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The Importance of Friendship

My students and clients have constantly heard me stress that our Martial Art is more than just a physical discipline; that it is a discipline that develops both the mind and body. This is so important that Soke Masaaki Hatsumi, the grand master of our lineages, has made it the primary thrust of just about every one of his books about Ninpo and Martial Arts in general.

The presence of mind that your training demands helps you make wise and thoughtful decisions. Often, these decisions involve choosing others as friends - and all of us would like to choose good friends - people we can consider real "team players."

It's sometimes very mysterious why we choose who we do as team players. Often we like a person right away based on some intuitive thought or feeling. When asked, we say that it just "felt" right. Other times we may observe someone for a while with admiration, and build up to a formal introduction.

Friendship is a wonderful thing and is vitally important for personal growth and success. It can be found on the Ninja's Kongokai mandala used in Japanese Mikkyo esoteric mind-science training. Found in the 'wind' realm which represents surrendering oneself to a greater good where the total result produced is equal to much more than just the sum of the parts added together.

Friendship itself is sometimes sparked by what we call "vibes," or a strange and electric power of attraction. This is what gives it such a terrific and seemingly magical power to tie people together so closely. All the same, our first impressions can often be mistaken. We've all made mistakes before in the friends we've chosen. Often, we'd like to ignore, forget, or believe that we had anything to do with the selection, but we shouldn't. It's these lessons that remind us that we are human and make mistakes, as-well-as the fact that not everyone we meet will enter into a relationship (whether business, personal, etc.), for the same reasons that we do. It's not right or wrong - good or bad. It's just life.

There's really no way to be 100% certain that everyone, or anyone, you choose as a friend will turn out to be a good team player. But, the Martial Arts Academy 'is' a terrific place to meet new people, especially those with many of the same interests, and often with the same focus and desire for purpose, power, and interdependence (as opposed to dependence or co-dependence) in their affiliations. Many lifelong friendships have begun in the dojo ("martial arts training hall"). Here are some tips on how to choose friends that might be right for you.

[a] Look for people who share the same basic values that you do. The Martial arts teach certain values and principles that you should know to look for. Honesty, respect, individuality - these are all good qualities that a lot of people share. Having friends with these qualities will make it a lot easier for you to feel relaxed and at ease when you're with them. You want to develop friendships that will be both fun and rewarding - mutually beneficial to all parties involved. One person should never carry the burden of trying to make a relationship "work."

[b] Look for people who respect your decisions. Your friends will have different tastes than you do. They should respect your freedom of choice, just as you should respect theirs. Sometimes you may feel that a friend is not making a positive choice. Discuss these issues. Nothing is more important to friendship than communication and honesty. Discuss things with parents or significant others and your instructor(s) as well.

[c] Look for people who are real team players. You know what that means: people who are willing to stick by you through thick and thin, who will be there when you need them, and will show you the understanding that you in turn give back. A friend you know you can depend on is one you will probably have for life.

There will be times when you feel that a friend of yours is consistently making bad choices, or is not treating you with respect. The Ninja Warrior takes pride in understanding: try to see where your friend is coming from, and try to resolve any differences you might have. Don't be afraid to talk to your parents, spouse, or your instructor. They have the benefit of experience, and are always looking out for your best interests. There are very few things as precious as having good friends, and you should not let them go easily. Hold onto your friendships; let them know you value them and do your best to solve problems as quickly as they arise. Trust your instincts and follow your heart!

Jeffrey M. Miller is the founder and master instructor of Warrior Concepts International. A senior teacher in the Japanese warrior art of Ninjutsu, he specializes in teaching the ancient ways of self-protection and personal development lessons in a way that is easily understood and put to use by modern Western students and corporate clients. Through their martial arts training, his students and clients learn proven, time-tested lessons designed to help them create the life they've always dreamed of living, and the skills necessary for protecting that life from anything that might threaten it. To learn more about this and other subjects related to the martial arts, self-defense, personal development & self-improvement, visit his website at

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