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Cut Like a Sword
Cut Like a Sword
by Lynn Seiser
Cut Like a Sword

"Float like a butterfly.
Sting like a bee."
Spin like a tornado.
Drop like a waterfall.
Cut like a sword."

I remember as a young lad in the Detroit area, there was a loud mouth boxer named Cassius Clay (aka Muhammad Ali) who would speak in rhyme (perhaps our first rapper). One of his slogans was he would "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee". And he did exactly what he said he would. He moved as if he were floating. His jabs were fast, straight, and powerful. They had to sting. Ali was/is perhaps the greatest athlete of our times, especially in the fight game. I believe there must be something to this metaphoric thinking that helps program the body to move in certain ways.

Spin like a tornado. The wind is a very powerful force of nature. At its gentlest it can barely be felt, yet carry the scent of the flowers to us. It can cool us. It can make the clouds clear away so we can see the sunshine. It can also spin in a spiral with such force that it destroys whatever it touches. At its edges, everything is thrown away from it. Towards its center, everything is pulled inward. At its center you find an empty calmness. Be like the wind. Blend like a gentle breeze. Spin like a tornado.

Drop like a waterfall. Water is another very powerful force of nature. At its gentlest, it flows downstream, across stones, making a soothing sound. It refreshes us. It gives us life. Its gentle consistent current smoothes the roughness of the hardest rock. Its shores are made up of the earth. Its bottom is made up of the earth. When the earth slopes, the water follows. When the earth drops out from underneath it, it naturally drops according to gravity. Just by the earth not being there anymore to support it, water falls all by itself. An emptying of the earth creates an opportunity to water to simply fall. A waterfall is a beautiful sight and a powerful force of nature. Be like water. Blend like a running stream. Drop like a waterfall.

Cut like a sword. The blade is a beautiful and powerful force of human nature. It is common knowledge that Aikido came from Ken-jutsu, sword arts. It is also supposed that O'Sensei said that Aikido was Atemi, striking. One seldom focuses on the grip, but extends and controls the tip of the sword. One seldom pushes or pulls with a blade, one simply slices. A blade is built to cut, that is its design. It takes very little force for a good blade to cut through the hardest material. A blade's intent is to penetrate and cut through its target. A blade's metal is forged through a long process to become hardened and sharp. At its best, in the hands of a skilled surgeon, it saves lives. At its worst, in the hands of a trained warrior, it takes lives. Be like the metal, forged and ready for battle. Extend and slice through. Cut like a sword.
"Float like a butterfly.
Sting like a bee"
Spin like a tornado.
Drop like a waterfall.
Cut like a sword."

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Now get back to training. KWATZ!
Lynn Seiser (b. 1950 Pontiac, Michigan), Ph.D. has been a perpetual student of martial arts, CQC/H2H, FMA/JKD, and other fighting systems for 40 years. He currently holds the rank of Sandan (3rd degree Black Belt) in Tenshinkai Aikido under Sensei Dang Thong Phong at the Westminster Aikikai Dojo in Southern California. He is the co-author, with Phong Sensei, of Aikido Basics (2003), Advanced Aikido (2006), and Aikido Weapons Techniques (2006) for Tuttle Publishing. His martial art articles have appeared in Black Belt Magazine, Aikido Today Magazine, and Martial Arts and Combat Sports Magazine. He is the founder of Aiki-Solutions and IdentityTherapy and is an internationally respected psychotherapist in the clinical treatment of offenders and victims of violence, trauma, abuse, and addiction. He currently lives in Marietta, GA and trains at Roswell Budokan.
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