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Old 01-06-2006, 09:35 AM   #12
Robert Rumpf
Dojo: Academy of Zen and the Ways
Location: Kailua, HI
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 164
Re: Fight or Quit: there is no choice

Don't quit and don't die.
I don't understand this point of view intellectually and I think it is unhelpful, but it sounds good and gives a nice warm and fuzzy feeling emotionally. Let me be cynical and dispute it.

The one thing everyone and everything does is die, and dying of course means that you quit everything, except for being dead. So, by vesting yourself in this statement, you are setting yourself up for failure in the long term, if not the short term.

Its like every time I see someone in Aikido class trying as hard as they can to get a certain technique to work. They WILL succeed at doing ikkyo, regardless of what sense it makes in the encounter, or whatever other options present themselves. That "I'll do it or die trying" attitude is unnecessary and probably unhelpful for their training, but often endearing because we see the echo of that futility in ourselves.

If I'm trying as hard as I can to do ikkyo (and refuse to quit), than how can I easily switch to kotegaeshi when it will actually work? If I'm trying as hard as I possibly can to fight off my attacker (and refuse to quit), than how can I switch to running away and calling the police? I should be trying to do things as hard as I think I need to in order to succeed, and quitting exactly when I reach that point. I think the trick in life is to know when to quit whatever you are doing, being it an encounter, a technique, or life itself.

They say to be the water, not the rock, and I think that's what they are talking about. Water doesn't try to do things, it just flows. As Yoda would advise..

If you expect perfection from yourself or others for more than an instant, you will be disappointed. That's what makes life beautiful - the moments of perfection in between death. The most I think that I at least can hope for is to create more of those moments of perfection, to learn to observe them in others, and do both more closely spaced together in time.

I suppose what I eventually need to realize is that all moments are perfect, but I haven't gotten there yet.

Enough philosophizing - what I am trying to say is that being attached to any idea and refusing to abandon it is dangerous. Quitting is very, very important.

Or maybe its just January, and I could use some more sunshine.
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