The Lifter's Bushido

     While reading Nick Horton’s good blog “The Iron Samurai” the other day[1], I came across this quote by the samurai Yamaoku Tesshu: “In order to learn about the Way, forget about self and awaken to the truth… Exerting self is a mistake… We should not say “myself” — in truth there is no such thing… When there is no thought of self, true Bushido develops.”
the samurai, and Zen master, Yamaoku Tesshu

     The essence of Bushido is summed up in the last sentence.
     When there is no thought of self, true Bushido develops.
     Bushido—for those of you who are unaware—is often translated as “the way of the warrior” or, a more literal definition, “the samurai’s way.”  It is the way of one who practices Budo.  (Budo means “martial path”.)
     I have often thought of lifting as a form of Budo, and my gym as the dojo.  (This is one reason that I enjoy lifting at home, in my garage dungeon gym.  It is not commercial, and, therefore, becomes more of a dojo than anything commercialized.  The furthest thing from a dojo, for instance, would be Planet Fitness.)
     Lifting as Budo becomes even more true when performing only one or two exercises at each workout for multiple sets each.  A lot of lifters who train in both martial arts and Olympic lifting understand this the best—martial arts training (particularly the Japanese martial arts, which I’m partial to) and Olympic lifting allow one to lose thought of self—what my sensei would refer to as “mushin”—and, thus, attain true Bushido.
     I don’t think this can really be explained adequately in a blog post—or in any writing, for that matter—so I’m not going to even try to do so.  As my sensei was also fond of saying throughout the course of a training session: “Fight without fighting and think without thinking.”  He never attempted to explain this to anyone.  If you didn’t “get it”, or if it didn’t dawn on you at some point during your Budo practice, I doubt he thought there would be much point.
     The only way for any of us to develop true Bushido, and experience this directly, is to train.  Training is the path.  The path is the goal.
     When there is no thought of self, true Bushido develops.

[1] I read his blog once every two weeks or so—I would read it more but, to be honest, I’m afraid I simply don’t peruse the internet enough, which I think is a better trade-off than perusing it too damn much


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