Drop Tower Shugendō: a memento mori ritual

I suspect that, had the technology been available, the Shugenja of ancient Japan might well have devised an experience akin to the drop tower towards training themselves to die with grace.

As a rider, you have a choice, in the liminal moments before the drop. The drop itself, of course, is happening whether you want it or not. Your choice is with regards to how you anticipate and then experience the drop.

Most people gasp, tense their muscles and scream all the way down. Their drop is terrifying, or at least a decent simulation of terror. They climb off the ride shaken and shaking, laughing at themselves, relieved to have survived.

Some – not many, I think – take a deep breath in those moments before, and may think to themselves, “this is how I’m going to die”. Then they relax and their zero-gravity drop is experienced as a gentle float. They climb off the ride in a state of eutonic euphoria.

Choose …

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