I had always been interested in martial arts, and though I had little exposure to the Japanese arts, I found them fascinating. Since childhood, I was drawn to the inherent strength ingrained in the discipline visible in the demeanor and movements of the advanced students and teachers. They exuded a level of confidence and control rarely seen in other walks of life, but exactly what one would expect of highly-trained martial artists. What truly drew me to the arts was that the experts were as modest as they were strong.

In Japan, modesty appears to be ingrained in every part of their upbringing. At a young age, whether of samurai descent or not, the code (Bushido) is introduced into everything they do. I later learned this code not only formed Japanese society, it defined it.

I was fascinated how individuals with superior fighting skills, threatened by nothing, and possessing incredible physical, intellectual and spiritual skills could adopt such modest self-images. I began to consider that’s what true confidence is: void of ego and a self-congratulatory attitude. I wasn’t certain, but I had to find out, so in 1992, I quit my job, sold my car, and left for Japan to embark on an eight-year pilgrimage to get a glimpse into the hearts and minds of the architects behind this incredible mindset. The samurai class.