The Way of Walking Alone

Kazuko Hosokawa Dishman (aka - my mom)

This past Sunday, in celebration of Independence Day, I posted the Declaration of Independence in its entirity along with my own personal reflection as to importance of what that historical document set out to do. I am proud to call myself an American first and foremost. My ancestors on my father’s side arrived and settled in what is now the Commonwealth of Virginia in the 1600’s. But that’s only half my ancestry.

My father met and married my mother in Japan. She was born Kazuko Hosokawa. The Hosokawas were one of the ruling samurai clans of Japan for many generations, and the family coat of arms (my mother was happy to report after a recent visit) is proudly displayed in the Tokyo National Museum.

So, while I am VERY much American, I am also very proud of my Japanese heritage, and I wanted to share a little of it with you today.

Miyamoto Musashi

In the second month of 1641, Miyamoto Musashi (considered to be the greatest samurai who ever lived) wrote a work called the Hyoho Sanju Go (Thirty-five Instructions on Strategy) for Hosokawa Tadatoshi. This work overlapped and formed the basis for Go Rin No Sho, more famously known as The Book of Five Rings.

The Way of Walking Alone
(or The Way of Self-Reliance)

Do not turn your back on the various Ways of this world.

Do not scheme for physical pleasure.

Do not intend to rely on anything.

Consider yourself lightly; consider the world deeply.

Do not ever think in acquisitive terms.

Do not regret things about your own personal life.

Do not envy another’s good or evil.

Do not lament parting on any road whatsoever.

Do not complain or feel bitterly about yourself or others.

Have no heart for approaching the path of love.

Do not have preferences.

Do not harbor hopes for your own personal home.

Do not have a liking for delicious food for yourself.

Do not carry antiques handed down from generation to generation.

Do not fast so that it affects you physically.

Do not be fond of material things.

Do not begrudge death.

Do not be intent on possessing valuables or a fief in old age.

Respect the gods and Buddhas, but do not depend on them.

Though you give up your life, do not give up your honor.

Never depart from the Way of martial arts.

Second Day of the Fifth Month, Second Year of Shoho (1645)
Miyamoto Musashi

“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as either a blessing or a curse.” – Don Juan

P.S. – If you haven’t done so already, head on over and wish Billy Coffey a Happy Birthday!

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26 Responses to “The Way of Walking Alone”

  1. Matt @ The Church of No People July 6, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    Wait a minute, are you telling me that you are part samurai? That is awesome. Can I pay you $5 to kick me in the face so I can say I got kicked by a part-samurai? Seriously though, I think family histories are so interesting. Hope you had a great 4th!
    .-= Matt @ The Church of No People´s last blog ..Turns Out the Cross is Made Up =-.

    • katdish July 6, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

      Actually, there’s not much kicking involved, but I could stab you a little if you’d like.

  2. Glynn July 6, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    My daughter-in-law is part Japanese, which means my grandson Cameron is, too. I don’t know if there are any samurais in the blood line, though.
    .-= Glynn´s last blog ..The Stone of Summer =-.

  3. Candy July 6, 2010 at 8:32 am #

    Fascinating family history you have there. And much wisdom in “The Way of Walking Alone.” I knew you had Japanese in you as you had mentioned it before, but didn’t know it was half (ok, so I’m under a rock most of the time).

    And to follow Matt’s comment, how are you at sushi? Because we could be reeeeeallly good friends….
    .-= Candy´s last blog ..Tasty Bites- Kicked-Up Fried Green Tomatoes =-.

    • katdish July 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

      I don’t make sushi, but my mom & sister play poker with a sushi chef, so when he comes over, he brings all the fixings.

  4. Stacey July 6, 2010 at 8:44 am #

    Very cool post. I also find family histories so interesting. Thanks for sharing this important part of your heritage with us. And what a beautiful pic of your mother.

    P.S. “Do not have a liking for delicious food for yourself.” Ouch.
    .-= Stacey´s last blog ..Changes =-.

    • katdish July 6, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

      I like to think of that one as more of a guideline than a strategy…

  5. Louise July 6, 2010 at 8:51 am #

    Consider yourself lightly; consider the world deeply.

    How brilliant — thank you for posting the Way of Walking Alone!

