There are qualities necessary to become a warrior according to Japanese tradition. The bushido (the way of the warrior) is composed of eight values necessary to form the martial character: righteousness (義, Gi, “rectitude”, “rigour”, the spirit of justice), heroic courage (勇, Yū), benevolence and compassion (仁, Jin, sometimes also translated as “greatness of soul” or “generosity”), respect (礼, Rei), honesty or sincerity (誠, Makoto), honour (名誉, Meiyō), duty and loyalty (忠義, Chūgi) and self-control.
It is a subtle balance to maintain simply because some values may seem antagonistic at first glance, such as heroic courage and self-control. These values, sometimes Confucian, sometimes Taoist, coexist so as not to create an imbalance where virtue cannot dominate. Thus courage without self-control generates brutality, and conversely self-control without courage generates cowardice. Likewise benevolence without the spirit of justice breeds naivety, and the spirit of justice without benevolence leads to inhumanity.
How can these values help you in your daily life?
Bushido was formalized during a period of relative peace in Japan. The idea was to maintain a warrior’s spirit in an environment relatively devoid of hostility.
The spirit of the warrior is concretized by the stamina in work or the respect of its commitments towards its partners for example.
If two values can be extracted from the warrior, it would be above all courage and discipline. If you are able to embody these two values wherever you are, you can consider yourself on the right track to maintain the spirit of the warrior. It is necessary to cultivate high values because they are reflected in the quality of your work.
To do this, you must develop a warrior’s heart. The word courage comes from the word “heart”; if you have a big heart, a tough and generous heart, you already have an essential quality of the warrior. To develop your heart, you can practice endurance sports such as running, cycling, boxing or Polynesian pirogue (va’a). An enduring heart is more important than a muscular body on a battlefield. The same is true for the trials of everyday life. Train your heart by taking up challenges that involve endurance and stamina, such as long and tedious projects. The more you accept such challenges, the closer your mind will come to that of a warrior.
Your character is your most precious asset. Never compromise it, no matter how much you gain from such compromises. Be able to maintain an irreproachable character, it carries its own reward within itself. Do not be saddened to be in unfavourable conditions, work night and day if necessary, with honour, courage and discipline without ever deviating from your course.
When such a demand for integrity is deployed, you are actually using the unfavourable circumstances to elevate yourself. These experiences will be the source of your future success, which is why you must exploit the discomfort of a situation in order to test your values and strengthen your character.
The warrior’s spirit is worked on daily, especially in small victories won. Your life serves to refine the rough diamond that you are. Don’t be in a hurry, act with integrity, your satisfaction will only be greater at the end of this long road.
To note: Women often face greater challenges than men because of the difficulties they face in some societies. This explains why there are probably more women warriors than men.