August 10th, 2005


Martial Philosophy

It's one-thirty in the morning and I'm sipping calvados neat (inspired by draconicmist) while reading Book of Five Rings. It should be sake - I want it to be sake - but there is no sake. I wish sake kept the way brandy did so that I could open a bottle, have a cup or two, and months later still have tasty sake, but it goes bad fairly quickly. Damn oxidation. The calvados at least is quite tasty. I love having parents who love good food and drink. This shit is so much better than what I have in Beloit.

Book of Five Rings is going... different than I'd expected. I've read it before and enjoyed it. Now it just feels disappointing. Miyamoto just comes across as a brute - a smart brute, but a brute nonetheless. His approach to everything is so different from Ueshiba's that it's strange to consider them both embodiments of the same philosophy: bushido. In many ways I suppose that in itself is excellent preperation for l5r, but it's so unexpected. Consider the following:

Do not stare into the eyes of your opponent: he may mesmerize you. Do not fix your gaze on his sword: he may intimidate you. Do not focus on your opponent at all: he may absorb your energy. The essence of training is to bring your opponent completely into your sphere. Then you can stand just where you like.

Compared to:

To Hit the Enemy "In One Timing"
"In One Timing" means, when you have closed with the enemy, to hit him as quickly and directly as possible, without moving your body or settling your spirit, while you see that he is still undecided. The timing of hitting before the enemy decides to withdraw, break or hit, is this "In One Timing".
You must train to achieve this timing, to be able to hit in the timing of an instant.

I deliberately chose martial sections to illustrate the differences. Both are concerned with the practicalities of combat, and anyone who has fought will recognize that Ueshiba's words are not useless vaguaries but actually very specific instructions, even if they are difficult to implement. I feel hopelessly frustrated. Roleplaying is more than just a game, though it is a wonderful game; like all literature, it is a way to explore the world. When I come into larp next semester I don't just want to be spewing off useless quotes. I want to understand.

L5r Larp

Would people be interested in an event some afternoon or evening on the basics of katana use? I can teach some of the cuts, footwork, and a simple form. Reply if this is something you would want to do.