The Samurai were the renowned warrior class of pre-modern Japan, remembered for their fierce fighting style and strict discipline.
You may not be able to get away with wielding sharp swords in public.
Wearing a full suit of armour to work probably won’t go down too well either…
But the good news is that there are lots of other ways in which you can emulate the Samurai, and use their lessons to become a better version of yourself.
So let’s get to it and explore the key characteristics of a modern day samurai warrior.
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Some of the key characteristics of a modern-day samurai warrior.
The Samurai culture was strongly influenced by Zen Buddhist and Confucian philosophies; so meditation formed a key part of their practice. It likely served as a way to clear the mind and prepare the Samurai for the stress of battle.
Set aside some time each morning to let go of your thoughts and observe the breath, trying to carry this state throughout your day. It’s not about perfection. When you notice the mind wander (as it will), gently bring yourself back to the breath. Rinse and repeat.
Why not give guided meditations a try?
The Samurai followed the Bushido, ‘The Way of the Warrior’; a warrior code of conduct that dictated how they lived their lives.
Honesty, respect, loyalty, compassion and courage were some of the most important values they were said to have abided by.
To be a modern day samurai, it may be worth determining your own set of values, ones that are true to you, and endeavour to live your life according to them.
The Samurai underwent intense physical training. They practiced diligently from a young age, and were skilled not only in swordsmanship, but also archery, hand to hand combat, and grappling.
Martial arts such as Judo, Jujitsu, Karate, and Kendo are all influenced by the Samurai fighting style.
The benefits of regular training stretch far greater than just the physical, and can include valuable life lessons.
Whether you choose martial arts or not, it’s worth making some form of exercise a regular habit. Build that delicate balance of strength, mobility, and endurance.
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Diet was an important aspect of the Samurai’s way of life, helping to maintain their health and prepare their bodies for the rigours of war.
The Samurai diet was likely one based on vegetables, rice, and fermented foods like miso, with perhaps small amounts of fresh seafood and poultry.
Nutrition is often made out to be quite a confusing subject, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Simply opting for more home-cooked meals, prioritising whole foods and eating mindfully can go a long way.
The name Samurai can actually be translated as ‘those who serve’. As well as being warriors, the Samurai were loyal servants to the emperor, to their masters, even to the public.
We can translate this into modern day living by developing a vision that is greater than ourselves. How can we contribute to making the world a better place for all?
This might be volunteering time, donating to charity, or simply seeking to help others whenever you can.
The Samurai took part in the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony, which created a level ground between the classes. They remained mindful all throughout the ceremony in order to carry out the intricate steps, and to ensure it was an enlightening experience for all involved.
Mindfulness is essentially an extension of your meditation practice.
Slow down, and simplify your life wherever you can. Be mindful, pay attention to what you are doing. Let go of the past, stop worrying about the future, and instead do your best to reside in the present moment. Easier said than done, but it’s a worthy pursuit!
The Samurai were dedicated artists, practising calligraphy, poetry, music and painting. They viewed art as a component of life that was just as essential as their physical training and spiritual practice.
We all have this ability to express ourselves in our own unique way. It might be writing, playing an instrument, building Lego or gaming.
Whatever medium you choose, let your creativity flow. It can be an active form of meditation.
The Samurai placed a high regard for education. It’s said that they strived for the ‘harmony of fighting and learning’, which sounds pretty cool to me.
Often in the modern world, we get burnt out from formal schooling and assume we’re done with learning for good.
Instead, keep searching, keep growing. At the same time, appreciate what you already have achieved.
Whatever the Samurai practiced, they did so to their utmost ability.
Whether it was martial arts, calligraphy, the tea ceremony, or meditation; they strived to be experts. This is something I’ve observed in other aspects of Japanese culture.
Mastery is not something that we’ll ever necessarily achieve, but there are many lessons we can learn in the pursuit of it.
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