    Great ancestry. You are one powerful samurai chickee!

    Your roots are beautiful on you!
    .-= Louise´s last blog ..All my creations =-.

    • katdish July 6, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

      Thanks, Louise. Actually, my roots were pretty gray until very recently. Oh, different roots. Nevermind.

  6. okiewife July 6, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    Ancestry is fascinating to me. I did not know until after my father had passed away that he was 1/2 Native American, from one of the Great Lakes tribes. The secret was kept within his family for 80 years. What a blessing to know your ancestry, and have pride in the knowledge.

    • katdish July 6, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

      My father’s family were slave owners, so I’m guessing there are plenty of family secrets in my family tree. It really is a blessing to know your ancestry, either to pass on cherished stories or to learn from past mistakes.

  7. Lainie Gallagher July 6, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    “Never depart from the Way of martial arts.”

    Dangit! I quit at orange belt!

    Awesomely cool post. You mother’s beautiful; you look a lot like her.
    .-= Lainie Gallagher´s last blog ..The Freedom of Servitude =-.

    • katdish July 6, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

      Thanks, Lainie. I hope I look like her when I’m her age. She has aged very well.

  8. Billy Coffey July 6, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    The Book of Five Rings has a prominent place on my bookshelf. Doesn’t matter how many times you read it, you always find something new. Now I have to go read it again. So thank you.
    .-= Billy Coffey´s last blog ..Happy Birthday- =-.

    • katdish July 6, 2010 at 5:34 pm #

      You’re welcome. Have I told you Happy Birthday today?

  9. Lainie Gallagher July 6, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    Forgot to click the box. Grr.
    .-= Lainie Gallagher´s last blog ..The Freedom of Servitude =-.

  10. Maureen July 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    Great post. Wonderful wisdom.

    Your mother: beautiful.
    .-= Maureen´s last blog ..Interview with Poet Jenne R Andrews Part 1 =-.

  11. Michael July 6, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    Awesome stuff. No wonder you said you like to give out karate chop sandwiches.

    On a serious note, the picture of you mother is beautiful.
    .-= Michael´s last blog ..What A 5 Year Old Taught Me About Giving Thanks =-.

    • katdish July 6, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

      Thanks, Michael. I told you I’m a fan of gratuitous violence. Now you know why.

  12. Cassandra Frear July 6, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    So that’s where you get your great looks. 🙂
    .-= Cassandra Frear´s last blog ..The Creative Life =-.

    • katdish July 6, 2010 at 5:36 pm #

      Thanks, Cassandra. I’m glad I got my height from my dad and my facial features and hair from my mom instead of the other way around.

  13. Sandra Heska King July 6, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    Wow! Your mom is beautiful. She looks like you.

    Great wisdom here. I especially like “Consider yourself lightly; consider the world deeply” and “Do not regret things about your own personal life.” We waste so much energy fretting about things we can’t change.
    .-= Sandra Heska King´s last blog ..15 Lessons From My Garden =-.

    • katdish July 6, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

      Thanks. Actually, I think I look like her. And you’re so right, we waste too much time worrying about things we can’t control.

  14. Helen July 6, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    There is a lot of wisdom here. You are both beautiful and wise, Kathy. God bless you, and your family tree.
    .-= Helen´s last blog ..Pleasantly Disturbed Thursday- Toys- Toddlers- Tea- and Hats =-.

  15. Berniece Richards July 7, 2010 at 12:38 am #

    Kay was a beautiful young woman and I have seen her expression on you numerous times. Amazing!

  16. Annie K July 7, 2010 at 12:48 am #

    My dad’s family (Hungarians and Romanians) came over on ‘the boat’ in the early 1900’s and their names are forever etched on the walls of Ellis Island. Dad has the ships manifests of when his family traveled here, framed and hanging in the dining room. We are extremely proud of our Easter European roots.

    My mom’s family are direct descendants of Ethan Allen (bet you’re not surprised I have a totally awesome Revolutionary war hero in my family) as well as Queen Anne. I remind Jon often that I am of royalty. snort!

    Thanks for sharing about your heritage Kat!
    .-= Annie K´s last blog ..So Thats Your Excuse =-.

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