Thursday, June 25, 2009

It just drips with irony

At the beginning of the month I wrote a piece entitled Is it a problem to be big and strong?
Well just after that piece was published I was flattened by a diminutive creature. I was taken down by a flu virus.

I was feeling well and attended our seniors Kenjutsu class on the saturday morning at seven o'clock. While having coffee after the class at nine o'clock in the morning I first started feeling a bit poorly, and on the way home I was hit by an incredible weariness.

The weekend disappeared in a blur as I spent the entire weekend sleeping and on Monday morning my GP confirmed it was flu and prescribed drugs. He wanted to give me a note to book me off for the week, but since I work for myself, my boss was already well aware of my condition and would also be the first to know when I was feeling better.

Now, three weeks later I am just starting to get back up to date with all my work. It is incredible how much of an impact a little virus can have on your life.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Is it a problem to be big and strong?

Is it a problem to be big and strong? Is it a disadvantage to be small? Or does size really not matter. 
A while back I was chatting to some of the folk who do kenjutsu with me and the one young lady voiced some concern about her petite form. This reminded me of a passge written by Musashi in the Book of Five Rings.

Small people must be completely familiar with the spirit of large people, and large people must be familiar with the spirit of small people. Whatever your size, do not be misled by the reactions of your own body. With your spirit open and unconstricted, look at things from a high point of view.

Now I am certainly large by Japanese standards, and I use the fact that I have bulk and strength. Because I have been able to get away with using strength I have not learned the more harmonious side of Aikido. Truth be told I have not been very successful with sticky palms and the more sensitive side of any martial arts. So I realise a need to become familiar with the spirit of small people.
Then a friend of mine posted a link to a Youtube video on Facebook. The video showed Sensei Corky Quakenbush of Kakushi Toride Aikido Dojo working on developing the use of Ki in aikido techniques. 

I found Sensei Corky’s manner very relaxed and easy to listen to. The effect was magical and re-awakened a deep desire to investigate Ki.

Please watch these videos and let me know what you think.

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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