Tenets of Bushido
The Japanese Shodo seen framed on this page is courtesy
of Tom Flynn, Shihan. To purchase these or many others he
has available please contact him at
– Possessing the bravery/courage to face all of
life’s challenges squarely with a resolute and moral
heart. It is important that bravery and courage
should not be confused with pride. Bravery and courage
are necessary to identify and achieve life’s goals
and the setbacks that surround them.
– A feeling of good will to all, a magnanimous and
compassionate state founded on the understanding
that we are all the same and should be treated with
the same respect regardless of station or situation.
This requires lifelong practice and discipline (shugyo)
to counter the more current and prevalent sentiments
of judgment, separatism, mistrust, etc.
– Right behavior, conduct, and character. Gi is
closely linked to justice and a person that possesses
the character to act swiftly and resolutely for
the cause of justice. This type of character is
not borne of mere intellectual understanding. It
is much more an instinctive and intuitive understanding
of that which is naturally good and just.
– Rei refers to the courtesies and conduct required
to be a functional contributor to family, dojo,
society, etc. This type of conduct, or right action,
is not practiced because one may be ostracized if
not adhering to such conduct. It is much more important
to realize that courtesy is a fundamental right
of each individual, a major facet of the Iemoto
system, and fundamental to the successful transfer
of the lessons of Budo.
Makoto (Truth – Honesty)
– The foundation of right action, makoto, or truth
and honesty, is comprised of acting and communicating
in an honest and rigorous manner as well as possessing
the virtue of integrity. Integrity: being truthful,
keeping our word, and cleaning up the mess when
we make it, is an integral factor in the establishment
and nurturing of successful relationships.
– The primary application of Chugi is detailed in
the character Gi – or duty. Duty to family, based
on filial piety (Ko) is a fundamental aspect of
this virtue. Duty and obligation must then transfer
to relationships in the dojo and all of life’s endeavors.
We must also be loyal to our own goals, plans, objectives
and the realistic path of attainment. Here, makoto,
being absolutely honest with ourselves, is imperative
in defining such a realistic path.
– Meiyo could be considered to be the sum – total
of the previous six virtues. One practiced in and
possessing the above listed virtues would certainly
emerge from this disciplined lifestyle as an honorable
individual. The self-esteem and honor of such an
individual would be consistently above reproach.
Like the samurai of old, a stain on one’s honor/name,
should be a sense of great shame for the Budo–ka
and avoided at all cost.