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Orange Sky by halfrain used under creative commons licence
The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.
Joseph Conrad, The Mirror of the Sea
timeless wind of the sea
sea wind of the night
Rainer Maria Rilke, Song of the Sea
deep quiet rules the waters
Johann Wofgang von Goethe, Meeresstille
Remembering legends of undersea, drowned cities.
What voyagers, oh what heroes, flamed like pyres
With helmets plumed have set forth from some island
And them the seas engulfed. Their eyes
Distorted to the cruel waves desires,
Glitter with coins through the tide scarcely scanned,
While, far above, that harp assumes their sighs.
Stephen Spender, Seascape
In heaven the only thing they talk about is the sea.
Martin, Knockin' on Heaven's Door
This week there is a national holiday in Japan. Sea Day. It is nice to get away to the sea but Tokyo is a port and you can go to the sea even in Tokyo. Japan is an island nation so as for all island nations the sea has a special importance. By the way in French the sea is la mer and mother is la mère. The words sound the same and mer is part of mère so the sea is contained within mother. In Japanese the character for sea is 海 kai or umi. The lower right part is mother 母 bo or haha so mother is contained within sea. Perhaps this is all coincidence but anyway the sea is closely linked to the idea of fertility. Many people live from the sea. And the sea gives us fish and different kinds of seaweed and many other things. Since the Tohoku earthquake and the tsunami on 11 March 2011 some sea products like wakame seaweed have been scarce in Japan.
Perhaps there are no very direct links between the sea and martial arts. But some karate stances apparently developed from ways of standing and moving on fishing boats.
And some aikido throwing techniques can be done with idea of a wave reaching its highest point - the highest point of breaking the balance - and then reversing in the opposite direction.
Or in nikyo and sankyo katame waza the final immobilization techniques on your partner's arm should also be done like a wave. You control the arm slowly and smoothly and without any hesitation. Keep your arms closed and turn your waist until uke signals maitta by tapping. Then return smoothly as you breathe like the wave receding. This way of doing the katame stretches the joints healthily and positively.
When I was a boy and we went to the sea my father who was a very strong swimmer would swim powerfully off to the horizon and disappear. He returned perhaps hours later after swimming for miles. Years later I remember running along the beach at a summer camp. And doing mae ukemi forward rolls in the surf and under the surface.
Many writers have been fascinated by the sea and have written powerfully about it. Some writers even went to sea. Herman Melville, James Fenimore Cooper, Jack London and Joseph Conrad were all seamen. Joseph Conrad was Polish. His second language was French and he didn't even speak English until he was in his twenties. But he wrote some of the greatest novels in English and he wrote some wonderful stories about the sea.
My first aikido teacher Kinjo Asoh Sensei spoke perfect English and excellent German and often read books in the original English and German. His favourite authors were Joseph Conrad, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Rainer Maria Rilke. At funerals in Japan sometimes people leave letters or things that were important to the dead person in the coffin to be burned together with the body. When Asoh Sensei died I left a book by Joseph Conrad for him in his coffin. So he had something to read on his journey.
there are other free e-books by Conrad on project gutenberg and some translations of Goethe into English and several works by Goethe and Rilke in German http://www.gutenberg.org/
auf Deutsch Uraltes Wehn vom Meer,
Meerwind bei Nacht
Rainer Maria Rilke, Lied vom Meer
Tiefe Stille herrscht im Wasser
Johann Wofgang von Goethe
Im Himmel, da reden die über nichts anderes, als über das Meer. Und darüber, wie wunder-wunderschön es ist. Sie reden über den Sonnenuntergang, den sie gesehen haben, sie reden darüber, wie die Sonne blutrot wurde, bevor sie ins Meer eintauchte und sie reden darüber, wie sie spüren konnten, wie die Sonne ihre Kraft verlor und die Kühle vom Meer heraufzog und das Feuer nur noch in ihrem Innern glühte. Und du? Du kannst nicht mitreden.
Martin, Knockin' on Heaven's Door