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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 11:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 270 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 817,841

In General An Extension of Self (Monday, Jan. 10, 2005) Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #161 New 01-12-2005 02:37 AM
"Perhaps women were once so dangerous that they had to have their feet bound." --- Maxine Hong Kingston, "The Woman Warrior"

I don't know what it is, but it seems that no matter how miserable I get (and I've been feeling mighty miserable lately), so long as you put a sword in my hands, all's right with the world. I've been walking around like a wraith --- like I'm empty, like I'm lost. It feels like everything that seemed so simple about living just takes so much effort. But the only place I come alive is on the mats. It's like the only thing that feels real.

I find myself not only extending more with my swordwork, but blending more with my opponent's strikes. Not so much of the clashing blades, the meeting force with force. But then, I have had to blend so much in life lately that sometimes it feels as though I've forgotten that there is even a force here to begin with. Is the substance of me fading away? If so, what will take its place?

They say that a samurai's sword is his soul. Well, perhaps that's quite a propos. My own bokken is split and battered, just like me. But then, (as it was red oak) it was never made of very strong stuff to begin with. Just like me. I've since replaced it with a thicker, seemingly-stronger one of hickory. If only I could replace my soul as easily. Start over, you know. But then, someone once told me that we become strongest in the broken places; the places that heal over. Perhaps, however --- as I said to him in return --- we become so strong in those places that we are then even weaker in others; those places we neglect to strengthen because we are so preoccupied with healing the broken bits. Even the new bokken, hickory though it may be, is very much like the one before: with it's thick, crosswise grain, it is bound to break in the same way that the old one did. Even a new soul would be flawed at its root.

It is time to accept my flaws and use my knowledge of them to strengthen myself. If I could forge my soul like a sword, it could never be of pure steel, for I am far from that. Besides, a blade of purest steel would be extremely brittle. No, perhaps it would have to be something like a Damascus blade --- forged from a combination of hard and soft steel that has been tirelessly hammered and beaten over and over again until it has become sharp and hard, yet flexible. Interestingly enough, it is the impurities within that make it both strong and beautiful.
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