No Thought, No Concept Strike

When you think that both you and your opponent are ready to strike, your body becomes a striking body, your mind becomes a striking mind and your hand instantaneously strikes with strength emerging from nothingness and leaving no wake. This is the most important strike, that of No Thought-No Concept.

Book of 5 Rings

Someone once told me a long time ago, to avoid fighting in any way you can. But if there is no other way out, and you are absolutely sure it’s going to come to blows, make sure you hit the other guy first. That was the first thing I thought about when I read this quote. Some street brawler or fan of street fights somewhere probably has a percentage in his head of how many times the guy striking first wins. It’s got to be through the roof.

Like all Miyamoto Musashi’s theories, this applies to much more than fighting. This is about opportunities. And going at them with focus, and drive, and a thoughtless mind. You already know what you want, keep the rest of your mind out of it. Then put everything you have into your effort to obtain whatever that thing is.

If an opportunity is in front of you, are you going to take a half-assed swing at it? Think that is going to get you what you want? If there is an obstacle in front of your goal, do you just lay down? Give up? A goal that you gave up on isn’t a goal at all. If you really want something, you have to put your entire body and soul into it.

You already know what you want, so keep the rest of your mind out of it. And go after it with everything you have.

‘Leave no wake’ is my favorite part of this quote. It’s the kind of thing that should be hanging in football locker rooms. Whereas one might view a wake as a ‘lasting impression,’ Musashi views it differently. No wake, because the strike comes from nothingness from some instinctual reaction of a starving man when he sees a wild boar. You are so pointed, and so focused, and make such a leap to get what you want, what you absolutely have to have, that there is nothing left behind you. You brought it all with you. Even the wake.

If you don’t pounce on the wild boar, another hungry person will. And if you don’t leap right away, you’re not hungry enough. There are a slew of hungry people out there. And a hungrier person will beat you to it.

When you have an opportunity in your sights…anything in this world that you really, really want…to the point of need, go get it. No thought. No concept. Just strike.