Apply the way of karate to all things therein lies its beauty.
The liar, the fraud, the leader of many, the friendly
Can, will strike with ippon which can be deadly;
See in music, flower arranging and Zen archery seizure
Of what the quest for learning can bring to self or soul.
Each play and rhythm of that kata, sings inside
Laying yet more pentimenti over earlier self-combat, struggle.
Karate is a Lifelong Pursuit
Be guid the day an mair lik gowd the morn
Never a kata perfect, a block as fine
Nothing is etched perfection.
Some decades o training
later what is basic
You spy as a helix o wonders.
Aches bought in Dunfermline or Inverness
Pencil to slate and gravity to kicks.
Mind, noo though
Mak karate servant nae master;
Life an hert come first
Or all can be force withoot finesse.
Guid-good, mair-more, lik-like, gowd-gold, hame-home, withoot-without
A piece that has been a few years in the thinking-for AH.
Where safe, riotous fans of rugby pass:
Haymarket in Edinburgh, aye busy
A nexus of city, country, leaving, arriving.
This time some anti-Semitic bile given
As casually as you would press the Pedestrian Crossing
My friend more Scot and native than many a bigot
Was guilty, just standing
Black hair and the gift o the gab*.
Abstracts like Scottish, nation, civic nationalism exist
On the same plane as hame-grown hatred
We are not special, nor that different
Fail that test
Then welcome that Eton brigade in.
*Aye-always; Gift o the gab= can speak well and/or eloquently
Karate Goes Beyond the Dojo
The objective of karate-do is to polish and nurture both mind and body.
Shotokan in part means pine waves.
Beyond this kata of text
My window trailing with tiny rain silver-beads
Real pines, wind-boned legerity
Trunks in mild sway, branch arms waving.
Easy to give in to the body’s power
Take the body’s ability to nihilism
Away from awareness, caring or best.
Weapons must be forged, loved then forgotten
Spirit given over to integrity, forgiveness
Or we-them-the baseless, money-driven instructors
Are violent, criminal.
The void beyond the tiny kata detail
Is that in all spheres: the essence of things
The doing of it has that line of time stretching
To make a mockery of your rush.
How many years to see it, feel it?
You think as another learning point
Glistens like Ness water still chilled in high summer.
They are the seeds of our green fringe-
The pine trees, slivers of essence
They are winged micros
Pared elliptical spirals into here:
The square concrete and steel of human nests.
They mark another cycle:
Death, renewal, birth and awakening
As their girth grows, ours weakens.
The August sun splits the early evening
As a grey squirrel dashes over the fence
Like an office worker in Adidas trainers
He is all frenetic energy and need.
Menuki 目貫 [めぬき] are the ornaments that are found under the handle wrap on katana and wakizashi. They define the character of the sword and can tie the owner to the sword. The Menuki can be replaced when the tsuka (handle) is re-wrapped.
Hardly the placing of a katana or its menuki near violets
Not here in the clarity and bone-brittle spring sunshine
No ancient murmur in step and pulse like Okinawa.
Yet the placing of a pad near red-skinned herbaceous fingers
The noticing of the bare silver birch, the opening applause of blossoms
It harkens a speed to the toil and labour of stance, strike
Breathe and breath to give life to kata, pattern