Samurai, the warriors of feudal Japan became almost legendary for outstanding reputation for their courage and their toughness at the battlefield. Most of them live strict life of vicious training and conditioning while some simply lived the over-privileged life of elitists. Samurai, also known as Bushi were the warriors of pre-modern Japan.
And the training method for the samurai varies as per the samurai themselves. However, some tenets of the methods remained the same through much of this layer of society.
·Emotional preparation – Most of the samurai’s fabulous discipline is derived from the Bushido observation, a special code of conduct almost analogous to chivalric code of European fighter classes. The key concern of Bushido code was how dutiful a samurai was; his duty to the family, fellow warriors and the employer. The secondary concern of Bushido code was that of their preparation for death. Samurai were trained to live as though they would die in the next moment and so ensuring that their current behavior left no space for regret. They were encouraged doing meditation frequently on the principal of preparing themselves about the rigor of service and war.
·Physical preparation – Centuries before the introduction of charity ultra-marathons, health clubs and spas, samurai used to condition themselves and established physical strength through battling with different elements. Standing naked in snow and sitting underneath ice-cold waterfalls – were some of the tough general practices of samurai training. Some of them even willingly practiced going without water, food and sleep to make themselves stronger against any sort of deprivation. On the other hand, heavy drinking was one of the most favorite pastimes for the samurai to enhance vigor and build patience.
·Combat without weapons – Many samurai were trained in unarmed fighting skills, usually in bujutsu style which gradually spawned aikido, karate, judo and other forms of martial arts exercises. As samurai mostly went armed, this style was rarely practiced with an expectation to use it realistically during battles. They rather practiced unarmed style of fighting for conditioning themselves physically and knowing armed combat in a better way. Samurai also practiced the kata as a meditative form of training.
·Armed combat - Usually, samurai were trained with martial arts swords, bow and naginata – a spear-like weapon. It is pertinent to mention that swordsmanship was taught in an inexorable way. During the pinnacle of Japanese feudal era, famous instructors started schools under the shield of a single lord who they thought to encourage the samurai to get trained there. During the period of training, samurai were initially armed with wooden weapons to practice fighting against each other and then with sharp swords against the dummies made of straw or wood. Samurai also practices weapon techniques against prisoners and slaves. During the first few centuries, samurai were more popular as horse-riding archers. They had to fire a bow while riding a horse and that was, undoubtedly, a difficult task. And mastering the art required many years of continuous, vigorous practice.
Samurai training of ancient Japan was much more than simple fitness training. They used to use their skills to fight against enemies and win the battles.