The Phoenix Pendant
As the symbol of recognition representing membership of a special group, the Phoenix Pendant is important to the members of Bushido Martial Arts and is worn by those that have been recommended by their instructor or another Phoenix recipient.
The foundation from which this honour descends is deeply rooted in history. Warrior groups have traditionally created a distinctive icon or badge, the symbol of the group. The badge was presented to and worn by members of the group.
Likewise, when monarchs and heads of state wanted to publicly honour an individual for bravery or merit, they would also present a distinctive badge.
For our group, the badge chosen by the founding instructors was mythical Phoenix, the only bird of its kind, that had burnt itself on a funeral pyre to rise with renewed life and vigour, to continue anew its life purpose.
The Phoenix represents the rebirth of our style rising from previous styles, tempered in the flames of previous experience. The Phoenix is looking upwards and to the right, symbolising looking ahead to the future. Our style is constantly seeking to evolve and adapt to better suit the needs of our students.
The external ring represents the cyclic nature of martial arts. A ring has no beginning or end. It is continuous, much like a martial artists journey. The martial artist is always learning, and constantly revisiting techniques and ideas to improve upon them.
The three characters, or kanji, are the Japanese representation of the word Bushido which means “Way of the Warrior”, and was the code of conduct of the Japanese Samurai. The seven virtues of Bushido are loyalty, honour, respect, honesty, rectitude, benevolence and courage.
As a shining white metal, Silver is a symbol of purity and is associated with the moon. Silver, when polished, represents the soul cleansed of sin and also represents Yin.
Since time immemorial, Gold has been regarded as the most precious of sort after treasures. Gold is the essential element in the symbolism of the hidden or elusive treasure, in this case wisdom and knowledge. Gold represents the colour of the sun and is identified with Yang.
Members honoured with the presentation of a Phoenix receive a silver pendant. Only the Head Instructor and instructors of the title Kyoshi and higher are permitted to wear a pendant combining a Silver base with Gold characters, representing their deeper understanding of the virtues, principles and philosophies of the martial arts.
Symbolism evokes a sense of the sacred and can kindle the imagination. It is impossible to limit symbolism to mere meaning and definition in the written word. It is possible however, to provide or indicate a point of departure for a voyage of exploration or quest, of mind and spirit.
Only when members display certain qualities such as courage, consistent commitment over time to improvement of self, consistent contribution to both our Style and the Arts and have a proven understanding of the virtues, philosophies and principles of martial arts are they permitted to wear this symbolic pendant.