I was watching a video clip of a wrestling show which led me to one thing and another until I was reading about “The Path of Aloneness” or “The Way to Go Forth Alone” or “The Way of Walking Alone”. Japanese must not translate to English well.
A samurai guy wrote it after wandering around Japan most of his life killing dudes in duels. He wasn’t a soldier. He went around finding other guys that wanted to fight and then killed them. In duels. Maybe 60 dudes. He was renowned not only for being a great fighter but also for being a dick.
His deal was as soon as you agreed to the fight, he felt the fight was on. He did everything he could after that to piss off his opponent and throw them off their game. The duels were all supposed to be about honor and respect, but this guy went another way – just win baby.
In essence, he was a wrestling heel. Except no babyface ever took him down. Which is bad storytelling. The only reason to build up a heel is so the face can beat them.
The Alone Walking thing was 21 rules for how to be awesome at wandering around and fighting. Since that’s kind of my life, let’s check them out. Maybe I should do a Samurai gimmick. That’s probably not cool. Cultural appropriation.
1. Accept everything just the way it is. Mixed feelings about this one. Acceptance is good. But some things you should try to change.
2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake. What other reason is there to seek pleasure? Don’t get this one.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling. I like this one. Be sure before you do something important.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world. Ooh, I like this one a lot. Ego is bad, caring about others is good. Nice one, guy who killed 60 other guys for laughs.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long. Um, maybe? This is a Buddhist thing, which only kind of makes sense to me. Wanting shit makes you sad, but if you desire nothing you get nothing.
6. Do not regret what you have done. I can get onboard with this. You did what you did, learn to live with it. RIP Stella.
7. Never be jealous. Sure, makes sense.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation. Don’t be lonely? It’s not so easy brother.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself or others. Amen. Stuff your complaints in a sack and get on with it.
10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love. You almost had me, old dead murderer dude. Not acting out of lust? Great advice. Not acting out of love? Hard pass. I believe in love. People think that maybe he was gay, which was not cool in Japan then, and part of his self-denial ideal was because of that. I wonder if it’s okay to be gay in Japan now.
11. In all things have no preferences. Uh what? I think this is another Buddhism thing. I’m going to keep having preferences.
12. Be indifferent to where you live. I kind of am, but I would like to live someplace comfortable and nice so I guess not.
13. Do not pursue the taste of good food. Fuck you bro. I love food.
14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need. Okay, you’re winning me back. I don’t have a lot of stuff and I think that’s good. Most people have so much stuff. It’s a cliché but the things you own end up owning you.
15. Do not act following customary beliefs. Ever? You shouldn’t do something because that’s the way it’s always been done, but there are lots of times you absolutely should follow custom.
16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful. Easy enough for me.
17. Do not fear death. As long as I live the life I’m given, I won’t be afraid to die.
18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age. What? Is he trying to say that old people shouldn’t hoard stuff, give young people a chance? That makes sense. If he’s just saying old people don’t need goods, that doesn’t make sense. Old people need lots of goods.
19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help. Super yes. I have no religion, but this is great for those that do. Believe in God and Jesus all you want, but realize that we’re all on our own. The Lord isn’t going to fly down on a flaming sheep and fix everything. You’re going to have to work for it.
20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honor. What? I don’t understand this one. Maybe he’s saying that you should die before you give ground to an enemy? Dunno.
21. Never stray from the way. Ever? Pass. No rule is so awesome there shouldn’t be the possibility of an exception.
Well there you have it. Since this guy died hundreds of years ago, I’m probably the best wandering Samurai person now. I better get a sword.