“Always examine yourselves, recognize where your temperament is unstable and where it is stable, and what your strengths and weaknesses are; reduce excesses and foster what is insufficient. In matters of leisure, let others go first; in matters of labor, be first yourself. What warriorhood requires as duty, moreover, is in this one thing above all- in emergencies and combat you should not defer to others. The Way lies in each aspect of your everyday conduct and activity.”

-“Training the Samurai Mind” edited and translated by Thomas Cleary

More foundational than the hours you put in the dojo is the way you conduct yourself in everyday life. What are the habits you are cultivating? Are they conducive to emergency scenarios? Are they training you to take charge in combat situations, or defer to others?


(Ipposai Japanese Ivory Okimono: unusual carving displays a Samurai helping a drunken friend, at either side of each of the pair are a pair of sake merchants, one on each side)