Self Defense ,,, It’s Personal! Righteous Character & Rectitude

By John Farnam

Samurai Warrior Kusunoki Masashige
Samurai Warrior Kusunoki Masashige
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-( “Excellence is an Art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue and excellence, but rather we have those, because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

Do “sleazy” people have less of a right to deadly-force self-defense than do “good” people?

Technically, the answer to that question is “No,” but in practical terms, the answer is almost always “Yes!” Personal character of actors, even criminal histories, should be considered irrelevant, indeed invisible, as facts are examined by objective investigators.

But, that is seldom the case.

For example:

Inner-city drug-dealers, legitimately employing deadly force when defending themselves against other drug-dealers, can expect scant sympathy from local prosecutors, nor from juries, and the actual facts of the case will invariably occupy second place behind the issue of character and “life-style” of the accused.

Criminal intent,” or the “criminal mind,” is always easier for investigators and prosecutors to imagine in the case of sleazy miscreants, than it is with “good” people, who otherwise have no criminal record.

We can argue interminably about the “fairness” of our system, but that is not the point!

The point is this:

We all need to start preparing for our next lethal-force event right now!

And that preparation starts with being a genuinely good, decent, and honorable person, adopting honesty and integrity as a personal lifestyle. Heaven knows, none of us are truly “innocent,” and we all have personal baggage, some of which we are surely not proud. But, when dishonesty, sleaziness, and casual morals accurately describes your personal lifestyle, it will invariably all come back to haunt you, in a host of ways, and unfailingly at an “inconvenient” time!

  • Honorable people are experts at minding our own business. We surely don’t go about seeking violent confrontation. Conversely, we do our best to avoid it. See that you do!
  • Honorable people don’t hang-out with sleazy reprobates, nor do we hang-out in seedy places, particularly late at night. Those people, places, and times we carefully avoid. See that you do!
  • Honorable people have a “normal” appearance. See that you do!
  • Honorable people don’t “fail the attitude test.” We are ever courteous and polite. See that you are!
  • Honorable people realize that professional training is necessary when we decide that “going armed” represents our best interests. Honorable people don’t just wake up one morning and decide to “carry a gun.
  • Honorable people don’t do evil things, but sometimes we do foolish things, simply out of ignorance. Such foolish ignorance may become a real problem when they involve deadly force and subsequent interaction with our criminal/justice system!
  • Honorable people are prepared in depth, not just with equipment, not just with a respectable moral foundation, but with solid, relevant training and education. See that you are!

The Bushido Code:

Bushido The Soul of Japan
Bushido The Soul of Japan

Just a few decades after Japan’s Warrior Class was officially abolished in the 1880s, US President Teddy Roosevelt raved about a newly-released book, entitled “Bushido: The Soul of Japan.

He bought five-dozen copies for family and friends. In this slim volume, which went on to become an international best-seller, author Nitobe Inazo interprets the Samurai Code of behavior: how chivalrous men should act in their personal and professional lives. Though some have criticized Nitobe’s work as romanticized yearning for a non-existent Age of Chivalry, there’s no question that his work builds on thousand-year-old precepts of manhood that originated in chivalrous behavior on the part of some, though certainly not all, Samurai.

What today’s readers may find most enlightening about Bushido is the emphasis on compassion, benevolence, and the other non-martial qualities of true manliness.

Here are Bushido’s Eight Virtues as explicated by Nitobe:

