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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: 1,710,660


In General silent running Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #86 New 10-14-2011 09:37 AM
silent running
Silent running by Hans Pama used under creative commons licence

There are three reasons I failed. Not enough training. Not enough training. And not enough training.
Haruki Murakami

We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.
Emil Zátopek, Czech long-distance runner

I train for good luck.
Arturo Barrios, Mexican long-distance runner

Even activities that appear fruitless don't necessarily end up so.
Haruki Murakami

"I find," he said, "that one needs some one really pure single activity."
D H Lawrence, Women in Love

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a short book by the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. It is a real pleasure to read. I mentioned him in passing in my column Indigo Blue about the colour blue in Japanese culture. The title is an hommage to a book of short stories by Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Murakami's book is not a novel or a short story. It's a kind of notebook of his thoughts about running and writing and life. Some parts of it were originally written for magazines and it is very readable and very interesting. It is not really a book for runners but if you run you might appreciate it on a different level. Murakami writes very clearly and simply. He is honest about his running and about himself. He is very aware. And writing something down helps him to understand it.

Murakami talks about many things in the book. In a way it's almost like the thoughts running through his head while he's running a marathon. But the book has a structure linked to some of the races he has run and his preparation. He thinks that a writer needs three things. Ability. Then focus. And then endurance. He runs a marathon every year and sometimes does triathlons. He never recommends running. He just acknowledges that it suits his own personality.

I'm not a serious runner. I don't like the potential effect on my knees of millions of impacts of my feet on asphalt. But I run occasionally. If possible on soft surfaces like grass or sand. But I can feel strong parallels between Murakami's single-minded focus on running and my own journey in aikido and budo. Long distance running needs patience and determination. And as Murakami says, even if running is pointless or futile or inefficient finally it allows him to grasp something of value.

I was going to call this article what I talk about when I talk about What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. But my wife just gave me a look so now it's just called Silent Running. If you have a chance read the book. It is more interesting, more useful and more relevant to us as martial artists and as human beings than any book about aikido or budo published so far in the twenty-first century.

And Haruki Murakami's novel 1Q84 is published in English on 25 October 2011.


Free e-book from project gutenberg
D H Lawrence, Women in Love

Silent Running, Mike and the Mechanics
Silent Running was a song by Mike and the Mechanics. It's a cool title and a good song. The band was a side project of Mike Rutherford of Genesis.

movie intro
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
incidentally the background music is the hymn Jerusalem. So Jerusalem in the soundtrack of Chariots of Fire might also have been a reference to The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.

Chariots of Fire finale

Iron Maiden, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

articles - and there are more links including interviews with Murakami in the Indigo Blue article

my columns on aikiweb:
Indigo Blue
Improvised Weapons No.1: The Umbrella
Unbalance - Feet of Clay
Half a Tatami
Zen in the Art of Aikido

I have an essay in a charity e-book put together by some writers and photographers to raise money for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku on 11 March 2011. It costs $9.99.

© niall matthews 2011
Views: 6108 | Comments: 5

RSS Feed 5 Responses to "silent running"
#5 10-16-2011 11:11 PM
niall Says:
Thank you Carina. That is Yeats in a playful mood. The poetry of running article is very good too.
#4 10-15-2011 03:54 AM
guest1234567 Says:
Something legal Running to Paradise. of W.B Yeats, the opening of Chariots of Fire was perhaps inspired by Sorley's poem The Song of the Ungirt Runners of the site The poetry of running here a sports poems site Sports poetry
#3 10-14-2011 07:09 PM
niall Says:
Thanks Francis! That's a very cool way to put it.
#2 10-14-2011 07:04 PM
niall Says:
Thanks for the comment Carina. One very important point. The e-book of Women in Love is no longer in copyright so we can download it freely and for free. Haruki Murakami's book is still under copyright as far as I know so that would be an illegal copy. Incidentally e-books have become more popular in Japan recently and scanning services will scan your physical copy of a book so you can have the electronic version also. It's very cheap and publishers are very concerned about piracy.
#1 10-14-2011 05:07 PM
aikishihan Says:
Greetings Niall, What a cool thought, running through memories that enhance the present. Never cared much for the rigors of solitary running, but have always appreciated, and even envied those whose "fortress of solitude" could so easily accompany them where ever they went. Certainly not to be confused with "Hashi Godan", the goal of which is meaningless.

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