Musha Shugyo: The hero’s journey
Musha shugyō is a samurai warrior’s quest or pilgrimage. A warrior, called a shugyōsha, would wander the land as a ronin, practicing his skills.
Here we use ‘warrior’ two ways. As a set of skills, physical, emotional, intellectual, and otherwise, to enable a man to defeat his opponents and be fearless. Also as someone who penetrates the limits of his worldview, and learns to think differently.
You are either on a pilgrimage or you are going “nowhere”, very much like a steer eating grass until it goes to the feedlot is going nowhere, or the average TV watcher following the lines and obeying the signs. Without the pasture and feedlot the steer would avoid castration and become a wild bull, even as a man who had to make his own way would be more noble as he respected the efforts of others, for having made his own.
For most of us, life is relatively easy, and to find the challenges which would develop us, we must search. It’s as if a falcon had a lifetime supply of food, and it might never leave the nest. It would have to purposely choose to stand on the edge of the nest, then cast itself off into the void.
Musha Shugyō provides the resources to equip you for your quest. To provide you with an easy to grasp metaphor we will begin with The Matrix. It is imperative for the Ronin to grasp that his “feedlot” is his worldview, so we will provide examples of worldview, and the tools to enable you to construct your own.
Without character, its all bullshit. So we will present those aspects of martial arts that you can weave into your daily life. But without motivation nothing happens. You have to have an inner nagging, a doubt, an itch, and a lack of satisfaction with your impending castration to make the leap into the void.
Still inspiration helps and in the examples and words of others the Ronin gets a boost. I will use as many videos and quotes as possible to make up for my poor writing. All or some of these should empower you. Keep track of them and refer back when they are needed.
The warrior quests for the ability to be able to devote the totality of his being to his purpose unhindered by fear, ego, doubts, or laziness. You accomplish it not just because it is important, but because it’s important to be able to.
Of course there are times when the “mission”, whatever it might be in your life, is incredible important. That is not the time to try and develop the qualities of a “hero”.
Many imagine that if they were somehow suddenly transported into a desperate situation, that they would rise to the occasion. This will never happen, instead they will fall to the level of their preparation. . Others fantasize about finding a magic amulet, or taking a rare drug, or being bitten by a radioactive spider, and that somehow they will be transformed from the pudgy insecure bored person that they are, into a “superhero.”
The magic comes in having the commitment to such a goal and overcoming the adversity that bars you from it. We say that Musha Shugyō, is for those who value what they are over what they have.
Now, many have a life of game playing, phony smiles, and half-truths. And they present this whiny weak shield to the demands of others who are little better themselves.
Stop. Never lie. Say your truth.. No doubts, no hesitation. To live like this is the objective. Try it, it will bring rewards beyond your imagining. Then there are very advanced levels of training.
At a higher lever, martial artists will have a specific formal arrangement of attacks and blocks called a kata. It is good to groove the moves, but that is the least part of kata, or martial arts for that matter. The kata, and martial arts are a kind of moving, wordless, philosophy.
In the kata you groove your soul, your spirit, and your will. Thus seppuku may be one of the highest forms of kata. Not as an emotional bowl movement, but as ultimate discipline. And even more, to be able to do all this with relaxed concentration, and then to be able to fight with perfect form and discipline. The final step is to make your everyday life your kata.
I talk about kata, because that is what I know. Also I know that you can make whatever you choose, into a type of martial art. It is from this reality, learned the hard way, that came the saying, that it is not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game that counts.
You can’t control, “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” but you can control how you react to them, with training and practice.
When we see this in others, our respect is aroused as is our admiration. We wish to follow such people and emulate them. To have such a person as a friend is a great achievement.
For you to become such a person is the purpose of this web site.