shiwasuIn Japan the month of December is referred to as Shiwasu (師走) which means priests run.  Shiwasu is supposed to be the busiest time of the year for priests because they have a lot of year end events that they have to officiate for people who are hoping for good luck in the coming year by not bringing the bad luck from the previous year. December is a busy month for the dojo as well.  There is so much stuff going on that training tends to fall by the wayside.  Presumably, the mentality is, "Oh, I will get serious in January when everything dies down."  This is the worst type of mindset especially for a martial artist.

A good marital artist knows that they sometimes only get one chance and must seize the moment.  Here is story that illustrates that.  A while ago Sensei went to look at this sword to buy from a private collector.  He liked it but was on the fence about purchasing it.  The price was a bit high he thought and he wondered how it would fit into his collection.  He decided not to buy it.  That night he was still waffling and pining over the sword and decided to go back the next day and purchase it.  When he arrived and asked if he could purchase it, the seller told him, "No."  Shocked Sensei asked why and the seller told him this, "As a martial artist you should know that you only get one opportunity."  Dejected Sensei left and learned a good lesson.

The sellers rationale was correct and Sensei himself agreed.  We think that we have so much time left and that we can be choosy but life is not like that.  None of us knows the date when this will all be over and thus shouldn't waste any opportunities.  A martial artist does things when they have to be done and how they need to be done.  We all hope that the dojo will be there and that we will be there next year too, but there is no guarantee of that.  If there is no guarantee we must seize the opportunity when it presents itself.  Please make room in your busy schedules to maintain a regular practice.