Monday, March 30, 2009

Why Japanese, Why the Samurai

Why a Samurai blog from a man who has never been to Japan?
Well it all started many years ago in a karate class. Seriously. I remember that I can't have been more than six or seven years old when I first learned to count in Japanese. Ichi Ni San Shi Go Roku Sichi Hachi Ku Ju.
In truth I did not carry on with Karate. I do not know why, I just know that the next time I was in a Karate class was when I was 18 years old.
Some where in the time between my first and second Karate classes I had the opportunity to watch the television mini-series "Shogun" based on the James Clavell novel of the same name. In this series, Mariko san teaches Anjin san (Pilot Major John Blackthorn, played by Richard Chamberlain) to speak Japanese. I wonder how many other people learned their first few Japanese words from the Shogun series?
I must confess I have yet to read the actual novel but it is on my to-do list.

Anyhow, I practiced Karate for a few years and for the last few years I have practiced Kenjutsu. While I thoroughly enjoyed my Karate I am finding the Kenjutsu to be more fulfilling both physically and mentally. Training with the Japanese Sword requires an understanding of the mindset of the Samurai and I believe the underlying character of the Japanese People. Many times in the class, I am drawn to the simplicity and effectiveness of a technique. More often than not my western mind rebels against this simplicity but the more I practice the clearer the wisdom becomes.

With this in mind, I decided that I needed an outlet for all this, and that I needed to put it in a place where all could see.
This blog is the result.

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The Book of Five Rings

It is said the warrior's is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways. Even if a man has no natural ability he can be a warrior by sticking assiduously to both divisions of the Way. - Shinmen Musashi No Kami Fujiwara No Geshin