As I sit here sipping a freshly brewed cup of green tea I feel drawn to something beyond myself. Granted the green tea doesn’t taste fantastic as I drink it mainly for the health benefits only. With each sip though, I wonder what it might be like to sit on a mountain top in China or Japan centuries ago and practice martial art, only to take breaks to sip tea and drink in the horizon at the same time. Its a breathtaking notion and I would dare say there are many other martial artists with a similar day dream. I imagine a crispness in the air with cherry blossoms shedding their blooms that are blanketing my higher level forms. The idea of this is probably spawned by my recent interest in samurai films and even more so what these guys stood for. Their passion about what they stood for is remarkable. They had a code. a way. Bushido.
Justice – Being the strongest virtue it gives form and structure to all of the other virtues.
Courage – Simply put, it means doing what is right.
Benevolence or mercy – Love, affection, sympathy, and pity are traits are traits of benevolence.
Politeness – To extend courtesy in genuine taste. Not to be derived from a sense of fear. Politeness shows high regard for the feelings of others.
Honesty and sincerity – To be honest in all endeavors. To create falsehoods that lead to white lies and then eventually extreme manipulations will bring about quick destruction. Even though the truth can be painful in the beginning it is necessary to maintain old relationships and communications or forge new ones.
Honor- To live with a strong moral compass and with a sense of duty. To value the duties and privileges of a highly esteemed lifestyle with dignity and integrity and taking responsibility for your actions.
Loyalty- An undying faithfulness or devotion. To remove your ego and live beyond your own agenda.
The seven virtues of the samurai. I paraphrased these virtues to condense them into a nutshell. Its crazy to think that something so easy could be so hard to implement in daily life. There are several sites that really delve into it and as I finish my tea, I want to say how much this bushido really appeals to me not only as a human being but as a martial artist. There are so many great quotes that go along with a warrior code, but the Bushido spells it out. A well rounded warrior doesn’t merely just know how to fight. But also knows how to not fight and embodies these seven virtues as a way to keep him or herself in check. Wouldn’t it be something if we all tried to use at least one of these into our lives or better yet into our lives when dealing with others. There so many folks walking around like the world owes them something. They’ve got a chip on their shoulder and they aren’t afraid to use it. Does this not seem like a colossal waste of time. A true warrior knows the difference between right and wrong and isn’t afraid to humble himself to walk on the side of integrity. Why aren’t these age old virtues seen more on a regular basis today. Why are they antiquated. Have we gotten lazy? Have we gotten complacent?
I’m drawn to this idea of being a part of something greater to myself. I don’t idolize samurai or their way of life but I can surely appreciate it. Its admirable on a very deep level. Their devotion to a strong sense of what’s right. Or the right way to treat others. The right way to have business dealings. The right way to carry oneself. All of which are tied into these virtues. Is this appealing to anyone else? Its an idea of transcending a superficial state of entitlement and just loving people. What do your endeavors reflect? Being well rounded as a martial artist means you consider all of these things. Prepare for the fight but practice peace and harmony.