47 Ronin

The Way of
the Warrior.

"Out of the Night that covers me
Black as the
pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be

my unconquerable soul"

What I learned from the 47 Ronin:


Bushido is a Japanese term, literally meaning the Way of the Warrior, a code of life and death for the Samurai. It is an ethical code of conduct that transcends time, circumstance and the self.

It is the Way of the Warrior.

Born and raised with Bushido code, a true warrior is always alert, on guard and ready to do battle. A Bushido warrior is prepared to give his life at a moments notice. He will enter the fiercest fighting, eager for glory regardless of circumstance and danger. He sees battles, adversity and challenges as opportunities to live and die by the code.

To understand the essence of Bushido - Click here

We teach our children the practical and pragmatic skills to survive and thrive in a material world.
We educate them in the hallowed halls of academia with teachers, tomes and technology.
We advocate or refute the merits of varied religious faiths.
We influence them with guidance or abdicate and allow other influences to guide them.
We try to do what we feel is best to prepare them to succeed.

But how many of us tell the tales of illogical romantic ideals that inspire us to be more than ourselves? How many weave tapestries that teach our children to respect and revere the code of warriors who serve without question and put themselves in harms way for us?

Some view the warrior code, with its focus on duty, honor and loyalty as an anachronism. They deride the words and phrases as propaganda that appeals only to the immature and unenlightened.

I say to them - God save me from mature enlightenment if that is true.

As an old soldier, and even older father, Bushido is a code that I have tried to pass on to my daughter. Aikido training reinforced the importance of honor, loyalty and the seven virtues.
Bushido and the code became a Rosetta stone in her development and education. Aikido continues the evolution of the ancient code which holds as a central tenant the concept of "ending the fight".

Aikido harmonized her spirit and true warrior stories influenced and entertained her. Stories of sacrifice, honor and loyalty. Stories of duty and selflessness. Stories of serving to become more than yourself and better than yourself. Stories that romanticized and reinforced the importance of living by a code. It was no surprise to me when she announced that her favorite Disney movie was "Mulan".

"True victory
is victory
over yourself"

The stories of the 47 Ronin of Ako, the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae and the 600 men of the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava portray vivid examples of the Bushido code at its most honorable. Sadly the code today is no longer valued as it was and indeed is often ridiculed in favor of self interests. Intellectuals disparage it, materialists chastise it and most decry it as romanticizing violence at its worst and ridiculous lemming like behavior at the very least.

Bushido is an altruistic ideal that the self serving intellect may never comprehend. We all choose a path in life - some choose a code.

The 47 Ronin of Ako.

In the 47 Ronin story, the leader of the 47 Ronin - Oishi Kuranosuke is quoted as saying:

"Some people live all their lives without knowing which path is right. They're buffeted by this wind or that and never really know where they're going. That's largely the fate of the commoners - those who have no choice over their destiny. For those of us born as samurai, life is something else.
We know the path of duty and we follow it
without question".

To read the story of the 47 Ronin - Click here.

The 300 Spartans at Thermopylae.

As 300 Spartans stood against seven thousand invaders, their leader Leonadis was heard to say:

"When you go home
Tell them of us and say

For their tomorrow

We gave our today."

read the story of the 300 Spartans - Click here.

The 600 Light Brigade of Balaclava.

In his epic poem "The Charge of t
he Light Brigade" Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote:

"When can their glory fade
Oh the wild charge they made
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they mad
Honor the Light Brigade
Noble six hundred."

To read the complete poem - Click here

To read the story of the Charge of the Light Brigade - Click here.

Those who Serve Today.

Whether they say "Semper Fidelis" or "De Oppresso Liber" those who serve today share the same code.

"I am the unknown soldier
And maybe I died in vain.
But if I were alive
and my country called
I'd do it all over again."

Bushido, at its essence, is a path of service.

That service could as well be to faith, family, teaching, healing or protecting others.
Once the service becomes more important than you -then perhaps it has also become Bushido.

Live by a code bigger than yourself

A code more important than your self interest.

That's what I learned from the 47 Ronin.

To Learn more about Bushido - Click here

To Learn more about the 47 Ronin of Ako - Click here

To Learn more about Aikido - Click here

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