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moon in the water Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-26-2010 11:46 PM
the water does not try
to reflect the moon
and the moon has no desire
to be reflected
but when the clouds clear
there is the moon in the water
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 155
Comments: 1,111
Views: 1,550,486


In Spiritual budo and bonsai Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #122 New 06-15-2012 12:35 PM
budo and bonsai
bonsai by Hugo Sousa

Inspiration is the bonsai's trump card. But it's a person who makes it that way, you know. Look over there, at the black pine. Now that's inspiration. See there? An old tree gives us a lesson in life. Strange, isn't it? The tree may look withered, but it's living just the same. A tree can withstand the passage of time. Humans are the only ones who are at their most beautiful when they're young. But a tree, no matter how many years go by, you train it and train it, and though the tree itself would naturally resist, gradually it bends to your will. And when it does? Why then it's as if life has sprung forth anew, isn't it? Inspiration resides at that point when you begin to feel the miraculous.
Natsuo Kirino, Grotesque

All that I love
I fold over once
And once again
And keep in a box
Or a slit in a hollow post
Or in my shoe

Edith L Tiempo, Bonsai

The bonsai tree
in the attractive pot
could have grown eighty feet tall
on the side of a mountain
till split by lightning
But a gardener
carefully pruned it
It is nine inches high.

Marge Piercy, The Bonsai Tree

japanese idea
like these bloody haiku
but more expensive

David Gibbs, Bonsai

pruning my bonsai
which to keep, which to lop...
(sigh) can't decide

Dave Burke, Bonsai & Haiku

If you have a problem, Cut it off. If you still have a problem, you have a problem.

John Yoshio Naka, bonsai cultivator

I often walk past a house with a row of bonsai trees displayed outside. I don't know much about bonsai. I used to feel a little like Marge Piercy perhaps in her poem The Bonsai Tree. That the end result - a bonsai tree - was sometimes beautiful. Even poignant. But that the aesthetic purity had been achieved by artificially constricting and deforming nature.

But budo - martial arts - might be a bonsai tree. You can even say train about causing a plant to grow in a certain way. Of course in budo you train your spirit as well as your body. Your body has to learn to move in ways that seem unnatural and awkward at first. I wrote about kata in Kata and Aikido. Kata based budo especially have a strong intrinsic rigour. Roughness and looseness and unnecessary movements are cut away. Pruned. And one day, one day, the movements will be simple and natural and pure. You will have caught the essence of the tree. Or the essence of the art. And the essence of your own heart.


articles and poems





Dave Burke, Bonsai & Haiku, Mid-America Bonsai Alliance


photo: bonsai by Hugo Sousa

my home page with a mirror of these blog posts plus other stuff: mooninthewater.net/aikido

my columns on aikiweb

niall matthews 2012
Views: 3750 | Comments: 9

RSS Feed 9 Responses to "budo and bonsai"
#9 06-20-2012 10:02 AM
niall Says:
Thanks for the kind words James! Niall
#8 06-16-2012 12:49 PM
James Sawers Says:
Thanks, I actually was thinking about English gardens when I posted. I was also thinking about dog breeders, who, apparently love dogs, but want to change them......to something. I always find your posts enjoyable and thought provoking. Thanks.....
#7 06-16-2012 12:22 PM
niall Says:
Hi Francis. Humans are an intrinsic part of nature. Artificially constricting and deforming nature is a sterile or even a dangerous direction but perhaps we can be catalysts. Very interesting points. Thank you. Niall
#6 06-16-2012 10:11 AM
niall Says:
James that's a very interesting direction. To take one example close to bonsai we can compare say Japanese gardens and zen gardens with French formal gardens and English natural gardens. It's true that Japanese people have a close relationship with nature. Thanks for the comment. Niall
#5 06-16-2012 02:09 AM
James Sawers Says:
.....Just a viewpoint as to how different cultures treat nature......your metaphor was intriguing, but my focus, unfortunately, went elsewhere....
#4 06-16-2012 01:19 AM
aikishihan Says:
Further, training is less of what we intend to commit to, as opposed to that which actually takes place as we engage in the process of shugyo and discovery. It is our talent, circumstance, and fortune itself that controls what we can only attempt to command. However we turn out, credit is preordinately due to the creative process established long before, and well beyond our ability to fully comprehend. It is here that humility has its natural voice.
#3 06-16-2012 01:03 AM
aikishihan Says:
Hi Niall. Disagree that man's input is one of "artificially constricting and deforming nature". For isn't mankind's actions also an integral part of the fabric of creation and destruction, not unlike erosion, wind, water and plate tectonics. Swordsmiths, artists, ceramicists, sculptors and builders of all ilk likewise change the nature of the materials they work with. Nay, we take undue credit where no credit may be duly taken. Aiki is inclusiive, not exclusive, allowing us to merely fit in.
#2 06-15-2012 11:22 PM
niall Says:
As opposed to a tree - which enters into training unwillingly? Of course the metaphor was for your own training - shugyo. It doesn't work so well as a model for modern teaching. Regards, Niall
#1 06-15-2012 02:05 PM
James Sawers Says:
Sure, but this "training" a person enters into is voluntary, no?

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