… is Peace.
If this topic makes you uncomfortable, then it is even more important that you heed its advice.
I began exploring this idea when I first started gaining a serious interest in the martial arts. I think I heard this quote from the Hagakure (“Book of the Samurai”) in the movie Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai:
“Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one’s body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one’s master. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead.”
I began this type of meditation and it proved to be an interesting exercise…. Here are 3 reasons why I think it is a beneficial practice:
1) It fosters an appreciation of life and a sense of perspective. Consider for a moment if you were about to die in just a few seconds. Whatever thoughts went through your head, I doubt they were the frivolous worries that people commonly engage in all throughout the day. Suddenly, the school midterm you have due tomorrow or car payments you have to make become meaningless. Maybe they meaningless and maybe they’re not. But EITHER WAY they are much less important in that moment than they usually were. And the fact that they CAN be less important in your mind, can be a powerful revelation in and of itself. The things you do feel are important when meditating on a an imminent death are what is TRULY IMPORTANT in life. Don’t be on your ACTUAL death bed before you realize this! Also, meditating on a painful death can remind you how blessed you are to be in the state of health that you are.
2) It prepares you death. Death is inevitable and nothing to be afraid of. Check out religion if you don’t believe me :). Coping with your fear of death before you face it will allow you to be more accepting of it when the time comes.
3) It makes you a badass warrior. Maybe some people don’t care about this point, but if you are a martial artist it is important. You can never fight with your truest spirit if you go into battle with a fear of pain or death. And if you don’t fight with you utmost spirit not only will you be cut down, but you will be cut down knowing that you held back, that you did not use all the resources you could have to achieve victory.
May God have mercy on the souls of those no longer with us on this earth…
Have fun with this one guys, and if you’re hesitant to try this remember: it’s all in your head.
First off, I’d like to define what I consider a martial art. I mean no offense to boxers, MMA fighters, or wrestlers, but THESE ARE NOT MARTIAL ARTS, they are combat sports. The way you can easily tell if a style is a martial art or a combat sport is to ask yourself, are there any targets or bodily weapons that are off limit for me to use? If the answer is yes, then it is not a martial art.
The point of a martial art is NOT to beat the crap out of an opponent. That is MALICIOUS AND A WASTE OF ENERGY. The point is to incapacitate the opponent so that he is unable or (preferably) UNWILLING to continue fighting. They say that a great martial artist can defeat an enemy before the battle has begun, just by his quality of his spirit. Sometimes you just get the feeling you shouldn’t mess with someone. Once you have developed a quality of spirit that says “DON’T MESS WITH ME” you will probably never end up in a physical altercation.
But the thing is, once you have really developed this spirit deep inside (not just a macho facade of it) then you will feel no need to fight anyone because you already know you will win. One of the main reasons people (especially men) like to get in fights is so that they can prove (mostly to themselves) that they will win; that they are tough, badass, strong, powerful, etc. If you have developed this deep warrior spirit, then you already know that you are all of these things, or at least have the ability to be these things if you choose to.
In addition, you come to realize that true fighting is not glorious or beautiful like it is in a movie. It’s not a dance with people trading punching, dodging and blocking. As much as we’d like it to be IT’S NOT A KUNG FU MOVIE. It is a clash of spirits that is elemental and primal, and it often ends as soon as it starts. A real martial artist knows how to generate full body power into one point (middle knuckle, finger tips, elbow point, different parts of the foot, etc) and has developed precision with that strike. One decently powerful blow to the jaw, temple, solar plexus, floating rib, groin, eyes, and even many pressure points in the arms and legs, should be enough to stop the assault of all but the most battle-hardened and determined attackers. And for someone who has trained EARNESTLY for many years in an authentic martial art, this is a relatively simple task.
Basically, PEOPLE FIGHT OUT OF FEAR, and one of THE GREATEST CAUSES FOR FEAR IS UNCERTAINTY. When someone is uncertain of their safety, their strength, their quality of life, or THEIR FIGHTING ABILITY, and they do not want to surrender, then they will feel compelled to FIGHT. Often this is does not mean physical fighting in this day and age, but the underlying principle is the same. The martial artist, through years of training, thinking, and developing spirit, is no longer uncertain. He or she knows what they are capable of, and this CONFIDENCE keeps them from acting out of fear.
Do not let fear motivate you and dominate your life. As I’ve talked about in an earlier post, most FEAR IS BASED ON LIES that Satan whispers into your brain hoping that you believe them to be truths.
If you practice martial arts, do not try to be cool, do not try to be strong or fast or skillful in techniques. TRAIN AS IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT, and you shall unlock that true warrior spirit.