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Foster Courage

Kawaraban No. 52


by Kenji Shimizu

Who of all the Japanese people has not given a serious thought on the state – its people and himself after the last kidnapping incident? Of course, there is no excuse for this kidnapping, but we can learn a lot from it.

Today’s Japan is suffering from irresponsibility and from the lack of sensibility. Mind and morals are missing. Self-control exists only by social pressure. Sayings from bushidō like „Train yourself rigorously and serve all others“ and the like should not only be taken as a play on words. Bushidō used to have a low esteem of knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Originally knowledge was a means for acquiring wisdom instead of being an objective in itself. In spite of our thinking ability the individual cannot achieve anything. Therefore, we have to help each other and accept help when in trouble. Here mutual sympathetic kindness becomes important. But there are instances where mere actions are not sufficient.

Therefore it is necessary for us human beings to display courage. Because neither true kindness nor compassion will develop, where courage is lacking.

Today’s science attaches too much importance to the head. In reality however it is important for humans to strive for unification of body and mind. The samurai in ancient times went for literature and the martial arts, and they were applying these rules to themselves. Whatever you do, if you do not bring along courage, you will not reach the hearts of people.

Courage shows by daringness and patience. There is a proverb „Knowing, what is right and not doing it, is a lack of courage!“

Regarding the mental aspect courage complies with calmness. Courage displays itself by a calm composure of mind. „Humans with true courage are always calm and will not be disturbed, under no circumstances, whatever may happen. There is nothing that could unsettle the calmness of mind.“ (Nitobe Inazō)

Finally, you could find written in a newspaper, that „repetition trains the basic ability to act and think consequentially“. This is entirely in line with aikidō. Self-consciousness and courage originate from repetition.

© translated by Birgit Lauenstein and Peter Nawrot 04/2003