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Old 05-09-2004, 10:23 PM   #15
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,319
Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions


A couple of points to consider.

Rules of behavior and advice on ruling were written down and codified way back but they were basically priests telling people to be good and fathers giving sons advice. As you know neither are listened to all that much. There are also a number of house rules laid down which were sometimes followed, sometimes not. The idea of an all pervasive code of conduct for the samurai class evolved in the Edo period where the level of control exercised on society was pretty extreme - rules for everything. The concept of Bushido that we see today is very late Edo and distorted somewhat by events leading up to WWII.

That little tidbit aside several groups in Japan see themselves as vestiges of samurai culture. Yakuza (even though historically they came from elsewhere), police (were often though not always samurai), certain bureaucrats (well that's what most samurai did after all) and many Budo dojos.

Looking at the latter you have certain formalities, hierarchies and ways of behavior but I must say a listing of traits sound more of what you would here in a boy scout hall than a working dojo. Basically if you follow the ways of the dojo and don't embarrass your seniors outside of it - that's enough. I am sure that Budo training develops some admirable traits within people but that in itself may be due to self selection (thugs don't often have the discipline required) but no one has told me how to behave outside the dojo. That is up to me.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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