Saturday, February 12, 2011


The Zen tradition of haiku--although I don't study it in depth--is worth some serious thought.

Why? Because it is probably the strongest example of the ancient Japanese obsession with simplicity, effectiveness, and critical observation. It is an exercise of clear mind and articulate execution. Really, it is a reflection of the culture's views on combat, as well, where a warrior seeks to attain the deepest energy and control with the least amount of external effort.

In fact, many samurai were obsessed with this art form, and myth suggests that capturing the perfect words before a battle-induced death was an example of true virtue among the warrior class.

Here are the words of Basho, a samurai's son:

Summer grasses

all that remains

of soldiers dreams.

This work is not only a lesson in the philosophy of war, but life, itself. All in seven words (translated, of course).

It is the same concept of spending one's life trying to make the perfect throw; the perfect strike; or the perfect ukemi. It is akin to summing up a lifetime of training with one perfect thrust of the katana.

All so simplistic but never easy to attain.

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