“Death Amidst Life”

01 Jun 2015

Myomoto Musashi, the author of “Book of the Five Rings” and one of the greatest samurai in history once wrote, “The way, is to find death amidst life,” and “consider lightly of yourself, consider deeply of the world.” What does this mean and what signifigance does it have for you and I?

First, one should know that “Book of the Five Rings” is known as an iconic piece that is widely used in today’s world of business, military, and personal guideline. It’s insightful teachings are to be read, considered, and re-read as a reminder of many things including a personal code of ethic.

So what DO those particular quotes mean? Truth is that the answer will be different for each individual. But being profoundly simple, they give us an insight on a way of life. “Death amidst life” to me is a spiritual quote telling me to reprioritize and realize what is important. It’s so easy to get caught up in today’s materialistic/capitalistic world and to be truly free we need kill those things. We cannot take them with us when we return to our makers, they are worldly and thus only temporary. In a similar way, Bruce Lee wrote in the Tao of Jeet Kune Do “I accept my death, therefore I am liberated from it.” That’s what Musashi meant I feel, to liberate yourself from the confines of the daily grind, and realize what is important. Family, Friendships, Health, and some greater cause.

All this somehow ties into the second quote, “Consider lightly of yourself, consider deeply of the world.” There are greater things than us. We as a society, as a community, and as individuals need to stand for something more than us. To help someone in need, to befriend a stranger, to again liberate ourselves from ur own worst enemy….us. In an infinte universe, we are but specs of dust, yet we can make changes like ripples across the pond.

So why am I writing about this? Not really martial arts/fitness oriented is it? I am writing about this because these are both lessons I have learned thru the martial arts. A code, a standard to strive to live by. I see many people who come into our facility for a simple workout, and over time I witness them change/evolve/grow. They’ve come for many reasons and with many unidentified needs.Financial issues, marital issues, stress, unhealthy lifestyles, inner demons are just a few.Then they find a way to reprioritize and liberate themselves, and so we all grow together. In our own ways.

Earlier this morning I was contacted via phone by someone who carried heavy burdens in their life. They’ve felt the weight of the world but had no place to turn. In our own way we worked thru them, and this person has truly changed their life for the better. It took time, all good things do…but I am very proud to see what they’ve accomplished. This person thanked me, and laughed about how they walked in just wanting a place to relieve some stress, and walked out as a better human being. They found “death amidst life.”

“Be the change you want to see.”-Mahatma Ghandi

What is the change that you want to see….and why are you waiting?

Sifu Nik



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