The Noble Eightfold Path of the Warrior
1 – Right Understanding
Right understanding is essential to the warrior. It is not good enough to just memorize your martial arts techniques or to memorize some wise sayings. You have to go past rote memorization and get to the point of having a thorough understanding of the underlying principles behind your art and your values. Simply scratching the surface doesn’t cut it. In whatever you do, pursue understanding…correct understanding.
Knowledge without wisdom is a load of books on the back of an ass.
2 – Right Thought
Science has proven that our thoughts are actually energy and have an effect on exterior things. No, I’m not just talking about the information such as the theories contained in the book The Secret. Our thoughts have a powerful influence on both our emotions and our body chemistry. Sad/depressed thoughts will cause the body to produce different hormones, enzymes, etc. than happy/excited thoughts do. This can even be measured in the composition of someone’s tears. Tears of joy have a different chemical make-up than tears of pain or tears of sadness.
In addition, your thoughts control your emotions and it is very important, especially for the warrior, to keep your emotions in check. If you doubt that your thoughts control your emotions, sit and meditate on something very sad for a while and see what affect it has on you, or put on some great music that you love and see if your thought pattern and your emotions don’t get a boost. Thoughts matter…
It is the mind which makes a man, or mares him.
3 – Right Speech
This is a biggie! The person walking the path of the warrior has to watch his speech. It is so easy to say the wrong thing, especially if you are out of sorts. Be even more careful to watch what you say if you are angry or upset with someone. You can say something in a split second, which will cost you dearly for days, months, or even years to come. Right speech is a form of self-discipline. Simply put, it is self-control. Control your emotions and your speech, instead of letting your emotions control you or your speech. If you want the respect of others, watch what you say.
Don’t talk too much – your ignorance exceeds your knowledge.
4 – Right Action
A man’s action is evidence of his creed. Every action that you take, everything you think, say or do, either brings you closer to your goals, or takes you further away from your goals, on the journey through the warrior lifestyle. Your actions matter. Make your actions right. Listen to your spirit and follow your intuition. Let your personal code of ethics and honor guide your every decision. Do the right thing, at the right time, and in the right way.
Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard
than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself.
Henry Ward Beecher
5 – Right Livelihood
There is nothing more draining for a warrior than going to a thankless job, which he absolutely hates, every single day. This sucks the life from your spirit, the energy from muscles, and the vitality from your mind. Nevertheless, the warrior will continue to do his job to the best of his abilities until the right livelihood comes along. Finding the right livelihood makes life so much better, especially if it is one in which the warrior can feel he is fulfilling a higher purpose with his life. When you do find the right livelihood you will know it because work will no longer be work, but rather a passion for you.
The talent of success is nothing more than doing
what you can do well, and doing well whatever you do.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
6 – Right Effort
Buddha said that whatever you do, you should put your whole heart into your task, being diligent and energetic. Put forth your best effort. If it is worth doing at all, it is worth doing well. If the task is only worthy of a partial effort, why even bother with it. The warrior aims for excellence in all that he does; there is no room for half-hearted effort in the warrior’s world. If the mind and heart are right, the effort will be right.
Put your heart, mind, intellect, and soul even to your smallest acts.
This is the secret to success.
7 – Right Mindfulness
Right mindfulness is very close to right thought. Right mindfulness is what you keep your mind focused on throughout the day. Are you focusing on your goals, your training, and becoming the best person that you can be, or are you simply daydreaming your time away? It is important to keep your mind focused in the now. If you continue to focus on what is happening at this very moment, you will not find yourself regretting the past or worrying about the future. Stay in the moment.
It is the mind that leads a man to power, not strength of body.
8 – Right Concentration
According to Hsun Tzu, the superior man is committed to focus. Learn to concentrate on what you are doing, and do only one thing at a time. Today, we are all too prone to multi-tasking, doing several things at once. The sages taught that to do two things at once is to do neither. In order to perform at our best, we have to give our total attention to the task at hand. Take care of one thing and then move on to the next. Concentrate all your thoughts on the work at hand. Concentration is key to proper martial arts techniques. Without concentration your technique will lack energy.
A concentrated mind will pierce a rock.