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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!
Observation to action
Who can do this fastest?
Leading to victory/non-victory
The so-called OODA loop: Observation, orientation,
Decision, then action...
Seems so elegantly simple
But, try applying it
To Aikido practice -- so slow -
At first.....But, after more and
More practice, the process
Becomes more and more intuitive
Till an Aikido OODA loop
Chaotic, and non-linear
The cycle time
Capable of handling one uke
Or, multiple randori opponents
Your opponents' mind-time-space
Disrupted, internal harmony lost,
Mental and physical paralysis
And collapse created till you
Take tactical control and
Impose your own non-structure
A process without a process
A form without a form
A takemusu OODA loop
I get a cup of coffee Are you a veteran? I'm asked Why? I ask back If you are, you get .10c off
They say, smiling
I get this question and offer
At a number of places
I know most folks mean well
They are just reciting
The company slogan
For that particular day
And, maybe, doing a good deed
Some just have no clue
Memorial Day? Veterans Day?
Hell, Valentine's Day?
Few know the difference
Or, even care
But, am I the only one
That finds this demeaning?
I did not serve in our military
To get a few discounts off
Some commercial transactions
Brothers and sisters did not die
Or get maimed for a free coupon!
A Veterans-Day-Sale! sign
Really, really irritates me!
So, shaking my head,
I say, No, not a veteran
And pay my full share
Hoping, one day, every day
Will be a genuine Veterans Day