the offensive spirit


Samurai Sword
Image by Amin Tabrizi via Flickr

This section of the Budoshoshinshu talks about the mindset required of one who follows the profession of arms. As I read it, I can clearly see the topic of off-duty carry and off-duty mindset.

It is most important that one who is a samurai should never neglect the offensive spirit at any time and in all matters. For our country is different from other lands in that even the least of the people, farmers, merchants, and artisans, should all cherish some rusty blade, wherein is revealed the warrior spirit of this Empire of Nippon. These three classes are not, however, soldiers by profession, but it is the custom in the military families for even the very least of the servants of the samurai never to be without a short sword for a moment. Much more must the higher samurai always wear their girdle. And some very punctilious ones wear a blunt sword or a wooden one even when they go to the bath. And if this is so in the house how much more so is it necessary when one leaves it to go somewhere else, since on the way you may well meet some drunkard or other fool who may suddenly start a quarrel. There is an old saying, ‘When you leave your gate, act as though an enemy was in sight.’ So since he a samurai and wears a sword in his girdle he must never forget this spirit of the offensive. And when this is so the mind is fixed firmly on death. But the samurai who does not maintain this aggressive spirit, even though he does wear a sword at his side, is nothing but a farmer or tradesman in a warrior’s skin.

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2 thoughts on “the offensive spirit”

  1. I could even see this fitting as a ‘be prepared’ for those who train in empty hand skills too. This is the key to the difference between ‘show’ and ‘go’ training IMO.

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