Bushido Principles: Politeness and Generosity

Bushido Karate quote

Seven Principles of the Bushido

Politeness and generosity are two of the Seven Principles of the Bushido. I’ve chosen to combine them as a theme for this post because of their contrasts; two different words that mean two different things! The cool thing is that we can do both!

Politeness and/or generosity

 Have you ever had to convince a young child to share, or be generous, with their toys. And what about reminding your older child to hold open the door for someone less capable?  Both of these characteristics are taught by a child’s parents. Most kids can’t understand the kindness and empathy behind those gestures – they do it because they are told. When these qualities are taught and repeated by parents and those influencing children it is the belief  that the child will grow up to be a generous and polite adult. And will understand the importance of how we treat each other.

So what’s the difference?

The difference is that generosity is premeditated while politeness is not. Generosity can be in many forms: shoveling a neighbors driveway, volunteering at a food bank, or helping your fellow students to reach the goal they are striving for. Initiating the action is the idea of generosity.

Politeness is saying please and thank you. It is holding the door for a woman with a stroller. And it is saying yes to the neighbor who had to call and ask for help shoveling. But it is not generosity.

As with any martial arts school, students at The Bushido School of Karate are expected to be polite and kind to each other. And all parents are  generally supportive of teaching and reenforcing good manners. What is harder is to realize an extremely important component of training; generosity of time.  Offering to help other students is perhaps the most influential act you can do to improve your own skill set.  It is expected at higher ranks, is necessary for growth and is the right thing to do. It is the definition of generosity. It defines a martial artist.


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