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Sunday 28 July 2019

Bushcraft Bushido - Honour


The quality of knowing and doing what is morally right.
"There is no honour among thieves" we are told and it's a revealing maxim, as you can always discern how much honour a man has by an examination of his life. Does he cheat, steal, lie, claim money or valour illegally, backstab, treat others with disdain, break promises, is untrustworthy, has an over inflated ego, has no integrity or compassion, no courage to speak up, does he hide away when times get tough, does he get together with those of a like mind to plot revenge and whisper disparaging words simply to make himself feel better, does he belittle others?. Any of these traits would lead me to believe he has no Honour, it's a wonder the weight of his guilt does not crush him.
Though all the bushido virtues are quintessential to a moral existence this is the one most easily ignored, such a waste that men who were once sincere should fall so low.
 Nature has honour, she has to have to exist in the way she does. She is as you see her, no hidden lies or whispered words just open and challenging for all to see, you either love her or hate her but her honour is obvious, we could learn a lot from her, she seeks no glory or ego from others and just does what is right, just is herself. That is honour.

For those who try to keep their honour intact, hold your head high, you'll make yourself a target for knaves and fools, you will be mocked and ridiculed by the many but that will only prove you are on the right path and you should carry no burden of guilt, I salute you for standing tall in a world of weak willed men.

Better a brief spell of honour than a long rule of shame (laxdeala saga)

Honour is simply the morality of superior men (H.L. Menckcen)

To sin by silence... makes cowards of men.
(Abraham Lincoln.)

To lose your words is to lose your honour, for there is shame in silence.
(Attributed to Diogenes)

Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly. (Mahatma Gandhi)

Cowards die many times before their death but the valiant die only once. (Shakespeare)

There comes a time when silence is betrayal
(Martin Luther King)

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Bushcraft Bushido - Courage

People are very quick to raise their fists in anger but not their hands in peace. I think Mark twain said it perfectly in the above quote. I can understand why people are afraid of bombs and bullets but can't understand why they're afraid of words, rather than face up and discuss things they often run and hide, I guess it's nothing more than moral cowardice.
Courage is being able to admit your weaknesses and ask for guidance, courage is being able to offer help humbly to those in need, your courage is your strength, both moral and physical but both should be practised equally. There's no shame in admitting you're wrong and there's no shame in accepting an apology but there is shame in silence.
Winston Churchill said 'courage is what it takes to stand up and speak but courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.'
Seek nature's path, see her in all her glory and realise she is courageous in all ways and never silent, the plants and animals around us will show us true courage as they fight every day for survival. Be courageous, be the best you can but do it for yourself, follow your own path not that of the crowd.

It's better to live one day as a Lion than 100 years as a sheep.
(Roman proverb)

Saturday 20 July 2019

Bushcraft Bushido - Respect.

Do you demand respect? If you do demand respect then surely that's an oxymoron. Respect, we are often told, is earned not expected, though just as often it's lost just as quickly.
When you go into the woods or any wild places for that matter, do you leave litter, or a fire scar, do you cut down living trees for no real purpose, do you sit round the fire getting drunk? Surely the nature deserves a little bit of respect too. If a friend invited you to their house would you tear up their furniture, light a fire in the middle of their living room or get drunk and defame their character after their invitation? Surely then, the nature deserves the same courtesy, we are entering her house, it's her grass and trees and wood and scenery, treat it with respect and she will respect you in turn. Be still and quiet, listen to what she has to say and she will draw close to you, for she is as curious about you as you are about her, disrespecting the gifts she has led out for you will simply cause her to retreat beyond your knowledge, such a waste that would be.

I am at home among the trees.
J.R.R Tolkein.

Monday 15 July 2019

Bushcraft Bushido - Integrity.

As the years go by and I get a bit more life experience, though maybe not wisdom, I find myself ruminating on matters of morality and conscience. I recall hearing Ray Mears talk one time and two things he said stayed with me, one that the bushcraft path is spiritual and not just a physical journey and two that the path breeds stoicism and fortitude.
I often think in moralistic terms and would probably say I'm rather old fashioned and would consider myself to have traditional values to those akin to the values of chivalry or those of Bushido.
In fact I think the Bushido way typifies the way we should dedicate ourselves to our craft and to our home lives also. The Bushido way consists of seven virtues all of which are woven in a web and they do not stand alone and to ignore one would be to have a detrimental effect on the others and as a result on our bushcraft journey and also on our personal lives.

The first of these is Integrity.

Integrity is being bound to the truth at all costs and being willing to stand alone for what is right if that's what the situation demands, even when facing an onslaught which you feel is out of place or against what you believe to be right. Facing this builds character and fortitude and stoicism, exactly the attributes Ray was talking about, be true to your self and your craft, even if others are baying around you.
But it also means being able to reach out and offer an apology when needed, and I am as guilty as everyone else of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, we all are fallible. However if you feel you have spoken the truth then stand tall, but if in that stance you know you have hurt someone then never be too proud to say I'm sorry, to be gracious enough to reach out and offer a way to ease the hurt,  but only to those who are deserving, there's no point offering an apology to those whom you know will throw it back in your face, those that berate or shun you lack this most precious of virtues, nature does not do this, scold you she might, but it will be so as to teach you a valuable lesson, learn it.  So it is with our bushcraft path, be humble in nature, we are learning from her, she is teaching us, not the other way around, be ready to fail and yet ready to try again and succeed, dedicate yourself to an open mind and the pursuit of knowledge, pick up the pieces and continue on with your integrity intact and pity those who have none or if they do posses it just simply ignore it.

If you can keep your head when all about you 
are losing theirs and blaming it on you
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies
or being hated, don't give way to hating
and yet don't look too good nor talk too wise...(Kipling)


Friday 12 July 2019

New steel striker.. it's a bit special.

Thought I'd treat myself to a new steel striker, it is one of the nicest steels I've seen, and it throws sparks like a , well like a dragon lol.
Just need to find a few pieces of nice red jasper to compliment it..what do you think?