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This poem and others are available in my books, Nothing Works: Meditations on Aikido, Buddhism, the Tao, Zen, and other inconsequential things....and, Nothing Special, and Nothing Matters..., available thru Amazon.com, in print and Kindle editions and Barnes & Noble websites.....Also available as an e-book via Smashwords.com. Try this link: www.nothing-works.com for the full array of options.
It was post-seminar
We were all sitting around the bar
People telling stories:
You should have seen him!
When he walked into the dojo
he had to bow so his head wouldn't
hit the top of the door frame!
Maybe he was just bowing cause
that's what people do when entering
any dojo, someone pointed out
Hah, you weren't there! Was the reply
(A very common refrain,
actually, as the night went on)
When he struck with the bokken or jyo,
we would all have to wear face protectors
cause the splinters would fly everywhere!
That created a big laugh
His wooden tanto was so sharp
it actually drew blood!
Nodding heads all around
I remember when he touched me
Another old-timer voiced, I didn't
know what happened, but I ended up
on the other side of the dojo!
Hell, when he just smiled,
we would all fall down!
Damn, those were incredible times!
All the old-timers agreed in unison
But, now, they all said, this is your time. Looking around the table,
Now, today, is your time. All of us sitting
here tonight, this is our time together.
One day, you will be the old ones,
telling stories, telling tall tales.
But, for now, here's to the past
and a great teacher -- Kampai!
This poem was inspired by an article in Birankai Aikido News,
by Liese Klein Sensei, quoting some words spoken by George Lyons Sensei,
at a memorial seminar, on the anniversary of Chiba Sensei's death, at Brooklyn Aikikai.
Liberties with t
Daily life is my shugyo
My supreme practice method
Every moment of every day
Everything and everyone
Becomes my dojo, my sensei
My ultimate training hall
Where I grapple and strive
Engaging all in my quest
My practiceless practice
Showing me the way
I thought she was the most beautiful
Creature on the whole planet
She replied that I had wabi-sabi looks, i.e.
Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete
Seeing the expression on my face
She further said that this was a good thing
That all inessentials had been eliminated
All excesses trimmed and pared away
Leaving behind only the real
Such that it only grows stronger with time
So I took her down off her pedestal
And, hand in hand, walked with her
Through transient, wabi-sabi time
Loving each and every flawed moment
Of our transitory time together
I think big, deep thoughts
That get me nowhere
I think small, personal thoughts
That just results in pain
If I try not to think
I drive my car into people
So, I sit and watch TV
I go to the movies
I try to wash my brain clean
Clean of any thoughts
Like a constant flash flood
Scouring the land of all debris
Thoughts swept away, away
When it works, it doesn't last
Thoughts -- my strength, my weakness
I sit and think
Thinking of thoughts
When I practice Aikido
I can't help but think
Of Venn diagrams
(You, too, right?!)
Of nage and uke
Disparate circles - merging
The set of me (nage)
Intersecting with set (uke)
N ∩ U -
The overlapping regions depicting
A set of possible outcomes
I automatically drop down
To Euler diagrams
Eliminating non-relevant options
Allowing me to choose
A fitting technique and outcome -
Ah, if only I were so elegant!
Duration, with no sense of time
I sit, and sit, just sit
Thoughts gone, feelings gone
Even pain gone
Transition back to real time
Is obvious, is now
But, where I have been
How I got back
Is still to me, a mystery