Bushi-do: "The Way of the Samurai (Warrior)" has been the samurai code of conduct in Japan for centuries. Based firmly on the teachings of Zen, Bushi-do was intended to help the samurai master their nature and understand their minds and the universe through direct experience—as well as through fostering strength, self-control and wisdom.

The word Bushido is made up from the elements: Bu - martial arts, shi - warrior, do - the way.

Bushido is based on seven essential principles which underline its spirit:

(this is sometimes referred to as the "Seven Pillars of Budosha". Derived from ancient teachings, the Seven Pillars of Budosha, were vital in both fortifying samurai indomitable spirit and developing their commitment to serve others.


These Seven Pillars are as relevant now as they were in feudal Japan and provide a sound framework for TJSKA students facing the challenges of modern life.) This is very similar to the Go-Jo.


Another philosophy that the samurai lived by were the Twenty Samurai Precepts.

1 Seigi Gi

Honesty & Justice: The right decision taken with equanimity, the right attitude, the truth. When we must die, we must die. Rectitude. (choose what’s ‘right’, rather than ‘safe’) or in other words:- Be acutely honest throughout your dealings with all people. Believe in justice, not from other people, but from yourself. To the true samurai, there are no shades of gray in the question of honesty & justice. There is only right & wrong.

2 Seigi Yu

Heroic Courage: Bravery tinged with heroism. (a single, heroic act can change the world Mahatma Gandhi transformed India’s socio-political destiny when he took a non-violent stand against a colonial super-power.) or in other words:- Rise up above the masses of people who are afraid to act. Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all. A samurai must have heroic courage. It is absolutely risky. It is dangerous. It is living life completely, fully, wonderfully. Heroic courage is not blind. It is intelligent and strong.

3 Seigi Jin

Compassion: Universal love, benevolence toward mankind, compassion. (martial arts infused with Zen teach us karma is key - actions have a universal impact). or in other words:- Through intense training the samurai becomes quick and strong. He is not as other men. He develops a power that must be used for the good of all. He has compassion. He helps his fellow man at every opportunity. If an opportunity does not arise, he goes out of his way to find one.

4 Seigi Rei

Polite Courtesy: Right action, a most essential quality and courtesy. (do the right thing, even if it’s difficult: short cuts short change ourselves & others). or in other words:- samurai have no reason to be cruel. They do not need to prove their strength. A samurai is courteous even to his enemies. Without this outward show of respect, we are nothing more than animals. A samurai is not only respected for his strength in battle, but also by his dealings with other men. The true strength becomes apparent during difficult times.

5 Seigi Makoto

Complete Sincerity: Truthfulness and utter sincerity. (actions speak louder than words, ‘over-deliver’ on promises)

or in other words:-  When a samurai has said he will perform an action, it is as good as done. Nothing will stop him from completing what he has said he will do. He does not have to "Give His Word". He does not has to "Promise".
Speaking and doing are the same action.

6 Seigi Meiyo

Honour, glory & reputation. (from (right) action comes honour and glory - tools for the betterment of society). or in other words:-  A true samurai only has one judge of honor, and this is himself. Decisions you make and how these decisions are carried out are a reflection of whom you truly are. You cannot hide from yourself.

7 Seigi Chu

Duty and Loyalty: Devotion and loyalty. (remember who gave us ‘life’ – we have a lasting obligation to our parents, families, teachers, senpai, et al). or in other words:- For the samurai, having done some "thing" or said some "thing". He knows he owns that "thing". He is responsible for it, and all the consequences that follow. A samurai is immensely loyal to those in his care, to those he is responsible for, he remains fiercely true.

Martial spirit and courage were, of course, essential aspects of Bushi-do. But for the
samurai, Bushido's highest goal was complete virtue in thought and action. Each samurai followed a carefully-designed regimen of polite ceremony and etiquette intended to promote such virtue. With its emphasis on prescribed form, Bushido helped the samurai harmonize mind with body, enabling them to maintain a certain calmness, or heijo shin (literally, "ordinary everyday mind"), even in the face of hardship. Sincerity, kindness, honesty, filial piety and honour all formed part of the core of Bushido. And they were the seed from which the karate tradition grew. These attributes, and the wisdom, understanding and peaceful strength they promote, are some of karate's greatest benefits. They are also among Japan's greatest gifts to the world.

This is very similar to the virtues the "Masters" used and called the Go Jo or Five Virtues

Read for yourself about the Bushido: The Way of the Samurai by Tsunetomo Yamamoto Bushido: The Way of the Samurai

(NB: The above book is based on the "Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai" by Tsunetomo Yamamoto (Author), translated by

William Scott Wilson) & is a much better translation & far easier to read & understand.)

Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

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page last updated on Thursday 16 September 2010