By Jenifer Tull-Gauger

John the Samurai had a hard life as a kid, but he had a mentor who taught him right and wrong.  He made mistakes like we all do, but John was either smart enough or lucky enough to do the right thing in the end.

When John was a teenager he saw some of his friends getting into drinking and drugs.  John stayed on the good samurai path and refused their offers of fun.  He avoided those high people at parties and when possible, he just left.  He did not want to put himself into a stupor with alcohol or drugs because, as a good samurai, he always kept his wits about him and kept his senses sharp, especially when he was in public.  He didn’t even want to be around his friends if they were drunk, because he knew they were likely to do something stupid.  He didn’t want to have to hurt them, or to get in trouble because of them.

As an adult, the most John would have was one drink to toast a special occasion.  Was John an uptight samurai?  No, he was young at heart and the young don’t need alcohol or drugs to relax or to have fun or to be themselves.  John practiced his samurai meditation every day, so he was relaxed enough to be ready for life-protection action at any time.

John served his community with pride and taught his dojo kohai (lower ranks) how living a clean life went hand-in-hand with the Dojo Kun.  He would say things like, “Staying sober is a matter of moral character,” “You can’t be honest if you are on drugs,” “Don’t give up on yourself,” “Have enough respect for yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit, and your family to live a clean life,” and “Refraining from getting buzzed when all around you are overindulging, shows restraint and spiritual attainment.”

John the Samurai had ups and downs, but he consistently practiced his samurai training in all areas of his life.  Overall, he was extremely happy!