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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

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The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn


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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.


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Bushido, A False Sense of Understanding

This is my perspective, my view and mine alone. Recently I commented on a reference to the Code of Bushido with an underlying belief and understanding that it was some code the exemplified the warrior of Japan often referred to as "Samurai." As a result of my comment and some solid references provided by the author of that post I have come to some new beliefs and understandings as to both Japanese Warrior Samurai and the "Code of Bushido."

It would have been nice if the code actually existed during the times of the Samurai but in reality, according to current sources which can change, it was merely a "by word of mouth" passed along at the convenience of the Samurai. It was not a rigid code but one of "flexibility" where the Samurai or military noble warrior could "adjust" it to fit what was perceived at the time as "just warfare" which was open to interpretations at the moment along with the dictates of the Emperor and Shogun, etc. I might add according to the sources extended into WWII.

It was not really a set code of ethics or martial ethics but something that was loosely used where it become subject to corruptions as indicated above and was actually "vague and fluid" depending on any number of ideologies and influences due to perceived level in society and/or nobility, etc.

In reality the code was developed and written by a number of Japanese authors over a period of centuries which at the moment actually served that moment in times current strategic and "political" goals of whomever was in power.

So, in my view if it was not actually written in any concrete form and that form was not available to any of us today we have no real clue as to its validity and use. It was not until Inazo Nitobe wrote his view of it in 1899, i.e. 1900's :-), that it become known and/or accepted by the Japanese and even then because it was written by someone who was not nor had any nobility or warrior experience plus from a religious view that was not readily accepted at the moment was only accepted by the military because they could use it to suit their purposes of uniting Japan and justify the conscription of its people to benefit their actions opening WWII.

Now, to me this smacks of subversion of a code that could have provided ideals of acceptable societal behavior both military and civilian. Even tho our intent in today's martial systems is to use such a code to do just this its historical basis and beliefs are inaccurate to say the least. This does not mean that it cannot still be used to benefit but to believe that this is due to some belief in the nobility of Samurai warriors would be "just plain wrong."

This misconception has created a belief and view of Samurai that only can be exemplified in "fictional characterizations" vs. "reality." As with a lot of historical views it is the victorious who tend to write it with a slant toward their needs, beliefs, etc. so it will live on and propagate through our instruction of the martial arts. It is a glorious and exciting view unsubstantiated by history but what the heck, "It is just so cool!"

Please note the title of the article, i.e. emphasizing "Deceit." Also, it must be noted the basis of the article is referencing the brutality of WWII in relation to Bushido as well as other writings such as the "Hagakure." This post hopefully will inspire the reader to view and read the entire article. Who wants their hero's shot down, not me!

Sources:
Bushido: The Valor of Deceit written and posted on the "military history online" web site and written by Holly Senatore [it should be noted that this post is not endorsed nor validated by Ms. Senatore but merely my interpretations as to the content I read in her article.

2 comments:

SueC said...

Hi Charles, unfortunately it seems like human nature to subvert a code of ethics in order to justify unacceptable behaviour. Take the European Human Rights Act - that is subverted by lawyers, individuals, pressure groups and criminals alike. Prisoners are using it to try and get themselves the right to vote, failed asylum seekers who have committed crimes in UK use it to stop deportation (citing a right to family life), lawyers use it to gain super-injunctions on behalf of politicians/celebrities who have dodgy personal lives they don't want others to know about.

When ever you write down a code of behaviour/rights or anything else,particularly if you enshrine it in law, there will be unintended consequences. The code may be good but there will always be people who abuse it. That's life!

Charles James said...

Hi, Sue: Point taken, well said, and there are a couple of books I mentioned off line that are also used to justify very, very bad behovior.