Remembrance Day seems a time for reflection and thought. A time for meditation. Unfortunately meditations are seldom a part of daily life. This was not always so. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote a series of thought exercises, titled in fact, Meditations. Indeed, insofar as I can tell from what I’ve read, meditation has been a part of European tradition for at least couple thousand years.
In my view, meditation is an important part of martial arts. The flip side to the physical aspect of any martial tradition is mental discipline. Any martial art you care to name has this idea built in to its very core. We see this most commonly in the Asian arts, probably because they have a much stronger living tradition. As an aside, I may at some point have to take some Olympic style fencing in order to properly sample the living tradition of Western Martial Arts. The knightly arts were replete with mental training and meditation as well. In fact in order to become a knight it was required that on spend a full night in meditation. Mind you, they called it prayer, but you get the idea.
Meditation is also something that I try to practice on a daily basis. I meditate with baking. I meditate when I practice swordplay. I meditate when I write. What I would wish for is meditation to be taught universally. Remembrance Day (which, okay, was yesterday) is an excellent time to start. There are many ways you can meditate on this day. Simply spend a few moments in thought. It doesn’t even require agreement or support of the modern military. Perhaps you can remember a loved one who served. I guarantee we all have military ancestry. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, spend some time imagining yourself in combat. Both common ideas that shouldn’t be much of a stretch. Here’s another idea, possibly more unique. Imagine a situation that would compel you to fight. What would be the point at which you would agree to kill and possibly be killed by complete strangers? Is there a cause or crusade that you would follow? In order for the meditation to be successful detail is required. Vague causes such as a threat to your freedom simply will not do. Consider, if you will, the exact moment that would cause you to stand and fight. Maybe become closer to soldiers who fought and died in the past by understanding their decision to do so.