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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..., 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.
In an aikido attack
Who controls the technique?
Nage or uke?
Aikido is described as
An invincible budo
Invincible as in: too strong
or skillful to be defeated? Or, invincible as in Without enemies? Each definition requires
Requires a different mindset
As nage and uke enter
Into an aikido attack
Or is it more an uchidachi
And shidachi relationship?
Who controls the technique?
The joining, the interplay
Of bodies and energies
Perhaps masakatsu agatsu: True victory is victory over self But what does this mean
Again, who controls the technique?
Perhaps as harmony and balance
Are created and maintained
And a unified center is manifested
Both can claim control
A control that results in
Neither winning nor losing
But in a resolution where violence
Becomes dissipated and neutralized
And both can learn and leave
The battlefield unharmed
The dojo bell's thrice ring
Echoing out the open door
And into the surrounding air
Foreshadowing my leave-taking
With its last gently rolling softness
Reinforcing the impermanence
Of things, people, and worldly affairs
Aikidoka practice in the humid air
Sweat and effort reflected in their techniques
I yearn to join them in kinship and struggle
But my time has passed
I turn down a different path
Moving away, slowly, savoring
The last echoes of that drifting, haunting sound
Your attacker is closing
Kime -- decision time:
Katsujinken - the sword that gives life?
Or, setsuninto - the sword that takes life?
Ruthless forgiveness and dynamic compassion?
Or, a cold detachment, killing without remorse?
Once positioned, decide!
Still, even if you have the skill
Is the choice really that simple?
Or, perhaps it is a case of: One life to save a thousand
Taking this one life
Will save many others - now
Or even into the future...
Of course, you could be wrong -- decide!
Operating in a state of fluid perfection, I... Whoa...what? Seriously, really, you are?!
Well....now, maybe not so much....??? So, katsujinken or setsuninto?
Not so black and white
Not so simple, after all
Which sword is which? -- Decide!