Since writing Guardian in the Night, I’ve been asked a number of times to explain the concept of Fudoshin. I learned the concept originally from my martial arts teacher, Master Daniel Cohen, who taught me much of its meaning.
Unpack Fudoshin and you find flavors of ‘immovable mind’, ‘immovable heart’, and ‘immovable spirit’.
Gandalf and the Balrog explain more.
2:33 minutes in to the video: “You cannot pass.”
When Erica and I learned of Ari’s life threatening heart condition at our 18 week ultrasound, we faced a decision. We chose to fight. Fight to the end. With the support of our family and friends, immovable mind we had; immovable spirit we prayed would come.
3:10: “YOU SHALL NOT PASS”
Ari’s Ross procedure. Out of our hands now. The doctors and nurses took over from here. Wielders of the flame of Aror, they stood at the bridge and stared down the Balrog.
If we’re lucky, many of us have to do this only once. Or at least only once in a while. Somehow the doctors and nurses do it every day. This takes a rare and special quality.
3:38: You give everything you have, and you think you got him. Your tank now completely empty, you turn to leave, but with great vengeance and furious anger, the Balrog counterstrikes.
Emergency mitral valve surgery needed, with no good options for a kid with seemingly no reserve left. And then, after surgery, Ari himself is the last line of defense. He had but one weapon left to wield.
We can only do so much. The doctors and nurses can only do so much. But that little guy?
4:17 forward: This is how I imagine Ari in his battle after his mitral valve surgery from Thursday June 21 to Saturday June 23.
With no one else left to fight the enemy, Ari takes up his sword.
Ari, of course, is not the only one who has done this. All these little warriors fighting for their lives. They have their families and their care givers, but at some point they all face their Balrog alone. They do so with a spirit most of can scarcely fathom.
As they fight, they teach. Master Cohen introduced me to meaning of Fudoshin.
Ari has filled in the rest.