Samurai warriors’ mythical toughness was a result of intense physical and mental workouts. They sat under ice-cold waterfalls for days, and went without food for weeks. Their noble lifestyle kept them fit and healthy except for scars from fierce battles. They followed the ethic code called “Bushido” which is the way of the warrior similar to knights’ Chivalry. It guided them to be a noble being in the society.
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” according to WHO. Although their traditional training and way of life were a little too extreme for us modern people, Samurai had the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. There should be many wellness and health tips we can learn from them. For example, here are a few examples of what we can learn from Samurai.
100% natural diet with a steady sleep cycle
Samurai had 2 meals a day, 8 hours of sleep every day. Especially, natural diet was a very important aspect of Samurai’s life. Eating healthy was necessary to maintain their body to fight well in the battle fields. Their diet consisted mainly of brown rice, miso soup, fish and fresh vegetables.
Rice still is the staple food in Japan. However, in the past, 100% natural white rice brought an epidemic beriberi which is caused by nutritional deficiency of thiamin, or vitamin B1. At the time, polished rice, or white rice, was something of a luxury. People of the time just didn’t realize that polishing rice removes the most nutritious part of rice. You might be surprised to know that even the small process can cause the epidemic disease. Now, it’s easy to assume the negative impact of processed foods. It is for sure that no Samurai was eating GM food. Pesticides and genetically modified foods are the curses of modern life that did not exist at that time.
Making your diet as plain as possible is one of the key factors of maintaining your health. Samurai always ate for nutrition and never for the taste. Luckily, we can strive for both. There are a lot of healthy food options that are available to us today which were not available to Samurai warriors. You can create your own healthy tasty diet according to your personal preferences using natural and organic food. You are what you eat. Let’s borrow Samurai’s strengths, discipline and commitment, and start the healthy diet from today. You will feel the difference soon enough.
Fitness and Zen Meditation
The road to Samurai starts as early as childhood and continued until the end of life. Samurai could not afford to get fumbled or tired in the battleground despite the fact that they had to wear heavy armors and weapons for days. Practicality was valued in training. They spent hours and hours to practice sword strokes and sparring in order to develop strengths and stamina at the same time.
Instead of spending the whole day or week just to do the training, we should take more efficient scientific approach to shorten the time. High-Intensity Interval Training routines, with a little bit of Samurai spirit in mind, will transform your body in a way you probably never imagined. You should train each muscle group of your body by doing individual or complex workouts. For great stamina, you should spend more time sprinting than jogging. Perfect conditioning and flexibility are necessary for Samurai like fitness. For that, you should engage in activities like yoga. In addition to the physical fitness, samurai began to practice Zen meditation to pursuit of inner peace. Zen not only helps you empty your mind, but also improves control of your breathing. It will help you calm your mind, temper and senses.
Bushido code of ethics to a noble being in the society
Samurai chose the Bushido code of ethics, the samurai way of life, as their compass. They valued eight basic virtues: Justice, Courage, Mercy, Politeness, Honesty, Honor, Loyalty, and Self-Control. The word “samurai” originally meant “one who serves”. In the sense, loyalty to one’s master is the ultimate goal in life and keeping their honor by achieving the goal should have been the most important core value to samurai. What do you value the most in your life? Bushido doesn’t have to be the only way of noble life. It can be “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” compiled by Dr. Stephen Covey, “The Four Agreements” suggested by Mr. Don Miguel Ruiz, or your own philosophy of life you’ve been compiling throughout your life. The philosophy becomes your ruler to make consistent decisions especially when difficult situations arise.
Samurai Experience in Kyoto
There is a unique place in Kyoto where you can learn and practice real sword, Bushido and Zen. Take a look if you live in Kyoto or planning a trip to Kyoto.
There are many other interesting places in Kyoto such as staying and meditating at a temple. Sing up for our free weekly newsletter from the top bar. We’ll deliver weekend plan suggestions to your inbox. Also, don’t hesitate to tell us what you are interested. We’ll do the research for you and add it to our newsletter!