A fictional story by Jenifer Tull-Gauger, based on true events.
A samurai had a wife and two daughters. The girls were eight and 11. But even though their dad was a samurai, they were not samurai kids. That’s because they were sheltered like rare flowers in addition to always being protected by their parents.
Their father, the samurai, kept an eye out for enemies at all times, especially when he was out in the world. He had his swords everywhere he went. And he was always ready to use them.
Their mother, the samurai’s wife, knew to keep an eye out for danger in the world, especially when she was not with her husband. As a good samurai’s wife, she knew how to use the naginata (a weapon with a blade at the end of a long staff). When her husband was away, his wife was always ready to protect and defend their home.
The samurai and his wife loved their daughters and did not want them to worry, or be afraid of the world. They did not teach them of the dangers in it. They protected them. Unfortunately, they did not teach their girls to protect or defend themselves. I must warn you that, like many samurai stories, this one is tragic.
The Tragedy of not Being a Samurai Kid
One day, the eldest daughter of the samurai went to meet her friend at the stables. Alone, she waited outside the home of the horses.
The boy who cared for the horses saw what happened next. “A man walked up to her, grabbed her wrist, and quickly walked away with her. She just went along. I thought she knew him.”
Later, when the girl’s parents and the other samurai were looking for her, they asked the boy what the man looked like. Nobody in town knew this man. He had been a stranger. The eldest daughter had disappeared without a trace. They never saw her again.
“We Must Train Samurai Kids”
The big group of samurai in that village decided, “We must train samurai kids.” They trained their children to protect and defend themselves. They taught them to play the samurai game – to always be aware of their surroundings. The parents told them, “There is danger in the world, but you don’t have to go around being afraid. Like us, you can be proud and strong, and aware.” They trained them to be ready to face danger if it came their way.
The samurai kids learned to be wary of strangers, because some strangers are bad. They learned to stay away from strangers’ carriages, and not to go with people they didn’t know. If a stranger or an enemy tried to touch them, or got too close, the children learned to run and yell. Or if they couldn’t, to fight until they could run to safety.
Years went by, and the samurai and his wife had taught their younger daughter well. Now she was 11, and she was not just a samurai’s daughter, she was a samurai kid. She was strong and smart and always played the samurai game.
The Result of Being a Samurai Kid
This samurai kid was walking alone on her way to kanji lessons one day. She noticed that a man followed her. At a fork in the road, she turned right and she heard the stranger turn left.
But he must have been pretending, because the next thing she knew, the man ran up behind her, grabbed her wrist, and tried to pull her into the forest.
He covered her mouth.
She elbowed him in the ribs.
He struggled to grab onto her.
She kicked his shin, over and over, and she fought back until he let go.
Immediately the samurai kid ran, yelling, to her neighbors. She had passed them farming their field back down the road.
The stranger ran the other way and disappeared into the trees.
All of the samurai went looking for the stranger, and didn’t find him.
This samurai kid went home and hugged her family. Because she remembered to play the samurai game, the youngest daughter of the samurai was safe. And so were the other children in the village.
By Jenifer Tull-Gauger
East Valley Martial Arts can help train your child to be a samurai kid.