In the Japanese martial arts community, there is always an underlying desire to have some connection to the Samurai of feudal Japan. I am guilty of this as well, so don't get me wrong, but how much is too much? In the age we live in, koryu bujutsu (Japanese arts that pre-date 1868) are very accessible and there are even some that have passed down their iemoto to Westerners! So with what was once restricted within a specific clan now being available to anyone worldwide, why would we not try to become modern-day Samurai?
Like all warriors and soldiers in human history, in times of war the Samurai would rape, pillage and murder. The image we embody of the spiritually enlightened Zen warrior stems from the Tokugawa Shogunate/Edo Period, a peace that lasted approximately 250 years in Japan. While they continued to train as if they were off to war at any moment, the Samurai of the Edo Period had as much battlefield experience in full-scale war as a Liberal Arts student at your local community college does and could hardly be compared to their Sengoku Jidai (Warring States Period) counterparts. Without a war to fight, they were forced to take up other occupations such as literature, art and philosophy. It can even be argued that Bushido, the seven virtues of the warrior that we have come to idolize, wasn't codified until the peace period.
It is merely because of our reverence and awe for all things Asian that we want to emulate the Samurai. No one walks around wanting to be a Knight of the Round Table. No one talks about being a Legionnaire. So please just stop. By pretending to be Samurai, you are actually disrespecting those you supposedly hold in such high esteem. You are mocking them, bastardizing their way of life for your own personal image of what you think a Samurai was when ultimately, you are LARPing.
I must clarify that there is nothing wrong with LARPing, as long as you understand that's what you're doing. Personally, in my spare time (haha) I'm a Civil War reenactor. We all have our hobbies, and it's nice to escape reality for a weekend and live in times past. But come Monday morning, we're all back in our real jobs with our real families and our real lives.
That's not to say it's wrong to want to study koryu for their historical value. Koryu are beautiful, historical treasures that still hold tremendous practicality. I love all Japanese martial arts, both koryu and gendai (modern), and have made it a point to learn as much as I can about them. But I am not interested in becoming Samurai, because there is a lot more to it than training in the dojo and sipping tea. We all focus on the study of Budo and forget what it means to devote your life to combat.
If you want to study koryu, buy the armor and clothing so that you can reenact Samurai culture in order to educate the public as a living historian, then I applaud you. History should be carried on, but don't try to pass off the image of the Samurai to promote your martial arts school. You are simply trying to capitalize on the blood of some of the most elite warriors the world has ever known, while simultaneously trying to boost your self image as if you deserve to stand among them. Those who hold Sokeship of legitimate koryu systems have no business claiming to be Samurai, let alone someone who teaches a modern system. You are not "honoring the old ways" by wearing the clothes and speaking in broken Japanese. You are misleading your students, making a mockery of the Samurai and misrepresenting yourself, something very un-Bushido-like, wouldn't you say?