Martial artists who train long enough come to understand that the physical side of their training is only one part.
We learn that though it is important to develop our body to be strong, fast, and flexible it is equally important to train our mind and our spirit as well.
The ancient Samurai had a code in which they lived by. It was called The Bushido Code.
This code was made of Eight Virtues which every Samurai had to remember and practice. Today many, many martial artists all over the world are taught these precepts on the dojo floor and are encouraged to practice them within their own personal lives.
These eight virtues are: Righteousness, Courage, Compassion, Respect, Integrity, Honor, Loyalty, and Self- Control.
Though some people may argue the specific words that were encouraged, the vibe is all the same: To develop our character and personality in the most highest regard.
We learn about these virtues on the dojo floor within our training. We learn about being right and being wrong and to practice courage when fighting with an opponent.
Respect for the senior belts and compassion for the junior belts is something that is taught at the beginner level. Integrity, honor, loyalty and self-control are something that is expected at a black belt level.
These virtues are so important as a martial artist. It is what sets us apart, what is expected behavior on the dojo floor. Anything less is disappointing for a martial artist.
There is a very famous saying from one of the great Karate Masters, Gichin Funakoshi. He said, “A martial artist is an artist of life.” This saying is so profound, even by today’s standards.
We martial artists have a duty to carry this attitude into our personal lives, professional lives and public lives.
Practicing these eight virtues every single day makes us be the very best we can be, not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It is our job to know right from wrong, and to practice courage in our day to day lives.
And we must remember to respect the six areas of our lives: family, friends, teachers, country, our God and ourselves.
We are obligated…to show compassion where needed...to do what we say we are going to do…to keep our word to people …and to practice honor and loyalty within our life without expecting anything in return.
Lastly, as martial artists we need to know ourselves, looking for areas in which to improve. And through the practice of self-discipline and self-control to always be growing…to always be improving. By putting the Bushido into our every day lives, we can influence those around us in a positive way. This in turn teaches our kids and then the ripple affect will happen as generations are impacted for the good.
Everyone who has remained in the Martial Arts knows that they received so much more than what they thought they would when they started their training. They not only learned self-defense or how to fight, they learned the Eight Virtues that were laid out by the Samurai so long ago. They became an artist of their life!