Honor
April 2, 2018

Courage

The next virtue of Bushido is courage. This can be as simple as living life fully and not letting the little annoyances of everyday life turn into crippling obstacles. It can, also, mean a willingness to do what others fear. I don’t mean reckless thrill-seeking. That is not courage, that is just fun. I mean the police officer who runs towards the sound of gunfire to save life without regard to his own.
Many people mistake the courageous with the fearless. If one does not experience fear it is often indicative of serious psychological problems. But, it can also be the result of training and preparation! Most people experience fear. The courageous do what they need to do in spite of the fear.
When we train in Martial Arts we experience many things that can reduce fear. We do attacks and counter-attacks until we are programmed to react with certainty that we can prevail where once we could not. That can help to give us courage. We spar with others until the experience of someone striking at you becomes ordinary. We have partners attack us with training weapons, such as knives, until we can handle an attack with a real weapon. We do randori and grappling and multiple person attacks until we learn to enjoy the experience. In the process we do collect little hurts; bruises, fat lips, bloodied noses that down the line, when a true attacker tries to strike us it has become mere play. In this we get stronger, in this we reduce fear, and in this we find courage.
However; getting back to acting when fear would cripple most, that is true courage. Never blind, never stupid, but doing what most be done.
I read once that everyone gets at least one opportunity to die well. How many of us are prepared to grab that opportunity?