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Honor in Business

Bushido and honor in business . . . the "good" businessman.

A friend once mentioned to me that he admired a reknown businessman because of his wealth and power, and added that he was a "good" businessman. He went on further to explain that this man succeeded taking over companies, closing them and selling off pieces, placing people out of work, making some very legally questionable tactics to acquire more wealth and power. He thought that this man was to be admired for his cunning and prowess. I stared at him for awhile and wondered why a fellow Aikidoist would admire such a person. I suppose we are all guilty of being attracted to personalities that are directly opposite to our own, as the moth is drawn to the flame. Perhaps it is curiosity, that lures us to wonder what it would be like to own such a personality. In the western world it is acceptable to ruin someone in business in order to acquire more wealth and power. In doing so, we often (more times than not) cause chaos, instability, or financial ruin to other innocent people that are not able to find other means of making a living. It is also acceptable to be dishonest in order to destroy a fellow employee's credibility and/or seize that person's position. the list goes on and on. Actually, if one should think freely for one moment ... you might be able to see that the only persons that would market such unnecessary dishonorable acts as acceptable --- are those that are dishonorable themselves. They would have something to gain from such an act, to all that are gullible enough to believe it. This is hardly honorable and is NOT a practice that is considered to have a place in bushido.

Those that would cheat, steal, lie, and perform cruel acts in the name of "doing good business" would do so in their own personal lives. Some claim to be good businessmen, upstanding citizens and good family men. You cannot be honorable this way in Bushido. It is not honorable to single out certain bad traits and deny ownership and responsibility to them. You are entirely what you do in business as well as personally. It is inseparable. Furthermore, to be professionally dishonorable and to claim that this is an acceptable practice --- is just an excuse for being dishonest. And to believe that this is an acceptable excuse is also not "saving face". It is lying to oneself.

In practicing the ways of the warrior, it is a discipline that requires a person's tenacity and devotion to purifying one's self in character and physical training. In the Asian martial arts, the entire person spends everyday of his/her life in training towards the perfection of self --- worthy enough to be called a martial artist.

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

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