Re: Fight or Quit: there is no choice
It's been awhile, eh? I think it all comes down to understanding the difference between quitting, or something that usually goes along with quitting... "dogging it" or not attempting to do your best at all times and the need for change. There is a legitimate time for change, sometimes a complete reversal of what you just did or said, for example. New info, knowledge gained from what just happened that changes the situation so drastically that you decide to change without even a nuance of quitting involved. Sometimes only the person that makes the decision knows whether they're really quitting or instead, stopping, changing tactics, reversing a decision that was made based on necessity.
That "do-or-die" composure and determination that you mention is part of good budo. It's also part of just about anything that one takes seriously whether it's music, ballet, business, etc. Nishioka Tsuneo Sensei, Menkyo Kaiden of the Shinto Muso Ryu told me that at all times in the dojo we should be in a mindset of "life and death" situation. Whether we're going slow and easy or hard and fast, it makes no difference. It's an attitude of awareness and intent. Each breath we take is one less and we shouldn't waste them on purpose. Qualities of spirit in our training that we strive for are: Kokoro no mizu, a spirit of water and Kokoro no sutemi, a spirit of being willing to risk and sacrifice. Having strong kiai that is filled with our intent to do our best is part of the mix. Quitting is not an option. Deciding to stop practicing budo is an option, quitting is not... Many people can't tell the difference.
Of course there's lots more that can be said about this sort of thing but talk isn't the thing. Experiencing the real stuff from people that have it over a substantial period of time is the thing.
By the way, Give Meik and/or Ellis a whack for me the next time you see them.