  • I. Rectitude or Justice. Bushido refers not only to martial rectitude, but to personal rectitude: Rectitude or Justice, is the strongest Virtue of Bushido. A well-known Samurai defines it this way: “Rectitude is one’s power to decide upon a course of conduct in accordance with reason, without wavering; to die when to die is right, to strike when to strike is right.” Another speaks of it in the following terms: “Rectitude is the bone that gives firmness and stature. Without bones the head cannot rest on top of the spine, nor hands move nor feet stand. So, without Rectitude neither talent nor learning can make the human frame into a Samurai.”
  • II. Courage. Bushido distinguishes between bravery and courage: Courage is worthy of being counted among Virtues only when it is exercised in the cause of Righteousness and Rectitude. In his Analects, Confucius says: “Perceiving what is right and doing it not, reveals a lack of Courage.” In short, “Courage is doing what is right.”
  • III. Benevolence or Mercy. A man invested with the power to command, and the power to kill, was expected to demonstrate equally extraordinary powers of benevolence and mercy: Love, magnanimity, affection for others, sympathy and pity, are traits of Benevolence, the highest attribute of the human soul. Both Confucius and Mencius often said the highest requirement of a ruler of men is Benevolence.
  • IV. Politeness. Discerning the difference between subservience and politeness can be difficult for casual visitors to Japan, but, for a true man, courtesy is rooted in Benevolence: Courtesy and good manners have been noticed by every foreign tourist as distinctive Japanese traits. But, Politeness should be the expression of a benevolent regard for the feelings of others; it’s a poor virtue when it is motivated only by fear. In its highest form, Politeness approaches Love.
  • V. Honesty and Sincerity. True Samurai, according to Nitobe, disdained money, believing that “… men must grudge money, for riches hinder wisdom.” Thus, children of high-ranking Samurai were raised to believe that talk about money was a display of poor taste: Bushido encouraged thrift, not for economical reasons so much as for the exercise of abstinence. Luxury was thought the greatest menace to manhood, and simplicity, accordingly, was always a Virtue.
  • VI. Honor. Though Bushido deals with the profession of soldiering, it is equally concerned with non-martial behavior. The sense of personal honor, a vivid consciousness of personal dignity and worth, characterized the Samurai. He was born and trained to value and revere duties, responsibilities, and privileges of his profession. Fear of personal disgrace hung like a sword over the head of every Samurai. One would rather die than disgrace his family, or his regiment.
  • VII. Loyalty. True men remain loyal to those to whom they are indebted: Loyalty to a superior was the most distinctive Virtue of the feudal era. Personal fidelity exists among all sorts of men: a gang of pick-pockets, for example, still swears allegiance to its leader. But, only in the Code of Personal Honor, does Loyalty assume the status of Virtue.
  • VIII. Character and Self-Control. Bushido teaches that men should behave according to an absolute and unchanging moral standard. What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong. The difference between good and evil and between right and wrong are givens, not arguments subject to discussion nor justification, and a man should know the difference.

Finally, it is a man’s obligation to teach his children moral standards through the model of his own behavior. The first objective of Samurai education was to build-up righteous Character. The subtler faculties of prudence, intelligence, and dialectics were less important. Intellectual superiority was esteemed, but a Samurai was essentially a man of action.

No historian will argue that Hideyoshi personified the Eight Virtues of Bushido throughout his life. Like all great men, deep faults paralleled his towering gifts and accomplishments. Yet, by choosing compassion over confrontation, and benevolence over belligerence, he demonstrated ageless qualities of manliness.

Today, his lessons could not be more timely!


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

  • 41 thoughts on “Self Defense ,,, It’s Personal! Righteous Character & Rectitude

    1. Back in the day, I volunteered for the “brown water navy” in Viet Nam because I thought it would be exciting. I was right, it was. I find that, by and large, I now embrace boredom, which is highly underrated. I also carry 24/7 everywhere, and just don’t go where it isn’t legal. I have not had to draw my pistol in anger, but have had a couple of “near things.” In each case where I thought I was going to have to do so, I didn’t feel “excited” or anything else that could be considered a pleasant emotion. I invariably felt an overwhelming sense of sadness, thiniihng that my life was going to change for the worse. In each case, I either talked the other person down or otherwise resolved the situation without violence. On the other hand, when the safety of others was also involved, I never shirked what I consider my duty to them either. Consequently, after the fact, I felt good about it overall.

      1. @oldshooter I just had to say thanks again for your comments and sharing your experiences and for serving our country when called and again for standing for what we believe is right and that is to self defend and to help others in trouble. We are our brothers keeper in the right context. Salute!!!

    2. I like Jesus’ style. He always had a good word or fought by turning over tables or walked away and disappeared in a crowd. Jesus one time told Peter to put his sword up because the timing was not right. He had to go to the cross and NOTHING would stop him and then he made a powerful statement. He said that a time would come that you would have to get a sword and use for self defense. I am a pistol packing preacher and have carried for several years. I have had times when I would have liked to pull it out but it would have been just for idiots or for just dumb drivers on the road even and of course I could not. I even would like to shoot a couple of rounds while I am preaching just to wake the congregation up but can’t do that. Again I love the style and character of Jesus. He trumps all and gives us wisdom if we shall take heed. He is not a pacifist wipe. He teach s self defense but self control and of course all things that pertain to lif and Godliness. Got to say it again, I love Jesus’ style.

