Friday, May 06, 2016


I have a long term problem in the practice of my iaijutsu, specifically when I am asked to attack.  I always aim to the side, never directly at the target.

This is something that I have done for  years.  Why, you might ask?   It is a legitimate question.  I carry with me a very old reluctance to risk hurting someone, an aversion acquired many years ago but still as fresh in my mind as it was the day it happened.

And so I aim beside the target, not at the target.

This creates issues for my sensei on two levels.  On the first level, of course, it is very difficult to demonstrate a technique when your attacker is never cooperating in the attack.  The second - the one that just entered my awareness tonight - was a frustration with me, or rather a frustration with the fact that I have studied for almost 7  years and still am reluctant to strike.

"Commit"  he said tonight as I once again moved my attack to the right.  All of a sudden, that word became one of the profoundest things I had heard in years.

Commit.  Drive out all doubt.  Drive out all extraneous things.  Drive out the hesitation and reluctance.  Commit.  Strike.  Cut with authority.

Understand the profoundness of this moment.  Not just in iai.  In life.  Choose - we cannot all do everything.  And then when you have chosen, act with authority.  Remove doubt from your mind.  Strike every time as if you mean to win.

I am not sure that I know what enlightenment feels like.  But tonight I received a very dim taste of it.


Rev. Paul said...

You've experienced an "Aha!" moment. The next move is yours. (And yes, I know how hard it will be to overcome a lifetime's inhibition/conditioning, even if it was self-imposed.) It's the sort of thing Jesus does so easily for us, but we do so poorly.

PioneerPreppy said...

I know from my medieval combat days that getting people to actually hit with force was a difficult issue to get some people past so you are not alone.

Anonymous said...

The leftist writer, Camille Paglia, wrote an interesting article on Donald Trump. He was raised by a strong Scot mother from the Hebrides Islands. He is a modern day Viking.He deals in "slash & burn", "rape and pillage". I, too, lack the killer instinct.(Sigh) Julia

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

You are right, Reverend Paul. And yes, I am not sure of what the next move is. I think it involves a certainly paring down of life - or at least my life - to its essence and then committing to those things. I think.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I wonder, Preppy. I know that historically that is the case - I forget what the statistics were for when wars started in terms of the percentage of US Servicemen that would actually shoot at the enemy,but I recall it being rather low - but I suspect my Sensei is trying to get at a deeper level with me - not just the ability to strike but the intent, the commitment, behind the strike.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

So I do not know if it is so much about the killer instinct Julia. Any fool can kill. I think it is more about the commitment to the art, to becoming so engaged in it that, almost unthinkingly, you are always acting with 100% of yourself in the act.

I am not sure. I am still trying to work this out.

kymber said...

totally off topic TB - but PioneerPreppy did the questions - go check it out!

love ya! your friend,

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I know, right? Yay! Makes my heart happy.

Much Love, TB