry about Taido on the whole ever being marketed effectively with any kind of unified image or strategy. It’s kind of a nice thought, but I save my marketing savvy for my business precisely because trying to use it for Taido has been like banging my head against a wall.

  9. This is interesting, because i can see two sides to this..

    1. There is the side of how taido looks and is understood from outside. I can buy that it was called the martial art of the 21 century. It is fast, and spectacular. But like SylviaRogers put it, the martial art of creation and evolution won’t sell it to many new students looking to learn a cool martial art. It won’t explain how taido looks and is different from other styles.

    2. Then there is the spirit of taido and it’s practicioner. Here i can also understand that the 21 century slogan was used, and is now more outdated than above. Here i can really understand the concept of creation and evolution.. But i would probably stress creativity and evolvement since it, at least for me, is centered around oneself. You could probably say it easier though, like Adidas did, “Impossible is nothing” (which would actually describe both the visual side and the spiritual side of taido). I am really a big fan of the whole taido mugen idea.

    So the question remains, how should it be translated? Has this been launched as a new slogan or just one way of putting it? I think a slogan needs to be easy to understand, easy to relate to and easy to fall in love with.

    It needs to explain and touch all parts of taido. I think some thought needs to be put into choosing a new slogan and choosing how to present taido. I don’t think taido is always changing and adapting any more. I don’t think taido in itself is a way or a tool to cope with society today, but i do think taido can really give you a chance to develop and nurture a mindset and attitude that will help you in anything you decide to do, and at the same time you get to move a lot, have fun and learn cool stuff..

    How about “the scientifically divine martial art”? ;)

  10. @robbansa I think your distinction between internal and external perspectives pretty much obviates whatever impact we could hope to achieve from finding a perfect slogan or other offical description of Taido.

    We live in the age of instant and infinite access to information (whether it be accurate or not is another matter), and when people want to know about something, they’ll Google it. What will they find? It doesn’t matter what Taido’s logo is or what we all decide to say about it.

    People will make their decisions based on Wikipedia and YouTube.

    That’s why I think there’s much to be gained from posting informative videos (increasing the chances that a random surfer will discover accurate information) that portray Taido as we wish it to be seen. It’s a stronger strategy than anything concerning slogans.

    The only reason I mention the removal of “21st Century” from the slogan is that, as late as 2010, I was hearing it mentioned at Taido events in Japan, and now I’m glad it’s being phased out.

    But you’re correct, Robert, that the real issue we should be focused on is how prospective students see Taido. That will absolutely make or break us in the next twenty years.

  11. @AndyFossett What you say is all true, the slogan won’t be what convinces someone to start practicing taido. But a good slogan that helps describes taido can help explain taido.

    I have had my fair share of questions about what taido is. People in general have an idea of what karate, kung-fu or taekwondo is (very often not a correct view but still). For them taido is all new, so they want to fit it into some kind of category so they can understand it. I know i often have trouble defining taido to someone who doesn’t know much about martial arts. If you start comparing it to other martial arts you are in a way automatically portraying it as something “less” and you still can’t really get your point across. If you start talking about 3 dimensional movements the other person is sure to have his or her own concept of what 3d is and often can’t really fit it into that. If you talk about a martial art where you move a lot and do acrobatics, you are still only describing a small part of taido. If you are talking about self defence i personally think you are way off the mark to begin with.

    So the focus really should be to find a way to describe taido. We should make an elevator pitch for taido, a “this is how you can describe it in 30 seconds and get the other person to understand”. Until taido is a big martial art it won’t be enough to say “I do taido”. A martial art of creation and evolution is also sure to confuse.

    I am all for videos, I think it is the only media that really does most parts of taido justice. I would love to see taido in movies and a taido fighter in Tekken (of course a female character, quick and annoying to everyone else). But before it can get there we need to convince the world that taido is a really awesome martial art, good for you in many ways, spectacular and fun. I should plan a vacation to hawaii so we can brainstorm (I am sure @AlvarHugosson can talk with WTF so we get my trip and all the mandatory beer funded ;))

  12. @robbansa @AlvarHugosson You guys both need to get your asses over here… I think the three of us could solve all of Taido’s problems in a weekend, provided enough brain fuel.

    Excellent points, as always.

    So far, my best attempt at an “elevator pitch” for Taido is at https://taidoblog.wpengine.com/taido/, but I think it’s possible to describe Taido in simpler terms. Most people are now aware that there exist a variety of martial arts that have different ways of moving and thinking. The trick, as you say, is not to confuse or diminish Taido by comparing it to other, more well-known, arts. Explain just enough to make Taido sound interesting and exciting so they will choose to seek more information on their own.

  13. @Rika @SylviaRogers @AndyFossett “Move to Evolve, Evolve to Create!”, well, I think that’s Taido !

  14. @Denis Rosiere @Rika @AndyFossett

    It’s fun watching what happens when thoughts meld into one idea. I know what you mean, though, Andy – that really does give you a major bump on the head after a while. Been there. ;)

  15. In a conversation on how to translate this to Dutch, the word “dynamic” came up. I think that’s a good way to describe both the motion and the supposed evolution of the art. Still, one word is hardly a slogan, but we’re getting there…

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