Sword and No-Sword

Thinking about Katsujinken and the implications of following a Martial Way. Does it embody a progression from a search for skill and combat efficacy, to a valuation of discipline as a way to cultivate the spirit. I hope so. And at what point, like Sekishusai, do we lay down the sword and, free perhaps from attachment, look beyond the sword and the self to something transcendent?

Of course, nothing new in the Satsujinken/Katsujinken discussion. Yagyu Munenori, after all, set the gold standard for this sort of thing centuries ago.

But here’s something I’ve come to realize: it appears as if wisdom is something hiding in plain sight and every generation goes through the painful process of finding it. We cry “look what I’ve found!” and our elders smile tolerantly and say “How about that? Who knew?”

So the whole discussion is infused with both delight at new insight and a certain embarrassment that it took me this long to get it.

But for me as writer, the key is to render the discussion and the narration of discovery in a language that reaches people here and now. In a world of consumers, how do we reassert the benefits of delayed gratification, of less being more, and the important of something beyond yourself? A truly countercultural argument if ever there was one.

And in these times, a discussion well worth having.


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