Do not forget the use or withdrawal of power, the extension or contraction of the
body, the swift or leisurely application of technique.
It lies in that space between process and intent
A heartbeat rocket fuelled cellular rake
Or in the steel-strong control of limb or body.
It is the power of self and sword,
Technique that is beyond sport.
‘Block with timing, hit with lightning.’*
An aphorism that hides the bone-breaking toil to master
What is the hideous complexity of the simplest Oizuki:
*As suggested by Sensei Dave Hazard pictured above.
‘Keep kata as they are without embellishing them.’ Yasutsune Itosu. ‘..In actual combat, it will not do to be hampered by the rituals of kata. Instead, the practitioner should transcend kata, moving freely according to the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.’
Breathe, connect to loved ones
Seize the immediate air that may be the last
Commit utterly to destruction: combat.
As different as a tsunami
To the surface of a Scots pine forest pond-kata and combat.
Inner or outer audience for your kata
It is a beauty of being, a life
That begins and begins with a bow
A piece from Temples fae Creels (Kettionlia) slightly changed.
Oor hoose on Shore Road
Wis aye spuckled in spray
Fae waves that ripped san
Aff protective rock skerries.
Reek trails fae the Lothian side
Wid hing aboot Cockenzie
The power station
Opposite Fife’s gowden beach mantle;
Ony windae wis guid.
January wis special-waves
Slammin intae the herbour waas
Muckle white flares hingin
Afore rainin doun lik lava:
The Robin Kata
Often he spins up to be spider-bird
Watching vertically poised above his planet
A metre over me on the wall.
Be it Jitte or Jiin or washing perhaps Gis out for drying
The wee chest marks a wound of flight on fence or ground.
Like each performance of a Sochin or Empe
Different robins dance or move to a unique internal barometer.
Later reflect on the arrogance of the human
That it is nature that watches us, our dance our imperfections.
When you step beyond your own gate, you face a million enemies.
During the hardest training it has been safer than the crowded city street
On the Irish Sea in turmoil it has been calmer than a near empty pub.
Enemies and chance respect neither rank nor riches
The sliver of black ice or a tool held carelessly can end
Integrity of shine and purpose can be its own kamae*
Vibrating thus as a hummingbird before tension.
Be transformed and facing forward. Still.
Think of the opponents’ hands and feet as swords.
In a fishing village sometimes you are in an ebb
The violence this new student unleashed
Saw our high school wake up.
He showed as a cornered animal would
Rage tearing at any person near
Breath held while a paroxysm endured.
No opponent ready to cut
Can show what jagged cup
Was drank from inside and bleeds them.
Meeting such and other distempers-
A quiet leaving, politeness
Not a space of doubt, a hairline breath.
The outcome of a battle depends on how one handles emptiness and fullness (weakness and strength)
And no man or woman does not fear
That even victory negates no sunspots or their feet of clay
As water flows from Munro to moor
Your enemy and your attitude give narrative to strategy.
Like the May Island breaking the Firth of Forth swell
Is the question
The need for any battle?
The silent and temple courage of many
Never see a dojo, never relish command
Yet they would teach you wisdom
Deeper than any kata, any perfect punch.
Make Adjustments According to Your Opponent
As the Falls of Dochart caress rock and pinnacle
So like those waters
Meld bane and mind to tell
Feet and body move as ane*.
In combat it means no fear
Jump off Aonach Eagach*
Seek that calm beyond danger.
Life it means timing, rhythm
Then, before and inside the storm
Ane=one; AE=the ridge in Glencoe
Ane=one; AE=the ridge in Glencoe