Our school motto is Força e Honra, or Strength and honor. These are the first two of our Five Pillars of SuccessTM. For the month of May, we will be discussing the concept of honor in our Little Samurai and Junior Jujiteiros classes. Honor is a virtue that has been extolled throughout the ages, from ancient philosophers such as Homer and Confucius to the concept of Chivalry in medieval Europe and the Bushido Code of the Samurai. But what exactly is it?
Honor is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as, “a showing of usually merited respect: recognition.” We honor our instructor, our school, and our teammates through our appreciation. We respect Professor Cassio for his accomplishments as a competitor, his guidance as an instructor, and his example as a family man. We support our school and our teammates as part of that honor, showing up to train, contributing our own “blood, sweat, and tears” to the process of helping make each individual better. We honor our teammates, for we share the common understanding of the trials and tribulations we all experience on the mat.
Merriam-Webster also defines honor as, “a keen sense of ethical conduct: integrity.” There have been various attempts to codify ethical conduct, none more apropos than those coming from the warrior communities of the U.S. Marine Corps and Jiu Jitsu’s own Bushido heritage.
As per the U.S. Marine Corps website,
“Honor <sic> is the bedrock of our character. It is the quality that empowers Marines to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior: to never lie, cheat, or steal; to abide by an uncompromising code of integrity; to respect human dignity; and to have respect and concern for each other. It represents the maturity, dedication, trust, and dependability that commit Marines to act responsibly, be accountable for their actions, fulfill their obligations, and hold others accountable for their actions.”
The Bushido of the Samurai was a code of conduct which evolved over the centuries. Earlier versions include The Hagakura, and The Book of Five Rings. These codes were eventually paraphrased, so to speak, as The Eight Virtues of Bushido by Nitobe Inazō in his book Bushido: The Soul of Japan.
- Righteousness (義 gi)
- Heroic Courage (勇 yū)
- Benevolence, Compassion (仁 jin)
- Respect (礼 rei)
- Integrity (誠 makoto)
- Honour (名誉 meiyo)
- Duty and Loyalty (忠義 chūgi)
- Self-Control (自制 jisei)
As martial artists we train for the love of the art, to make ourselves stronger, for fun, and for the camaraderie. We pay homage to these ideals after every workout, with the intent of making them a part of our lives. They espouse something greater than ourselves; something to live up to. Just as warriors, both past and present, we too live by a code. Força e Honra.
See you on the mat!