My experience in martial arts has included two fantastic systems of knowledge, and close to 30 years of study. I have seen the very best of individuals and character and also the very worst of individuals and their character (or lack thereof). The best inspire me to achieve and improve, but so do the worst. The terrible and hurtful things that I have witnessed are contrary to the roots of systems we are a part of, and contrary to what martial arts is all about. Those individuals did not live the Code or life of a samurai, even though they profess to be samurai and live the code every day.
The Code of Bushido is as complicated as it is simple. There are basically two aspects to it: conduct and virtues. While these two ideals can be considered the same, we look at them through different aspects. Conduct is an outward performance, and virtues are an inward or driving force for conduct’s (or life’s) actions. This code is not much different from what most honest and caring people in the world already do.
Code of Conduct in Bushido:
- Piety- respect and honor of God or deity and ancestors
These outwardly expressed ideals were to be in action at all times and in all places.
Virtues of Bushido
- Rectitude- morally correct behavior
- Benevolence- disposition to do good
- Honor- Good reputation
The virtues are the principles that govern the actions or conduct of the samurai.
Because of my experience with the good, the great and also the bad, I am trying to instill these principles on the students of Total Ryu. So far, this endeavor has been very successful. Not only have I been able to improve my actions alone, but the actions of individuals that come to take our program has improved as well. All of the current black belts have all of the above qualities and virtues. I look for them before any student of any age can be tested into the black best ranks. We are also teaching these principles during our mat-chat section of our youth class. This process, along with the examples and teaching that takes place at home, will help the younger children in the system develop and engrain these basic and yet powerful character traits and virtues into their lives.
Being a good honest person is so very important. When I was younger these basic virtues and character traits were taught in public school. Today you don’t hear much about them at all in the school systems. You might here about them at church, but even that is rare.
A person cannot go wrong with the Code of Bushido. These traits will guide an individual down a path to excellence and achievement in all aspects of their life. My hope is that I can help the students of Total Ryu, even if only in a small way, to reach higher and achieve greater.