7 – 5 – 3 Code – For Life, Relationships, and Martial Arts

The 7-5-3 code is essentially an amalgamation of ancient principles, heavily influenced (and beginning with) the heroic, notoriously stringent way of life – or Bushido – of the Samurai.  The moral codes and principles by which these fierce warriors lived continues to guide many modern-day Martial Artists, whether taken as the 7-5-3, or in segments.  The values within, however, can apply to all people in all walks of life – they are scarcely relegated to the Arts and I daresay the world would be a better place would that we all followed suit. . . 

The 7-5-3 Code as a sum total purportedly originates with the Valente Brothers, three generations (same family) of Jiu-Jitsu practitioners who have learned from Grand Master Helio Gracie directly.  Though I am a practitioner of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu myself, I confess that I’d not heard much about the family prior.  That said, each of these points are ones which have been at the core of the five Martial Arts I have practiced (Hapkido, Taekwondo, Ninpo, Japanese Ju-Jutsu, Brazilian JiuJitsu (some Kumdo in addition)) in one way or another – they provide the framework and foundation not only for us as Martial Artists, but again as human beings.

7 Virtues Of a Warrior

  • Rectitude
  • Courage
  • Benevolence
  • Politeness / Propriety 
  • Honesty / Sincerity
  • Loyalty

These seven virtues relate to the way in which we interact with one another, on the mats, or off, whether with training partners, strangers, coworkers, husbands, wives… For the Samurai, there was an intense focus on how one conducts oneself, the values to which one would ferociously adhere, and the overarching respect and appreciate of life in all circumstances, with all people.  The maintenance of moral integrity was at the heart of the code, strengthened further by honest, and loyal conduct.  The Samurai were infamous for their fearlessness, and though known for their strength in battle, they asserted a level of compassion and kindness towards fellow man.

5 Keys To Health

  • Rational Nutrition
  • Sensible Exercise
  • Efficient Rest
  • Proper Hygiene
  • Positive Attitude

The five keys to health are incredibly important for everyone, particularly the modern-day Martial Arts practitioner or athlete. Without the proper fuel, our bodies will not function at their best.  Without rest, and a positive attitude irregardless of the circumstances, we cannot meet the challenges with our full capabilities.  Hygiene is an incredibly important point not only for our own health, but out of respect for our fellow training partners.  And sensible exercise requires that we push ourselves in a healthy way, knowing our limits, respecting our bodies, and backing off when necessary (often much harder said than achieved when dealing with athletic minds!)

3 States Of Mind

  • Zanshin – Awareness, Alertness, Preparedness
  • Mushin – No or Clear Mind
  • Fudoshin – Emotional Balance

The three states of mind are the principles by which to guide our personal, inner relationship.  These states not only preside over our physical bodies, but are at the core of the Arts which we practice – in some cases they feel like elusive, impossible concepts, but they are the endpoints to which we strive.  In fact one of them was at the heart of Hatsumi Sensei’s Ninpo theme this year!

Zanshin requires that we are always alert enough to accurately assess our surroundings, relying heavily on our muscle memories – this is where the hard training, and meticulous repetition comes into play. Mushin, a key theme among the Ninja for 2017, is, in essence, the ability to clear the mind of all techniques, to flow with the opponent’s movement, and to create.  Fudoshin is the emotional balance which we all endeavor to reach – with the turbulence of life, this balance fluctuates, tipping the scales to one end of the spectrum, and perhaps back to the other.  It takes hard work and self-reflection to achieve this balance, but the goal is ever-present.

Taking It Together

These 15 principles are – for all intents and purpose – ancient ones.  They are neither novel, nor particularly difficult to understand.  But to achieve these 15 singularly, or particularly in harmony, is a skill in and of itself – the pursuit of these virtues is a noble one, and gives a structure to Martial Arts practices, but also to life.  These are the foundations on which we can build our relationships with ourselves and others, on which we can build our strength of body and mind, and the principles that govern our mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being.  

The Seven Virtues Of Bushido

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Feline Humor – The Samurai And The Dot

Do you suppose they dress up in all this Samurai garb just to fight the seen – and sworn – enemy that is the “red dot”. . .? 

Wouldn’t it be easier to just lunge after it, minus the ceremonial paraphernalia?  (Or is the seek-and-destruction of said dot elevated to whole other level of badassery when they WEAR the armor?)

I feel like if my two could talk – Musashi in particular – I’d be at the receiving end of an angry stare and an “IDIOT HUMAN! You know NOTHING!” 

