By: Conrad Troha Jr., FJJA
Jukido Academy of Martial Arts, Palm Coast, FL

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Bushido, the way of the warrior, the virtues and morals that all Kokondo-ka follow, not only in the Dojo but after they bow out and are back into there daily life. There are seven of these virtues that are named specifically: Benevolence, Courage, Honor, Justice, Loyalty, Politeness, and Veracity. However, one cannot just wake up following the codes, he has to adapt to them. That person has to mature, or develop there mind to do the right thing no matter how much they like it our hate it. Someone who can follow Bushido under any circumstance I would say is more mature than most of us can say we have ever been. In contrast, some think of maturity as being "grown up", but you can have an adult who is immature. Therefore maturity is not only physical; in fact it is COMPLETELY mental.

This is a mind set that a martial artist has to have when learning techniques that have serious potential to hurt people. If there were no moral code behind the system then what kind of people would we be creating? The people that train in the Kokondo system are special people. Not only physically, mentally, and spiritually, but in morality as well. Only one who follows Bushido could be mature enough to not use their techniques when a friend asks to see them, or to keep calm when protecting your self or another, not to go too far. And so one will try to mature or fully develop their mind, encompassing it with the way of the warrior, because in all reality, you cannot completely follow Bushido without a mature mindset.

On that note, as I have recently discovered there is no age limit to being mature. I am 16 years old; I attend school at Flagler Palm Coast Highest School and am a Yonkyu (green belt) at the FJJA. I found myself day in and day out being very in tune, respectful and following Bushido when it was convenient for me. As I opened my eyes to this matter I could see some of our younger students at the FJJA surpassing me in their maturity level. And to be completely honest I am glad that I could see that. But had I been too immature to see and learn from this, then I would not be progressing as a person the way I am now. Through trying to follow Bushido I have inevitably started on a path that has given me the tools needed to become a truly good person, and with those tools I am slowly building the wall between a mature, Bushido oriented individual and the less better half of me that will only get me into trouble.

And in truth you can look at things in your every day life that you have done, which aren't related to the dojo, and say to yourself..."I wish I could go back and fix that". It happens to all of us, like today when my mother asked me to wash her car and clean it out. Is that such a hard thing to do? Not really, but the first thing out of my mouth was a complaint, and If I could go back and be more mature about the situation I would have said "ok mom no problem". But I can't, however what I can do is look at the situation and remember it so that the next time my mother asks for something I can handle it like an individual who appreciates the responsibilities in his life.

JSYouthSeiza 000Thomas Edison invented the light bulb; it took him nearly 2,000 attempts until he finally got it right. And when someone would say to him that he failed 2,000 times before he got it right he would say "I didn't fail 2,000 times, I figured out 2,000 ways how not to make a light bulb". How is this relevant you say? The point being every time you mess up, say something you wish you hadn't, or feel like you have lost, just remember; that one cannot succeed until he fails. It is a learning process and through these experiences in your life you will develop the mindset of a mature individual...as long as you're aware of the knowledge you gain from past experience, then there will come a time when you figure out how to make your "light bulb" and at that time you will be able too say:
"I am Benevolent, I am Courageous, I am honorable, I am Just, I am Loyal, I am polite, I have Veracity."

"I follow Bushido!"