I know that I leave myself open to a lot of scrutiny, but it was something I thought about while in a bar the other day
Bun bu ichi (ぶんぶ-) Pen and Sword in Accord:
This expression is known throughout the Martial Arts world, but is now seldom used or heard. It comes from a time when Samurai had to know, not only, the sword but also the etiquette of the pen. However, what does it mean now? I, myself, found it puzzling as I remembered it this day. It had been a long time since I had heard it, much less thought about it. So, what does it mean?
Simply put, in my opinion, it's the balance of knowledge, not only of the arts but also of that which is forgotten these days, the art of being a gentleman. Knowing how to fight is worthless if you don't know when to fight. Common sense dictates that if you weight 140 lbs. you're not going to pick a fight with a 300-pound sumo wrestler. However, there are those who believe that because they "study" the arts they have the right to be hotheads. This is not so. Even though I got this quote from a comic book, it still holds true, "With great power comes great responsibility"
The other key we are leaving out is that not all battles are fought the same way. Some, by nature, end before they begin, why? It is due to bun bu ichi. The warrior with a quick wit and a quick tongue can finish it all before it begins. In this way you can injure your enemy worse than cutting him down and at the same time make yourself virtuous and victorious. Let me explain:
When we train in the dojo we concentrate on forms, technique and balance. However, how often do we discuss the art of war without war? On occasion I've heard discussions with Sensei and sempai about fights and all, but rarely on how to avoid them. My first teacher implemented this throughout the whole class. History tends to repeat itself and I now find that those few I teach are learning to avoid confrontations because of what they have learned. No one wants to find themselves doing time over a bar tab, much less over the stepping of a shoe. Therefore, we should remember that because our techniques are lethal we should also train to exercise caution with our own tempers.