I have recently finished reading a book entitled Flashing Steel recommended to me by John. It is about the Eishin-Ryu martial art of swordsmanship practiced by Samurai. I wasn’t reading it because I wanted to learn that particular martial art but because John had told me that it included a great deal of thought provoking background material relevant to all martial arts.
He was right and I recommend the book to read if you have time (I did skip the actual sword work bits though).
It was interesting to read about the martial arts training and how its approach ended up influencing how the Samurai lived their lives and vice versa. The principles that they tried to adhere to back then are still relevant to today so I have listed them below:
Always follow through on commitments
Hold strong convictions that cannot be altered by your circumstances
Don’t make an enemy of yourself
Live without regrets
Be certain to make a good first impression
Don’t cling to the past
Never break a promise
Don’t depend on other people
Don’t speak ill of others
Don’t be afraid of anything
Respect the opinions of others
Have compassion and understanding of everyone
Don’t be impetuous
Even the little things must be attended to
Never forget to be appreciative
Be first to seize the opportunity
Make a desperate effort
Have a plan for your life
Never lose your “Beginner’s Spirit”
Some of them appear to be contradictory, which the book admits, but that seems to be the way of things as the Samurai struggled to achieve enlightment and through that, Peace of Mind.
Hopefully that little insight will give you something to think about.