1. Today is a beautiful day to die
These were the words that were allegedly uttered by certain samurai every day when they woke up. Hearing this is strange for the modern person because as we progress in society we have created a war against death and tend to dislike the idea of death. That said, as a Combatives student, you must come to grips with “death” and accept that it could happen to any of us at any time. Certain samurai understood this and stated this in order to suggest a better attitude towards life that’s more rewarding, less full of fear and involves taking calculated risks. So we’re going to look at this quote and how it can impact us as martial artists looking for a more rewarding life. There are three important ways this attitude can help you which is teaching you to enjoy the current moment, take advantage of current situations and live your life with courage.
2. Enjoy the moment
The reality is that one thing ALL of us is certain of is we’re going to die one day. Also we have no idea when it could happen so it makes sense we should appreciate the moment. When you talk to the many people they live their life as if they have an infinite amount of them to waste. They waste time. complain on social media, spend their day at jobs they don’t like as if they can mess this life up and start again. Unless you know something I don’t know you might not be coming so enjoy this life you got. Also if you do come back it might be as a tree or a bus so it’s still advisable to take advantage of the specific situation you’re in now.
Furthermore, reminding yourself about how easy and soon you’ll pass on one day is a good reminder to make the most of your life today. As a Combatives student you’re aware that violence could strike at any time resulting in your life drastically changing or ending. When we tell ourselves today could be my last day it reminds us to not live off in projected possible futures. This involves telling ourselves that we’re not happy now but we’ll be happy later. Don’t put off enjoying life for tomorrow. Make changes in your life, get rid of crazy people, find a rewarding life and start enjoying.
3. Take advantage of current situations
Living out life in accordance with this message also reminds us to seize current opportunities in life NOW. By reflecting on our passing we realize things ALWAYS change. Nothing is guaranteed to stay the same and telling ourselves that we can wait to do whatever we want to do actually goes against the “nature” of life. That new job might not be there tomorrow, that girl you like could move, you might not get the chance to say you’re sorry to that person so take the action now. I remember seeing this girl wear a shirt that said “procrastinators unite tomorrow!” and that had me laughing hard in the back of math class as I causally didn’t pay attention. Despite it being so funny there’s truth to it as there’s nothing funny when your life passes you by.
Lastly, it teaches us to not fear death but to welcome it if it’s our time to fight for what we believe in. While the previous paragraphs are cool you’re not here to hear me pontificate on how to “zen out” your life. Fair enough, so for you martial arts psychos (like me) this paragraph is for you. When your moment of truth comes you have two choices which are to accept the reality of the situation and go forward and bring the fight to your assailants or succumb to your fear by submitting. For the samurai submitting was unacceptable so they needed to be willing to sacrifice themselves at any moment.
As a Guided Chaos instructor, I made my choice long ago and if unavoidable danger comes I ACCEPT today might be my day for what those Spartans call a “beautiful death”. I won’t hide from it, I won’t live a life in fear, I won’t leave my family to fend off the attack for themselves and I won’t hide from threats that risk my death. It’s better to die on the uncomfortable battlefield as a warrior than in the comfort of my own home as a coward.
5. What this means for you
All of this is to say to you that in order to live fully you must come to grips with the possibility of your passing. For me Guided Chaos is life and there’s no separating the two. Your attitude in martial arts reflects your attitude in life in a lot of cases. This is why the time you spend in the training room teaches you not just about fighting but EVERYTHING. So, then I ask you, is your life philosophy empowering you, leading you to live a life full of risk prepared to fight and possibly die for what you hold dear to you like the samurai? Or are you living a life held back by worry and ultimately the fear of death? Answer the questions and make decisions accordingly!