Bushido is the way for a martial artist to follow, a code to live by, the samurai way.
A samurai was a member of the Japanese warrior caste. The samurai way is old school but it’s still relevant today. Sometimes the old way is just the way; if it’s not broke don’t fix it.
Some things have stood the test of time and should not be changed. Bushido is a path to stay on once a teacher has taken you as a student.
The path is about being respectful to those who came before you. Show respect and get respect, or the sword comes out.
It’s a way to live with honor in your heart and it helps you walk with your head high. It’s about being honest with yourself and others. It’s showing courage when others do not. Martial Arts is about acknowledging the truth.
We say the truth is on the training floor. Does your stuff work in striking, wrestling, and ground fighting? Does it transcend positively into other areas of your life? The truth should not hurt but a swift kick to the head should.
Having the discipline to train five days a week with rest days in between is a great start on this martial arts path. I recommend warming up at least 5 minutes with shadowboxing, rowing, stationary bike or jogging. Next do some static or dynamic stretching.
From there, work on your curriculum taught to you by your teacher. Pre and post workout diet and nutrition is a must. There are certain things you do when training alone. When you have a partner, work on partner dills. Training alone is a good time to work on cardio, strength training, bag-work, stretching, iron body conditioning, forms and weapons. When you have a partner focus on mitt-training, two-person drills like mantis boxing, mantis hands, grappling and chi sau.
It’s important to be respectful to the space you train in by keeping it clean. Bow when entering and leaving. Leave the mental nonsense at the door.
Be respectful to your teacher. When you first see him walk over and shake his hand or give a traditional bow or even knuckle-up, just acknowledge and be present. Show respect to the teachers in the school.
The sifu trusts his assistants and so should you. Some day this may be you. When you don’t show respect it makes you, the teachers and the school look weak – broken.
Too many schools are giving Bushido lip service but are running the schools like a gym where anyone can come in if they have money. This mind-set pushes away the good students who are looking for something more. Tell the student what he really needs to hear to grow and become a better person, be truthful.
When you are training daily, eating right and doing the right things you will feel better about yourself. Then you will shine! When you do not do the right thing you know inside and this is like poison. Once you are tainted it’s hard to see the truth, it’s hard to see the path.
It’s ok to take one step off the path on occasion, but do not take too many off the path because you will lose sight of the way and get lost. This can be a huge waste of your time and life. If you step off the path do not give yourself a hard time just get back on. Don’t be too hard on yourself that’s your sifu’s job.
Take pride in what you do, take pride in who you are associated with – your teachers, training brothers and sisters, your lineage. Don’t be fake; be the real deal. Make sure what you are training will save your life and those around you. I’ve always been big on competition; competition builds champions. But champions sometimes get beat up on the streets. Don’t be that guy.
Remember to have fun and listen to your teacher he has a lot of experience and wisdom to share with you.
Train hard, train smart, finish healthy,