Many of you know what a tattoo artist is, so many of you know what a tattoo apprentice is. However, I’m sure many of you do not know what is involved in an apprenticeship, or what it takes to be an apprentice. It’s hard work, and it will shake you to the core of your body, mind and soul. Some days I want to jump for joy by the day’s end, and sometimes I want to curl up in a corner and cry. Some days I want to shake my masters’ hands and other days I want to tell them to take the apprenticeship and shove it. You get the picture.

During the first part of my apprenticeship, which I am still in, I have been doing nothing but drawing and painting. I have been learning about different tattoos and the tattoo arts of different cultures. Sometimes the lesson last a few days and others last a few weeks. During this lesson, I have been immersed in the art of oriental tattoos and flash (tattoo art that is not yet on the body, but rather on paper).  I have a confession to make to the world and to any girl who thought she had my heart; I am in love with this artwork, the culture and the rich history of these people. I have been silently making plans to some day go to Japan and learn more. As I type right now, I am listening to classical Japanese music I downloaded onto my iTunes.

While learning and falling in love with the art, music, and literature of Japan I came across the ‘Samurai’.  The words for samurai in both Chinese and Japanese mean “those who serve in close attendance to the nobility”. These ancient warriors, who died out around 150 years ago as a fighting force, were the definition of honor, morals, and discipline. So while researching the samurai, (which was NOT part of my assignment) I came across a class. The class teaches you the history of the samurai in further detail, also teaching you discipline, honor and morals. Not that I don’t already have these great virtues, but wouldn’t it be great to hone these skills?

The cool part about the class is this, the samurai learned everything they knew by using the sword and learning the power of the sword, so guess how I will be learning? With the sword, well actually a practice sword. (I wouldn’t trust me with a real sword right now either.) Some people might be saying, seriously? “Eddie! You already have so much on your plate!” (my mother being one of them, Hi MOM!) So what? When the opportunity arises, strike! The other cool thing, next to learning with swords is that the class is totally “learn at you own pace”. You pay $20 bucks and they send you DVD’s and practice swords. It teaches you meditation and exercise. I was already working out and exercising but now I am learning something new while I exercise and I will also be relaxing. I’m hoping that this will help me become a more disciplined person at the firehouse, Fanimation and in my pursuit of my tattoo career, and also in my personal life.

All of my blog readers can expect a picture of me wearing the traditional Hakama, Keikogi and Zori’s. And whats a samurai worth if he can’t fight, and who not better to fight than the Fanimation Enigma, a worthy adversary if I do say so myself. Look forward to more about this and I will update you on my progress.

Along with my Samurai sword fighting and meditations, I will also be starting a 28 day exercise based on “The Shaolin”, or the warrior monks of China. Yes these are two different nationalities, but why not? I’ll be doing this at my own pace as well. What am I hoping out of all of this? I am hoping to become more disciplined and hone myself in all my skills. Neither the samurai, nor the Shaolin were perfect people, but they knew and could admit their weaknesses. That’s what they focused on and that’s what they honed in on. I can’t wait to share my experience with all of you!