Do these concepts sound familiar to anyone in CMA? They are only a few of the doka associated with Akiyama Yoshin ryu.
"With roots reaching into the earth and leaves reaching for heaven, the purple willow sways in harmony with the forces of nature, flexible but strong"
"The flow of ki is in and out, up and down, left and right, inward and outward. In these eight planes divine movement manifests itself.
"The purple willow like the harmony of nature is never still, Even in apparent stillness is movement.
"The purple willow gathers great power by yielding to the forces of nature."
FYI....The character for yo ( 楊 ) in Yoshin ryu refers to a type of upright branching willow tree commonly found along the Yangtse river (楊子汢）in southern China. Many people mistakenly assume yo refers to the ryu/yanagi character（柳）that instead refers to the the weeping willow tree. This is another subtle hint of Yoshin ryu's origins in China.
That is an interesting allusion. Some related background information:
The Chinese character 楊 is also used to refer to poplars.
The Yangtze River is often viewed as the traditional "boundary" between northern and southern China.
The (Chinese) purple willow, Salix sinopurpurea
, is common along the Yangtze as well as other rivers in Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces.
The weeping willow, Salix babylonica
, used to be thought to have originated in Sumeria (hence the name), but now is traced back to China.
sects in China, often but not always accurately associated with Chinese martial arts, would confer names with rich natural allusions like "Purple Mist" (Ziyan
) on members, and such names were also adopted by poets and scholars.
Like Mike S. suggested above, "Purple Willow" could thus have been a reference to a specific person. But the physical characteristics of willow's resilience--something that Ellis calls out in HIPS
when he discusses how a willow branch yields then springs back under a load of snow--seem to relate more directly to the references in the doka
you quote about the purple willow "moving in harmony with the forces of nature," "flexible but strong," "gathering great power by yielding to the forces of nature" and, most interesting to me, "like the harmony of nature is never still/Even in apparent stillness is movement."
That last reference seems to key in on a primary characteristic of "internal" Chinese martial arts, the ability to neutralize and/or generate great power with little externally overt movement. The movement is internal, inside. It ties in to previous discussions about fascia, breathing and qi--albeit (as noted before) in a very general way, not in any concrete "how-to" sense.
So perhaps the doka
is/are providing an idea of the overall quality to be aimed for through training the "how-to" specifics of the internal exercises of the various Yoshin ryu.
Just some random mental droppings.