At the dojo today, we did a bit of sparring. Afterwards, the teacher told us about “The Book of Five Rings,” a fighting treatise that the great Samurai warrior, Miyamoto Musashi wrote in about 1645. Musashi was an extraordinary duelist, winning in part because of his skill, and in part because of his utterly fearless approach: he was willing to take fairly significant risks in any duel to the death. In his book, he identified all sorts of fighting attitudes, but the bottom line attitude was fight to win.
I’ve decided that my sparring attitude is “Ginger Rogers”: dance away backwards at great speed, with beautiful footwork. I justify this attitude on the ground that I’m at least a foot shorter, 40 pounds lighter, and 10 years older than all my opponents. I’m not cowardly, I’m sensible. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
If you’d like to read a well-written and extremely funny essay about fighting that would have made Musashi proud, check this out.