Friday, January 12, 2007

sword as transformation

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog entry about She-ra, princess of power. One of the key points that came up for me, and one of the reasons I really loved She-ra, was that the sword was mainly about transformation as opposed to being a weapon. So I'd like to write a little more about that.

Almost anything that gets us to the here and now is transformative. I used to think when I was in Japan that when I got back to America there would be the time to "figure things out". The training was often so fast and intense that there was little or no time for reflection during the classes. And things in Shingu around Hikitsuchi sensei could be seemingly crazy/chaotic. At one point I remember getting a letter from Robert Frager. He had trained in Shingu for 4 months then returned to California. Well, he wrote that he had bumped into Carlos Casteneda of all people. When Bob described to him all the craziness and intensity around Hikitsuchi sensei, Casteneda apparently told him that that was what it was like to be around don Juan, that what was really going on was power, which we all could claim. I remember being blown away by this letter. It was easy to feel sorry for yourself that the universe was an immense place and to feel like a leaf in the wind.

One of the main lessons I guess I never consciously got was that it was necessary to focus one's intent. The leaf at the mercy of the wind place exists, but at the same time there is also a self that can choose acceptance of the moment, and, if possible, direct and event shape the events that are transpiring. And the sword, both physically and as a symbol, is definitely a transformation through focus gateway. I remember what it would be like to be called up to go sword to sword with Hikitsuchi sensei. I knew little if nothing about the sword at all. Somehow the act of not giving in to one's fear or ignorance seemed to buoy me. Once after a couple of demonstrations where I was uke quite a bit, Hikitsuchi sensei told me that I had jumped a level or so. It was not that I knew anymore than I did or that I had become in my own mind stronger. It was that I could go into the unknown more expansively and with more trust both in myself and in the things in motion in the universe than I could before. He seemed to value this more than pure time in or technical expertise or just outright physical power, all of which were sadly lacking in me at the time.

It is common to learn about the sword these days. This is in contrast to learning the sword. Systems, methods, or styles are what a very mind-based society seem to value. In Star Wars vernacular, the mind in charge has subtly changed things from the Old Republic to the Empire(of the mind). Is sincere real training possible? Yes, but from my perspective it must come from the sincere and clear depths of one's own creative vision. Are systems and methods wrong? No, it is only wrong to get stuck in them and to mistake them for the truth. Truth itself probably cannot be captured in a system or method. It is probably to be found in the depths of one's own spiritual journey. Destinations are system/method borne.

Anyway, I decided to bring back the very first of my videos. It was actually the third to be online, but it was the first one I did. Notice how Harry and I are blending in the moment. While there is repitition in the movements, it is not conscious. Enjoy.


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