      1. Sorry for typos my computer is stalling but just as long as the points are gotten I don’t care about legalize in grammar. We who carry TRY to carry with character and hope we NEVER have to pull a gun on anybody but as Jesus knew the end times would be bad and many would have to use force to protect themselves and family or other innocent bystanders. Preperation is paramount. This goes for ministry or self defense. God bless Ammoland and the many great patriots I have grown to love. Keep typing.

          1. @Wild Bill I stand upon the BIBLE yes that’s the book for me. I see you do too and I thank God for rightly dividing the Word of truth. You are right on and that is exactly what this country was founded upon and also thanks for being accountable. Also,also thanks old shooter for your service to our country and for your correct DISCERNMENT in carrying with much preparation of mind,soul and spirit. You guys make me proud to be an American Christian with no apologies. We are not saying we are perfect but we are saying our Bible and our constitution being interpreted and lived right is the best until His Kingdom comes fully.

        1. For someone who cites self-defense – why do you constantly fantasize about dangerous scenarios where you’ll have to use deadly force?

          1. I think that Gil is the one that constantly fantasizes about dangerous scenarios, and then concludes if everyone were disarmed, then he would be safe. That impossible notion is reinforced by the other self deluded cool aid drinkers where he works.

            1. WB, well if he believes that, he’s right about one thing – *we* are safer with people like him disarmed. Although he probably is already barred from legal firearm ownership.

            2. WB, good question. It could be one or both, but I’m fairly sure it isn’t due to a violent felony conviction, since most people of similar limited mental capacity, as he is, are non-violent.

    3. Attitude!!!
      Good, bad, or indifferent….self defense depends on it!
      Remember……..”there are two kinds of soldiers…….the quick, and the dead!”

      And that’s how it was explained to me.

    4. @Clark K, As to your first question: we all judge for ourselves, and you know it. Do you expect Farnam to be there and help you make a decision? If your judgement about what normal people dress and groom themselves look, and that decision gets you robbed and beaten that is your business. Don’t tell me that people that dress weird, have piercings, and tattoos on their foreheads and full sleeves, make odd hand gestures, have goofy dyed hair and hair cuts may not be dangerous.

      1. Say what? The shadiest person I have had the displeasure of coming across was by outside appearances an unassuming person.

        1. Yes, Gil, there are those, too. Predators come in all sizes and shapes, camouflages, and techniques. Some have piercings some have business suits. Some will mug you and steel you blind. Others will use a pen and a phone and steel you blind.

          1. @Wild Bill Remember the little discussion we had about the electrical grid? Just think what a ciber attack would do to the grid. N Korea nor anyone else needs rockets to attack the US

            1. @oldvet, I read Ted Koppel’s book about the vulnerability of our three electric grids. Koppel reveals that every electric company in the world uses the same soft ware, which has NoKo, Russia, Communist China, and every other country years to play with the software, find backdoors, and create electricity stopping code words. Koppel’s book is in the typical journalist’s interview style. No plot. No character development. Near deadly boring. But he interviews higher ups in government and the electric industry who know how vulnerable we are. It is called “Lights Out” by Ted Koppel.

          2. @Wild Bill yes every utility has their own control rooms both transmission (higher voltages) and distribution. They have power line maps on the walls very similar to situation rooms or command posts in the military. Operators buy and sell electricity 24/7. Then there are other organizations similar to coops that control areas of the country. They control the flow of electricity from places where they can generate an access to places its needed. Not only could a cyber attack shut the grid down but cause overloads which would burn down the whole grid. I am not sure that the system could even be rebuilt. There was a book called Power Play, good read, don’t know if it can be found. It started by a nuclear power plant melt down. POTUS was killed by radiation. It followed the lives of about six people for the next year or so and all the chaos that followed.

            1. Recently, I bought a 5Kw generator that burns propane. I called the propane company to exchange my 250 gal propane tank for a 500 gal. propane tank.

            2. @Wild Bill Not knowing what your load demand might be, I have a 125 amp 8 kw welder generator combo dual usage. I wish I had gotten the 250 amp 10 kw unit. I mounted it in one of those small import pick up beds (made into a trailer) so it is portable. Gas powered. I was without power five days when I first moved in here in 1990. I burned up a 4kw generator then. Actually the end bells on the generator were polymer the unit got so hot the bearings melted their supports enough to let the stator touch the field. I bought a Miller brand (the 8kw) because it was a 4 pole generator clean enough electrically that I could power a computer.
              One more thing when I learned to repair appliances I fixed up a clothes dryer that heats with propane so all you have to have is 120 volts to run the motor.
              an electric dryer will need 4 to 5000 watts .

