Bushido is the proper way of life for the Japanese. 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.
— Yamaoka Tesshu, 1836 – 1888
When he was laying on his death bed (dying of stomach cancer), on the last day of his life, he noticed that he didn’t hear any sounds coming from his dojo. He inquired why and was told by his students that they had canceled training to be at his beside.
He yelled, “Training is the only way to honor me!” and sent them back.
Just before he died, he wrote this death poem:
Tightening my abdomen
against the pain.
The caw of a morning crow.
I have more coming on the remarkable man Yamaoka Tesshu, who played a major role helping keep the transition from the era of the Tokugawa Shogunate to the Meiji Restoration as bloodless as possible.
He’s been called “the Swordsman for Peace”. Stay tuned.
Now go lift something heavy,