What is the Bushido Code?

Gracie Jiu Jitsu is a fully comprehensive self-defense system that, in addition to numerous techniques in standing and ground fighting, places a special emphasis on the philosophical aspect. The following seven virtues of the Bushido code play a central role:

  • Rectitude (Gi)
  • Courage (Yu)
  • Benevolence (Jin)
  • Respect (Rei)
  • Honesty (Makoto)
  • Honor (Meiyo)
  • Loyalty (Chu)

The goal of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is to motivate Jiu Jitsu students to know and implement the moral code – especially the seven virtues mentioned – of this martial art. Finally, it is of little use to know the Bushido code without practicing it. Because a knowledge, without a practical implementation is almost useless.

Why a Bushido code is good for the community and for your own character

A moral code is a good basis that people use to live and pass on virtues and values. The Bushido code acts as a proven tool for peaceful coexistence and for one’s own success. Of course, everything works without the moral code, but in the martial art of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, the dominant view is that the Bushido code makes everyday life much easier for the people who practice it.

And how do people develop a moral code? There are several ways to do this: Some use religion, some rely on their studies, and others use their own reasons to develop a moral code.

A good place to start in developing and implementing the Bushido code is the golden, well-known rule: “Do not do to others what you would not want done to you. It is not permitted to hurt one’s fellow human beings – or oneself. Thus, self-love in combination with charity serves as a meaningful beginning.

However, when exactly does the development of the moral compass begin? When do people develop a moral code similar to the Bushido code, even if they do not practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or self-defense? Early. Already in childhood. And who helps children develop a moral compass? Their environment consisting of parents, teachers, coaches and friends. After all, the entire environment influences the decision about whether children feel something is right or wrong.

In addition, the Bushido Code includes the habit of excellence. It requires each individual, whatever they do, to always do their best. Why does Brazilian Jiu JItsu, as well as any form of self-defense, advocate this principle? Quite simply, because it is right to always do one’s best. Temperance also plays an important role in the moral code. And according to Hรฉlio Gracie, it is important not to moderate one’s principles, because this is a way of a wise person.

Courage acts as an integral part of the Bushido code

Hรฉlio Gracie considered courage to be virtue number one. This is because courage acts as fuel for righteousness as well. Moreover, he emphasized that different types of courage exist: physical and nonphysical. In the first form of courage, individuals put their bodies at risk.

In non-physical courage, on the other hand, people put their reputation or finances at risk.

However, Jiu Jitsu reminds us that numerous individuals associate courage with risk to the body. According to the Bushido Code, however, this is by no means the only way to prove one’s courage, because there is still non-physical courage. The Bushido Code points out that courage decides the future of one’s life. Because of the pressure that the environment exerts on people, the majority swim with the current and do not leave their own comfort zone throughout their lives.

In Bushido you learn that courage can be trained, because people are not born with and not without courage. Through regular training in Jiu Jitsu or self-defense, it is possible to develop courage and make the decision: I want to be courageous. It also doesn’t mean that you don’t feel fear or excitement, but that you go forward and realize the particular intention anyway.

Reckless actions that harm the community, however, do not fall into the category of courage. This is because they must take into account moral standards. However, no one can be courageous if his actions are not accompanied by righteousness. Courage also means doing what is right. The spirit of charity demands helping those in need. This does not necessarily require the practice of a religion. However, it can help in the implementation of charity. Righteousness serves as an important foundation for this.

The magic of righteousness

Righteousness is not only doing the right thing courageously, but also doing it when no one is watching. However, numerous people act the other way around because they are selfish. Therefore, an important quote serves as motivation to rethink:

If the selfish person knew the reasons for selflessness, he would be selfless for selfish reasons.

A large majority does make decisions that they believe to be right, even though the people acting know full well that the decisions are not right. Righteousness can serve as an important guide. Righteousness is a subjective kind of virtue. Directly related to righteousness is the virtue called kindness.
What exactly does kindness require? Well, in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, martial artists treat their fellow human beings with respect and goodwill. They do not make judgments about people because they know that everyone is fighting a battle within themselves. Courtesy, as an important component of the Bushido code, facilitates peaceful coexistence. It is also closely intertwined with respect.

Respect, however, begins with respect for oneself before it translates to respect for one’s fellow man. In Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as well as in other martial arts, the Japanese greeting Rei dominates. This term represents politeness, respect and good manners.

Politeness is always a right decision

Politeness, as part of the Bushido code, requires that we care about the feelings of those around us. Even though a famous quote says that it is not necessary to care about the thoughts of others. However, this is true only when an act is accompanied by righteousness. Nevertheless, it is important not to hurt the feelings of fellow human beings. Finally, it is possible to say everything with respect and honesty without hurting the other person’s feelings.

Honesty is a virtue of strong people

In Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, honesty plays an important role. However, it is not only about honesty towards fellow human beings, but also about honesty towards oneself. In addition, this kind of honesty requires us to ask ourselves if something is right because we believe it or because circumstances demand it of us. Honesty wants us to know that we cannot always be right, but righteousness wants us to always do the right thing. We are imperfect, but we can try to be right and do the right thing.
Honesty is closely related to righteousness, according to Hรฉlio Gracie. Everything we do should come from the heart. Otherwise, it is merely a farce.

Honor and loyalty inspire people to be grateful to their fellow human beings

Honor is a sense of purpose. This virtue is an important principle of the samurai and gives people high self-esteem.

Loyalty is also important and is directly related to righteousness. There is no loyalty without righteousness. In martial arts, loyalty functions as a higher form of respect. However, the goal is to sacrifice oneself for loyalty. It is closely intertwined with charity. For no one should be loyal because he expects something in return.

There are two types of loyalty: fake loyalty and true loyalty. Loyalty based on fear is false. It does not stand the test of time. This is because people will commit betrayal. True loyalty, on the other hand, is based on gratitude. For example, there is loyalty to parents because they gave us life. Without gratitude, there is no loyalty.

Thanks to its diversity, the Bushido code from Gracie Jiu Jitsu allows for considerate and respectful coexistence in society – at least for those who apply it.