    5. So does Mr. Farnam get to determine who has a ‘normal’ appearance? And as far as any Japanese code; it appears said code did little to prevent them getting their collective azzes whipped during WWII. And let us not forget their many war crimes during that period. Did ‘Bushido’ cover those?

      1. The noble samurai, like the noble knight, are both myths. In reality both were pretty much hired thugs with a fancy titles.

        1. The noble Gil, like the noble samurai or the noble knight, is a myth. In reality he is pretty much a hired propagandist thug.

    6. Concerning Gil…. I believe he gets his jollies , maybe even gets paid (Ammoland?) by response to his mindless accusations and BS. Thinking we should all consider the source and ignore it, don’t even bother to reply. If he gets no response he may cease to get paid.

    7. @Gil, If you are in the Violence Policy Center, with your colleagues, just now…well, you can begin any time. Don’t let my little missive slow you down.

    8. “The Point is this:

      We all need to start preparing for our next lethal-force event right now!”

      Yeah that sums it up pretty much: “when can I get to gun someone down and call it self-defense?”

      1. @Gil, Now, immediately, if you wish. Anyone can confront anyone, at any time, and call the incident self defense, but your claim will be investigated. You will be put on trial for your life. Your every possession will be sought after my your victim’s relatives. Or maybe you just lose your life to your would be victim, who is an honorable person and who prepared for your lethal force event attempt.

        1. You & friends would love the thrill of a violent confrontation. It would make you feel alive as opposed to humdrum of ordinary life. The thought of not getting into a fight or, worse, de-escalating a bad situation before it turns violent bores you.

          1. Gil, nothing could be further from the truth than anything you post. As a sentient person, unlike yourself, I understand the inherent risks in any confrontation and choose to avoid them if at all possible. Even if one were successful in one’s self-defense, one may still have to defend oneself from both criminal and civil liabilities. Neither experience is in the least bit welcome, nor do they come cheaply in neither time nor money. Then there is the possibility of prison time, loss of job, and vilification in the media. I don’t see how you could possibly view all those extremely negative possible outcomes as even remotely desirable as to want to have an unnecessary confrontation with anyone.

            Being prepared in no way connotes a desire to have happen what one prepares for. I have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in my home, which based on your logic must mean I want a fire in my home, but, again, nothing but one of your posts could be further from the truth.

            1. Heed the Redneck. Stop using two dollar words to try and make yourself appear smarter; it sounds fake. Does your employer know you carry at work?

            2. @Gil, or rather XX, I get it, now. As XX you can express thoughts that you can not express as Gil, thus you need a different persona.

            3. XX, not only do I not carry at work, it’s not allowed. Two-dollar words? Words did I use that have that value? Since this is a social platform, I am using more basic writing, so that even people like you will understand. If you are having difficulty with my writing, you are dumber than most.

              Why just double-x and not triple-x? Double x reminds me of cheap, rotgut liquor, which would explain your usage. Not only can’t you afford to write well, nor present a valid argument, you can’t even afford good liquor. Sucks to be you.

          2. @Gil, already had the thrill of violent confrontation. I love my humdrum ordinary life. Why are you using the pen name XX, now. Are you trying to make it appear as though others think like you? You can not shake your writing style.

            1. WB, I believe it’s actually Too Sour, based on his grammar, word usage, sheer stupidity, and ad hominem attacks.

              Gil just posts inane comments.

            2. @Heed, you might be right, could be Third Stooge. XX is probably just what he puts on contracts.

          3. Violent confrontation only carries a “thrill” factor for those who have not yet been involved in such confrontation. And although Winston Churchill was (in hindsight, of course) certainly correct in asserting that “nothing is so exhilarating as to be shot at… and missed!”, no sane human being is thrilled at the concept of a shooting war – no matter how limited in scope.

            Your contemptuous attempt to sneer at honorable people who have the courage to defend themselves and their families WHEN ACTUALLY NECESSARY is itself cowardly and ridiculous. It occurs to me to ask… were you born this stupid, or did you have to work to get there?

            1. Joe, he would never work at being that ignorant, that’s too much work. He tries to, but fails even at that.

      2. @ gil Since you seem dead set on going out looking for the thrill. You are obviously unskilled, unprepared, I would suggest you go out fully armed with Bananas. Some infidel may force you to eat what you brought. Bananas won’t go off in your excitement causing an accidental discharge, hurting yourself. If you are carrying concealed, in your excitement you may find you have two types of mushy messes in your britches.

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