Saito Yakuro, Shindō Munen Ryu instructor of the famous Renpeikan in Edo once said that the character for bu in budō 武道 is made up two radicals, that of a spear and stopping. He said that preventing conflicts is the righteous thing, then as martial artists, we should not have minds imbued with hatred or attitudes of fighting (aggression). Are not many of us are ignoring the mind and training only the physical? I guess there is nothing wrong with that, but if you are going around hurting other people or spreading lies without remorse or self-reflection then, in my opinion, you are a beast with nothing but claws. Early budo training was never about that as evidenced by Shindō Munen Ryu's Saito-sensei's words.
I believe the sword should be tempered with a compassionate and a just attitude. Speaking for myself, it is part of my practice. It is the main component in Shinkan Ryu Kenpo training. Though I sometimes fail and cause trouble for someone, I admit the mistakes and attempt to move forward and create less suffering to anyone I might have injured with a hateful or uncompassionate mind. If you can't find the psychological health that is necessary for an important life within your ryu-ha, group, dojo or school then you should think about finding professional mental help elsewhere. Fellow students and teachers that permit hateful speech, slander, abuse, lies, gossip are not true budō practitioners, teachers or masters. It is not about being perfect; it is about having a mind and will flexible enough to try.
Saneteru Radzikowski is the head sword instructor of Shinkan-ryū Kenpō. He lives and teaches Iaijutsu and Kenjutsu from Nara, Japan.