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Kevin J Bourgault
6th December 2000, 16:57
Dear Sensei,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge with everyone. It is good to see you embrace the information age and reach those of us that do not get to speak with as often as we would like.

As one of the few individuals on this site that has experienced combat, I find it difficult when training with others to feel the tension and danger that I have felt in war. (I think it comes from the fact that I know that my opponents are not going to kill me.) What I seek is the state of mind that I experienced while in combat, the sense of what I can only describe as infinite clarity.

My question is simple. Do you have any advice on how to cultivate that feeling?

Thank you for your time.

Fumio Manaka
7th December 2000, 16:37
In the old days, we often practiced in pitch darkness. This was effective in conditioning the sixth sense, since it is impossible to be sure of your opponent.

I have not had the experience of being in combat, so that state of Mushin (emptiness) and that tension is not something I know, but it is my belief that once you accumulate enough training to have confidence in yourself, that is enough to fight in real combat. Stories tell that the warriors of the Edo period [when Japan had lasting peace, c.1600-1867] cultivated the feeling of real combat by training in Zen.

Manaka Unsui