Big Dave wrote:
...Maybe I have not been reading the right things, and if so, could you please point me in the direction of good historical sources that could clarify which of the above are myths?
Imagine you have a group of thugs who push people around. These guys are well known for persecuting the following dangerous groups:
- Rice farmers who continually revolted against oppressive taxes.
- Christians who followed a different way of thinking.
- The neighboring gang of thugs living in the next castle.
They would try and justify their oppressive military state through Confucian theory. These thugs are self-described as samurai
Because the people of the Japanese islands got along so well, there were large groups of thugs (many clans of samurai). It's been written that 20% of the population was at one time of the samurai class. Because of this, the concept of bushido was more pervasive than the concept of chilvalry in Europe.
It is the concept of bushido which was beaten into the Japanese soldier which ended up with the brutal insanity that was Japanese occupation during WWII. Something that the Japanese people still need to apologize and come to terms with.
Today bushido is generally mis-interpeted and misunderstood. An innocent expression of bushido is a cool gesture by a manga character. At it's worst, it is a code that is as dangerous as the Christian Book of Revelation. It is something to die for.
Aikido techniques developed from Aiki-jitsu. Aiki-jitsu is one of the many styles of techniques that developed from the battlefield situation of "I've just lost/broke my sword/spear and there is this guy trying to kill me! What do I do???"
Like many of the Japanese martial arts, its followers practice many of the traditional Japanese values. Many people play at being samurai and following bushido. But if you really look at bushido and think for yourself, you might find at the core (kokoro) something worth having.