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2001-09-08 04:52:22 (UTC)


I am going to be busy this weekend. Not too busy...but
busy enough. If you have clicked on the link to my little
website, then you know I do something with swords. What
exactly is it that I do??? I'll tell you.

I study Iaido, Kenjutsu and Sojutsu. Many people do not
know what these arts are. Even in Japan, Kenjutsu and
Sojutsu are seldom found. Iaido is the one art that is
still very much alive in Japan. Iaido is literally
the "way of the sword". Iaido is the drawing, cutting and
resheathing of the sword. It was used as a way of ending
the confrontation very quickly. Today it is a very
meditative art...and is not done in paired training...but
it is done solo as a way to improve one's self. However
the intent and appearance when doing iaido should give the
casual observer the feeling that he or she can visualize
what is if there really is an opponent there.

Kenjutsu is literally "the art of the sword". It is the
technique of Japanese swordfighting as it was done on the
battlefield of feudal Japan. It involves technique, kata,
strategy and discipline.

Sojutsu is the "way of the spear". The Japanese spear
or "yari" is not a throwing spear. It is a thrusting and
slashing spear that easily penetrates armor. This too was
a very popular weapon in feudal Japan as it was often
needed against mounted Samurai (horseback).

Before I go any further let me just make one thing clear.
There are no more Samurai. The Samurai class was disbanded
during the Meiji Restoration in 1868 and the carrying of
swords in public was made it still is today.
The reason I say this is because many westerners
romanticize the Japanese sword arts. While it is true that
one can study the ways of the can never be a
Samurai. If one studies the ways of the Roman Legionaires
that does not make one a Roman Legionaire.

For me, my passion goes far beyond the tools (swords and
such). My passion for these arts is indeed a link to those
that have gone before me. I feel very fortunate to carry
on a tradition that is over 1000 years old. I feel very
fortunate to walk the path that so many before me have. I
feel a link to the people that proceeded me...and as such I
have a sense of the people, the land and the history that
was shaped by men and women that wielded the swords.

I will never have a chance to test myself in live combat
with my katana...and for that I am most thankful. What I
do I do for myself and for those that have gone before
me...and those that will come after me. I am thankful that
I will never know the horror of killing with a sword.
However when you get right to the heart of it..what I am
doing is learning to kill someone. We must remember
however that Zen was incorporated into Japanese
swordsmanship when it came from China. The Zen warrior
(samurai) was truly an enigma. On the one hand he was
trained for combat to defend his daimyo (Feudal lord). He
would gladly die in battle to defend the honor of his
lord. He was also an artist, a poet, and someone that
appreciated life very much. As a student of Zen, the
Samurai learned that life was not certain and that death
could be moments away. His appreciation for life was
because he knew how short it could be...and because of that
he lived with no regret. I too have blended that aspect of
Zen with my faith and beliefs.

I have been training for many years...yet I am merely a
beginner. I will never lose my beginner's spirit.

This is just a very rudimentary explanation of one part of
my life that is very important to me. In my next entry I
will go into more detail of what it is I do....what
motivates me....and what I have learned on my journey down
this path.

Tonight I will leave you with a Zen saying:

"In life it is the not the destination that matters, but the

Think upon these words.... We've all heard the
expression "Stop and smell the roses". This is something
we all need to do. Do not so fixed on your goals that you
do not live and learn along the journey.

Goodnight my friends. Peaceful slumber to all.