A little smile

The beauty of this land sticks like a stone in my throat,
The cricket’s song,
A bat flits past,
Pale moon serene in the darkening blue-black orange sky,
Wind in the olive trees,
Dogs bark in the valley,
The solemn little church on the hill chimes out one last time,
I smile a little smile to myself
And almost move to get a pen.

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Hope

Day follows night follows day,
Only the luminous madness of hope,
Tells us tomorrow will be different.

The View

Don’t cast your gaze too far,
Lest you fall over the rock at your feet,
Equally don’t gaze at your feet,
Lest you tangle them with good intentions;
They know their job better than you do.
Your job, of it can be called that,
Is simply to enjoy the view.

The metronome

Like a metronome the mind taps its beat,
Far above the range of our eyes to see,
Until we try to track it, change it-
Then our training begins.

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Attention

Like a ball on a string,
Our consciousness likes to play out,
But we must bring it back to centre.

Rushing

No more rushing here,
Enjoy just one thing, fully,
Time knocks on my door.

Conscious Understanding

Conscious understanding:
Concepts on the threshold of understanding,
Dancing beyond the grasp of he who reaches –
Boats on a river, cars between the white lines;
A small, compact man, completely competent,
Until he steps beyond his doorstep,
And finds he has forgotten his boots.

Time

There is no such thing as time,
Just a forward drift of the mind,
Towards a distant goal.

The Martial Artist

I have always thought that a Martial Artist must embody both the Martial, combative elements of his style, and also the Artistic side.

We learn Martial discipline by standing on the line with our fellow students, by showing our Sensei and fellow travelers of ‘the Way’ proper respect and care-when they put their bodies on the line to partner us, and by turning up on time to the Dojo. We also put in the hard physical work required during training sessions, and the ‘donkey work’ – practicing our basic techniques at home, so that when we return to our Sensei we have improved.

The Artistic side of Martial Arts is one that many students find strange to begin with. Students often think they are here simply to learn to defend themselves, or to get fitter. But Martial Arts is also a metaphor for our own life, as any experienced student will know, and progress in the Dojo often mirrors progress out in the world.

The most obvious Artistic side of Martial Arts is found in the katas we display, and the interpretation we add to our performance. Though we have not written these katas, we must learn them intimately, and make them our own. We betray our innermost being in our every action, and this too is something that Martial Arts encourages.

Though the Artistic and Martial sides of Martial Arts may seem completely different, with some students comfortable with one but not the other, for an experienced student they come together, until at last they are the same thing. This is when we spontaneously create good Martial Arts solutions to combative problems, or follow our own impulses to create new katas. Bringing Martial and Artistic ability together requires a change in the mind, and this enlightenment is the link that once found, allows a continual process of self-improvement and exploration, as our perspective on Martial Arts and on life itself evolves. This process is what changes the student forever.

Time goes slow

Time goes slow
When we look to the future,
Wishing we were anywhere but here.
Do we have the resources to fill the space,
Between what is and want we want –
Not by leaving this behind,
But by making now what we want?
It’s harder than you think to stay concentrated, keep yourself entertained,and not simply sleep through the greater part of life.
Try it.

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