Motion and Stillness as One
March 13, 2018
April 2, 2018

The Seven Virtues of Bushido

The modern hakama, the riding pants worn by many martial arts practitioners has seven pleats. This is to remind the wearer of the seven virtues of bushido. Those virtues are very similar to the Boy Scout code and bear thinking about.
The seven are Rectitude, Honor, Courage, Humility, Politeness, Veracity and Loyalty.
Over the next few weeks I’d like to discuss each and I’ll start with Rectitude. This means correct judgement, or doing the correct thing at the correct time. While it may not always be possible to know what the most correct thing is for a certain situation, it is always possible to strive to do that. Moral virtue is another way to think of this. A virtuous person does not strive to harm or profit from someone else’s loss. Imagine if politicians and business people grasped this as a way of life. When we study a martial art we gain power and abilities that give us certain advantages over most people in both the physical as well as the intellectual. This ability can easily be misused creating someone who is no more that an bully.
I believe that with martial ability comes a responsibility. To accept that responsibility you need to find opportunity to put it to work. When someone needs help and you have the capability you need to act accordingly. The Boy Scout is expected to “do a good deed daily.” Can we do no less?
The Hagakure, the Book of the Samurai, in one thought suggests that when meeting difficulties one should rush forward to meet the challenge. “The higher the water, the higher the boat.” Rectitude implies that it doesn’t have to just be your boat. Virtue is also doing what you should do even if no one is looking. We’ve all heard that before. We should embrace it.
I think I will go look for an opportunity to lend a hand. If you would care to join me, or learn about the code of Bushido, come out to River of Life dojo. We’ll do it together.

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