Bushido: The Way of the Warrior

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

Bushido

Bushido  roughly translates as “the way of the warrior.”

Bushido 武士道 originates from the code of conduct from the samurai.  It emphasized frugality, loyalty, martial arts mastery and honor. It is a maxim found in all martial arts. My sensei, the late Seikichi Odo was from an Okinawan dynasty of samurai.  This was a rarity within Okinawa as well as within the martial arts community.  The first use of the word  武士 (Bushi) was found in one of Japan’s oldest books, the 古事記 (the Kojiki-“The Record of Ancient Matters”) written in approximately 712 A.D.  What is most important is that the use of 武士 (Bushi) at that time also related to the concept of the ‘educated warrior-poet.’  Some people say that the days of Bushido 武士道 are extinct.

I don’t believe that. Neither should you. 

dojopractice

Bushido, the moral code of the samurai, took decades of organic growth.  Our dojo, Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon, keeps 武士道 (Bushido), alive in every dojo practice.

Road Rules of the Dojo

Just like we obey crosswalk and traffic signals, there are certain rules we have in the dojo- in all dojos whether they are in Okinawa, Japan or in Oregon, USA.  All traditional martial arts sensei know this.  It doesn’t matter if your sensei teaches a classical form of martial arts or a mixed version, we all unify under one purpose:

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

Time to put that karate to work.

In every dojo there are rules.  There are the “seven virtues” known  in Bushido:

Rectitude (gi) pronounced “GEE”

勇気

Courage (yuki) pronounced “YOU KEY”

Benevolence (jin) pronounced “JEAN”

Respect (rei) pronounced “RAY”

Honesty (makato) pronounced “MAH KAH TOE”

名誉

Honor (meiyo) pronounced “MAYO”

忠義

Loyalty (chugi) pronounced “CHEW GEE”

These are the foundational principles we strive to reach in every dojo practice, whether it be through kata, full contact kumite, weapons practice or body conditioning.  In the end, you are best student and at times you are your own best teacher.  The practice of life protection arts we know as Okinawa Kenpo evolved from a lineage that can be traced back to the late 1400s in Okinawa, Japan.  While some art forms are lost, misinterpreted and at time misunderstood, Okinawa Kenpo stands the test of time.

Below is a video of one of the oldest forms of kata known as the “Mei” kata.  The sets of Mei kata are said to have been recorded as far back as 600 A.D. in Okinawa, Japan.  This particular form is known as Kinjo Seiko Bo Tai Bo or commonly referred to as “Bo Bo Kumite.

Join in your dojo’s practice whether it is every day or once a month.  It is the development of your life force, your ki that is being tested and strengthened.  If you are unsure of your own practice skill, test it.  If you are sure of your own practice skill, test it.  It comes down to finding the singular moment in one’s life, where every articulated movement, muscle, breath, mental, emotional and spiritual force in your body emerge as one.  Continue to practice and feel the Bushido  武士道 in you.

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