The Way of the Warrior: The Philosophy of Martial Arts

The Way of the Warrior: The Philosophy of Martial Arts

What is one’s true purpose when they accept Bushido into their life? Does it make the martial artist an action junky or a loose cannon? On the contrary, it doe’s the exact opposite. Bushido or The Way of the Warrior instills discipline, temperance, and more importantly, the sense of “no mind” in everything they apply themselves. Think about it, once you’ve trained a set of techniques or ‘Kata” over time, the movements become reflexive and effortless. You must treat fighting as a chess game at this level; you can’t react emotionally in any violent encounter because that’s where you will make mistakes.


These principles directly interfere with the stereotype that martial artists only act in physical intervention, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, we feel the same physiological responses as anyone in an altercation, but cooler heads prevail. Years of training and discipline teach the Budo how to use that adrenaline to stay in control and alert regardless of the situation. Martial artists only react with precision and detail orientation when the situation arises, always relaxed, always aware.

Detail Orientation 

I mentioned detail orientation briefly in the previous paragraph; you could also call it perception. For example, there are no technical limitations; both fighters can use whichever technique they choose. You are facing a taller opponent, using deductive reasoning, with which strike is your tall opponent most likely to attack with first? Given the extended reach and the massive force, a strike traveling at a longer distance will generate, there’s a high probability the tall opponent will strike with a kick first.

Another example of detail orientation is fighting a smaller opponent. What do we know about small competitors? They’re often very quick with a lower center of gravity, so they’re going to want to close the distance and get ahold of you below your center of gravity, so you can adjust your strategy to use techniques to maintain distance and offensively attack to keep them at bay. These are just two examples of detail orientation, but a martial artist is always analyzing strategies and tactics in real time, so they’re only limited by their imagination and circumstance.

He Difference Between the Warrior and the Scholar

In feudal times, every master had a scribe to record and chronicle the exploits, philosophies, and principles of their respective tribe. Scribes were the scholars of the tribe, men who associated the word brain aspect to Bushido, enriching the entire clan and it’s followers in all aspects of knowledge. The scholar knew the names and origins of the physical kata and technique, but no matter how detailed the writing, words cannot capture the essence and meaning of the method itself. Scholars and enthusiasts alike share a very critical role in the preservation of antiquity, but at the end of the day, they don’t practice physical technique.

Enter the warrior. The warrior is a practitioner of combat; the warriors are the physically dominant members of the tribe who fight for their masters. These are the men who train kata every day and walk the path of Bushido; they understand that just knowing the name of the technique will kill you, if you can’t show it, you can’t do it. Warriors still exist, not in the sense of the Shogun and warlords, but through an enriched tradition that has worked its way through the sands of time through generations of warriors and scribes alike. We have these men to thank for such a beautiful way of life. Do them proud and practice Bushido in this life and the next. 

Photo credit: epicmartialarts , dreamstime

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