My second tattoo. It is the one I agonized over the longest, spent the most time researching because I wanted to get it right. The one I look at every day – not on my body but on my wall, and one I’ve maybe forgotten I have on my body, and maybe why I forgot I got placed ON my body.
I commissioned a Japanese calligrapher to do a custom artistic (less traditional) version for me that I could then also have transferred to tattoo paper and then inked on my body. I found an artist that I liked and set up the appointment. I was 28, maybe 29 at the time? I remember the night, the smell of the tattoo shop, and that I passed out. I remember being proud of myself and I remember loving it so much that I looked at the tattoo every night for almost a year after that. Perhaps I should get back into that practice. Loving to look at it.
We’ll break down the phrase. Together, it simply means, A true is a victory over one’s self
Masakatsu is a victory of a true origination; that is, the law of universal creative evolution which transcends the boundaries of prejudice and discrimination and abandons the consciousness of the ego. Meaning you’ve been able to forgo the idea which is to win in a physical sense, it’s not an earthly victory, but a spiritual one. You don’t best in a battle of the body. Arm wrestling, boxing, etc.
Agatsu means to have victory over one’s self. An understanding of Masakatsu as a preface and foundation is necessary for explaining Agatsu. The bandit in the mountain is easy to defeat, but the bandit within your own heart is difficult to conquer, it is said. For the person who looks at their true self within themselves, their most fearful opponent is no one other than themselves.
Stay with me, I know that was a lot of overly ethereal and pretentious sounding froo–froo garbage… BUT as a practice, the phrase comes from the idea of defeating your own inner demons you have to get a little froo–froo.
When I stop to think how long I’ve been fighting the demons I’m currently fighting, it’s been a while. Which makes me a little proud that I’ve continued to fight, but a little pissed that I still feel as fucked up as I do. However, as I think about growth, I realize that it’s not so much about not feeling fucked up as it is about just continuing to fight.
I’m never going to not feel fucked up. There’s no amount of therapy that’s going to reverse the things that have happened to me in life. There’s no Mister Clean Eraser for life’s really awful experiences. All we have is our determination to not let it consume us.