I have a long term problem in the practice of my iaijutsu, specifically when I am asked to attack. I always aim to the side, never directly at the target.
This is something that I have done for years. Why, you might ask? It is a legitimate question. I carry with me a very old reluctance to risk hurting someone, an aversion acquired many years ago but still as fresh in my mind as it was the day it happened.
And so I aim beside the target, not at the target.
This creates issues for my sensei on two levels. On the first level, of course, it is very difficult to demonstrate a technique when your attacker is never cooperating in the attack. The second - the one that just entered my awareness tonight - was a frustration with me, or rather a frustration with the fact that I have studied for almost 7 years and still am reluctant to strike.
"Commit" he said tonight as I once again moved my attack to the right. All of a sudden, that word became one of the profoundest things I had heard in years.
Commit. Drive out all doubt. Drive out all extraneous things. Drive out the hesitation and reluctance. Commit. Strike. Cut with authority.
Understand the profoundness of this moment. Not just in iai. In life. Choose - we cannot all do everything. And then when you have chosen, act with authority. Remove doubt from your mind. Strike every time as if you mean to win.
I am not sure that I know what enlightenment feels like. But tonight I received a very dim taste of it.