Samurai no Kokoroe – Precepts of the Samurai
Number 1: Know Yourself, (Jiko o Shiru Koto)
The function or process of all personal growth, is to know yourself. All of the aspects of yourself. Both good and bad. Because these aspects added together results in the sum that is the self.
This is a concept that in all fairness, everyone seems to be familiar with. But again in all fairness, how many of us sincerely engage with it. To deny or ignore that which is bad and focus on only that which is good is to deny the complete self and ignore that aspect of the self. Even the bad things make you who you are. The refinement of personal character comes from the process of acknowledging the bad, and using the strength of the good to begin dealing with the bad. It is a lifelong process.
In the Bushido we talk about the virtue of Makoto, or complete sincerity. A warrior is sincere in his speech. If a warrior cannot be honest with his speech, he does not speak. This sincerity begins with the self. If you cannot be honest with yourself, how can you be honest with others? if you cannot first honor yourself with truth and fairness, how can you offer others the same?
The courage to face yourself with sincerity, helped the warrior to face his adversary in the same way. The path to self awareness is the path to true victory.
Sun Tzu said, to defeat your enemy demonstrates knowledge of skill. To defeat yourself demonstrates knowledge of the way and is true victory.
The noble virtues we seek as warriors, Honesty, Integrity, Courage, Humility, Courtesy, Compassion, those are all found within. The secrets we seek most in life, lie within. Not outside.
In Bushin Ryu we focus on the complete and true warrior. It takes courage, and discipline. And it also takes good people to come along side you to help. People who are equally sincere. The samurai did not face this journey alone. The band of brotherhood among warriors was of chief importance. These are things you will find at the Budo Shingikan Dojo, the Godai Shinshu Dojo and all other affiliated Bushin Ryu Schools.
About the Author Stephen Ewing, Hanshi: Hanshi Stephen Ewing is a professional martial artist and former Army Ranger with over 30 years of experience training and teaching. Hanshi Ewing has extensively studied Japanese martial arts with a focus on Tenshin Koryu Ninjutsu as well as Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iai and Kenjutsu (Japanese Sword) before finding his true passion in Bushin Ryu Aiki Bujutsu. Besides being Kaiso’s right hand man in the Kyokai (martial arts organization) he is the Chief Instructor of the Godai Shinshu Dojo. He brings both an analytical perspective to the study of martial arts (he was a math major at the University of Arizona), as well as a deep perspective on connection and feel. You might possibly spot him somewhere in northern Arizona (if he doesn’t see you first!). You can read more of Hanshi Ewing’s articles at: http://martialarts-gilbert.comShare