What does being a "martial arts academy" mean?
At Five Rings, we take being martial artists and being a martial arts academy seriously. We see ourselves as more than just a "gym" and certainly more than a "fight club" or "fighters stable". (Not in a judgmental or righteous way ... we just believe that there is more to what we are doing than just a physical exercise / sport. We believe that a martial art, presented correctly address the entire person -- mind, body, and spirit.)
As a martial arts academy we beleive the training of our art, Jiu Jitsu, comes with a code of honor and guiding principles. In Japanese martial arts, this is know as Bushido - "the way of the warrior". More specifically, Bushido is the code of honor and morals developed around the samurai tradition in Japan (analogous to chivalry in European culture ... think knights of the round table.)
The bushido code had seven core virtues (sourced from wikipedie):
Be acutely honest throughout your dealings with all people. Believe in justice, not from other people, but from yourself. To the true warrior, all points of view are deeply considered regarding honesty, justice and integrity. Warriors make a full commitment to their decisions.
Heroic Courage (yu)
Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all. A true warrior must have heroic courage. It is absolutely risky. It is living life completely, fully and wonderfully. Heroic courage is not blind. It is intelligent and strong.
Benevolence, Compassion (jin)
Through intense training and hard work the true warrior becomes quick and strong. They are not as most people. They develop a power that must be used for good. They have compassion. They help their fellow men at every opportunity. If an opportunity does not arise, they go out of their way to find one.
True warriors have no reason to be cruel. They do not need to prove their strength. Warriors are not only respected for their strength in battle, but also by their dealings with others. The true strength of a warrior becomes apparent during difficult times.
When warriors say that they will perform an action, it is as good as done. Nothing will stop them from completing what they say they will do. They do not have to 'give their word'. They do not have to 'promise'. Speaking and doing are the same action.
Warriors have only one judge of honor and character, and this is themselves. Decisions they make and how these decisions are carried out are a reflection of whom they truly are. You cannot hide from yourself.
Duty and Loyalty (chugi)
Warriors are responsible for everything that they have done and everything that they have said, and all of the consequences that follow. They are immensely loyal to all of those in their care. To everyone that they are responsible for, they remain fiercely true.
At Five Rings, we aren't married to the seven virtues of Bushido as much as the concept of being a good person and living with virtue. Our ultimate goal is to become the best version of ourselvles and the help others / striving to make the world a better place.
As a matter of fact, we have slightly different virtues affiliated with our adult belt system and with the Ribeiro star. They are not identical, but they put forth a lot of good principles and virtues to strive for. We encourage everyone for find / create their own set of virtues to live by.
These virtues are to be guides throughout one's life. Something to strive for ... to embody. It's not about being perfect, it's about committing to become the best person you can become.
In contrast, a gym is just a place where the physical side of things are address ... which is fine, but we are more than that.
A fight club or a fighter's stable is a completely different culture with a complete different set of values. We are not that either.
At Five Rings, we strive to be:
"A place where people optimize and actualize as they transform into the best version of themselves. We embody the mindset and spirit of the “Modern Samurai”. We help people understand how to live healthy, happy, mindful, authentic lives; live with arête, to fully engage and participate in life.
A beacon of goodness, hope, and love in a sometimes wicked and harsh world. We strive to be people’s 3rd place.
And we do really good Jiu Jitsu too."
So the question is ... are you striving to become the best version of yourself? What are your virtues and how can you embrace and embody them more fully?
Jiu Jitsu is a GREAT vehicle to practice being a martial artist and becoming a better person. ;-)
Keep doing ... daily ... forever! ! !