Samurai were the fighting forces of Japan during the pre-industrial period. They were a rare and elite breed of warriors enjoying special military aristocracy who were most prevalent between the tenth and nineteenth centuries. The term “samurai” came from the Japanese verb saburau, which means “to serve”. As such, a samurai is a retainer of a chief or a lord. Thus, it is expected from them to protect their clan at all cost even if it means “fighting for your life”. It is always important for them to keep their honor and abide by rules and ethics governing Bushido, also known as The Samurai Code and The Way of the Warrior.
The samurai has become almost legendary with their famous character for personal resilience and courage on the battlefield. Although some of them enjoyed great privileges in the society, many have also lived a life full of vicious, endless training and self-conditioning. When not fighting in combats, they would often spend the rest of their time improving their fighting skills, with or without the aid of their swords.
Training of a samurai warrior began in his childhood years. There were schools meant for this, offering a unique combination of Chinese studies, physical training, mental conditioning, and poetry and spiritual disciplines. This young samurai studied Kendo or the Way of the Sword, Zen Buddhism, and most importantly the Bushido. The latter stresses loyalty to the master, respect for the elites and the privileged and ethical conduct and self-discipline at all times.
The physical training of samurai warriors includes perfecting the movements called kata, a practice exercise, and suburi, a sword-drilling technique. They can only stop doing these if they have perfected the speed and accuracy already. This also means they are now ready for sparring against real opponents using wood swords known as bokuto. In some cases, they would practice their skills and techniques against slaves and prisoners. They also trained Karate.
It is a must for every warrior to attain perfection associated with fighting skills and ethical behaviors. They would often spend the rest of their lives practicing and never to cease. The more experienced they are, the tougher they become in war – and the more they are respected. Today, they are well-remembered for their strong characters and abilities, not only in Japan but also around the world.
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