Today’s blog is something very personal and I am not sure if all of you will understand what I’m trying to explain here…but this is who I am and what I think about life.
This is my way of the sword
What does it mean to live the way of the sword in today’s world? To practice martial arts was a dream that I had very early in my life as a kid of 6 or 7 years. Luckily there was a Karate dojo that offered beginner courses and I started to train and my love for martial arts began to grow. During the beginner course, all the other kids who joined with me, left the club one after another because they didn’t had the discipline and the will power to keep focused for those 2 hours of training. I loved it and even trained 3 times a week with the grown-ups and also at home or out in the forest. Karate was my live back then because it gave me self-confidence that I lost after the divorce and all the things that were happening during this process.
Sadly we had to move away from the dojo and after 3 years of martial arts there came too many years of emptiness. I longed to learn how to use a sword and other traditional Japanese weapons but it was impossible to find any training opportunities near where I lived. It was many years later after having a job, my own income and car that I found a Kobudo dojo that wasn’t too far away and had training lessons every Friday evening.
So there I was back on track to make my lifetime dream come true. Every Friday I drove to the dojo, which was a bit more than a one hour drive only to find myself after half a year later without a dojo again. Why you ask? Let’s just say that the leader of the dojo was a very difficult person, who couldn’t separate her personal live and the dojo.
And so the emptiness in my soul returned.
After moving to the UK I finally found a Master and a dojo that would fill the emptiness. Finally I was able to learn how to use a sword and to cut myself free from my old self.
Holding my Iaito in my hands gives me a feeling of peace, calmness and to be whole. The first couple of times when I started to practice with the sword, it was like my body remembered how to use the sword and how to move. It was like it remembered it from another life, another time.
I don’t know if I will ever be a master of the sword, but to be able to learn and handle the sword makes me happy in a way no other sport or activity ever did.
All I wish for is to spend as much time with my master as I can, and learn as much as possible.
But being a martial artist means so much more. For me it is a way of life. Bushido – The Way of the Samurai has 7 virtues which are:
Those virtues have certainly a different meaning in today’s life then it had back in feudal Japan but they are still important and worth having a closer look.
So what do those seven virtues mean to me and how do they fit into my life?
Always think about what you do and how it would inflict others. For every action there will be a reaction so I want to make sure that I do the right thing. This means for me to stand up for others if I see that they aren’t treated the right way which sometimes means that I have to confront colleagues or even boss. It is not always easy but at the end of the day I know that I did the right thing and that makes me feel happy.
Goes along with the first virtue, Rectitude. It means for me to have the strength to stand up for the right thing but also to take that first step towards something difficult like to apologize to someone or to tell the truth.
Always watch your temper. Be calm and treat your friends and family kind and in a way you want to be treated. Even be kind and friendly towards people you don’t like because in calmness and kindness lies great strength.
Respect everyone and everything around you. From people to animals even plants. Everything in alive and deserves to be respected and treated the right way. You can’t just throw your rubbish out of the window if you want to have a clean and relaxing environment around you. Respect isn’t always easy to grant to people especially when they treat you badly but see them as living beings, which are loved and treasured by someone.
Being honest to yourself and others is hard. Especially today were almost everyone in this society wears a mask. Honesty means for me to be honest to myself as much as to be honest to the people around me. Sometimes it also means to admit that there are certain things that I don’t want, so I have to speak up and express and explain why I don’t like things the way they are and how I need them to be to be able to live with them.
The most difficult virtue to describe. I don’t know if I am an honourable person or not. That is not to me to tell but there are people and ways that I honour, like my family and friends, life itself and nature.
Loyalty means for me to stand close to my family and friends, to support them, help and to be there for them whenever they need me. To be honest, it may mean the same like friendship to me and that is something very precious to me.
I know that not everyone will agree with my point of view but that is how it has to be. Everybody has a different view and understanding of things. This is my way of life and how I see things. What rules I have in my life to decide what is wrong and what is right. These rules and martial arts are what define me as the person I am and how I feel inside.
This is who I am.
A woman with the soul of a Samurai.