 

How Well The Internet Knows You

On one hand, it’s a little (or a lot) frightening what the Internet knows.  Fortunately I’m not a celeb so I’m not really worried about anyone looking up my “dirt” and coming after me.  (That said, I’m not sure they would once they saw my preferences…)

Pinterest

Pinterest

(Pinterest, for one, is always sending samurai my way for one – they clearly keep track!)

amazon.com

amazon.com

amazon.com

amazon.com

And then there’s Amazon and their recommendations…

Even though data is being gathered, it’s nice (on the other hand) that a a monstrous retail site can suggest things you may like.  Double edged sword (no pun intended!) in that I might spend more, true. . .

Swords: An Artist's Devotion, Illustration (C) Ben Boos (Author, Illustrator)

Swords: An Artist’s Devotion, Illustration (C) Ben Boos (Author, Illustrator)

Swords: An Artist's Devotion, Illustration (C) Ben Boos (Author, Illustrator)

Swords: An Artist’s Devotion, Illustration (C) Ben Boos (Author, Illustrator)

BUT…I’d rather have the option to skip the fluff and go to the “good stuff” (or at least what I consider the good stuff) even if it means seeing The Art Of War, 5000 Spells, or Sherlock Holmes again (which already grace my bookcase.)

amazon.com

amazon.com

So – at least for now – I’m okay with the gods of the ether picking up on my search habits.  At least then I won’t have to look at Justin Bieber cds or a princess coloring book to get to the badassery.

Martial Arts Humor – How To Catch A Ninja

They don’t teach you this in Ninjutsu.  I feel like – though – it’s common sense to be mindful of bubble wrap… The stuff can really render your skills null and void.

I feel like I’m constantly telling the kids to “watch your neighbor!” or “where’s that Ninja awareness?!”  COMMON SENSE when you are learning the Art of the most stealthy stalkers in history.  You would *think.*

I mean you could be quieter than silence itself, but your sleeping Samu opponent – who may have preemptively been to Mailboxes or the UPS store – might already have you one-upped.

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(C) Sunny Street Max Garcia

Watch your step, Ninja Master…lest your popping footfall announce you before you strike.

For more in Martial Arts

Hanami and The Transient Beauty Of Flowers

My mother and a dear friend of hers are absurdly talented when it comes to flower arranging – it’s almost alarming, really – I feel like the arrangements around the houses are museum-worthy (and I’m not even kidding.)  Of course, the two of them will deny it at all costs, but it’s true!

The creativity, ingenuity and artistry that goes into it flower arranging is astounding…forget knowing all the Latin names, and who needs what kind of soil and / or minerals, necessary water levels, light exposure, pruning etc… Living creatures after all!

Hanami Show

Hanami Show

So I guess it’s fair to say that I am in awe in a multitude of arenas… Fashion design, makeup artistry, hair styling…all these things take incredible talent.  

It’s art.  

ALL of it.  

In fact, many Fashion designers do take a nod from the natural world… You might recall John Galliano for Dior?

Galliano for Dior, Getty Images

Galliano for Dior, Getty Images

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 7.48.29 PM

Galliano for Dior

So the two ladies entered a local flower show and took home a prize! ❤ The name of the Show was “Hanami, Celebrating the Transient Beauty of Flowers,” and it was presented by the Green Fingers Garden Club.  How was it?

D I V I N E.

My mother and her friend entered the “NOH” category – smaller pieces, and really gorgeous, speaking to Classical Japanese musical dramas (performed since the 14th century.)  They presented a stage with four deep purple callas, and a solitary white lily to represent a mask (I think it’s precious.)  I LOVED the idea and think it came out beautifully. 🙂

Hanami Show

Hanami Show

Hanami Show

Hanami Show

And going back to mother nature and her unending inspiration…the jewelry and wearable category was sublime!  All of the pieces were made with ONLY natural materials – amazing.  I’m not sure the tiny petals and twigs would have survived the Ballroom nails, for my own part…

Hanami Show

Hanami Show

Hanami Show

Hanami Show

The Samurai category was pretty awesome too – naturally I loved the one with the blades. ❤ And then there were the larger “arrangements,” one of which had showers of flowers raining down, with a beautiful parasol.

Hanami Show

Hanami Show

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The Moon Gate category was another favorite, not surprisingly.  I loved these orbital nature of these creations – full faces and incredibly artistic. 

Hanami Show

Hanami Show

I always love attending these Shows – inspiration all around!  I’m not sure I’d ever have been exposed if not for my mother and her gifted friends, though, so I feel super blessed.  

If you’re in Fashion or Jewelry design, don’t forget Momma Nature! Her colors, textures and shapes make her the PERFECT muse!