The Samurai were the renowned warrior class of pre-modern Japan, remembered for their fierce fighting style and strict discipline.
They embodied the warrior spirit, and are still revered even to this day.
Here’s the thing:
You may not be able to get away with wielding sharp swords in public. Wearing a full suit of armour to work probably won’t go down too well either…
But the good news is that there are lots of other ways in which you can emulate the Samurai, and use their lessons to become a better version of yourself in all aspects of life.
The 9 Practices of Everlasting Strength
The Samurai culture was strongly influenced by Zen Buddhist and Confucian philosophies; so meditation formed a key part of their practice. It served as a way to clear the mind and prepare the Samurai for the stress of battle.
Likewise, as a modern day samurai you can use mediation to help deal with modern day stressors. Set aside some time each morning to let go of your thoughts and achieve a peaceful, centred state of being to carry throughout your day. If you struggle with motivating yourself, why not give guided meditations a try?
2. HAVE A SET OF VALUES.
The Samurai followed the Bushido, ‘The Way of the Warrior’; a warrior code of conduct that dictated how they lived their lives. Honesty, respect, loyalty, compassion and courage were some of the most important values they abided by.
To be a modern day samurai, determine your own set of values, ones that are true to you, and live your life according to them.
3. TRAIN YOUR BODY.
One reason the Samurai were such fierce warriors was the intense physical training they undertook. They practiced diligently from a young age, and were skilled not only in swordsmanship, but also archery, hand to hand combat, and grappling.
Martial arts such as Judo, Jujitsu, Karate, and Kendo are all influenced by the Samurai fighting style. The benefits of regular training stretch far greater than just the physical, and can include valuable life lessons.
Whether you choose martial arts or not, make some form of exercise a regular habit. Build that delicate balance of strength, mobility, and endurance.
4. EAT A HEALTHY DIET.
Diet was an important aspect of the Samurai’s way of life, helping to maintain their health and prepare their bodies for the rigours of war.
The Samurai diet was likely one based on vegetables and rice, with perhaps small amounts of fresh seafood and poultry, but not a whole load of animal products.
Nutrition is often made out to be quite a confusing subject, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Simply start eating more plants, drinking more water, and avoid processed foods. You’ll reap the benefits.
5. SERVE OTHERS.
The name Samurai can actually be translated as ‘those who serve’. As well as being warriors, the Samurai were loyal servants to the emperor, to their masters, even to the public.
Have a vision that’s greater than you, and think about how you can serve others. Volunteer your time. Donate to charity. Help a friend or a stranger.
6. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS.
The Samurai took part in the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony, which created a level ground between the classes. They remained mindful all throughout the ceremony in order to carry out the intricate steps, and to ensure it was an enlightening experience for all involved.
Mindfulness is essentially an extension of your meditation practice.
Slow down, and simplify your life wherever you can. Be mindful, pay attention to what you are doing. Let go of the past, stop worrying about the future, and instead reside in the present moment.
7. PRACTICE ART.
The Samurai were dedicated artists, practising calligraphy, poetry, music and painting. They viewed art as a component of life that was just as essential as their physical training and spiritual practice.
You too are an artist – we all are.
Whatever medium you choose, let your creativity flow. It can be an active form of meditation.
8. KEEP LEARNING.
The Samurai placed a high regard for education. It’s said that they strived for the ‘harmony of fighting and learning’, which sounds pretty cool to me.
Often in the modern world, people finish up with their formal schooling and assume they’re done with learning for good. Instead, keep searching, keep growing. At the same time, appreciate what you already have achieved.
9. MASTER YOUR CRAFT.
Whatever the Samurai practiced, they did so to their utmost ability. Whether it was martial arts, calligraphy, the tea ceremony, or meditation; they strived to be experts.
Find your calling, whatever it is, and dedicate yourself to it.
Becoming a master in one aspect of your life is a big step towards mastering the rest of it.
As black men, we can truly learn a lot from walking the path of a warrior, a samurai. We become better community leaders, stronger men, educated, well centered, wealthier, and wiser. We can set the bar even higher for men of other ethnic backgrounds and shades by become the beacon of what a man looks like.
We just have to make the first step forward. Let's change our world fellow brothers and kings!