Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one. -- Chinese Proverb
Historians point to the Kojiki as the first written record of the code of conduct that would later come to be widely known as "bushido" after the publishing of Inazo Nitobe's 1899 work, "Bushido : The Soul of Japan".
For hundreds of years, samurai lived lives of fealty and service guided by a code built upon a foundation of Confucian teachings, later folding in philosophies and dogma from shintoism and buddhism. It was a way of life that held above all else the value of loyalty, mastery, and honor to the grave.
In today's society, the concept of living with principle is foreign. We have become a culture driven by reverence for consumption and dangerous nationalism. Loyalty is a simple matter of handing your two dollars and fifty cents to the sales clerk at the gas station so you can walk out with a magnet to slap on your bumper printed in the motif of the American flag. In the scene, we casually toss about words like "brother", or "family", when in reality so many of us view our contemporaries as resources - not Jeff, the guy that likes Smash Brothers, but Jeff, the only guy in the area that plays Gen. So we're friendly to Jeff, not because he's funny, but because we need match practice. We win tournaments and give post-match interviews about growing the scene and helping the community, but the truth is that before we even got into our car, we asked the folks that have been to this tournament previously for the dollar amount of the last event's prize pot, because if it isn't at least such and such amount, we aren't coming.
Five hundred years ago, faced with surrender before a foe unworthy, a man would lay open his belly with a short sword, a sword he carried only for that moment, so that he might be embraced by death clad in his honor. Today, some of us might have a hard time just spelling the word "honor".
Men and women that stand for something have a habit of transcending. There is a strength imparted by integrity and character that can not be stolen away, and can not be imitated. Placing your name beside a virtue is a potent act - one that can make you one beastly mother at the arcade.