Means and Ends

A new blog post on the various ways of pursuing the Way of the Sword, done for my friends at Koryu Crafts.  

Keppan: The Blood Oath

A little sampler from my new work in progress–the latest in the Connor Burke series. Daytime brings its own challenges. Saturday morning and they were all there: three ranks of expectant, eager students in the deep blue uniform of traditional Japanese sword arts. They kneeled, motionless, the white oak training swords resting by their left…

Picking Up The Sword

Just completed a short piece for my friends at Koryu Crafts–a new source for fine sword-related items. Check it out here.

The Burke Series

It’s an exploration of the world of the martial arts. Decades of experience has given me insight into real martial arts training and how that can shape a person. There are no shortage of popular books and  movies hyping the martial arts–everything from the Karate Kid to the Ninja to the Matrix. My books are shaped by real experience….

The Writer’s Dojo Concept: Shu-Ha-Ri

It’s not unusual for martial artists to talk solemnly about “the Way” and how the life lessons that have been created through training spill over into the rest of our lives.  These lessons are important ones yet, at the end of the day, they are not unexpected ones. Even the most elemental list, while unobjectionable, is also…

Shu

Shu is the first phase. The word itself means “to obey.” In the martial arts context, it  obviously refers to the need to follow the instructions of your teacher. But in a larger sense, it also suggests the need to bend your will to the dictates of the system you study. Those of us who have spent…

Ha

Ha is the next phase of the learning process. It means “break.” Here we find one of  celebration of conundrum.  If we invest tremendous time and effort into the mastery of form and technique suggested by shu, what then are we to make of a subsequent phase that insists that we “break” something.  Break the rules? I thought…

Ri

Here, the trainee finally reaches a place where things simply flow. Watching a great martial arts master go through his paces, seeing the confident fluidity in the performance and  noting as well how the master imparts a certain distinctive original flair is a “ri event.” So too with great writers. They’ve internalized the conventions of their…

Why Write….

Philip Schultz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, wrote in the Sept. 4, 2011 New York Times,  that to learn to read and write is the human effort to find a way to be less alone. For the writer, the craft is just that–a way to reach out, to connect with others, to take all those images and ideas that…

Bowing In: Walking the Creative Path

You don’t do it simply because it’s hard. You do it because it’s meaningful. It requires persistence, the mastery of skill, and a capacity for ruthless self-criticism. It’s not for learning and the satisfaction of putting it into practice is something that’s got hold of you. At a certain point, you don’t do it because you can; you…