The Way of the Modern Warrior by Stephen F. Kaufman

The Way Of The Modern Warrior: Living the Samurai Ideal in the 21st Century by Stephen F. Kaufman is a short and simple book, but one with important thoughts that if pondered upon can have a deeper impact than they might first seem.  This book is Kaufman’s attempt to help answer what it actually means to be a samurai and maintain the attendant bushido, “way of the warrior,” mentality.  It’s Kaufman’s way of sharing the discipline of living a life of morality, courage, and integrity.

While the book is 126 pages, the fifty-five lessons or precepts presented in this text are less than fifty-five pages of reading. Each of them takes up two pages of book, but with the white space before and after, they could each fit on one page. This means the entire book could be read rather quickly, but I don’t recommend that. I recommend reading each of the lessons and then thinking about them a bit before moving on. If you read through too quickly, you won’t get everything that Kaufman hopes you gain from reading this little gem. He himself even says that you should consider the implications of all examples and think about them. He also reminds us to remember to place no value on things of no value – such as words of wisdom.

It’s basically a collection of thoughts from a man who has trained and lived as a warrior for over fifty years. Kaufman has learned a lot in those years, and his thoughts and reflections will not only teach, but allow you to think about things in your life and how the wisdom in this book might apply. That is, if you take the time to do so. And I’d encourage you to do so if you want to get something out of reading this book.

At times I wanted a little more, and I wanted Kaufman to explain in more depth what he was getting at. I supposed that would have taken more space and pages and would not have fit in the format of this text. Or maybe it wouldn’t then allow the reader to delve into the topic with his or her own experiences and figure it out. Maybe both.

According to Kaufman, anyone who creates and maintains any higher ideal in and of his or her own self may be considered a samurai. A samurai, male or female, devotes their life to a perfection of their own higher self and does so for the benefit of all concerned, with themselves as the progenitor of the ideal, whether they are conscious of it or not.  I like that way of thinking, and I like this book. I encourage all martial artists and those who want to follow the way of the warrior to read it and think about the messages it contains. They can help you better yourself, and that is what I like to call living with the warrior’s edge.

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