By Tracy Warrener Van Kruistum
Martial artists who train long enough come to understand that the physical side of their training is only one part. We learn that though it is important to develop our body to be strong, fast, and flexible it is equally important to train our mind and our spirit as well. The ancient Samurai had a code in which they lived by. It was called The Bushido Code.This code was made of Eight Virtues in which every Samurai must remember and practice.Today many, many martial artists all over the world are taught these precepts on the dojo floor and are encouraged to practice them within their own personal lives.
These eight virtues are; Righteousness, Courage, Compassion, Respect, Integrity, Honour, Loyalty, and Self- Control.Though some people may argue the specific words that were encouraged, the vibe is all the same.To develop our character and personalty in the most highest regard.
We learn about these virtues on the dojo floor within our training. We learn about being right and being wrong and to practice courage when fighting with an opponent. Respect for the senior Belts and Compassion for the junior belts is something that is taught at the beginner level. Integrity, honour, loyalty and self control are something that is expected at a black belt level.These virtues are so important as a martial artist. It is what sets us apart, what is expected behaviour on the dojo floor. Anything less is disappointing for a martial artist. There is a very famous saying from one of the greatest Karate Masters, Gichin Funakoshi. He said, “ A Martial Artist is an Artist of Life”.This saying is so profound, even by today’s standards.
We Martial Artists have a duty to carry this attitude into our personal lives, professional lives and public lives. By practicing these eight virtues every single day makes us be the very best we can be not only physically, but mentally, Emotionally, and Spiritually.It is our job to know right from wrong, and to practice courage within our day to day lives.Remembering to respect the 6 areas of our lives: family, friends, teachers, country, our God and ourselves. To show Compassion to the same 6 areas and to every living thing. To do what we say we are going to do and keep our word to people, to practice honour and loyalty within our life without expecting anything in return.Lastly to know ourselves so well and practice self discipline and self control. By putting the Bushido into our every day lives, we can influence those around is in a positive way. This in turn teaches our kids and then the ripple affect will happen.
Everyone who sticks with the Martial Arts knows that they received so much more than what they thought they would when they started their training.They not only learn a self defense or how to fight, they learn these eight virtues that were laid out by the Samurai so long ago. They become an artist of their life.
Tracy Warrener has been fortunate to have been raised within the Martial Arts since the age of 4 years old and is a 4th Degree Black Belt in Goju Ryu Karate.She has had the opportunity to study with some amazing Martial Artists.Sensei Richard Kim, Sensei Peter Urban, Professor Don Jacob, Sensei Jim Wilson, Professor Wally Jay, just to name several. Of course her main Sensei is her father, Sensei Don Warrener.Throughout the 40 plus years of her involvement in the Martial Arts, she has worked her way from being a student of the martial arts to a Martial Arts Sensei ,teaching hundreds of students.She has ran and managed martial arts schools teaching students of all ages, worked within the community teaching at fitness centres, schools, businesses and Women’s Shelters, the benefits of Karate. One the causes close to her heart is teaching and empowering young girls and women the importance of self defence and awareness.Her program called Look Strong! Act Strong! Be Strong! focuses on easy self defence techniques and mind self defence techniques.In 2013 she was awarded The Silver Lifetime Achievement Award in the Masters of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame in California for her contribution to Women in the Martial Arts.She is also aCertified Reflexologist and Reiki Master. She has starred in three of her own DVDs produced by Rising Sun Productions on Reiki, Reflexology and her Look Strong ,Act Strong ,Be Strong Self Defence Program.firstname.lastname@example.org