When it comes to violins, the Stradivarius has no equal. Their value can go into the $10-million range and to have one in my hands would be against the laws of the universe. Unless I hit my head and wake up a virtuoso, I will never master that kind of skill.
No violin will make the musician. A hammer does not make the carpenter. A black belt does not make the martial artist. A brush does not make the artist. A mat does not make the Yogi and the sword does not make the Samurai, even if it is made by Hattori Hanzo himself.
Whatever our “sword” is (metaphorically speaking) and the skills to use it, is just one side of the equation. The other side is about the character and soul behind their employment.
A quick look at the virtues of a Samurai.
Righteousness: Acting with reason in accordance with the situation at hand, considering all points of view regarding honesty, integrity, and justice. And, doing so without wavering.
Courage: Living life completely, fully and wonderfully in the face of fear and risk. Eyes wide open; intelligent and strong.
Benevolence: Love, generosity, compassion, sympathy, and pity. Considered the highest attribute of the human soul, the benevolent help their fellow men and women at every opportunity.
Politeness: True Samurai have no reason to be cruel. They do not need to prove their strength.
Honesty and sincerity: Samurai do not have to give their word or promise. If it is said, it’s as good as done.
Honor: Samurai have one judge to answer to; themselves. Actions reflect whom we truly are. Confident in personal dignity and worth. Taking offense to slight provocations is ridiculous, insecure, and weak.
Duty and Loyalty: Samurai are responsible for everything that they have done and said, and all of the consequences that follow. To everyone that they are responsible for, they remain fiercely true.
The word “Samurai” is interchanged with warrior. Literal translations are “One who serves” or “serving a higher power”. There is no higher power than ourselves and our connectedness with the universe. To dishonor that, takes its toll on our being.
The sword, no matter how exquisite, is nothing without the Samurai.
However … a Samurai without a sword is still a damn Samurai.
The world needs more “Samurai”.