Sensei posted this to the Daily Message on January 10, 2005 I think I spend much too much time in the Dojo. When I go out - driving on the streets, grocery shopping, eating in a restaurant, I am always impressed at how impolite people can be without even thinking about it. When I ask other people, I hear the same complaint but no one does or says anything about it. We just accept it as the way people are these days. We are, as many will agree, are simply a very impolite society. As a matter of fact, being polite will only cause you to be frustrated and annoyed. So, as a result of this, we become tougher, less feeling, less sensitive people - impervious to any kind of annoyance or disturbance. As I can see, some of us turn ourselves into walking images of people in stone or wood.
We bring this into the dojo - a mentality of being impolite and uncaring as a way to be "cool." Being impolite, for many, is the emotional shield to defend themselves against the whole world. Politeness for many is a sign of weakness and vulnerability leaving one's self open to any kind and type of "attack." This disturbs me at so many levels. The emotional shield, like a crutch for a healthy person, only causes one to become weaker - it is only more mental baggage we carry around and, like a city detective, flash this "badge of disobedience" around before any human encounter as a warning, that we have the power and authority to do you damage.
When I see depictions of samurai in the movies and mass-media, they are stereo-typed as shouting, spitting, glare-eyed wild men with a decapitation fetish. No - they were, for the most part, highly educated, refined warriors, adept in the tea ceremony and poetry and many other literary arts. The rule of etiquette in Japanese culture and in the dojo was born from this Samurai culture and tradition. The rules we follow in the dojo are not simply rules to create an authoritative order or to establish a feudal social structure, Reigi Saho was a way to express, in every way, a beauty and nobility of movement and thought.
Reigi literally means "the duty and ceremony of gratitude." Saho means, "to create order (social order) and to create universal or the order of Nature." It is not simply to use a napkin or not pick your nose at the dinner table. it has quite a bit deeper and broader meaning than this.