When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:
I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me
I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me
I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull
I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death
I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed
I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes
I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados
I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers
The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn
Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung
WARNING, CAVEAT AND NOTE
The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated.” - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)
“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)
“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne
Bushido: The Code of the Samurai Warrior ...
I also remember over time hearing recitation of Go-rin-no-sho where the same questions popped up in my mind. In reflection I can say that in the case of the dojo I visited it was not apparent that the code or the teachings of Musashi were being followed. Not even in a small way but I still had to temper those thoughts of mine with, "Do I really know and understand?"
So, in time I kept reflecting and studying such codes, etc. similar to my study of what is the ken-po goku-i so developed my own personal code to live by and to train/practice/instruct martial arts by, here it is:
Code One: Never strike first. Assume courtesy and respect with appropriate kindness in all your personal encounters. No actions taken are with out consequences for others. Anticipate what those consequences will be and act accordingly. How we choose to respond dictates the outcome. Make "avoidance" your primary defensive act.
Code Two: Develop proper attitude in you daily life. Look inside yourself for ways to cope successfully with life's difficulties with out ignoring the outside world. Remain positive in every thought and with every deed. Think "Mindfulness Awareness."
Code Three: Pay Attention [active awareness]! When ever you encounter another you must "to attend to" or pay attention. Remain alert to the person, environment, and be diligent in attending to the appropriate changes necessary to create a positive outcome to the encounter. To pay attention is to demonstrate your expression to the other as a worthy person. Your acknowledgement of the person validates them and shows your desire to treat them as equals and establish them as worthwhile individuals.
Code Four: Keep vigilant [mindful awareness] in your encounters, actions, and/or deeds when with others to validate their existence, their importance in society, and their personal feelings.
Code Five: Always think the very best of others. Assume the best and act accordingly with out losing sight of positive awareness in case of a sudden change. Approach every encounter with others as if they are good, honest, and sensitive.
Code Six: Possibly one of the most important rules you can assume in life is to "Listen; actively listen." Listening or lack thereof is the most common reason for conflict. Listen to the words and feelings; focus on the person communicating; let silence be your primary means of action; let go of your past experiences and be in the present moment, be mindful; disregard all thoughts of the future and be in the present moment; concentrate on just listening before doing anything else; establish eye contact; let you body reflect the positive; let your voice, tone, and response be on the others comments, actions, body language, intent, and so on; don't rush to agree or disagree; simply show understanding.
Code Seven: Speak kindly - always - and never speak ill of others. Be the person others speak of as the one who never uttered an unkind word. Let that be your legacy. Always keep in your mind that you are speaking/interacting with a living, breathing, vulnerable human being; always remember the power of words. Remember:
* When we speak to anyone in a derogatory manner we hurt.
* It is a coward who resorts to the use of words or deeds to attack another.
* How we speak to others reflects on ourselves.
* If we are present when ill words are spoken we can leave, remain silent, say something positive, or openly communicate to the attacker as to what they are doing.
Code Eight: A fundamental rule of society; one that is relevant and important when ever one comes into contact with another; decent behavior is when we care enough not to make problems, ours or theirs, into either our or their problem. The way we treat others is always a reflection of our own self-worth. Respect is a corner stone of any one persons contact with another. Assume they deserve it and then give it whole heartily.
Code Nine: Care for others as if they were a guest in your home. Be hospitable to every one you meet or connect with even if only for the moment. Get to know others by listening and when you talk to them talk from the heart. Always be considerate of others, no excuses.
Code Ten: Refrain for taking action or speaking with out thinking twice. How you communicate can result in either a peaceful resolution or a combative one which can turn quickly into a physical altercation. Self-restraint means we ignore the ego and stay in the current moment with complete respect and regard for the opinions of others regardless of our assessments. The goal is to have an amicable meeting of the minds when two connect in today's society. Civility or lack thereof are major causes of anger, fear, and conflict.
Code Eleven: Don't try to shift responsibility or blame to others. Take complete responsibility for all of your actions be they verbal or physical. Your attitude and how you express it can be either acceptable to all or not. When not, then you have conflict. Conflict does not benefit anyone.
Code Twelve: Develop the courage necessary to be brave. Bravery and courage does not mean jumping into any confrontation with the desire to win at all costs. It takes one who has courage to avoid conflicts, to find alternatives to doing battle. To create relationships that end in proper balance for all concerned is the epitome of bravery and courage. Anyone can take up arms and do battle yet only the very bravest; those with the most courage; are able to overcome the ego within and to achieve peace and tranquility within and in society.
Code Thirteen: Create goodwill among those who you come in contact by providing the type of influence that creates camaraderie; a societal connection of benefit for all. Be a benevolent guide to your fellow man; influence them to influence themselves; become someone who creates a desire in others to become a better person and a complete part of the society in which we all live.
Code Fourteen: Conduct yourself with the highest morality and personal values necessary to influence others to follow the path of civility; kindness to others. To provide others with good example of morals, proper conduct, and the type of courtesy that leaves a favorable impression is a great achievement.
Code Fifteen: To conduct one's life with ideals of both truth and honesty is the highest achievement of a bushi warrior or a solid citizen of society.
Code Sixteen: Loyalty to self, loyalty to the group, loyalty to society is a hallmark of a true citizen who contributes to the betterment of society. This is not blind but with a true heart in creating a bond among each of us that transcends the ego and creates a feeling of belonging and benefits all.
Code Seventeen: Make it your goal to achieve within yourself humility, respect, righteousness, trust, loyalty, will, endurance, perseverance, patience, and courage as your standards in living. At least make a commitment to "Try" every day for your entire life.
Code Eighteen: Make it a personal goal to look within yourself with truth and honesty with the outcome of acknowledgement as to your own foibles; to make it your life's measure to achieve dominance over such foibles; to never allow them to lead you astray from the noble path you have chosen; to never allow them to create disharmony among others; make this a most important trait of your personality and try to achieve the goals of the code daily, moment by moment. Make this your presence as a personal present to yourself.
Code Nineteen: Remember tolerance at all costs. Lack of tolerance is unfair to others and opens the door to discontent, anger, and conflict. Put yourself in another's position as if what you say or do effects you and act/adjust accordingly. To remember that everyone is a person; a human being; vulnerable; sensitive and no different than ourselves before you speak or act is important; do it.
Code Twenty: Keep your balance. Study, train, and practice to achieve balance or In-yo (Yin-yang). Create the one by achieving balance. The ability to achieve balance is a cornerstone of a serene life. Balance in mind and body. To achieve emotional balance leads to life's balance and allows us to follow the way through our code reflecting on others, on society, for all our benefit.
The goal of the code is not to dictate to others our own personal perspective of what is acceptable or not to an individual or society. It is a personal code for the individual thus is provided in as a generic form as possible to fit everyone. It is a simple guide that assists others in creating a personal life to live that is conducive to creating a society that is humble and serene.
Remember "Giri" or that which is hardest to bear. It is a personal obligation that no one can require of you but you yourself. If you don't feel it then you don't have it. No one will take you to task for not assuming the obligation. No one will come down on you. You must decide for yourself that this is the path you desire most and then stick to it under all circumstances, to the end of this life. Giri, assume it or not. Your choice, choose wisely.