Saturday, March 03, 2018

A Few Words from...Yagyu Munenori

"On The No-Sword

The significance of the terms No-Sword is not necessarily in having to take the sword of your opponent. Nor does it mean taking your own sword in display and making a name for yourself.

No-Sword means not being cut by another, although you yourself have no sword.  Certainly the real meaning does not lie in saying 'Let me demonstrate how I can take that!'

If your opponent does not want his sword taken, you should not insist on trying to take it.  No-Sword is also in not taking the sword when your opponent has this attitude. A man who is consumed by the thought of not having his sword taken is going to forget the aim of cutting his opponent.  And when thinks only of not having his sword taken, he will probably not cut you.

Not being cut is in itself a victory.  Considering it an art to take a man's sword is not the principle here.  The practice is one that a man puts to use when he himself has not sword and does not want to be cut.

What is called No-Sword it not the art of taking a man's sword, it is being able to use all implements freely.  When you have no sword and want to take your opponent's to use as your own, anything that comes into your hands should be of use.  Even if you have only a fan, you should  be able to defeat your opponent's sword.  No-Sword is precisely this attitude.

When you have no sword but carry a bamboo staff, and your opponent unsheathes a long sword and attacks you should be able to handle the bamboo staff and take his sword.  But even if you do not take his sword, you should be able to restrain him without being cut.  This is in itself a victory.

This frame of mind is the fundamental meaning of No-Sword."

- The Life Giving Sword (translated by William Scott WIlson

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