Yagyu Tajima no Kami was a great swordsman and a teacher in the art to Tokugawa Iemitsu, the Shogun during that time. One day, a personal guard of Iemitsu’s visited Yagyu Sensei seeking instruction in the art of swordsmanship.

Master Yagyu said: “As I observe, you seem to already be a master of swordsmanship; pray tell me to which school you belong, before we enter into a relationship as teacher and student.”

The guardsman said, “I am ashamed to say that I have never really learned the art of swordsmanship.”

Master Yagyu replied by saying “Are you trying to trick me? I am teacher to the honorable Shogun himself, and I know that my judging eyes never fail me. I can see that you already are a master”

“I am sorry to defy your honor, but I really know nothing” replied the guardsman.

This resolute denial on the part of the visitor made the old swordsman think for a while, and then he finally said, “If you say so, then it must be so; but still I am sure that you are a master of something, though I know not what.”

“If you insist, I will tell you this. There is one thing of which I can say that I am a complete master. When I was a boy, it appeared to me that as a Samurai I should never be afraid of death regardless of the circumstances. I had grappled with this obstacle for some years but finally overcame it. Death ceases to worry me and perhaps this is what you sense.”

“Exactly!” exclaimed Yagyu sensei. “That is what I mean. I am glad that I made no error in my judgment. For the ultimate secrets of swordsmanship also lie in being released the preoccupation of death. I have trained ever so many hundreds of my disciples along this line, but so far none of them really deserve the final certificate for swordsmanship. You need no technical training, you are already a master.”


Courage is not the absence of fear but rather doing what needs to be done in spite of fear.

may you be the master of your day