Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the
world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to
over 16,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a
wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history,
humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.
If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced
features available, you will need to register first. Registration is
absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!
As the Ruler passed into the mist that arose about his bridge the Master of Anywhere turned, and looking at the Road that lay before her with newly awakened understanding, began the long journey back to Anywhere. And so it came to pass, after many days of travel, that she decided to stop for a time in Someplaceelse, a town very much larger than Anywhere nestled in a wide valley between the Northern and Southern Ranges.
One day, while exploring the manufacturing district of Somewhereelse, she happened upon the shop of Wood Worker. Having used many implements of wood in her daily life and taken them pretty much for granted, she decided to see how it was that they came to be manufactured and learn what manner of person would devote his life to learning and mastering the craft of working with wood. Upon entering she was immediately assailed by the odor of freshly cut wood that permeated the shops interior. The smell was rich, wholesome in a way that spoke of living things, an earthy aroma. Work stations were individually lit with warm yellow glow globes rendering the larger space in varying degrees of blended light and shadow.
The Master of Anywhere stood in the doorway letting her eyes adjust to the relative dimness of the shop when Wood Worker ambled over to her, greeting her with warm words and a kind smile, "Good day Madame, how may I be of service?"
"Good day to you Wood Worker. I am the Master of Anywhere and I am traveling the Road towards home having come from answering a Summons to Appear from the Ruler. I have stopped in your fine town and wish to spend some time with you in your shop learning a bit about the Way of Working Wood."
"Your fame precedes you Master of Anywhere." he said, "Not long ago a traveler passed through here, a Martial Artist of no minor repute, who told of a Master of Anywhere, his teacher for many years it seems, who could perform the most amazing feats of martial skill. He related her mastery of internal strength and martial prowess with stories that bordered on the unbelievable. Yet he spoke with such conviction and open honesty that none who heard him could accept them as any less than the absolute truth. And now here in my humble wood shop stands the esteemed master of whom he spoke wanting to learn about the Way of Working Wood. I am honored Master of Anywhere and say thusly that you may come to my shop whenever and for as long as you wish. Perhaps, with time, you will find what you seek. I will be glad to help in any way."
That is how the Master of Anywhere began her stay in Someplaceelse.
Now Wood Worker had in his employ several apprentices of varying degrees of expertise and experience. They each worked on tasks assigned to them by Wood Worker and as time passed and she carefully watched, the Master of Anywhere began to perceive the form of the Way of Working Wood. She saw that the cutting, shaping, fitting and finishing of wood required techniques; and the techniques, once taught, had to be practiced over and over in order to be mastered. Once mastered, the same techniques could be applied to any number of different projects, the finished works of which scarcely resembling each other. Each apprentice, when first learning a technique would endeavor to ape Wood Worker's movements in an effort to duplicate his result. As they became more accustomed to the technique, the Master of Anywhere noticed that they began to vary their movements in ways that were more attuned their individual selves. And so the form each technique, while yielding results seemingly very similar, varied in ways both subtle and beautiful to behold. In this way each apprentice explored the Way of Working Wood on an individual path, different from all the rest, while all were guided by Wood Worker. The Master of Anywhere began to realize that indeed, just as the Ruler had shown her, there were Ways of Training applicable to almost any activity. And practitioners of any Art or Craft will necessarily perform at different levels of acquired skill.
It might surprise some that the Master of Anywhere was so long in coming to this realization. Understand though that in Anywhere there is but one Baker, one Potter, one Smith; indeed, in the little town of Anywhere each House specializes in something that contributes to the well being of all. But in Someplaceelse there were many Bakers, Potters and Smiths. Other Wood Workers there were too and as she visited their shops she saw that there were many paths traveled by the people exploring the Way of Working Wood. Each Master would tailor his or her Way based on a myriad of factors such that the Art of Wood Working contained within it many individual styles of comparative worth. An Apprentice would gravitate to a Master whose style best suited the goals of the Apprentice.
The Master of Anywhere saw that the Training undertaken by one in the Way of Working Wood was, in reality, no different from her own Training in the Way of Martial Arts. And although none whom she met could match her internal strength or martial abilities, she was equally overmatched within their own specializations.
Finally the day arrived for the Master of Anywhere to depart Someplaceelse to continue her journey home. She sat one last time with Wood Worker and said, "Wood Worker, I have learned much at your side. Where once I looked at my Way of Martial Arts as the one and only Way, I now deem that this is not so; there are many Ways in the Wide World. Where once I saw just a Baker or Potter or Smith I now see a skilled artisan the worth of whom cannot be measured in power. Indeed, every Way is accompanied by methods of Training that lead practitioners along different paths and so the Way is thereby enriched by the diversity. When next I meet another Martial Artist I will look upon him with new eyes; eyes attuned to the form of his Way that I may see the worth of it. For this I have you to thank."
A small smile played across the lips of Wood Worker. "Safe home Master of Anywhere." And with that he turned his back upon the Master of Anywhere and slowly ambled away into the dusky gloom of his shop.