L.A.W.S of The Scholar and Warrior
“Martial arts without philosophy is merely brutality.” – Grandmaster Bill Packer
As you become skilled in the martial arts, you will become capable of great violence. You will also develop levels of resourcefulness and personal power that make you able to do more than many of the people around you. These abilities could easily be used to hurt others, instead of just to protect the helpless and improve your own life.
This is why warrior cultures throughout the world developed ethical codes as part of their training and lifestyles to prevent powerful individuals from misusing their power. The foundation of our ethical training here at The American Institute of Kenpo is the Code of Bushido.
Bushido originates in Japan, and is associated with the Japanese Samurai, a powerful military caste in feudal Japan. The Samurai were fearsome warriors whose traditions of honor and discipline echo through countless Martial Arts. The code they followed was that of Bushido, a timeless code of honor and morals that still serves to elevate the societies they are practiced in today. It’s roughly similar to the Chivalry codes practiced by Knights during feudal times in Europe.
武 means ‘military’
士 means ‘society’;
武士 together mean 'Samurai'
道 is ‘road'
so all together you get 'the road [or way] of the warriors / Samurai).
Followers of Bushido strove to develop several ethical principles within themselves:
These seven ethical principles guided the daily thoughts and actions of the Samurai, and we ask our students to follow that example in their own daily practices. To those classic principles, our ethical curriculum adds two more concepts:
Whatever it Takes
Until the Last Day
You might notice that these last two aren’t ethical principles like the original seven. They’re more like tools you can use to succeed in pursuing the Ethical Code of Bushido. When you have trouble living up to the standards you set for yourself as a warrior and a martial artists, you can reach for these tools and use them as a call to action.
Human history tells the story of thousands of warrior cultures, each with its own ethical code. So why do we choose Bushido in an American martial arts studio located in Arizona? We chose Bushido for three reasons:
Students of Asian martial arts seem drawn to Eastern philosophies like Zen, the Tao, and Bushido. Teaching universal ethics in the frame of an Eastern philosophical framework serves as a viable method to communicate and educate students to the importance of a value based morality.
Kenpo Karate spent a lot of time developing in Japanese territories and among Japanese warriors. Teaching Bushido along with the physical skills of Kenpo is a way to pay homage to that lineage.
Lee Sprague, one of AIK’s lineage members, was enamored of the Bushido Code and made it a central part of his life. Just as we honor the Japanese lineage of Kenpo with Bushido, we pass on Mr. Sprague’s passion as a way to honor and celebrate his life and contribution to the arts.