By Steve Weber
Defending those too weak to defend themselves, granting mercy to the vanquished, feeling sympathy for the suffering of the misfortunate, and expressing affection through gentleness toward the vulnerable, explain the warriors’ code as defined by the virtue of “Benevolence.”
From ancient times through the modern era, Knightly virtues placed a burden on the brave and the strong to perfect a balanced life. Obviously this was not always achieved, but the goals were, and still remain, noble! Cultures around the world encouraged the warrior class to study the classics, poetry, art, music, etc. Great emphasis was placed on these “high manners.” Hardness of spirit is necessary to face the rigors of battle, but it must be tempered with softness for one to be just and honorable. However, warriors were taught that thoughtless charity weakens the spirit by allowing for self-indulgence. Quoting from a typical translation of a verse attributed to a Prince of Shirakawa: “Though they may wound your feelings, these three you have only to forgive, the breeze that scatters your flowers, the cloud that hides your moon, and the man who tries to pick a fight with you.” Nobility of character defines the “perfect knight.” Even if it is never achieved, what a wondrous quest it is.
In the complex time in which we live, nothing appears to be more important than our ability to respect and live peacefully with one another. Benevolence is a virtue that should remind the strong and powerful in our society to remember that just because they can doesn’t mean they should.
Mr. Weber is the chief instructor at the Aikido Academy of Self-Defense located at 16134 North Oracle Road, in Catalina. He has more than 40 years of experience in the Martial Arts and has achieved skills in a variety of disciplines. He also teaches Tai-Chi with classes on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to noon and Saturday from 9 to 10 a.m.
Please call (520) 825-8500 for information regarding these and other programs. If you wish, check out the website at www.AikidoAcademyOfArizona.com.