Yamamoto Tsunemoto, author of the Hagakure, who never raised his sword in anger: "I have found that Bushido (the Way of the Warrior) is in death."
Miyamoto Musashi, author of the Go Rin no Sho, who'd actually put his life on the line in combat: "Generally speaking, when people contemplate the heart of warrior (bushi) thought, they consider it no better than as a way in which being a warrior is simply in dying. But the way of dying is not limited to warriors alone. For even monks, women, farmers, and the classes below them, there is no distinction in their having a sense of duty, in knowing shame, and in being resolved in their own deaths. What is most basic in the Way of practicing the martial arts is overcoming your opponent in each and any event, whether in victory over a single opponent in a duel, or in victory in a fight with a number of men."
I always thought that the point of "the way of the warrior is found in death" stuff was so that you accepted that you were dead, got past your fear of death and so could get on with life more effectively.
In the heat of the moment you can't worry about survival if you already think of yourself as dead, so you have one less thing to distract you from doing what you need to do to stay alive.
The other point of learning how to die is to learn how to act with dignity even under the most demanding of circumstances, to learn not to telegraph what's going on in your head to an opponent.
Imagine the psychological impact of fighting someone that shows no pain or fear and contrast it with the psychological impact of fighting someone who is clearly afraid and does show pain when you wound them. If you've ever been told off for groaning or pulling a face when sankyo is slammed on, you know what I'm talking about.
Despite searching in vain, there is a quote somewhere that it's the man that throws his life away that survives while the man eager to save his life usually get's killed for just this reason. If I find the quote I'll post it.
Learning to die is not just learning to go and get killed, it's learning how to be in control of yourself in life threatening situations so that you're more likely to be successful.