I’ve never been to Japan, but from what I have seen in documentaries and movies, along with what I’ve read in books and on the internet, I can definitely say that I’m fascinated and amazed by Japan’s history, culture and specially the Japanese Martial Arts. That includes the Samurai and his ways.
Before I continue, I have to let you (the reader) know that I’m a born again Christian, and even though I love a great deal of everything that Japan is, I refrain from taking part in any kind of religious rituals or activities wherein any of Japan’s Shinto gods (Shintoism is the main religion of Japan), or as a matter of fact any other entities from anywhere, are referred to as the almighty God or divine beings which should receive reverence and adoration from humans. The only true God in my life is The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God of Jesus Christ. It’s a personal thing. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s continue.
The Samurai were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan from the 12th century to their abolition in the 1870’s. They had high prestige and special privileges such as the wearing of two swords. They were extremely disciplined and also highly trained in several forms of Martial Arts. They pursued excellence and perfection every single day of their lives, from the moment they opened their eyes in the morning until they laid down their heads at night. The word Samurai means “to serve” or “one who serves”. Thus service, particularly to their master and the emperor were sacred to them. Even if it meant sacrifising their lives in order to maintain their honor in their quest to achieve the highest level of service.
The Samurai had a very strict code of conduct, namely the eight virtues of Bushido (the way of the warrior) or the Samurai. Here they are:
1. Rectitude==> Morally correct behavior or thinking.
- A Samurai does the right thing even when nobody is watching.
2. Courage==> The ability to do something that frightens you.
- Something risky.
- Strength in the face of pain or grief.
- In the eyes of the Samurai, courage is doing what is right. You can be brave and do the wrong thing anyway. But to do what’s right, you need courage.
3. Benevolence and mercy==> The quality of being well-meaning
- A powerful Samurai must also be able to demonstrate equally extraordinary powers of benevolence and mercy.
4. Politeness==> Behavior that is respectful and considerate of other people.
- To a Samurai, in its highest form, politeness approaches love.
5. Honesty and sinceraty==> A fact of moral character that connotes positive and virtuous attributes.
- Attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc.
- Honesty also involves being trustworthy, loyal, fair and sincere.
- A Samurai is true by the actions he shows and by the words he speaks.
6. Honor==> The idea of a bond between an individual and a society as a quality of a person that is both of social teaching and of a personal ethos.
- It manifests itself as a code of conduct and has various elements such as valor, chivalry, honesty, and compassion.
- A Samurai lives and dies by his code of honor.
7. Loyalty==> A devotion and faithfulness to a nation, cause, philosophy, country, group or person.
- A Samurai must be trustful, loyal, and show these unconditionally to others.
8. Character and self-control ==> Mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.
- A Samurai’s character is almost unbreakable.
- It is strongly tied to his honor.
These 8 virtues of the Samurai are also the traits or code of conduct of the Fortalesa Warrior. These every day moral principles were chosen by me, because they’re applicable to anyone’s life situation regardless of what religion or denomination you belong to. We can also use the words, “Fortalesa Samurai”, because they’re interchangeable with the words, “Fortalesa Warrior”.