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Cheryl Matrasko
James Loeser
Matthew O'Connor


Cheryl Matrasko
James Loeser
Matthew O'Connor



by Cheryl Matrasko

It has been more than 120 years since the edict abolishing feudalism in Japan was enacted (1870). In 1875, the Samurai were no longer permitted to wear the swords that marked their profession. It was the end of the Samurai way of life, and the beginning of a new era with no place for the ancient profession of the warrior.

It is interesting to note that Inazo Nitobe, in his book: "Bushido, the Warrior’s Code" oftentimes compares the Samurai to the Knights of England. His comparisons yield to many of the western world, a better insight into the complexities of Japanese culture and the unwritten code of the Samurai --- Bushido.

Nitobe, explains that when feudalism had ended – Chivalry had been "adopted’ by the Church and thus found a new beginning, by which to flourish further. However, for Bushido, there was no such shelter because because Bushido had touched on so many different aspects of life that as he put it: ". . . no religion was large enough to encompass Bushido." Since Bushido had been influenced by so many movements such as Zen Buddhism, Confucianism, Shinotism, literary arts, painting, etc. it is readily apparent that there could not be a safe place for Bushido, in a religious sect.

Another aspect of Bushido from Taisen Deshimaru is that Bushido influenced Buddhism and Buddhism influenced Bushido. Deshimaru as well as Nitobe, points out that there are five elements of Buddhism that you can find in Bushido. They are:

  • Emotional peacefulness (Stoicism)
  • Self control in the midst of chaos or death
  • Respectful and dignified conduct with the inevitable (death)
  • Respect and understanding of death
  • Poverty



1999, C. A. Matrasko.  All rights reserved

References used and read for this:
J. Sasamori, G.Warner. This is Kendo, the Art of the Japanese. 1989

I. Nitobe. Bushido The Warrior's Code. 1979.

T. Deshimaru. The Zen Way to the Martial Arts. 1982.

M. Musashi. The Book of Five Rings.

I. Takahashi. Class sessions and private talks about the Samurai and Bushido. 1969 - 1971

C. A. Matrasko 5/15/99

Cheryl Matrasko is a Network Analyst for the department of Networking and Communications at a prominent Chicago hospital. Formerly the LAN Administrator for Northwestern University Medical School - Department of OB/GYN, and assistant LAN Administrator to the previous MIS of the School of Law. She started Aikido in 1965, studying under Isao Takahashi as her first instructor. She enjoyed working out under many well known Aikido instructors during her tenure with Takahashi Sensei and therafter following his death in 1971. Cheryl has dedicated time with instructors in Northern Shaolin Long-Fist, Seven Stars Praying Mantis, and Daito-Ryu Aikijujitsu. Currently, she is instructing Aikido at Northwestern University's Chicago Campus and supporting Aikido World Journal.

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Michio Hikitsuchi 10th Dan 1978
(C. Matrasko as uke)
1978 C. Matrasko

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